Rolling Stone - 11/25/99, p.1023.5 stars out of 5
- "...makes evident that he added a dollop of soul [to the blues]....The songs had a workmanlike sturdiness. But the unhinged performances...left blood on the floor."
Dirty Linen - 2-3/00, p.72
"...Allison charges out of the gate, unleashing sheets of shredding guitar pyrotechnics. There's gospel ferocity in his singing, but the music's full-bore and unrelenting..."'
Personnel includes: Luther Allison, Otis Rush (vocals, guitar); James Solberg, Eddie C. Campbell, John Kattke (guitar); Bobby Neely (tenor saxophone); Willie Henderson (baritone saxophone); Ken Anderson (trumpet); Mike Vlahakis, Dave Rice (keyboards); Ken Faltinson, Leonard Gill (bass); Robb Stupka, J. Mattes, Willie Hayes, Ray Stewart (drums).
Memphis Horns: Andrew Love (tenor saxophone); Wayne Jackson (trumpet).
Engineers: Timothy Powell, Mark Schwartz, Phil Hammer.
Recorded live at the Chicago Blues Festival and Buddy Guy's Legends, Chicago, Illinois in 1995 and Zoo Bar, Lincoln, Nebraska in 1997. Include liner notes by Alan Paul.
LIVE IN CHICAGO was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
Includes 1 bonus track.
Life can be unjust, such as in the case of blues legend Luther Allison, who found the upward trajectory of his career in the States derailed by a fatal bout with cancer three years after returning from two decades of self-imposed exile in Europe. The 2-CD LIVE IN CHICAGO captures the man's brilliance in cuts taken from concerts recorded at 1995's Chicago Blues Festival and Buddy Guy's Legends, as well as four tracks from Nebraska's Zoo Bar recorded four months before his death.
Like Willie Dixon before him, the Arkansas native was a prolific songwriter whose topics touched on everyday maladies including discrimination ("Will It Ever Change"), inner-city decay ("Move From the Hood"), and the evils of alcoholism ("Cherry Red Wine"). Allison's slashing and aggressive playing allows him to easily move from trading licks with blues legends Otis Rush and Eddie C. Kirkland on a medley of "Gambler's Blues"/"Sweet Little Angel" to expertly wielding a slide to tear up Hound Dog Taylor's hilarious "Give Me Back My Wig." Allison was not only a great blues guitarist, but an effective singer as well. Here, his gravelly vocals give him an emotive presence that makes a slow-burn like "You're Gonna Make Me Cry" simmer.