Black Lucy’s Deuce
The Music Maker Relief Foundation
Listening to this disc, I was surprised that I hadn’t heard much about Lee Gates, seeing as how he has lived in Milwaukee the last forty-plus years. According to the liner notes, Gates has play blues clubs in town on a regular basis. It’s amazing that a player with his talent isn’t better known in our area. One listen to his latest recording will have you scratching your head wondering the same thing.
This disc was recorded on the spur of the moment – live with no overdubs – and is named after Mr. Gates guitar. The ten songs were created by Lee in the studio but all of them stand the test of repeated listens. The backing band includes Cool John Ferguson on guitar and Sol on bass. Both of them have recorded discs for the Music Maker label. They provide solid backing that allows Gates to display the joy and enthusiasm he has for playing Blues guitar.
“Get Drunk Baby & Party All Night Long “ gets the disc off to a rousing start with Gates vocal encouraging his woman to do what the title says. It is followed by a song that resembles “The Thrill is Gone” and has a similar theme. Gates named the song “My Wife Left Me a Long Time Ago” and again, the title says it all. Gates takes a lengthy solo full of emotion, then gives Cool John a chance to play a bit. The track ends with a slow fade that gives you a chance to hear more tasty guitar from Gates. Another highlight is “Too Much Traffic in My House Today”, a slow blues that has Gates lamenting about strange goings-on at his house before he takes out his frustrations on Black Lucy.
Gates handles the vocals on the disc and it sounds like time may have robbed him of some of the power and range that he once had. That doesn’t mean the vocals are bad. They simply aren’t the strength of the disc. The spotlight on this recording rests squarely on the excellent guitar work by Gates. He never plays too fast, too loud or too many notes. He simply expresses the mood of each song through his guitar. Cool John Ferguson has several opportunities to demonstrate his guitar abilities and more than holds his own.
I really enjoyed this recording on the first listen and have found more to like with each listen. Get a copy from Music Maker when it is available – all of their discs are on sale for $10 each. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this one.