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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 28, 2012

Raw Sugar Live - Sugar Blue - New Release Review

I just put Raw Sugar Live, the newest release from Sugar Blue on my player and it blasted me like a double barrel shotgun! This is an energetic band with a lot of power. The double live recording opens with Red Hot Mama which is literally a strong show opener that gets your attention. One More Mile comes on with a light jazzy funk beat and the band is in the groove. Sugar really lights this track up with his notorious harping. tracks like this really tell you if the band is tight or not and this band is tight featuring Rico McFarland on guitar, James Knowles on drums, Ilaria Lantieri on bass and Damieno Della Torre on keys. McFarland plays a real screamer of a guitar solo on this track. Next the band takes on Willie Dixon's Hoochie Coochie Man and Sugar's singing and harp work are stellar. The band starts off with the traditional interpretation but adapts it to more of a slow shuffle which really gives the band a chance to stretch and show their talents. Again, McFarland and Sugar as well as Della Torre really lay down some memorable licks. Bluesman is a more blues rock track with a strong hook and of course notable guitar and harp work throughout. Swing Chicken is a cool instrumental jazz track not unlike what Gatemouth Brown may do. McFarland lays down some really hot riffs on this track. Needless to say...this is hot! Another Man Done Gone is done just Sugar and his harp. This is done in a very traditional manner but interpreted by Sugar playing his harp and singing. Particularly nice performance. Krystalline gets the crowd back on their feet with that solid funk blues beat and Sugars smooth vocals. Knowles and Lantieri really know how to push the band and Sugar knows how to take the floor when the door opens. McFarland plays great riffs throughout this recording and is sure to please any thirst for guitar work. It's nice to hear a band who has great mastery of their instruments get the chance to actually play and this band does. Della Torre takes another key interlude on this track and keeps the funk real. One of Sugars collaborations was with the Stones on Miss You from Some Girls and he covers it here both in a traditional and without constraint. His tone is unmistakeable. Next up is Junior Wells' Messin' With The Kid. The band pulls out all of the stops on this track pushing the heat again with that funky rhythm line. It's always great to hear a band do a strong interpretation of a blues standard. Bad Boys Heaven takes a standard 8 bar blues approach and these guys show they know how to hit it old school. The band makes great use of the entire 14 minutes playing great riffs and solos. When a band can play for 14 minutes without you saying enough already, they have something to say. This is really cool!

If you like your blues with a funk bottom and a little jazz on top, this could be your ticket. I know I really enjoyed it!
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  1. This album has the seal of approval and is highly recommended by Stilladog!