Cape Breton slide guitar master John Campbelljohn has just been signed to a worldwide record deal with the German company ZYX Music Pepper Cake Records and his first album under that deal will be Guitar Lovin’ Man, to be released shortly. Until then we get a most magnificent fill-in: Elmore’s Blues is a loving tribute to Elmore James with veteran Halifax singer Wayne Nicholson. Barry Cooke is at the piano, Kim Dunn on organ, Bruce Dixon bass and Neil Robertson, drums. These players have lived and breathed this music all their lives and it shows. Elmore James will forever be known for “Dust my Broom” and its famous riff but he wrote many more fine songs and, indeed, “Broom” isn’t even here although that riff makes an appearance or two. There is a gorgeous, raw sound to John’s guitar, which combined with Wayne’s powerful vocals and Barry’s Little Johnny Jones’ reincarnated piano playing makes for one exciting program. “Standing at the Crossroads”, “Happy Home”, “Rollin’ and Tumblin’”, and “Sinful Woman” are immediate, turn-it-up highlights but lesser known Elmore gems shine too like the opener, “I May Be Wrong” and “It Hurts Me Too”. John doesn’t slavishly copy Elmore’s style so much as incorporate it into his own and they don’t feel it’s necessary to stick too close to the originals all the time: “I Believe” gets a delightful reggae treatment and a couple of their own are here too, with “If I Was Blue” using a Hawaiian slack key guitar for a rather different sound. “Shake Your Moneymaker”, almost as well known as “Dust My Broom”, acknowledges the sterling rhythm section as they get short but effective solos each. I think many of us have these songs etched into our brains but I think you’ll be impressed with this tribute to a master. Available on all platforms May 15, go to www.campbelljohn.com. 

May 2020 - John Primer & Bob Corritore
May 2020 - Dalannah Gail Bowen