Music » CD Reviews

Eddy Clearwater

Reservation Blues (Bullseye)


Blues singer-guitarist Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater has weighed in with another superb record. Clearwater's eclectic style has always gotten him work, but has usually hampered him when it came time to hit the studio. On Reservation Blues, however, Clearwater has successfully blended all his influences to come up with his best record in years. Rather than sounding jumbled, the mix of hard blues, blues-rock, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, New Orleans blues, country blues, and the "West Side Sound" of Chicago don't trip over each other. With only a couple of exceptions (Clearwater does nothing to reinvigorate Dale Hawkins's "Susie Q"), the choice of material is excellent. Duke Robillard, both as co-producer and second guitarist, adds guts to hard-driving pieces such as "Winds of Change" and "Walls of Hate," and Clearwater's cousin, Carey Bell, blows harmonica for all he's worth on "Find Yourself."

But it's on the slow stuff that Clearwater himself shines, despite his deserved reputation as a party animal in live performances. The autobiographical title cut demands the listener's attention, and "Running Along," co-written by Clearwater and his manager/wife Renee Greenman, should be a delight for anyone introduced to the blues in the '60s via rock acts such as Cream or Led Zeppelin.

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