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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, October 16, 2013

Rounder Records artist: James Booker - Classified (Remixed and Expanded) - New Release Review

I just received the new release (October 15, 2013) from James Booker and it's a total dictionary on New Orleans piano. Opening with title track, Classified, Booker hammers out a rhythmic chant on the piano clearing the path for the real authentic New Orleans vocal melody. On regional soul track If You're Lonely, Booker really shines on vocals and plays with church like accuracy on piano. Alvin "Red" Tyler is outstanding on sax on this track. On previously unreleased classically structured track Warsaw Concerto, Booker shows another side of his feel for the piano. Really interesting. Back to the bar room with Lawdy Miss Clawdy falls right into the heart of Bookers strength and this Lloyd Price track is a gem. On bayou/latino medley, Tico Tico/ Papa Was A Rascal/So Swell When You're Well Booker rattles the keys in traditional New Orleans style with compliments from Tyler. One of my favorites is a cool rendition of All Around The World (Grits Ain't Groceries) which is a full out piano romp with cool vocals. Down to a more serious side is a complex interpretation of Angel Eyes. This is beautifully arranged and executed. Tyler leads the way on another unreleased track, Lonely Avenue. You love sax, you'll love this track! Next is a tribute to Professor Longhair including Tipitina and Bald Head. Blending classical and new Orleans styles, this is a super track. Another unreleased track, I'm Not Sayin', has a 40's jazz style and is really soulful and bluesy. Excellent! Hound Dog has a loose jangly sound. It's raw and ragged sound is cool and authentic. Allen Toussaint's All These Things is performed with a quiet pace clocked perfectly by Johnny Vidacovich on drums. Another classically arranged track, Madame X is nicely paced and performed showing just how versatile Booker's musical interests vary. Another fun track, Fat's Domino's One For The Highway, has the swing and grit of Dr John with Bookers own piano style and with the addition of Tyler on sax and James Singleton on bass. The release wraps with traditional track Amen with it's gospel swing but containing it's self to basis of a singular piano and vocal. This is an interesting recording from many facets especially for me being exposed to not only the familiar NO style but also the classical style arrangements and feeling.

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