Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jimmy Reed - Plays 12 String Guitar Bluesdotdotdot
artworkInspired by the overnight success of Eric Darling's 12 string on the Rooftop Singers' hit "Walk Right In," this album refashions Jimmy Reed's classic blues hits and a few new tunes into ultra smooth rolling rhythms accompanied by his sticky sweet harmonica and funky guitar. In my youth, my brother had this album, and I used to "borrow" it just to hear Jimmy play. After hearing Jimmy Reed on KDIA and KSAN, I had obtained some of the singles, "Big Boss Man," "Baby What You Want Me To Do," "Take Out Some Insurance," and "Bright Light, Big City." About a decade ago, I tracked down a clean stereo copy of this album, but now that it's on CD from the masters, well, I'm just way too happy. There's no surf here, but you broad minded instro fans may well find this rewarding.
Picks: Bright Lights, Big City, St. Louis Blues, Blue Carnegie, New Chicago Blues, Big Boss Man, Hush Hush, Blues For Twelve Strings, Baby What You Want Me To Do, Boogie In The Dark, Take Out Some Insurance, Aw, Shucks, Close Together

Track by Track Review

Bright Lights, Big City dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

Jimmy Reed's classic progression behind a subtle acoustic 12 string lead where once his vocal slid. Easy rolling blues for an afternoon trip uptown.

St. Louis Blues dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

This is a very nicely played rendition of W. C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues," with a single note 12 string lead. Easy, smooth, and gentle.

Blue Carnegie dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

Jimmy's sweet and squeaky harmonica plays out atop his 12 string... this is one easy track, with its rolling rhythm and smooth guitar.

New Chicago Blues dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

"New Chicago Blues" sports a really nice melody line over Jimmy's classic progression. The 12 string has a slightly metallic sound as he uses it here, giving it a folky edge. Quite nice.

Big Boss Man dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

Here are classic Jimmy Reed riffs, tempo, and feeling. The 12 string is very soft in the mix, relegating it more to a part of the rhythm track than a lead exactly, and undermining the potential power.

Hush Hush dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

A very soft 12 string lead gently focuses this pristine performance. Mostly rhythm dominated, it none the less has a friendly appeal.

Blues For Twelve Strings dotdotdotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

This track is splendid. "Blues For Twelve Strings" sports a mighty fine Jimmy Reed rhythm track and an infectious and sparkling lead 12 string. The rhythm track is slightly reminiscent of the Champs' "Tequila." This is my fave of the set, bar none.

Baby What You Want Me To Do dotdotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

This exceptional Jimmy Reed blues number is a little less plaintiff in instrumental form, but no less listenable. The 12 string lead states his case with eloquence and charm.

Boogie In The Dark dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

"Boogie In The Dark" seems less frivolous in this format, and the take is pretty sparse. Perhaps I'll pass on this one.

Take Out Some Insurance dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

Gentle blues, no frills rolling slow boogie, and that familiar Reed progression. The 12 string is soft, but appropriate for the tune. What I miss on this track is Jimmy's plaintiff cry to "take out some IN-show-wince."

Aw, Shucks dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

This tune always seemed like a summary of his style, maybe even a reduction of his hits into a definitive Jimmy Reed soup. Instrumentally, this is a little less depressed, but it carries the basic feeling.

Close Together dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

I'm not really sure why, but this reminds me slightly of Paul Johnson's blues compositions... not in the writing exactly, more in the phrasing. It's not that joyful blues Paul goes for, but more a rhythmic resignation to reality.