Blues with a Mood

Blues pedigrees don’t get any better than the one that comes with a Big Bill Morganfield album. In case you don’t know, he’s McKinley Morganfield’s baby boy, though Big Bill isn’t a baby anymore. He’s a big-voiced bluesman who built a legacy of his own over the last couple of decades with his stellar singing and guitar wizardry. And, on this album released on the 100th anniversary of his father’s birth, listeners get 11 songs that would have done his daddy proud. It’s as good a new blues album as I’ve heard in a long time, with Big Bill giving fervent expression to songs like his own “Money’s Gettin’ Cheaper,” a lament that could have been expressed anywhere along the line of blues history, but has particular resonance in these times that have been hard on so many. And when Big Bill covers songs like Willie Dixon’s “Ooh Wee,” we’re solidly in the groove of blues history, brought to life. Big Bill wrote seven of the songs here, including “Son of the Blues,” which closes out the album, bookending “Look What You Done,” the first cut on the disc. “Look What You Done” was written by Big Bill’s father, who, if you didn’t already know, goes by the name of Muddy Waters.