Lowell Fulson

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Tramp Review

by Mark Deming

Lowell Fulson's comfortably laid-back but groovin' soul-blues workout "Tramp" quickly became one of his biggest hits (and fared even better in a cover version by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas), and this album (released to tie in with the single's success) finds Fulson following a similar stylistic path. While most of Tramp's tunes lean more heavily on traditional blues structures than the title tune, Fulson was obviously aiming for a funky ambience rather than the heavy emotional crush of the deep blues, and his clean, uncluttered guitar solos are warmer and more approachable than the typical Chicago-style axe work of the day. There's a sly playfulness to this material that's winning, and even the most down-and-out songs here display a light touch and creative intelligence that sets Fulson apart. Hardly a masterpiece, Tramp is still the sort of album to please fans and new admirers alike.

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