Blues Bytes


February 2012

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Fred Sanders
Long Time Comin'
I55 Productions

Fred Sanders

Way back in May of 2001, when life was simple and I could still fit into my clothes I wore in college, I found a marvelous CD from a Memphis musician named Fred Sanders. Sanders served as house guitarist for Memphis’ Club Paradise for many years, backing anybody who was anybody that happened to play through town. He also served as guitarist for the Memphis Blues Caravan, and was a regular playing in Handy Park.

The CD I reviewed back in ’01 was called Long Time Comin’, and was on the Mempho label. At the time, I wrote, “This is an outstanding CD with a lot to offer for fans of blues, R&B, and soul,” and it was …. I still pull it out and listen to it occasionally. Unfortunately, Mempho closed shop a few years ago and the CD went out of print. Sanders recorded one final CD, I Believe, before he passed away early in 2011 from lung cancer.

Now I55 Productions has reissued Long Time Comin’ in all its glory. The only difference is the cover …. the original oddly pictured Sanders sitting on a bench with an acoustic guitar, which is nowhere to be heard on the album. Everything else is still firmly in place, including the 12 solid tracks of urban blues. Sanders wrote all but two of the tracks, the lone covers from the Kings of the Blues (Albert’s “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven” and B.B.’s “Who Are You”).

Sanders mixes funk (“I Got A Feeling” and the instrumental, “Big Bad Wolf”) with touches of Memphis soul and blues (“House Is Not A Home”) and even a little bit of Texas (where he spent years honing his craft before moving back to Memphis) with ”Hello Baby.” His gravelly vocal style is ideal for this material and his guitar work is lean and mean old school style, with a modern touch here and there.

Some 10 or 11 years later, Long Time Comin’ is still a great set of urban blues, done Memphis style. If you missed it the first time around, you have the opportunity to make up for lost time.

--- Graham Clarke
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