Get Way Back

Amos Garrett. Who he? Well, like a lot of people I’d heard him without even realizing it. Now 66, the Detroit-born, raised-in-Canada guitarist recorded with more than 150 artists, among them Maria Muldaur on her record-breaking “Midnight at the Oasis.” Long a Canadian resident he has a batch of albums on that country’s Stony Plain label featuring his own The Eh! Team band. Here the mellifluous guitarist showcases his smooth pipes in a tribute to Percy Mayfield, “The Poet Laureate of the Blues.” Mayfield is perhaps best known for having written “Please Send Me Someone to Love” (which he characterized as a “prayer for peace”) and “Hit the Road, Jack,” a big hit for Ray Charles, who hired him to be his songwriter. Mayfield preferred to explore the leisurely path when it came to music and Garrett also takes his time on the 11 songs on this magnificent disc, wisely eschewing the two songs cited above in favor of such other favorites as a pepped-up “River’s Invitation” (an ode to suicide) and “Lost Mind” (“I lost my mind in a wild romance”). Backed by a six-piece band (including horns), this is a terrific album that should pique interest in Mayfield’s own work.