LUTHER ALLISON
Live in Chicago
Alligator Records

They only come around once a generation or so, these heroes of ours. Most had to survive poverty, strife, humiliation and suffering. Some would argue, ‘that’s what makes them great, the physics of resistance, the strength in character.’ For Luther Allison it was the passion; the blinding, self-absorbing, frets-on-fire passion that landed him squarely atop the blues pentacle in 1997. That year he WAS the king of the mountain. But then, quite suddenly cancer came knocking. Within four short weeks after Allison was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, he passed into the history books – but not quietly.

Alligator Records’ recent release of Luther Allison
Live In Chicago makes sure that the 57-year old guitarist is kept in plain view. The recording showcases a vibrant bluesman in the sheer heat of the moment, burning up what Guitar Player raved as, “A burn-down-the-house live performance.” And stating of Allison, “He shouts and screams his lyrics as if his life depends upon it, and his solos sting like a swarm of pissed off killer bees.”

Chicago was considered Allison’s hometown. Born in Widener, Arkansas in 1939 he picked up a tinge for the blues playing the didley bow. At 12 his family relocated to Chicago where Luther and Muddy Waters’ son became classmates. The blues were nipping at his heels and by 1957 Allison was on the road with his own band. Fame came fast but by the early Seventies fans of traditional blues were fading and Allison relocated to Paris where superstardom awaited. 20 years later (1994), Allison signed to Alligator records in Chicago and released Soul Fixin’ Man. He wasted no time in reclaiming his American audience with non-stop touring and three hour-plus marathon shows. Younger fans became rabid and Allison fed them with Blue Streak (1995) and the Grammy-nominated Reckless (1997).

When Allison took the stage in Chicago 150,000 screaming fans greeted the blues savior. A smile slid across Allison’s face, his finger nicked the A-string then amid the drummers flurry a searing twelve-bar roar ripped through the hot night air. Live In Chicago is not only a fitting tribute but showcases a master pulling out all the stops from a mind-bending vibrato to his trademark grinding slide. Heated passion at its finest.

Website: Alligator Records