Boogie Chile

Long Blue Night (Front Porch Blues)
Chris Vincent

By Jeff Kallman

Chris Vincent sounds and sings as though he studied at the feet of John Lee Hooker and Son House themselves - unaccompanied electric guitar boogie, shuffle, and stomp blues, all of it his own compositions. But Vincent is also striving to forge his own voice within that tradition and, with Long Blue Night, he shows he just might get there one of these days.

For now, he is merely letting it fly and it flies very nicely. Even with no accompaniment other than his shakedown electric guitar style and a beat off his hand and his foot, Vincent sounds as though he can get a small crowd dancing almost at will. And even when he loosens up and lets the odd meters and extra or dropped bars play, there's no noticeable loss of groove. You can picture anything from the back porch to the street corner to the back room in Vincent's phrasing and guitar playing, and you'd be right on all accounts.

Not that he's merely an electric boogieman - "Pearline" is delivered on acoustic guitar with a Son House-inspired attack, right down to the rise-up slide chord which ends it. "Miss Your Water" is a quiet, melancholy blues ballad you might almost imagine to have been cut when the night was dry, the tracks trainless, and the soul crying softly down the railside trying to make sense of things which cannot always be made sense of. "Farewell Blues" goes likewise, with a few extra slide flourishes but nothing distracting or out of place, and Vincent delivers one of his best vocals here. And "On My Side Blues" has him trading his guitar for a banjo for a jaunty, shaggy turn with a playfully ironic vocal.

Vincent is off to a marvelous start with this album. Here's hoping he does not just stand pat, although this is a debut of which to be hugely proud.