Even when he was winning Grammys for bluesy rockers such as “Tuff Enuff” twenty years ago during the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ heyday, Kim Wilson was drawn to the hepcat big-city side of rhythm and blues. On Lookin’ For Trouble, his first album in six years, Wilson goes for an authentic early electric blues sound and pays homage to seminal electric bluesmen such as Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Jimmy Reed, as well as harmonica heroes Junior Wells, Little Walter, and Sonny Boy Williamson.
After 30 years of playing, Wilson exhibits the full range of his skills on deep blues tracks such as the jumping harmonica boogie instrumental “F Fat”, the old Smiley Lewis New Orleans nugget “Hook, Line, And Sinker”, and his timely composition “Hand To Mouth”, with Otis Spann-style piano fills by Mark Stevens and Wilson’s punctuating “Wolf” howls.
Lookin’ For Trouble displays great finesse with classic horn section arrangements. “Hurt On Me” combines a Wynonie Harris boogie bounce with staccato brass fills and swinging ensemble playing, while a cover of Willie Dixon’s “Love My Baby” sails on jiving sax work by Gordon “Sax” Beadle and Doug James alongside Wilson’s hipster vocal.
Those who prefer the T-bird Wilson will dig his take on Snooky Pryor’s “Tried To Ruin Me”, “Hightime (We Had A Ball)”, and the rocking title track, on which guitarist Troy Gonyea shows a serious mastery of the idiom and a flair for stinging solos.