Come to the River
Itís often unclear throughout Come to the River whether Terry Evans is recording an earthy blues record or leading a tent revival. Whatever his intent, heís making great music.
A long-time partner of Ry Cooder and session man for the likes of Boz Scaggs, John Fogerty and John Lee Hooker, Evans has developed a style that marries the blues with soul, R&B, gospel and rock. Itís all here, in only 10 tracks.
The secular/spiritual dichotomy of the album is almost contradictory, but thatís what makes it interesting. On one hand, Evans invites us to prepare for the new day thatís coming in the vocally ornate opening track, "Get Up, Get Ready," and encourages us to come out of the darkness in "The River." In between, though, he celebrates his inebriation in the jazzy "I Got Loaded" and his unbridled lust in a punchy, syncopated cover of Willie Dixonís "I Just Want to Make Love to You."
Although Evansí role is limited to vocals and occasional acoustic guitar, heís surrounded by more than competent personnel, including Cooder on guitar and harpist John "Juke" Logan, who blows loads atop the New Orleans second-line rhythm of "Tears Are Rolling." Keyboardist Hence Powell makes a deft switch to trumpet on "I Got Loaded," an unexpected high point.
Come to the River may be too broad-brush for hard-core Delta and/or Chicago blues purists, but this melting pot of various styles is likely to appeal to those who recognize and appreciate the diverse, complex weave of blues, gospel, R&B and soul traditions.
ó John C. Bruening