Album Reviews

Landon Spradlin

No More Blue Mondays

Artist:     Landon Spradlin

Album:     No More Blue Mondays

Label:     Kle-Toi

Release Date:     12/08/2016

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Let me introduce you to the Preachin’ Blues Man, Landon Spradlin. I was not familiar with him until this CD, recorded way back in 1995 and issued again, landed on my desk. For many years, I had a radio show called “Blue Monday,” so the CD title easily got my attention.

On the first few tracks here, you sense an English vibe akin to early Peter Green or John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Clapton or the aforementioned Green. At other times, you’ll probably be reminded of Clapton’s “In the Presence of the Lord.” Indeed, the album was recorded in London with Eric Clapton’s rhythm section: Dave Markee on bass and Henry Spinetti on drums. One writer described Spradlin as “Ray Charles meets Johnny Winter.” His guitar soloing is certainly impressive, and his voice is utterly spell-binding, a southern gospel-blues kind of blues shouter style. You can’t help but be moved by the deep emotion he pours into his vocals. Spradlin wrote five of the nine tracks, almost all of which are religion-oriented in some way, reading like a gospel album. Yet, it is straight ahead blues for the first three songs until his stirring cover of “Drift Away,” after which gospel blends with blues, as Spradlin’s commanding vocals take on even more power when supported with the three background vocalists. One small note about the recording mix – the drums are really prominent and sure enough, in the liners, Spinetti says he plays “SONAR drums…really loud.”

His southern style is genuine, having been born and raised in New Orleans. Since 1978, he has resided in Virginia, either in the Tidewater area or, currently, in the small town of Gretna, Virginia where he pastors The Move Church, runs his in-house recording studio, Farmhouse Productions and jams with various blues players on the East Coast. He and his wife are also raising five children. In 2009, Spradlin and his band won the Piedmont Blues and Preservation Society’s Blues Challenge and went on to represent them in the IBC in Memphis. Along the way, Spradlin also spent seven years in the Fort Worth, TX, playing the Dallas/Fort Worth area, during which time he also had some high-profile gigs at Madison Square Garden with Rodney Howard-Browne Ministries and at the International Guitar Show in Dallas.

“Feel the spirit” may be an overused phrase, but Spradlin plays, sings, and seemingly lives his life according to those three words.

—Jim Hynes

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