When it comes to the Hammond B3 organ and that shoutin' singing voice of his, Lucky Peterson is one cookin' motherfucker and shows it only seconds into this first-ever highly personal/personable documentation of the cat in concert. No sooner does he jump on the stage than he's wailing away, singing his heart out, and jiving down with a hot-to-trot backing band…but that ain't all, 'cause the guy knows how to wrangle a guitar as well, as any self-respecting blues connoisseur is more than aware, and ain't afraid to be the showman to boot, jumping into the crowd, sitting among 'em, and playing his brains out. In fact, when it comes to legendry about warbling and dancing out of the womb, Peterson's the guy they were talking about. He was not only performing at the age of 5 but also had an LP issued on that very premise and even appeared on the nationally televised Soul! program. At 6, he was on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and What's My Line?. More, his pop owned a blues club and no less a god than Willie Dixon took Lucky under that big sage wing of his.
As a teenager, the ever-active cat was playing French horn with his school's symphony band and then guitar for Etta James, Bobby Blue Bland, and Little Milton. If anyone's future was written in the stars, it was Judge Kenneth "Lucky" Peterson's. By the time he got to here, he'd appeared on 300 albums. Thus, it's rather astounding that things have taken so damn long for him to get his talented boisterous rear end on DVD, never mind a live context (this is his first live recording!), and Andreas Hommelsheim of Blackbird Music/55 Arts agreed, a musician (and entrepreneur) himself, thus putting together this astounding 3-DVD, 2-CD box. Lucky may have come in late for his full due, but he gets it in spades here. When he picks up the six-string, Lordy lord, someone make sure the ambulances are standing by, people will be going into rapture, 'cause that sonofabitch can burn down both sides.
Live at the 55 catches the entire concert on the first two DVDs, then, on the third, takes you behind the scenes, brings out more songs, conducts interviews, adds in four tracks by rhythm/lead guitarist Shawn Kellerman and the rest of the backing band, and more…for four righteous hours all told. The CDs carry the whole concert and come in handy for road travel so you can sail down the highway amid crankin' blues, but you have to SEE the entire extravaganza as well or you're missing one hell of a lot, as good as being there. His wife, Nubian beauty Tamara Peterson, saunters in, microphone in hand, and things get downright funky, wah-wahed guitar and all, Lucky jumping back behind the organ. Working in tandem, the two more than once grin like the cats that got the cream, and plenty of it.
I've said it several times in this venue: I just don't get it—how is it that it's not even two months into 2013 and all this killer music is screaming out of the labels? Sweet Jay-zus, is the Second Renaissance here already??? With Lucky back on keys, Kellerman is let loose to tear it up on his own guitar, soloing plenty, and proceeds to shake the floorboards on song after song, Lucky laying the background in as Tamara wails and struts, pleading one minute, remonstrating the next, rockin' out, sashaying 'n sassy all on her own or dueting with Lucky, aaaaaand, with all that set up, I'll leave the second half of the gig for you to discover on your own.
But the last surprise? Amazon's carrying the set for less than $28—for 5 discs!—and I'm tellin' you that even the hardest core aficionado is barely going to be able to stand it, there'll be ecstatic heart attacks all over the place, and…uh-oh, why's the room swimming around like a fishbowl? Hoo-boy, someone get them smelling salts over here pronto, I may not make it out the door without 'em. Is the ambulance here yet?
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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