Not great, not bad, just different
Alex | Colorado | 08/31/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This second Alligator album by harpist Sugar Blue has been subject to a substantial amount of critical drubbing. Foremost among to complaints are purists' remarks that it is anything but blues. I both agree and disagree with that statement. By no means is this your father's blues and there are a number of songs which require more imagination than I have to call blues. However there are songs that make the cut, even if they are a bit different.There are several styles represented here. Sugar performs three tunes ("Gucci Gucci Man," "She" and "Whirlwind") which are best discribed as blue-rock, with sounds that seem to harken back to Sugar's days with the Stones. These may not be straight blues but they have pretty catchy riffs. "Gucci Gucci Man" is definatly one of the disc's highlights, sporting arguably the best harp work on the disc and an energy level which is never reclaimed until the final track. "Bottom Line" has a nice jazzy tune to it, with fine harp work. Two more tunes, "In Your Eyes" and "Listen Baby," are haunting midnight melodies with their roots in the blues and are fairly good, though the latter could do without the backup singers. "Bluepine" is a fine piano and harp duet with Pinetop Perkins and is bluesey enough to quiet most complaints. "Lip Service and Lies" adds a bit of Latin to the mix. I kind of like this track, though I do admit, it was something of an acquired taste for me. It's far enough removed from traditional blues that it probably won't float well with everyone. Still, getting past the non-traditional approach, it has some merit, even if it isn't the best song on the CD.The major falling point of this album is the track "Love's Sweet Secerets." This is irredemably tacky with hopeless horn arragenments and cheesy back up singing. Fortunatly, the album is redeemed by a simply astounding version of Dixion's "Little Red Rooster." Sugar's outstanding arrangement of the classic tune may have even the most driven purist keeping this album in their collection, if only to listent to this track.The harp work here is worth hearing. Blue has gained in versitility since Blue Blazes, playing much more varied harmonica. His melody lines are very cool and his solos are on the money. Particularly interesting is the point in "Lip Service and Lies" where Blue plays something which I believe to be either a low F, a bass harp, or a polyphonia ( If you don't know, don't ask. I may be among the few people actually trying to use a "poly" anymore).Overall I have to rate this somewhere in the middle. I don't find it as terrible as some do (though the track classified as tacky really is bad enough to make you want to pitch this away). However, I can't call it the greatest blues album ever, either. Blue Blazes remains the better Sugar Blue disc. If you are curious or have really broad tastes, however, you may find something to like here. I didn't like all of it, but there are definatly some fine tracks here. Probably my best advice is to try it before you buy it."
Original authentic talent of legendary proportion
Alex | 08/24/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i encountered Sugar Blue while listening to Hiram Bullock"s ,World of Collision CD,playing on the Mustang Sally tune,at first I was'nt sure what I listening to,a guitar or what! I had never heard a harp sound like that before,and do'nt expect to again.This fellow knocks me off my feet! Every bit as Seren as The Great One (jimi) ."