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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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Showing posts with label Alligator/Proper Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alligator/Proper Records. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Deceptively loose but always tight…the raspy chuckle in Bishop’s singing and the sharp sting of his guitar are forceful and fresh, enduring and fun.     --Fresh Air, NPR

I love these guys; Bob and Willy are great musicians. With a trio there’s no place to hide – you’ve got to be pourin’ everything you got right out front, totally goin’ for it all the time. If you’ve got some real good musicians who are willing and able to do that, you’ve got something that will move people. And it’s fun!     --Elvin Bishop

Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer and blues master Elvin Bishop – along with his friends, guitarist/pianist Bob Welsh and percussionist/vocalist Willy Jordan – unleashes his latest musical mixture, Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio (AL 4973) on Friday, February 10, 2017.

Bishop told The San Jose Mercury News, “Every time I pick up the guitar, something new comes out of it. I guess you’d call me a late bloomer. When you get to be my age, you’re not expecting to be progressing or coming up with any new ideas, but for some reason, I’m lucky enough that that’s what’s happening to me.”

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio is among his very best musical ideas ever. The music is rootsy, spirited and soulful, performed by serious musicians hell-bent on having a good time. Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio features Bishop’s down-home delivery, deep blues picking and slide guitar playfully meshing with Welsh’s piano and guitar licks and Jordan’s soul singing and propulsive cajón playing. The album’s laid-back, front-porch vibe mixes four rollicking Bishop originals with three co-writes and five raucous, well-chosen covers of songs by Lightnin' Hopkins, Fats Domino, Sunnyland Slim, Ted Taylor and Bobby Womack. And because one can never have too much fun, Bishop’s pals Kim Wilson, Charlie Musselwhite and Rick Estrin stop by the sessions, each adding his distinctive harmonica talent (and in Musselwhite’s case, vocals too) to a song. Listening to the proceedings, it’s easy to see why the Chicago Sun-Times enthusiastically declared, “It’s impossible not to like Bishop. He’s always singing something lowbrow and uplifting.”

When it comes to the formation of The Big Fun Trio, it’s best to let Elvin tell the story himself:
Me and a couple of fellas got to jamming in my studio one day and we lucked up on The Big Fun Trio. I knew Willy Jordan from when he played percussion on some of my albums, and I liked his singing and rhythm feel. This time he brought a cajón, a South American percussion instrument. It's a square box you sit on to play it, and he got some amazing sounds out of it---bass drum, snare, anything---and he's a real strong singer. Bob Welsh is a member of my regular band, an amazing talent. He plays great guitar or piano and can get a tremendous "bass" sound on his guitar.

In a trio, there's no place to hide. You need to be totally into it all the time and you got to have the right guys. The combination of the three of us clicked big time. We went out and played a couple of gigs, and it was really cool to see how the people reacted to the goin’-for-it feel of the music.

We decided we better make a CD, so here 'tis. We enjoyed the hell out of playing this music, and we hope you do the same listening to it.

According to San Francisco Bay native Jordan, who has 27 years of experience playing drums with artists including John Lee Hooker, Joe Louis Walker and Angela Strehli, making this album was “crazy different. It’s rootsy but also new. We all stayed simple to stay strong.” Welsh, originally from Covington, Louisiana, has performed and toured with Bishop, Rusty Zinn, Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold, James Cotton and others. Welsh says he too was blown away by the sessions. “Recording this music was fun and fresh and new to us. I had to practice more, learn some new things. The result is fearless.”

Bishop's previous release, 2014's Grammy-nominated Can’t Even Do Wrong Right, turned the music-loving world on its head. Reviews poured in from NPR’s Fresh Air, Rolling Stone, Living Blues, No Depression and many others. He appeared on TBS-Television’s CONAN and performed twice on A Prairie Home Companion (the second time, in 2015, with The Big Fun Trio). He toured across the country, bringing his smile-inducing blues music to eager fans around the world. He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and soon after into the Blues Hall Of Fame. He won the Living Blues Award for Best Blues Album Of 2014 and three 2014 Blues Music Awards: Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year (for the title track) and The Elvin Bishop Band took the award for Band Of The Year.

Now, with Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, Bishop confidently debuts his new -- yet satisfyingly familiar -- sound, ready to share the group’s happy-go-lucky vibe with listeners near and far. The trio’s instrumental, vocal and songwriting talents guarantee a boisterous good time.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Alligator/Proper Records artist: JJ Grey & Mofro - This River - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, This River (June 24, 2013), by JJ Grey & Mofro and I really like it. Opening with Your Lady, She's Shady, Grey lays down a hip hop style rhythmic attack with ultra cool horn, harp and guitar solos. On Somebody Else, one of my favorite tracks on the release, Grey sounds a lot like Al Green in arrangement and style with it's prancing strut. With reverb on the guitar, Stax style drumming and horns on the bottom, his song is really sweet. 99 Shades of Crazy is a straight up rocker with a blues twist. Grey knows how to use rhythm and the vocal blending and horn support makes this a strong radio candidate. The Ballad Of Larry Webb is an extremely tasty track. Strong melody and vocal execution with only minimal instrumentation for atmosphere, this is another of the best tracks on the release. Florabama is a funky pop like track and actually reminds me a lot of Kiss (Prince). Addition of sax and trumpet work on this track gives it a lot of texture adding texture. Write A Letter is another strong ballad with strong instrumentation. Mofro, made up of Andrew Trube on guitar, Anthony Farrell on keys, Todd Smallie on bass, Anthony Cole on drums and organ, Art Edmaiston on sax and Dennis Marion on trumpet. Harp and Drums is a funky track primarily featuring Grey on harp. A strong contemporary hip hop influenced jazz track allows room for a lot of the players to take their turn at the mic. Last up is the title track, This River, a quiet and strongly country influenced ballad. This is another track that should have strong mass appeal. This is a cool release from an already established band. I believe that it will reinforce it's existing fan base and should generate interest for new listeners as well.

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