Several years after recording sessions began, longtime Howlin' Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin's "solo" album, featuring a slew of high-profile guests, finally appears. "About Them Shoes" is worth the wa

Several years after recording sessions began, longtime Howlin' Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin's "solo" album, featuring a slew of high-profile guests, finally appears. "About Them Shoes" is worth the wait. Unlike many contemporary blues releases, this collection of Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon songs (along with one Sumlin composition) sounds and feels strikingly retro, as if recorded decades earlier. Guests including Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Levon Helm, Bob Margolin and James Cotton contribute sincere, powerful accompaniment, particularly on "Still a Fool," featuring a truly chilling vocal by Richards; the lazy, Clapton-led "Long Distance Call"; and the Nathaniel Peterson-sung "Iodine in My Coffee." Sumlin, who plays lead guitar throughout, is surrounded by a group that would make Muddy and Wolf proud. The passion those bluesmen inspired is repaid with an authentic and appropriately raucous respect.—CW

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