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Shirley King

Blues For A King

Review by Gary Hill
Shirley King is known as the Daughter of the Blues. That’s because B.B. King was her father. This new album finds her stretching beyond the blues. It also finds a lot of impressive guest performances. I really like this set. Some songs work better for me than others do, but the whole thing flows pretty well and fits nicely together.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.
Track by Track Review
All Of My Lovin’ feat. Joe Louis Walker
An old time rock and roll meets the blues and Motown is the concept here. This is a classy tune. It is a lot of fun.
Feelin’ Alright feat. Duke Robillard
Here we get a blues rocking take on the classic song from Traffic. I’ve always been a big fan of this number. This version works pretty well. It’s not a huge change from the original, which had plenty of blues built into it, but this has some interesting flavors. The piano solo is particularly classy. The guitar work late is on fire, too.
I Did You Wrong feat. Elvin Bishop
More of an old school blues number, the guitar fills are strong, and the vocal performance is among the best of the disc. In fact, this is one of my favorite cuts here. The guitar soloing is just oozing cool and style.
That’s All Right Mama feat. Pat Travers
Pat Travers lays down some killer guitar soloing on this old blues chestnut. I’m sure a lot of people first heard this song because it was covered by Elvis Presley, but it’s an old blues number by Arthur Crudup.
Can’t Find My Way Home feat. Martin Barre
Here we get another Traffic song. Martin Barre of Jethro Tull fame provides the guitar here. They play this one pretty close to the original. I think this is my favorite song of the whole set. It’s not a very bluesy number, but it works so well. Barre’s guitar fills are expressive and impeccable, and the whole tune just gels.
Johnny Porter feat. Arthur Adams
I love the old school soul sound of this. The tune is another highlight of the disc. Arthur Adams backing vocals bring so much magic to this, but the whole arrangement is packed full of class and style.
Feeling Good feat. Robben Ford
Jazzy blues is on the menu here. This is another standout tune. The guitar fills and piano bring a lot of magi to it. The horns are a great touch, as well.
Give It All Up feat. Kirk Fletcher
There is a bouncy kind of groove to this number. It’s more of a pop rock tune than a pure blues cut. It’s a solid and entertaining song. It is just not a highlight.
Gallows Pole feat. Harvey Mandel
This is a traditional number. A lot of people know of it from Led Zeppelin’s version. This has a much different sound than that one does. It feels a bit like a folk piece here, but the electric guitar and other elements bring the blues to bear. I can also make out some hints of psychedelic rock in the mix.
Hoodoo Man Blues feat. Junior Wells & Joe Louis Walker
The male vocals (Junior Wells) opening this are a change from the rest of the disc. The cut has an old-school blues vibe to it, feeling much like something Shirley King’s father might have done. Another standout tune, this just oozes cool and passion.
At Last feat. Steve Cropper
With strings and piano prominent, and Steve Cropper’s guitar bringing a real 40s or 50s vibe, this old chestnut gets a interesting performance. This is not one of my favorites here, but it does bring some good variety. Somehow it seems to work well in the closing position, bringing a bit of a sense of grounding to the album.
 
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