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BLUES ACCESS Magazine

Austin-based Red has a nice ragged guitar sound and equally embracing voice that encompasses everything from Slim Harpo Scratch My Back, slide guitar Rollin & Tumblin to the Doors (has any blues artist ever done "Riders on The Storm?") with equal aplomb. (Heroic)

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BLUES REVUE Magazine

Back in the Lone Star beat, Austin's Lightning Red has a good one in Texas Thunder Blues (Heroic 103). Don't be put off by the hat 'n' Strat, as things quickly get interesting. When he isn't playing funky, Red tends to be understated and introspective; "Riders on the Storm" sounds like a sensibly bluesy cover in his hands. Rick Perrone's harp offers a solid second voice to Red's guitar.

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BLUES BEAT  Western NY Blues Society
Live Performance Review - Mohawk Place, Buffalo NY

He's what most people would consider a "natural" guitar player, with a loose, light technique that seems almost effortless. Lightning Red's fingers fairly skip over the frets as he plays tangy, twangy Texas blues and easily shifts from slide to finger picking within many songs.

There was no Antone's when he first arrived in 1975, and he remembers Stevie Ray Vaughan playing when there was no audience to listen... There was, however, another facet in his instrumentation that sounded very familiar. A little chat afterwards revealed that he was born and raised near Chicago and that Luther Allison and Buddy Guy were heavy influences on him when he was perfecting his chops. True readings were done on songs by Sonny Boy, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, and Freddie King.

No one had to tell the crowd at Mohawk Place last May 26 that this string man with the sun-weathered face and long blond mane was well beyond the ordinary -- they stayed put, unconsciously unaware of time passing...

The three piece power trio, consisting of Red on lead guitar, Jay Stevenson on bass, and Steve Johnson on drums, provided fiery instrumentals, Pride and Joy, Jimi's "Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire" plus some of Red's originals -- One Man's Heaven, Tortured Mind and East St. Louis from his CD, Red's Blues.

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Delta Snake Blues News

Lightning Red is an Austin, Texas Blues guitarist and singer who has already recorded one CD prior to this one. The first was a great, solid Blues set, but certainly didn't prepare me for what I heard on "Texas Thunder Blues."

Red has gone to a more understated approach in his music, and the result is a stunningly authentic sounding set that seems to simmer with real heat and passion. His guitar work has always been great, but the light touch combined with taut phrasing has created a sound that certainly will put him up there in the upper ranks of great players.

Red charges into the music with a raw "Big Time," then cutting it back with an incredibly intense "Five Long Years." It's a slow Blues that has a real bite to it. That's followed by a funky "Scratch My Back," and an even funkier "Black Cat Bone."

An interesting experiment that works beautifully is next, a cover of the Door's "Riders On the Storm," which leads to the hard-edged "Endless Boogie."

Red gets a tone on his guitar you wouldn't believe on "Hoochie Coochie Man," and it's one seriously good slow one that could have gone on all night and still sounded short.

A funky Blues, "Goin On," is next, followed by the screaming guitar that opens "Lost My Baby." Red gives us an acoustic slide version of "Rollin' & Tumblin'" then ends the CD with a superb cover of "Goin' Down." Which I should add is better than the Jeff Beck version.

One pleasant surprise is that although he includes rock material, such as the Door's "Riders On The Storm," and Don Nix's "Goin' Down," the results are not like those LA Rockers and Jeff Beck Group. It's more like how Albert King would have done it in the early 70's, with that mean, moody sound he developed during that decade. Add to that some incredible down-home Blues, and I think we have a CD that leaves no doubt that Red is a real bluesman.

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BLUE MONDAY

Lightning Red is a guitarist extraordinaire from Texas.

Texas Thunder Blues, is the new CD released by the Austin Texas guitar slinger Lightning Red. I can tell you first hand this CD is appropriately named. On the first track of the CD, "Big Time", Red's apparent love of slide guitar shines through as he whines his way through this rockin' Texas favorite.

Or if you are interested in hearing classic blues licks played with stunning precision and feel, turn to track 11 the Don Nix standard "Goin' Down", and E. Boyd's "Five Long Years". Not lost in the excellent guitar work and soulful singing of Red are the superb performances of the many talented musicians on this CD.

Backed up by Steve Johnson on drums, Jay Stevenson on bass and Rick Peerone on harp this is one kick-ass band! Peerone's harp on "Five Long Years"" is pure electric! Tommy Narcisco sits in on drums on the most eery version of the Door's "Rider's On The Storm" I have ever heard.
Great Stuff!

And if you want to know why they call him Lightning Red just take a listen to Red's own "Endless Boogie". I was hoping it would never end!

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Southland Blues Long Beach, California

Lightning Red is gifted. On his debut CD album, he sings all the vocals, plays all the guitars, including bass, and produces the CD of ten out of eleven of his original songs. Furthermore, he has a special feeling for the blues and sings and plays them with talent and from his heart. It's like a one-man show with the addition of a drummer. It also helps that his friendship with Luther Allison peaked his interest in blues in 1971 and that he has lived in Chicago and Austin. At the moment, he lives in Maine.

There are special, intriguing things about this CD. His deep, baritone, sometimes rugged, vocals often pleasantly contrast with his lyrical, vital guitar playing which is often several octaves higher and sometimes has a subtle counter melody. His arrange- ments add a dynamic dimension and pack their punch. His original songs are a well-written blend of blues, a boogie, a shuffle, and R&B songs which have an auth-enticity to them. Put these factors together and you have an exceptionally good CD.

Of special interest is his fine, gentle, lilting blues, "If You See Me," which is the longest track on the album.

It's a tender love song to someone he still loves. His "Austin Boogie" is another special entree. This acoustic instrumental contrasts his deep guitar playing with his delicate slide licks. His "Big City Blues" gently reminisces about the blues life in Chicago.

This CD is an exciting show by the versatile and talented Lightning Red He writes, sings, plays, and produces blues and R&B songs with his own special flair. This is an album for your collection, to be enjoyed over and over again, while you keep discovering new dimensions of the album.

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Bill Camp BLUESRAG Baltimore Blues Society

Growing up in Chicago before moving to Austin, Texas, Lightning Red soaks up the blues from the two cities on Red's Blues. A Strat-wielding rocking bluesman fronting a trio, he offers a tasty dose of Chicago shuffles and Texas-style boogie.

Red relocated to Austin in 1975 to join the proliferation of blues musicians in that region. Had it not been for simply bad luck (Stolen guitars, clubs burning or closing, etc.), he might have made his mark earlier. A move to Southern Maine has gained him a new following in the New England blues Scene.

Red's Blues was recorded in Texas, and his raw guitar sound is well captured. Clever writing and fluid leads make this a genuinely authentic blues offering. "Imagine Howlin' Wolf backed by the Fabulous Thunderbirds," is a reference by writer Scott McLennan to Red's tune "East St. Louis," an accurate description. The only cover is Willie Dixon's "Let Me Love You," and he is the object of the album's dedication..

"Austin Boogie" is the lone acoustic number, boasting great slide playing on a track that runs far too short. "One Man's Heaven" ponders opposite folks, sung over a fast shuffle. "Big City Blues" reminisces about his Chicago days, mentioning Buddy Guy, Muddy, Otis Rush and the various blues joints there.

Let Lightning strike you with Red's Blues. It is an impressive debut from this northeastern bluesman. They flock to see him up there and it is easy to see why. The next best thing is having this CD.

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TEXAS BLUES Magazine Houston, Texas

They say some of the best Blues comes from Chicago in Cook County or from Austin in Central Texas -- and Lightning Red is a living example of how the two "schools of the blues" can blend to form an energetic and gut-level sound that makes you want to boogie your backbone. Whether he's screaming out a hot jumping shuffle or laying down a smooth mellow crawl, Lightning Red has got the "Feeling." If you love the old fashioned back-alley moan or the new blast-off boogie, he's got the new tunes that might just set the standard for the new boogie blues of the `90s.

His two decades of recording and performing experience have taken Lightning Red throughout the US and Canada where he has performed in clubs and concert halls with artists such as Luther Allison (Alligator Records), Milton Hopkins (bandleader for B.B. King for 12 years) and Kenny Acosta (New Orleans recording artist).

In his early years this protege of the blues via Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters wrote and recorded "New Nation" b/w "Chicago Blues" on Chicago's Bonnie Records followed by "Walkin' In East St. Louis" on the db Record label of Detroit.

After relocating to Austin from Ann Arbor, Michigan in the `70s he began recording and performing with his new band, the Lightning Red Band in Texas and around the southern US. The `70s and `80s saw Red on the same stages as Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Willie Nelson and a host of Austin R&B greats. He's jammed on stage with Omar (Omar & the Howlers), Marcia Ball, Charlie Sexton ( the ARC Angels), Doug Sahm and many other Texas legends, and now Lightning Red wants to show you what he can do.

With the release of Red's Blues, Lightning Red is beginning to get the type of recognition that has come to so many Texas guitar slingers before him. The songs that comprise this CD/album demonstrate his mastery of the guitar and a versatility that ranges from screaming "Austin style" boogie-blues to mellow, down-in-the-alley Chicago shuffles. And when he starts to sing, you know he's not a young, inexperienced kid trying to imitate a lifetime of living with the blues, this is the real thing.

As the dynamic vocal kicks off "One Man's Heaven," the sense of anticipation soon gives way to a unique blend of blues and R&B funk that is Lightning Red's musical trademark. Haunting slide guitar forms a backdrop to the razor-sharp guitar licks that bring together influences of the best of the early days of Chicago's Jr. Wells and Buddy Guy and the blues/rock/funk guitar of Stevie Ray Vaughan's night club gigs in the mid `70s music scene.

When questioned as to the origins of this sound, Red answered, "I guess I've been exposed to a lot of different types of blues. Jammin' to Buddy Guy back in Chicago was a big influence. And we heard Stevie and Jimmy (Vaughan) before anyone else did. Austin (Texas) was a small place back then and everybody knew each other and a lot of jammin' was goin' on.

"Like An Angel" takes the listener directly to Austin. One can hear that signature heavy backslap and screaming guitar lead combined with vocal harmonies reminiscent of Willie Nelson or Asleep At The Wheel. And when the Audiences start to sing long with the chorus, Red says he knows "Like An Angel" is really going to catch on.

"East St Louis" is a show-stopper. John Lee Hooker's classic boogie beat is transformed into an electrifying pulse that forms the framework for what could become a 'classic' of the `90s. Audiences are surprised when they learn that "East St. Louis" isn't a vintage boogie that Red has resurrected. If it weren't for the modern studio recording quality and precise slide and high-charged guitar work, you'd swear the lowdown guttural moans of "East St Louis" have transported you back to that southern Illinois ghetto circa 1956.

"If You See Me" is a classic slow-drivin' Chicago blues. Red's experience performing in the back-alley blues bars of the Midwest shine through in this original number. Like his early mentors, Luther Allison and Buddy Guy, Lightning Red knows exactly how to coax the most intense emotions from his guitar. A generous helping of subtle vocal lines and guitar phrasings give way to the intense explosions of feeling in this extended outpouring of the blues.

Throughout Red's Blues a myriad of influences can be heard on these original tunes. "Austin Boogie" conjures up the image of the lone bluesman lounging on his back porch on a steamy summer afternoon with his acoustic guitar and bottleneck slide.

Dedicated to Willie Dixon, "Let Me Love You" is high energy version of the song penned by the late great composer and blues artist. Red's audiences respond instantly to the powerful rhythms and familiar phrasings of this timeless piece.

The title song, "Red's Blues" is a fast-moving Texas swing shuffle that combines the best of his lightning-fast guitar work and contemporary lyrics. "How Much?" is a 'countryfied' Rhythm and Blues at its finest. Dynamite lyrics and a memorable vocal chorus provide additional spice to the smooth flowing slide work that is patented Lightning Red. And, last but certainly not least, that unique brand of funkyness forms the framework for "Got The Power." With strong vocals and intelligent lyrics, Red's Blues culminates in grand style.

Having flirted with major success on several occasions, Red decided to get back on the track of performing with his own band in the late `80s and was subsequently encouraged to return to Austin and record a CD demonstrating his unique interpretation of this classic music. After attending performance s and hearing the original songs in between superb renditions of traditional blues and R&B numbers, his supporters decided that Red's Blues should be comprised primarily of compositions written by this prolific songwriter. Negotiations are currently underway for European release and touring, and the future looks especially bright.

Publishing rights for songs released in Europe will be through Helan Kummunikation of Sweden -- and the CD is presently receiving airplay in Europe as well as in the northeastern US and even in Russia. At Press Time, Lightning Red is proud to announce the formation of his HOT new R&B band from Texas, Lightning Red & Thunder Blues.

Folks are always telling Red, "Man, you're one hell of a guitar player!" Come see for yourself. You'll be very glad you did.

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