Blues Bytes

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May 2018

Johnny Tucker
Seven Day Blues
High John Records

John Tucker

Johnny Tucker has been around the Los Angeles blues scene since 1964, backing Phillip Walker on drums for over 30 years and on several recordings. He played with many others over that time as well, such as Floyd Dixon, Johnny Otis, Johnny Copeland, Lowell Fulson, and the Five Royals among others, touring all over the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Europe. A seasoned vocalist who is comfortable singing blues and soul, he also recorded a couple of his own albums, 1997’s Stranded with James “Broadway” Thomas on HMG Records and Why You Lookin’ At Me? for High John Records in 2006.

Tucker’s second effort for High John, Seven Day Blues, takes a nicely retro expedition into Chicago blues territory with able assistance from guitarist extraordinaire Big Jon Atkinson (who also produced). Atkinson used vintage recording equipment and techniques (even recorded all the instruments live in the same room) to capture that classic old-school sound, and he and the band, which includes Scott Smart (guitar/bass), Malachi Johnson and Marty Dodson (drums), and Troy Sandow (bass/harmonica), plus guests Bob Corritore (harmonica), Kid Ramos (guitar), and Bob Welch (organ), do a masterful job recapturing that Chicago style.

Tucker wrote all 15 tracks, and they’re all keepers. Tucker’s vocals are front and center and he’s at the top of his game, ranging from Howlin’ Wolf tough on tracks like “Talkin’ About You Baby” and “Tired of Doing Nothing,” to Sam Cooke smooth on the soulful “Love And Appreciation (To Georgia),” to fabulously funky on the irresistible title track and “I Wanna Do It,” to down-home greasy on “Do Right Man” and “Tell You All” featuring Ramos on guitar and Welch on organ.

Tucker really shines on the slower blues tunes like “Why Do You Let Me Down So Hard,” “One of These Days,” “Gonna Give You One More Chance,” and the positively anguished “You Can Leave My House,” with each tune allowing the backing musicians to really show their skills as well, and tracks like “I Can’t Wait,” “I Wanna Do It,” “Something I Want To Tell You,” “Come On Home With Me,” and “Listen Everybody” are so comfortably in the Windy City blues mode that you’ll swear you’ve heard them before.

This is a fantastic release with 15 all-killer, no-filler tracks that clock in at almost an hour of playing time. You’ll be hitting “replay” for sure, because an hour of blues this good is not long enough. Fans of traditional blues played well should seek out Seven Day Blues immediately. Hopefully, Johnny Tucker won’t wait 12 years before giving us his next release.

--- Graham Clarke



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