Lucky Peterson – What Have I Done Wrong – The Best of the JSP Studio Sessions
Multi-instrumentalist Lucky cements his position as one of the era’s leading Bluesmen
A protege of Willie Dixon’s he performed at the age of five on the Ed Sullivan show. Acclaimed as a child prodigy, he consolidated his musical skills at Buffalo Academy, before bowing to the inevitable and playing guitar and keyboards for the likes of Etta James. Bobby Bland and Little Milton.
That pedigree is evident in every track here. We hear Lucky evolving from assurance to sheer mastery.
And that’s to say nothing of his singing, songwriting, and band leading skills.
1. After The Dance - 2. Til’ My Dyin’ Day with Andy Aledort - 3. Age Ain’t Noting But A Number - 4. Strange Things Happening Every Day with James Peterson - 5. Lost The Right with Tamara Peterson - 6. What Have I Done Wrong - 7. Never Coming Back - 8. Where’s Lucky with Bernard Allison / Larry McCray / Carl Weathersby - 9. Have You Ever (Could Have Been You) Tamara Peterson with The Lucky Peterson Band - 10. From Me (previously unissued track) - 11. Time To Go (previously unissued track) - 12. Back To Sing The Blues with Tamara Peterson (previously unissued track) - 13. I’m A Lucky Man (previously unissued track) -
Lucky Peterson is a gifted, multi-instrumentalist blues singing phenomenon. His live shows are astoundingly good and his recordings - in the hands of sympathetic producers and collaborators - reflect his quality, talent and depth of experience. He started as a child prodigy in the 1970’s, has flirted with rock-blues and funky stuff and has recorded jazz albums. But it’s the blues which is his love and his series of recordings for JSP are authentic, properly recorded real deal blues with enough of a contemporary ‘feel’ to make the material fresh.
We kick off with Save The Dance and Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, What Have I Done Wrong and Never Coming Back. These four tracks represent the four Lucky Peterson albums. They show that a more ‘acoustic’ style of recording (acoustic bass, the way the drums sound etc) has come into his style. The collaborative approach to the music from label, artist and producers has helped to create a body of work that is dynamic and which has evolved over even the few years taken to produce it.
But not all here is purely Lucky. He has had collaborators and partners. Firstly his father James Peterson and Strange Things Happening is from the album they recorded together with James singing and writing the songs (oh yes, those lyrics…) with Lucky blasting loose as purely an accompanist. Til My Dyin’ Day comes from a fascinating album he recorded with Andy Aledort. The album is the most ‘rock-blues’ Lucky has cut - it’s a guitar lover’s dream, tough playing all the way.
Where’s Lucky is from the Triple Fret album and is an instrumental feature for Lucky’s keyboard which, if you have seen his live show, is a very important part of his music. Fabulous guitar solos come from no less than Bernard Allison, Larry McCray and Carl Weathersby.
But Lucky’s most important collaborator is Mrs Lucky - Tamara Tramell Peterson - a talented producer, songwriter and performer in her own right. Lost The Right and Have You Ever (Could Have Been You) show an artistic progression similar to Lucky’s. She’ll surely develop a longterm career of her own. Tam also joins Lucky on What Have I Done Wrong which is a track which defies categorisation.
There are four previously unissued tracks which bring us to another important collaborator - Bruce Feiner. Bruce is a songwriter, producer and sax player who’s the producer and often the songwriter of the earlier tracks here. All four tracks are superlative - they must have got lost in the shuffle somewhere or were done for future projects. Time To Go is particularly atmospheric with some amazing guitar. Back To Sing The Blues is a Tam vocal although the other female guest vocals on the Bruce Feiner tracks are Mary Taylor (whose own much misunderstood JSP album is worthy of some critical re-evaluation).
After deciding to record in his home town of Dallas, Lucky recruited Steve Washington who proved to be a talented producer and songwriter. His instinct for original material and fresh approaches and his sensitivity to the sounds of the 50’s/60’s meant that he became a vital member of the creative team.
The phrase ‘body of work’ is often used. Well. All this is a deep, fat, funky body of work that defines seamlessly the best of old and new approaches.
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