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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 Blues Been Good to Me. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blues Been Good to Me. Show all posts

Monday, November 13, 2017

Catfood records artist: James Armstrong - Blues Been Good To Me - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues Been Good To Me, from James Armstrong and it's quite enjoyable. Opening with title track, Blues Been Good To Me, James Armstrong has a great rolling rhythm going leading the way on vocal and guitar. John Kattke on B3 adds a real nice feel joined by Matt Murdick on keys and Darryl Wright on bass. Second Time Around has a nice slide sound by Armstrong and with his smooth vocals and a modified rock beat. Robert Palmer's Addicted To Love gets a cool, loping swing and Armstrong makes it his own, backed by Amy Slack and Kimberlie Helton as well as the horns of Bryan Fritz, Corey Fritz and Kasimu Taylor. Early Grave is a real nice R&B track and has not only a great feel but premium guitar soloing, vocals and additional vocals by Johnny Rawls and Mary Jo Curry. Very nice! Funky, Old Man In The Morning (Young Man At Night) has a great JGW /WWW R&B/blues feel and clever hook making it one of my favorites on the release. Another super track, Change In The Weather, is a somber bluesy ballad. Armstrong not only shines on vocal but his guitar work in soulful and inviting. Very nice. High stepper, Sleeping With A Stranger  has a cool moving bottom and fluid guitar soloing over top. Wrapping the release is Shot Gun Wedding, a bluesy ballad has a real nice feel and Will Jackson's bass line is solid and groovy. Armstrong has put together a great set of tracks here and this is a solid closer for a real nice release. 

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Monday, September 11, 2017

"Blues Been Good to Me" Declares James Armstrong on New Catfood Records CD, Coming October 20

Blues Been Good to Me Declares James Armstrong on New Catfood Records CD,
Coming October 20

EL PASO, TX – Catfood Records announces an October 20 release date for Blues Been Good to Me, the new CD from James Armstrong, which he produced with Blues Music Award-winner Johnny Rawls. This is his third album for Catfood, following Blues at the Border (2011) and Guitar Angels (2014).

Recorded primarily at Sawhorse Studios in St. Louis, as well as at associate producer Jim Gaines’ Bessie Blue Studio in Tennessee, Blues Been Good to Me showcases the vocals and guitar of James Armstrong, backed by a hand-picked group of musicians who have played with him on numerous live shows, which made for a very comfortable fit. The band includes Matt Murdick - keyboards, vocals (who has worked with Buddy Guy, John Primer, Little Melton, and Johnny Johnson); Johnny McGhee - rhythm guitar (one of the founding members of LTD and has worked/recorded with Marvin Gaye, Natalie Cole and, George Duke); Andrew Blaze Thomas – drums (who has worked with Billy Branch, Bernard Allison, Anna Popovic and Ronnie Baker Brooks); and Darryl Wright – bass (who has worked with Mavis Staples).

“Whenever I'm working on a new CD, I always like to be extremely prepared,” says James Armstrong about the recording process. “On this project, it didn't turn out that way, which seems like a blessing in hindsight. I was extremely busy when I was writing songs and arranging music for this project. Four months prior to going into record, I played over 70 shows. I had a European Tour in March and did 19 shows in 25 days in different cities, came home for two weeks and worked in the States and then flew to Spain for two weeks playing 12 shows back-to-back in different cities in 14 days.

“When we got into the studio in St. Louis, everyone knew how stressed I was because I didn't feel prepared. Prior to the session, I had sent demos for everyone to hear. Two songs I had to finish writing at the session, ‘Second Time Around’ and ‘Old Man in the Morning,’ but I told myself that I was just going to see what happens. I had asked Johnny Rawls to produce the CD with me, who is a master and a veteran at recording.

“Working with the legendary Jim Gaines as associate producer was a special treat. I recorded all of my guitar and vocals at his studio in Tennessee. Jim really helped me get over some of my fears and limitations from my injury in 1995 which resulted in permanent nerve damage to my left hand. I was able to do things on the guitar I have not been able to do since my injury.”

The 10 tracks on the new disc include a number of originals, as well as exciting covers of songs from Robert Palmer (“Addicted to Love”), and Marvin  Gaye  (“How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You”).

Armstrong explains the genesis of the two cover songs: “Growing up in California as a teenager I wanted to be Jimi Hendrix. I listened and played a lot of rock 'n' roll. Darryl Wright (bass player on the CD) came to me with this song idea to put in to my live show. After doing it for a while, I realized I wanted to record it. I always enjoy changing certain song formats like rock, country, etc. into my style of the blues.

I've always loved Marvin Gaye's and James Taylor's versions of ‘How Sweet It Is,’ so I decided to speed it up with a swing-shuffle feel. With my country music background, I wanted to add a little country guitar lick in there. Also, I've never heard the song done before with slide guitar.”

Armstrong also reprises a new version of “Sleeping with a Stranger, a song he originally recorded as the title track of his first album for HighTone Records. “I wrote and recorded ‘Sleeping with a Stranger’ for HighTone Records in 1995, and it was the first song I ever had any major success with. I stopped playing it in my live shows for the last ten years but I'm always getting requests to do it. I decided to re-record it. In the early ‘90s I was in a relationship that I was not happy with. One morning, I woke up and there was a poem that she wrote called ‘Sleeping with a Stranger’ on her pillow. I changed a few words, added music and the next thing I knew I had a song.”

James Armstrong will continue touring throughout the summer and fall in support of the new album, and summarizes his feelings about it thusly: “I'm extremely happy with the results of the recording. Blues Been Good to Me is the most exciting recording I've done in years.”