Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chicago Blues News: L V Banks

What can I write about L V Banks? L V is a Chicago West side blues artist that has no comparison.
He was born just outside Benoit, Mississippi. He moved to Greenville as a teenager. He served for four years in the army During the Korean war. Upon his release from military service he returned to Greenville and stepped off the train right into the hottest blues area of its day. Little Milton, Ike turner and their contemporaries allowed L V an opportunity to polish his craft.
His first band included Nick Charles (Billy Branch S.O.B.),Eddie Shaw on Sax and guitar man L.
B B King heard him and offered this advice “You got the voice that sings and swings so you better squeeze them strings.” L V moved to Chicago in 1965 and has lived in the same apartment since that move. He currently resides right around the corner from the current President’s house.
In 1995 Wolf Records recorded his first CD called “Ruby”.
“Hard to Love a Woman” is a straight forward driving Elmore James style rocking Blues.
The title cut “Ruby” is a nicely written almost funky Sam and Dave type number. It has a wonderful piano solo. One of the lines states “I’ll eat a rainbow” typical L V humor.
“Express Love” is in the style of B B king. It has a great opening lead guitar riff and L V’s solo work is really illustrates the Chicago west side style.
“Lonely Room” is another 1-4-5 that talks about how lonely one can be while waiting on someone who never comes. This cut has that down home style. It is one of my favorites
“Miss You Babe” moves right along and is a dancer that changes from a shuffle to a swing and back again. He writes about going to the corner to get a sweet roll and a cup of coffee. L V is the only blues man that I am aware of that sings about that particular subject. This number really cooks.
“I love My Guitar” is another tune that shows a strong B B influence. The subject matter is about a blues man’s love for his guitar and a love for his woman. Guess who wins? A blues man’s guitar will always win, because it is always true. Oh. and it does what the blues man asks of it.
“I made a Mistake” is very reminiscent of High Heel sneakers. It has the same groove which is a good thing and is very up-tempo with an outstanding guitar line and piano solo. It is quite fitting that it follows "I love my guitar", because L V kicks out his woman and does not want to be bothered with her anymore.
“Pipe Layer”. This song talks about hard times and a man’s quest for work and his landing a job as a layer of pipe. Of course anyone can read between the lines on this one.
“What happened to our Love?” Talks about relationships and love lost.
“Falling to Pieces” is another B B influenced number that drives right along with the guitar hook and lead guitar work.
“Bobby Sock Baby” talks about letting that young love go and it’s a number that cooks right along. This is one of two songs on this Cd that L V did not write
“Love Light” L V has one of the best versions out there with his cover. His vocals are right there and it is of course very well performed. L V ‘s second song that was authored by someone else.
The band includes
Michael Thomas (second guitar)
Allan Batts (keys)
Dave Kay (Bass)
Jerry Price (drums)
This CD “Ruby” showcases a blues man at his best and should be in your collection filed under “Chicago Blues”.

Authors note
I may be a little bit partial to L V Banks; he played in my back yard for my daughter’s engagement / moving to Dallas party. He also is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.
You can get L V’s CD “Ruby” on or direct from Wolf Records. Go to Shop and put L V Banks in the search engine.

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