Roscoe Shelton: Let It Shine

Far more invigorating and ultimately rewarding is Roscoe Shelton’s Let It Shine (Black Top 1149; 48:51). Possessing magnificent gospel-holler pipes, singer-songwriter Shelton belts with raspy conviction on the opening, rousing shuffle, “Lady (Your Man’s Runnin’ ‘Round)” and the slow organ-and-horn fueled blues “Sometimes I Get Bitter.” He warbles with a smoother Sam Cooke-flavored R&B approach on “Easy Going Fellow,” “I Was Wrong! Played With Love,” the mellow “I Want You,” the lamenting “Hard to Be Alone” and the title track. Blues fans will appreciate the way he swings a shuffle, as on “Why Didn’t You Tell Me (For So Long)?” and how he wails with abandon on a slow blues, as on the stunning showcase, “Save Me.” After his initial splash in the ’60s, Shelton experienced a self-imposed exile through the ’70s and ’80s. He turned up on a few small independent labels both Stateside and in Europe in the ’90s and now comes to much wider attention via Black Top. Let It Shine, produced by guitarist Fred James, is his welcome return to the game.