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The Many Facets of Blues

on October 2, 1971 No comments
by Michael Cuscuna

PHILADELPHIA, PA, — At Philadelphia’s Civic Center recently, an outstanding line-up of blues artists played a benefit for Catholic Charities to a crowd of about 7,000 hard core fans.

Super Blues Jam with Allman Brothers Band – Buddy Guy – Luther Allison – Mississippi Fred McDowell – Bonnie Raitt – Philadelphia Civic Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA – August 16, 1971

The show opened with Arhoolie recording artist Mississippi Fred McDowell, an authentic master of the bottleneck guitar. Fred’s playing an electric guitar now and singing better than ever. He performed several tunes from his Capitol album “I Do Not Play No Rock and Roll,” a success disc which has helped him gain a wider audience. But he realy reached the crowd with “My Babe,” a common rhythm and blues number done in a most uncommon way.

Next came Warner Brothers artist Bonnie Raitt and her bassist Freebo. Bonnie sings with a clear, powerful voice and plays a strong, articulate acoustic guitar. She is well versed in all areas of the blues, an outstanding interpretive performer. Aside from many old blues numbers, her repertoire includes the old Lenny Welch hit, “Since I Fell for You,” and “Set You Free This Time,” which Gene Clark wrote when he was with the Byrds.
If this was strictly an Allman Brothers audience, Bonnie and Fred won a great many new friends that night.

Next came Atlantic’s Buddy Guy with his full electric band, serving up an electric collection of blues, rock, jazz and soul. The band sounded tight. Buddy got the crowd going with some soulful singing and flashy but bluesy guitar work.

Allison Surprise

Luther Allison, who is thus far represented by only one album on Delmark, was the real surprise of the evening. His band was strong and together. But the main attraction was Luther’s amazing voice and his fantastic guitar work. He could have wailed all night, playing many of the great Chicago blues classics. A good portion of the audience gave him a standing ovation.

But the concert had been rocking for more than four hours, and it was time for the Allman Brothers. In full force, the Allmans and their group offered the most tasteful and musically creative fusion of rock blues ever heard. They stretched on every song, covering their most familiar material from “Whipping Post” to “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” The Allmans’ live Atlantic album is representative.

Several thousand people left that night with the satisfaction of having heard a most diversified yet unified concert that illustrated the many facets of the blues. Well done.

Source: © Copyright Record World Magazine
Record World magazine October 2, 1971

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