In 1981 the Climax Blues Band was located in Los Angeles, recording yet another album to meet the heavy demand for their musical aspirations. Lucky For Some featured, once again, the tightly knit line up of Peter Haycock on guitar and vocals, Colin Cooper on vocals and saxophone, Derek Holt on vocals, bass guitar and keyboards and John Cuffley on drums. By now, the band had been on the road for a decade or more and played with a telepathic sense of communication on these nine superb original LP tracks, including four Haycock originals. But the guys were also helped out in the studio by some distinguished guests, notably the late session keyboard player Nicky Hopkins and vocalist Glenn Hughes. Complete with a saucy album cover design, Lucky For Some has some hot performances like Peter's Shake It Lucy and Derek Holt's Breakdown , plus a bonus track Darlin (single version).
Chris Smither spent a fair chunk of time in the mid-2010s looking back, culminating in Still on the Levee, a two-disc set from 2014 that found the singer/songwriter revisiting songs he recorded in the past. Arriving four years later, Call Me Lucky functions as something of an answer to that aesthetic, finding the singer/songwriter living squarely in the present. He opens the album with the lively blues shuffle "The Blame's on Me," which is quickly followed by a minor-key rendition of Chuck Berry's "Maybellene," and he effectively sets the pace for the rest of the album. As Call Me Lucky rolls on – the album proper is ten tracks, but there are six additional "B-Sides" featuring alternate takes of songs on the album, plus an introspective version of the Beatles' "She Said She Said" – Smither adds some slower, gentler touches (highlighted by the lovely "By the Numbers"), but he retains this same sense of immediacy. By playing so directly and simply – the album isn't unadorned, there are additional harmonies and guitars, yet it feels like it is – Chris Smither creates a bracing, intimate record, one that feels filled with earned truths.
Lucky Peterson got his grounding in the blues from his father's friends, and since his father was blues guitarist and singer James Peterson, who also owned the Governor's Inn, a premier blues nightclub in Buffalo, New York, those friends included folks like Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, and Bill Doggett. Peterson had a career as a child prodigy on the Hammond B-3, even scoring an R&B hit with the Willie Dixon-produced "1-2-3-4," the novelty of it all landing him appearances on The Tonight Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and others, and his debut album appeared in 1969. But it was the blues that claimed Peterson as an adult, by which time he was not only an accomplished piano and organ player, but also a quite competent vocalist and an impressive guitarist with a soaring and emotionally searing style on the instrument. This set finds him placed in a retro Chicago blues setting, with horns added in where appropriate, and Peterson is quite at home here, bringing an exuberant sincerity to the opener, "Proud to Love My Baby," and delivering the title tune, "Traveling Man," with passion and urgency, while bringing a funky groove to "Get on Down," which spotlights his piano playing.