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Album Review

Mann, Steve – “Alive and Pickin’ ” – [Bella Roma]

ArtCrimes   8/3/2008   Blues, CD

Steve Mann released a few LPs in the 60s highlighting his renditions of traditional (such as John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson) and contemporary (Mose Allison) blues, and he spent some time as a session man in LA backing artists like Dr John and even Sonny & Cher, but he???s often been sidelined by mental illness and has only recently been performing again. It???s a shame he hasn’t had more attention, as his guitar playing is quite distinctive, almost pianistic in scope rather than just a duplication of traditional blues styles. These recordings are mostly taken from non-commercial sessions at clubs and settings like apartment rooms, with tapes offered up by longtime fans like Stefan Grossman. Three tracks with a pre-Big Brother Janis Joplin date back to 1964 and feature her doing traditional blues. One new track, the instrumental ???Hasta Luego???, was recorded especially for this release, and shows that Mann???s playing skills are not diminished. You can also find Steve on the first “Imaginational Anthem” collection, where he’s featured on 2 tracks.

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