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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 Concord Music Group. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Concord Music Group. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rounder Records : History's Swamp People Celebrate The History and Culture of the Deep Delta - New Release Review

I just received History's Swamp People, and new release from Rounder Records. This 13 track compilation showcases current and past masters of regional music. Opening with Steel Bill's Swamp People, this is a Cajun house party. Dominated by a contemporary blend of funk, fiddle and blues rock, this track also features a nice clean guitar solo from Bill. Next up is a 1969 hit track, Amos Moses, by Jerry Reed. This track was always a crowd favorite and has just a taste of country picking on an otherwise rock track. Buckwheat Zydeco comes on pure cajun with Zydeco La Louisianne and an accordion romp. Everybody loves Tony Joe Whites Polk Salad Annie, up next and another top track from 1969. Amanda Shaw plays French Jig, a cajun fiddle track accompanied primarily by drums. Nice track. The Neville Brothers come on with the high polish on Fire On The Bayou, a funky track with sophisticated instrumentals and vocals. This is a track with real movement and voodoo overtones. Very cool. Chris Ardoin is up next with What's In That Bayou, an accordion lead swinger. Nice vocals harmonies and concise instrumentation makes this one of the coolest tracks on the release. Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet delivers a traditional arrangement of Kolinda in french for a real flavor of the regional roots. Hank Williams (Sr.) is a really great addition here with his version of Jambalaya. This of curse is an absolute standard of delta country roots. Excellent! Zachary Richard performs a funky hop track, Cocodrie, with lots of horns and and solid vocals. Keys provide much of the bottom of this track and there is also a really tasty guitar solo here as well. Jumpin' Johnny Sansone lays down the Crawfish Walk, a springy twisting rocker. Nice sax work and hot harp plays over this modern track. Very cool. D.L. Menhard plays Cajun Saturday Night, another regional country style track. This track has a real warm, welcoming sound to it with slide and fiddle. I really like it. Bobby Charles' 1955 hit See You Later Alligator, is a great finish to what is not just a compliation of related tracks but actually a pretty cool cd to listen to when you need a pick me up.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Concord / Stax Records Reissue: Albert King - Born Under A Bad Sign - New Release Review

I just received the newest reissue from Concord Music Group (April 2, 2013), Albert King's Born Under A Bad Sign. With addition of liner notes by Bill Dahl, this release has a full spectrum picture of Kings work. Featuring the Stax "House Band"; Steve Cropper (guitar), Booker T Jones (piano), Isaac Hayes (piano), Donald "Duck" Dunn, and Al Jackson Jr, (also known as Booker T and the MG's)and Wayne Jackson, Andrew love and Joe Arnold (also known as the Memphis Horns); King has the backing that can deliver anything he may want. The release opens with one of King's most well know tracks, Born Under A Bad Sign. Yes, Eric Clapton and Cream didn't hurt any by covering it, but it was Albert King that really breathed the life into it and it was his gateway to stardom. King has a very distinctive guitar playing style often attributed to his playing left handed (although the guitar was strung right handed) giving it a unique sound but I personally think Albert had his own feel later mimicked by SRV among others. It oozed blues. Next up is Crosscut Saw set to a Latin rhythm, a common maneuver for King. Albert had a great voice and his playing dominated most anything he touched. Did Eric borrow some of King's riffs... just listen! On Leiber and Stoller track Kansas City, King takes a standard pop track (hey, the Beatles even covered this track) and made it into a swing blues track. The horns really shine on this track and King riffs out but this really is a radio track. Another track showing a melding of styles is Pretty Woman. King again carries this largely based upon his vocal skills but never misses the opportunity to throw the hot riffs into the fire. King really is one of the fathers of the "modern" blues as we know it. On King original, Down Don't Bother Me, Albert gets a real solid Texas blues lope and his guitar phrasing is just perfect. On Ivory Joe Hunter's soul classic, I Almost Lost My Mind, King melds blues with jazz keeping his "V" under control with light riffs to accommodate a loose jam. Another original track, Personal Manager, shows King at a relaxed pace, taking the time to sing quietly before knocking the doors down with classic ripping blues smoke! On Laundromat Blues, King uses his call and response technique to the extreme answering his own vocal call with a guitar riff response. Listen to these riffs ...and think of how many of your favorites have played them like their own. Yes, Albert was the King! One of my personal favorites on the release, As The Years Go Passing By, shows a perfect balance between the horns, Kings rich voice and his incredible guitar phrasing. This is THE track to hear by Albert King! Also included on this release are alternate takes of Born Under A Bad Sign, Crosscut Saw, The Hunter and Personal Manager. These tracks are all really nice additions and give you different riffs and backing. Very cool. Lastly, there is an untitled instrumental of Albert jamming out with the horns. Dunn shows a bass slide and you can just sit back and listen to the King doing the Kings thing. Great release and one that you should definitely check out!

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE” Yes, you're right... this is a live track and the release is a studio cut. Enjoy Mr King in full color!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Stax/Volt Records artist: Otis Redding - Lonely & Blue - New Release Review

I just received the new release, Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding which is due to be released tomorrow. This is a really cool album of tracks recorded by Redding but not assembled as a greatest hits nor a reissue. The packaging is authentic 60's style and even has the wear mark from years of vinyl sitting on the shelf (and an inner sleeve)!! This may be the best Otis Redding album ever! Yes...album. Concord is releasing this not only on CD but on blue vinyl!! The release opens with I Love You More Than Words Can Say, a really hot soul track. Redding really shows where it's at. Gone Again, a track which has just a pinch of country blended into the soul is great and trimmed with trumpets. Free Me, has cool guitar arpeggiation under the melody with keys and accent horns, but of course the focus is Redding's phrasing. Open The Door, another track with just a pinch of country (somebody's gonna ask where, but it's there) has the strength of the oldest James Brown cuts and that's a strong statement. A Waste Of Time, a great soul track with the warm sound of horns behind is a very strong track. These Arms of Mine is of course a big hit and a killer track. Get this. It's my least favorite track on this recording. Yes...it's that strong. I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) is about as classic Otis as you get and of course Redding's sliding note is the highlight of the track. This is icing on the cake. This album isn't about greatest hits. this album is about great soul singing. Everybody Makes A Mistake has a strong gospel feel and is sung from deep inside. Possibly one of the best tracks on this great release. Little Ol' Me, another track with a more of the country flavor is a nice change, keeping you in the deep soul feel but lightening up a little allowing Redding to just work his voice. I've Got Dreams To Remember, another classic is very strong and rounds out the side but again, some of the lesser known tracks are the highlight of this recording. Send Me Some Lovin' has the classic R&B piano rhythm and intro of a bit more guitar on this track allowing Redding to lay back and paint his voice on the track rather than carrying it. This is an interesting alternate on his prime talent. My Lover's Prayer is a really hot soul track and a nice conclusion of this really deep soul recording. If you have every Redding release, you might look at this as the best of the best. If you don't have  Redding CD...this is the one to buy! Not the greatest hits... that it's not. But this may be the best set of Redding recordings every assembled on one disc. It's really a nice set.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Concord Music Group/Telarc Artist: Otis Taylor - My World Is Gone - New Release Review

I just received a copy of the newest recording, My World Is Gone, by Otis Taylor. This recording will hit the streets on February 12, 2013. This is one of the most unisual contemporary releases that I have heard in a long time. The release opens with the title track, My World Is Gone, which was developed after discussions with Mato Nanji (Indigenous) backstage at the Jimi Hendrix tribute concert in reference to his Native American Nakota Nation and the simplicity of his comment. Nanji plays some really sweet acoustic lead guitar on this track. Huckleberry Blues is a really cool track with Taylor on banjo and Ron Miles on coronet. This track has a dance beat and a loose jazz feel. I can't tell you why...I just like it. Sand Creek Massacre Mourning has a strong feel of back country music with Taylor on banjo and interesting guitar effects by Nanji. The Wind Comes In has a real feel of John Lee Hooker from his prime time with a Mali twist. This is really a cool track. Taylor again on banjo (and of course vocals) and Nanji on lead guitar. Girl Friend's House is a curious track about chance encounter. It is as simple as a blues track gets with Taylor on banjo and again featuring Ron Miles on coronet. Jae Jae Waltz is a great little back country track done as authentically as I can imagine on a contemporary recording. The honesty of this track as well as many of the others on this recording are particularly noteworthy. Gangster And Iztatoz Chauffeur is a track that could easily be from a Ali Farke Toure release. It retains sounds of the pure African blues and I really like it. I commend Shawn Starski and Taylor for their capture of the Mali sound. Green Apples follows in this same groove but with more direct vocal attack. The addition of Miles on coronet adds a nice flavor to this track as well. The recording is completed with a more straightforward rock like track with a happy theme...imagine that. It is actually a pretty cool track and one that may actually see a good amount of airplay. Other artists on the disk are Larry Thompson, Anne Harris, Todd Edmunds and Brian Juan. I think that this is Taylor's best creation in years and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's cool to see someone stand up and do something different... and to see it be interesting. Hope you give it a spin! This CD is certain to win Taylor new fans.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Otis Taylor's 'My World is Gine' CD features Indigenous' Mato Nanji


VISIONARY SONGWRITER OTIS TAYLOR RETURNS
WITH HIS POWERFUL AND UNIQUE BLEND
OF ROOTS MUSIC AND NARRATIVE POETRY

My World Is Gone explores the struggles of Native Americans
with contributions from Indigenous frontman/guitar virtuoso Mato Nanji
BOULDER, Colo. — Roots music visionary Otis Taylor’s 13th album, My World Is Gone, set for release February 12, 2013 on Telarc, a division of Concord Music Group, is a lightning bolt of musical creativity and social commentary. Its songs crackle with poetic intelligence and a unique, adventurous sound that balances the modern world with echoes of ancient Africa, Appalachia and more.

To call Taylor a cutting edge artist is an understatement. Although his music is based in the blues and folk realm, his meticulously crafted recordings crash the barriers of jazz, rock, funk, Americana and myriad other genres to create a hybrid that Taylor labels “trance blues.” And that signature style serves as a backbone for his frank tales of struggle, freedom, desire, conflict and, of course, love.

The central theme of My World Is Gone was fueled by Taylor’s friend Mato Nanji, the singer-guitarist and cornerstone of the band Indigenous. “Mato inspired the entire direction of this album,” Taylor relates. “We were talking about history backstage at a Jimi Hendrix tribute concert that Mato had just played, and, in reference to his people, the Native American Nakota Nation, he said ‘My world is gone.’ The simplicity and honesty of those four words was so heavy, I knew what I had to write about.”

Taylor had already begun composing new tunes with other themes for his follow-up to 2012’s critically heralded Contraband. Three of those — “Green Apples,” “Gangster and Iztatoz Chauffeur” and “Coming With Crosses” — appear on My World Is Gone.

But inspired by Nanji — who plays electric and acoustic guitars on six tracks and joins Taylor on vocals for several songs — and by his own understanding of Native American culture developed in part through dealing in Indian art as a young man, Taylor embarked on a soul-searching journey into the past and present, and into the psyche, of America’s indigenous people.

“I’ve written songs about slavery, but here in America that’s considered part of the past,” Taylor explains. “What’s happened and what’s happening to Native Americans is still going on. A lot of people forget that. This is a reminder.”

With his customary brevity, power and grace, Taylor conveys his stories in intimate detail and uses his rich baritone voice to give his characters breath and humanity. The album starts on point with “My World Is Gone,” portraying how the gilded seductions of the white man’s culture undermined the Native American way of life. The melancholy in Taylor’s and Nanji’s vocal performance, as they sing from the perspective of an Indian tormented by temptation and loss, is buoyed by the gentle melodies of Anne Harris’ fiddle and Nanji’s electric and acoustic guitars — the acoustic six-string an Otis Taylor signature model, with only 14 frets, built by the premier instrument makers at Santa Cruz Guitars.

Taylor revisits his song “Lost My Horse,” which originally appeared on 2001’s White African, with a new arrangement that features him and Nanji trading guitar and mandolin lines.

“In the days of the frontier, having a horse could be a matter of life or death, or comfort or poverty, and the horse has been an important part of Native American culture in the west, so the song fit perfectly,” he explains.

“Sand Creek Massacre Mourning,” which recounts the murder of 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho victims by Col. John Chivington’s cavalry in 1864, rests on the backbone of Taylor’s banjo, his primary instrument. He’s played mostly electric banjos on previous albums, save for 2008’s roots-focused Recapturing the Banjo, but on My World Is Gone Taylor employs
four-, five- and six-string acoustic models. “I wanted to get back to that organic sound, because the banjo’s spoken to me since I was a kid,” he says. “Its voice instantly brings you back in time, and so much of My World Is Gone is about history and tradition that its sound is perfect for these songs.”

Nanji again shares vocals with Taylor on “Blue Rain in Africa,” in which a Native American reflects on the survival of his culture, despite the odds, after seeing the birth of a white buffalo — a rare and highly sacred event — on TV. The song’s threads of hope are a striking contrast to “Never Been to the Reservation,” with its lyrics about “babies sleeping on the ground,” although both numbers benefit from Nanji’s burnished blues licks.

While Taylor’s vision can be dark and ominous — the title “Coming With Crosses” is self-explanatory — his songs often celebrate hope and beauty in poignant ways. “Jae Jae Waltz” uses its spare construction of banjo, drums, bass and guest Ron Miles’ cornet to tell a story of a widow’s search for new love, and “Sit Across Your Table” celebrates the comfort and joy a workingman takes in his marriage. The song is also a surprising foray into untempered rock ’n’ roll, with a wailing guitar solo by Shawn Starski.

Starski and Taylor are versatile musicians who make their six-strings sound like an African kora on both “Green Apples” and the quirky Elmore Leonard-like tale “Gangster and Iztatoz Chauffeur.” Starski is the latest addition to Taylor’s touring band, which also includes Anne Harris on fiddle, Larry Thompson on drums and bassist Todd Edmunds, who has replaced Taylor’s daughter Cassie, a fixture of his earlier albums and groups. She now leads her own band, Cassie Taylor & the Soul Cavalry.

Otis Taylor’s own parents were an important part of his musical foundation. His father was a passionate jazz fan who encouraged his son to become a musician. His mother has become the subject of several of Taylor’s songs. Although he was born in Chicago in 1948, his parents relocated their family to Denver when Taylor was a small child in part to protect their son from the harsh realities of urban living. In addition to listening to jazz in his father’s record collection, he fell deeply under the spell of the Mississippi Delta legend John Lee Hooker, whose spare, almost mystical sound still resonates in Taylor’s own work.

“I get a lot of my sense of space and my vocal phrasing from John Lee Hooker, whose music, especially his solo recordings, is so heavy and has so much space that it sounds like it’s alive,” Taylor explains. His other vocal totem is James Brown, whose shouts and howls inspire the thunderous vocal declamations that punctuate many of Taylor’s own recordings.

As a young man, Taylor mastered the banjo and moved on to the harmonica and guitar. He performed with electric guitar virtuoso Tommy Bolin as T&O Short Line, and by 1974-76, he was playing bass as part of the Boulder-based rock group Zephyr. Taylor even jammed with Jimi Hendrix once and pursued his muse to Europe, but frustrations with the music business led him to retire from performing in 1977. He became a dealer in art and antiques, and pursued another of his passions, bicycle racing, as a coach.

In the ’90s, the door to Taylor’s musical past was pried open by friends in the Boulder area, and in 1996, he independently released his debut album, Blue Eyed Monster. With the release of his next two discs, When Negroes Walked the Earth and White African, he began to shake up the blues world with his marvelously original music and his unflinching tales about racism, struggle and heritage. Over the years, Taylor has garnered more than a dozen Blues Music Awards nominations, and White African won Best Debut Album. He is also regularly nominated as an instrumentalist, and won a Blues Music Award for his imaginative banjo playing in 2009. Also, his albums Double V, Definition of a Circle and Recapturing the Banjo took Downbeat’s Best Blues CD awards in 2005, 2007 and 2008, respectively. In all, Taylor has won five DownBeat awards. He has also been nominated twice for the prestigious
Académie Charles Cros award in France.

His 2009 recording, Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs, was released in the same week that two of Taylor’s songs were heard by millions in Michael Mann’s blockbuster movie Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale.

In 2010, Taylor started his own annual Trance Blues Festival in Boulder, Colorado, which brings a broad cast of professional and amateur musicians together for three days of performances, jams and workshops.

“The thing about music is that it’s not just a spectator sport,” Taylor says. “In a world where there’s a lot of misunderstanding, music can help people communicate and break down barriers, and start to really see each other for who they are.

“I write songs about people remembering, bearing witness,” Taylor continues. “I’ve learned that if you write about things that are important, people will listen. That’s one of the reasons why I wrote the songs that I did for My World Is Gone.

“I push myself to be prolific and to make every new album better than the last one for personal reasons, too,” he relates. “A few years ago I had a cyst removed that was attached to my liver and spine. It was a life-threatening situation — really painful. I didn’t know if I was going to survive the surgery. I came to grips with the idea that the albums I’m making are going to be my legacy. And I want the people who love me — my family, my friends — to be proud.”

# # #

For more information about Otis Taylor, please contact:
Cary Baker
Conqueroo • (323) 656-1600 • cary@conqueroo.com
Mike Wilpizeski
Concord Music Group • 718-459-2117 • Mike.Wilpizeski@concordmusicgroup.com
Tour Publicity: Kelly Johanns-DiCilloConcord Music Group • 216-464-2313, x2470 •
Kelly.Johanns@concordmusicgroup.com

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Concord/Specialty Records release: Here's Little Richard - New Release Review


This is the reissue of Little Richards debut album, Here's Little Richard. It includes the original 12 tracks ( Tutti Frutti; True, Fine Mama; Can't Believe You Wanna Leave; Ready Teddy; Baby; Slippin' and Slidin'; Long Tall Sally; Miss Ann; Oh Why?; Rip It Up; Jenny Jenny and She's Got It. In addition this new release includes a demo for Baby, All Night Long, an interview with Specialty Records Founder Art Rupe and two bonus videos. The videos are screen tests for Tutti Frutti and Long Tall Sally. I'm sure if you're a Little Richard fan you already know that this is a terrific package but if that isn't enough, along with this comes a 22 page hard paper booklet in an envelope cover marked 1st audition tape To: Specialty Records etc with an original post mark of Feb 16, 1955. It's packed full of info including everything from the original liner notes to 14 vintage photographs, master recording notes, and a great historical documentation of the events of the time. Also included is a cool poster of Little Richard. This is a must for anyone who loves the drive of Little Richard. It's a blast!
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