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L.A. Beat

Doc MacLean brings the blues back to the basics

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It was a great week for all kinds of blues music. While Grady amped up the blues rock, Nov. 23,  Doc MacLean took the blues back to its roots, Nov. 24Doc MacLean brought the blues back to the roots. Photo by Richard Amery at the Slice.

MacLean, who was here last October with Big Dave McLean, was on his own, this time playing his battered National steel guitar and another ancient acoustic.

 He told a story about running away from home as a teen “searching for old bluesmen,” and befriending Reverent Curly Brown, who passed on his songs to MacLean, saying “these are your songs now.” And then he played a pretty cool gospel flavoured number.

As usual, he played some impressive fingerpicking, told stories and howled the blues like a tortured soul.

 He played a couple new songs and some crowd favourites from his Narrow House CD including “Charley James’ Blues,” a moving version of “Bone Train,” which was accompanied by a story about how small town history is being erased with the loss of grain elevators and small town post offices.

 He spoke to the small but attentive audiences like they were old friends, played intense open G tuned Delta blues and  told entertaining stories, including singing/ speaking the intro to crowd favourite “Johnson Terraplane.”
 He ended his first set with a heart wrenching version of “Angola Prison Blues.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 01 December 2010 12:00 )  
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