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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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Friday, June 15, 2018

Silvertone/RCA Records artist: Buddy Guy - The Blues Is Alive And Well - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Blues Is Alive and Well, from Buddy Guy and it's strong. Opening with A Few Good Years, Buddy Guy pleads in song for continued good years to remain but his vocals are smooth and his guitar as vibrant as ever. Joined by Tom Hambridge on drums, Rob McNelley on guitar, Kevin McKendree on B3 and Willie Weeks on bass, this hits home. Shuffle track, Guilty As Charged shows a strong romp attitude and you can see that gold tooth glistening as Buddy shouts out guilty and fans his guitar wildly in one of his frantic guitar explosions. Very nice. Cognac, is a real nice 12 bar number featuring not one but two legendary guest guitar players, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck who along with Guy give this track real teeth. Richards' riffs are always standout and Beck's style is remarkable and an absolute signature. Excellent! Title track, The Blues Is Alive And Well is a great R&B fused track with Weeks' instinctual bass work leading the way. Guys' vocals are rich and pure and the backing by the Muscle Shoals Horns (Charles Rose on trombone, Steve Herrman on trumpet, Doug Moffet on tenor sax and Jim Hoke on bari sax really add depth to Guys personal guitar style. Very solid. Soul ballad, Blue No More features James Bay and Guy trading vocal and guitar lead. Smooth as silk and blue as can be, this track is a great radio track. Digging in the funk, Whiskey For Sale shows a side you don't often see but a great side it is. With McNelley on slide, Guy tearing up the lead and the McCrary Sisters on backing vocals this track may be one of my favorites on the release. Slow blues, You Did The Crime is classic Buddy Guy with terrific vocals and guitar, fat slide from McNelley and Mick Jagger on harp. With that rumbling bass line that I like to think as classic Buddy, Old Fashioned, is a great track with Guy conjuring up the notorious Buddy Guy guitar tone and riffs. The Muscle Shoals horns really pump up the volume and McKendree's B3 fills out the sound. Excellent! When My Day Comes is still another great track with Buddy on full throttle with expressive vocals and lead vocal and tight pointed drumming by Hambridge. Sonny Boy Williamson's Nine Below Zero sits solid in the Chicago sound with classic lines and riffs. Guy grew up in this stuff and knows just how to dress it right. His soloing is fresh, expressive and meaningful. Excellent! Boogie track, Ooh Daddy is a hard driver with Weeks leading the way and Buddy shows nothing but vitality with youthful yelps and pounding riffs. Super. Wrapping the release is End Of The Line and Milking Muther For Ya. Guy does it big time smooth band with horns honking and great guitar tone. Continuing his theme of nearing the end of his time, Guy shows no signs here to slowing or losing his fine talents as some of his predecessors have done. He ties into this last track his little ditty that he often sings in concert about the girl who tries to milk the bull. I've seen Buddy many times and he's always a great performer. My hopes are that he still has many more years to come. Excellent release!


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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Dirty Cat Records artists: The Lucky Losers - Blind Spot - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blind Spot, from The Lucky Losers and it may be their best one yet. Opening with It's Never Too Early, a melodic two stepper featuring nicely blended vocals by Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz, backed by Ian Lamson on guitars, Chris Burns on keys, Endre Tarczy on bass and Robi Bean on drums. Take The Long Road is a real cool track with an Al Green strut. Lemons' vocals are spot on, with Laura Chavez on lead guitar and Berkowitz harp contributions are notable. Alligator Baptism is a cool blues rocker with a pinch of Latin spice courtesy of D'mar on percussion and the addition of Kid Andersen on lead guitar, Jack Sanford on bari sax and Nancy Wright on sax. Another strong track, The River, this time country soul really nicely showcases Lemons' voice which sounds a lot like Susan Tedeschi. Lamson's slide work and harp work by Berkowitz add nicely to this really solid entry. With a cyclical bass line by Tarcy, Supernatural Blues has a great feel, with Lemons and Berkowitz laying down a solid duet and crisp guitar riffs by Lamson. Funky, Don't Take Too Much,lays heavy on a great bass line by Tarczy and D'Mar on drums. Nicely phrased vocals by Lemons and Berkowitz, funky organ work by Burns, and a particularly nice harp lead by Berkowitz makes it hard to sit still. Very nice. Channeling an Al Green vibe, Love Is Blind really sits nicely in the groove. Lemons has the lead on vocal and with nicely finessed harp work from Berkowitz, a cool neck pickup guitar solo with tight articulation by Kid Andersen and Beans solid drumming, this track is smooth. Wrapping the release is You Left It Behind, a light, piano framed shuffle with playful vocal exchanges by Lemons and Berkowitz. Tarczy and Bean set a compact bottom and Lamson's guitar runs are super. Very cool closer for a real nice release.
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