It’s been ten years since the passing of Mel Brown in Kitchener. The legendary guitarist found a home here after a lengthy career as a solo artist for the Impulse label and a mainstay in the band of Bobby Blue Bland, an in-demand session guitarist and the leader of the house band at Clifford Antone’s famous club in Austin TX. He also found a home with Electro-Fi Records, where the guitarist made a late career move as a vocalist with a warm, expressive baritone voice. There were four main albums, two live ones and a quite wonderful series done with Chicago’s Snooky Pryor. To mark the occasion, Electro-Fi is releasing a limited-edition LP of some of his best work from the label. Those Impulse albums showed a topflight jazz guitarist but he was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, his father teaching him the deep blues he would never leave behind. The combination proved unique and unbeatable. John Lee Hooker’s “I’m in the Mood” makes for a fine opening, Brown’s biting solo leading the way as his longtime band, the Homewreckers, John Lee on piano, Al Richardson on bass and Jim Boudreaux on drums are joined by Al Lerman on harp. He wrote his own songs too, including “Love Lost and Found”, a gorgeous slow instrumental that also features him on piano and organ. The uptempo “Snap” provides another example of his guitar prowess. He could often be found at a club in Guelph called Wally’s and a fine, smoky version of “I’ll Play the Blues for You” was recorded there. The funky vocal original “Ruby Mae” is a glorious down home twelve-bar. Those slow blues instrumentals were always the set highlights and “Blues – A Beautiful Thing” just had to be included. Improvisation was at the heart of his style and his theme & variations on “Hey Joe”, also from Wally’s, gets a twelve-minute workout to conclude. The music has been specially remastered for vinyl and sounds gorgeous. This is a numbered, limited edition of 500 copies and an eminently worthy addition to his legacy. It will be released in November 15 but if you go to www.electrofi.com you can get your name in early.

November 2019 - Wide Mouth Mason
Top Blues - November 2019