The Deep Down Fools feat. Little Al Thomas
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The Deep Down Fools feat. Little Al Thomas


Band Blues Rock


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"Little Al Thomas / Chicago Reader Aug 2010"

Little Al Thomas
By David Whiteis

Comments Blues singer Little Al Thomas largely models himself on suave stylists like B.B. King, but the force of his delivery and the pugnaciousness of his phrasing reflect the decades he spent shouting over crowds on Maxwell Street. That training also sharpened his instincts as a crowd-pleaser: he can rock hard enough for a beer-soaked roadhouse but has enough church in his thick vocals to satisfy fans of down-home soul. He's sometimes struggled to reconcile styles on record, but 2002's In the House (CrossCut), recorded live in 2000 at a blues fest in Lucerne, Switzerland, captures Thomas at his best, performing with his longtime group the Crazy House Band. He effortlessly matches King's trademark octave leaps and melodic lines but eschews B.B.'s sweetness; even at his most elegant, Thomas is a roaring bull and proud of it. His tour de force is "Memphis Girl," a Coasters-style tune by Crazy House Band guitarist John Edelmann: pleading and shouting in an intentionally over-the-top caricature of the lust-crazed soul man, Thomas contorts his tone to the point of abstraction, then slides effortlessly into a series of extended, spot-on gospel wails. It's a tantalizing glimpse of what a blues journeyman can do when he's supplied with fresh material. The Barrelhouse Chuck Band, which includes Crazy House Band drummer Thomas "Mot" Dutko, backs Thomas at this show. Fri 2/25, 9:30 PM, Rosa's Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage, 773-342-0452, $10.

- Chicago Reader

"Vintage Guitar Magazine Nov 2010"

John Edelmann is a red hot guitarist on the Chicago club scene. He and bassist Eddie Galchick write classic style electric blues expertly sung by veteran Thomas and deliver covers of tVan Morrison's "Big Time Operators" and Lowell Fulson's "Reconsider Baby" like the pros they are. - Vintage Guitar Magazine

"Editors Top Three Guitar Player Magazine Nov 2010"

"Editors Top Three November 2010 Longtime Chicago blues stalwart Little Al Thomas sings authentic Maxwell Street soul and swagger. Here Thomas is backed by a smoking band led by ace guitarist John Edelmann, who plays with an atypically clear yet punchy tone and brings some inventive new twists to traditional Chicago blues licks." - Guitar Player Magazine

"Guitar Player Magazine 10/97"

“King approved tone, a firm grasp of Chicago blues vocabulary” - Guitar Player Magazine

"Northeast Blues Society"

“His lines bring to mind the swagger of Jimmie Vaughan” - Northeast Blues Society

""Not My Warden" Record review"

• Blues Boulevard - Music Avenue 250259
Long Ride To The South Side, I’m Gonna Buy A Politician, Not My Warden, Ready Freddie,
Wonder What You Think, Don’t Take The Keys, Anger Heats My House, Cartoon Lover, Old
Time Used To Be, Big Time Operators, West Side Wind, Reconsider Baby, Coronado.
I was wading through the current tide of contemporary blues CDs to find you something
worthwhile, getting tired of hearing the same old licks and Little Walter wannabees when I
came across this little gem (Ain’t I kind – doing it so you don’t have to?) and from the first few
bars I just knew it was a hot number.
Blues vocalist Little Al Thomas is a household name on the Chicago blues scene but
otherwise obscure despite having appeared with the Bobby Bland Revue in the fifties, playing
with Lacy Gibson in the 70s and making a couple of albums in the nineties. The Deep Down
Fools are a four piece band that really delivers; the bass player stays right in the groove and
the Hammond? B3 player is funky as hell, as are the real blues drummer and impressive
guitarist/leader John Edelmann who took up blues guitar after hearing BB King’s Live At Cook
County Jail. Later, he spent time in Chicago working with Hubert Sumlin, Sam Lay and AC
Reed before meeting up with Little Al Thomas and eventually forming The Deep Down Fools.
Little Al has a perfect blues voice - commanding and charismatic on the heavy slow burners
like Anger Heats My House, cool and controlled on the jazzy weave of Fulson’s Reconsider
Baby and deep and booming on the hard drive of Wonder What You Think. He’s got a great
way with phrasing too, like on the outstanding opening number Long Ride To The South Side,
which he delivers in an almost conversational style, stretching out syllables to ride across the
funky grooves.
He puts in a great performance all through this album and like all real professionals he knows
when to put the vocals on hold and allow the band to shine. And shine they do. This album is
as much theirs as Al’s as they develop themes, lay down a driving beat and shimmer around
Al’s vocal lines like an outfit that knows how to work together. Rob Water’s B3 playing is a joy
- especially on the jazzy numbers where his sound reminds me of some of Jimmy McGriff’s
best moments and drummer Marty Binder knows when to slap out the backbeat and when to
add the fills and rolls that keep the whole thing driving along. But it’s John Edelmann’s guitar
playing that intrigues me most. His soulful, sinuous playing on the slow blues ballads is a joy
to hear and when he strides into his hard attacking style on the shuffles he sounds like a
cross between BB King and Duke Robillard and, at times, on tracks like Long Ride To The
South Side, there’s a definite hint of Little Feat’s Lowell George slide.
There are three instrumentals on the CD and all of them featuring the guitar wrangling of
Edelmann. West Side Wind is a strong blues shuffle with shades of Magic Sam’s technique,
Ready Freddie is an up-tempo blues drenched in propulsive guitar and some nice Rob
Waters B3 work and Coronado is a cool item underscored with a percolating B3 rhythm while
Edelmann gets to grips with the theme. His glistening guitar tone adds a Latin tinge among
the blue notes and it’s one of my favourite tracks on the album.
It’s great to hear Little Al Thomas and The Deep Down Fools and even better to know that
there are still musicians out there who can come up with some fresh and exciting
contemporary blues music. This band works and they’ve made one of the best albums of the
year, in my humble opinion.
Red Lick – UK - Red Lick UK

"Not My Warden 4.5 stars!"

› Dernières chroniques

LITTLE AL THOMAS featuring THE DEEP DOWN FOOLS - Not my warden
/ paru le 02-02-2010 /
Little Al Thomas, surnommé ainsi en raison de sa petite taille, a longtemps été le secret blues le mieux gardé de Chicago. Et pour cause?: il n’a enregistré son premier album qu’à l’âge de 70 ans, il y a une dizaine d’années. Nous nous trouvons ici en présence de la quintessence de ce qu’a été le bluesman noir dans les années 40 et 50, et dont il ne reste plus beaucoup de représentants originaux de nos jours. Little Al Thomas a joué dans les rues de Chicago, gagnant sa vie dans une usine et ouvrant les shows de Bobby Blue Bland dans les années 60. S’il existe aujourd’hui un survivant du vrai Chicago Blues, c’est bien lui. On sent d’ailleurs dans le ton de sa voix tout le poids de la scène blues historique. Il faut goûter la moindre de ses paroles ou de ses intonations (à la fois de miel et d’acier) pour ressentir encore un peu cet esprit mythique du blues de Chicago des années 50, celui de Muddy Waters ou Sonny Boy Williamson.

Sur ce nouveau disque qui sort en Belgique sur Blues Boulevard, Little Al Thomas retrouve son complice John Edelmann, un guitariste-compositeur-producteur (et au passage policier dans la vie quotidienne) avec qui Little Al joue depuis une bonne vingtaine d’années. John Edelmann a roulé sa bosse un peu partout en Amérique dans le monde du blues et n’a pas eu de mal à monter une association de musiciens pointus et excellents pour cet album "Not My warden"?: Marty Binder (batterie), Rob Waters (orgue Hammond), Eddie Galchick (basse). Tous ces braves gens ont concocté un album de blues qui est une véritable crème dans le genre?: ronronnant comme un moteur de Buick, subtil et fermement tenu par la voix de Little Al Thomas, cet album semble extraire du temps un morceau de l’authentique blues de l’âge d’or, un pan de la fresque sur laquelle s’agite encore les ombres de Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, Big Bill Broonzy. Les treize morceaux puisés au cœur même de la source blues sont un véritable enchantement, que ce soit en tempo lent ou rapide. Un travail fabuleux, rien à dire.

François Becquart

Pays: US
Blues Boulevard 250259
Sortie: 2010/02 - Music In Belgium (In French)


John Edelmann discography:
Eddie Burks-
"Vampire Woman" 1991 Rising Son Records (Gtr)
Little Mike and the Tornadoes -
"Payday" 1992 Blind Pig Records (gtr,songwriter)
"Flynn's Place" 1995 Flying Fish Records (gtr, bg vocals, songwriter
Little Al Thomas and the Crazy House Band-
"South Side Story" 1997 Cannonball Records / Valley Entertainment (gtr, songwriter, producer)
"In the House - Live from the Lucerne Blues Festival" 2000 Crosscut Records (gtr, producer)
TheDeepDownFools - "Speak of Luck" 2008 Lamberts Cove Music (gtr/vocals/keys)



Currently backing Chicago blues great Little Al Thomas in support of their new Blues Boulevard release. "Not My Warden" ! The Deep Down Fools were started by guitarist John Edelmann, employing the likes of some of Chicago's finest blues musicians. John has performed and recorded with Hubert Sumlin, Warren Haynes, Little Mike and the Tornadoes, Pinetop Perkins, Sam Lay, Willie Big Eyes Smith and a host of others. The Fools blend traditional blues with modern sounds with an emphasis on songwriting!