Can’t Even Do Wrong Right
Elvin Bishop first came to my attention as a member of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He appears on the first three Butterfield albums and left in 1968 to form the Elvin Bishop Group. In 1974 Bishop released the album “Let It Flow” on Capricorn Records. A single “Travelin’ Shoes” received considerable airplay. In 1975 Bishop followed with “Struttin My Stuff”. The single from that album “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The singer, with Bishop’s band, on that song was Mickey Thomas.
From 1988 until 1998 Bishop released four albums on Alligator Records including 1995’s “Ace in The Hole”. In 2005 Bishop released “Getting My Groove Back” on Blind Pig Records. From 2008 until 2011 he recorded for Delta Groove Records. His latest studio album is 2010’s “Red Dog Speaks”. He has a total of 18 studio albums and five live recordings. Bishop recently resigned with Alligator Records, this is his 19th studio recording. The cover art is by Paul Thorn.
The band today includes Bishop, guitar and vocals; long time member Ed Earley, trombone; Steve Willis, piano, and accordion; Bobby Cochran, drums; Ruth Davies, bass; and Bob Welsh, vocals, guitar, organ, piano, and bass. Earley, Willis, and Cochran are also background vocalists. Welsh is co-producer with Bishop and Steve Savage.
Bishop is a great guitarist, vocalist and producer but simply put he is a great entertainer. On all of his albums or even when performing Bishop displays an Esprit de corps, an “enthusiasm, devotion and reverence for the honor of the group”. It is felt by his audience.
Bishop has written five new songs for this album. The opening track is a hilarious tune about a pot smoking burglar who “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right” and falls asleep on the couch during the robbery. “Old School” was co-written with Willie Jordan and features Bishop on slide guitar. Welsh is on bass. “Let Your Woman Have Her Way” is beautifully sung by Bishop’s old friend Mickey Thomas. This time Welsh is on organ. If you’re happily married you can immediately identify with this one.
“Everbody is in the Same Boat” is about us aged “enjoy the ride, roll with the flow, get off your fat wallet and buy everyone a drink”. Bishop’s guitar and Willis’ piano highlight this fun tune. “Dancin’” is almost a polka, as Bishop and Welsh play guitar and Willis plays accordion.
Bishop is not afraid to include covers on his albums. As a Blues fan I love to learn and I find that artists like Bishop or The Nighthawks are more palatable because of their reverence to others. The Blues has its tradition. That’s the whole idea.
“Blues with a Feeling” is the Little Walter tune originally recorded in 1953. Willie Dixon was on bass. Bishop’s version features himself on slide guitar while Welsh plays piano. Welsh and Bishop are connected at the hip. The albums credits are vague but Kid Anderson may have added some guitar here.
“No More Doggin’” was sung by Rosco Gordon in 1952. Gordon was a Memphis R n’B singer and co-authored this tune with Jules Bihari, the owner of Modern Records. Bishop reminds me of the tradition that supersedes us. “Honest I Do” is an instrumental authored by Ewait Abner the owner of Vee-Jay Records who recorded both John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed. Willis is featured on accordion.
Bishop enjoys getting hokey on “Bo Weevil” written by Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. Willis shines on accordion. “Hey Ba Ba Re Bop” is a big band tune popularized by Lionel Hampton.
This arguably might be the best Bishop in years. Being on Alligator is like going home again. Bishop is among our best entertainers.