Bernard Allison: Across the Water

Bernard Allison, son of the late blues great Luther Allison, takes the blues rock route on Across the Water. Produced by Jim Gaines, who has brought his high glitz signature to albums by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter and Santana, this pumped-up affair is heavy on distortion and wah-wah licks and straight-up rock backbeats-closer in spirit to ZZ Top and Jonny Lang than Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Rockers may dig its post-Hendrix/James Gang appeal (particularly on cuts like “Across the Water” and “Feels Kinda Funny”). Blues purists may frown-with the possible exception of the raucous Chicago shuffle “Change Your Way of Living,” a nice vehicle for Armstrong’s slashing slide guitar work, and the slow blues closer, “I’ve Been Down.”