Soul Blues classic features bass and production by Bill Laswell, rock solid drums by 20-year Parliment-Funkadelic alumnus Jerome "Bigfoot" Brailey, and horn arrangements and flute of Henry Threadgill, and material from Sly Stone to James Brown to Mick Jagger. Lucky Peterson seems to have set fire to the past with Black Midnight Sun a molten slab of unusual and, dare we say it, slightly twisted updates of a fistful of electric blues, rock, soul and funk classics. Laced with alternating flashes of dark introspection and spiritual redemption, a good deal of the music here almost perfectly encapsulates, given the tumultuous chain of world events of the last two years, the mixture of uneasiness and expectation so prevalent in today's political and socio-economic climates.
Lucky Peterson Guitar, Organ, Electric Piano, synthesizer, amp; Vocal Bill Laswell Bass Jerome "Bigfoot" Brailey Drums Henry Threadgill Horn Arrangements Alex J. Harding, Graham Haynes, Jesse Dulman amp; Henry Threadgill Horns
Guitarist-organist-singer Peterson shatters the boundaries of blues to make his finest album. First, theres the sound: crystalline, enveloping, and beat-conscious thanks to producer and bassist Bill Laswell. Then there are the stories, which range from Petersons take on the two-timing "Jody" yarns that run through southern blues to the hard-edged contemplation of prejudice "Is It Because Im Black." His taste in covers is great, too, from a New Orleans funk version of the overlooked Muddy Waters anti-war gem "Herbert Harpers Free Press News" to obscure soul demigod Howard Tates "Shes a Burglar" to Sly Stones "Thank You for Talkin to Me Africa." And jazz genius Henry Threadgill's flute helps Peterson transform Howlin Wolfs "Smokestack Lightnin" into an ethereal psychedelic trip. Best of all, though, is the sheer visceral quality of Petersons performances. His singing is strong, confident, and low-pitched, and his guitar is especially artful and gritty, finally matching the power of his organ virtuosity. Put this one on 2003s "best-of" list. --Ted Drozdowski