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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, July 13, 2016

Delta Groove Music artist: John Long - Stand Your Ground - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Stand Your Ground, by John Long and it has a great authentic feel. Opening with Homesick James' Baby Please Set A Date, Long is stroking the slide, Elmore James style, backed by Fred Kaplan on piano, Bill Stuve on acoustic bass and Washington Rucker on drums. This track could easily have been recorded in the 40's or 50's by Muddy with a rich early feel. In addition to Long's slide work, Kaplan's exceptional piano work is sweet! Great opener. Son House style creeps into Red Hawk and long shows his powerful vocal style as well as his command of House's excellent slide style. Excellent! On country style blues, Things Can't Be Down Always, Long continues to demonstrate his versatility in style and delivery. His vocals are pure and his playing clean. On title track, Stand Your Ground, Long introduces a bit of New Orleans feel with Stuve and Rucker. A cool rhythmic track with a more contemporary feel. Welcome Mat is an excellent Delta blues track with early Muddy /JL Hooker delivery. Because of Long's vocals and guitar phrasing, this may be my favorite track on the release. On No Flowers For Me, Long pulls out his harmonica to assist in his delivery and with his guitar, delivers some of the best vocals on the track. It's really quite hard to imagine that these tracks are contemporary and not 75 years old. Very nice! One Earth, Many Colors has a gospel swing, punctuated by Stuve, Kaplan and Rucker. Kaplan's solo is jangly and stylish and Stuve's bass right in the groove. Healing Touch has a real soulful style and again essential vocals by Long. His harp work is nicely complimentary to his unadorned guitar work. Very nice. Willie Johnson's I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole is a cool track with slide / vocal melody. A cool entry among mostly all original tracks. Mike Cronic's Mop, Bucket and Broom is a cool, 30's style swing track with Long showing yet another style and doing it nicely with fine picking, chords and a light dusting by Rucker. Blind Wilie McTell's Climbing High Mountains has a spiritual swing but updated with a swing rhythm. Morphing his vocals to a more pure smooth singing style, Long shows he can sing it all. Very nice! Rev. Thomas Dorsey's Precious Lord, Take My Hand maintains much of the original gospel feel but with just a light touch of blues. This is an excellent interpretation of this classic gospel number, given it isn't being sung by the likes of Aretha or Mike Farris and more in the style of Ray Charles. Wrapping the release is Suitcase Stomp, a great boogie woogie track with Long chasing himself on guitar and harp. This is an excellent release with a lot of heart and reality. Check it out!

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