In this day and age, there are precious few bands that have stayed together thirty years, continuously creating, and playing quality music. Blue Lunch hail from Cleavland, Ohio, home to a spirited live music scene. Mentored by friend and neighbor Robert Lockwood Jr., Blue Lunch have earned their stripes playing clubs, bars, and touring for years, always giving people an energetic, exciting performance. They have backed Robert Lockwood Jr., Pinetop Perkins, and many others.
Founded in 1984, they are currently led by harmonica player Pete London. The band is large, having eight members, which is a rarity these days. Being a large band has it’s benefits though, one being the flexibility to add depth and dimension to the music they perform. Blue Lunch Special 30th Anniversary Deluxe Addition will have listeners jumpin’ and jivin’, swingin’ and singin’. The best part of that? There’s a blues backdrop threading through all of it.
The album has 16 tracks, eight of which are live. Sound quality, production, and mix are excellent here, maintaining a crisp, animated feel to the performances. Clocking in at one hour, 30th Anniversary Deluxe Addition gives the listener an opportunity to move and groove for a long time. Our favorites included the opener, an instrumental called “Sideswiped,” that gives the entire band a chance to strut their stuff, and has a sparse but inviting guitar riff complemented by tight horn backing. “Cuttin’ Out” is straight out of 1954, pleasantly reminding us of the great Jesse Stone classic “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” as lovingly played by Bill Haley and His Comets. We loved it! What a great groove. Bob Frank does a wonderful turn on vocals for “Which Way To Go,” a great swing number that is a nod to Cab Calloway, and has the band laying down a ’40s swinging blues vibe that is infectious. Robert Lockwood’s “Little Boy Blue” has a distinct late ’20s, early ’30s Delta juke joint vibe to it, with Bob Frank providing slow, haunting acoustic guitar, and Mike Sands putting down some fine acoustic piano lines. Very nicely done. Sonny Rollins’ “Tenor Madness” gets an interesting run here, with Norman Tischler, Keith McKelly, and Christopher Burge bringing it on sax!
For those who enjoy blues that swings, this is the ticket. Good tunes, well played, and some fine grooves. Check it out soon.