Luther Allison

“You can take the Bluesman out of Chicago, but can’t Chicago out of the Blues, please welcome Luther Allison!!!” the M.C. to the 1995 Chicago Blues Festival announced before Luther Allison went on stage.

Luther Allison had been around for a long time but when you think of great players his name doesn’t come immediately to mind. Of course he was good, no doubt about that, but he just seem to lack something that made him stand out and be counted as one of the best. He had a number of records to his name and he eventually signed up with Alligator Records and released CDs, Soul Fixin’ Man, Blue Streak and Reckless. Then came Live In Chicago.

Live in Chicago is in fact a two CD set. The information on the sleeve as to which CD was recorded where was confusing, at least to me. Anyway, it is CD 1 I am talking about. I have rarely come across a recording with so much intensity and urgency. The show on CD 1 was breathtaking. Luther Allison was so intense and his emotions from his singing and guitar just hit you in the face like a sledgehammer. The version of Soul Fixin’ Man and Cherry Red Wine and It Hurts Me were just some of the most emotional Blues ever recorded, it was just out of this world. Everything Luther Allison did on the show recorded on the first CD was first class. I am sure even die-hard Rock fans will find this recording impressive. This recording was so good that whenever I play it at 48th Street, friends and customers would come up and ask me who was playing. This is a must for anyone who is into Blues or Rock. Luther Allison did quite a few minor key tunes during the show. It is always difficult to sustain interest any and energy in minor key tunes, but Luther Allison came across as a ton of bricks.

As to the CD 2, well, I couldn’t find much to say. Nothing compared to CD 1. It was just one of those magic nights on CD 1. The drummer Robb Stupka and bassist Ken Faltinson were fantastic. Even for the price of two CD’s, CD 1 is well worthy it. This is one recording you really don’t want to miss. Luther Allison died a few years ago. Since 1983, Luther Allison had been living in Europe. Thank God he played at the 1995 Chicago Blues Festival. He gave us one of the best ever shows.