Thursday, November 10, 2022

Album Review: Little Freddie King - Blues Medicine

Little Freddie King
Blues Medicine
**** out of *****

With the title of one of the best blues albums of 2022, Little Freddie King and his group of players prescribe Blues Medicine, and it couldn't go down smoother. The New Orleans legend worked with co-producer and longtime drummer/manager “Wacko” Wade Wright to serve up late night, medicated sounds that stand up with the best in the genre.   

King is 82 years old and has been playing the blues his whole life; it shows. On opener "Crazy Woman" the instrumentation is pristine as pianos twinkle, harmonicas blow and King sounds exhausted singing about another woman who has left him. This is a voice that has been through it all, like a well worn troubadour, in the vein of modern day Willie Nelson. The band strips it down for some acoustic resonator guitar strums on "Father-Less" which gets the blues legend emotional while the organ work on the cover of Johnny and Walter Bailes "Dust on the Bible" is wonderful as the players sound as if they can roll on forever in this style. 

The crack backing band features Wright on drums, Bobby Lewis DiTullio on harmonica, bassist Robert Snow Sr., slide guitarist Vasti Jackson, organist Ricky Stelma and sax player Dominick Grillo. The warm enveloping sounds are luxurious as the slinky, funky drums and riffs propel "We Are Through" while the killer instrumental "Coke No Ice" finds everyone locked in a smoky groove, with great guitar work and smooth sax.        

Less successful is the buzzy cover of Jimmy Reed's "Caress Me Baby" however King and company are in their element throughout with the slow, easy rolling blues of originals like "Canal Street Corner Bar" and "Two Timer". DiTullio's harmonica shines bright on the upbeat "Don't Worry About Me" before the album closes with another super cool instrumental "Two Wheel Cadillac". 

The album cover shows Little Freddie King in his natural habitat, outside BJ's Lounge in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, smiling and ready to roll. King is a blues legend and playing with his longtime backing band, the resulting Blues Medicine is a mix of raw/smooth, soulful/vengeful blues which finds the old master on top of his game. 
Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below.    

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