Poke Salad Annie is a song that has been sung and played so many times by so many great artists, it is almost unthinkable that a defining version of this classic southern standard could exist. Brook Benton, who had his first big hit with this song, is most likely the artist everyone would remember first when thinking of this track. Captain Luke is one of Brook’s biggest fans, yet after 40 years of entertaining in the drink houses of Winston-Salem, NC, Luke had made this song more than his own. Luke’s melted chocolate voice has a depth and feel that Brook never came close to, and then there is Cool John Ferguson.
Cool John is ripping his guitar like a machine, destroying steel plates with utter ease; you have never heard a guitarist drink deeper from the black river of song. Guitar heroes have chops, and Cool John has all of that, but his prowess is really just an afterthought of the music he delivers; the arrangements, finding utter joy in performing and composing on the fly around Captain Luke’s free floating verses, Cool John shows us what timing is really all about, before folks started counting beats.
I hope you enjoy this track from Live At the Hamilton, the new CD from Captain and Cool. It was recorded at a Capitol Blues Night in 2012, and we knew even then that it was going to be a great album. We’ve got another Capitol Blues Night coming up, featuring Cool John and Ironing Board Sam – you can get tickets here, it is going to be a great show.