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Lil' Ed Likes Having The Blues

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, November 7, 2008

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He’s been playing the blues since his uncle, the famed J.B. Hutto, showed him how to play slide guitar in their native Chicago. But on “Full Tilt,” the latest album with his band the Blues Imperials, Lil’ Ed Williams wanted to push his musical parameters a bit more.

“I wanted to get into different grooves and different patterns, show the people there’s a little more to Lil’ Ed than just the slide,” says Williams, 53. “It still is the blues; we’re gonna keep that tradition going, but there’s a lot more ways to take it, and I want to explore those.”

One of those directions is Motown, which Williams and company take on “Full Tilt” with a rendition of the Contours’ “First I Look at the Purse” — a suggestion, the guitarist says. of Alligator Records president and album co-producer Bruce Iglauer.

“Bruce likes us to do things like that, and it’s OK,” Williams says. “When he first threw it on me, I was wary. I’d never heard the song, and I’m not really a rock ‘n’ roll guy. But when it came to it, it was a fun song to play, so I’m glad he pushed it, and I’m glad it’s on there.”

Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials perform at 10 p.m. Friday (Nov. 7) at Memphis Smoke, 100 S. Main St., Royal Oak. Admission is free. Call (248) 543-4300.

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