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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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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Delmark Records artist: Mike Wheeler Band - Turn Up!! - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Turn Up!!, from the Mike Wheeler Band, and it cranks! Opening with high energy R&B style blues number, Sweet Girl, Wheeler leads the way with his silky vocals on call and his guitar on response. Brian James on organ lays out a real nice solo and Wheeler follows with a energetic solo, backed by Larry Williams on bass, Cleo Cole on drums and great horn work by Kenny Anderson on trumpet and Hank Ford on sax. Another modern fusion of R&B and blues follows on You Won't Do Right, showing that Wheeler's vocals are every bit as solid as his guitar work. Funky, Yeah!, has a real nice feel with James' keyboard work and a lot of punch from the horns. Wheeler takes a real nice ride on his strat with just a minimal amount of wah on his sound. Very cool! Heavy bottomed, Brand New Cadillac, is one of my favorites on the release with a lot of rhythmic swagger and powerful blues rock guitar riffs. Excellent! Shuffle track, Talking To Myself, has a super swing and cool organ work by James. Light fingered guitar work by Wheeler compliments his vocals nicely. Really kicking up the R&B high stepping, the horns are pumped and ready on title track, Turn Up!!. On easy soul track, Nothing Lasts Forever, Wheeler guides the band with smooth vocals surrounded by warm backing vocals and nice guitar phrasing. Taking his guitar for a nice ride on this track, Wheeler continues to show his various expressive styles. With a New Orleans flair, I Can't Do That, has a super drum beat and a super cool piano solo. Wheeler steps up with really nicely crafted blues riffs giving the track a real bite. Nice! Living My Dream is a funky R&B rocker with really nice guitar work popped by the horn guys. Hot blues number, A Blind Man Can See, slows down the pace but cranks up the heat. Wheeler again demonstrates his soulful voice with only light keys, bass and drums. Excellent blues riffs roll off of his fretboard once he lets his guitar do his talking really smoking up the place. Very nice! Coming back to the funk, That's What Love Will Make You Do, is a tight, organ, drum, bass and rhythm guitar backing for Wheeler's vocals. Stepping up with fiery guitar riffs and Cole's drum work, this track is hot. Williams steps up with a smoker of a bass solo of his own making this a real standout track. Kicker, I'm Hooked, has a terrific rolling beat and Wheeler's vocals are so smooth at this pace. Organ backing and horn punch provides an excellent platform for Wheelers' stinging guitar riffs. Very nice! Wrapping the release is Sad State Of The World, with a real slinky blues feel and cool piano and organ tracks. Wheeler's vocals are top notch and Williams' bass lines are spot on. The guitar phrasing on this track is really sweet, reminding me a bit of Vernon Reid. With just a tough of gospel influence, this is a super closer for a solid release.

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