My Future Is My Past
The New Orleans soul and blues man is in devastatingly fine form here without his regular band, opening with a slug from (presumably) a whisky tumbler and then just his own voice and acoustic guitar. Next up he’s joined by the great Irma Thomas and it’s almost worth the price of admission (can we say that these days and mean it, when it comes to music consumption?) for their duet on Even Now.
Walter Washington manages shades of Dinah Washington on his version of a What a Diff’rence A Day Makes and his creamy, mellifluous guitar lines flood through Save Your Love For Me and I Don’t Want To Be A Lone Ranger; the latter sounding like something Roy Phillips might tackle at the keys these days.
The spirit of Washington’s mentor, Johnny Adams, is along for the ride for the majority of this – quite easily Washington’s finest record.
The recording exudes a happiness, healthiness and ease – and if that’s not quite ‘blues’ enough for you it’s still a comfortable and correct fit, given the way the Wolfman sits deep inside the blues but arms himself, always, with a jazziness and soulfulness – his B.B. King-licks piercing the sides of a Nat King Cole-like romp through Steal Away.
It’s just utterly joyous to hear this record, every time. On high rotation here presently – one of the finest collections I’ve heard in a while. There are piano-led down-in-the-dumps, last-drink ballads like I Cried My Last Tear where you’ll get all of the Ray Charles evocation you might want and expect, there’s some subtly, slinky, brushed-blues jazz backing on I Just Dropped By To Say Hello and the closer, Are You The Lady, is another “price of admission” piece; all lovely, late-night reverie – shades of what John Martyn was hoping for when he’d go deep into his soul, but instead of that type of darkness here there’s only warmth.
This is a gem of a record. Check it out a.s.a.f.p.
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