Blues Bytes


August 2014

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Louisiana Red
The Sky Is Crying
Wolf Records

Louisiana Red

I don't know that Lousiana Red (born Iverson Minter) ever recorded a song that didn't have a story worth hearing, at least for the joy in the telling that he brought to them. Highly prolific, as many as 50 recordings are credited to his name,

Red was a fine guitarist and vocalist who is represented wonderfully on this new Wolf release, The Sky Is Crying, largely recorded live in Greece. Songs here cover the period March 1994 to March 2007. As is the case with many of his recordings there's a mix of solo and band outings.

The opening solo version of his "Too Poor To Die" (“before I die I better think again”) was recorded live on his birthday on March 23, 2007. Noted for his slide, this is a relatively rare instance of straight ahead guitar playing and is a joy. He offers a pair of slide-driven pieces in his "Working Mule" and the acoustic "Do You Got Balls?," a song that looks at looking sharp versus coming with it.

Four tunes with Bob Brozman and George Pilali, both on National steels, were recorded on a radio show in 1996 and are show-stoppers. His take on Willie Dixon's "Same Thing" was recorded at the island of Skiathos with John Nicholas on piano and a stellar Greek band (Nick Dounoussi, guitar; George Athanas, bass; George Papazoglus, drums). Red's slide steals the show.

There are impressive covers of Muddy Waters ("Champagne and Reefer" and a killer "What Is That She Got") and there is a fine rendition of Elmore James' "The Sky Is Crying," but this is largely built on Louisiana Red originals. I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon than listening to Louisiana Red. Live Red is even more enjoyable.

--- Mark E. Gallo



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