In Rotation: The Mike Eldred Trio’s ‘61 and 49’

This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers & contributors are listening to right now...

It’s not so much raw chutzpah as sheer love — backed by unassailable musical chops — with which veteran Southern California blues musician Mike Eldred puts on display in “61 and 49,” referencing the fabled intersection in Clarksdale, Miss., that’s essentially ground zero in the world of Delta blues.

What makes the album such a delight is the masterful way the guitarist, singer and songwriter paces his trek through a rainbow’s worth of electric and acoustic blues workouts. It’s the sign of a journeyman who has spent untold hours plying clubs and learning the old-fashioned way what flies and what doesn’t.

Most everything here does fly, thanks to the seamless and empathetic interplay among between Eldred, bassist John Bazz and drummer Jerry Angel. Eldred’s 13 originals flow effortlessly from earthy gospel blues to sizzling Texas blues-rock to primal R&B to the raw acoustic Delta-styled title tune, and he’s an engaging, natural singer, even without a razor-edged Stevie Ray Vaughan-like voice. The icing on this multilayered cake is the lively contributions he elicited from high-powered collaborators on several tunes: Elvis Presley’s original guitarist Scotty Moore, pianist Ike Turner, Los Lobos’ Cesar Rosas and another stellar SoCal blues player, Kid Ramos.


The Mike Eldred Trio
“61 and 49”
Zoho Roots


In Rotation: Samiyam, ‘Sam Baker’s Album’ [MP3]

In rotation: Washed Out’s ‘Within and Without’

In rotation: Matana Roberts’ ‘COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres’

—Randy Lewis