Live In Germany
"Chuck Leavell "
Evergreen Ants

Blues Wax 7
Reader Rating 8

A Solid, Good Time For All, (01/07/09)

The 2005-2007 Rolling Stones' tour was Chuck Leavell's twenty-fifth year with the world's greatest Rock 'n' Roll band. The later summer of 2007 found Leavell back with the Stones for a European tour and when the tour ended in August of 2007 Leavell played on in Europe. He did a solo tour called "Green Leaves and Blue Notes," where he performed and recorded with a band of German musicians. The result is captured on a new double, live CD called Chuck Leavell Live In Germany. This band recorded several of Leavell's original tunes, plus their take on covers of classic songs that Leavell played with the Allman Brothers ("Jessica" and "Statesboro Blues"), as well as the Stones ("Tumbling Dice," "Honky Tonk Woman," and "Rip this Joint").

One of the several highlights include a rousing rendition of Eugene McDaniel's classic "Compared to What," made ultra-famous by Eddie Harris and Les McCann, and also covered by many others. Also included are interpretations of Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia On My Mind," George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun," and a few standards, including Professor Longhair's "In The Wee Wee Hours," as well as Bobby Troup's "Route 66." This two-CD set has everything I hoped for from Leavell, plus a few surprises. Even though these well known covers are sprinkled throughout, they don't dominate the concert. The backing German Rock band manages to hold its own, but Leavell's vocals are tested on a couple of songs from time to time. The styles of music covered are honky-tonk, Rock 'n' Roll, Jazz, and southern Blues. As entertainment value goes you should get some great mileage out of this CD; just sit back and enjoy the delightful groove and vibe.

In addition to Leavell's solo projects (his previous Southscape featured Larry Carlton on several tracks) and working with the Stones, Leavell continues to be an in-demand session player and producer. More recent years finds him on recordings with top-notch Country artists like Lee Ann Womack, the Montgomery-Gentry Band, Miranda Lambert, as well as two Nashville artists, Lady Antebellum and David Nail. Of particular note, Leavell recently recorded with bassist Mike Gordon from the now defunct band Phish for a new CD scheduled to be released in 2008. Now this could be interesting. Stay tuned for more from Mr. Leavell.

Bob Putignano: