Linsey Alexander

Linsey AlexanderBeen There Done That
Delmark Records

Been There Done That is a sensational recording by bluesman Linsey Alexander who has worked the clubs of Chicago since moving there from Mississippi in the 1950s. It is his debut on the Delmark label, though he has released a number of solo efforts on smaller labels that probably did not get the attention out of the Windy City that this masterful artist truly deserves. Alexander is not about flash. He is not a guitarist that is going to strike out as many notes as he can in little time. This is tasty blues done right, being played by a well-toned band that completely shines on each and every track, including some well-known Chicago artists such as guitarist Mike Wheeler, keyboardist Roosevelt Purifoy and on three selections harmonica ace Billy Branch. There is also a lot of emphasis provided to the music by the LA Horns.

The music is straight forward and filled with emotion and often a little tongue-in-cheek humor. Alexander works to perfection the collaboration between his voice and the band. He throws in dashes of soul and funk with the blues, but regardless it all comes across as Chicago blues as you’ve come to know and love.

All but one of the dozen tracks had Alexander’s hand as part of the songwriting. The lone exception being Willie Kent’s number “Looks Like It’s Going To Rain,” a true highlight on the album as he pays tribute to his good friend who passed away in 2006, with The LA Horns bringing the song to life alongside Alexander’s guitar. Other tracks of note have to include “Big Woman” where he playfully sings about his over-sized girl-friend who he has to take to Lake Michigan to give her a bath and because he couldn’t buy a Cadillac she would fit into, had to buy a bus instead. But he still loves her as she “smells like butter, but tastes like cream.” Billy Branch and Roosevelt Purifoy are superb alongside Alexander’s guitar on the opening “Bad Man.” The three of them blend nicely without ever stepping on one another. The soulfulness of “Been There Done That” has a flavor that makes it sit right beside some of the very best songs of Little Milton or Johnnie Taylor. But to be honest, I cannot find a single track on this disc I do not enjoy.

Been There Done That is without doubt an album that brings out the very best of the blues. A guitarist and vocalist of top shelf form who has put in more than half a century developing his craft that absolutely excels. Double thumbs up to Delmark for bringing yet another over the top Chicago musician to the forefront. Highly recommended!

Total Time: 62:37

Raffle Ticket / Bad Man / Been There Done That / I Had A Dream / Looks Like It’s Going To Rain / My Mama Gave Me The Blues / Going Back To My Old Time Used To Be / The Same Thing I Could Tell Myself / Big Woman / Going Up On The Roof / I’m Moving / Saving Robert Johnson