Review: Louisiana Red – Worthenbury – 25 April 2009
Posted on: Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009
LOUISIANA RED & MICHAEL MESSER
‘Going Up The Country’ at Worthenbury Village Hall: 25.04.09
A chance to see one of the older statesmen of the blues is not be missed, especially when the gig is fairly local, so well done to Pete Evans for bringing the legendary Louisiana Red to a sold-out Worthenbury Village Hall, in the company of ace British slide player, Michael Messer – a visitor last year in his own right.
Louisiana Red is one of those colourful old bluesmen whose life almost echoes the history of the blues – born Iverson Minter in Bessemer, Alabama in 1932, losing both parents very early in his life and being brought up by various relatives, recording his first records before a stint in the army, before hitting the road in earnest – indeed, he has around 50 albums to his name now!
He battled manfully with his voice at this gig as he was getting over laryngitis, and it’s probably fair to say that his guitar fingerpicking has probably diminished with his advancing years, but coaxed along by Michael Messer’s sympathetic accompaniment he delivered two sets that featured classic blues and many of his own songs.
His recording career has seen many autobiographical songs, he started the evening with probably the most famous, “Red’s Dream”, and later did “Ride On Red” – a song the late, great Rory Gallagher recorded – and the self-explanatory “Story Of Louisiana Red”.
The first set actually opened with Michael Messer solo on the blues chestnut “Rolling And Tumbling”, showing off his fine slide guitar work, before being joined by Louisiana Red. Other highlights were some classic covers – Robert Petway’s “Catfish Blues”; Mississippi Fred McDowell’s very well know “You Got To Move” – with Red recalling Mick Taylor’s slide playing on the Rolling Stone version; and the legendary Robert Johnson’s “Last Fair Deal Gone Down”.
Louisiana Red seemed to be determining what to play next on the spot, so it was credit to the skills of Michael Messer as he dropped in behind Red’s guitar work, quite often with some excellent slide work, coupled with some humorous exchanges about various type of bottleneck’s.
Second set standouts were the opening Muddy Waters tune, “I’m A King Bee”, a nice “I Wonder Who” – another song Rory Gallagher featured; and a nice version of “Stella”. Where Red’s fingerpicking struggled somewhat, he played some tasty slide and seemed to be quite touched by the audience’s response!
Pictures from Ian Williams. For more, check out the bluesinthenorthwest.com photo archive.