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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, November 28, 2012

The Blowin' Smoke Rhythm & Blues Band - Beyond The Blues Horizon - New review

I just got Beyond The Blues Horizon, a hot release from The Blowin' Smoke Rhythm & Blues Band featuring the Fabulous Smokettes. This live concert recording opens with C.O.D., a hot R&B track featuring Michael Murphy on Hammond and Jimmy Delgado rippin' a great lead guitar. This is a real foot stomper and Larry 'Fuzzy" Knight, lead vocalist and bass player delivers the goods. Willie Dixon's Built For Comfort is up next and is dropped into a smooth swingin' groove. Again with Knight on strong lead vocal this track is very cool. Delgado, shows he's been around the block a few times laying down riffs that would rival many of the prominent Texas blues players. Murphy, on this track adds significant electric piano riffs that really punctuate Knights guttural blues voice. Get Your Money Where You Spend Your Time is a cool R&B/jazz track along the lines of WW Washington. Tenor Sax player the "Count" Yates takes the lead vocal spot on this track. This track has a really nice groove and more prominent horns. Again Delgado really shines with slick funky guitar riffs and Lee Campbell compliments Knight on the bottom nicely with really tight drumming. Carolyn Basley takes over lead vocals on Sam Cooke's Don't Fight It (Feel It). I really like this track as an addition to this bands repertoire. Elvin Bishop did it early in his career and it is a strong track. Turtle Blues takes the pace down real slow and Christiana Vierra does a real nice job. Her delivery is quite "Pearl" like and she takes the track by the scruff of the neck. A slow blues like this of course is always a nice set up for a guitar player with great chops and Delgado steps up and hits it long. You Can Have My Husband But Please, an Irma Thomas track, features Terri Brinegar on lead vocals and the track is done in a bright, uptempo pace. Murphy again plays really slick electric piano riffs and The Count leads up the horn section of Johnny Vandenberg on trumpet, Tom Morgan jr. on tenor sax and Chris Jennings on Bari sax for a full blown blues jam. Screamin' Jay Hawkins' I Put A Spell On You, goes back to the original pace that Hawkins originally had and the vocal interpretation is exciting. The Count blows a great articulated sax solo on this track and the band as a whole is really solid on this track. Willie Dixon/Elmore James track Talk To Me Baby has a really nice Texas lope and Delgado milks it for what it's worth. Knight returns on lead vocals and his delivery is smooth. The Count takes another strong sax solo on this track and leads a strong horn support section on this track as well. It's nice to see an appearance of Ike Turner's I'm Blue. I haven't heard it in a long time and the Smokettes do a great job on it's resurrection lead by Carolyn Basley. Slim Harpo's Shake Your Hips is up next with lead vocals by Brinegar. Instead of the blues or rock treatments that you typically hear, a slick R&B swing takes this track to new places. Luscious harmonic backing vocals and Murphy again on Hammond gives this track a whole new sound. Basley takes the lead on Otis Redding's These Arms of Mine and she delivers a fine cover of this classic soul track. The Temptations, Shakey Ground is the next track up and Vierra takes the lead again with the Smokettes filling out the sound. Jennings gets the chance to play some really memorable riffs and even crosses into some Herbie Hancock with the balance of the band which is a really nice groove. Knight gets a really nice funk going on his bass on this track as well. Larry Williams' Bonie Maronie keeps the original rock n' rhythm but with really hot sax work and featuring the horn section and the Count on vocals. I really like this cd. This is the kind of recording that you can put on while you're working and driving and it will make the day fly. It has great tracks, great instrumentation, great vocals and great energy.

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