Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials 

Rattleshake (Alligator)

When the blues came up to Chicago after WW II, the music may have urbanized, but it was never really civilized. The brash, raucous Delta sound fit right in with its new ghetto digs. The newfound amplification blasted forth from South and West Side bars with an attitude that challenges rockers even today. Bands with authentic ties to that time and place get harder and harder to find, and ones with the power and drive to knock your socks off are rarer still. It's part of what makes screamin' slide guitarist and balls-out blues shouter Lil' Ed Williams and his boys so special. They cook down-home boogie to the boiling point, stewing blues that'll raise the roof.

What's immediately impressive about Rattleshake, Ed's sixth release, is the sense of "live" excitement and edge that these studio tracks convey. Thanks to fine studio production, the fire the foursome typically generates on the bandstand translates nicely. The blue-collar blues that Williams picked up from his uncle and mentor, Chicago slide legend J.B. Hutto, is dosed here with rock energy and laced with Ed's idiosyncratic lyrics, as on the classic "Icicles in My Meatloaf." This just might be the best blues disc of the year.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Speaking of CD Review

More by Duane Verh

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays