Tinsley ELLIS – Trouble Time 1991

Tinsley ELLIS – Trouble Time 1991
Recorded at Triclops Sounds Studios and Southern Living Studio, Atlanta, Georgia

Blues

Born in Atlanta in 1957, Tinsley Ellis grew up in South Florida, where at age seven, he first picked up the guitar and absorbed the blues of British invasion groups like The Yard birds, Cream, The Rolling Stones and The Animals. Digging deeper into the heart of the music, he came under the direct influence of the original masters—legendary figures like Freddy King, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Albert King and Magic Sam—and spent hours learning and perfecting their licks.

By 1975, Ellis was back in Atlanta and gigging with the Alley Cats, a gritty bar band that included Preston Hubbard, who later joined the Fabulous Thunderbirds. In 1981, he formed the Heart fixers with veteran blues singer and harpist “Chicago” Bob Nelson, and the band quickly became one of the most popular blues acts in the Southeast circuit. After their self-titled debut on Southland Records, the Heart fixers signed with Landslide Records, which released the critically acclaimed Live at the Moon Shadow in 1983. Early praise from the critics (The Washington Post called him “a legitimate guitar hero”) helped Ellis quickly develop a more national stature. When Nelson left the Heart fixers in 1983, Ellis assumed vocal chores and led the band through two additional Landslide releases, Cool On It and Tore Up—the latter with blues shouter Nappy Brown. Living Blues called Tore Up, “torrid…one of the best discs of the decade.”

Ellis left the Heart fixers and made his solo debut on Alligator Records in 1989 with Georgia Blue, an album whose critical success opened doors to first-rate clubs and festivals nationwide and around the globe. Ellis stepped through without hesitation, and quickly developed a reputation for relentless touring that averaged more than 200 dates each year. He followed Georgia Blue with a series of equally successful Alligator recordings, including Fanning the Flames (1989), Trouble Time (1992) and Storm Warning (1994). Rolling Stone claimed that Ellis “achieves pyrotechnics which rival early Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton,” and called Storm Warning “one of the best blues albums of the 1990s…one unbelievably biting solo after another.”

For his final Alligator release, Fire It Up, Ellis enlisted legendary producer Tom Dowd (noted for seminal work with the Allman Brothers and other giants at Atlantic Records). The collaboration resulted in a crisp set with distinct Southern rock and British rock overtones.

Ellis moved to the Capricorn in 2000 and released Kingpin, an album that paid tribute to artists like Albert King, B.B. King and other influential figures who can still be heard in his overall guitar and vocal attack. The release prompted Atlanta magazine to call Ellis “the most significant blues artist to emerge from Atlanta since Blind Willie McTell.”

He joined the Telarc label in early 2002 with the release of Hell Or High Water, a 12-track mix of gritty, guitar-heavy blues laced with generous doses of Memphis R&B, urban funk and straight ahead rock in the tradition of the Allman Brothers, Johnny Winter and other great rock legends from the deep South. The album reunites Ellis with veteran producer Eddie Offord, whose credits include work with Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes and 311—as well as Ellis’ Storm Warning.

Hell Or High Water—Ellis’ tenth career album, his seventh as a solo artist and his first on Telarc—marks a new chapter in the Tinsley Ellis saga that spans more than two decades and countless miles of road. Whether your tastes run toward old-school urban blues or guitar-heavy rock, Hell Or High Water tells the story with unbridled passion and unswerving conviction.

“I’ve never stopped learning new things about playing the blues,” he says. “The music is deceptively simple, but just when I think I’ve heard it all, yet another style comes to my attention, and I am challenged all over again. To borrow a bit from B.B. King: The thrill will never be gone.”
**
Tinsley Ellis- (Vocals, Guitar);
Peter Buck- (Guitar);
Sam Levine- (Tenor Sax);
Mike Haynes, Michael Holton- (Trumpet);
Chris McDonald- (Trombone);
Mike Boyette- (Piano, Organ);
Chuck Leavell- (Piano);
Oliver Wells- (Organ, Keyboards);
Ricky Keller, James Ferguson- (Bass);
Scott Meeder, David Sims- (Drums).
**
01. Highwayman 3:16
02. Hey Hey Baby 3:54
03. Sign Of The Blues 4:17
04. What Have I Done Wrong? 4:54
05. The Big Chicken 2:52
06. The Axe 7:34
07. Come Morning 2:32
08. My Restless Heart 5:42
09. Bad Dream #108 3:39
10. The Hulk 4:10
11. Now I’m Gone 6:54
12. Red Dress 3:13
**


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