Perhaps one of the hardest things about being as good as Johnnie Bassett in Detroit is being in Detroit. This is a hard town in which to be acknowledged as a star in the same way that Buddy Guy is an acknowledged star in Chicago. Consequently, when Mr. Bassett comes out with yet another superb recording such as Party My Blues Away , I get mixed feelings. I feel good that this is such a strong CD. Cadillac Blues, Bassett’s last CD before this one -- and the release that has since been nominated for a W.C. Handy Award -- was strong, too. Still, I can’t quite shake the feeling that Johnnie Bassett is one of those local artists that far too many locals don’t sufficiently appreciate for the amount of talent he has, or for the long, hard tradition that he represents. Few musicians left in this city can lay down a groove or just plain swing the way you’ll hear Johnnie do on this CD. The groove may be too jazzy for some, particularly for those who prefer their blues delivered by an old guy in overalls sitting on a porch somewhere down South. For others, there may be a few too many shuffles. That’s fine. Everybody’s entitled to have their blues served up the way they like them best, but know this: Sooner or later everyone has to get up off that porch and see what’s goin’ on elsewhere. When you’re ready to make that move, Johnnie’s got the beat to get you walkin’ in the right direction.
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