Luther Allison: live again

I’ve long been a fan of the live Luther Allison albums. Whether recorded in Chicago, Paris, or Montreux (Where Have You Been?, which chronicles his performances there over nearly a 20-year period), these albums to me capture the essence of the blues, as well as a true blues master. It’s one thing to hear Luther on a studio recording (and he had plenty of good ones), but it’s an entirely different – and far more fulfilling – experience to hear him perform live.

songsfromroadSo I guess saying that I’m looking forward to German label Ruf Records’ February 9 release of Luther’s Songs from the Road CD/DVD would be a bit of an understatement. The same record company that put out Luther’s Underground CD in the fall of 2007, Ruf seems to have a pretty good thing going in its Songs from the Road series, which kicked off last summer with a Jeff Healey compilation from shows in London, Norway, and Toronto.

Capturing Luther’s “last live recorded performance” at the Montreal Jazz Festival in July 1997 (less than a week before he was diagnosed with terminal cancer), Songs from the Road will allow fans to hear and see – as recorded by Canadian Television – nearly all of Luther’s 90-minute set from that show, including such hits as “Cherry Red Wine,” “Cancel My Check,” “Move from the Hood,” “It Hurts Me Too,” and “Serious.”

We’ll certainly be taking a closer look and listen at this double live offering just as soon as we get the opportunity.

In the meantime, a quick note on Ruf Records: in addition to a pretty diverse roster of more established acts (including Luther and son Bernard Allison, Canned Heat, Jack Bruce and Robin Trower, and Walter Trout), the label also has some pretty impressive up-and-comers in Oli Brown (who, by the way, included a nice cover of Luther Allison’s “All the King’s Horses” on his Open Road CD) and Joanne Shaw Taylor, to name a few.

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