Elvin Bishop

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio

Fun is the key word here. It’s amazing how Elvin Bishop has managed to keep things interesting in a career that now spans more than 50 years. The trio is Bishop on guitar and vocals, Bob Welsh on guitar and piano, and Willy Jordan on vocals and percussion. No bass, but Welsh fills that slot with his guitar when needed.

Lots of kinds of blues are covered here. It’s rootsy and raw but still holds together perfectly. Lyrically subjects like politics (“Keep On Rollin’”), time spent playing the blues (“100 Years Of Blues”), and food (“That’s What I’m Talkin’ About”) get the always clever treatment from Bishop.

His playing is subtle throughout. Check out his big, bluesy solo on the last tune mentioned above. Or, the sweet slide on the instrumental “Southside Slide” that incorporates numerous blues melodies that you may recognize. Or the tasty solo in the boogie tune “Honey Babe.”

One would have to say Bishop’s constant reinventing of himself is amazing given how long he’s been in the business. But as this record and every step he’s taken in his career reveals, he’s instantly recognizable as Elvin Bishop. And that’s about as good a thing as you can say about any musician.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’17 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.