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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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Monday, October 23, 2017

Rockin' Johnny Burgin @ The Rhythm Room In Phoenix - October 2017

I saw a great show at the Rhythm Room, the premiere blues club in Phoenix, last week and it was great. The Rhythm Room is a real Phoenix landmark that took over where the mason Jar left off. That's where I last saw Albert King. At the Rhythm Room I've seen a number of super shows and artists including Johnny Winter, Joe Bonamassa and Jimbo Mathus. I moved a while back and live outside of the city now. It makes it a lot tougher to see a mid week show, but when I heard that Rockin' Johnny was playing town, I knew I was going to be there. I've seen Johnny a number of times both on his own and with Tail Dragger.  I remember seeing him on film a number of years ago where he was playing backup player and just with a few riffs, he stood out and got my attention.

Now with a number of his own excellent releases under his belt, Rockin' Johnny puts on one hell of a show! He pulls from his most recent release Neoprene Fedora as well as a few other terrific releases including Greetings From Greaseland and Grim Reaper. Johnny is a great showman and at the Rhythm Room he plays 2 sets. Obviously what originally got my attention was Johnny's powerful if not often wild guitar riffs but Johnny is actually turning out to be a really good singer. Every time I see him I think, man this guy is really a good singer but I always remember those power riffs of his. Johnny isn't a Bonamassa or Clapton clone and he doesn't ape Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page or any of the other spectacular guitar players like most of his contemporaries. Johnny has his own style which is a mix of classic, underplayed riffs and his own style and blues, R&B, soul and rock. I don't take a lot of notes at a concert (hell, I'm there to drink beer and listen to a band just like you). Johnny hits the floor hard and pushes himself to gets things hopping fast. After only a few tracks, he really settles into a groove and it just keeps getting better and better throughout the show. I believe he played most every track from his Neoprene Fedora release (which is terrific by the way) and my recollection is that he played the title track near or at the end of the first set.

Excellent!  Club owner and renown blues harp player, Bob Corritore, joined Johnny on stage for a few hot Chicago blues numbers and Bob never fails to impress. He's a great harp player and extremely knowledgeable blues enthusiast, running a blues radio show on National Public Radio for many years.

Recalling the show, I'm certain that he played Guitar King, Won't Get Married Again, Give Me An Hour In Your Garden, Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear, and  Goodbye Chicago. there were a few tracks that were just over the top. From Greaseland I remember Cold Chills, She's A Hit and Homework as well as the highlight of the show for me, Johnny's take on The House Of The Rising Sun. Unfortunately the footage was unusable for reasons out of my control. Grim Reaper and I Did The Best I Could were among the best of the rest but the ultimate best groove is Smoke and Mirrors. I really think that this is one of the best grooves caught on a contemporary blues release in years.

 Off the floor, Johnny is a hell of a nice guy and just wants to put on a great show. Catch him in a smaller club while you can. It may not be next week, but this guy really has something special and you should get your share.

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