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October/November 2012

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Elvin Bishop
That's My Thing
Delta Groove Music

Elvin Bishop

For over 50 years, Elvin Bishop has been playing his unique brand of blues guitar, fusing the blues with R&B, country, and even gospel. Growing up in rural Iowa (with no electricity or running water), Bishop loved the blues and R&B he heard on the radio (from WLAC in Nashville) and finally moved to Chicago (on a National Merit Scholarship to the University of Chicago), where he was able to fall under the tutelage of guitarists like Little Smokey Smothers and eventually become a founding member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

Since the late ’60s, Bishop has been a solo act, but has appeared with artists like the Allman Brothers, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix during that time. He’s enjoyed pop chart success (with his 1976 Top Ten hit, “Fooled Around and Fell In Love”) and released several successful albums. Taking part of the ’80s off, he resurfaced with Alligator Records in the late ’80s and has been active and in demand ever since, recording for Blind Pig, and, most recently Delta Groove Music.

Delta Groove recently released a “Live in Concert” DVD of Bishop performing last December at Club Fox in Redwood City, California. That’s My Thing: Elvin Bishop Live in Concert finds Bishop in fine form with a crack band (Bob Welsh – guitar, Ruth Davies – bass, Ed Earley – trombone/percussion, Bobby Cochran – drums/vocals, S. E. Willis – keys/accordion) recreating some of his most popular songs.

The 96-minute performance is excellently filmed and produced. It’s a great picture of Bishop in performance as he dazzles on guitar and his wry, self-effacing humor is on display as well as he enjoys a warm rapport with his audience (even the hecklers). The 18 tracks include favorites like “Calling All Cows,” “Travelin’ Shoes,” “Rock My Soul,” “Stealin’ Watermelons,” “Getting’ My Groove Back,” “Fishin’,” “Party ‘Til the Cows Come Home,” and “Little Brown Bird.”

Also included on the DVD is a lengthy interview with Bishop, where he discusses his career from his hardscrabble upbringing in Oklahoma, to his woodshedding in Chicago, to his subsequent ’70s success as a solo artist, to his present doings. Like everything he does, Bishop mixes his story and anecdotes with his wonderful sense of humor. The interview is essential listening to his longtime fans.

That’s My Thing is the perfect way to experience Elvin Bishop. It’s a load of fun from start to finish, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

--- Graham Clarke
Read Graham's blog

I have to admit that I’m one of those folks who have always thought that Elvin Bishop was an irascible old cuss and let it go at that. Truth of the matter is that I’ve never been in a situation where I could just sit and talk with Elvin and he’s truly one of our remaining legends in the blues. So I greatly appreciate the DVD that Delta Groove released, That’s My Thing. Filmed live at Club Fox in Redwood City, Ca this disc features the majority of Elvin’s Delta Groove material and for me; the real treat is the interview with Elvin that’s included on the disc.

Backed by Bob Welsh on the guitar, S.E. Willïs on keys and accordion, Ed Early of course on the trombone, Ruth Davies on the bass and Bobby Cochran on the drums & vocals, Elvin takes us on a 90-minute set of some of his most recent releases. From the infectious “That’s My Thing” to “Gettin’ My Groove Back to “What the Hell is Going On” and more, That’s My Thing showcases Elvin and the band doing what Elvin does best --- connecting with the audience and trying to get them to feel the music he’s laying down. On all accounts, the disc more than succeeds at accomplishing Elvin’s mantra.

As I noted earlier, aside from Elvin’s infectious music, what I appreciated most were the insights into Elvin’s life and his origins in the blues. This country boy from Tulsa, Oklahoma earned a National Merit Scholarship and parlayed that into a first-hand exposure to blues in Chicago at a time when the music revolved around the Windy City. Elvin ended up at the University of Chicago and I was dumbfounded that he chose it over Northwestern by flipping a coin. Fortunately for us, the education that Elvin garnered in Hyde Park on the Southside of Chicago could never have been duplicated in Evanston and fans of the blues are the better off for it.

Elvin’s seen events in the blues that most of us can only dream of. From jamming with Jimi Hendrix to playing with Paul Butterfield to the lessons learned from his good friend, Little Smokey Smothers, Elvin has lived a lifetime in the blues and has earned every accolade that has come his way. Grab a copy of this DVD, put it in your DVD player and enjoy. I run the audio for mine through my stereo and it was a treat to enjoy the quality of the filming and the supporting audio as well.

A first class production all the way, That’s My Thing, will be a welcomed addition to your blues video collection. Elvin’s preferred vendor for this DVD is Delta Groove and you can order it from them on their website at

--- Kyle Deibler



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