Louisiana Red,

Louisiana Red,
Back To The Black Bayou

Bluestown Records

By Art Tipaldi
June 2009

Well into his 70ís, Louisiana Red, aka Iverson Minter, is still one of the most direct lines back to Muddy, John Lee, and Elmore. Bathed in the warm tubes of Notoddenís retro Juke Joint Studios, the sound of Red and his friend Little Victor revives the days of 2120 South Michigan Ave. Little Victor assembled a song list from Redís extensive catalogue and all-star musicians who understand Redís idiosyncratic tendencies.

Since Red always mixes his life or world events into his songs, listeners will always feel an intimate meeting has taken place between Red and themselves. The record opens with just such an tune, “Iím Louisiana Red.” Backed by Kim Wilsonís deep harp, Reidar Larsenís Spann styled piano, and Victorís second guitar, Red tells the world of his life including the death of his mot her within a week of his birth. The music stays rooted in the murky, stop time Chicago blues on “Alabama Train.” Here, Dave Maxwell accents the treble keys and Bob Corritore evokes Redís harmonica gods.

On “Crime In Motion,” Red pulls riffs from his Elmore James bag as Victor and Maxwell plug into the sound anarchy of those days. As with most players who moved from Mississippi to Chicago, Redís vocals carry the emotional urgency learned in the Delta. “Too Poor to Die”, a Red original resurrected from his 1964 Glover sessions authenticates that spirit.

The rest of the record follows similar patterns. Many of his songs employ a familiar melody from his Chess mentors. Musically, the title cut is “Rolliní Stone,” but the lyrics come from Redís life. “Sweet Leg Girl,” with Jostein Forsberg on harp and Maxwell again sitting in Spannís seat, employs the heavy backbeat that made Muddyís early Chess work so ear catching. “You Done Quit Me” has traces of Muddyís “Trouble No More” and “I Come From Louisiana,” first recorded for Roulette in the 1960ís, evokes Muddyís “Mojo.”

On “Roaminí Stranger,” Red and Victor conjure Robert Johnsonís “Steady Rolliní Man” in a two guitar blend. The record ends with “At The Zanzibar,” Redís time traveliní tribute to his visit in 1950 to Muddyís home club. Here, Red plays Muddyís slide, Victor handles Jimmy Rodgersí parts and Wilson breathes the finest Little Walter harmonica in this instrumental whiz. The music in the movie Cadillac Records replicates the days of Chess Records. Buy this instead and hear the genuine sound of one who was there.

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