I haven’t paid much attention to Lucky since his debut on Alligator a few years back. At that time they were touting him as a former child prodigy on keyboard and an up-and-coming blues band frontman. This release on Verve has led me to reclassify him; this time as a blues heavyweight. His voice, progressing like that of so many young bluesmen, has ripened into a huge and flexible instrument capable of shouts, wails, honks and whispers. The guitar playing, shared between Lucky and Butch Bonner, consists of wailing leads, funk chops, clean snaps and twangy shuffles. The feel in both vocals and guitar is one of abandon, total confidence (everything seems to resolve right on cue) and good clean fun.
All the tracks are full of fun too. This is no doomy blues record. With numbers like “It’s Your Thing” (“baby do what you wanna do”), “Pickin’,” “Play Dirty” (“hit kinda hard below the belt”), and “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” Lucky keeps the party mode going almost the whole way through. He even covers “Purple Rain” and makes it sound like a cross between Hendrix and Motown.
The funky stuff on this disc is probably my favorite. All musicians know funk is hard, but it sounds super easy for these guys. In fact, you get the feeling that they could play anything. I have a half-baked idea that the sense of fear and desperation found in low-tech blues and rock music may be what induces the empathy of many listeners. That’s missing here, but pure joy of playing something way damn cool makes up for it.