Luther Allison: Life Is a Bitch

Rating: 4.2/10
Rated as: Album
Album Status: for Fans
Released: 1984
Specific Genres: Soul Blues, Electric Blues
Main Genre: Blues
Undertones: Blues Rock, Chicago Blues
Label: Encore !

1 Backtrack 2 Life Is a Bitch 3 Reaching Out 4 Parking Lot 5 Serious 6 Just Memories 7 Should I Wait 8 Let’s Try it Again 9 We’re on the Road

Same old nightclub, same old show

I tend to rate blues records in answer to the question: Why should I listen to this specific record now, as opposed to any given other one by that (or a similar) artist? Are the vocals especially expressive? Is the guitar more stunning/subtle/powerful/soulful than elsewhere? Does it have just that one fabulous song? Is it historically comprehensive (compilations)? Is it a turning point (good or bad) for the artist? And so on.

While the material here is a well-done mix of blues, rock and soul (check out the Redding-esque „Just Memories“, thoroughly screwed up by a lounge saxophone solo) with the echo-y clean touches of a 1980s production (never good for blues in my opinion, but be my guest), I find no answer to any of the questions above. Allison here is most convincing when he leaves the goofy „band-on-the-road“-concept permeating the album as well as the period-pleasing boogie blues rock behind and leans heavily into his trademark soulful blues guitar – this easily makes the slow blues burner „Let’s Try It Again“ the best track but of course can’t save the whole affair.

P.S. This was originally recorded and issued in France (Encore!Mélodie) and many later issues come with „Show Me a Reason“ as additional track B3 (8), which is also on the otherwise identical US-re-issue called Serious. The CD usually comes with yet another additional ending track called „Funky T-Shirt“.