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Barrelhouse Chuck
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Driftin' from Town to Town
Blues Music Magazine, Number 2
“… Blues piano master Barrelhouse Chuck (Goering) is once again accompanied by stellar musicians on his fourth release on The Sirens imprint, the small Illinois label dedicated to preserving authentic blues, gospel, and jazz piano. This time it’s a band that any genuine “Old School” blues artist would love to have in support: Wilson, harp and vocals (two tracks), Larry Taylor, bass, Richard Innes, drums, Sax Gordon, tenor and baritone saxes, and guitarists Billy Flynn and Jeremy Johnson.
Initially inspired by Otis Spann, Goering moved to Chicago in 1979 and was mentored by Sunnyland Slim and Little Brother Montgomery (among others); he was part of the Chicago blues scene when long departed legends were still to be learned from and he’s been an in-demand session player for 30 years. Any fan should know that the blues is in good hands when Barrelhouse Chuck comes to play. Except for Goering’s melancholy title track and the Goering/Wilson instrumental, “K&C Boogie,” the remaining 11 tunes come from traditional sources: Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, Booker T. & the MGs, Floyd Jones (two tunes), Robert Nighthawk, Sunnyland Slim, TV Slim (Oscar Willis), Jody Williams, and Cal Green.
I had no expectations that this album would reinvent the wheel or contain cutting edge production gloss; however, I did expect clarity, conciseness, and cohesion infused with integrity and soul, and on those points this collection scores high marks. Additionally, there are much appreciated surprises like the obscure jump blues instrumentals by Chicago guitarist Jody Williams, “Lucky Lou,” and Houston guitarist Cal Green, “The Big Push,” Berry’s country-rock calendar countdown, “Thirty Days,” and Sunnyland Slim’s stop-time shuffle about feminine wiles, “She’s Got A Thing Going On.” There’s even some Sixties-styled cheesiness with a switch to Farfisa organ on Booker’s T.’s “Time Is Tight” and the aforementioned “Lucky Lou.” Goering’s dry, laconic vocals are slightly reminiscent of Sunnyland Slim’s; as a pianist, the greats live on in his playing.”

- Thomas J.Cullen III