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Sean Chambers - That’s What I’m Talking About: Tribute to Hubert Sumlin

  by Steve Kinrade

published: 22 / 9 / 2021

Sean Chambers - That’s What I’m Talking About: Tribute to Hubert Sumlin
Label: Shed Load Records
Format: CD


Excellent covers album in which blues artist Sean Chambers pays tribute to his former mentor, legendary ex Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin,

I suppose that if you are going to embark on a tribute project to a musical maestro that you had the pleasure of working for, then Sean Chambers, or who ever decided on thealbum title, was pretty much dead on the money. With this collection of eleven songs, Chambers, once a sideman to the legendary ex Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin, pretty much nails his colours to the mast about how he feels about his former employer. For this album not only acts as a portal to the blues majesty of Sumlin for the uninitiated, but also acts as a perfect musical calling card for Chambers himself. Born in Mississippi, raised in Arkansas, Sumlin started playing the guitar at the tender age of eight, and met Howlin’ Wolf when he was not much older when he gate crashed a concert he was headlining. Fast forward to 1954 when he was invited to join Wolf's band, and the start of an illustrious career. After Wolf’s death in 1976, Sumlin struck out on his own, and in 1998 he asked Sean Chambers and his band to permanently back him. And so began a 13 year association where Sumlin became Chambers' friend and musical mentor. Chambers' musical endeavours successfully evokes the spirit of Sumlin, and plays true and straight to the original compositions. The production is no thrills, crisp and honest -helmed by the now departed Ben Elliot - which sums up the music of Sumlin himself, and acts as a fitting tribute to both men. These eleven songs sound like they were a joy to record, and they provide an entertaining listen. Chambers and his band, which includes Antar Goodwin on bass, Andrei Koribanics on drums, with Bruce Katz and John Ginty on Hammond B3 and other keyboards, kick off with the Sumlin penned instrumental 'Chunky', a muscular blues workout for a band at the top of their game . Chambers voice never lets anyone down, but his guitar playing is something else. He shows his is a master of tone and expression, with the ability to play nuanced and then downright dirty when needed. Listen to his work on 'Do the Do', the bottle neck guitar licks splintering off into the stratosphere. It really morphs into a fascinating listen, part exhibition of musical chops and part history lesson of the development of the blues. Compositions of Willie Dixon, Howlin’Wolf, James Oden and Walter Vinson are zestfully but lovingly reproduced, and you are soon drawn into the world of The Blues, eager to learn more and appreciate its artistry and legacy. Chambers himself states in the liner notes that the title of this album was one of Sumlin’s favourite sayings. And as I said previously, it’s a phrase that pretty much nails it. Go educate yourself.

Track Listing:-
1 Chunky
2 Do The Do
3 Rockin' Daddy
4 Goin' Down Slow
5 Hidden Charms
6 Forty-Four
7 Taildragger
8 Hubert's Song
9 Sitting On Top Of The World
10 Howlin' For My Darling
11 Louise

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