(Big Lucky Carter – “Lucky 13”, BlueSide, 1998)
#1 For a long time, I was thinking what to say about this album, because it’s hard to value what you like a lot. At least it’s hard for me. But, someone was surely feeling worse: imagine how it looks like to debut with (a complete) album at the age of 78… Well, ladies and gentlemen, that’s what Big Lucky Carter did in 1998, under the shelter of relatively new recording house BlueSide, section of Westside from London. In fact, what on the first glance looks like the beginning, is “just” encirclement of ones career, that with change of luck has lasted for about 4 decades. The fact that just a few records were made in this long period is a way of telling the unhappy Blues story of this musician. During the 70’s there is no single recorded song, and just one in the 80’s (and even that one is in a duet); those things speak more then any metaphor. Well, if to record an album under this circumstances is not a devotion, I don’t know what is.
“Lucky 13” contains exactly that number of items, in total duration of 55 minutes, and they are all signed by Levester Carter. Detail exceptionally appreciated in today’s Blues production. Each of this songs is partly already a Blues classic; both in the composing and performative manners. They contain all basic instruments: drums (D. Valentine, L.T. Lewis), harp (J.W. Perry), bas (M. Lee), piano (L. Nelson), organ (W. Hubbard) and guitar/vocal (Levester Carter); it strikes me that I have never ever heard of this musicians before. Almost all are in their late 60ies, (the bend together is 452 years old!) and they play the Blues on the best possible way: from the guts, and with soul. Lyrics are written with an intellectual power. Humorous, they might be confusing for those used to Blues “mourns”; the surprise is bigger being aware that they are written by a man as old as he is.
“The Bible term for the mule is an ass. We all have an ass, you know…”
from The Miss Lula May’s Mule
Talking of lyrics, let me not forget the speaking items on the album: “Papa Is A Junkie”, and “socially conscious” “AIDS Is Killing Me”, which over and over again proves that Blues is, on the first place, a story.
Recorded in three days of March 1998 in Memphis, Tennessee, under the producer’s conduction of the legendary Mike Vernon, album “Lucky 13” sounds pure and magnificent. The breath of the old minimal Blues masters – especially J.L. Hooker and S.B. Williamson – is dragging through here somewhere, as if they were taking a nap in some of the armchairs, while Carter and his companions were playing their Blues. Though, maybe, you will recognize the old Hooker in “Sugar Talk”, this is definitely a Big Lucky Carter album, in every second of its duration. The only problem with this CD is that the seconds most probably would turn into days, and the rest of the music in the room would become jealous on it. But, who gives a damn about their jealousy, while “Down At Same’s Place” plays just before the crack of dawn…
Today’s music is not dependent on this musicians – they are dependent on the Blues as such. Only those who truly love the Blues, are aware what means to be dependent on it. And to be devoted.
(The album was promoted on “The Blues Brothers” radio show, in the fourth week of August 1998)
Translated by: Jasna Koteska