Ben Sidran first came to public attention as a sideman on one of the early Steve Miller Band albums in the late Sixties. His keyboard stylings and flare suggested a background in jazz/rock fusion. His debut album, "Feel Your Groove" (also available on a Japanese Import CD) included a wealth of celebrated English and American talent including drummer Charlie Watts, but still did not deliver fully what Ben Sidran seemed to promise. This, his second album, was recorded after he resettled in Madison, Wisconsin (a.k.a. "Mad-City," then the Berkeley of the Midwest)and it showcased Ben Sidran's writing and performing in great form. It is quintessential Sidran, with stylings reminiscent but not imitative of his idol Mose Allison, and tunes that have held up extraordinarily well over the past three decades. This was Ben Sidran's true break-through LP, although best known to a relatively small group of FM alternative radio fanatics.
Having returned from fighting in World War I, James Allen doesn't want to settle into a humdrum life and decides to set off to find his fortune. He travels the length and breadth of America, working as a skilled tradesman in the construction industry. When times get tough however, he finds himself living in a shelter where an acquaintance suggests they go out for a hamburger. What the friend really has in mind is to rob the diner and Allen soon finds himself working on a chain gang with a long jail sentence. Allen manages to escape however and heads to Chicago where over several years he slowly but surely works his way up the ladder to become one of the most respected construction engineers in the city. His past catches up with him and despite protestations from civic leaders and his many friends in Chicago, he finds himself again on the chain gang. Escaping for a second time, he accepts that to survive, he must lead a life of crime.
Issued by Blue Thumb in 1974, Don't Let Go was Ben Sidran's third for the label, and his fourth overall. After his 1971 debut on Capitol, Feel Your Groove – a rootsy, bluesy, and jazzy rock record, populated by everyone from Peter Frampton to Jesse Ed Davis – Sidran began to indulge his jazz muse, and by 1974 the transformation was complete; he fit right in with Blue Thumb's funky, wide-reaching jazz, funk, fusion, and whatever-else-comes-down-the-pipe-that's-interesting philosophy.
BLUE CAMUS is the follow up to DONT CRY FOR NO HIPSTER. If the latter spoke to the hipster’s inner monologue, this project reflects the external input source that the hipster has been taking in. The references in BLUE CAMUS go back almost one hundred years to Garcia Lorca’s poetry (referenced in “The King of Harlem”), Orwell’s fantastic fiction (found in “A is for Alligator”) and a bit more recently to Albert Camus’ philosophy of existentialism.