Eddie King
Another Cow's Dead
Roesch 0035
Eddie King's beautifully crafted Another Cow's Dead is a result of the all-too-rare synergy between prodigious musical talent and inspired production. Label honcho Joe Roesch, tweaking a complex mix to perfection and drumming a solid driving groove, has a big hand in producing a solid contender for this year's top 10 list of blues recordings. Gathering the right musicians, choosing a strong song selection and having it all come out with sparkling sound does make a helluva difference.

Alabama-born guitarist and singer Eddie King has been around for a long time on the Chicago blues scene. His first album on Double Trouble, The Blues Has Got Me, with King sharing vocal duties with sister Mae, was recorded when the husky-voiced musician was in his fifties and enjoyed favorable critical reviews. King continued his career as lead guitarist for Koko Taylor, playing an exuberant single-note style influenced by Freddie King and fellow West Siders. His taste leans towards a mix of straight-ahead blues and Memphis soul, a range that his gospel-inflected, down-home voice covers to great effect. So whether he's taking a run at "Look on Yonder's Wall" or Luther Ingram's golden oldie, "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right)," King nails the requisite feel and tone.

Contributing strongly to the high-spirited proceedings are the Blues Brothers Horns (Birch Johnson, Alan Rubin, Lou Marini and Ronnie Cuber), along with keyboardist Roger Young. And while there's plenty of energetic and uptempo R&B, King does get down with his big bad ES-355 on slow burners like "Angel of Mercy" or the album's title track. Then there's the haunting single note melody of the luscious ballad, "Losin' Boy." Along the way King also throws in a few James Brown shrieks and ejaculatory "aaghs" on another Ingram cover, "I Like the Feeling." The whole set is focused, coherent, and consistently brilliant. What else is there to say?

-- Jack Oudiz

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Boulder, CO, USA.