Elvin Bishop always struck me as kind of a shiftless guy. Not in a bad way mind you. In a gee-I-wish-I-could-be-that-relaxed-about-the-world kind of way. I kinda like that about him. But when I see him shuffle on to a stage in his signature over-alls, and a very rumpled flannel shirt, I can't help but wonder if the title track from Can't Even Do Wrong Right is secretly autobiographical, even though it's sung in third person. In any case, Can't Even Do Wrong Write is a feel-good blues opener that has just the right mix of disapproval and moral righteousness in it to allow us to feel just a little bit sorry for the hapless criminal in the song.
But there's nothing ramshackle about the playing on this album. Elvin Bishop and his band are as tight as ever with the grindy slide guitar work and roadhouse swagger. Every lick hits just right. Every beat is a boozy Saturday night at your favorite dive. It's fast, loose, and in your face and I can't get enough of it.
Elvin Bishop and his Gibson ES-345, which he calls "Red Dog," have been entertaining folks somewhere around 50 years. As I understand it, Elvin Bishop has been playing professionally sincse 1962 when he played in Junior Wells' band. But his first claim to fame was probably teaming up with Paul Butterfield in The Paul Butterfield Blues Band which carved out a place for itself in the 60's era Chicago blues scene. But that was just the start of a long and storied career in the blues. Playing with just about everybody there is to be played with and making a name for himself as a solo artist, he has mastered everything needed for success in the blues world. He can play the guitar like nobody's business. He can write a song that people can relate to. And he knows how to work a crowd.
Preview Can't Even Do Wrong Right by Elvin Bishop on Amazon.
I'm adding "Can't Even Do Wrong Right," "Blues With Feeling," "Let Your Woman Have Her Way" (lead vocals by Mickey Thomas), "No More Doggin'," and "Dancin'" to rotation.
Elvin Bishop is the featured guest on episode 214.