Album Reviews

Elvin Bishop – Can’t Even Do Wrong Right (Alligator)

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Elvin Bishop, Can't Even Do Wrong Right
Elvin Bishop “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right.” Artwork by Paul Thorn

Elvin Bishop has put out another sparkling gem on Alligator with Can’t Even Do Wrong Right. From the cover art by Paul Thorn, to the twisted title and songs Bishop has written and selected, to the seemingly loose yet actually tight road band behind him, this is a solid blues album filled with stellar playing and good songs.

Five of the ten tracks were written by Bishop, who reunited with some old friends to enhance the arrangements. Mickey Thomas does the lead vocals on “Let Your Woman Have Her Way,” marking the first time Thomas has joined Bishop on record since their huge hit “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” from what feels like half a million years ago. The other featured album guest, Charlie Musselwhite, brings Bishop back to his early days in Chicago.  

Make no mistake: this is the vintage romping blues of Elvin Bishop and his band. Be it the comically sad-sack title song, the instrumental “No More Doggin’” (with Musselwhite) or the Curley Hamner and Lionel Hampton penned “Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop,” with all its jazzy overtones, this is authentic, vintage blues.

Bishop is a vibrant performer with a tight-as-all-git-out band that doesn’t let up. If you close your eyes, you can drift way back to the early Chicago days, when Bishop and Paul Butterfield, just two University of Chicago students, used to sit in on the South Side of Chicago with the players they emulated until the blues finally lived inside of them.

– Bob Gottlieb

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