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Pat Travers: Blues On Fire

Album Review

Back to the blues of the 1920s.

Although he found fame in the 1970s as a hard-rock guitarist, the music of Canadian Pat Travers has always enjoyed a solid grounding in the blues. In older age, those influences grew ever more pronounced.

Travers’s latest album offers electrified renditions of songs first recorded acoustically by such 1920s visually challenged originals as Blind Blake, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Willie McTell and Blind Boy Fuller. Even Pat can’t resist cracking a mild gag about their names in his sleeve notes (“I wonder whether they bumped into each other very much back then?”). 

Blind Blake’s Black Dog Blues kicks things off with a display of ZZ Top-esque grit, with Back Water Blues adhering stoically to the genre’s template thanks to some searing guitar stabs and the lyric of a house ‘high on a lonesome hill’. Meanwhile, Bessie Smith’s jazzy Nobody Loves You When You’re Down And Out is an undoubted crowning moment. 

Seeking woe-inspiring, liquor-fuelled odes to cheating, hard-loving women that crush the listener’s heart by leaving town after midnight on a lonesome train? Then look no further.

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