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Blind Bee Records

Angelwing Records

Tortured MIND - Blind Bee/MUSEA Records

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CD Review
by Dave "Doc" Piltz

Lightning Red is an original traveling man having grown up in Chicago before becoming a resident of Austin, Texas, the home of Texas blues in the mid-1970's. Red has even spent time as a resident of the far Northeastern State of Maine while continuing his musical assault in the Texas blues rock genre. It is clear that Red's attack on Texas blues has continued with the release of his third CD, Tortured Mind. As was the case with his previous recordings, Red's Blues and Texas Thunder Blues, Red demonstrates his passionate guitar and creative song writing with ten original compositions. Happily, not even his relocation to the far Northeastern U. S. dulled the Texas feel and emotion in his sound.

On Tortured Mind, Lightning Red receives strong support from his backing band, Thunder Blues, including bassist Terry Robbins, drummer Coy "Boy" Fuller and Gray Gregson on keyboards. Robbins and Fuller also helped co-write several of the original songs on the CD. Tortured Mind also presents the efforts of three guest guitarists offered on six of the ten tracks. The "guests" are notably led by noted Austin, Texas guitar slinger, W.C. Clark along with John Ussery and Jeff "El Jefe" Anderson.

From the opener, "Dynamite" to the finale, "Back to Texas," Red and his band put your head smack in the middle of Austin, Texas and keeps you there for the duration with Red's scintillating guitar riffs backed by the strong rhythms of Thunder Blues. Particularly enjoyable is "Hard To Have The Blues," where Red trades solos with W.C. Clark and John Ussery, an event that is repeated later on "Houston Blues." "Should Listened" appears to be a bit of autobiographical writing by Red as he laments all of those people that he should have listened to if he didn't want to rely on the blues to make his living (although he seems happy enough that he didn't listen).

Two of the best songs on Tortured Mind are "Bitta Man" and "South Austin Shuffle." "Bitta Man" has a hypnotic beat with some exceptional slide guitar by Red, while "South Austin Shuffle" conjures up images of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan as Red trades leads with Jeff "El Jefe" Anderson.

Needless to say, if you love burning hot guitar and Texas style blues, Tortured Mind is one CD to add to your acquisitions list. Come out of the cold and grab some Texas heat from Lightning Red & Thunder Blues. To pick up a copy of Tortured Mind and to find out more about this fine Texas guitarist, visit Red's website at www.lightningred.com.

- copyright Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved.

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Soutwest Blues Magazine, Dallas Texas

All ten songs are originals and you will enjoy them. The organ and guitar are explosive on "Dynamite". The song's characteristic is a groove that you can't resist and mighty fine slide from the Red man. His tone changes to big, fat and jazzy on "Hard To Have The Blues". There are excellent vocal harmonies on this mid-tempo shuffle. The title track has a radio friendly arrangement and features a driving, rhythm guitar.

A couple of impressive instrumentals showcase Lightning's sizzling fretboard. "Thunder and Lightning" is a short, rockin' boogie in the vein of SRV's "Rude Mood". Jimi Hendrix meets SRV on the instrumental power shuffle "South Austin Shuffle". Your ride also includes a 180-degree turn to the west with "Shoulda Listened".

On this thunderstorm CD, Lightning Red breathes Texas on every note. He didn't need to mention two Texas cities and the state in his song titles for listeners to know where this band is from. However, lyrics like: "You know I been east and you know I been west but I gotta tell ya Texas is the best" allow Red to pledge his allegiance to the great state and it's music.

Coy "Boy" Fuller played drums and Terry Robbins played bass and handled the vocals. In addition to the core band, Gray Gregson plays keys and produced the project. I also learned that the disc contains impressive guests: W.C. Clark, John Ussery and Jeff 'El jefe' Anderson. It's a real down to earth disc with songs about life as performed by a cast of real people.

- Tim Holek Southwest Blues Magazine


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