One of the great pleasures is to spend an evening at a blues club in Chicago. As this is quite impossible and will be for a while yet, we can come very close to enjoying that pastime with this new live album. Linsey Alexander is a veteran Chicago bluesman who is sometimes dubbed the ‘King of Halsted Avenue’ on the North Side. On this occasion he is on Armitage St. on the West Side. Rosa’s Lounge has been a fixture on the Chicago scene for decades and Delmark has recorded several albums and DVDs there over the years. Arriving in Chicago in 1963 from Holly Springs MS, Alexander has mostly been a sideman and confined his shows to small clubs until recently, joining late bloomers such as Toronzo Cannon. This is his third album for Delmark with some self- produced ones before that. He shows himself to be an excellent singer and songwriter, a master guitarist and a natural entertainer. Backed by a quartet of Roosevelt Purifoy on keys, Sergei Androshin on the other guitar, Ron Simmons, bass and ‘Big Ray’ Stewart on drums, he gives us a stellar and varied set of covers and originals, starting with BB King’s “Please Love Me”. It has some excellent Purifoy keyboard work. One of his own is the fine first single, “My Days Are So Long”, an uptempo song from his first Delmark. Freddie King’s “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” gets a lengthy workout that will make you forget the version you probably thought of when you read this. Another Alexander original is “I Got A Woman”, a funky dance floor filler with a solid groove. Androshin rips off a stellar solo too. The original “Goin’ Out Walkin’” keeps the tempo going with a great Texas shuffle. Latimore is not usually thought of as a bluesman but his “Somethin’ ‘Bout ‘Cha” sounds fabulous in this setting. Another new original is “Snowin’ in Chicago”, with a very nice groove but he’s homeless and it’s nineteen below. A little-known song by Junior Wells, “Ships on the Ocean”, is another great slow blues. Alexander concludes with another new song, one whose idea came from his son, who is also a guitarist. “Goin’ Back to my Old Time Used to Be” makes for a great set closer and you don’t have to leave the club in the snow. Delmark’s notes call him the ‘Hoochie Man” and he has given us an authentic live in Chicago blues album for the new century. Go to www.delmark.com for more info.

July 2020 - Loose Blues News
June 2020 - Jeff Healey