Snooks Eaglin
Live in Japan
Black Top 1137
Eaglin's first live recording is a blast from start to finish. This completely enjoyable set of blues, R&B and jazz reveals the blind New Orleans guitarist at the top of his form. A sharp band of George Porter on bass, John Autin on keyboards and Jeffrey "Jellybean" Alexander on drums pushes things along nicely.

Snooks opens with Bill Doggett's "Quaker City," a bright, bouncy swing tune. Snooks' deft fingering articulates each note cleanly as he mixes jazz scales with blues emotion. "I Went to the Mardi Gras" is a slice of New Orleans rhythm'n'roll, insistent and playful. Snooks sings like he's missing a full set of teeth, but the photos of him smiling belie that notion.

Jellybean and Snooks team up for a terrific reworking of Fats Domino's "Hello, Josephine," with Alexander whomping a beat for Eaglin to sing over and Porter and Snooks playing a funky unison coda to close it out. The Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing" also gets Snookified, with big muddy chords adding a touch of the swamp.

Snooks' affiliation with Black Top has done good things for his career. Live in Japan continues that string of successes.

-- David Feld

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