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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 Shock. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blues Shock. Show all posts

Friday, February 14, 2014

Living Blues cover, new video for Billy Branch!
 New "Blues Shock" Video Released
Veteran Chicago bluesman Billy Branch is featured on the cover of the current Living Blues magazine, with the subheading, "Back In The Groove."  Inside, writer David Whiteis says that Blues Shock, the new release from Billy and the Sons of Blues, is "a proclamation that a unit featuring one of the blues' most creative and hard-working harmonica aces is back in the groove."   The eight page feature article also mentions Branch's musical debt to his mentors and role models, his "longstanding dedication to honoring roots and heritage,"  his lifelong commitment to Blues in The Schools, and his prolific recording career as the A-list studio harmonica player for Chicago blues.
Living Blues feature
Branch, who started his career working with blues icon Willie Dixon and was mentored by men such as Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells, and James Cotton,  was once touted as one of the 'new generation' of blues musicians, and is now verging on elder statesman status in the blues community.  In the eight page feature article Whiteis traces the evolution of Blues Shock and how the new recording reflects Branch's "approach toward honoring yet not being beholden to, the legacy of the blues tradition," saying the album "provides ample proof that Branch's unique blend of rootsy integrity and exploratory zeal remains potent."
Miss Gerri and the Palm Tavern
Whiteis also gives the backstory on perhaps the centerpiece track of the album, one Billy considers "the best song I've written" - "Going To See Miss Gerri One More Time."  The song is a tribute to Gerri Oliver and a lost piece of Chicago's black cultural history, the Palm Tavern, a famed nightspot in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood (the "Harlem of the Midwest") that was frequented by the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker, and Langston Hughes.
"Blues Shock" video
Blind Pig has just released a video of the title track from Blues Shock, which is the first studio release from Billy and the Sons of Blues in fifteen years.  To watch the video, please click HERE.
Album release parties this weekend
Billy and the Sons of Blues will be celebrating the release of Blues Shock with two appearances this weekend in Chicago: tonight (Valentine's Day) they will be performing at Buddy Guy's Legends ( at 10:30 pm, and Saturday night they will appear at Rosa's Lounge ( at 10:00 pm.  If you're not in the Chicago area, you can watch the performances online by clicking on the link on the venues' websites.
For more info, or to hear samples from the CD, please click HERE.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blind Pig Records artist: Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues - Blues Shock - New release review

I just received the newest release, Blues Shock, from Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues and it's a real butt kicker. Opening with Sons of Blues, a blues/R&B/funk mixture, Branch has a modern sound with solid vocals and harp work. With horns blazing (The Chicago Horns featuring Bill McFarland on trombone, Hank Ford on sax and Kenny Anderson on trumpet) this track is made to get you on your feet. On Willie Dixon's Chicago boogie, Crazy Mixed Up World, Branch lays down some real nice harp riffs and Sumito Ariyoshi is tight on piano. Blues Shock is a blend of temtations and Charlie Daniels. Country soul? This would be the most practical radio track so far with a catchy melody and slide riffs from Dan Carelli. Branch gets loose on harp and Ariyoshi is chasing. Dog House is a cool slinky blues track. Both Branch and Ronnie Baker Brooks take the opportunity to lay down some great riffs on this track. Very nice. Function At The Junction has a strong R&B flavor and backing vocals by Mae Koen, Nanette Frank, Dianne Madison and Nadima, reminiscent of the prime years of R&B. Going To See Miss Gerri One More Time is a solid radio ballad in my mind along the lines of Ray Davies, an underrated writer. Back Alley Cat is a cool shuffle track with understated harp melody acompanied by Ariyoshi on piano, Nick Charles on bass and Moses Rutues Jr on drums. John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom is a definite shot in the butt with strong pace and super harp work. John Lee Hooker is the king of boogie and this is a good track! Slow Moe is a cool slow (Chicago style) blues drag featuring Rutues jr. on lead vocal. Ariyoshi plays beautiful piano riffs on this track and Branch of course is making the harp breath hard. Carelli also lays down some deep riffs on guitar on this track. Excellent! Baby Let Me Butter Your Corn is a terrific jump track with heavy horn backing and Andrew Blaze Thomas pushing the bottom on drums. Carelli again hits it hard with a slick guitar solo and Ariyoshi is great on keys but this track is tee'd up for Branch and he kills it! Closing the release is Song For My Mother sounding to me like a track from the early Lee Oscar and War songbook. It has a nice Latin jazz instrumental sound with harp lead on melody. Each of the players has an opportunity at the front and this is a great overall track.

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