Willie Lomax Blues Revue: Best Blues Money Can Buy (Big
It’s not uncommon for national
blues acts to pull from Memphis when they need the soul-blues
vibe. None is so devoted a disciple, however, as Tampa,
Fla. – based guitarist/singer Willie Lomax, who
isn’t content just being inspired by local institutions
Stax and Hi; he comes here to make his albums as well.
His latest, Best Blues Money Can Buy, is also his finest,
a modern – day triumph that finds its groove in
all things timeless.
In a return session at Willie Mitchell’s
famed Royal Recording studio, where Al Green and others
made history, the album employs Hi Rhythm Section legends
Leroy Hodges on bass and drummer Howard Grimes plus Bluff
City horn pros Jim Spake and Scott Thompson. Guitar guest
Eric Gales also shows up to trade licks with Lomax on
the tune “Lighten’ Up.” Additional clout
come from Sly & the Family Stone sax man Jerry Martini,
session drumming great Walfredo Reyes, Jr. (Santana) and
Lomax’s own hot keyboardist Shawn Brown.
results smoke, especially since the musicians and history-steeped
environs push Lomax to the heights of his guitar playing
and singing. And he came equipped with his strongest batch
of songs yet, shining on such tracks as “Ransacked”
and two 9/11-inspired numbers, the powerful, nearly 10-minute
ballad “When the Lights Go Out” and the funk-blues
instrumental “Freedom Is Not Free.”
Lomax plays Pat O’Brien’s on Beale 10 tonight
and 3 p.m. Sunday, the latter for a Blues Foundation benefit.
3 1/2 Stars