Arriving as Ruf Records marks its 30th anniversary and more than three decades since blues guitar master Bernard Allison debuted on record, Luther’s Blues celebrates the music of Bernard’s father Luther Allison, a true legend of the Chicago blues and a central figure in the label’s history. The two-disc set features 20 stellar tracks from Bernard Allison, each one a Luther Allison composition previously released on one of Bernard’s many albums. Allison himself hand-picked the songs for the collection, which have been lovingly remastered by Pauler Acoustics, a renowned address in the audiophile scene.
Anyone who’s ever attended a Bernard Allison concert or listened to his recordings knows how much it means to him to keep his father’s musical legacy alive. “I made a promise since day one – to myself and to my mom Fannie Mae Allison – that I’d always include at least one or two of my dad’s songs on every album I record,” he says. Bernard has delivered on that promise throughout his career, performing Luther’s songs both at concerts and on record, while forging a funky and more rock-oriented style that differs from the traditional blues he grew up around. His dad supported him while he was still finding his own musical voice, openly encouraging him to “play it how you feel it” rather than copy what came before.
Thus, on Luther’s Blues, you’ll hear 20 Luther Allison songs reinvented for the 21st century by a member of the blues generation that followed him. They’re not necessarily Luther’s most famous tunes; when putting together any new album, says Bernard, he often goes for “songs that were overlooked on each [of my father’s albums] and then put my own twist on them.”
The track list spans exactly 30 years, from “Hang On” – recorded in Paris in the summer of 1992, when Allison was in his mid-20s – to a pair of cuts from his most recent studio album Highs & Lows, which hit #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart in 2022 and earned a Blues Rock Album of the Year nomination at the Blues Music Awards. His interpretations of enduring Luther Allison-penned tunes like “Bad Love,” “Life Is A Bitch” and “Let’s Try It Again” are included, and while we may think of these songs as classics today, Bernard Allison has played a huge role in keeping them in our collective consciousness. That’s especially true of “Serious,” a Luther Allison favorite first released in 1987. His son calls it “that special song that I perform every night” and believes it is his father’s most popular song across the world.
The 20-song Luther’s Blues is not the first album to pay tribute to the late, great Luther Allison. It’s not the first album to bear that simple two-word title. What makes this collection different is that it comes from Luther’s own progeny – Bernard Allison, a lifelong musician who soaked up blues traditions during his youth in Chicago, later followed his dad to Europe, became the leader of the Luther Allison Band and eventually made his own way, creating exciting new sounds for a new generation.
All along, he has never once lost sight of where he came from.
Bernard Allison – Luther’s Blues
001 Hang On
002 Reaching Out
003 Too Many Women
004 Into My Life
006 Bad Love
007 Now You Got It
008 Love Is Free
009 Midnight Creeper
001 Back Down South
002 I Gave It All
003 Life Is A Bitch
004 Let’s Try It Again
005 Change Your Way Of Lving
006 You’re Gonna Need Me
007 Compromising For Your Needs
008 A Change Must Come
009 Move From The Hood