Who was/is Luther Allison ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Even when he was just starting out on Chicago's West Side, Luther Allison understood the value of showmanship. "People like me, Freddie King, Magic Sam, Buddy Guy, we kind of had what the new generation is creating today," said the late Allison. "We walked in (when) these great people like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Little Walter were sitting down on stage, kicking out that good sound. We, the young guys, they gave (us) a chance and at one point (we) said, 'Hey fellas, let's stand up like we do in church when we get happy. Let's show this energy!' Because if you're gonna feel good with the blues, you can't sit down. If you sit down, the audience is gonna want to sit down, and that's not gonna work. If you're gonna play a fast song, why sit down?"
When Chicago stopped being a welcoming homebase, the guitarist first migrated to Peoria, Illinois before chucking it all and settling in Paris. There Allison remained for the most part until 1994, when he came roaring back with a vengeance with his album ‘Soul Fixin' Man,' out on Alligator in the U.S. and in Europe on German manager Thomas Ruf's self-named label. The reenergized Allison's energy levels were higher than ever in concert; he seemed to need to prove himself all over again. "I know that there's no other blues act that can give that intensified four hours on stage at my age, and keep it interesting to the people," he boasted.
The intense minor-key Bad Love was one of the highlights on ‘Soul Fixin' Man.' Allison was on fire vocally as well as on his axe, backed by his co-writer James Solberg on the other guitar, keyboardist Ernest Williamson, bassist Dave Smith, drummer James Robinson, and the Memphis Horns (trumpeter Wayne Jackson and saxist Andrew Love, veterans of countless ‘60s Stax/Volt sessions). The set was produced by Jim Gaines at Ardent Studios in Memphis; he got all Allison had.
"Now I want to know why I can't be on the top with everybody else in the blues," wondered Allison at the start of his astonishing comeback. "Like Dr. John says, 'You got to be at the right place at the right time.' I've been at all the right places. I've been there at all the wrong times. But I think I'm back home at the right time." Galvanizing the blues world with his marathon shows, Allison encored on Alligator in 1995 with ‘Blue Streak' and 1997's ‘Reckless.' He was headed for the stratosphere when he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died August 12, 1997. Son Bernard Allison, a fine guitarist, carries on his dad's blues legacy.