There’s a serious flaw that has marred many a well-intentioned blues recording. It’s the old syndrome of accomplished instrumentalist with limited vocal abilities deciding to sing on his own album. This sad condition generally afflicts 40-something white former rockers who got turned onto the three Kings, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed and the rest of the Chicago blues greats in the ’60s. They emulate their blues heroes with scholarly attention to detail along with the utmost respect and heartfelt sincerity, always striving for authenticity. And while the spirit is willing, the vocal cords are often weak. Simply put, they don’t possess the necessary god-given pipes to pull it off in convincing fashion, resulting in sorry attempts that come across as mere affectation or hollow mimicry.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.