Lucky Peterson

Travelin' Man

(CD - JSP / JSP Records #JSP-CD-8854)

Review by

Lucky Peterson got his grounding in the blues from his father's friends, and since his father was blues guitarist and singer James Peterson, who also owned the Governor's Inn, a premier blues nightclub in Buffalo, New York, those friends included folks like Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, and Bill Doggett. Peterson had a career as a child prodigy on the Hammond B-3, even scoring an R&B hit with the Willie Dixon-produced "1-2-3-4," the novelty of it all landing him appearances on The Tonight Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and others, and his debut album appeared in 1969. But it was the blues that claimed Peterson as an adult, by which time he was not only an accomplished piano and organ player, but also a quite competent vocalist and an impressive guitarist with a soaring and emotionally searing style on the instrument. This set finds him placed in a retro Chicago blues setting, with horns added in where appropriate, and Peterson is quite at home here, bringing an exuberant sincerity to the opener, "Proud to Love My Baby," and delivering the title tune, "Traveling Man," with passion and urgency, while bringing a funky groove to "Get on Down," which spotlights his piano playing. There's a retro feel here, but it doesn't dominate things, and it's doubtful Peterson could really do anything with the blues other than turning it into his own energized statement, which he has joyously and elegantly done since the Bob Greenlee-produced Lucky Strikes! album, Peterson's unveiling as a blues guitarist, first hit the blues scene in 1989. On Travelin' Man, Peterson makes the old blues approach sound as sturdy and solid as ever, and the whole set is branded with his take on it, which sounds fresh, and even uplifting, as if the blues were as brand-new and shiny as the day it hit Chicago.

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