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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, January 20, 2012

Blind Pig release: The Big Payback - Big James and the Chicago Playboys - Review

I just received and had the chance to listen to the new LIVE recording, The Big Payback recorded LIVE. This cd is deeply rooted in the soul and these guys are really working it. Although only three tracks written by Montgomery appear on the release, it sounds fresh and I really like it! The release starts off with an up tempo, horn driven The Blues Will Never Die. This is a great original tune with great instrumental support for Montgomery's vocal lead! It's a great intro for things to come. Next is James Brown's Big Payback. Now when you do James Brown in my presence, you better bring it.... and bring it they do!! Got James' groove down and I love the thumbing bass over the brass. I mean, nobody is James Brown...but this is the shit!! How bout some Sex Machine... do I hear Hot Pants.... this is cookin!! If you aren't dancing listening to this're dead! Next up is another Montgomery original, "Coldest Man I Ever Knew". It has a bit of the James Brown rhythm shuffle going on behind the scenes of a great brass band with great vocals. What's not to like! All Your Love, a Magic Sam tune is getting down into the soul of the blues. It great to hear a band that has horns have a great brass section and it doesn't have to sound like the "Tower of Power".Jody's Got Your Girl and Gone, an old Johnny Taylor gives the horns a chance to stretch out a little. That's Why I'm Crying, another Magic Sam tune gets a nice blues groove going and allows Montgomery to show off his great soul voice as well as the band flare. Trying To Live My Life Without You made popular by Otis Clay again used as a showcase for Montgomery and his terrific band. Again Montgomery and his boys tread on sacred ground with a George Clinton/Eddie Hazel tune, I'll Stay, great job! This is such a cool tune and these guys really do a nice job on it. Mike "Money" Wheeler does a nice job of articulating the guitar solo that you would expect in a Eddie Hazel song and I gotta mention again I love the style of Larry "L-Dub" Williams cause bass players never get their due and his work is very present. The entire band including Big James on Trombone, Joe Blocker on Keys, Cleo Cole on Drums and the Chicago Playboys do a great job but the bass player never gets his due. James pens his last song for the recording in Low Down Dirty Blues and it is a solid blues tune. Again it gives the band a great opportunity to showcase around James vocals. The surprise tune on the cd is Smoke On The Water...yeah...the Smoke On The Water. Although they gave it a good try... they should have left it out. It's a 2:24 tribute to rock and gives the band a little background to toot their own horns and kind of like a this is it song... but it didn't do much for me. So in ove 40 minutes of music I'm crital of 2:24? This is a great release.... get a copy and have a great time!!
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