Al Miller (Blues) - Wild Cards (Music CD)

Release Date: 03 February 2010
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Al Miller had been contributing to the Chicago blues scene for over 30 years when, in 1994, he finally recorded his first album as a leader, Wild Cards. The singer/guitarist/harpist was far from a huge name in the blues world, but then, a lack of commercial success wasn't something that discouraged Delmark founder Bob Koester--if Koester felt that a blues or jazz artist deserved to be documented, he would put out an album regardless of how obscure he/she was. For this enjoyable, if unremarkable, session, Delmark hired Dave Specter (an excellent guitarist who shouldn't be confused with software public relations man David Spector) to do the producing and employed his guitar on eight of its 14 selections. The personnel varies from song to song, and the CD's vocals are handled not only by Miller, but also, by Willie Kent, Tad Robinson (whose gruff style recalls Dave Prater of Sam & Dave) and Steve Freund. Miller, in fact, lays out on six tracks--in other words, he lays out on almost half of his own album. Electric Chicago blues is Wild Cards' primary focus, although the CD successfully detours into 1960s-type soul on "Stuck in Chicago" and acknowledges jazz with a gutsy version of Gene Ammons' "Red Top." Specter isn't heard on the latter, which is surprising because the bluesman is heavily influenced by jazz and would have been perfect for the tune. Wild Cards isn't fantastic, but it's a competent offering from an artist who deserved to be documented as a leader. ~ Alex Henderson
Release Date: 03 February 2010

1. I Don't Play
2. Stuck In Chicago
3. Seventy Four
4. Long Grey Mare
5. Can't Stay Here No More
6. Special Way
7. Deal The Cards
8. Red Top Boogie
9. Fallin' Rain
10. I Had A Dream
11. Jockey Blues
12. Big 'C' Blues
13. Blues For John Littlejohn
14. Sittin' Here Thinkin'

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Catalogue No: DE675