Chicago Blues Reunion – Buried Alive In The Blues

by | Oct 18, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Chicago Blues Reunion – Buried Alive In The Blues

Studio: Out The Box Records 3016 DVD + CD
Video: Enhanced for widescreen 16:9
Audio: PCM stereo
Extras: Interviews and additional performance footage
Length: 80+ minute
Rating: ***1/2 

The music in this set was recorded live in Chicago at Fitzgerald’s in
Illinois on October 15th, 2004.  Chicago Blues Reunion is made up
of Barry Goldberg on Hammond B-3, Nick “The Greek” Gravenites playing
guitar and singing, Harvey “The Snake” Mandel on guitar, Tracy Nelson
on vocals, Sam Lay drums and vocals, and Corky Siegel singing and blues
harp.  Extra personnel on this recording include Gary Mallaber,
Rick Reed and R. Zach Wagner.  Some of the band members enjoyed
musical lives with other bands throughout the years, but together, as a
group, they are family.  In the early days The Paul Butterfield
Blues Band was formed and was one of the first racially mixed blues
bands in Chicago.  Since then they’ve had quite an influence on
the blues scene, managing to blend acoustic folk and electric
blues-rock.  The DVD showcases members of the band with legends
like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, Janis
Joplin, John Mayall, and Canned Heat.

The packaging of this set is first rate.  There is a 32-page photo
booklet with liner notes and a DVD that truly stands out.  In
addition to 30 minutes of the band performing, there are tons of
interviews covering the player’s involvement with the band and their
background in music as well.  Besides band members, B.B. King,
Bobby Blue Bland, Joel Selvin of the San Francisco chronicle comment on
the blues scene of the day.  The total running time is over 80
minutes and is an HD widescreen transfer.  There are live
performances with Muddy Waters and Mike Bloomfield (one of the honorary
members of the band) and others.  It’s more of a history lesson of
the blues than a typical concert DVD.  The Reunion’s concert
footage is taped primarily from a few handheld cameras that focus on
the stage and are up front, with the side camera doing close-ups. 
It’s intimate and suits the music well.

The title track gets the listener right into the swing of the
music.  The lead vocals are mostly shared by Nick and Tracy,
although Sam and Corky have a few tracks between them and track five
and thirteen are instrumentals.  Tracy has a deep, mature, vibrant
set of pipes that lends a different feel to the tunes on which she
performs.  “GM Boogie” is reminiscent of a ZZ Top or Stevie Ray
Vaughn song while “Snake” is more blues swing.  The material is
varied and makes the presentation lively and enjoyable.  The
recording is light, bright, and a bit harsh though not terribly
so.  The material on the DVD is worth watching by anyone with an
interest in the history of Chicago blues.  Songs included (on the
CD) are:  Born In Chicago; Buried Alive in the Blues; Walk Away;
Drinking Wine; GM Boogie; Left Handed Soul; Miss You Like The Devil;
All The Help I Can Get; Death Of Muddy Waters; Find My Baby; New Truck;
King Bee; Snake; Hound Dog.

-Brian Bloom
 

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