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James Solberg: The Hand You’re Dealt

Longtime Luther Allison sideman James Solberg has been a solid bandleader and formidable bluesman in his own right for 30 years. On The Hand You’re Dealt (RUF 1043; 51:15) he flaunts some vicious Freddie King-inspired licks on originals like the rocking “Build You a Castle,” the deep blue “When’s the Last Time” and the funky Albert Collinsesque “What’s Comin’ Down.” He handles the Louis Jordan jump blues “Buzz Me” and a rough rocker like Jim Liban’s “You Got Me Knockin'” with equal aplomb and he testifies in no uncertain terms on “Still Called the Blues,” a track recorded in 1994 which features a special guest appearance from Allison. A superb, hard-hitting offering from a major, if under-recognized, talent on the blues scene. Every bit as real as it gets.

Originally Published