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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, July 14, 2022

Little Village Foundation: The Phantom Blues Band - Blues For Breakfast - New Release Review


 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues For Breakfast, by The Phantom Blues Band and it's a solid party. Originally formed as Taj Mahal's backing band, PBB began performing on their own and released their first release back in 2006. With a few changes in the lineup most significantly Les Lovitt replacing Darrell Leonard on trumpet and Jim Pugh replacing the nearly irreplaceable Mike Finnigan after his fight with cancer ending in 2021. This newest rendition of the band opens with a roaring  cover of I Take What I Want with Larry Fulcher on bass and lead vocals paired with Johnny Lee Schell on lead vocal and guitar. Backed by Tony Braunagel on drums, Joe Sublett on sax, Les Lovitt on trumpet and Jim Pugh on piano and organ this track has real juice. New Orleans flavored, She's Into Something has strong percussion by  Braunagel and the horn work of Joe Sublett and Les Lovitt really spices things up. Schell drops into a nice Texas style guitar solo really setting hit one off. Very nice. A reggae style rework of Curtis Mayfield's, Move On Up, is really cool with vocal by Ruthie Foster  and tight rhythm guitar by Tony Chin and the horn work of Subett and Lovett add nice authenticity. Very cool. Mike Finnigan leads the way on organ and vocal on OK, I Admit It with real swing. Punchy horns by Sublett and Lovitt and Finnigan's own organ work make this one of my favorites. Bonnie Raitt joins on laid back shuffle, Country Boy with her distinct vocal work. Very nice. Curtis Salgado adds lead vocal and distinctive solo harmonica on Laughin' and Clowin', a slow blues and one of my favorites on the release. On up tempo, I Know You Don't Love Me, Salgado has the lead vocal again and does a great job. Sublett, on sax lays in a solid solo making it hard to stop your foot stomping. Wrapping the release is boogie track, Stuff You Gotta Watch with a great driving bass line by Fulcher and stellar work by Pugh on piano. Power horn work by Sublett and Lovitt work great with Schell's lead vocal and Sublett finishes the release with a hot sax solo. Very nice. 

This recording is dedicated to the memory of Mike Finnigan. All proceeds from sales are being donated to the scholarship program at The Mike Finnigan School of Music in Salina, Kansas. 


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