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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, January 20, 2014

Sugar Brown - Sugar Brown's Sad Day - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (March 4, 2014), Sugar Brown's Sad Day, from Sugar Brown and I really like it. Opening with Elmore James' Fishman's Blues, SB and Bharath Rajakumar on guitar capture a bit of the rawness of Hound Dog Taylor accompanied only by Ben Caissie on drums. Great opener! Next up is Bo Diddley based track, Before The Law. Featuring SB on vocal and guitar and Rajakumar on harp as well as Caissie on drums and maracas. Another original, Sad Day, sounds like it is out of the Morganfield soung book and solid down and dirty blues. With cool vocals and slide riffs from SB and tight harp work from Rajakumar this is a great track. With a solid Sonny Boy Williamson sound, Grim Reaper smells like Chicago. SB leads his troops like he was born in the back of a Southside bar and Rajakumar doesn't hold back on harp. Zak Izbinsky also adds guitar work on this track. Very cool! Jimmy Rogers track Act Like You Love Me has a great simple boogie beat and classic distortion sounding like it was recorded 70 years ago. Very authentic and real. Volcano Woman continues to cement my thoughts clearly of how much I like this release. With really nice harp work and guitar/vocal duets this track has all of the basis covered. Floyd Jones' Stockyard Blues is a super vehicle for this group of men. A super straight blues track with only simple guitar and vocal (w/foot stomp) this track is cool! 2 O'clock is just SB on vocal and harp with foot stomp and with a little rock pace, keeps it raw and real. No embellishments... just the blues. Hook-a-Boogie captures the feel of JL Hooker with the raw edge guitar and rhythm. Mimicking Hookers singing pattern, raw and random soloing and keeping it simple is the key and SB does a great job! Throwing in Velvet Underground's Run, run, run with a twist is actually quite interesting. Like I said, the blues is everywhere and SB gets it. Traditional blues number John Henry really gets the delta treatment and is very believable (as opposed to other current over polished excuses to play long disjointed guitar solos). I am not trying to make disparraging remarks about contemporary players who elaborate on guitar because sometimes they really do a nice job, but it's really cool to see someone take a real simple approach at this type of track (vocal and guitar). Excellent! What Are We Going To Do shows how nicely SB is able to get right into the heart of the blues with his own creations. Delta Mississippi Muddy Waters would give this guy a pat on the back for his efforts. I really like SB's vocals and slide playing and Caissie adds nicely on upright bass. Hard to play in open tuning without giving Rollin' and Tumblin' a good shot. SB and Rajakumar blend vocals for a real swampy sound. On top of simple delta slide and Caissie on bass is all it takes. Elmore James' It Hurts Me Too gets a super cover with exceptional feel on vocal and slide. SB and gang close the release with an almost 8 minute smoking boogie jam, Boogie For Fuji featuring SB on harp, Zak Izbinsky and Rajakumar on guitar, and Caissie on drums. Slowing back to a simple delta pace for the close this makes for a terrific wrap.  This is really an exceptional outing for this group and i can't wait to put it in my car and listen to it cranked a few times!

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