Paul Rayson | 07/05/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The official Controversial Negro used to be available only in Japan. It was out in 1997 and recorded the year before in Tuscan, Arizona, although the nine songs at the end of this reissue are from 1994. Promo versions had a cool Mick Jagger cover, but they had to replace that when Mick Jagger said so. They replaced him with an ape. The cover of the reissue, which preserves the Japan design, is still pretty cool.
A record of the Blues Explosion in concert is vital. The outtakes and alternate versions of songs, say, on Mo' Width or the Now I Got Worry reissue testify that the band are in an ongoing conversation with rock & roll. A conventional studio album catches only part of the conversation. Collaborations such as those with R.L. Burnside get another side of it, of course. A live version of a song, though, expands more on what they're talking about, and sometimes it's dirtier.
The "hits" are in the set ("Afro", "Bellbottoms", "Flavor"). The show-stopper "Blues X Man" is in the set. The liner notes are, as with those for the Dirty Shirt Rock 'N' Roll compilation and Now I Got Worry reissue, filled with insight and diverse detail (hardware info: they used vintage Music Mann and Sunn amplifiers!). The theremin is in full effect. Enjoy the show."