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Last Call (Live at the Boston Teaparty 1970) by Otis Spann

Last Call (Live at the Boston Teaparty 1970) by Otis Spann

Album Review

Essential primarily as a historical document, this album’s tapes — recorded in 1970 only three weeks before the pianist’s death from liver cancer — were thought to have been destroyed until they were found in a warehouse in 1999. Otis Spann, the classic Chicago bluesman whose work is revered and studied by almost every blues pianist who followed in his wake, was so weak that he couldn’t sing, and was clearly not at the top of his form for these shows. Spann’s wife Lucille handles the vocals on the majority of the tracks, and her powerful singing seems to push Spann to perform with his classic restraint and style. Still, there’s plenty of interest here. Spann’s tinkling work on Big Joe Turner’s “Chains of Love” shows that his chops were still sharp, even as he knew he was in death’s final throes. Another Muddy Waters sideman, Luther “Snake” Johnson, handles the vocals and guitar duties on workmanlike but unspectacular covers of Muddy’s “Long Distance Call” and “I Got My Mojo Working.” But the instrumental workout on “Stomp With Spann” and the intro to “My Baby (Sweet As an Apple),” the latter with a vocal from Lucille…

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