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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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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Yellow Dog Records artists: The Ragpicker String Band - Self Titled - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, The Ragpicker String Band by Mary Flower, Rich DelGrosso and Martin Grosswendt and it's refreshing. Opening with Walter Vinson's Honey Babe, Martin takes the lead on vocals and guitar with Mary on harmony and slide and Rich on harmony and mandolin. Nicely blended vocals, warm slide and clean mando work makes for a super opener. Lil Johnson's Minor Blues features Mary on lead vocals and she does a really nice job grabbing the tension of the original. A tight mando solo by Rich and Mary's guitar accompaniment enriched by Martin on fiddle rounds out the track. Contemporary Google Blues by Rich Lyons, features DelGrosso on lead vocal and mando. Martin's bottleneck slide work on this track is really sweet and Mary rounds out the track with clean guitar riffs. Very nice! A change in perspective altogether with Thelonious Monk's, Blue Monk... rag style. Mary on guitar, Martin on slide and Rich on mando...very nice! Sleepy John Estes' Clean Up At Home is a cool track featuring lead mando and vocal by Martin. Mary compliments on guitar with a nicely executed solo and vocal and Rich on vocal and mandola. JW Routh's Motel Towel has really rich vocal harmonies behind Rich on lead vocal and mandola. Mary's lap slide playing is really stylistically nice and Martin also adds guitar. Mary's own composition, Baby Where You Been, of course features Mary on vocal and guitar. With a 40's flavor and backed by Martin on mando, Rich takes a really nice resonator solo. Another Sleepy John track, Black Mattie, is one of my favorites on the track. Rich's mandola work on this track is particularly cool backed by Mary on guitar and Rich on slide. Another Walter Vinson track, Lonely One In This Town, is a cool period piece reminding me quite a bit of the Red Clay Ramblers. Rich vocals highlighted by Martin on fiddle makes this a standout track. One of DelGrosso's originals, By Your Side, has a little bit of an island feel but still remaining in the folk blues realm. Rich on lead vocal and mandola is really nicely complimented by Mary's slide work on this track. Another Sleepy John track, Milk Cow Blues is one that I was introduced to long before I knew of Estes by Ry Cooder. Love Estes but have a particularly soft spot for those early Cooder releases and this track has a similar mandolin riff by Martin as played by Cooder. Mary takes the primary guitar solo on this one and Rich compliments on Mandola. Very nice! An excellent take on Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning is offered up here and Mary does her best lead vocal on this track. Accompanying herself on guitar with Martin and Rich adding warm backing vocals, this is one of my release favorites. Another DelGrosso original, Street Doctor Blues, has a real Estes sound and Rich's lead vocals and especially his mando work really make this track breathe. Mary's slide work on this track is really slick and Martin supports on guitar. Mary penned the closer, Bruno's Dream, a real nice instrumental featuring her on slide, Martin on guitar and Rich on mando. This is a really clean track and a super closer to a honest release. Excellent!

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