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February 2013

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Lucky Peterson Band featuring Tamara Peterson
Live At The 55 Arts Club Berlin
Blackbird Music

Lucky Peterson

Upon reflection, I would have to say that Judge Kenneth Peterson is indeed aptly nick-named “Lucky.” I’ve spent the better part of a Friday afternoon watching and listening to the tour de force put out in his name by Blackbird-Music and it’s an impressive package. Three DVD’s and two CD’s of the filmed concert audio make up the premium package of the Lucky Peterson Band featuring Tamara Peterson, Live At The 55 Arts Club Berlin.

Backed by an outstanding band consisting of Shawn Kellerman on guitar, Tim Waites on bass and Raul Valdes on drum; Lucky and his wife, Tamara, tear it up before an appreciative German audience at the 55 Arts Club in Berlin. The club’s website indicates that the 55 Arts Club is a “video portal” and indeed, there are a number of amazing concerts to be viewed on their website. Founded in 2012 by Andreas Hommelsheim, part of Andreas’s vision for the 55 Arts Club was to preserve the performances of their artists for the world to see. Every artist who performs there has their concert filmed in high definition video and the event is archived for all of the patrons of the 55 Arts Club to view via membership for a nominal fee.

Lucky, Tamara and the band played the 55 Arts Club early in their tour and shared a dinner with Andreas after their performance. During dinner the conversation turned toward the band’s regret at not being able to film the concert later on in their tour after everyone had recovered from their “jet-lag” and after the band had honed their show to perfection with a tightness that only comes from performing together on the road. Lucky had never released a DVD in his career and all of these tidbits together provided the impetus to schedule two concerts at the end of the band’s tour and have another go at filming what at that point would definitely be a polished performance.

The results speak for themselves. I have never seen such an impressive DVD/CD package developed for any artist of our Blues genre ever, and the work produced by both Blackbird-Music and the 55 Arts Club is amazing. The concerts themselves had songs for everyone. Originals by Lucky and Tamara are augmented by classics from writers such as Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson and Jimmy Rogers to take the German audience on a blues adventure. The high definition audio and video is impressive with the expressive personalities of Lucky and Tamara shining through while Shawn Kellerman and the band are as tight as a backing band can be. A good time was definitely had by all and I’ve enjoyed a tremendous afternoon in front of a Samsung plasma with the audio running through my stereo speakers, tickling my ears.

This is easily one of the best concert DVDs I’ve ever watched and I own quite a few. The premium package consists of two concert DVD’s, a special features DVD that includes four songs performed by Shawn and the Band, as well as some behind the scenes footage and the two CDs of the concert audio. It is available from Lucky on his website at and comes highly recommended.

--- Kyle Deibler

Lucky Peterson has been playing the blues since he was five years old ---over 40years --- since Willie Dixon heard the youngster playing Hammond organ like a grown-up. With Dixon serving as mentor, Peterson, the son of the late bluesman James Peterson, recorded an album (Our Future: 5 Year Old Lucky Peterson) and was soon appearing on TV. He picked up guitar at the age of eight and was playing in Little Milton’s band at 17, later serving in Bobby “Blue” Bland’s band before striking out on his own at 21 in 1984. Since that time, Peterson has released a dozen albums and toured all over the world.

Peterson’s latest effort is a powerhouse set, recorded in Germany, and released as a 2 CD or a 5 disc CD/DVD collection. Live at the 55 Arts Club Berlin (Blackbird Music) pretty much sums up Peterson’s career to date as a singer/keyboardist/guitarist/master showman. Joining Peterson on this performance is his dynamite band (Shawn Kellerman – guitar, Tim Waites – bass, and Raul Valdes – drums) and his wife, singer Tamara Peterson, who appears on half the set.

Two of the DVDs capture the concert in its entirety (as do the two CDs). The third DVD features a “behind the scenes” look at the band and the process involved in putting their show together, which includes rehearsals. There are also four songs with Kellerman fronting the band, and an interview with the effervescent Peterson, who amazingly calls his abilities on guitar “a work in progress.”

Peterson spends most of his time behind the keys during the show, but steps out front on a few songs, such as a smoking version of the classic “Dust My Broom,” along with Jimmy Rogers’ “I’m Gonna Build Myself a Cave” and a stunning “Blues Medley” that features snippets of “Hide Away,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and “Little Red Rooster,” among others. It’s well-established that Peterson is a monster on keyboards, but his fretwork takes a backseat to very limited few of his contemporaries. Other standout Peterson tracks include the Johnny “Guitar” Watson tune, “Ta’ Ta’ You,” Rico McFarland’s “Giving Me The Blues,” and a gospel-flavored take on Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble.”

Peterson’s wife, Tamara, who has been with the band since the mid ’90s, brings a versatile set of pipes to the forefront on the second half of each disc. She handles blues, R&B, jazz, and even funk with equal skill. She composed several of her tunes, including the Latin-tinged “I Don’t Like You But I Love You,” the bluesy “Been So Long,” and the funky “Real Music,” but she really stands out on a couple of tracks that showcase her and her husband. One of these is a country blues reworking of Prince’s ’80s hit, “Kiss,” and “Lost The Right” is a sassy shuffle.

Lucky Peterson has been around the blues all of his life. If ever anyone was born to play the blues, it’s him. This release is a perfect summary of what makes him such an important part of the past and current blues scene. Displaying his diverse, multi-instrumental talent, the vocal gifts of his wife, and this wonderfully tight band in support, Live at the 55 Arts Club Berlin proves to be the perfect venue for both longtime Peterson fans and curious newcomers.

--- Graham Clarke



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