Got to Get Up
'We begin this issue's quest for the best with William Purvis and the Sevnth Sons,who blend gritty Memphis R+B and tough Chicago blues with considerable ingenuity.The fiery results can be heard on 'Got To Get Up'(self release),one of the sharpest releases we've heard lately,as notable for it's audacious approach as it's inarguable traditionalism.Lovely horn charts kick even straight shuffles like 'Tried My Luck At Love' into the stratosphere.Purvis,solid on harp and an excellent slide guitarist,takes a no nonsense approach to these mostly original tunes;his delivery is particularly soulful on the ballad 'You Don't Have To Let Me Down Easy'.While the Seventh Sons sound reminiscint of Johnny Littlejohn's sessions for Arhoolie,Purvis dedicates the disc to the memory of another underground Chicago great,Buddy Scott. Tom Hylsop Blues Bites Blues Review Magazine August/September2002 From the Original Liner Notes: In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I've known Bill for several years, even sat at the bar and had a few drinks with him, which is how I wound up writing these liner notes (What, he had some drinking buddy write his liner notes?). I've been around the Chicago blues scene for over 35 years and in that time, I've heard few musicians that can equal Bill's excellence at harmonica and slide guitar (make sure that check's made out to the right name Bill). Seriously, Bill has spent time not only listening to and mastering the craft of playing this deceptively simple form of music, but also developing the art of the music. As in many things, developing the craft is much easier than gaining a deeper understanding of the material and extracting the art. Bill is always finding a way to get something more out of the music, something that grabs and holds the listener and doesn't let go. Some call this playing with feeling or soul. Whatever it is,it separates the pretenders from the professorsand Bill has Ph.D talent. Coming from Charlottesville, VA, Bill started his musical career playing in college bands that also began his life-long love for blues and R+B music.One of the high points of this period was a chance to see the late John Lee Hooker live;it was an inspirational turning point for the young Mr.Purvis. Heading to Chicago after graduation, he hung out in the blues bars of the South and West sides of the city absorbing the raw power and soul of the mostly unsung acts who often turned out brilliant performances in the cramped spaces and smoky neon haze of those establishments. He also got a chance to meet and hang out with local luminaries like Buddy Scott and Dave and Louis Myers. He learned his lessons well forming a band called the Seventh Sons in 1992 with Chi-town blues belter Grady Freeman and guitarist John Elverum. The band served up a good, foot tapping traditional blues menu at first,but later added on soul and rock songs playing the most top-shelf Chicago music clubs like the Checkerboard Lounge,Cafe Lura and Buddy Guy's Legends.They also released a critically-acclaimed barnburner of a CD Kick Off Your Shoes. Then,the dreaded 'band burn-out'syndrome hit and a few members decide to go their own ways,which led to Bill putting out this compilation of mainly original tunes that harken back to the roots of blues and R+B. Continuing and expanding on the traditions set down at Chess/Checker in the 1950's and Stax/Volt in the 1960's, this agreeable compilation features some ingredients besides the superb musicianship of the players, including the unique use of Bill's slide in the soul music arrangements. To see what I mean,check out the bottleneck work in Glad To Know You're Still Around,In Need,And She Wo'nt Come Back abd Fool's Paradise. Bill also continues his exploration of the Chicago style blues in Lyin's Gonna Get You In Trouble, It's Really For The Best, You've Got To Love Me Better and I Feel Your Pain. His harp playing is as fluid and listenable as it gets. Writing all the cuts (except Mick Scott's Lyin's Gonna Get You In Trouble, Garrett Lane's I Ain't Going Nowhere and AZ Slay's Fool's Paradise), Bill shows himself to be an accomplished composer of to-the-point lyrics and straightforward music and his vocals have never been better. My favorites on the CD are the melancholy blues of You Don't Have To Let Me Down Easy, mellow cooker I Feel You're Pain and the trenchant Got To Get Up, but have a good listen and choose your own. Here I am writing liner notes when I've always believed that the music should speak for itself--and this music does, loud and clear. R.S. Janes August, 2001 Make sure to check out our follow up release WHAT'S TROUBLING ME also available on CDBaby.com.