Cooper Terry & the Nite Life,
Take a Ride with Cooper T.
(Blue Flame, 2002)

According to the reminiscence of Lillo Rogati, the late Cooper Terry "used to say that Blues was not Pain and Suffering only but also Joy and Love." In "taking a ride" with him for the duration of this album, it is clear from his style that he believed in expressing this belief.

Cooper Terry died in 1993, having moved from America to Milan in the '70s, and is credited as being a unique interpreter of modern and traditional blues, with a hypnotic effect on his audiences and a great love of life and laughter. His rich voice, accompanied by his smooth skills on 12-string guitar, dubro and harmonica, makes this CD undoubtedly his own. His fellow musicians, while competent and complementary to his style, are also fulsome in their praise of his talents and much-missed personality. From electric guitarist Marco Limido comes the following tribute: Cooper "never sold his soul to the devil, he'd always given it to the ones who listened to his Blues." Apt sentiments, written on the cover of an album redolent with quality blues, full of soul and full of life, easy on the ears and easy just to ride along with, until suddenly the journey ends and you realise that time has passed and the songs have finished. The ensuing silence seems very heavy.

Cooper co-wrote all but three of the 17 tracks with Lillo Rogati (acoustic and electric bass), varying between slow, slightly mournful or smooth sliding ("And I Cry" is wonderful), or fast-stepping, rattling along with an infectious rhythm, shuffling swift and sure-footed ("California Shuffle," for example). Each track has its own charm and personality contributing to the overall enjoyment. Guest pianist Valentina Comi, joining him on "Raggedy and Dirty," sounds the changes with the keys, and Nicola Calgari guests elsewhere on saxaphone. Drum honours are shared between Stefano Re and Davide Ravioli.

The title track's lyrics are featured on the cover booklet, which has some atmospheric photos of the man himself and various written tributes. The final track, "Me And The Devil," is a previously unreleased Cooper Terry solo, surely a strong temptation for those acquainted with his work to purchase the CD -- though if truth be told, little in the way of perks is required. The quality and variety here is justification enough. It is sad to think he will not make more music like this; blues was dealt a blow by his passing, but is permanently enriched by evidence of his journey.

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 21 December 2002