Blues Bytes


February/March 2017

Landon Spradlin
No More Blue Mondays

Landon Spradlin

Landon Spradlin originally released No More Blue Mondays in 1995, and how in the world I missed it, I will never know. This disc should be in any blues fan’s collection. Spradlin, a New Orleans native who is now based in Virginia, where he pastors a church, traveled to England some 20 years ago and recorded this outstanding disc with several members of Eric Clapton’s band. A powerful guitarist, Spradlin also possesses one of those soulful gospel voices that makes the weak strong and vice versa.

There’s only nine songs on the disc, but listeners will get their money’s worth because Spradlin puts everything he’s got into each song. He penned five of the nine songs, including covers of songs originally done by Rev. Dan Smith (“Seminary”), Dobie Gray (the ’70s pop hit “Drift Away”), and Charles Johnson (“My Friend Jesus”). His own songs are equally effective; the title track is a masterful slow blues burner with Spradlin laying down some excellent guitar (ideally complemented by Dan Cutrona’s keyboards) that is worth the price of the disc by itself.

While the first few songs on the disc focus on the blues side of gospel-blues, the second half of the disc leans more toward the soul side, with the exception of the country stomper, “I Got Jesus Name,” which probably gets folks up in the aisles during service. “My God,” “First Fruits,” “He Is There,” “My Friend Jesus,” and “My Help,” a breathtaking revival-style closer that dares listeners to sit still while listening, really put the focus on Spradlin’s soul-shaking vocals.

The backing band (Norman Barratt – guitar, Henry Spinetti – drums, Dave Markee – bass, acoustic guitar, Cutrona – keyboards, James Gosney – tambourine) and the exceptional background singers (Amoy Levy, Ciceall Levy, Owen Welch) make a great album even great, but Landon Spradlin is the real story here. I’m amazed that this one has been under the radar so long, but hopefully Spradlin will return to the studio soon to give us more.

--- Graham Clarke



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