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EDDIE TURNER
Rise (Northern Blues)
Review by Brian Augustine

Eddie Turner from the outset of this disc shows he has a unique vision of the blues that's hard to categorize. I'm thinking of a plethora of 60's R&B artists, the Impressions, Major Lance, that whole early 60's R&B scene. Of course Jimi Hendrix factors in, then he does some jazzy chord changes and makes me flash on Bill Withers and Bobby Womack. This all might be natural like the best of them, a factor of culture and experience. Eddie is of Afro-Cuban descent, migrating to Chicago as a youth. Then as a rebellious young man he joined a number of rock bands out of Colorado. This was mainly with Tommy Bolin fronted bands. This of course gave Eddie a grounding in Psychedelia. The sudden death of a close friend saw him dropped temporarily out of music. Eddie re-entered the music scene with another Denver music scene denizen Otis Taylor, who's raw and Holy Roller gospelish approach to Blues was a revelation to him and influence we see incorporated on this his debut solo disc.
The CD opens with martial drumming that gives way to a funky guitar line and echoy vocals and ultimately a duet with Anna Givens in this gospel number and title cut 'Rise'. Eddie in fact had a hand in writing nine of the twelve songs on this recording. Many of these originals have a distinct religious feel to them, like the title cut and 'Sin'. This minimalist tendency is contrasted neatly with his ethereal cover of Jimi Hendrix's 'The Wind Cries Mary' and the Ten Years After 'Resurrection', which combines his spiritual and progressive rock tendencies.
This is not to say that traditional style blues don't get their share of time here, Johnny 'Guitar' Watson's classic 'Gangster Of Love', and the Freddie King number 'Play It Cool', as well as the Elmore James-like 'The River', are adequate proof of Eddie's Blues credentials . The thing he's more than the sum of his parts, there is funk in 'Confusion, Illusion' and breathy rock in the closer 'Secret'.
I guess the essence is, this is an album that rightfully can claim it is staking out new Blues territory. Like or not, and I do, this is different, and it is the Blues.

 

 


 

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