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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Albert Collins: Love Can Be Found Anywhere


1) Do The Sissy; 2) Collins' Mix; 3) Let's Get It Together; 4) Got A Good Thing Goin'; 5) All About My Girl; 6) Doin' My Thing; 7) Let's Get It Together Again; 8) Ain't Got Time; 9) Turnin' On; 10) Whatcha Say; 11) Pushin'; 12) Stump Poker.

This and the following couple of albums are most readily available today in the form of a 2-CD package called The Complete Imperial Recordings, which makes sense: all three are in a simi­lar style and none of the three would pretend to be a thematically coherent «album» in any sense: Albert Collins may have, through sheer lack of luck (and, perhaps, stinging interest as well), only arrived on the LP market in the era when pop music became to be regarded as art — but he him­self was a traditional type of entertainer above everything else. He had an entertaining formula, and he wasn't proud enough to try and transcend it. As for luck — sooner or later, it was bound to change, and in this case, we have to be grateful to Canned Heat, some of the members of which were as kind as to grab the man by the collar and get him to a proper recording studio and a pro­per contract that would, at last, allow him to switch to larger chunks of vinyl.

Mind you, though, that Collins' formula is not at all thoroughly rooted in the era of his first sin­gles. On the contrary, Love Can Be Found Anywhere has a decidedly modern sound for 1968, as can be seen already from the opening track: 'Do The Sissy' is a jerky funk instrumental that is, in my opinion, as wildly driving as any good number on any James Brown record — with the acknowledged defect of having no James Brown on it (Albert's own 'uh!'s are clearly influen­ced by Mr. Brown, but it takes a little more than just saying 'uh!' to conjure the same spirit), but with the acknowledged advantage of having a fine, expressive lead guitar player that Brown's funk records of the period are in such sore need of. Too bad the two never had a chance to get to­gether (at least, not to my limited knowledge).

When Albert is not being funky all over our asses, he sticks to more old-school R'n'B, e. g. on 'Doin' My Thing', thematically close to the classic 'Green Onions', or the celebratory 'Turnin' On'. Rhythmic patterns may have changed a bit, but not his style: the fav thing to do is still to play short, stinging note clusters that remind one of brief telephone-transmitted replies — conciseness and laconicity incarnate. 12-bar blues is kept to a minimum: the lonely vocal number 'Got A Good Thing Goin' is the only representative (a good one, but nothing spectacular).

The finest guitar work on the album is arguably on 'Pushin', a cool piece of boogie with 1:25 mi­nutes of precise, passionate soloing, after which, for the remaining minute, the baton is passed on to the organ and brass players. The whole thing, due in part to Albert's minimalism, is very much a band affair, and Collins' Texan colleagues are perfectly qualified — bass, organ, brass, every­thing quite professional and well on the level of even Stax-Volt, I'd say. So Love Can Be Found Any­where is a decent find not just for fans of guitar wanking (a thing that Collins never really stooped to, come to think of it), but for any admirer of the good old R'n'B groove of 1968, which, in my humble opinion, no other groove in popular black music has ever managed to outdo since then. Thumbs up.

Check "Love Can Be Found Anywhere" (CD) on Amazon

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