2010-03-03As one of nearly 30 children fathered by legendary slide guitarist, Elmore James, Earnest Johnson got to spend time with first generation blues masters such as Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon, Walter Horton and even Robert Johnson. Capitalizing on his linage and education in the roots of the blues, Johnson has made a career of touring as Elmore James, Jr. Of course having the right name doesn’t mean a thing without the chops to back it up. This disc reveals he was an adept student of the barb-wire taut licks that were his father’s stock in trade. While he plays with more restraint than his father, he certainly knows how to charge hard when the song demands it. Joined here by a hard charging band with keys and a saxophone to spice up the guitar oriented mix, Johnson gives a 13 song lesson in traditional electric Chicago blues. The only downside is that he includes a number of his father’s hits such as "Dust My Broom", "The Sky is Crying" and "Mean Mistreater", that have been covered so often that even his blood connection to the tunes can’t shake off the weariness of hearing them yet another time. Apart from that, his originals have a spark to them that keeps them interesting even though the musical path they follow is pretty well worn. Smitty
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