Blues submissions requested! Guest writers always welcome!!

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Vizztone Label Group artist: Sean Costello - In The Magic Shop - New Release Review

I just received the newest release of artist Sean Costello's work, In The Magic Shop and it is spectacular! This release was recorded at the Magic Shop studio in 2005 but never released. The spontaneity is remarkable. Opening with BB King's It's My Own Fault, Costello digs in on his guitar and plays some of the most lush guitar riffs that I have heard this year. This thing is off the hook! Primarily but not exclusively an instrumental, even Costello's vocals are spot on. Brilliant! Next up is Can't Let Go, a catchy R&B track joined by Paul Linden on B3, Melvin Zachery on bass, Brian Jackson on Wurlitzer, Liz Tormezand Brianne Winter on backing vocals and Ray Hangen on drums. On Hard Luck Woman, a bouncy blues track it's hard not to get infected. With Linden adding in some harp work, this is a tight track and on that on melody and rhythm alone should hit the airwaves. Really nice! Ned Wever's beautiful ballad, Trust in Me, is up next and Costello shows how expressive he can be just as a showcase vocalist. Excellent! Feel Like I Ain't Got A Home is a blues rocker with a straight forward drive. This is another excellent radio for different reasons. A catchy melody and driving rhythm makes this a track that will stick with you. Fenton Robinson's You Don't Know What Love Is, is a spectacular funky blues number. With Costello singing with great clarity over Matt Wauchope on B3 and grabbing his guitar by the scruff, this track defies you to sit still. Excellent! Bobby Womack's Check It Out retains all of the R&B sound and Costello's voice is perfect for delivery throughout. Succinct guitar riffs punctuate the track. I really really like it! I Went Wrong is a beautiful BB King styled track and Zachery's bass line setting the bar. Costello really does an excellent job on vocals and Linden keeping the groove on keys, Costello takes a really nice guitar solo. A totally unexpected track, Rod Stewart's You Wear It Well, would be a natural track for the radio as it was a huge track for Stewart years ago. Solid writing and a solid performance makes for a solid interpretation by Costello and addition of 12 string guitar work by Jimi Zhivago. Told Me A Lie is a really unusual track with soulful vocals and an interesting bass line. Although I'm not blown away by the guitar tone, the overall feel is still excellent. Make A Move is a light jazzy but funky track with a cool groove. Costello's tone seems pinched but his playing is really nice. Hagen really sets the tone on drums and backing vocals by Greta Gettler and Dayna Kurtz add texture. Wrapping the release is Johnny Fuller's Fool's Paradise. A really pretty melody is a super basis for this track with Costello again showing that he's not just another excellent guitar player. But an excellent guitar player he is. Playing light articulate riffs against Linder on keys, this track is a really nice close to an excellent release. I have a number of Sean Costello albums but this is a must have! (Profits to Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research)

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Firenze Records artist: Markus James - Head For The Hills - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (October 28, 2014), Head For The Hills, from Markus James and it's alive! Opening with Just Say Yes, a stripped down driver with straightforward drumming and rhythm guitar. James vocals, presented like through a distorted mic is nicely complimented by whirling slide guitar work. Very cool! RL Burnside's Going Down South really has the feel of today's modern blues as delivered by the Keys for example but with heartier slide and also featuring Kenney Kimbrough on drums. I like this track for isn't simplicity juxtaposed against it's modern slide techniques. Head For The Hills has a lot of the roots of Mali without losing it's North American sound (or vice versa). Shake is a real shak shaker with Calvin Jackson on drums. James does a real nice job on vocal and guitar on this track plus adding a cool harp part as well. This track is certain to appeal to contemporary audiences. Suit Of Golden Clothes is one of my favorites from purely a blues point of view. It captures much of the delta feel and sounds. For Blind Willie is a a somber guitar chant not unlike some of Ry Cooders work. It is very pure and very nice! Marlon Green leads the way on drums on Gone Like Tomorrow. With high register slide work playing against the solid rhythms of the tom toms, this is a cool track just for listening. Fallin From The Sky shows a lot of tension with heavy vocal work from James and his steamy slide work backed only by basic (hambone) percussion. Very cool! Nomo is the closest to a contemporary commercial track on the release. A catchy melody and lyrics make this an easy anthem. Title track, Head For The Hills has a driving beat from Kimbrough and metallic sounding slide work under authentic vocals. With country blues picking coupled with slide work and lightly distorted vocals this is another cool track. On A Mississippi Porch has a very clean and simple acoustic touch. Easy acoustic slide work and hambone percussion give this track realism. Sleepyhead has what I'd describe as a quiet melody that is almost distinctly Mississippi but with a definite Mali sense about it. Very nice. Candyland Refugee is a track with two distinct facets. A simple contemporary song but with an African rhythm and instrumentation. Interesting sound. Diddley Bow And Buckets is a primitive track of exactly as it is titled. A simple DB and soft buckets by Calvin Jackson. Woke Me has a strong feel of Robert Johnson (Crossroads) with a certain modern feel. Kimbrough is back on drums and James' vocals are confident and his slide work is hot! Wrapping the track is Green, a simple acoustic slide guitar melody. A cool track with acoustic nature sounds added on string instrument is a nice conclusion to an unusually cool blues release.

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