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Qualls review
Henry Qualls
"Blues from Elmo, Texas"
(Dallas Blues Society)
The Hard Blues

   I seldom review dated music, but a 1994 album still available through the Dallas Blues Society is worth considering. Henry Qualls plays the blues like I like 'em — slow and meaningful with the haunting Delta sound. Qualls' album "Blues from Elmo, Texas" is exquisite; the voice feels the blues and the guitar doesn't detract from the story, but rather fills all the edges.

   You can tell you're in for a good time when Qualls begins with "Bread and Butter," a surprising reinvention of the Newbeats' mid-sixties pop hit. His rendition of Little Son's version of "Rockin' and Rollin'" is lemonade in the front porch swing on a sultry afternoon. Listening to Qualls' "Death is Movin' Across the Land" is hearing a howlin' wind come across the Texas plains. "I Shall Not Be Moved," a traditional Southern gospel tune, becomes a defiant cry behind Qualls' bottleneck guitar and matter-of-fact vocal treatment.

   It's been five years since Henry Qualls placed his signature on an album. Let's hope another five years don't pass before we hear something else.
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