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Robert Lockwood Jr. 

The Legend Live (MC Records)

There's no finer way to experience Robert Lockwood than in an intimate setting such as this. The mix from the stage is just right, the crowd is casual but attentive, and the man is in top-notch form; The Legend Live is a resounding success.

Of the handful of blues artists whose careers have stretched six-plus decades, few if any have delivered work of this vitality in their later years. The 88-year-old Lockwood still boasts a voice that's strong, playing that's crisp and clean, and a sly sense of humor with his audience.

Hearing Lockwood up close provides a one-of-a-kind tutorial in the development of the blues, delivered by an artist who provides one of the strongest links between country and urban styles. His mastery of the Delta sound and his flair for sophistication are grounded in the work of his fiery and skillful mentor, Robert Johnson. Lockwood's renditions of Johnson gems such as "Love in Vain" and "From Four Until Late" are a real gift. If you don't own any Lockwood discs, this one would be an excellent start.

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