"Shufflemaster" Sam Lay
still rules as the premiere Chicago blues drummer. Midway into his sixth
decade, Lay remains a powerhouse percussionist whose inventive mastery
consistently pleases. The veteran drummer and his absolutely sharp band
provide a quality blues experience on Rush Hour Blues.
The new disc is steeped in tradition.
Producer/rhythm guitarist Fred James is quoted as saying they really
captured "that ensemble feel like you get on those old Delmark
" Lay and the band surge through the high-gear opener,
"Baby How Long." On the sophisticated instrumental shuffle,
"Midnight Drag," which closes the set, Lay shows his subtler,
jazzier side. In between its pure Chicago blues delight.
The tight crew wraps itself around
chestnuts like "Blow Wind Blow" and lesser-known gems like
the engaging slow blues, "Mama and Papa Hopkins." The title
song in "Dust My Broom" style evokes appealing soloing
from lead guitarist Larry Burton.
This is a vibrant, real Chicago
blues recording with a seasoned veteran at the helm and a rare and welcome
event. Sam Lay fans and anyone else lucky enough to check it out
should revel in this set.