Johnny Drummer | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Johnny Drummer 

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The latest from veteran Chicago blues journeyman Johnny Drummer, Rockin' in the Juke Joint (Earwig), is his most satisfying album yet. He throws his hat into the contemporary soul-blues ring on funk-driven numbers like "Too Much Information," but when he picks up his harmonica things get down-home in a hurry. On "Working With Your Mojo," "Stress Reliever," and "I Had a Dream," Drummer squalls, swoops, and caterwauls like a demented rooster. He isn't above appropriating well-worn riffs and themes, but in the great juking tradition he puts so much of his own personality into everything he touches that even the most tried-and-true ideas are practically reborn. The last time I saw Drummer, his chops (on keys and harp) were more than up to par, and his tight backing band, the Starliters, already had several of the new songs down. Leroy "Junkyard Dog" Jones, Peachez, and the Arkansas Belly Roller open. See also Monday. a 10 PM, Lee's Unleaded Blues, 7401 S. South Chicago, 773-493-3477, two-drink minimum. F

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