May 1998

Jimmy Witherspoon
Love Is A Five Letter Word
Avenue Entertainment Recordings

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Jimmy Witherspoon's Love Is A Five Letter Word (Avenue Jazz 75226; 43:22) is a blast from the past that sounds dated today. Recorded in England 1974, it opens with a strange "Shaft"-like overture, "Spoon Tang," that leads to a series of blues-tinged pieces performed by a group of British studio musicians. Spoon's voice is splendid throughout, particularly on "Fool's Paradise," the title track, the straight-up blues "Nothin's Changed" and the New Orleans-flavored "Buried Alive In The Blues." But there's some questionable material here, like the unfortunate presence of the Nashville Katz string section on a few tunes.

Originally published in May 1998
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