Big Walter Horton

Southern Comfort

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Southern Comfort was a rather disorganized recording date for Big Walter "Shakey" Horton, not in the least because he doesn't actually sing and play on all of the numbers. Nevertheless, the album, done in a single session in London in October 1968, is actually reasonably worthwhile, even if it's not one that you'd put at the top of the stack of Horton releases. Set up while Horton was playing a festival in the U.K., his backing band on this recording consisted of British guitarist Martin Stone (who played in Savoy Brown, the Action, and Mighty Baby) and fellow Chicago bluesmen Jesse Lewis and Jerome Arnold, who were also in England at the time. The liner notes to the 2005 CD reissue of the album describe the session as something of a nightmare in which a steadily drunker Horton passed out before the album was completed. Yet it's actually quite passable, if slightly loose, electric Chicago blues, albeit with a cheapish, echo-heavy sound. Presumably owing to Horton's incapacity, vocals on three of the numbers are actually taken by Lewis and Arnold, who do a competent job. In need of material to fill out the LP after Horton had passed out, however, the other musicians took the off-the-wall step of cutting an improvised 12-minute psychedelic raga, "Netti-Netti," complete with backward tape and wah-wah guitar. Not at all like the rest of this straightforward blues album, it's certainly not nearly on the same level of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's epic psychedelic instrumental "East West" (on which Arnold had also played). Perversely, however, it's given the record a reputation among psychedelic collectors, some of whom probably aren't interested in the electric Chicago blues that actually takes up most of the space on the record.