A voice stilled too soon
Big Leon Brooks was one of thoese all-too-common figures in the blues not appreciated in life, mostly forgotten in death. This reissue of his only album, recorded in 1980 for B.O.B. Records, shows that Brooks deserved far greater success than he ever found.
Brooks, who died of heart failure in 1982 at the age of 48, was a first-rate harmonica player and a convincing singer. His Chicago blues is delivered with passion and pride. His songwriting is original, with catchy leads and themes that lend themselves to extended improvisation. His tone on harp is big and full. His solos here are restrained, but creative. His baritone voice had a fine range and great warmth.
All in all, he possessed a unique, recognizable sound.
The backing band here was outstanding. Guitarist Louis Myers is a Chicago institution, as is pianist Pinetop Perkins. The combination of outstanding musicianship and strong material allowed Brooks to put his best foot forward, resulting in as fine an album of electric blues as you'll find. The only drawback is the sad knowledge that this was the only album recorded by an underappreciated artist.
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