RIP LEE PRYOR
NOBODY BUT ME
Shake Your Boogie, Nobody But Me, You Gotta Move, Wake Up Baby, Lonesome, Crazy Bout You Baby, Keep Our Business To Yourself, Heard The News, Stuck On Stupid, I Got My Eyes On You, Pitch A Boogie Woogie, One Way Out
Being the son of Chicago blues harmonica legend, Snooky Pryor, it’s no surprise that Rip blows a mean gob iron himself. Not that he ever had a music lesson from his father and the title of this album is as he means it - a proud statement that even though he is naturally influenced by his father, this album is very much his own work.
Aside from sharing the harmonica, some songs and a record label with his father, his approach is more pared down than Snooky's ever was. On most of these 12 songs, it is just Rip, his harp and guitar accompaniment, leaving him no room to hide. Thankfully, he doesn't need to, as he exudes the confidence of an experienced musician in command of his talents and material. His guitar offers an unfussy and steady rhythm, allowing his expressive harmonica playing to fill in around his assured vocals.
As well as his father, the most obvious influence is Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) and some of the many highlights herein come from the stripped down versions of some of Sonny Boy's best numbers. Take a listen to the closing One Way Out and try to figure out how he can supply the bouncy rhythm of the song with such a minimalist approach to guitar accompaniment. I'm not sure if I'm more impressed that he achieves this level of minimalism or just that he has the confidence to try!
On the band numbers, the inclusion of bass and drums adds some variety and heft, the opener Shake Your Boogie being a particular delight, setting a high benchmark for the album that is maintained throughout.
While this album might not be sign-posting any new direction for the blues, if it is a traditional blues album you want, you could do a lot worse than this.
Review Date: April 2014