Maximum Rhythm and Blues

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lazy Lester - Lazy Lester (196?)

So, this is probably cheating, but it is worth it so I'm going to just go ahead and do it.  We have here 12 superb "swamp blues" tracks from the incredibly talented harpist and multi instrumentalist Lazy Lester. This is not an album, per se.  Rather it is a collection of singles and one off recordings.  Problem is, I'm not really sure where or when these recordings were made.  I do know that most of the tracks were first pressed by Excello Records, out of Nashville, Tennessee.  Unfortunately, most of the songs on this collection aren't from those original sessions.  Either way, the songs are pretty boss, and it's certainly worth a listen or two.

Lazy Lester is just one of a class of incredible bluesmen coming out of the south in the late 1950's.  In fact, when Buddy Guy left Louisiana for Chicago in 1957, Lester stepped in and took his place as lead guitarist in a local band.  Which would have been fine if Lester actually owned a guitar.  Which he didn't.

Lester's big break came by way of Lightnin' Slim, whose harmonica player no-showed for a session at Excello studios, and Lester was invited to sit in.  Lester's playing caught the ear of producer Jay Miller, and he was invited back to blow on the records of a bunch of Excello talent, including Lightnin' Slim and Slim Harpo.

Eventually Miller invited Lester to record solo, and these tracks are a sampling of their incredibly fruitful partnership.  In fact it was Miller who gave Lester the nickname "Lazy" due to his laconic, laid-back style.

As for the songs themselves, they run the gamut from up-tempo "Lover Not a Fighter",  to easy-breezy blues like "They Call me Lazy", and the haunting, unsettling "Late, Late in the Evening".  This is a perfect anytime record, and it pays dividends after a couple of spins.  

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