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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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Friday, April 9, 2021

Nerus Records artist: The Hitman Blues Band - Not My Circus, Not My Monkey - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Not My Circus, Not My Monkey, from the Hitman Blues Band and it's definitely got some cool angles. Opening with title track, Not My Circus, Russell "Hitman" Russell is upfront on lead vocal and guitar, backed by Kevin Bents on keys, Mike Porter on bass and backing vocals, Guy La Fountaine on drums, Mikey Vitale on alto sax, John Kelly on tenor sax, Eric Altarac on trumpet, Nick Clifford on bari sax, and Joanna Alexander on backing vocals. A clever radio style track with full horn backing, this track shows some real nice slide guitar work by Hitman as well.  Buy That Man A Drink has a great Rhumba rhythm and Altarac's trumpet work stands out nicely. Blind Willie Johnson gets a modern, blues rock rework with cool electric piano and guitar soloing giving it nice punch. A funky rework on John The Revelator works a balance of drums and horns with strong backing vocals making this one of Hitman's best vocal efforts. Hot solos by Mike Katzman on organ and guitar solo by Hitman definitely embellish my favorite track on the release. Up tempo, Walk With You, is another radio track from this release with it's memorable melody and tightly blended instrumentation including a strong bari solo by Clifford. Soulful, Everybody But Me has the bones of a 50's ballad with upfront vocals by Hitman, piano rhythm by Bents, a nicely articulated jazz style guitar solo by Hitman and solid horn backing. Wrapping the release is Go Down Fighting with a serious Texas style guitar lope and heavy handed drum work gives Hitman a grate opportunity to show his contemporary blues chops concluding this release. 


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