At 75, Ike Turner is still one mean motherfucker. Risin' With the Blues, his first release of new material in three years, is as tough and weathered as the man himself, full of searing guitar work and his ever-prevalent tough-guy persona. Mixing half a dozen quality originals (including the signature statement "I Don't Want Nobody") with soul, R&B and jazz chestnuts from Louis Jordan, Fats Domino and Erskine Hawkins (the salaciously lovely "After Hours"), Risin' is timeless rhythm and blues played with a contemporary feel that belies Turner's advancing years.
"They made a movie about me, and that stuff ain't true," Turner sings in his gritty baritone on the defiant "Jesus Loves Me," still addressing the decades-old allegations of spousal abuse, before admitting, "I've been a bad boy, but Jesus loves me anyway." The song, like Turner's lengthy career, is a mass of contradictions, all held together by his unbridled hubris and unqualified ability. Featuring a small army of worthy sidemen, Risin' alternates between raw jump blues ("Tease Me") and tasteful slow-burners before concluding with "Bi Polar," another tongue-in-cheek nod to his past.
Currently experiencing a surprising revival (check out his work on Gorillaz's Demon Days), Turner continues his enigmatic ways while giving no quarter to those who would besmirch him.
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