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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


Please email me at Info@Bmansbluesreport.com

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hal's Kitchen artist: Manitoba Hal - Live In Ghent - New Release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Live In Ghent, from Manitoba Hal, and it's quite entertaining. This is a blues packed double CD featuring classic blues tracks presented primarily as Uke and vocal. Opening with Come On In My Kitchen, Hal uses a fairly traditional arrangement and his vocal styling is real cool. Add in Hal's acoustic accompaniment and you have a real cool track. The Ukulele work on Atlanta Moan is clean and cool. It has not been used much to my knowledge on recent releases but Ry Cooder's use of Uke on Goin' To Brownsville has always stuck with me and this track brings it to memory. Very nice. On Baby Please Don't Go, Hal uses some type of pairing device to duplicate and mimic the sound  he plays on Uke and it's really works well. His playing style is a bit more aggressive and with smooth vocals is very cool. Evangeline brings about some slide work and the sound is very interesting. Tight playing style and precision followed by a classic ballad melody makes this one of my favorites on the release.  Sweet Home Chicago is accelerated to double time and finger picked. A real barn burner and a release favorite. On St. James Infirmary, Hal is plugged and playing some really treacherous blues riffs. With classic vocal styling... a definite release favorite. Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women is a really cool track with wild lyrics and intricate instrumental backing. Excellent closer for disc one. 

Opening disc two is Ain't No Grave with a very somber approach. This is possibly one of the nicest vocal tracks on the release and the acoustic accompaniment is very nicely done as well. They're Red Hot has a really nice chorded intro which shows nice dimensionality. Breaking into rag style about half way through adds cool contrast to another of my release favorites. Key To The Highway really works well with Uke and Hal really works the vocals. A track that I have heard redone many times but this one still sounds fresh. With a bit of Elizabeth Cotton style, My Creole Belle, Hal blends New Orleans with country blues. This is a really interesting track and a cool addition. Wrapping the release is The Thrill Is Gone utilizing a slightly more laid back acoustic version on BB King's classic. Hal puts on a super show with his own approach to the blues. Very cool.




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Friday, February 17, 2017

Josh Hyde - The Call Of The Night - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Call Of The Night, from Josh Hyde and it's super. Opening with title track, The Call of The Night, Josh White lays out a bluesy track that is ready for the radio with a great melody, nice vocal harmonies, nice organ support by John Gros, smooth vocals by Hyde paired with a stylized guitar solo that maintains compactness while expressive feeling, Jamey Bell on drums and Joe V. McMahan on guitar. The Truth is a really hot swampy funk rocker in the style of Little Feat with great pace and beautifully woven instrumentation. This really is an excellent track with nicely crafted guitar work, a moving bass line and tight organ work giving it a lot of spunk. Close is a quiet ballad with a sweet melody and expressive slide guitar work by Buddy Flett. Sonny Landreth joins the mix on Offshore adding his distinctive slide styling to this bluesy funk rocker. On acoustic, It's Not Too Late, Hyde shows some of his best vocal work. A folk ballad, it is a really cool track, accented again by the slide work of Landreth and complimented by the acoustic guitar work of Tony Daigle. Need A Lil More has a contemporary sound but definite roots in the blues. Gros' keyboard work really carries the track with cool vocals by Hyde and nicely executed guitar riffs by Hyde. Guitar In Hand is a cool Jackson Browne/Neil Young like track with burning guitar soloing by Hyde which nicely accents his own solid vocals.  Mississippi Bridge is a terrific new country style track along the lines of Frank Black. With a great melody and a compact form, Buddy Flett on guitar and Laura Mayo nicely work with Hyde's certain vocal strength. Wrapping the release is I've Got This Song, a smooth radio track with a cool melody and featuring James Westfall on keys. With jazz and country characteristics this track is a solid closer for a very enjoyable release.


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