ALBERT COLLINS: THERE'S GOTTA BE A CHANGE (1972)
1) There's Gotta Be A Change; 2) In Love Witcha; 3) Stickin'; 4) Today Ain't Like Yesterday; 5) Somethin' On My Mind; 6) Frog Jumpin'; 7) I Got A Mind To Travel; 8) Get Your Business Straight; 9) Fade Away.
Despite the promising title, the album never lives up to its title, but then, come to think of it, even the title track does not live up to its opening lines: right upon admitting that "There's got to be a change, things just can't stay the same", Albert concedes that "I've played the blues so long, ain't nothing left for me to do — I just can't give it up, if I do, my life will be through". Well... guess we'll just have to live with that.
Some slight change is perhaps visible in that the 12-bar form makes for a more vivid presence than usual (seven minutes of 'In Love Witcha'; the brass-heavy blues-de-luxe of 'Today Ain't Yesterday' and 'I Got A Mind To Travel'), and that Albert's solos rely a bit more on technique and flourishes than usual, which is not nice, a betrayal of individual style, and there is no reason why anyone should choose these performances over, say, Canned Heat.
Much more interesting is the double assault of 'Somethin' On My Mind' and 'Frog Jumpin', especially once the boppy first part jumps into the oddly kiddie-sounding half-ska, half-proto-disco headbanging craze of the second. Alas, all of this is less than four minutes of pure fun compared to the nearly twenty minutes of merely okay electric blues.
The only true highlight, and one definitive song to treasure off this record, is the album closer 'Fade Away', arguably Collins' moodiest number, with a fast-rocking and a slow-paced part, both of them equally well-endowed with apocalyptic overtones. Almost no guitar, but none is needed: emphasis is on the angst-filled vocal melody, danger-warning background female vocals and an overwhelmingly mighty «thunderstorm brass» arrangement. As unbelievable as it is that such a generic album may finish off on such a blast — better believe it, or prepare to be deprived of a deeply buried little masterpiece.