ALBERT COLLINS: DON'T LOSE YOUR COOL (1983)
1) Get To Gettin'; 2) My Mind Is Trying To Leave Me; 3) I'm Broke; 4) Don't Lose Your Cool; 5) When A Guitar Plays The Blues; 6) But I Was Cool!; 7) Melt Down; 8) Ego Trip; 9) Quicksand.
This is basically Ice Pickin', Vol. 3, deserving an ever-decreasing volume of innovative reviewing content. The title track, as you may remember, is an old old instrumental from almost three decades ago, and Albert's decision to re-record it is a bit disturbing, indicating a gradual shift into the «elder statesmen» category. Of course, it is twice as long, and the old riffs have lost none of their blockheaded charm, and now they are augmented by about two minutes of blazing solos that prove Albert's adeptness at both minimalism and grand flash, but...
...well, at the very least nobody can accuse the man of losing his cool. Later on, he turns the joke on himself with the novelty number 'But I Was Cool!', which continues the style of 'Don't Go Reaching Across My Plate' from the last record. The novelty includes an "OH SHIIIIIT!" blasted at the top of Albert's lungs if you want a whiff of uniqueness, and the song is really not very funny, but at least it is something to discuss.
The rest is standard fare early-Eighties Collins: 'I'm Broke' is catchy R'n'B, 'When A Guitar Plays The Blues' is burning soul (although, ashamed as I am to admit, Albert's solos on these burning soul numbers never manage to burn up my soul), 'Ego Trip' is well-oiled funk, and 'My Mind Is Trying To Leave Me' is seven and a half minutes of professional, but undistinguished blues-de-luxe. The formula works well, but, unlike AC/DC, Albert never bothers much about coming up with memorable riffs, and his personal arsenal of solo licks, although replenished and repainted on Ice Pickin', has not undergone any further renovations since then.
In the end, 'I'm Broke' is really fun, and 'But I Was Cool!' is annoying, but weird, and it is also nice to see the man stubbornly stick to the old, but fresh and lively playing and arranging style, with none of the early Eighties' fancy-pants soul-killin' production excesses. Thumbs up, automatically, for any album that sounds like this — but recommended more for hardcore blues musicians and technicians rather than anyone else.
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