Here's a fine, almost-new CD that finally caught up with me after slogging its way through the depths of the U.S. mail for the last few weeks.
"Been There Done That" is a crackling good album by the largely unheralded Chicago blues veteran Linsey Alexander, brought to us by Delmark Records, the little Chicago blues and jazz label that never seems to stop finding and recording big talent.
Alexander is another of those still-present, real-deal bluesmen making music the way they brought it from Mississippi to Memphis to Chicago, as Alexander did in the 1950s.
Once again with its recordings of lesser-known but still bright blues lights, Delmark has given us the chance to sit in a Chicago club and hear a fresh voice full of old blues. Alexander kicks this set off with a tough, no-nonsense "Raffle Ticket," featuring some helpful Chicago pals, including Billy Branch on harp and Roosevelt Purifoy on piano and organ.
You can hear in Alexander's deep, rich, gritty vocals that he knows what he's singing about; that he's been carrying this music around in his soul for decades. It's an album mostly sliced from the finest blues cuts, but with a little funk here and there, all with a deep, soulful background. The title track itself is a slow-burning hunk of soul with some sexy horns wrapping around the vocals.
Alexander's guitar work is just as strong as his vocals. His ax weeps, but not always gently -- a perfect foil for his tough vocals. The songs are all Alexander originals, but they all sound like they're carrying 50 years of blues baggage.
If you're in the mood for some tasty, home-fried electric blues, give this one a listen.
Here's a video with a little biographical material added: