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Cleanly picked solos, tasty ES335 tones, and a vibrato that moves effortlessly from smooth wiggle to sweet sting make Larry Burton's Hustler's Paradise (Brambus Records dist. by North Country Distributors, Cadence Building Redwood, NY 13679) a hip trip to Chicago's West Side. Backed by local veterans, Burton projects a cool, eyes-closed feel on ten originals ranging from uptown slow blues to funky shuffles á la Freddie King.
Though Hustler's Paradise showcases Burton's fluid leads, the soft spoken native Chicagoan earned his blues strips playing rhythm behind Albert Collins, Albert King and Koko Taylor. His stint with Collin's Icebreakers included appearances on 1978's classic Ice Pickin', the WC Handy Award winning Don't Lose Your Cool, and the fast and furious Live In Japan.
"Yeah, way back in 1979 Albert was saying,"You've got to get your own band", Burton chuckles. "It just took me a long time." Of course, playing with one's childhood heroes could be a challange. Burton explains, "I had to go from listening to their recordings growing up and copying their licks, to consciously staying away from playing their stuff, it forced me to edit my playing , to be more original."
now that he's the front man, Burton is still juggling influences. Though he came of age surrounded by urban blues, other inspirations find their way into his songs, like the intro to "Dark Clouds," which sounds more than a bit like "Spanish Castle Magic." "Oh, yeah," Larry smiles. "When I first heard Jimi Hendrix, it was a whole new ball game. "That intro is a definite nod in his direction."