Veteran guitarist/vocalist Elvin Bishop has always been – at heart – a blues man, but more known for his pop tunes ("Fooled Around & Fell In Love") and associations as an accompanist. Though he's put out many recordings as a leader, this could be the crown jewel in a long and perhaps sometimes frustrating career. It's his second for the Delta Groove label, accentuating Bishop's deft, meaty slide guitar work, featuring five of his originals, and covers of great standards written by Leroy Carr, Huey Meaux and others. In addition, Bishop is teamed with many heavy friends (including guitarist Tommy Castro, R.C Carrier on rub board, pianist Bob Welsh, and ex-Charles Brown electric bassist Ruth Davies) who also know a great deal about the Chicago-based electric urban music they grew up with and still adore. John Nemeth adds his soulful and gritty vocals to three songs, including a cover of Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross" and a classic read of Otis Spann's New Orleans-flavored "Get Your Hand Out of My Pocket".
Elvin Bishop's music has been making people smile for over 50 years. A founding member of the groundbreaking Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Elvin has performed and recorded with music legends such as B.B. King, John Lee Hooker and the Allman Brothers……
The band remained with Capricorn throughout the rest of the 1970s, releasing Hometown Boy Makes Good! in 1976. A live album, Raisin' Hell, was released in 1977 to capitalize on the group's enduring popularity. A return to the studio resulted in Hog Heaven, released in 1978. None of these albums, however, was able to match the popularity of Struttin' My Stuff. Faced with its decline in popularity, the band opted to dissolve at the end of the decade, ending its affiliation with Capricorn after the release of Best of Elvin Bishop in 1979.
Bishop was relatively quiet for much of the next decade, after releasing Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby in 1981. In 1988 he returned to active duty, signing with Alligator Records and effectively returning to his blues roots. That year's Big Fun marked the debut of Bishop with his new label, followed by 1991's Don't Let the Bossman Get You Down. In 1995 Bishop released Ace in the Hole and also performed on the first solo album of his former mentor, Smokey Smothers. The 1998 album The Skin I'm In addresses, among other things, the artist's experience of growing older. In January of 2000, Bishop's career appeared to close the circle when Smokey Smothers joined him onstage for three nights of sold-out shows in San Francisco. The performances were captured on That's My Partner!, released later that year.
Gettin' My Groove Back, the first new studio album from Elvin Bishop in five years, and the first since his daughter Selina was murdered in 2000, is an understandingly split affair, part catharsis as he deals with his tragic loss, and part the kind of rocking party record that has been Bishop's trademark in the past. Needless to say, the two parts don't necessarily fit together that well, and while Bishop's stinging guitar playing bridges the gap somewhat, it is the ragged, angry lead track, "What the Hell Is Going On," and the harrowing "Come on Blues," which features Bishop solo with just an electric guitar, that linger in the mind when this set concludes, making tracks like "Party Til the Cows Come Home" seem criminally frivolous. That said, the goofy, washboard-driven "He's a Dog" is a hillbilly delight, while an instrumental version of Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams" features some absolutely wonderful and emotionally powerful slide guitar work from Bishop, who obviously understands that the blues is, among other things, a kind of therapy. There was probably no way for Bishop to avoid the kind of emotional split apparent in this set, and while party songs about when the cows come home have their place, particularly as part of a live show, a track like "What the Hell Is Going On" asks the exact right question and ought to be all over the radio. That it isn't — and won't be —is an indictment of the times. It's a great song, and since it leads off this album, it casts a giant shadow over everything that follows it. Everyone — not just Bishop — desperately needs the answer to the question it asks.
Elvin Richard Bishop is an American blues and rock musician as singer and guitarist, a bandleader, and a recording artist, having released over two dozen studio and live albums to date, including a #3 charting U.S. hit single. He was an original member of the historic 1960s group, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and as such, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.