On the Chicago Blues Scene
Sleepy John Estes - Delmark Records
"Sleepy John Estes - On the Chicago Blues Scene" was originally released in 1968 as "Electric Sleep." Now, in 2007, Delmark Records and Bob Koester have done a fine job of remixing and remastering this treasure of blues. This cd has a new name and a new cover but represents the coming together of one great country blues artist and a fine electric blues band.
Sleepy John Estes' vocal quality is unusual to say the least. It has been said that he is "crying the blues" or that he "has a voice older than his age." Whatever it is, it is pretty much one haunting voice. It is a voice that makes one listen to every word and say that this song is done with real feeling.
Joining John on this recording is a real great combination of musicians. Carey Bell's playing stands out through-out the cd. I really enjoyed it especially on "How to Sing These Blues." Carey also plays the bass on some tracks. Also on the recording are Jimmy Dawkins on guitar, Earl Hooker and Joe Harper on bass and Odie Payne Jr. on drums. Sunnyland Slim rounds out the band doing one fine job on the piano.
Sleepy John managed to keep his traditional blues background alive wherever he played. Putting this quality together with the electric band just works well. His melancholy vocals really make his blues lyrics have meaning and bring out his meaning of the words. This style of blues needs to be preserved and heard by more of us blues fans!
All the tunes on this CD were written by Sleepy John Estes. We all have heard the song "Divin' Duck Blues." I was not aware of who wrote it until now. This is my best-liked song of the cd. The bass player really stands out on this one. Sunnyland Slims piano chops are outstanding as are Jimmy Dawkins guitar licks. But, " if the river was whiskey and I was a divin' duck, I would dive to the bottom and never come up" tells the whole story.
There is not a single track on this cd that I do not like. Sleepy John's lyrics, vocal style and the fine band on this cd make it a real winner. Sleepy John was also known to be able to fall asleep standing up, hence the name "Sleepy John." Well he did not fall asleep on this project.
There is not a single track on this cd, that I do not like. Sleepy John's lryrics, vocal style and the fine band on this cd make it a real winner. Sleepy John was also known to be able to fall asleep standing up, hence the name "Sleepy John." Well he did not fall asleep on this project.