Born in Widener, Arkansas in 1939, Luther Allison (the 14th of 15 musically gifted children) first connected to the blues at age ten, when he began playing the diddley bow (a wire attached by nails to a wall with rocks for bridges and a bottle to fret the wire).
His family migrated to Chicago in 1951, and Luther began soaking in the sounds of Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Robert Nighthawk. He was classmates with Muddy Waters’ son and occasionally stopped in the Waters’ house to watch the master rehearse. It wasn’t until he was 18 already in Chicago for seven years that Luther began playing blues on a real guitar and jamming with his brother Ollie’s band.
By 1957, Allison had dropped out of school and formed a band called The Rolling Stones. Unhappy with the name, they became The Four Jivers, gigging all over the West Side of Chicago. Before long, Luther was jamming with the West Side’s best, including Magic Sam, Otis Rush, and Freddie King, who encouraged Allison to sing. “That,” said Allison, “was my school.” When King began to tour nationally in the early 1960s, Allison took over King’s band as well as his weekly gigs at Walton’s Corner and became one of the hottest acts on the West Side.
For five years, Allison honed his craft. He moved to California for a year and cut sides with fellow Chicagoans Shakey Jake Harris and Sunnyland Slim. He cut his first two songs as a leader on the now-classic Delmark anthology Sweet Home Chicago before releasing his first solo album (also on Delmark), Love Me Mama , a record of hard-hitting blues that spoke to the growing rock audience. But even before his debut album came out, Luther landed a headlining spot at the influential Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1969, and went from relative unknown to major blues-rock attraction. “His guitar riffs seemed to defy the possible,” raved John Fishel, the program director of the festival, who brought Allison back to perform at the following two festivals.
Allison signed with Motown Records in 1972 as the label’s only blues act. His three records for the Gordy subsidiary led to numerous concert dates and both national and international festival appearances, but domestically, interest in the blues was fading. After finding instant acceptance in Europe, he was convinced that Paris was the place to be. While he gained superstar status in Europe and released a dozen European records, his presence in the American music scene diminished.by Chip Eagle
1. Luther's Blues (L. Allison, Traditional) - 6:18
2. SomeDay Pretty Baby (Berry Gordy Jr., James Wookley) - 2:40
3. Easy Baby (Willie Dixon) - 5:17
4. Part Time Love (Janie Bradford, Clay Hammond, Richard Wylie) - 2:43
5. Now You Got It (L. Allison, Gary Beam, Walter Block, Kenneth George Mills) - 3:38
6. Kt (L. Allison) - 3:07
7. Let's Have A Little Talk (L. Allison) - 7:04
8. Driving Wheel (Roosevelt Sykes) - 5:34
9. Into My Life (L. Allison) - 3:30
10.San-Ho-Zay (Freddie King, Sonny Thompson) - 5:20
11.Bloomington Closing (Early Version) (L. Allison) - 5:27
12.Medly: I'm Gonna Miss My Baby/Bad News Is Coming?The Thrill Is Gone (L. Allison, J. Peraino, P. White, R. Hawkins, R. Darnell) - 19:10
*Luther Allison - Guitar, Harmonica, Slide Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Babbitt - Bass
*Gary Beam - Bass
*Gene Block - Guitar
*Tom Curry - Keyboards, Organ, Piano
*Ray Goodman - Guitar
*K.J. Knight - Drums
*Andrew Smith - Drums
*Paul White - Keyboards, Organ, Piano