Feb 2, 2017

Hidden Gems: Luther Allison – Bad News is Coming

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Hidden Gem you need in your life: Luther Allison – Bad News is Coming
 by Robert Dean
If there’s one genre of music I feel is essential to my core being, it’s the Blues. Growing up on Chicago’s south side, and having a lot of family from the Deep South, the blues is a musical stamp that’s been on me since birth. We grew up hearing Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Elmore James, and Little Walter in our dad’s garage. Sure, we got to hear stuff like Allman Brothers, Black Sabbath, Neil Young, Stevie Ray Vaughn, but the Blues made such an indelible impact. The sound of the guitar, the growl of the voices, those are home to me. I have “Made in Chicago” with a Chess piece tattooed on my left elbow.
Because of my Blues obsession, I’m a crate digger. I’m forever on the hunt for any legit blues vinyl. You show me some old John Lee Hooker or Bukka White records and you best believe I’m a buyer. I see anything with Son House’s name on it and consider it gone. So, when a friend dropped Luther Allison’s Bad News is Comin’ on me, I gotta say I was heartbroken. I was offended, I was beyond upset with myself that this filthy, grimy, animal of a record slipped past.
I take pride in being the guy who shows you the Blues. You come to my house; we’re grabbing some vinyl from the shelf and going for it. I converted my wife from rock and roll chick, to now her favorite artists are Leadbelly and Robert Johnson.
Most forms of music, I’m an open book, ready to soak in whatever you’ve got. I’m always down with hearing new stuff. But, when someone slips past a record from 1973, I wanted to puke. How could a record that sounds like a guy opening a can of Budweiser with his teeth sneak past me? I’m still recovering.
Bad News is Comin’ is absolutely the best blues record of the 1970’s. It’s a precursor to the analog, low-fi white boy blues populating today in the form of Jack White or The Black Keys. (For the record, I love and respect both.) The vibe on the record is so pissed off, so mean, it’s full of ache, but doesn’t miss a beat reinventing old standards and laying some serious heat. It’s one of those records that no matter how much Luther tried in his career, he never could replicate.
If you can find a better opener than Little Red Rooster, I’ve yet to hear one. It establishes immediately that Luther is one bad motherfucker and you ain’t stepping on his alligator shoes, ever. The energy festers, it boils over and makes the listener make than “I just stepped in dogshit” face when something is just that dirty.
Don’t sleep on this one. Luther Allison’s Bad News is Comin’ is a classic and if you’re lucky enough to find it on vinyl, it’s one your collection needs. Hopefully, you piss someone off as bad as me with it.
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