Don McMinn

Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page

Don McMinn has been a Memphis mainstay for about a hundred years now (at least it seems that way), and Painkiller Blues is a good example of why he's been able to remain on top locally for so long. It is a solid, if not groundbreaking, blues record that offers good lead guitar, growling vocals and enough Memphis references to keep the locals and Beale Street tourists happy.
Don McMinn
As he strolls through the title track, you can almost see him on the Crawdad's or Rum Boogie stage, singing about getting a cold Budweiser and a glass of gin. But in the end, Painkiller As much as we enjoy McMinn, he does not seem to be pushing himself very hard. His almost laborious reading of House of the Rising Sun slows the record down, rather than add to its palette. And Memphis in May is strictly a sing-a-long for tourists. He would be better served to work on more originals rather than covering songs by Hank Williams Jr. (Loving Instructor). Too often he goes for novelty over true blues. It plays well in the clubs, but on record we would like to see him stretch out more.

The thing is, when McMinn wants to crank out true blues, he can. The title track and Down Home Blues are good examples. He pours real emotion into his playing and singing, gets good backup from a band that includes keyboards and horns and stays away from cheap sentiment or local references guaranteed to get a cheer from a Beale Street bar crowd.

Click the PLAY button above to start the stream