With a career that includes stints with blues/soul luminaries such as Ray Charles and Sam Cooke and, in his earlier years, a stage show that included mid-solo back flips and somersaults, Guitar Shorty has always been a force to be reckoned with. While the theatrics may have helped put him on the map, his guitar skills are what caught the attention of both a young Jimi Hendrix and a well seasoned Willie Dixon with Hendrix going AWOL from the army to catch his club shows and Dixon bringing a young Shorty to Chicago to record with the great Otis Rush as his backup! Shorty’s new release reveals that his guitar chops have remained inventive and hot-wired even as many of his mentors have passed on and his contemporaries have mellowed. Like Buddy Guy, Shorty spends most of his time in the higher registers with fluid, yet intense bursts of guitar adding spice to the 12 tracks collected here. With topical lyrics addressing the recession’s impact on the man on the street, "Please Mr. President" and the unfair hardships visited upon our veterans (Viet Nam vets take note: different war, same post-war crap), "Slow Burn", Shorty strikes a populist chord. He also ventures down the well worn blues highway where he’s got something for the ladies, "Temporary Man", and "Texas Women" are the best but there are plenty of others who will cheat, "True Lies", and break your heart, "Betrayed". Most of these tracks move at a solid mid-tempo pace with the rollicking "Get Off" kicking into a higher gear that wouldn’t be out of place on a Little Richard disc. Shorty’s vocals are not as adept as his guitar work but work well in the service of the hard rocking blues found on this set. As the title suggests this is an unadorned effort that packs a pretty good punch. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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