Guitar Angels

Following up on last year’s acclaimed Blues at the Border (also on Catfood Records), Armstrong and a raft of musicians recorded the 10 songs here, and the results are spectacular. Like his previous recordings, this one features a mix of blues and blues-drenched pop songs with his remarkably supple voice and guitar-playing suffusing each song with feeling. The opening track, “Grandma’s Got a New Friend,” is a joyous horn-fueled romp that celebrates Grandma’s boyfriend and the pleasures he’s providing her. Among Armstrong’s five originals, the peppy “Bank of Love” is a real standout that describes how he fell in love with a bank teller while getting stuck in her line—“then I saw something that changed my mind, time didn’t matter any more, I saw the beauty I was looking for.” On “Saturday Night Women,” he greets the ladies with the joyous “Won’t you raise your hand?” and offers himself up with “you’ve found your Saturday night man.” Johnny Copeland’s relaxed “Blues Ain’t Nothin’” (“…but feelin’ alone all by yourself; everybody needs somebody, can’t nobody make it by themself”) describes it as well as any. And the slowly paced title track honors the guitar angel who is looking after him. This is one of those rare all-killer, no-filler CDs.