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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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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Delmark Records artist: Steve Freund / Gloria Hardiman - Set Me Free - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Set Me Free, from Steve Freund and Gloria Hardiman and it's quite entertaining. Earlier released on Razor Records in 1983 (LP) this release is now available on CD with a few unissued tracks. Opening with R&B style You Got Me (Where You Want Me) Hardiman shows her command of the genre and Freund plays some hot riffs really getting the release off to a good start. On Jimmy Rogers track, That's All Right, Hardiman brings it down a bit and shows some rich blues feeling. Freund is always standing ready with a loaded fretboard making most anything that he touches come to life. Accompanied by Sunnyland Slim on this track it's good to hear the master at work. Bob Stroger on bass and Fred Grady on drums keep it simple while Freund plays a frenzied guitar solo sitting you back in your chair. Jammin' With Sam, a hot swinging instrumental track features a great lead melody by Sam Burckhardt on tenor sax and again solo work from Sunnyland and Freund. Ike Turner's The Way You Love Me, gives Hardiman a great opportunity to showcase her vocal style and Freund rips a nice solo lead. Harlan Terson sits in on bass on this track and Eddie Turner handles the drums. Ken Saydak lays down a really nice spiritual style piano line on King Curtis' Let Me Down Easy, giving Hardiman the opportunity to perform some of the best vocal work on the release. Freund isn't far from the mark when she takes a breath and crisp guitar riffs flow like water. On Aretha Franklin's Dr Feelgood, both Hardiman and Freund hit a nice groove, Freund really getting some smoking riffs off. On Guitar Slim's, Well I Done Got Over It, Hardiman really belts out the lead and Freund is always ready to throw some fuel on the fire with the guitar. New Orleans Hop Scop Blues is a swinging boogie like track with a nice guitar intro by Freund. Saydak really kicks it on piano on this track and of course Freund's contributions and certainly noteworthy. Things That I Used To Do, another Guitar Slim number is hot as a poker with Freund smoking the strings. Freund also takes the lead on vocals with a pretty nice vocal impression of Slim. Sunnyland Slim is back on piano and his personal styling, especially on this track is spot on. Possibly the best track on the release. Cleanhead Vinson's Kidney Stew Blues, a hot swinging blues instrumental is up next with great work from Burckhardt on tenor sax, Saydak on piano and Freund on guitar. Excellent! Otis Rush's Homework, never before released maintains the 60's rock beat and features Ron Sorin on harp and excellent vocal backing by Diane Holmes, Gail Washington and Gloria Hardiman. Freund punches the track with quick jabs and Gary Heller adds guitar work as well. Brook Benton's free wheeling, Kiddio, another never before released track has super piano presence from Saydak and Sorin is back on harmonica making this a great inclusion. Shoppin' And Snackin' features Saydak on vocal and piano as well as Bob Levis on guitar for a cool swinging piano blues. Wrapping the track is a boogie instrumental version of Swanee River Boogie. Saydak really hammers it out for a great conclusion of a very cool release.

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