Guitarist Billy Flynn has played with Jimmy Dawkins, Sunnyland Slim, The Legendary Blues Band, Mississippi Heat and the Cash Box Kings. He recorded with Bryan Lee, Willie Kent, Snooky Pryor, Big Bill Morganfield, Jody Williams, Billy Boy Arnold, Mark Hummel, Kim Wilson and many others. Flynn also has ten albums of his own including 2009’s two cd “Blues Drive” on Land O’ Blues Records.
Some of Flynn’s more recent accomplishments include playing on the soundtrack of the movie “Cadillac Records”. Writing a song “I Would Like To Have a Girl Like You” that appeared on the 2011 Grammy winning album “Joined At The Hip” by Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. He was also part of The Living History Band and appears on both of the Chicago Blues A Living History albums; and also on The Muddy Waters 100 project playing both guitar and mandolin. Although Flynn appears as a sideman on many Delmark recordings this is his first album as band leader.
The band includes Flynn, guitar, harmonica, percussion, and vocals; Roosevelt Purify, piano, Rhodes, and organ; E.G. McDaniel, bass; and Andrew “Blaze” Thomas, drums. Guesting is Doug Corcoran, trumpet; Christopher Neal, tenor sax; Dave Katzman, rhythm guitar; and vocalist Dietra Farr. The album is co-produced by Dick Shurman, Steve Wagner and Flynn.
All of the tracks except for one were written by Flynn. “Good Navigator” is the first of sixteen originals; Flynn is joined by Farr for a vocal duet on this and again on “Hold On”. Flynn plays some great guitar on the former and plays some harp on the latter. The horn section of Corcoran, trumpet; and Neal, tenor sax; add to the excitement.
“If It Wasn’t For The Blues”; “Long, Long Time”; and especially on “The Right Track” Purifoy is featured on piano.
The title Track “Lonesome Highway” is a passionate vocal from Flynn. However my favorite vocal from Flynn is on “Sufferin’ With The Blues…today”.
“Small Town” features the lyric “fell in love right off that country road”. Flynn plays slide here and on “Jackson Street”. On the latter he is also on harp.
“The In Crowd” was a soul Jazz hit single by The Ramsey Lewis Trio in 1965. The instrumental cooks from start to finish. The sound of Flynn’s guitar is almost psychedelic. The horns punctuate “Never Had a Chance” with its slightly reggae or rock steady beat.
Corcoran’s trumpet comes in half way through “Lucky Kind” and it gives the song a “South of The Border” or Tijuana Brass type sound. “I Feel ‘Um” features Neal’s tenor sax and Flynn’s funky guitar and vibrato. “Blues Express” is an instrumental featuring the horns and “Blaze” Thomas’ big time beats. “Christmas Blues” is the melancholy tune that closes out this fine album once again featuring Neal on sax.
Flynn is an impressive guitarist, passionate singer and songwriter who has to be heard. Check out this fine new album.