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Gerald McClendon CD

by James Porter

Singer Gerald McClendon and producer Twist Turner may have met their match with each other. McClendon is a local soul singer who has gigged above and beyond the usual blues venues, having played everywhere from private parties to rock ‘n’ roll fantasy camps, in a multitude of styles. Twist Turner originally became prominent in the ‘70s, playing drums behind a who’s who of blues acts -- including Junior Wells, Little Arthur Duncan, Eddie Shaw, Byther Smith, Eddy Clearwater, Dave & Louis Myers, Wild Child Butler and many more -- on Chicago's South and West sides. Since then, he's expanded his resume to include label owner, songwriter and producer. Turner plays all four roles on McClendon's new album. 

        McClendon's newest is right in line with the latter-day releases of Otis Clay -- classic soul music on the edge of the blues without relying on synthesizers or electronic drums. While McClendon obviously has the versatility and experience to sing almost anything, it's evident that soul remains at the root of his sound. He's met halfway by Turner, who penned all twelve songs, performed by a band whose names should be familiar from the credits of other recent blues records, including sax players Skinny Williams and John Brumbach; guitarists Herb Walker, Joe Burba and Mark Wydra; keyboardists Roosevelt Purifoy, Ariyo and Brian James. The solid rhythm section is Twist Turner on drums and bassist Art Love.

McClendon begs, pleads, testifies and croons his way in and out of various women's bedrooms. Locks are changed on doors while McClendon steps out for the evening; in one song, a lady threatens him at knifepoint and gunpoint if he's ever caught in the act. When he wants a little bit of fun for one night, he asks one woman to consider him Mr. Wrong before Mr. Right shows up. While he does his share of slipping around, there's always a glimmer of hope that the relationship will withstand any trials. If you need a shot of Grown Folks Music, McClendon has the right amount of hard-won wisdom to put these lyrics across.

For info or to buy the music:

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