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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Delmark Records Artist: John and Sylvia Embry - Troubles - New release review

I just received the new release, Troubles, from John and Sylvia Embry and it's great! Some of the tracks included were originally released on Razor Records over 20 years ago but none ever released on CD and 5 tracks are previously unreleased altogether. Opening with Wonder Why, a a great slice of Chicago with Sylvia on vocal and bass and Johnny Guitar Embry on guitar. Slyvia has one of thise stellar voices and John knows how to get your attention on guitar. Backing the Embrys are Iceman Robinson on rhythm guitar and Dino Alverez on drums. Title track Troubles is a great track with John stepping up on the intro with chilling riffs and Sylvia really belting out on this slower blues number. John continues riff as the track goes on making you wonder why he isn't a household name. Excellent. On Brook Benton's Lie To Me, the Embrys lay down a cool shuffle bed and Sylvia uses her superior vocal skills to hold the track in the palm of her hand. John stretches out on guitar, not wasting any notes but telling a great story. On Elmore James style I'm Hurtin' Sylvia delivers big time on vocal with a mix between James Brown like soul and pure blues. John steps up with super nice slide riffs making this another track to watch. On I Found Love/Rainbow, the R&B really come out and the Embrys milk this track for everything it's got. Superb! On Jimmy Reed's Going To New York, Sylvia takes the strong lead on vocal with backing by John. Mustang Sally is up next with Woody Williams on drums and lead vocal. Sylvia and Woody do a cool trade off on the chorus and John steps up with a hot guitar riff adding to the mix. The first of the unreleased tracks, Gonna Find My Baby is a great track. Digging deep in the blues Sylvia shines on vocals and John compliments her nicely on guitar both in compliment and in solo. Possibly my favorite track on the release. Early Time Blues has an Elmore James kind of feel and John is active under the vocals on guitar. Sylvia sings super lead and John steps it up considerably on his solo. Another super track! Razor Sharp is a boogie instrumental featuring John and Sylvia just jamming away. With that Freddie King rhythmic feel, John uses his own voice on guitar to tell the tale. Smokin! Roosevelt Sykes track Keep Your Hands Off Her has that strong Chicago sound and Again Woody and Sylvia trade vocal leads. Blues This Morning, a cool shuffle track gives Sylvia a good platform to show her stuff and John plays a stinging guitar solo to satisfy guitar twits like me. After Work is a really strong slow blues instrumental. Ollie Moore (drums) and Robert "Dancin" Perkins (bass) support John on a solid guitar workout. On BB King's Worry Worry, Iceman Robinson steps up on vocal and lead guitar. This is a really cool track both exhibiting strong feeling and some pretty cool guitar effects. Another of my favorite tracks on the release. Short instrumental 62nd Street Luau is a quirky little blues number and John plays some interesting guitar soloing with effects, not unlike some earlier work by Chuck Berry. Very nice. Freddie King's I Love The Woman is up next and John Embry takes the mic for lead vocals doing quite a nice job. His guitar playing is not flashy but inspired and interesting. Johnny's Bounce is a terrific little instrumental not unlike Gatemouth in style.

This is a terrific way to wrap up one of the best blues releases that I have had the pleasure to review this year.

 Happy New Year!!

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