Willie Buck - The Life I Love
Review by Willard Manus

Willie Buck is a singer who's been fighting in the trenches of the Chicago blues scene for some fifty years. Born in Mississippi, influenced by the likes of B.B. King and Big Boy Crudup, Buck arrived in Chicago in 1953 and began playing neighborhood clubs as a teenager. He soon made a name for himself but still had to work a day job to support his family. In 1980 he put together an album on his own Bar-Bare label, with the help of such stellar Chicago bluesmen as Louis and Dave Myers, John Primer, Dimestore Fred and Big Moose Walker. The album had limited distribution and faded from sight, but eventually became something of a collector's item.

Now Delmark has reissued the album, adding five recent songs by Buck (recorded at Robert's 500 Room) to the original twelve numbers on the Bar-Bare release. The result is WILLIE BUCK--THE LIFE I LOVE, a CD that offers up classic Chicago blues in a proud, unadulterated way. Buck's strong, resonant voice shows its range: How Can I Be Nice to You is a slow blues brimming with the pain and resentment of a man whose girl has given him the boot; I Live the Life I Love is a spirited defense of a bluesman's life; Everything's Gonna Be Alright is an uptempo paean to all the good things in life.

If you love the blues, especially classic Chicago blues, THE LIFE I LOVE is without doubt the album for you. (delmark.com)