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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 Catfood Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catfood Records. Show all posts

Friday, January 31, 2014

Catfood Records artist: James Armstrong - Guitar Angels - New release Review

I just received the newest release, Guitar Angels (February 18, 2014) from James Armstrong and its smooth! Opening with a swinging shuffle tune, Grandma's Got A New Friend, Armstrong picks up where he left off on Blues at the Border with clever lyrics and stinging guitar work. Healing Time has a Curtis Mayfield/Wolfman Washington groove with a nice R&B feel and sweet vocals. A total redo of Glenn Frey's Take It To The Limit is actually almost unrecognizable in a good way. This track has a lot of attitude and drummer Rick King adds that drum attitude. With a real nice loping groove Armstrong lays down BB King like riffs and sings one of the coolest covers I've heard in a long time. Guitar Angels is a really nice Mayfield like R&B style ballad. Possibly my favorite track on the release, Armstrong sings in the pocket and Eric Tinsley lays down a nice bass line for Armstrong to solo over. Very nice! Moving To Nashville has a bit of a two step feel with nice slide work from Armstrong. Goodbye Kiss is a straight up ballad with solid vocals and melody. Dan Ferguson carries the basis of the track on keys. Bank Of Love is a hot potato with Rick King laying down a strong drum line. Armstrong really grips the vocal part on this track and with complimentary guitar riffs tears this track up! Another of my favorites on the release. Saturday Night Women has a cool strut to it featuring cool bass lines from Malcolm Gold and perfect rockin key work from George Papageorge. Armstrong has the perfect feel for guitar accent demonstrating it well on this particular track. Johnny Copelan's Blues Ain't Nothin' establishes a terrific groove with Gold again on bass and Warren Grant on drums. Armstrong does a great job of strokin this classic funky blues track. R&B style Runaway Train has the support of a great horn section includingAndy Roman (sax) Mike Middleton (trumpet) and Robert Claiborne (trombone). With a slick funky jog this track hits home. Finishing up the release with the radio version of Guitar Angel, this is a great conclusion to a sweet release. Jimi Hendrix melodies swirl through soul track with blues guitar riffs. Very very nice.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

James Armstrong Talks to "Guitar Angels" on New Catfood Records CD, Coming February 8

James Armstrong Talks to Guitar Angels on New Catfood Records CD, Coming February 8

Follow-Up to His Critically-Acclaimed Label Debut Is His Most-Personal Album to-Date

EL PASO, TX – Catfood Records announces a February 18 release date for Guitar Angels, the latest album from contemporary blues singer/guitarist James Armstrong, and follow-up to his acclaimed label debut, Blues at the Border.

“This new CD bears the stamp of James Armstrong throughout, along with the assistance of his good friend, Michael Ross, as producer,” says Catfood Records head Bob Trenchard. “Various musicians were used in the making of the album and it was recorded at three different studios, but the common thread is James Armstrong’s unique talent on every song. He is a true original in his songwriting, guitar playing and vocals.”

The nine original songs on Guitar Angels are bolstered by the inclusion of two stellar covers: a wonderful re-working of the Eagles hit, “Take It to the Limit,” which he transforms into a bluesy shuffle; and a solid take on Johnny Copeland’s “Blues Ain’t Nothin’.”

“Working with Bob Trenchard of Catfood Records has been a blast,” says James Armstrong about the sessions. “I was delighted after the 2012 release of Blues at the Border that Bob wanted me to do another one so quickly. The songs came from some new ideas, some old ideas and some humorous ones.”

One of the “humorous ones” James refers to is the album’s lead-off track, “Grandma’s Got a New Friend,” a song about how the Baby Boomer approach to aging differs from previous generations. A tune that James has been performing live for many months, it’s become a crowd favorite and was an obvious choice to include on Guitar Angels. Another fan-pleaser is “Saturday Night Women,” which never fails to elicit shouts from club audiences when performed live.

James Armstrong’s approach to the blues and songwriting has always been from a contemporary standpoint that keeps the music relevant without forsaking its roots. To that end, there are several very personal songs that mean a lot to James, but will also resonate with listeners, as well. “Healing Time,” co-written by Armstrong and Michael Ross, deals with the death of Michael’s brother, Norman, who had recently passed away. It’s a moving tribute to a brother who also played guitar with such notables as Ronnie Spector and Irene Cara.

The album’s title track “has been in my head for a few years,” notes Armstrong. Since my injury in 1996, many guitar players, alive and dead, have helped me. I still am unable to bend the third finger on my left hand, or use my little finger, but I attribute some of the reason I’m actually able to play the guitar again to my ‘guitar angels:’ my father, James Armstrong Sr., Mike Ross, Coco Montoya and Joe Louis Walker.”

The incident James refers to was the horrible home invasion attack he suffered in 1996 that left Armstrong without the use of his left hand and arm, including permanent nerve damage. This threatened his career forever, but that thanks to a lot of hard physical rehabilitation, plus the support of friends, fans and the blues community, Armstrong returned to performing and has never looked back.

Born to a jazz guitar-playing father and blues-singing mother, James Armstrong was literally born to play the blues. Raised in Los Angeles, he formed his first band in the seventh grade and by age 17 was already touring the country. He soon became the youngest guitar player ever in Smokey Wilson’s legendary band and was mentored by another legend, Albert Collins. Shortly thereafter he was discovered by HighTone Records co-owner Bruce Bromberg and signed with the label, recording several acclaimed albums for them.

James Armstrong will support the release of Guitar Angels with consistent touring both in North America and overseas. For more information, visit  and

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Catfood Records artist: Johnny Rawls - Remembering O.V. - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Remembering O.V. from Johnny Rawls and it's quite tasty! Rawls was OV Wright's musical director and guitarist in the 70's and kept Wright's band together for quite some time. Opening with Into Something (I Can't Shake Loose) Rawls and guest singer Otis Clay create a driving R&B atmosphere that makes you want to get up and move. Precious, Precious, with more of a soul swing, let's Rawls deliver vocally with backing from Andy Roman (sax) Mike Middleton (trumpet) and Robert Claiborne (trombone). Johnny McGhee (guitar) and Richy Puga (drums) add substantially with rhythm on a solid bass part by Bob Trenchard. On soul classic, Blind Crippled and Crazy, Rawls delivers one of the nicest renditions in years. This song has a real warmth that should make it a new classic from this release. On Poor Boy, a pop soul track, Rawls does a great job at getting a super groove. Ferguson lays down a nice organ solo followed by cool riffs by Mc Ghee. On Nickel and a Nail, Rawls and Clay do an absolutely beautiful job for putting it all out there. This is not just a remake of a classic but a very strong new interpretation of a classic track and worth the purchase just for this track. Excellent! On slow blues track, Eight Men, Four Women, Rawls really draws you into his world as a great singer and is nicely complimented by The Iveys. Dont Let My Baby Ride is a strong R&B track with nice horn and vocal backing. Ace Of Spades is a cool R&B track with a great hook and punctuating horn work. On high stepping I've Been Searching, Rawls really sets a smokin groove again creates one of this tracks that you keep listening for. His vocal poise and arrangement is tight. Ending with Blaze Of Glory, and teaming with Otis Clay, the release is wrapped just as the song describes, in a Blaze of Glory. Super backing vocals by the Iveys and the exchange by the two vocal champs makes this a great track for completion. This is the best release by Rawls in recent memory and certainly one for all fans of R&B/Soul style blues to check out. It isn't one just for the shelf but one that you';re likely to listen to over and over.

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 Not from this release but a good representation of Rawls in action:

Thursday, December 13, 2012



ATLANTA, GA – Mark Pucci Media proudly congratulates all of our artists who received a total of 17 nominations when The Blues Foundation announced yesterday (December 12) the list of nominees for the 34th Annual Blues Music Awards. The Blues Music Awards are universally acknowledged as the highest honor for musicians and songwriters in Blues music. Winners will be announced on May 9, 2013, at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis. Online voting is now open to Blues Foundation members at

Heading the list of Mark Pucci Media honorees with three nominations each are Mud Morganfield, who garnered nominations for Album of the Year, Traditional Blues Album and Traditional Blues Male Artist for his Severn Records label debut CD, Son of the Seventh Son; as well as Mighty Sam McClain, who earned nominations for Soul Blues Album, Soul Blues Male Artist and Song of the Year for “Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey),” the title track from his Mighty Music label CD release.

Canadian roots label powerhouse Stony Plain Records gathered nominations for Eric Bibb, who was tapped for Acoustic Album and Acoustic Artist based on his label debut CD, Deeper in the Well; and perennial nominee Maria Muldaur, who once again received a nomination for the Koko Taylor Award as Traditional Blues Female based on the response to her latest CD, …First Came Memphis Minnie.

El Paso-based Catfood Records had another strong year, capped by former BMA-winner Johnny Rawls, who received two nominations: in the Soul Blues Male Artist and Soul Blues Album categories for his Soul Survivor CD. Johnny is joined this year by singer (and current Living Blues magazine cover girl) Barbara Carr, who received a nod as Soul Blues Female Artist for her Catfood Records debut, Keep the Fire Burning.

Other Mark Pucci Media artists receiving nominations include folk-blues singer/songwriter Doug MacLeod (whose new CD will be coming out in March on Reference Recordings) for Acoustic Artist; Ruf Records’ artists Royal Southern Brotherhood for Rock Blues Album for their eponymous label debut CD; Fabulous Thunderbirds leader Kim Wilson for Instrumentalist – Harmonica; Sweetspot Records artist Al Basile for Instrumentalist – Horn; and Blue Duchess Records artist and former multiple BMA winner David Maxwell for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Award.

“It is not uncommon in any arts genre for beloved artists with strong releases to pull in a number of nominations, and that is one of the factors at work this year,” Jay Sieleman, The Blues Foundation’s President, said in announcing the nominations. “Yet there are also more than a dozen first-time nominees, plus the six Best New Artist nominees.  It is gratifying to see both groups rewarded—those who have been near the top for a while and those who are getting the recognition they have been long seeking.”

Tickets for the 34th Blues Music Awards show are now on sale. Members receive seating preference at the Awards show and voting is now underway.  Blues Foundation members are the only fans who vote to decide which nominees will actually take home the Blues Music Award. Anyone can join The Blues Foundation by visiting their website at

Once again, The Blues Music Awards will be broadcast live in their entirety on Sirius XM's B.B. King's Bluesville Channel and will be subsequently broadcast on public television.

Mark Pucci Media congratulates all of our artists and wishes them much success when the winners are announced in Memphis on May 9; and we encourage voters to consider all of our nominees. See you there!

Mark Pucci
Mark Pucci Media
5000 Oak Bluff Ct.
Atlanta, GA 30350-1069
(770) 804-9555
2008 Blues Foundation Recipient -
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award" -

Friday, August 3, 2012

City Hall Records Artist: Barbara Carr - Keep The Fire Burning - New Release Review

City Hall Records artist Barbara Carr will be releasing her newest recording, Keep The Fire Burning on August 21, 2012. A seasoned soul singer with previous records at Chess records as well an one solo album, Good Woman Go Bad, Barbara has teamed up with Catfood house band, The Rays featuring Richy Puga on drums and percussion, Dan Ferguson on keys, Johny McGhee on guitar, Bob Trenchard on bass, Andy Roman on sax, Mike Middleton on trumpet and Robert Clairborne on trombone. I've had a chance to review this new cd and it's a solid soul collection. Hanging On By A Thread has a driving rhythm with a slick guitar solo and just the right touch of horns. We Have The Key could be a classic ballad with perfect balance and strong vocals by Carr. Keep The Fire Burning, the title track, is a nicely written and executed soul ballad. Johnny Rawls join Carr for a vocal duet on Hold On To What You Got, a track that should see great airplay. You Give Me The Blues is another great addition to a very comfortable soul recording. If you like soul music in it's purity, this could be a great recording to pick up. Not a bad song on the recording and quite enjoyable.
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This track is not from the CD but gives you a feel of the fire that Carr delivers.