“Blues Helping” by Love Sculpture (1968)
The British blues boom probably reached its apex in 1968, with stellar offerings such as Jeff Beck’s “Truth,” Free’s “Tons of Sobs,” the Groundhogs’ “Scratching the Surface,” John Mayall’s “Bare Wires” and “Blues from Laurel Canyon,” Ten Years After’s “Undead” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Fleetwood Mac” and “Mr. Wonderful.”
Even John Lennon got in on the act, with the Beatles’ “Yer Blues.” And John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant recorded the tracks for their debut album in October, even though “Led Zeppelin” wasn’t released until 1969.
Amid the spate of blues-rock recordings was “Blues Helping,” the debut by a Welsh trio called Love Sculpture. The band scored a U.k. hit that same year with a rock version of Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance,” which brought the guitar work of Dave Edmunds into the national spotlight.
“Blues Helping” is exactly what the title implies, starting with a scorching version of “The Stumble,” during which Edmunds keeps up note-for-note with the song’s composer, the legendary Freddie King (as referenced in Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re An American Band.”)
Edumnds, bass player John Williams and drummer Bob “Congo” Jones rip through a set of familiar blues and R&B numbers by the likes of Ray Charles, B.B. King, Willie Dixon and Slim Harpo.
Also included is a reading of the oft-covered “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess,” featuring Edmunds playing a particularly stinging bridge. And in the elongated “Don’t Answer the Door,” Edmunds channels the macho attitude of a true bluesman, commanding his woman to keep her mother, sister and doctor away from the house “when I’m not at home.”
The album closes with the title track, a basic blues improvisation that wraps up proceedings on a genre-suitable note.
Edmunds went on to solo success and at one point teamed with former Brinsley Schwarz bass player for a supergroup of sorts, Rockpile. He’s played some tremendous guitar, but never quite in the same vein as on “Blues Helping.”