REVIEWS

Elvin Bishop - Can't Even Do Wrong Right

No longer Pigboy Crabshaw, Elvin's nomme de guerre as he filled in for Mike Bloomfield's leaving the Butterfield Blues Band, Bishop has always been a wild card / joker amongst blues guitarists. The humorous artwork for Bishop's new album "Can't Even Do Wrong Right" is by Paul Thorn (a great songwriter himself) and the album (possibly his 21st studio recorded album!) is yet another great example of Bishop's greasy juke joint writing, story narrating, playing and singing showcasing 5 originals and 5 covers including "Let Your Woman Have Her Way," which features lead vocals by ex-Jefferson Starship Mickey Thomas reprising his role as guest vocalist since his last appearance with Bishop on the 1975 monster hit "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" (Thomas was a background singer at the time). Bishop throws in a powerful instrumental version of Jimmy Reed's "Honest I Do" and Charlie Musselwhite guests on harmonica on "Old School" and "No More Doggin."

Having played on East West the Butterfield Blues Band's 1966 second released album - Bishop will be forever remembered and revered as having had an important role in transforming rock music from the dreary tip-pan alley regurgitaion of written songs & show tunes with heads, bridges, choruses, intros and codas to a more free-form improvisatory medium that caught up with jazz as an medium that could be re-interpeted on stage and in the studio according the mood of the musicians performning and the feedback of the audience.

Bishop played a Fender Telecaster in his early days but kept breaking strings and exchanged it with Louis Myers, a guitar player who played with the The Aces, Little Walter's original backing band for a Gibson ES-345 (named Red Dog) - Myers found the same string-breaking problem with the Telecaster and asked to swap back again but Bishop refused and has played with the same model ever since. Bishop is renowned for his slide playing and typically plays slide in concert tuning (unlike most slide players). He credits watching Earl Hooker for playing in standard tuning switching from slide to finger playing instantly. " I had seen him play slide and then switch to lead with just his fingers and decided I wanted to play like that."

Bishop continues to tour (see http://elvinbishopmusic.com/event/) and on being asked about his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (April 2015) said: "I didn't realize the Rock Hall was such a big thing. ... The main thing about my life is that I've come from a long line of farmers and nothing was ever expected of me. I don't have anything to live up to, and I've avoided day work for 50 years. So I consider myself a huge success."

— Martin Avery

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