added: 5 Nov 2012
// release date: 29 Oct 2012 // label: Maingate
reviewer: Andy Snipper
My first thoughts were that this was a reissue of an album from 1965 except that Otis Grand would have been in high school in ’65 – what the hey?
He has recorded songs that influenced him back in the day and that he would have danced to at parties as he grew up. And he has done a bang up job of it – these recordings stand up to the music of the time and the fact that he hasn’t messed with them is all to his credit.
He kicks off with ‘Pretend’, a number that Nat King Cole made famous in 1953 and that was a hit for Carl Mann six years later – it was also recorded by Alvin Stardust and Otis restores it to its finery and puts that horror show to bed.
His guitar on ‘Who Will The Next Fool Be’ is a gorgeous single string evocation of the time but the real strength here is his vocal which has real soul and punch to it.
‘Bad News On TV’ has a real Chicago sound to it plus a wonderfully louche horn sound and tinkling piano in the back, carrying the rhythm.
You get a real gospel bounce to his version of ‘Washed My Hands In Muddy Water’ along with some hard harp from Sugar Ray Norcio and seriously Doo Woppy sound on ‘Please Don’t Leave’ and even some crazy dance on ‘The Shag Shuffle’.
Otis Grand has been praised to the heavens by no less than BB King and Luther Akllison and played with the late Ike Turner. He has also won the WC Handy award and played with some of the greats over the last thirty years.
This is his homage to the music he loved growing up and he has managed a rare thing – the music sounds as fresh as it did back ‘then’ – rapidly becoming my favourite Blues compilation of the year!
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