Eric Clapton calls him "the most underestimated musician on the planet and also one of the most advanced.” John Hiatt, Junior Wells, John Mayall, Irma Thomas, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Kenny Loggins, Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson, Robben Ford, Vince Gill, Bonnie Raitt and hundreds of other world-class artists who have had the privilege to make music with him would emphatically agree. Sonny Landreth’s slide guitar prowess is supernatural.
This is music from the Saturday night dances in Louisiana; the hot and sweaty have a good time dancing, drinking, and looking at all the people. Do not look for the Royal Albert Hall production on this CD, as on his stunning South of I-10 with its myriad "guest artists." The feel for this music is shown by someone who grew up with it. Listen to the respect and feeling he gives to Clifton Chenier's "If I Ever Get Lucky." Try to keep your body and feet from bouncing to the beat of "Sugar Cane" or "Little Linda." Doesn't your eye start to look around for a dance partner, even though you're in your living room? There is solid playing throughout this CD even though the sound is a bit thin at times and the big-name guests are nowhere to be found. It is a solid effort that spans the musical boundaries of all of Louisiana. Cajun, zydeco, blues, and country are all blended together so they are no longer confining, but a homogenous mix. A solid effort.
The 2010 issue of Mississippi Blues by Sonny Landreth on the Fuel 2000 imprint is not a new album, nor is it a representative compilation of his oeuvre. In fact, the set is a complete repackage of the album entitled The Crazy Cajun Recordings originally issued on CD by Great Britain’s Edsel in 1999. The material dates from 1973 and 1977, recorded with the famed Huey P. Meaux (aka the Crazy Cajun) when he wasn’t touring with Clifton Chenier as part of his Red Hot Louisiana Band. These 20 tracks range from Landreth’s Lafayette, LA-styled take on the acoustic Delta blues solo and with a band that included a mandolin player, an electric bassist, and a drummer to his early electric experiments playing a meld of Cajun-flavored soul, rock, and R&B. The electric slide guitar fury evidenced on his own records from the 1980s onward is all but absent here, but the acoustic slide work is particularly plentiful – check his reading of “I Know You Rider,” “Lazy Boy,” and the stomping “Prodigal Son”.
Louisiana slide master Sonny Landreth takes his time between releases – his last studio disc of original material was five years prior to this – but when they arrive, the wait seems justified. For the debut album on his own Landfall records, Landreth calls in marquee name guitarists Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson, and Vince Gill to bolster the visibility factor. Rather than focusing on guitar duals, Landreth wrote songs that incorporate their styles, and occasional vocals, organically into the material. There are plenty of stunning solos of course, but they are integrated into the tunes that stand up just fine without the six-string fireworks. The album's title is a double entendre as "reach" is a body of water and also describes Landreth inviting his guests to be part of the project.
In 1985, Miles Davis shocked the music world by moving from Columbia to Warner Bros.. He immediately started working on an album called Perfect Way after a tune by Scritti Politti, later renamed Tutu by producer Tommy LiPuma. When Tutu (a tribute to Desmond Tutu) was released in 1986, it re-ignited Miles Davis’ career, crossing over into the rock and pop markets and winning him two Grammy Awards. A definitive collection of the later part of Miles Davis’ work, lavishly packaged and remastered, from the Warner Bros studio albums Tutu, Amandla and Doo-Bop, the Dingo and Siesta soundtracks, live recordings with Quincy Jones, and the likes of Kenny Garrett, Foley and Adam Holzman.