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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, December 20, 2018

Mensch House Records artist: John Akapo - Paradise Blues - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Paradise Blues, from John Akapo and it has a strong blues underpinning and excellent vocals. Opening with Robert Johnson's Ramblin' On My Mind, Taumei "Big John" Akapo shows why he has made a big name in his home of Hawaii with solid guitar playing and some of the smoothest vocals since Richie Havens. On original blues shuffle, Little Lani, Akapo uses traditional blues bones but crafts a more contemporary feel with vocal styling, super blues riffs and harp backing. Muddy Waters' I Can't Be Satisfied is one of three covers on the release with Waters like slide riffs and a simple gait. laying back in the slot a bit more, Caramac Blues shows a different blues guitar style, fluid soloing and smooth natural vocals. Akapo's voice is so smooth that it adapts itself nicely to anything he sings. Hindsight (Missionary Blues) is played on a high strung, light soundboard instrument, likely a ukulele or mandolin adding even more contrast to an already large rich vocal juxtaposed to a high pitched instrument. Very nice.  Another strong blues original, Don't Believe Her, relies on firm 12 bar structure and excellent fingerpicking style. Wrapping the release is Tommy Johnson's Big Road Blues with a firm bass strum in the 6 string mix in an almost Taj Mahal. This is an impressive release for Akapo and his guitar.

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