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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, April 9, 2020

VizzTone Label Group artist: Phanton Blues Band - Still Cookin' - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Still Cookin', from Phantom Blues Band, and it's terrific! Opening with a classic R&B track by Wilson Pickett, Don't Fight It (Feel It), this band knows it's strengths and plays into it. With Mike Finnigan (keys), Larry Fulcher (bass) and Johnny Lee Schell (guitars) on lead vocals, this band lays out one of my R&F favorites with strong horn work by Joe Sublett (sax) and Les Lovitt (trumpet) and great rhythm  and Tony Braunagel on drums. What a lineup! Slipping into a New Orleans funk on Wingin' My Way Johnny takes the lead on a strongly Little Feat influenced track (dedicated to Paul Barrere) with solid slide work and a tight horn line. Slow blues, Blues How They Linger, features Finnigan on lead vocal and piano, with light backing. A strong, somber track keeps it low till about half way through when Sublett cuts loose with a real nice sax solo, punctuated by Lovitts trumpet work. Very nice! Reggae track, Shine On, has a great island beat with Lenny Castro joining on percussion and Fulcher and Finnigan on lead vocal. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Latin flavored, Tequila Con Yerba, an excellent, primarily instrumental that makes you squirm in your seat...think Buena Vista. Finnigan, Sublett and Lovitt each get a spot to solo and use them well. Very nice! Shuffle track, I'm Just Your Fool, has a great sway and nicely blended vocals by Johnny with Mike give the track a warm feel. Another strong sax solo by Sublett cements the track and Schell lays in a nice run of his own. Very nice. Wrapping the release is I Was Blind, a quiet ballad featuring Schell on lead vocal, backed by Finnigan. Schell lays in some warm slide work and Finnegan some nice organ work, under the basic melody giving the track a full bottom. This is a solid closer for a really cool release. 

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