Lonnie Shields: Portrait

A native of West Helena, Arkansas, and a product of the Delta juke-joint circuit, Shields sings his original, mostly autobiographical lyrics with uncommon feeling. The tunes range from raucous offerings (“Fistful of Dollars,” “Boxing Gloves”) to infectious shuffles (“Hard Times,” “Knock In Our Love”), wrenching slow blues (“I Can’t Let You Hurt Me,” “Cry, Sky”) and Memphis-styled, horn-driven soul (“I Can Play Dirty,” “Sweet Love”). Honking tenor saxman Eddie Shaw enlivens “Eight Days a Week,” then paints a bleaker picture on the mournful “My Baby Left Me.” Lonnie’s mentor, drummer Sam Carr, guests on “Hard Times,” “Cry, Sky” and “Knock In Our Love,” and Lucky Peterson plays rhythm guitar on three tracks, including the instrumental “L.S. Blues.” Honest, soulful stuff from the deep South.