Lowell Fulson

The Blues Show! Live at Pit Inn 1980

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Oklahoma's Lowell Fulson has always been a sort of everyman of blues, effortlessly adapting his soul-blues style to whatever trends were breaking, all without losing his core sound. This live set from Japan's P-Vine Records, recorded in Tokyo on November 28, 1980, functions as a kind of career retrospective, with Fulson touching on his biggest hits, delivering solid renditions of "Everyday I Have the Blues," "Sinner's Prayer," "Blue Shadows," and the classic "Reconsider Baby." Saxophonist Lee Allen, a veteran sideman who has worked with Fats Domino, Little Richard, and countless others, gives these songs a nice, full sound, and he takes center stage for his signature tune, "Walkin' With Mr. Lee." The undisputed highlight here, though, is Fulson's "River Blues," first recorded in two parts in 1946. An atmospheric epic about prison work camps in Texas, it shows Fulson's eye as a writer, and the accumulation of small, finely observed details that make up the song gives it an unusual power. Fulson closes things out with his funk-infused hit, "Tramp." The sound throughout is full and clear, and the crowd noise is participatory rather than intrusive. A fine set.

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