Blue Shadows

CD Cover Lowell Fulson
Stony Plain

Review by Gary 'pigboy' Swartz

45-second excerpt from "Oh! Well Oh! Well" (various formats)

This is a nice little album, certainly better than one would expect when an itinerant, but established, bluesman is teamed up with a local blues band, in this case Vancouver's Powder Blues. Recorded in 1981 (the tapes disappeared until just recently?!?), this is blues pure and simple, with the focus clearly on Fulson, and is a showcase for the various facets of his talent.

Not quite a classic blues shouter, the vocals flow/rumble/growl from somewhere deep within and find their complement in the backing horns. Unlike so many others, the man is in no hurry to get where he's going, quite refreshing for a change, and might be a good source of basic blues chops for any would be Claptons out there.

The real treat is Fulson's songwriting. The man penned a number of the classics 'covered' here: "Oh! Well Oh! Well", best associated with Big Joe Turner, "Reconsider Baby," made famous by T-Bone Walker, as well as his own 1951 hit, and the album's title track, "Blue Shadows." He reciprocates, too, with covers of Walker's "Mean Old World" and Turner's "Stoop Down," the latter guaranteed to get your feet taping and your heart pumping.

For blues aficionado, a bonus to this offering is a 17-minute interview with Fulson in which he discusses his career, his music, his songwriting and his contemporaries, and helps put things into a historical context. When you consider the 70-or-so minutes available on a CD, providing this kind of extra material is something other "roots" labels should replicate.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on October 24, 1997

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