Bryan Lee Play One For Me

Bryan LeePlay One For Me
7
As with so many top bluesmen, Bryan Lee keeps getting better with age (he's now 70). The New Orleans-based, Grammy-nominated guitarist/singer delivers one of his best records yet with Play One For Me, his debut for Severn (he was previously on Canadian label Justin Time for 12 albums). He kicks it off with a great slab of Southern soul, "Aretha (Sing One For Me)," maintaining that quality level throughout. Five strong originals share the grooves with five well-selected covers, including Howling Wolf's essential classic "Evil is Going On" and "It's Too Bad (Things Are Going So Tough)," by Freddie King, who's a clear influence on Lee. Guest players such as Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds) and Johnny Moeller (also a Thunderbird) contribute, while well-utilized horns and strings (both arranged and conducted by Willie Henderson) beef-up tunes like standout cut "When Love Begins (Friendship Ends)." Lee has never sung better, while his signature stinging guitar sound still hurts so good. This is a consistently winning album from the so-called "braille blues daddy." (Severn)