Three Days Walkin'
Chicago blues fans might have missed Three Days Walkin’ the first
time out. Released in mid-2000 on the Analogue Productions Originals
(APO) label, the disc is as close to the Chicago sound of the ’50s and
’60s as you’ve heard in a long time. It remains the first and only
release by harmonica player Eomot RaSun. Born Ezra Lee Blakely,
Jr. in Clarksdale, MS in 1945, RaSun has been a journeyman player on the
Chicago scene for a number of years. He legally changed his name in the
early ’70s after he began studying African history.
RaSun was brought to the
attention of APO by guitarist Jimmy D. Lane. Lane had already brought a
number of musicians to record on the label, such as Hubert Sumlin,
Honeyboy Edwards, and Jimmie Lee Robinson, who mostly were associates of
his father, Jimmy Rogers. Lane also brought RaSun, another associate
(and godfather to one of Rogers’ sons) who had never been able to catch
a break, to the attention of the label. The disc was recorded live in
the studio with RaSun on vocal and harp, along with an All-Star line-up
including Lane on guitar, Robert Stroger on bass, and Sam Lay on drums.
Like most Chicago harmonica
players, RaSun studied at the school of Little Walter Jacobs. His harp
playing and vocals are reminiscent of the Chicago legend and he performs
fine versions of two of Jacobs’ tunes here (“Last Night” and “Blues With
A Feeling”). His own compositions (several written with Lane) are also
strong and sound like they could have been released during the heyday of
Chess and VeeJay. Highlights among the originals include the lively
“Goin’ To Chicago,” opening the disc, followed by the rollicking
“Walkin’ These Blues Away” and “So Tired,” which features some inspired
guitar by Lane.
The band plays it just like
the old records, very solid ensemble playing with none of the flash and
dash that sometimes gets in the way on modern blues recordings. Lane in
particular does an excellent job, and the rhythm section of Stroger and
Lay couldn’t get any tighter. Like all of APO’s recordings, the sound is
Unfortunately, RaSun has not
recorded since this session, but if this is all he ever releases, he
done well enough. Three Days Walkin’ is a great set of old-time
Chicago blues that’s worth seeking out.
--- Graham Clarke