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Linsey Alexander - Been There Done That

Delmark Records


After a lifetime of paying his dues in the small blues clubs of Chicago after moving there from his adopted town of Memphis; Holly Springs, Mississippi native Linsey Alexander finally got around to releasing this, his first CD on an established label. Prior to this he recorded a series of CDs that he produced and distributed himself. At times his vocal approach is more akin to talking than singing, but when he gets invigorated his throaty delivery sounds uncannily close to the late Son Seals and his hard-charging Chicago blues. His distorted tone on guitar also hints at Son Seals’ style at times. The CD was recorded live in the studio, except for two guitar overdubs. A sturdy group of musicians is employed, including first-call keyboard man Roosevelt Purifoy, Billy Branch lending his topnotch harmonica skills to three tracks and Linsey’s horn section The L.A. Horns. Ten of the twelve songs here are originals.

“Going Up On The Roof”, “I’m Moving” and “Saving Robert Johnson” best exemplify the Son Seals comparison, with the former’s guitar attack coming very close to Son’s style. Billy Branch gives takes us to school on Chicago blues harmonica playing in “My Mama Gave Me The Blues” along with Linsey’s fine turn on guitar and pleading vocals. Southern soul blues is nicely represented in the title track and in the late Willie Kent’s “Looks Like It’s Going to Rain”. The title tune boasts support from the horn section, including a tasty trumpet solo from Ryan Nyther. Roosevelt shows his skills with the electric piano on “Rain”. Linsey slices through the stratosphere with his distorted guitar tone solo on “I Had a Dream”. His “Big Woman” “smells like butter, but tastes like cream” as he proceeds to rattle off a litany of her “attributes”. She broke all his furniture and he had to forgo a new car and buy a bus to accommodate her dimensions. The “crossroads” myth is revisited and brought into the future as the narrator is intent on “Saving Robert Johnson”-“I want you to e-mail the devil, I want you to poke him on Facebook.” It also includes another burning Son Seals-style workout.

Minor flaws aside, this effort by an unsung “upper statesman” of the blues has much to recommend it in the way of musicianship. Some of the vocals and lyrics veer towards the mundane, but Linsey’s guitar skills light a spark. For my taste he could stretch them out a bit more at times, but what is here is finely executed. Italian axeman Breezy Rodio and “up and comer” Mike Wheeler contribute guitar support. Linsey really doesn’t need it, but it adds variety to the sound. This CD won’t make him a household name, but it reveals more and more with each repeated listening.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.


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