Luther's Blues Bernard Alison
- 1Hang On03:38
- 2Reaching Out04:58
- 3Too Many Women04:16
- 4Into My Life04:28
- 6Bad Love05:26
- 7Now You Got It03:51
- 8Love Is Free05:31
- 9Midnight Creeper04:42
- 11Back Down South04:13
- 12I Gave It All04:55
- 13Life Is A Bitch04:12
- 14Let's Try It Again06:21
- 15Change Your Way Of Living04:10
- 16You're Gonna Need Me04:38
- 17Compromising For Your Needs04:12
- 18A Change Must Come04:55
- 19Move From The Hood06:15
Info for Luther's Blues
Arriving as Ruf Records marks its 30th anniversary and more than three decades since blues guitar master Bernard Allison debuted on record, Luther's Blues celebrates the music of Bernard's father Luther Allison, a true legend of the Chicago blues and a central figure in the label's history. The two-disc set features 20 stellar tracks from Bernard Allison, each one a Luther Allison composition previously released on one of Bernard's many albums. Allison himself hand-picked the songs for the collection, which have been lovingly remastered by Pauler Acoustics, a renowned address in the audiophile scene.
Anyone who's ever attended a Bernard Allison concert or listened to his recordings knows how much it means to him to keep his father's musical legacy alive. "I made a promise since day one – to myself and to my mom Fannie Mae Allison – that I’d always include at least one or two of my dad's songs on every album I record," he says. Bernard has delivered on that promise throughout his career, performing Luther's songs both at concerts and on record, while forging a funky and more rock-oriented style that differs from the traditional blues he grew up around. His dad supported him while he was still finding his own musical voice, openly encouraging him to "play it how you feel it" rather than copy what came before.
Thus, on Luther's Blues, you'll hear 20 Luther Allison songs reinvented for the 21st century by a member of the blues generation that followed him. They're not necessarily Luther's most famous tunes; when putting together any new album, says Bernard, he often goes for "songs that were overlooked on each [of my father's albums] and then put my own twist on them."
The track list spans exactly 30 years, from "Hang On" – recorded in Paris in the summer of 1992, when Allison was in his mid-20s – to a pair of cuts from his most recent studio album Highs & Lows, which hit #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart in 2022 and earned a Blues Rock Album of the Year nomination at the Blues Music Awards. His interpretations of enduring Luther Allison-penned tunes like "Bad Love," "Life Is A Bitch" and "Let's Try It Again" are included, and while we may think of these songs as classics today, Bernard Allison has played a huge role in keeping them in our collective consciousness. That's especially true of "Serious," a Luther Allison favorite first released in 1987. His son calls it "that special song that I perform every night" and believes it is his father's most popular song across the world.
The 20-song Luther's Blues is not the first album to pay tribute to the late, great Luther Allison. It's not the first album to bear that simple two-word title. What makes this collection different is that it comes from Luther's own progeny – Bernard Allison, a lifelong musician who soaked up blues traditions during his youth in Chicago, later followed his dad to Europe, became the leader of the Luther Allison Band and eventually made his own way, creating exciting new sounds for a new generation.
All along, he has never once lost sight of where he came from.
Bernard Allison, vocals, guitar
As a true “Son of the Blues”, Bernard possesses the requisite guitar feel and vocal intonations necessary to propel his blues to the next century. He delivers the energy level essential to captivate audiences and indulges showmanship and spontaneity to drive his performance in fresh, innovative directions each night.
“In order for anything to expand, you have to take a risk,” says Bernard. “Blues is about experimenting and getting your feelings across to someone else. And if you want to keep it going, people are going to have to give it all a chance because we’re losing all of our creators. Because I’ve been taking risks on every album I’ve recorded, Chills And Thrills is just a logical progression from everting else I’ve done. Instead of playing rippin’ 12 bar blues guitar over and over, there are bluesy songs, soul, funk, R&B songs and a couple of rock things which shoes the overall musicianship of Bernard Allison.” After 17 years of recording experience, Bernard has perfected his sound. Instead of just using his guitar, Bernard has become the mature artist, who uses the full palate of music colors in his band to paint his stories. If there ever was a CD for all occasions, this is it.
It’s has the chill songs to curl up with on a rainy day, or the thrill music you’ll blast when you are driving late at night. By adding the rhythm guitar of Bernard’s guitar soulmate Eric Gales, every song explodes into a guitar player’s head trip. The title cut opens the record with Bernard’s trademark funk meets blues sound, that signature sound permeates other tunes like “Compromising For Your Need”, “Heart of St. Paul” and “Groove With Me”, Bernard’s treatise on the modernesque blues blues he’ll continue to play around the world. But Bernard ‘s got so much more. On “So Devine” Bruce McCabe’s piano and Jose James’ alto sax steal the show. On “Just Me and My Guitar”, Bernard shows off the frantic slide techniques he learned from Johnny Winter. For slow blues, Bernard and pianist Rusty Hall turn in a first rate guitar and piano performance on “That’s Why I’m Crying”. But any fan of Bernard Allison knows that every show or record comes with one of his fathers songs. Here, Bernard reprises Luther’s 1980s tune “Serious”, played with Bernard’s eerie, Luther-like vocal attack. In addition, Bernard strips “Serious” down to just piano and guitar in his after hours closer.
Amid all the daily pop culture pressures to be the next American Idol , why does Bernard stay rooted in the Blues? “The blues are my roots. Regardless of how far outside of the blues I reach for tones, I can’t ever leave the blues. Whenever I play, all those guitar parts are Luther Allison coming through me. My dad was the same way, he wasn’t all Blues. He loved Otis Redding and Chuck Berry. I’m just showing where my influences come from while respecting the people who got me to this point.” In 2010 Bernard released his 15th album The Otherside. This album showcases Bernard’s own uniques sound that he has developed over the years, a rocking-funky interpretation of the blues. Recorded in Minnesota and produced by David Z, this album has presented as one of Bernard’s all-time greatest releases. The sound on this album is really cool, laid back and relaxed with a special surprise. “Born In The Boyou” is a song Bernard and sung and guitar playing with the legendary Lonnie Brooks. The Brooks family is very close to Bernard’s heart and this is a special tribute to the blues man Bernard also admires. The Otherside is a thoroughly enjoyable album in itself, which should inspire not only the inveterate fans.
Touring is a big part of Bernard Allison and his group of musicians, they tour 150 shows per year and in Bernards own words “Blues is to convey emotions but also it’s about experimenting with different grooves and sounds in relation to me this means: instead of reproducing the familiar patterns over and over again there are bluesy, even soulful, funky and rock interpretations to bring to the blues. That fascination of the sound develops mainly when I’m on stage”. That’s what the Bernard Allison group exhibits on stage at the Jazzhaus DVD recording of Live At The Jazzhous. This album which was recorded and filmed at The Jazzhaus in Freiburg Germany November 2010 and was released in January of 2011 on the Jazzhaus record label. Live At The Jazzhaus is the best product to get an impression of the excellent quality of the Bernard Allison Group. The recording has original compositions of Chills And Thrills, The Otherside and songs written by Bernards father Luther Allison.