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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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Friday, October 18, 2019

Stony Plain Records artist: Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters - Beyond The Blue Door - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Beyond The Blue Door, from Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and it's really strong. Opening with Brand New Me, a Jerry Butler track, the bands starts off in a solid slot with vocal dynamo, Diane Blue up front backed by Dave Limina on piano and B3, Ronnie Earl on guitar, Forrest Padgett on drums and Paul Kochanski on bass with Mario Perrett on tenor sax, and Scott Shetler on bari sax . Slipping into a cool shuffle, Baby How Long,  Kim Wilson is up front on lead vocal and harmonica. A real Chicago style blues gives Wilson and Earl a nice opportunity to exchange solos with Anthony Geraci on piano and Peter Ward on guitar. Very nice. Henry Glover's tune made popular by Ray Charles, Drown In My Own Tears gives Earl the stage to do exactly what everyone expects of Earl, to play those long soulful runs that have been such a trademark of his sound. Exchanging phrasing with Greg Piccolo on sax, this track is really hot. An interesting twist on a Ronnie Earl album is an acoustic take on Bob Dylan's, It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry . This is a great track that I have a special fondness for and it's earlier remake by Leon Russell, featuring Dave Bromberg on acoustic guitar and lead vocal balanced with Earl on electric guitar. Two great masters playing separate interpretations together making one very nice interpretation. Another favorite and certainly one of the best showcases for Blue is A Soul That's Been Abused with it's somber feel and that of course brings out the best in Earl. If you've followed his work, you know when a track goes in excess of 9 minutes, you're in for some rich guitar soloing and it's right here. Perrett, Shetler and Piccolo add sax work making this a terrific track. The TBone Stomp is another trademark style track for Earl with his articulate and sometimes lagging off beat playing and a rock solid bottom by Michael Rush on bass. Want another slow, blues ballad. When Blue and Earl are in... I'm in. Peace of Mind is a real nice track with Blue's rich vocal playing off of Earl's response. This is a terrific track. With a serious lope, Bringing Light (To A Dark Time) has such a great feel. Blue's vocals are spot on and Earl sounds like he's a tiger waiting to pounce during his lead filler. With warm sax backing by Perrett and Shetler and Limina pushing, this is another excellent track. Wrapping the release is slow blues number, Blues for Charlottesville. With a firm bass line by Kochanski and Limina on Hammond, Earl is free to just play and he does play. This is an excellent closer for a really excellent release. 

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Woodstock Records artist: Professor Louie & The Crowmatix - Miles of Blues - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Miles Of Blues from Professor Louie & The Crowmatix and it's a mix of stripped down rural blues. Opening with L-50 Blues, featuring Professor Louie and Miss Marie on lead vocal with Louie on keys, Gary Burke on drums, Frank Campbell on bass and John Platania on slide guitar. Passion In My Life is a cool shuffle track with Louie up front on vocal and hot piano and tasty guitar work by Platania with solid vocal backing by Marie. With  cool, New Orleans style drumming by Burke on Rain 40 Days, Marie has the lead vocals on this one and organ accent by Louie and funky bass by Campbell, this is one of my favorites on the release. Stinging guitar riffs by Plantania and warm organ work by Louie on Exit Zero gets just the right amount of punch by Nick Driscoll on sax, Jim Buckley on bari sax, Danny Coyle on trumpet and Chuck Smith on trombone. Marie's vocal highlight is on Please Send Me Somebody To Love. Louie and Plantania each take supple solos complimenting the track nicely. Oh My Lady is a smooth soulful track featuring Louie on lead vocal and fat fat bari sax by Buckley. With it's solid melody, I like it as the radio track on the release. Bull Frog Jam Blues (Live) is a cool up tempo shuffle with super slide work by Plantania, cool vocal blending and solid horn work by the Woodstock Horns making this a nice closer.

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