I knew Lurrie Bell before he sat in with Nick Moss & The Flip Tops for their second Live at Chan's set but something about the way Bell, Moss, and the Flip Tops united for the two shows captured for that album stood out for me and I've become an even greater admirer of Bell since.
He reminds me a lot of my blues hero Otis Rush not only for his ability to combine soul and Chicago blues but also for the way he does it as a vocalist. Bell was blessed with a natural depth and richness to his voice but he has developed through the years and is able to convey pain, warmth, passion, and anguish simultaneously or separately. That special hybrid of soul and pure blues is on full display on "Turn To Me" from the grand triumph that is Let's Talk About Love.
In addition to some great pipes, Bell has sweet chops as a guitarist. Rush is again a great point of reference. The two men aren't twins and Bell is not at all derivative but there is a companionship between the music of the two men. Bell's stinging, echo-laden lead lines sounds huge but never empty.
Part of that is because of the smoldering rhythm beneath but the majority of the force and impact of the sound comes from Bell's mastery. Bell doesn't just play lead in the conventional rock sense of guitar solos or prominent placement of guitar runs. Bell's guitar leads his listeners somewhere. He takes you on a journey by never playing a false note. He's a national treasure and I look forward to whatever he does next. While we wait, pick up a copy of Let's Talk About Love and Live at Chan's Combo Platter 2 and experience it for yourself.