Get this crazy baby off my head!


Kirk "Eli" Fletcher

Kirk "Eli" Fletcher - I'm Here & I'm Gone - 1999 - JSP

A brilliant West Coast Blues album, and VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Kirk “Eli” Fletcher, was born in 1975 in Lakewood, CA, and is one of the most talented Blues guitar players on the scene today. Kirk was guided by Al Blake, Junior Watson and Kim Wilson at a crucial point in his musical development. His playing is steeped in the history of his instrument and it’s players. His brilliant playing is influenced by great artists like Tommy Johnson, Bill Broonzy, Mississippi Sheiks, BB King, Louis Myers, Al Blake and Jr. Watson as will as Hollywood Fats. Al Blake stated that Eli was “…the most important and talented black blues artist to emerge in the last 50 years”. Try and listen to his great ""Shades Of Blue" album. In 2004, Kirk “Eli” Fletcher joined The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Check out their great 2005 album, "Painted On."


1. I Ain't Doing Nothin Wrong (Morello) (vocals, John Marxe)
2. What Is Going On (Morello) (vocals, Jackie Payne)
3. Church Street Boogie (Fletcher)
4. I'm Not Your Fool (Livingston) (vocals, Jackie Payne)
5. What Happened to You (Morello) (vocals, John Marxe)
6. School Street Shuffle (Fletcher)
7. Silver Spoon (Morello) (vocals, Jackie Payne)
8. You Went Back on Your Word (Morrello) (vocals, Jackie Payne)
9. Mr. Mann (Fletcher)
10. Bye Bye So Long (Morello) (vocals, John Marxe)
11. Watsonized (Fletcher)
12. I Ain't Doing Nothin Wrong (Morello) (alternate take in mono)
13. What Is Going On (Morello) (alternate take in mono)
14. What Happened to You (Morello) (alternate take in mono)


Vocals: Jackie Payne, John Marxe
Electric Guitar: Kirk "Eli" Fletcher, Alex Schultz (track 11)
Acoustic Guitar: Rick Reed
Rhythm Guitar: Alex Schultz (tracks 2,7,10)
Electric Bass: Rick Reed
Tenor Sax: Johnny Viau
Baritone Sax: Troy Jennings
Piano: Tom Mahon
Drums: Paul Fasulo


Kirk Eli Fletcher's debut, "I'm Here & I'm Gone" is a prime slice of West Coast Blues. Having listened to it a couple of times before reading the notes, I'm still amazed that Fletcher is only 22. His guitar playing and songwriting display a level of maturity that is way beyond his years. After drummer Paul Fasulo initially sent a tape of Fletcher to the JSP label, he got the go-ahead to make "I'm Here & I'm Gone," with Jimmy Morello at the controls, which turned out to be a masterstroke. He brings out the best in Fletcher, with a little help from the band too, of course. Morello also wrote six of the seven songs (the other is a cover of "I'm Not Your Fool"), while Fletcher penned the four instrumentals. Fletcher gives a quick burst of what to expect in the opening bars of the first track "I Ain't Doing Nothing Wrong." The band ease themselves into place, and once the horns get in the groove, especially the baritone sax, you know you're in for a treat. Fletcher only plays guitar on the album, although that is a bit like saying Rembrandt was only a painter. The first self-penned tune ("Church Street Boogie") opens with a tenor sax break that harks back to the heyday of Rhythm & Blues. This is followed by Fletcher's solo which is stylistically closer to jazz than Blues, although it has a Blues feel to it. Although Fletcher is the star of the show, he never hogs all the limelight, and always gives the rest of the band a chance to show what they can do. Although it doesn't say so in the notes, "I'm Here & I'm Gone" has the feeling of an album that was cut live in the studio(complete with one or two bum notes, if you listen closely). This live feel is especially evident on the self-penned instrumental "Watsonized," a paean to Fletcher's mentor, the sadly under-rated Junior Watson. It's a raucous shuffle, which includes persistent voices egging on the band. What makes it, and the whole album, though, is the old tube amp sound, popularized by Watson, that Fletcher wrenches out of his guitar. It gives his playing that extra low down and dirty feel. "I'm Here & I'm Gone" is a cracker of an album. If you like horn fuelled West Coast Rhythm and Blues with some sizzling guitar, and big, soulful vocals, then this one is for you. Even if you don't like that sort of thing, buy it anyway, and play it really loud so that you can convince yourself of the error of your ways. If he can keep this standard up, Kirk "Eli" Fletcher has a big future ahead of him. This review is copyright © 1999 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage all rights reserved. Quoted from the Blues On Stage website.


Guitarist Kirk "Eli" Fletcher is, ironically, a rare presence on today's blues scene: a 20-something African-American man who has thoroughly immersed himself in the classic blues sounds of the 1950s and '60s. Son of a Baptist minister, Kirk's introduction to the blues came as a teenager, through his older brother's copy of B.B. King's "Live At the Regal", and he hasn't looked back since. In Kirk's relatively short time playing music, he's made some big waves and impressed a lot of the right people. Coming up through the ranks of the West Coast blues scene, he's spent valuable time with Al Blake (former front man of the legendary Hollywood Fats Band), Richard "Lynwood Slim" Duran, and Junior Watson, among others. Eventually he was hand-picked for Kim Wilson's Blues Revue, the modern day equivalent of joining, say, Muddy Waters' band in the 1950s. From there he was recruited for veteran harp man Charlie Musselwhite's band, and not long afterwards, with help from Wilson, Blake and Duran among others, he recorded his first CD, for England's JSP label. While continuing to work as one of the most sought after 'hired hands' on the West Coast blues scene, he began an association with blues producer and promoter Randy Chortkoff, which resulted in Kirk's most recent solo CD, "Shades Of Blue". On that project Kirk was supported by some the hottest and most experienced West Coast blues veterans, among them vocalist Finis Tasby, laying the groundwork for The Mannish Boys. Fletcher has been dividing his time between touring and recording with both the Hollywood Blue Flames and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. www.waterfrontbluesfest.org/performances/bio_mid.html?id=106