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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, August 21, 2012

Goin' Back To California - Doug James and Sax Gordon

Doug James had for over 25 years been one of the key ingredients in "Roomful of Blues". Nicknamed Mr. Low (Baritone Sax), Doug was the anchorman of their great horn section which included Greg Piccolo, Porky Cohen, Rich Latille, Bob Enos, and others. Doug James can be heard on "Roomful of Blues" many albums beginning with "Roomful of Blues: The First Album".

When Greg Piccolo left "Roomful of Blues" in 1995, he was replaced with Gordon Beadle (Tenor Sax). Doug James and Gordon Beadle appear together on the 1996 release "Porky Cohen (with Roomful of Blues): Rhythm and Bones". Gordon's stay was short however as he left to join "The Duke Robillard Band", Duke being the original founder of "Roomful of Blues". Two years later Doug James also left "Roomful", he and Sax Gordon are together again on "The Duke Robillard Band: Explorer". Doug James has since become Gordon's replacement in Duke's Band as Gordon often performs as part of "The Love Dogs".

Gordon Beadle can be heard on his own release "Sax Gordon: You Knock Me Out" which features Doug James. Doug also has his own, "Doug James: Blow Mr. Low", which includes Sax Gordon. They both are part of the "Providence Horns" and appear on "Sugar Ray Norcia: Hands Across The Table". As a result of their projects they have numerous Handy and Grammy nominations.

This album, independently produced, includes twelve original instrumentals. The band features themselves and Matt McCabe, piano; Marty Ballou, bass; and Mark Teixeira, drums. Guitar chores are divided between Duke Robillard, Ricky "King" Russell and Mike DiBari. The album swings through fifty minutes of raunchy rhythm and blues as these two guys prove they are the best "Two Horn" section in the business.

The co-written "Can't Stand Up" starts out like a duel between saxophones, then on the chorus these two blend as one. Matt McCabe is perfect pounding on the eighty eights. "Cool Dude" written by Sax Gordon squeals and squawks. Doug James's "Goin Back to California" is like film noir. The "Bump" feels like an old dance craze. An additional eight wild instrumentals follow. The album, recorded at Duke's Mood Room in Pawtuckett, RI is an infectious display of an era gone-by when the saxophone was "king". For those who are fans this album is a must have.
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