ALBERT COLLINS: COLD SNAP (1986)
1) Cash Talkin' (The Workingman's Blues); 2) Bending Like A Willow Tree; 3) A Good Fool Is Hard To Find; 4) Lights Are On But Nobody's Home; 5) I Ain't Drunk; 6) Hooked On You; 7) Too Many Dirty Dishes; 8) Snatchin' It Back; 9) Fake ID.
Albert's last album for Alligator is sometimes decried for finally falling prey to Eighties' production excesses, but, honestly, all it takes to hush down the detractors is play it back to back with Eric Clapton's August, released at about the same time. Yes, there seems to be some electronic echo effects forced on the drummer, but that's about the total extent — you can deduce the decade, but there are no significant attempts to «modernize» (i. e., «sterilize») neither the sound of Albert himself, nor that of his backing band.
The real problem is that it is simply more of the same: Ice Pickin' Vol. 4. (You kinda sorta begin to get the idea when you line up all four LPs and start looking at the album sleeves in succession). Only two of the tracks merit separate commenting. 'I Ain't Drunk (I'm Just Drinkin')' says it all in the title: as old as its Chuck Berry-spin-off-dance-blues groove may be, it is a fun tune to have lying around when you need justification for alcohol intake. And on the near-obligatory gimmick performance 'Too Many Dirty Dishes', the Master aptly coerces the Telecaster into imitating the sounds of scrubbing pots, pans, and glasses, as he is mumbling stuff like "You wait 'til that woman get home, I'm scrappin' all these pots for her" under his nose. As usual, it is not so much hilarious as it is mildly amusing, but all the sound effects are cool, in a hard-to-understand way.
Of the other tunes, the best instrumental performances are on the rocking album opener 'Cash Talkin' and on the more rocking album closing instrumental 'Fake ID' — but it is nothing we have not heard before. The horns work well on the lengthy blues-de-luxe of 'Lights Are On' and not so well on the way-too-poppy 'Hooked On You'. Frankly, I cannot even begin to discern whether the band sounds tired or inspired — they've been at it so long now, it seems like in 1986 Albert was able to achieve this kind of level while sleepwalking. Which is admirable and terrifying at the same time.
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