Review: Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials – Jump Start

Posted on: Friday, Jun 15, 2012

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Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials – Jump Start
(Alligator Records: ALCD 4949)

Chicago-based singer/guitarist Lil’ Ed Williams epitomises the houserockin’ style that lies at the heart of Alligator Records. The Blues Imperials comprise Michael Garrett on guitar, James “Pookie” Young on bass guitar and Kelly Littleton on drums. The CD also features Marty Sammon on organ and piano. Thirteen of the fourteen tracks have been written by Lil’ Ed (eight in collaboration with his wife, Pam, and three with Harrison Sumner).

The album opens with a couple of upbeat rockers, “If You Were Mine” and the mildly whimsical “Musical Mechanical Electrical Man”, followed by the medium-paced shuffle, “Kick Me To The Curb”. In the wake of the splendidly executed slow blues, “You Burnt Me”, “House of Cards” resumes the earlier pace before variety is added by the Latin-rhythmed “Born Loser”. “Jump Right In” drives along, significantly embellished by the first of two fine guitar solos from Michael Garrett.

The slow and philosophical “Life Is A Journey” gives way to the slightly jazzy “World of Love” while “Weatherman” is a funky rocker that features Michael Garrett’s second guitar solo. There is a terrific rendition of the only cover on the album, “If You Change Your Mind”, written by Ed’s uncle and mentor JB Hutto, while the fast-moving “No Fast Food” provides another welcome touch of humour.

Finally, the slow blues, “My Chains Are Gone”, suggests shades of “St James Infirmary Blues” before the extravagantly-titled shuffle, “Moratorium On Hate” brings the party to a close. The album is a typical Lil’ Ed compilation, which exudes boundless energy and an infectious sense of fun. Ed’s excellent vocals are expertly backed by top class musicianship from The Blues Imperials and his own slashing slide guitar to deliver a very enjoyable offering.

Lionel Ross

Alligator Records

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