"Get Wild!" is an appropriate title for the new album from Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials. The Chicago quartet doesn't boast the best singers or players in the blues field, but it does bring a contagious wildness to the music. When Lil' Ed Williams starts sliding his silver cylinder up and down his guitar and starts hollering that there's "Nothing I Wouldn't Do," it doesn't matter how rudimentary the licks are or how modest his baritone; all that matters is the uninhibited fervor that he and the band bring to the song.
Two years ago, as the liner notes explain, Williams "broke up the band, stayed home and truly put his life together for the first time." On the slow blues, "Change My Way of Living," Williams confesses that too often he "was out running the streets till dawn." Having gotten his act together, Williams has reunited the Blues Imperials, and they sound more energetic than ever.
Williams and his brother, bassist James "Pookie" Young, pay tribute to their uncle, J.B. Hutto, by remaking two of the Chicago blues legend's songs. Williams' own compositions are very much in the slide-guitar, house-rocking tradition of Hutto and Elmore James.
Appearing Friday at Paddy Mac's.
To hear a free Sound Bite from Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8102. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)