Thursday, September 24, 2020

Severn Records artist: Sugar Ray and the Bluetones featuring Little Charlie - Too Far From The Bar - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Too Far From The Bar, by Sugar Ray and the Bluetones featuring Little Charlie and it's heaping dose of Chicago style blues. Opening with shuffle track, Don't Give No More Than You Can Take, featuring Sugar Ray Norcia on lead vocal and harmonica and the great Little Charlie Baty on lead guitar. This is one of the last recordings of Baty who passed away in March of this year. Norcia's vocals are always great and his harmonica playing is first class, backed by Anthony Geraci on keys, Michael Mudcat Ward on bass and Neil Gouvin on drums. Swinging piano boogie, and title track, Too Far From The Bar really hits the groove with Geraci leading the way and Norcia on piano. Baty takes a great solo run showing just how tight his riffs were. Excellent! Instrumental. Reel Burner is a super harmonica track with Norcia barely taking a breath. Stilladog take notice. This track hums! Rock and Roller, My Next Door Neighbor is a vocal workout for Norcia and Baty spanks the fretboard with 50's style riffs over Geraci's piano wizardry a thumping bass and brushed drums. More smooth and a lot more jazzy, What I Put You Through, is one of my favorites on the release with excellent piano work from Geraci under glistening guitar work by Baty and the excellent vocals of Norica. I have to mention Baty's work on jazz standard, I Gotta Right To Sing the Blues, where the entire band really shines but I gotta say, this track was made for Baty. Excellent! Returning to that classic Chicago styling, Walk Me Home is a cool shuffle with ample jam time for Geraci, Baty and Norcia. Very nice. Wrapping the release is an alternate take on Reel Burner. The is a real burner so it's a great kick in the pants to close the release with hot riffs by Norcia throughout. Very solid release. 

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