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VCV: Lurrie Bell – “My Love Will Never Die”

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I feel just like David Bowie.  No, I don't dress in drag, I'm not afraid of Americans, and sadly I can be called white but not thin nor Duke.  I mean, somebody up there likes me.

This is a match made in heaven.  Whoever put this together should put themselves down for a serious bonus.  Take one of my favorite blues players (Otis Rush) and one of my favorite Otis Rush songs ("My Love Will Never Die") and have one of the best contemporary bluesmen cover it (Lurrie Bell).  This is a combination created just for me.   It's better than that, though.  The responsible parties for this didn't just take a great Otis Rush song and ask Bell to cover it.  A baseball analogy comes to mind to describe the wonderfulness of this; someone left a fastball out over the plate and Lurrie hits it all the way to east Hell.

"My Love Will Never Die" was one of the most passionate, intense declarations Rush ever recorded.  There are plenty of bluesmen who could generate the intensity and plenty more who could deliver the passion and romance.  There aren't many bluesmen who can deliver all of it simultaneously.  Rush did.  Bell does, relying on his still powerful voice.   The song doesn't call for an extended guitar solo, so fans of Bell's fretwork are slightly shortchanged, although not left out in the cold altogether.  "My Love" gives Bell a chance to flex his interpretive singing muscle and — I hate to continue with sports metaphors — he parks it.

There's always a risk, no matter how great an artist is, to taking on a song that has already been fully realized.  Beatles' covers suck.  No one wants to hear anyone sing a song Frank Sinatra already sang.  You don't mess with that — except that it's true that sometimes rules are made to be broken.  The greatness of the Rush version doesn't make it impossible for another artist to be great, nor is his greatness diminished by Lurrie Bell rising to that level with the same song.  Greatness is still a rare commodity and both of these versions are to be cherished.

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About Josh Hathaway

  • http://dagoddess.com Joanie

    There’s a reason Lurrie’s nominated this year. And you’ve placed the hammer directly upon nailhead here.

  • Josh Hathaway

    Yeah, Joanie, there are many reasons Lurrie is up for awards this year. I’m really torn between he and Ronnie Earl for Guitarist of The Year. I love ‘em both as players so very much. It’s a good thing they are both nominated in different places. I have to find ways to get them both votes on my ballot!