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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, April 1, 2014

Black Hen Music artist: Jim Byrnes - St. Louis Times - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, St Louis Times, from Jim Byrnes and I really like it! Opening with Albert King track with that Latin twist, Don't You Lie To Me is a cool number with cool vocals and guitar work from Byrnes and John Hammond on harp. Somebody Lied has an easy flowing pace and Darryl Havers holds the body together with cool organ work but it's the hot work of Hammon on harp and some slick slide work from Steve Dawson that cooks this track. Chuck Berry's Nadine has a cool New Orleans style blues going and Dawson takes a sweet steel guitar solo on this track. Old Dog / New Tricks takes the New Orleans style even a step deeper with the addition of clarinet by Tom Colclough who while blended with the gutsy vocals of Byrnes makes this one of my favorite tracks on the release. Very cool! You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone has a R&B / spiritual flavor which really highlights Colleen Rennison as a second lead vocalist. Havers takes a lead organ solo and Jim Hicke (sax), Bill Huber (trombone) and Steve Herrman (trumpet) really spice things up. Stump Johnson's The Duck's Yas Yas Yas is a nice ragtime addition to this eclectic mix. You can smell Bourbon Street and the boys chime in. Huber, Hoke and Hoke (clarinet) add nicely to the pure vocals of Byrnes and Dawson plays some really nice resonator guitar riffs. The Journey Home is more of a spoken story accompanied by a sountrack and Jeremy Holmes (bass), Geoff Hicks (drums) and especially Dawson on slide add considerably to the overall effect. WC Handy's St. Louis Blues is really handled nicely here with a tango beat. Colclough lays down a nice clarinet intro and then Byrnes hands out some of the best vocals on the release backed by a very effective sousaphone bass line from Larry Paxton. Excellent! Cake Alley is a nice slow blues with a cool swagger. Brushes on snare by Hicks, Herman and his muted horn and lead clarinet work from Koke make this a real Dixieland blow out. Super nice! I Need A Change is another R&B based track with strong blues overtones (Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out). Dawson adds some really warm slide work on the track and the presence of the horn section is still quite prominent. Great track! Little Milton's That Will Never Do has just a twist of Dixie especially with the addition of piano by Havers and drums by Hicks. Closing the release is Lonnie Johnson's Another Night To Cry. This is an excellent interpretation with clean articulate guitar work from Byrnes. His vocals are expressive, Havers work on piano is smooth and trumpets solo from Steve Herman is spot on. Not to miss is the reall nice slide work on this track by Steve Dawson... slide guys... this is smooth. I really enjoyed this release and am looking forward to getting it into my car for a closer listen.  

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