This is arguably the finest disc Lurrie Bell has released. It focuses on that point where The Blues and Gospel Music intersect and interplay. It has the rawness and power that both possess and need in order to deliver the powerful punch, and fiery technique that both need to succeed. Bell is the son of noted blues harmonica player Carey Bell and thus was exposed to the blues of Muddy Waters and Big Walter Horton, among others, at an early age in his father's house. He picked up one of his father's guitars at an early age and was soon recognized as a gifted player. His initial love was blues, however after spending some time down south with his preacher grandfather and being asked to perform in the church playing gospel music that soon became another love.
On this disc Lurrie Bell sticks mostly to playing acoustic guitar while Joe Louis Walker who also contributes some vocals as well as testifying handles much of the slide guitar. Listen to the differences he gets from his guitar on the laid back and peaceful Peace In The Valley, and contrast it to his much tougher work on It's A Blessing. We also have Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith on drums and percussion, Josef Ben Israel on upright bass, Matthew Skoller and Billy Branch on harmonica (he also wrote the title song) and a number of others added some vocal backups and handclaps and such. Bell first learned the Blues and then matured into a appreciation of Gospel music which is the opposite of a great many musicians, however what matters is what he does here and now. This is a stunning fusion of these two branches of music, and shows the mutual roots of these two musical genres and yet also shows the differences between them that is not only in content, but also in the delivery of the songs.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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