Boston Soundcheck Magazine
Brewer Phillips – Well Alright
By Matthew S. Robinson
Though a new generation of torchbearers is coming up strong (see Susan Tedeschi, Mike Welch, Johnny Lang, etc.) the day of the original blues man is nearing its end. One of the most recent losses to the blues canon was Brewer Philips, one of the original Houserockers and a legendary Chicago Blues guitarist. The tracks on this album were recorded only two months before Phillips’ death, and with the help of steady rollin’ bus drivin’ man Al Cocorochio, they are now available to chronicle and enjoy.
This is straight-out roadhouse blues – blues so plain and simple and recorded so rough and ready as to seem from the age of the 78s. The selections range from the best of those days to somewhat more modern classics. Carl Perkins’ “Kansas City” chugs on like a St. Louis train. An instrumental take on “You Can’t Sit Down” mixes quick and bright lead lines with low humming rhythms. There are two versions of “Dust My Broom” (one of which features fellow legend Hound Dog Taylor), and bunch of previously unreleased tracks (including a snarky “Blues Before Sunrise” and a jukey jaunt through “Sweet Home Chicago”). There’s even an off-color joke and plug for Folger’s coffee and Canadian Club whisky (two staples of the blues diet).
Though the clarity and mix may not always be crystal clear, the drive and heart sure as heck are!
Contact: Black Rose Records – 24 Central Street, Saugus, MA 01906 / ALC@Erols.com