March 1999

Lurrie Bell
Kiss of Sweet Blues
Delmark Records

An intensely passionate player, guitarist-singer Lurrie Bell makes another strong showing on Kiss of Sweet Blues (Delmark 724; 63:33), his third for the label. Backed by the Chicago-based Dave Specter And The Bluebirds (yet another great bar band) the "mercurial son" of Chicago blues great Carey Bell generates sparks with his Albert King-influenced playing on 15 originals, including autobiographical portraits like "Blues and Black Coffee," "Hiding in the Spotlight," "Bad Dog" and "Lonesome Guitar Man." Bell's staccato attack on the strings is both jarring and compelling. His vocal approach is equally erratic. But there's no one more direct and real than this emerging Chicago bluesman. He's apparently had a tough time since his 1995 Delmark debut suffering from manic depression, living on the street for extended periods of time and you can feel that inner pain in his song. Few other have a right to utter that famous Willie Dixon motto: I am the blues.

Originally published in March 1999

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