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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!


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Monday, June 27, 2016

Juke Rockets Blues Band - Hungry Soul - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Hungry Soul, from Juke Rockets Blues Band and they play from the heart. Opening with American Train, a country style rocker, Carlene Thornton leads on vocals with solid drums from Tim Woitowitz, bass from Steve Mellor and guitars from Ron Casillo. On 12 bar number, Can't Complain Blues, Ron leads the way on guitar and Steve pops in a real nice bass solo. JRBB slows the tempo a bit for Cougar, with seductive lyrics, and some of the most ambitious, San Francisco style guitar playing on the release. Title track, Hungry Soul, is a simple ballad with a nice melody, clearly articulated guitar work and nicely blended vocals. Very nice. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Keep On Walkin' with a thumping bass line and real nice grinding slide guitar riffs. It also shows some of Thornton's best vocals on the release. JRBB brings it down real low for Mister 7. Showing guitar chord structure like Mr T Bone Walker over structured bass and drums, Thornton does a real nice job on lead vocal. Heavy bottomed, Sunday Morning, gives Mellor a cool opportunity to walk around on bass. Nicely overdriven guitar riffs by Casillo and lightly salted drum work by Woitowitz gives Thornton plenty of space to belt out the blues. The opener on classic, Summertime, gives Casillo the opportunity to show his best work on the release with super clarity and trem bends. I hear influences from the SF sound on Thornton but she is by no means copying Pearl so definite kudos for individuality. Funky, When I'm Good, is loose but cool. A bit of a jam and some nice vocals harmonies make this track stand out. Wrapping the release is ballad, We Threw Love Away, has a solid melody and consistent radio quality. A nice closer for a cool release.


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Friday, June 24, 2016

Underworld Indie Records artist: Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat - Live at the Kessler - New release review

I just received the newest release, Live at the Kessler, from Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat and it's really fun. Opening with I Declare, Suhler gets the crowd warmed up on lead vocal with excellent piano support from Shawn Phares, Chris Alexander on bass and Beau Chadwell on drums. Suhler has a great voice and great tone. On swampy, Across the Brazos, Chadwell's snappy drum beat and accordion like key work by Phares add extra flavor. Rock n' Roller, Doin' The Best I Can, is a hard driver with Suhler showing his super slide technique. This is a great cranker and Suhler presses on with strong support by Phares on keys. Excellent! Tijuana Bible has a real nice thumping bass line and grinding guitar riffs. With it's memorable melody and ZZ Top like feel, this track is hot! Deja Blue has a cool tandem vocal/lead guitar melody with accordion keys giving it a cajun feel. Single note bass line and steady drum lines gives the track a simple structure accenting Suhler's easy slung lead slide work. Very nice. Texassippi has a real nice southern country feel with really supple vocals and acoustic slide work. Sunday Drunk is a great rocker with a relentless bass line. Suhler stretches his strings quite nicely giving the track real bite. Devil In Me opens with a cool drum solo from Chadwell joined by Suhler on slide. Heavy toms and solid bottom is the key to this track with it's slight country taste. Suhler really lets it loose on this one with some slick slide riffs. Excellent! Panther Burn is a heavy lumbering track ... kind of a southern version of Levee Breaks. Alexander and Suhler on vocal with Suhler's slide work and solid drums really gives this track oomph. Scattergun is a really cool shuffle with lead slide. A pure blues number with boss bass lines, this track is great. Suhler and Phares really air it out here for one of the best tracks on the release. Po' Lightnin' has a cool funky beat and with nice lead bass lines and almost spoken lyrics. Prayin' For Rain, built over arpeggios on a theme, is a really sweet ballad. Wrapping the release is Restless Soul, a pure rockin' boogie. If this doesn't get you moving, nothing will. With plenty of slide work this track morphs into a driving version of Bullfrog blues and raw rowdy sliding blues. Excellent closer!

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