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Carl Weathersby, The Best of Carl Weathersby (Evidence)
Before spending 1982-1996 as a full-time musician with Billy Branch's Son of the Blues, Carl Weathersby served in the Army in Vietnam, worked in a steel mill, and was a police officer and a prison guard. He plays the blues, more of the soul blues variety that was the soundtrack of the '70s. I wouldn't have been able to predict that this is a style that so many long to hear again, but the numbers prove it. This disc has sold more than a quarter million copies at one online merchandiser, which is like going gold in this lousy economic climate. Weathersby's a fine guitarist with a beautiful tone, and he shows a remarkable ease mixing up a variety of chops shaded and textured by soul as they bleed into a clean blues. He's a good singer, too, but deserving of better lyric material. Actually, it's hard to pay attention to anything but his guitar work because that's so good it can eclipse anything else surrounding it. This album draws from his four previous releases on Evidence and very likely is an adequate representation of Carl Weathersby as he takes his turn center stage at the mic. If I'd heard this in a club, I would in no way complain, but I wanted to hear more guitar from him.