Recorded in Montreal by the Canadian Television at 4th July 1997.
"Songs From The Road" documented one of the magic moments of the blues-legend Luther Allison, who dies in 1997. Recorded in Montreal by the Canadian Television at 4th July 1997, only 4 days before he had to cancel his tour, and to come back on stage never again. In a set about nearly 90 minutes (which is documented on CD in nearly the whole length, and the TV-Edition about 56min. on DVD) Luther burns down a real blues-firework for his fans. As he has known, that this concert would be the last documented one.
A blues legend at his best and an essential collectible for his true friends.
My last memory of Luther Allison was on the night of Friday, June 13, 1997. I had driven 1 1/2 hours to see him in New Hampshire and when we hugged goodbye and shook hands, his sweet cologne accompanied me on the car ride home. During that ride, I thought of the three times I'd seen him perform during that week and of how many times I would be part of Luther's magic throughout the ensuing years.
A month later, July of 1997, Luther was diagnosed with the disease that, by August, 1997, would rob the world of a wonderful and gracious man.
Lucky for us, Luther's performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival on July 4th, 1997, was both recorded and filmed by Montreal television. It was one of his last shows as six days later, on July 10th, Luther was handed that devastating news. Yet, he still took the stage that night for his final show in Madison, Wisconsin.
The 80 minutes of music includes 11 Luther standouts like "Cherry Red Wine", his 1996 Song of the Year, "Serious", "Will It Ever Change", and "Move From The Hood", his personal calls to social activism, and "It Hurts Me Too", Luther's usual slide guitar club walk song. Whether stinging slide, piercing single note runs, or blazing string attacks, Allison possessed the touch that married gospel and blues with rock and soul. Because The DVD show was edited down to 56 minutes to fit Montreal television, it showcases seven of Luther's most energetic tunes from the CD. By the second song, "Livin' In The House Of Blues", Luther's begun sweatin'. By the fourth song, "Cherry Red Wine", you'll need to get a towel to dry his face. By the time he voices "Move From the Hood", Luther's solos flow forth like molten lava. As you watch and listen, Luther jumps off the celluloid and captures you in his intimate trance.
A truly amazing performance from a man with only a month to live.
There are musicians who can allow each member of the audience the privilege to enter into the spontaneous, creative process. Luther discovered the rare ability that empowered any spectators willing to join his musical spirit. His intimately passionate performances were as physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining for audience members as for the sweat drenched Allison. He could permit every patron to become one with the messages of his soul, which moved effortlessly between reception of stimuli and conversion into pure, raw, emotional music. For that reason, every Luther performance has been the most draining experience I've ever endured.
His life partner, Rocky Brown, once told me, I still get the chills every time he starts singing".
Famous for his marathon, 4 hour non-stop shows, Luther said is best. "As draining as my shows are, if the audience is doin' their job, I'm not so tired at the end of a night's performance. I'm very spontaneous on stage. Right now if I got the chance to play for three hours, I'll still do it. But I don't want people to program it. To me, if it happens, it's a bonus man! I tell the people, you've paid for the first 90 minutes. Anything after that, consider that I'm paying for it."
Luther taught each of us many lessons; perseverance, acceptance, redemption, triumph, unrequited friendship, and generous, overwhelming love. His most enduring lesson, however, may be the message to live our lives in the precious present. To hold his precious present, Luther assaulted endings. Every night he battled the performer's enemy, curfews and closing times. He extended encores for hours as one song became five became ten. He fought to keep club lights on until every fan had been personally touched. It was these exquisite moments Luther never ignored. His final message to us all was "Leave your ego, play the music, love the people." We need to remember how warm his heart was to all. We need to remember he saw only people, no color difference. We need to live our lives and conduct our affairs remembering his final words.
Thomas Ruf, Luther's dear friend and owner of Ruf Records, sums up the loss best, "The Blues lost a true hero. Luther had the unique ability to pull new fans in to the blues."
Whenever I left a Luther show, I wished I could see the experience over and over again. Songs From The Road is the ultimate celebration of Luther Allison's powerful message to the world.
Art Tipaldi - Contributing Editor of Blues Revue and BluesWax and the author of the book Children Of The Blues, Profiles of 49 Blues Musicians, including Luther and Bernard Allison.
- Cancel My Check
- Living In The House Of The Blues
- What Have I Done Wrong
- Will It Ever Change
- You Can, You Can
- There Comes A Time
- (Watching You) Cherry Red Wine
- Low Down And Dirty
- It Hurts Me Too
- Cancel My Check (DVD)
- Living In The House Of The Blues (DVD)
- Will It Ever Change (DVD)
- You Can, You Can (DVD)
- (Watching You) Cherry Red Wine (DVD)
- Low Down And Dirty (DVD)
- It Hurts Me Too (DVD)
- Move From The Hood (DVD)