This West Coast-based guitarist shines brilliantly on his third album for Bullseye Blues. While some of his earlier locally produced efforts have been uneven affairs, here kudos must go forth to producer and keyboard sideman Ron Levy. Levy keeps Wilson's guitar tone at sting and bite level 10 and his vocals right up front and toasty, surrounding him with a solid rhythm section and spare horn stabs. Eight of the 12 songs here are from Smokey's prolific pen, including "You Don't Drink What I Drink," and the title track, "Too Drunk To Drive," "Don't Tangle With Me," and "Black Widow," winners all. A quartet of covers (Magic Sam's "Easy Baby," Elmore James' "Something Inside Of Me" and a pair of Howlin' Wolf tunes, "Louise" and "44 Blues," with the latter featuring a guest turn from James Harman) rounds out this excellent session. Those who can't get enough of nasty, stinging lead guitar lines would do well to investigate this album.
Transplanted Mississippian Smokey Wilson has made plenty of records, but usually for poorly distributed regional labels. So although he is far from a newcomer, he might as well be a fledgling rookie to the average listener. The songs, aside from the lyrically commendable but awkward "Don't Burn Down L.A.," are primarily his own urgent expositions on love, life's unfairness, and pain. His playing blends slamming fills, chunky riffs, and sonic barrages mixed with expert uses of distortion, bent notes, and flashy chords. This is the kind of no-nonsense set that has earned Rounder/Bullseye its exemplary reputation.
Otis "Smokey" Smothers's 1962 LP Sings the Backporch Blues is a rare and coveted blues album. This CD puts it into wide circulation and then some, not only presenting all 12 of the songs from the original album (as the first dozen tunes on the disc), but adding nine alternate takes and four tracks from 1962-1963 singles. The album is perhaps overestimated due to its rarity, but it's solid Chicago blues, owing much to the sort of mid-tempo shuffle that Jimmy Reed had made so much in vogue by the early '60s.
On 13th October 1979, Leonard Cohen began his most extensive tour to date in support of his sixth studio album, 'Recent Songs', with a concert in Gothenburg, Sweden. Entitled 'The Smokey Life Tour', this 48-concert European leg of what would eventually become a world tour (ultimately encompassing too Australia, the USA, and in November 1980, Israel) progressed through Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, England and Ireland. This concert, from Bonn's prestigious 2,000 capacity Beethovenhalle, was recorded towards the end of the European extravaganza on 3rd December, and, as is evident, the cast were performing superbly by this juncture.