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Northern Blues NBMO27

Guitarist Eddie Turner was raised in Chicago, where his musical influences ranged from blues through R&B, soul and jazz. While attending college in Colorado in the '70's, he played in a variety of groups including a punk/R&B outfit called the Immortal Nightflames and various Rock 'n roll aggregations (Zephyr, Legendary 4 Nikators) led by the now-fabled team of Tommy Bolin and Candy Givens. Most LB readers probably know him for his more recent work with fellow Denver expatriate (and ex-Zephyr/4-Nikator) Otis Taylor.

Turner half-raps, half narrates Gangster of Love, and his fretwork on this Johnny Guitar Watson chestnut sounds more Hendrix-like than what he does on Hendrix’s own The Wind Cries Mary, which he recasts as an atmospheric folk-rock ballad. He’s less imaginative on Freddy King’s Play It Cool-his chops are admirable, but we’ve already heard far too many rocked out blues covers like this.

Most impressive are the originals. The vocals on Sin evoke a pre Emancipation ring shout, yet the electronically enhanced backing sounds utterly contemporary. Ask Myself Why is yearning and sexy, with an undercurrent of smoldering aggression. Confusion Illusion is a hard-funk workout on which Turner's voice expands into a leonine bellow, and his guitar leads both caress and kick the beat. The set ends with Secret, an aural pastiche that incorporates JB-like rhythm guitar chops, atmosphereic pop-soul sonic swirls, and hip-hop influenced percussion work. It's an ambitious sign-off to a set that showcases Turner as a forward-looking stylist. Blues-rooted yet sufficiently eclectic to please fans of many genres. Purists will cringe, but the open-minded and open eared will find much to savor here.
David Whiteis
Living Blues, March/April 2005



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