John’s Blues Picks Dec 2015 – Les Copeland
Les Copeland To Be In Your Company (Earwig) | lescopeland.com
Vernon, BC blues guitarist Les Copeland came to my attention with his earlier disc on Chicago’s Earwig label. Owner Michael Frank is a hands-on kind of guy, he plays harp very well and takes a major interest in the careers of the blues men he signs. His most important artist for some years was the legendary Delta veteran David “Honeyboy” Edwards. On a Western tour with Honeyboy, Mr. Frank met Les Copeland who sat in and a 15-year friendship with both ensued. Honeyboy guested on the earlier one, 2010’s Don’t Let The Devil In and you may have caught the three of them at Hugh’s Room during the subsequent tour.
Honeyboy passed away at the age of 96 shortly after that tour and To Be In Your Company opens with a heartfelt tribute that lovingly details how Copeland and Honeyboy first met. A little further on, “Bessie” captures Copeland’s last meeting with Honeyboy, Honeyboy had cashed in his air miles to bring Copeland to Chicago and Bessie was Honeyboy’s loving wife. “Borderline” is a sarcastic acoustic slide piece about trying to convince the U.S. customs guys that he wasn’t going to play without papers. He was indeed heading south to jam with Honeyboy. “Swamp Witch” is a more complex effort, a dark Jim Stafford story set in the Louisiana bayou country. That he has a wide repertoire ise shown with performances of Jelly Roll Morton’s “Winin’ Boy Blues”, Gordon Lightfoot’s “Ribbon Of Darkness”, Bob Dylan’s “Moonshiner” and The Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon” and he makes it all work. He saves a chunk of the program for songs about his family and partner Sari joins him for a couple. All in all, a something a little different for your listening pleasure. His web site is www.lescopeland.com and his music streams at www.reverbnation.com/lightninlescopeland although this new one isn’t there yet. Earwig music can be acquired at www.earwigmusic.com.