Half Notes: Otis Spann – Last Call (1970)

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This remarkable lost classic was not released until 2000 — because the tapes were thought to have been destroyed … until they were found in a warehouse in 1999. Done just three weeks before Otis Spann’s death from liver cancer, Muddy Waters‘ most sympathetic pianist is featured primarily with his wife’s fiery vocals (Spann was too weak to join in). Well studied and rightly revered by any good blues fan, this is a final glimpse into his genius, if only in patches.

Nick’s Picks: His tinkling through Big Joe Turner’s “Chains of Love,” charging through “Stomp with Spann” and the sweet lowdown love of “My Baby (Sweet as an Apple).” Each more than makes up for the disappointments of the rather staid Muddy covers — which feature, by the way, Luther Johnson, another ex-Waters sideman.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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