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The Living Legend Live by Linda Hopkins

Linda Hopkins released her first album in 25 years on her 82nd birthday in mid-December, 2006. She’s a very gutsy gal and still puts whitecaps on the beer when she shouts the blues. Hopkins did exactly that when she waxed this CD live at the Catalina Bar and Grill Jazz Club in Hollywood.

Here’s a singer that had everything going for her that particular night. The club patrons loved her with a passion and the band could not have been a more sympathetic match to the singer’s ample pipes. One would never guess this artist’s vintage merely by listening to her vigorous performance of ten classic blues and pop standards.

The evening kicks off with the octogenarian diva booting Louis Jordan’s 1947 hit "Let The Good Times Roll" followed by "Down Home Blues." An undeniable highlight of the performance is her burning take on Henry Glover’s "Drown In My Own Tears," which happens to be the best version this writer can recall. Hopkins’ soulful delivery is almost nine minutes long and the listener is left wanting even more.

When the singer asks "Can I sing my dirty song?" the audience shouts their approval. Hopkins launches into a raunchy percolating "Steppin’ Out." It’s great stuff! The musical content on the Hopkins release is well chosen and listeners are treated to such standards as "Georgia On My Mind," Memphis Slim’s "Everyday I have The Blues" and the 1942 hit "Stormy Monday" penned by Billy Eckstine and Earl "Fatha" Hines.

Over the years, Linda Hopkins has performed with such folks as Jackie Wilson and Billy Ward of The Dominos. She recorded a single for the Savoy label in the 1950s and a duet performance with Jackie Wilson, "Shake A Hand" in 1963. The latter appeared on the Brunswick record label. In more recent years, the singer appeared on Broadway productions of "Inner City," "Black & Blue" and "Me And Bessie."

One can’t close this review without mentioning the excellent instrument crew in the form of Michael Konik and his Tasty Band. They cook from start to finish. The Living Legend Live gets our highest recommendation. Play it at your next party! Samples can be heard at CD Baby.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Linda Hopkins
  • CD Title: The Living Legend Live
  • Genre: Blues
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Free Ham Records
  • Tracks: Let The Good Times Roll, Down Home Blues, Drown In My Own Tears, Steppin’ Out, Evil Gal, Deep In The Night, Stormy Monday, Black Drawers, Georgia On My Mind, Every Day I Have The Blues.
  • Musicians: Linda Hopkins (vocals), Michael Konik (vocal, leader), Andy Howe (piano), Joel Hamilton (bass), Ken Park (drums), Kim Richmond (alto sax, flute).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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