Sleepy John Estes

On The Chicago Blues Scene

by D.M. Edwards

6 November 2007

 

Originally entitled Electric Sleep after the Muddy Waters psychedelic album Electric Mud, this 1968 recording is a relatively uncontroversial affair. The great Sleepy John Estes is best known for his ghostly pre-war country blues recordings. He was a top-notch songwriter, covered by Ry Cooder and Led Zeppelin. Here, several decades past his prime, blind and poor, he ventures onto the Chicago urban blues scene. The younger players show plenty of respect but not surprisingly Sleepy John’s voice sounds strained. The album is solid at best, an uncomfortable mix of the sprightly and the mundane at worst.

Perhaps the biggest shock is that Earl Hooker, John Lee’s cousin, and one of the best guitar players on Earth, drops by for a few tracks, and plays bass. As much a waste as Diego Maradona or George Best playing in goal! (On the subject of Earl Hooker, please rush out and hear his utterly transcendent “Two Bugs and a Roach” immediately). Neither the best work of any of the participants nor much fun, On The Chicago Blues Scene may be a novel juxtaposition for diehard blues devotees, but is likely to prove an uninspired workaday session for everyone else. Explore Sleepy John Estes elsewhere.

cover art

Sleepy John Estes

On the Chicago Blues Scene

(Delmark)
US: 21 Aug 2007
UK: 24 Sep 2007

On the Chicago Blues Scene

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.

 

//comments
//related
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Saul Williams Commands Attention at Summerstage (Photos + Video)

// Notes from the Road

"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.

READ the article