Blues and blues-rock fans, don’t be put off by the sticker on this disc’s shrink-wrap that calls this album a "country-rock supergroup" or some such - this is a blues and New Orleans R&B album, (not so) pure and simple. The core trio consists of guitarist/singer Joel Scott Hill, from Canned Heat; bassist Chris Ethridge, from the Flying Burrito Brothers; drummer Johnny Barbata, from Jefferson Starship, and they get some help on the keyboards from Leon Russell and Booker T. Jones and Clydie King on b.g. vocals. Hill is a fine guitarist in the Albert King mode, but a great
singer, maybe one of the very best white soul/blues singers ever, sounding like something of a cross between Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Ray Charles - just listen to this version of "Ole Man Trouble." Go on, I’ll wait.
See? I told you. But that’s not all: you get the mesmeric slithery juju of Dr. John’s "Craney Crow," coming out of the swamp, cool and slow, with a female chorus/chant that’ll have you calling for some counter-conjure/hoodoo medicine. Then there’s the Little Feat-meets-Chuck Berry rocker "Big City" and a menacing romp through Bo Diddley’s "Bring It To Jerome." All concerned play with the right mix of professionalism and barroom grit - in fact, when you spin this platter, you can feel the room getting darker, even if you can’t "see" it get darker. L.A. Getaway
was originally released in 1971 on Atco Records, back when records like this - blues-oriented, roots-y, soulful in that Southern R&B/soul/gospel sense, not made with an eye towards "commercial" considerations - could get released on major labels. Water Records should be commended by...well, whomever commends intrepid labels for saving lost minor classics like this from record-collector oblivion. If your taste in rockin' blues runs alone lines of the aforementioned reference points as well as Son Seals, Magic Sam, Eddie "The Chief" Clearwater and Terry Reid, do grab this before it disappears again.
Water Records P.O. Box 2947 San Francisco, CA 94126