- Lost And Found
- John Long
- Delta Groove Productions
Oh, man, where has John Long been all these years?? We may never know, but now that he’s with us, he’s ours to cherish.
Before there was electric blues, Chicago blues, jump blues, West Coast blues, blues rock… there was (Mississippi Delta) country blues. Leroy Carr, Charlie Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson, Peetie Wheatstraw, Tampa Red and lesser known artists formed the basis of all we know as blues; their extant pre-World War II recordings are a glimpse into history and a continuing treasure trove of great music. In addition to providing us with pleasure, they were a source of inspiration and education for innumerable contemporary blues musicians such as John Hammond, Doug MacLeod, Paul Geremia, Maria Muldaur, Guy Davis, Geoff Muldaur, Paul Oscher, and even Santa Barbara’s own Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan (among others).
Now a new name may be added to the list: John Long, a largely unknown country blues purveyor since the 1960s, finally given the spotlight by Delta Groove. In the 12 songs of this album, all written by him save for one by his brother, Long puts his distinctive and distinguished mark on the early 20th. Century sound. His tenor vocals are smooth, less intense than John Hammond’s but with the same intermittent falsetto emphasis; the Southern accent and intonation are at times reminiscent of Leon Redbone. His guitar virtuosity, both picking and with a slide, is admirable; his harmonica playing is understated but perfectly tasteful.
Accompanied on 3 tracks by pianist Fred Kaplan of the Hollywood Flames, he impresses on every cut, whether the tale features droll humor or poignant loss. If this CD is not nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best Traditional Album of 2006, there simply ain’t no justice.
More than 20 years ago Muddy Waters allegedly lauded Long as “the best young country blues artist playing today.” Well, he’s 20 years older, but he’s still superb. I’ve been playing this CD repeatedly; you will, too.