Mid-priced live double CD with great live performances by Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, Elvin Bishop, Katie Webster and Lil' Ed. 20 songs including an all-star jam. "One of the finest live blues recordings"--NEW MUSIC REPORT
1. Killing Floor 2:60 (Burnett, Arc Music, BMI) 2. Can't Let These Blues Go 3:38 (Williams, Eyeball Music, BMI) 3. P...
DISC ONE LIL' ED AND THE BLUES IMPERIALS
1. Killing Floor 2:60 (Burnett, Arc Music, BMI) 2. Can't Let These Blues Go 3:38 (Williams, Eyeball Music, BMI) 3. Pride And Joy 3:43 (Williams, Eyeball Music, BMI) 4. Mean Ole Frisco 4:10 (Crudup, Duchess Music, BMI)
Lil' Ed Williams, Guitar and Vocals Mike Garrett, Guitar Eddie McKinley, Tenor Sax James "Pookie" Young, Bass Kelly Littleton, Drums
ELVIN BISHOP 8. Stealin' Watermelons 4:41 9. Beer Drinkin' Woman 4:19 10. My Dog 3:52 11. El-Bo 5:02 (All songs by Elvin Bishop, Crabshaw Music, BMI)
Elvin Bishop, Guitar and Vocals Ronnie Baker Brooks, Guitar Tom Giblin, Keyboards Augustus Taylor, Bass Kevin Mitchell, Drums
DISC TWO THE LONNIE BROOKS BLUES BAND
1. Wife For Tonight 5:56 (Brooks, Eyeball Music/Heavy Traffic Music, BMI) 2. I Want All My Money Back 11:25 (Brooks, Eyeball Music/Heavy Traffic Music, BMI) 3. Those Lonely, Lonely Nights * 5:28 (Inbragulio, Ace Publishing, BMI) 4. Two Headed Man (Brooks, Eyeball Music, BMI)
Lonnie Brooks, Guitar and Vocals Ronnie Baker Brooks, Guitar Tom Giblin, Keyboards Augustus Taylor, Bass Kevin Mitchell, Drums Katie Webster *, Keyboards and Vocals
KOKO TAYLOR AND HER BLUES MACHINE
5. Something Strange Is Going On 4:23 (McQueen, Williams & Williams, Respect Music, BMI) 6. I’d Rather Go Blind 4:49 (Jordan & Foster, Arc Music, BMI) 7. Wang Dang Doodle 5:40 (Dixon, Hoochie Coochie Music/Arc Music, BMI) 8. It’s A Dirty Job * 3:56 (James, Brandon & Carnes, Fred James Music/Brandon-James Music, BMI & Possum Pie Publishing, ASCAP)
Koko Taylor, Vocals James Johnson, Guitar Eddie King, Guitar Jim Dortch, Keyboards Jerry Murphy, Bass Frank Alexander, Drums Lonnie Brooks *, Guitar and Vocals
ALL STAR JAM
9. Sweet Home Chicago 10:06 (Arnold, Public Domain)
Koko Taylor, Vocals Lonnie Brooks, Guitar and Vocals Katie Webster, Organ and Vocals Lil’ Ed Williams, Guitar Elvin Bishop, Guitar Ronnie Baker Brooks, Guitar James Johnson, Guitar Eddie King, Guitar Jim Dortch, Keyboards Jerry Murphy, Bass Frank Alexander, Drums
IT STARTED AS A DREAM-to put a busload of Alligator artists on the road, barnstorming across the country, playing one-nighters and bringing genuine houserockin' music out of the clubs and into auditoriums and concert halls. In the spring of 1992, the dream became a reality. We rented a bus, filled it with Koko Taylor and Her Blues Machine, The Lonnie Brooks Blues Band, Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials, Elvin Bishop, and Katie Webster and hit the road. The first leg of The Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Tour hit Grand Rapids, Chicago, Kitchener (Ont.), Toronto, Montreal, Portland (Me.), Boston, Burlington, Albany, Manchester, New York, Red Bank, (N.J.), Philadelphia and Washington, D.C; sixteen shows in eighteen days!
It wasn't easy. After riding for hours, sometimes all night, our five-man road crew had to unload the bus and set up the stage and sound. Then the music started, five sets (not including unscheduled jams) that often ran over four hours. Then the crew had to break down the stage and pack the bus and everyone rushed back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep. But through all the fatigue, the musicians kept things on the bus loose and happy, especially Katie, with her constant raucous banter and her endless efforts to romance Lonnie, her old recording partner from their Louisiana days in the late 1950s. Koko and Katie, who had hardly known each other before the tour, became bosom buddies and talked trash about all the men. Elvin told stories about Chicago blues clubs in the early '60s and bonded with Ronnie Baker Brooks and Wayne Baker, Lonnie's other guitarist son. And everyone bonded in complaining about the lack of sleep, hurried meals on the bus, and the endless hours of riding.
But no one complained about what happened on stage. Each night had its own magic. Ed, who never came to the bandstand with a set list, surprised us with new songs on every show. Some nights Katie got up from her piano, kicked off her shoes, and led the audience in singalongs. Elvin took off into the crowd, sitting on laps and making friends while never letting his solo stop. Lonnie and Ronnie double teamed, soloing literally back to back and winning standing ovations. And Koko, The Queen, never failed to earn her crown, especially when she went "all the way down in the basement" with her deep slow blues. Impromptu jams became part of the ever-changing show: Lonnie and Katie revived a Louisiana swamp pop classic; Koko and Lonnie put together a raunchy duet; and Elvin began inviting Ed out to close his set with a slide extravaganza. Plus, of course, the Sweet Home Chicago finale let everyone step out to solo and shimmy.
And then there was the film. Just a few weeks before the tour, I got a call from Bob Mugge, the award winning music documentarian who made Deep Blues. He was just thinking about a modern blues film, but when he heard about the tour, he was absolutely determined to build a film around it. Operating on less than a shoestring, he put together a crew, hired a 24-track recording truck and shot the Philadelphia show at the Chestnut Cabaret. Then he came to Chicago to film the inner workings of Alligator. If it weren't for Bob's recording in Philadelphia, this record would never have been made. The film itself is now available as a home video, so you can see some of the performances you're listening to. It's called Pride and Joy: The Story of Alligator Records. Thanks, Bob.
The Tour was exhausting, exhilarating, infuriating and unforgettable. And at the end, when we all got ready to go our separate ways, everyone stood around the bus, hugging and laughing and hating to leave, and wishing we could do it again. And maybe we will...
Many of the performances on this disc are from the film Pride and Joy: The Story of Alligator Records, a Mug-Shot Production produced by Robert Mugge. This film is available worldwide on videocasette and laser disc from BMG Video.
Film production crew: Robert Mugge, Producer, Director and Editor David Steffen, Executive Producer Peter Guralnick, Project Consultant Cristopher Li, Director of Photography William Barth, Audio Director