Personnel: Johnny Copeland (vocals, guitar); Ken Pino (guitar); Bert McGowan (tenor saxophone); Ken Vangel (keyboards); Michael Merritt (bass); Dwayne Broadnax (drums).
Recorded live at the Junteenth Festival, Houston, Texas in June 1987.
Although there are hundreds of classic studio-made blues albums in the world, there is something about raucous, up-tempo electric blues performed live that does a soul good. Johnny Copeland's Grammy-nominated AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT A PARTY is one such event. As the title suggests, fun times are afoot on this in-concert performance, and Copeland, one of Texas's finest latter-day axe-slingers, is in excellent form, throwing out clean, stinging leads left and right. Copeland is backed here by a tight, beat-hugging band (including bass, drums, keyboards, rhythm guitar, and tenor saxophone), and the group seems as excited and energized as the enthusiastic concert crowd.
Except for a soulful rendition of Big Joe Williams's "Baby Please Don't Go," the compositions are all Copeland's, and range from slow-burn, down-tempo blues ("Johnny Gone") to driving rockers ("Learned My Lessons") to shuffle-boogies ("Big Time") to straight-up party anthems (the title track). The excellent playing and high energy on this release underscore the true purpose of the blues--it's good-time music designed to cure what ails you.