Elvin Bishop – The Blues Rolls On (2008)

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by S. Victor Aaron

Bishop has been around longer than just about every other blues guitarists still playing today, has been around greatness, and scored a few hits himself many years ago, but doesn’t get enough credit as being one of the vital performers of the craft.

First gaining fame as part of the Paul Butterfield Band’s unsurpassed dual-guitar attack with Michael Bloomfield, Bishop has a fairly successful solo career in the 70’s, peaking with the Mickey Thomas-sung hit “Fooled Around and Fell In Love” from 1976. It’s obvious even from his studio records that Elvin is a laid-back, good times live performer and even though he usually clowns through his aw-shucks vocals, his slide work is seriously good.

Right on the heels of Buddy Guy’s star-studded affair Skin Deep, Bishop just last week put out his own special guests album, The Blues Roll On. Despite such luminaries appearing such as B.B. King, Kim Wilson, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks and Angela Strehli, this remains stubbornly an Elvin Bishop record. That means raw, no-nonsense, and sometimes stripped-down blues. This one also mixes covers, updated version of Bishop classics and new Bishop tunes.

It’s not an essential purchase unless you’re a Bishop fan, but it’s still enjoyable from beginning to end. Elvin pairs up with acts ranging in age from the Homemade Jamz Blues Band to King. He hauls out his old “Struttin’ My Stuff” with it’s irresistibly funky riff and the Allman Brothers’ twin guitarists lending a hand, making this song sound as good as it did over thirty years ago.

The Blues Rolls On ain’t nothing special, but it’s does show that Elvin Bishop is as lively and loose as he ever was, and that’s enough to make it a good add to anyone’s Bishop collection.

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