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
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
"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
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
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