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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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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

VizzTone Label Group artist: Chris "Bad News" Barnes - Hokum Blues - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Hokum Blues, from Chris "Bad News" Barnes, and it's true to the old style 30's blues. Opening with Tampa Red's It Hurts Me Too, Barnes' vocals are solid with super slide work from Jimmy Vivino and Steve Guyer on harp, backed by Will Lee on bass, Shawn Pelton on drums and Bette Sussman on piano. Kicking it into swing mode and getting a little suggestive, Barnes struts Let Play With Your Poodle, featuring a real nice piano solo by Sussman and crisp guitar riffs by Vivino. Very nice. Prohibition style, I'm Gonna Get High, maintains a lot of the "prance" of the area and caller style vocals. Wild slide work on Bo Diddley rhythmed It's Tight Like That really gives this track a great presence. The Hokum Boys',You Can't Get Enough Of That Stuff, is one of my favorites on the release with cool vocal harmonies and easy going rhythm. With a Latin beat, Keep Your Mind On It has really nice percussion by Pelton and particularly nice guitar work by Vivino, topped off by cool piano twist by Sussman and a cool harp solo by Guyger. Another track with a pure 30's style, even a quasi megaphone sound, is Let Me Pat That Thing with it's suggestive yet funny lyrics. Another nice solo by Sussman on piano is topped off by cool trumpet work and a nice clarinet solo. A cool rocker by the Hokum Boys, Caught Him Doing It really has a nice rockabilly flair and strong solos by Vivino and Sussman. Closing with Tampa Red's Christmas and New Years, Barnes hits the spot on vocals and Vivino's slide work is thick and greasy. I cool closer for a nice retro style blues release.  

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