Will Roy Sanders The Last Living Bluesman


R.L. Burnside and a few others might dispute the title of this soundtrack for a documentary of the same name on 68-year-old Memphis blues vet Will Roy Sanders, but there's no disputing that Sanders is part of a dying breed. In fact, while Burnside and much of the Fat Possum roster reverently cite Mississippi Fred McDowell, Robert Nighthawk and Lightnin' Hopkins as touchstones, Sanders is actually considerably closer to the source. Usually accompanied only by acoustic guitar, Sanders is an old school shouter and moaner with a voice that sounds like it could actually be sweet, that is, if he wasn't howling so much pain through it. As such, releasing The Last Living Bluesman is a pretty gutsy move for a label whose stock in trade has been Grifters side projects and guttural swamp rock - being an acoustic, Delta moaner, Sanders doesn't have the alt-rock entry points of, say, Fat Possum's smoke-eating crew of geriatrics, which makes him perhaps even more of an anomaly in the indie rock world. All the more reason to investigate, and don't skip the excerpts from an interview where Sanders spins anecdotes and wisdom gleaned from his lengthy, not to say financially successful, career. The liner notes probably say it best: "Enjoy his music and his joie de vivre while he is alive instead of trying to raise money to fix a misspelled tombstone long after he is gone..." (Shangri-La)