Elvin Bishop is celebrating fifty years of recording with the release Can’t Even Do Wrong Right, his return to Alligator Records. Elvin’s first studio steps were not meek touches to test the water. He was a member of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, one of the three independent bands making a big underground noise in the U.S. during the first days of the British Invasion. In the 1970’s, Elvin Bishop enjoyed solo success with a rootsier rock, scoring a hit with “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”. The track featured future Jefferson Starship vocalist Mickey Thomas on vocals. He heads back into the studio with Elvin on Can’t Even Do Wrong Right to pick up the microphone for the bluesy ballad, “Let Your Woman Have Her Way”… a very good match for Mickey’s soulful vocals. Another good friend shows up on the recording with Grammy-winning harmonica man Charlie Musselwhite. The Blues was part of Elvin Bishop’s life at a young age with the music hanging out in local schoolyards luring in unsuspecting children. Elvin was hooked and began collecting music, using a 1959 National Merit Scholarship to get closer to his heroes by enrolling in the University of Chicago, its campus surrounded on three sides by the South Side black community. Elvin recalls that “the first thing I did when I got there was make friends with the guy that worked in the cafeteria. Within fifteen minutes I was in the Blues scene.’
You cannot turn your back on the success that Elvin Bishop has enjoyed over the years. It is Elvin Bishop himself that keeps butts in seats, however, finding a special niche with the average man that walks through many of his songs. The character is appealing, and has become forever linked with Elvin Bishop the man. He has trademarked wink-and-a nod lyrics that flesh out a guy who tries his hardest; whether he wins or loses is not the point, he gives it his best. Age is in the story line though not as a condition, more a date to be dealt with as you see fit. The common theme with growing older on the album is that it always a surprise when you remember that date or origin. Elvin finger points on the title track, aiming squarely at the lovable loser dude who wins the race only to trip over the finish line, and he shares his secrets to longevity as “Dancin’” with a side of Tex-Mex accordion and guitars. Another trademark for Elvin Bishop is an intelligent humor that hides itself in his story lines like the pictures in the Highlight magazines found in a dentist’s office. His smarts show through in the age-proud claim to ‘don’t send me no e-mail, send me a female’ in “Old School”. This is no I-used-to-walk-ten-miles to school whine as Elvin Bishop grabs age by the balls. It sounds like in his seventy-one years that Elvin Bishop never once cleaned up the blues in “Everybody's in the Same Boat”. The riffs are dirty as Elvin speaks/sings truisms about his own life that are shared experiences of all humanity. It is the advice of a man who has never left a stage without smiles stamped in place from his set, and you can believe him when his says that now is the time cause ‘you ain’t never seen a hearse with luggage on the top’
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