By David Whiteis
Living blues 2006
This is the second in a series of reissues culled from Chicago-based pianist
Barrelhouse Chuck's recorded legacy. As before, several of the outings
feature Chuck's band mates as prominently as they showcase him. Billy Flynn
spins off as agreeable raucous invocation of Hound dog Taylor (though minus
Taylor's edge of anarchy abandon) On Walking The Ceiling. The Boogie " On
The House" showcases guitarist Hash Brown in a stripped down T-Bone mold.
Flynn again takes over fret board on Earl Hooker's " Wah-Wah- Blues part 1 as
Chuck vamps behind him on a delightfully sounding organ. Especially savory
are the tracks on which fabled S. P. Leary makes an appearance on drums-
along with his deft propulsiveness on the aforementioned On The House, he
rumbas up a storm on KingPin and lays an exquisite Chicago backbeat behind
harpist Todd Lavine on the Big Walter- style workout Hanging "Round The
The heart and soul of the disc. though, is Chuck's own performances.
Tributes to his beloved mentors ( Blues For Little Brother Montgomery,
Salute To Sunnyland Slim, Blues For Pinetop Perkins, B3 bogie for Stevie
Winwood) evoke both the musical genius and the wise humanity of those men;
Past Life Blues. A variation on the Forty-Four theme with strong Wolfian
overtones, find Chuck's enthusiastic treble splays and flurries interweaving
effortlessly with Flynn's grunge- flecked chords and leads.
Unlike too many blues artists who remain rooted in earlier styles,
Barrelhouse Chuck approaches those styles with the enthusiasm and commitment
of a man with something new and important to say, rather than a museum
guide. That spirit of immediacy permeates this disc and helps elevate it
several steps above the usual purist " revivalist fare.
Return to more Press