Still the guy knows how to put out a blues record that isn't the same old twelve-bar bore. On Black Midnight Sun, he demonstrates blues-to-the-bone authority and a sound that's edgier than usual. Produced by Bill Laswell and bolstered by Parliament/Funkadelic drummer Jerome "Bigfoot" Brailey's phat backbeats, the disc is dominated by moody, sometimes spooky covers of soul and R&B gems. There is a good and greasy rendition of Syl Johnson's "Is It Because I'm Black"; a sticky funk version of James Brown's "Talkin' Loud and Saying Nothing"; and a cover of Sly Stone's "Thank You for Talkin' to Me Africa" dominated by slow-mo wah-wah guitar. Peterson may be going the borrowed-and-blue route this time out, but he makes these tunes his own: At 38, the onetime rising star sounds as if he's still pushing hard, trying to prove something.