Big Joe Turner: Live 1983

King of the blues shouters captured in still-peerless form.

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The year 1983 is when Joe Turner was inducted

For most of the 70s, the 300-pound-plus giant had put his pioneering rock‘n’roll era behind him, favouring the jazz circuit.

Thankfully, the young musicians he teams with here, including bandleader Lee Allen of The Blasters, Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin and piano wizard Gene Taylor, prized Turner’s primetime period. Their devotion ensures a splendid last hurrah, as the big man revisits Shake, Rattle & Roll, Corrina Corrina and other diamond-cutter classics.

This rough and rowdy recording may not be A-plus quality but the power of Turner’s mighty tenor, ably accommodating his hard-living scars, presides over all. No singer ever swung this hard and his knack for dizzying acceleration and self-determination still a wonder to behold.

Via Floating World

Gavin Martin

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.