Lightning Red - The Groovemaster
12 songs; Time 49:37; Fine
Style: Texas Blues; Folk; R&B
Lightning Red is an Austin, Texas Blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter who has recorded five CDs prior to this one. His professional name comes from his long, sun-blond-red hair and from his high school days when he tried to play guitar faster than anybody else (“lightning fast”). The Texas guitar hero is an artist who exudes blues with a sun-weathered face, a nice ragged guitar sound, and a gritty and convincing voice.
The album has all original songs with an energetic, stripped down and gut-level sound combining low-down funky shuffles with rocking boogies and “funk-driven, modern power-jazz instrumentals.” Studio guest artists include L.Z. Love with gospel influenced soulful vocals and Austin’s own Jimi Lee on blues harp. Red handles all guitars and lead vocals while Austin Krecz drums and Chuck Krecz tickles the keyboards.
I particularly enjoyed “The Shake,” an instrumental where the band affects an infectious groove, “Cavern Crawl,” another instrumental, “Do the Revolution” with its catchy slide guitar hook intro and throughout, “No Matter What” where Jimi Lee’s shines on harmonica, and “Change Is Gonna Come” with Red’s slide and vocals with L.Z. Love.
Born Wayne Bak near Chicago and
“educated” by the music of Luther Allison and Buddy Guy, Red
relocated to Texas mid 1970s. According to his bio, “as a three year
old, he'd sit directly in front of the saxophone sections of Count
Basie, Jimmy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and all the other Big Bands
playing the military base circuit that weaved through Fort Leonard
“In 1976, Austin became his home and touring base. While performing at the Armadillo World Headquarters during the latter 70s, Omar and the Howlers, W.C. Clark and "little" Charlie Sexton were brought onstage and introduced their music to the community. Red soaked up the music of The Fabulous Thunderbirds (Jimmie Vaughan, Kim Wilson) at Antone's and met a struggling "Little" Stevie Ray Vaughan.”
He has toured Scandinavia and Great Britain repeatedly, with two consecutive appearances at The Great R&B Festival in Colne, England, and he was interviewed on Radio New Zealand [national broadcast]. This and a number of other Australian interviews featured cuts from his highly acclaimed CD release “Tortured Mind.”
His most recent concerts have been in an acoustic duo format with singer extraordinaire LZ Love, as well as Texas performances with Red’s hot electric band to support this new CD.
EDITORS NOTE: Lightning Red also appearing at the Eureka Springs Blues Festival in Eureka Springs, Arkansas on May 29th-31st.
Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL