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Eddy Clearwater & Los Straightjackets, Rock 'N' Roll City (Rounder/Bullseye)
This is the most unusual release by a bluesman in quite some time. A stalwart on the West Chicago blues scene, Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater teams up with California surf darlings, the masked rhythm section known as Los Straightjackets. This is a fun outing that serves up a big slice of rockabilly-tinged blues. "Hillbilly Blues" is more like straight black hillbilly music as channeled through Chuck Berry, tinged with a hint of surf-guitar twang. "Old Time Rocker", "Back Down to Earth", and "Peggy Sue" are gentle rockers, electrified country complete with slap-bass and bubbling guitar runs. Surf-style toms pound the rhythm, and spysurf guitar and saxes combine for the instrumental "Monkey Paw". Clearly not afraid to experiment, Clearwater also can easily switch gears and cover an oldie but goodie, "Let the Fours Blow". A solid slow blues closes the disc, Eddie singing especially sweetly, accompanied only by an organ on "Good Times Are Coming". Thanks for the good thought. We can only hope.