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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, January 21, 2014

Blind Pig Records artist: Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues - Blues Shock - New release review

I just received the newest release, Blues Shock, from Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues and it's a real butt kicker. Opening with Sons of Blues, a blues/R&B/funk mixture, Branch has a modern sound with solid vocals and harp work. With horns blazing (The Chicago Horns featuring Bill McFarland on trombone, Hank Ford on sax and Kenny Anderson on trumpet) this track is made to get you on your feet. On Willie Dixon's Chicago boogie, Crazy Mixed Up World, Branch lays down some real nice harp riffs and Sumito Ariyoshi is tight on piano. Blues Shock is a blend of temtations and Charlie Daniels. Country soul? This would be the most practical radio track so far with a catchy melody and slide riffs from Dan Carelli. Branch gets loose on harp and Ariyoshi is chasing. Dog House is a cool slinky blues track. Both Branch and Ronnie Baker Brooks take the opportunity to lay down some great riffs on this track. Very nice. Function At The Junction has a strong R&B flavor and backing vocals by Mae Koen, Nanette Frank, Dianne Madison and Nadima, reminiscent of the prime years of R&B. Going To See Miss Gerri One More Time is a solid radio ballad in my mind along the lines of Ray Davies, an underrated writer. Back Alley Cat is a cool shuffle track with understated harp melody acompanied by Ariyoshi on piano, Nick Charles on bass and Moses Rutues Jr on drums. John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom is a definite shot in the butt with strong pace and super harp work. John Lee Hooker is the king of boogie and this is a good track! Slow Moe is a cool slow (Chicago style) blues drag featuring Rutues jr. on lead vocal. Ariyoshi plays beautiful piano riffs on this track and Branch of course is making the harp breath hard. Carelli also lays down some deep riffs on guitar on this track. Excellent! Baby Let Me Butter Your Corn is a terrific jump track with heavy horn backing and Andrew Blaze Thomas pushing the bottom on drums. Carelli again hits it hard with a slick guitar solo and Ariyoshi is great on keys but this track is tee'd up for Branch and he kills it! Closing the release is Song For My Mother sounding to me like a track from the early Lee Oscar and War songbook. It has a nice Latin jazz instrumental sound with harp lead on melody. Each of the players has an opportunity at the front and this is a great overall track.

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