Lucky Peterson is the most dangerous triple threat working in the blues. Nobody would refute his reputation as one of the preeminent performers of the modern era. A searing lead guitarist, fantastic organist, and first-rate vocalist, Lucky's many talents are truly mind-boggling. On Double Dealin' (Blue Thumb), all three are prominently displayed as Peterson delivers the best record of his career!
Produced by John Porter, the album features Peterson on lead guitar, vocals, and Hammond B3 organ, backed by Johnny Lee Schell (Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal) on rhythm guitar, Jon Cleary on keyboards, Reggie McBride (Etta James) on bass guitar, Tony Braunagel on drums, Tamara Peterson on background vocals, and the Texacali Horns. "The first time I played with these guys-Schell and Braunagel-was at the Willie Dixon Foundation Gala seven or eight years ago," Peterson recalled. "John Porter was also there. They said they wanted to do a record with me and now it's happening."
The studio experience for Double Dealin' was warm and relaxed; Peterson said it was his best to date. "I love working with John Porter. He's calm, cool, and he has a way about him that's beautiful. I never recorded like that before, and I really liked it." Porter returns the compliment, saying, "Lucky Peterson is far and away the most talented and exciting blues musician of his generation. This record proves it!" Porter has also produced Taj Mahals' Phantom Blues, B.B. King's Deuces Wild, Buddy Guy's Damn Right I Got the Blues, and Jimmy Smith's Dot Com Blues among many other acclaimed recordings.
On "When My Blood Runs Cold," a slow blues he penned with his father, veteran singer/guitarist James Peterson, Lucky unleashes some expressive note bending on the guitar. He shows off his organ chops on his incendiary version of Keb' Mo's "Don't Try to Explain."
A tune particularly close to Peterson's heart is the slow number "4 Little Boys." "It's a true story: My grandmother died with my father in her arms when he was just 16 months old. She told my grandfather to take good care of the boys; not put them up for adoption," Peterson explained. "I found out about this two years ago when my father was writing the lyrics to the song. I didn't understand where his tears were coming from, but then he sat down and told me the story. I wanted the world to know about these four little boys."
In a lighter vein is the New Orleans-steeped "Doin' Bad, Feelin' Good," a funky number written by keyboardist Cleary that features Peterson's vocals moving into Dr. John/Taj Mahal territory.
"Double Dealin' dips into the soul/blues arena, which I just love," Peterson says of his latest release. "I learned soul when I started playing with Little Milton, and then I worked with Bobby Blue Bland, who showed me another type of soul." Though this new album is infused with Lucky's own special brand of "soul," by no means has he left the blues behind. It's clear from the opening song (the album's title track) to the closer ("Remember the Day") that Double Dealin' is Peterson doing what he does best: playing the blues.
Peterson is in his prime-rich in roots but performing in the present. But that's just what one would expect from an artist with Peterson's resumé; his career began when he was just a child. Growing up in Buffalo, NY, Peterson was exposed to music his whole life; his father owned The Governor's Inn, one of the area's most renowned blues clubs. Willie Dixon produced Peterson's first record when he was but five years old, the R&B hit, "1-2-3-4." This resulted in television appearances for the blues prodigy on such shows as The Tonight Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and What's My Line. As a teenager he attended Buffalo Academy of Performing Arts before paying dues in the bands of Etta James and Otis Rush. One of the most versatile players working in the blues, Peterson has since performed with a long list of greats, including B.B. King and Albert Collins. His 1993 Verve debut I'm Ready announced the arrival of a new force in the blues, while his 1996 collaboration with the legendary Mavis Staples saw him displaying his gospel chops and influences. Peterson's previous dates also include1994's Beyond Cool, 1996's Lifetime, 1997's Move (all on Verve), and 1999's Lucky Peterson, his first for Blue Thumb Records.
In addition to establishing himself through these recordings, Peterson has made his name through his electrying live performances, which are the stuff of legend. Following the release of Double Dealin', Peterson plans to tour, making stops at the major blues festivals throughout the United States and Europe. "This is a new beginning for me because I haven't been on tour in the States in a while," Peterson explained. "This is a coming home party. That's why I wanted to make sure the guitar is smokin'."
Now living in Texas, Lucky Peterson is ready for Double Dealin' to take him, and the blues, to another level. By capturing the virtuosity, intensity, and excitement that Peterson has brought to stages all over the world, Double Dealin' will definitely become a favorite of blues fans everywhere.