If you’re already tuned in to Sonny Landreth, you can skip the following prose, get right to the click, and start working with this masterpiece of a blues electric slide course immediately. If by some cruel twist of fate, you have not yet treated your ears to Sonny’s magical slide guitar work AND you yearn to learn electric slide blues guitar — you’ve just hit the jackpot.
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.
Sonny Landreth’s new album Bound By The Blues marks a return to the slide guitarist’s musical roots. It presents a bold, big-sounding collection of recordings that climb to stratospheric heights of jazz informed improvisation, the best of classic rock, and inevitably remain deeply attached to the elemental emotional and compositional structures that are at the blues’ historic core. Bound By The Blues is a powerful tribute to the durability and flexibility of the genre, and to his own creative vision. Sonny name-checks Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters and some of Landreth’s other musical heroes along the way. He also pays homage to fellow slide guitarist Johnny Winter, with the instrumental “Firebird Blues"…
Sonny Landreth's screaming slide guitar plows right into you and carries you along on its feral journey. This CD opens going for your guts and never quits, though at times its touch is more caressing than careening, as in "Cajun Waltz." This CD got a lot of airplay yet never got tiresome, the true test of good music. A wide variety of slide guitar styles, backed by an extremely tight rhythm section and various other New Orleans musicians adds to the pleasure of the album. This music combines the best of zydeco, New Orleans R&B, Cajun, and rock & roll into one mood-elevating experience. Listen to "Mojo Boogie" next to "C'est Chaud," then go on to "Shootin' for the Moon"; there is no letdown, but there is great variety. A must-buy.