Şenel Karatepe – Hard Times – Bone Union Records (BUR 1110)
Bone Union Records, a subsidiary of Black & Tan Records, continues the intriguing, innovative and highly interesting documentation of the Turkish blues scene that it began in 2020 with another highly entertaining release.

Şenel Karatepe is a singer and acoustic guitarist working in a solo setting on a set of tracks recorded around 2005 and 2006 in Izmir. The nine tracks are all accomplished performances and draw from a range of influences. There are four Robert Johnson numbers—the opening ‘Stones In My Passway’, which like all the performances here is not that different from the original but has its own charm, ‘Travelin’ Riverside Blues’, ‘Walkin’ Blues’, and a laid-back ‘Rambling On My Mind’. There there is a brooding cover of Muddy Waters’ ‘Louisiana Blues’, a fine version of ‘Driftin’ Blues’, and rather unexpectedly (though the album title might lead some to expect it), a reworking of Ray Charles’ ‘Hard Times’. A vibrant rendering of Big Bill Broonzy’s ‘Hey Hey’ is my favourite track of the set, and precedes the closer, Eric Clapton’s ‘Crying’, which fits in perfectly.

A very listenable and enjoyable release from a new and evolving blues location. It is worth checking out