Adaptations of acoustic blues classics from Tommy Johnson, Leadbelly and other greats of the 1920’s as well as original instrumentals.
REVIEW by John Williams
This CD is a mixture of traditional blues and also includes some interesting instrumental compositions by Chris. His compositions stand up well in the company of such giants as Robert Johnson, Huddie Ledbetter, Tom Waits, Blind Boy Fuller and others whose music makes up the bulk of the CD.
Chris also has the ability to turn traditional blues into his own Aussie stories such as in the adaptation of Johnson’s “Terraplane Blues” into “EH Holden Blues” and “Kikuyu Blues” adapted from Canned Heat. (Anyone who has planted or inherited a kikuyu lawn will have a great deal of empathy for this track.
The opening track “Walking My Troubles Away” transports the listener back to the thirties. Chris has a great voice for the blues and uses it extremely well in all his versions of old blues tracks. Highlights are “Mama ‘tain’t Long ‘fore Day”, “Malted Milk” and “Big Road Blues”. Chris really uses his skills in “2:19” a Tom Waits track played in a Delta Blues style. It works well.
Chris plays tribute to Leadbelly in a medley of songs based around water. I really enjoyed his interpretations of the three songs, “Ain’t Going Down to the Well No More”, “Sylvie” and “Old Riley”. Chris has composed three quite different tunes for the CD. “Maria Rag” is a catchy tune in the style the title suggests. “Angela” is a soft, easy to listen to instrumental and the title track “Things Are Looking Up” fits well with the other blues on the album. Chris also includes his version of the song “Frankie and Albert”, which he credits with sparking his interest in acoustic blues.
We should be glad he took such an interest back then. If you are a fan of the blues you will love this CD. I liked it at first listening and even more at subsequent playings. I can highly recommend it!