Personnel: Elvin Bishop (vocals, guitar); Elvin Bishop; Roy Rogers , Ian Lamson (guitar); Henry Butler (piano); Sam Page, Steve Evans , Jerome Hammond (bass instrument); Larry Vann (drums, background vocals); Bobby Cochran (vocals, drums, background vocals); Norton Buffalo (harmonica, washboard); Steve Willis (accordion, piano, background vocals); Terry Hanck, Carl Green (tenor saxophone); John Middleton (trumpet); Ed Earley (trombone, percussion, background vocals); Steve Lucky (piano).
Recording information: Hog Heaven Studio.
Photographer: Steve Jennings.
Gettin' My Groove Back, the first new studio album from Elvin Bishop in five years, and the first since his daughter Selina was murdered in 2000, is an understandingly split affair, part catharsis as he deals with his tragic loss, and part the kind of rocking party record that has been Bishop's trademark in the past. Needless to say, the two parts don't necessarily fit together that well, and while Bishop's stinging guitar playing bridges the gap somewhat, it is the ragged, angry lead track, "What the Hell Is Going On," and the harrowing "Come on Blues," which features Bishop solo with just an electric guitar, that linger in the mind when this set concludes, making tracks like "Party Til the Cows Come Home" seem criminally frivolous. That said, the goofy, washboard-driven "He's a Dog" is a hillbilly delight, while an instrumental version of Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams" features some absolutely wonderful and emotionally powerful slide guitar work from Bishop, who obviously understands that the blues is, among other things, a kind of therapy. There was probably no way for Bishop to avoid the kind of emotional split apparent in this set, and while party songs about when the cows come home have their place, particularly as part of a live show, a track like "What the Hell Is Going On" asks the exact right question and ought to be all over the radio. That it isn't -- and won't be --is an indictment of the times. It's a great song, and since it leads off this album, it casts a giant shadow over everything that follows it. Everyone -- not just Bishop -- desperately needs the answer to the question it asks. ~ Steve Leggett