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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 Dave Alvin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dave Alvin. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Ruf Records artist: Canned Heat - Finyl Vinyl - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Finyl Vinyl, from Canned Heat and it's really enjoyable. Opening with a rowdy rocking boogie, One Last Boogie, Canned Heat blows the roof off of this newest release. Featuring Jimmy Vivino on lead vocal and guitar Heat is packing with Dale Spalding ramping it up on harmonica, Fiti De La Parra on drums and Rick Reed on bass. Strong opener. Dave Alvin guests on Blind Owl singing lead and playing guitar. With it's droning bass line by Reed and tight drum line by De La Parra, this is a hot track. Wicked guitar soloing by Alvin and Vivino and solid harmonica by Spalding playing really take this track higher. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Tease Me with it's bluesy feel. Spalding has the mic and does a real nice job on vocal and harmonica. Spalding's up again on A Hot Ole Time but it's the fleet fingered work of Vivino that makes this track in my eyes. Very nice. Slow blues, When You're 69, features Vivino on lead guitar and vocal. This track really lets the guys get down and dirty mixing Vivino's slide and Spalding's harmonica. Hot! Wrapping the release is There Goes That Train, a New Orleans R&B style track with a relentless vamp and giving Spalding a great opportunity to play his blues. Solid closer. 

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Rounder Records artist: Bobby Rush - Porcupine Meat - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (September 16, 2016), Porcupine Meat, from Bobby Rush and it's a mover. Opening with I Don't Want Nobody Hanging Around, Bobby Rush has a high steppin funky opener featuring a cooking horn section, great bass lines and of course some fine harp work. With a smooth R&B feel, title track, Porcupine Meat, is a real cruiser with Vasti Jackson laying down some tight riffs on guitar over a solid bass line. Very cool. Slow blues number, Got Me Accused, really gives Rush the opportunity to show his deep blues roots. With his soulful vocals and crying harp playing, this track is heavy. Again the strong bass lines really anchor the track and salted lightly with guitar, this track is smokin. R&B track, Snake In The Grass, has strong radio play sound with a catchy hook and a solid beat. Funky track, Funk o' de Funk, has really super bass line and the funk is so deep you can smell it. Punched up horns, keyboard and nicely placed harp work. This track hits the groove. Me, Myself and I is a smooth, jazzy number with a rock solid bottom and clean guitar riffs added by Joe Bonamassa. Catfish Stew is a cool pop jam with a rolling bass line. Light hearted feel and cool horn work make this track sail. It's Your Move has a nice BB King like feel that almost glides across the airwaves. Dave Alvin lays in some really nice guitar work over a solid bottom and a strong keyboard cloud. Keb' Mo' slips on the slide hitting Nighttime Gardener running over a blues riff. Rush does his thing lyrically, and with no pause. A sure crowd pleaser. R&B track, I Think Your Dress Is Too Short, has a real nice feel. With it's super cool bass line, snappy drums and horn punctuation, Rush just rides the wave. Very nice! Standing On Shaky Ground is pure soul and the horns sound like they are pure from the 70's. Rush has seen it all and knows the way with billowy keys and clean accents. Cool track. Wrapping the release is I'm Tired, a high water stepper with nice harp work, slide guitar and light percussion. Rush's harp work is instinctual and gives this track a cool modern feel. Nice closer.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

NEWS: Bobby Rush signs to Rounder; new album 'Porcupine Meat' due out Sept. 16.


With special guests Dave Alvin, Joe Bonamassa, Keb’ Mo’, and Vasti Jackson, and backing from the New Orleans “A” team,
album cements Bobby Rush’s legacy
 as blues’ most vital artist of his generation.

JACKSON, Miss. — Naming one’s album after a song titled “Porcupine Meat” may seem a little unusual — unless, of course, you’re Bobby Rush, who earned his first gold record in 1971 with a hit entitled “Chicken Heads.” He elaborates on his recent composition:  “If a lady won’t treat me right, but she doesn’t want anyone else to have me, that is hard to digest.” Hence the lyric, “too fat to eat, too lean to throw away.”

Porcupine Meat
is Rush’s debut release for Rounder Records, and one of the best recordings of his astonishing 60-plus year career. The album is due out September 16, 2016.

Rush estimates that he has cut over 300 songs since he first began making music. He has been honored with three Grammy nominations, as well as ten Blues Music Awards and 41 nominations. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006.

Make no mistake: Rush is not your typical octogenarian. At age 82, he exudes the energy of a 20-year-old, on the road for more than 200 dates a year. His hectic tour schedule has earned him the affectionate title King of the Chitlin’ Circuit. Rush has traveled the globe including Japan and Beirut. In 2007, he earned the distinction of being the first blues artist to play at the Great Wall of China. His renowned stage act features his famed shake dancers, who personify his funky blues and the ribald humor that he has cultivated during the course of his storied career.

Born Emmet Ellis, Jr. in Homer, Louisiana, he adopted the stage name Bobby Rush out of respect for his father, a pastor. According to Rush, his parents never talked about the blues being the devil’s music. “My daddy never told me to sing the blues, but he also didn’t tell me to not sing the blues. I took that as a green light.”

Rush built his first guitar when he was a youngster. “I didn’t know where to buy one, even if I had the money. I was a country boy,” he says. After seeing a picture of a guitar in a magazine, he decided to make one by attaching the top wire of a broom to a wall and fretting it with a bottle. He also got some harmonica lessons from his father He eventually acquired a real guitar, and started playing in juke joints as a teenager, when his family briefly relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas. The fake moustache Rush wore made club owners believe he was old enough to gain entry into their establishments. While he was living in Little Rock, Rush’s band, which featured Elmore James, had a residency at a nightspot called Jackrabbit.

During the mid-1950s, Rush relocated to Chicago to pursue his musical career and make a better life for himself. It was there that he started to work with Earl Hooker, Luther Allison, and Freddie King, and sat in with many of his musical heroes, such as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, and Little Walter. Rush eventually began leading his own band in the 1960s. He also started to craft his own distinct style of funky blues, and recorded a succession of singles for a various small labels. It wasn’t until the early 1970s that Rush finally scored a hit with “Chicken Heads.” More recordings followed, including an album for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Label.

Rush relocated one final time, to Jackson, Miss. in the early 1980s. He was tired of the cold up north, and he realized that setting up his base of operations directly in the center of the South would make it easier to perform in nearby cities on weekends. More indie label recordings followed. Songs like “Sue, A Man Can Give (But He Sure Can’t Take It),” “What’s Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander Too,” and” I Ain’t Studdin’ You” became regional jukebox favorites in juke joints throughout the region, and many of those songs are still fan favorites that are an integral part of his live repertoire.

Since 2003, Rush has self-released the majority of his work (including the critically acclaimed Folk Funk album) on his Deep Rush label, but recently, he came to the realization that having a bigger record company behind him would be beneficial. “I outgrew myself,” he says. “I need someone to help in doing the things I can’t do. When you are wearing all the hats, you can’t be everywhere at once.”

Enter esteemed producer and two-time Grammy winner Scott Billington, Rounder Records’ longtime VP of A&R. Billington first met Rush at a Recording Academy meeting 25 years ago, and they became fast friends. He has wanted to work with Rush ever since.  “He is the most vital bluesman of his generation,” says Billington. He continues, “There are many people who still don’t know Bobby Rush, even though he is a hero in the parallel universe of the Chitlin’ Circuit — fans stop him on the street in Memphis and Helena and Little Rock.”

Porcupine Meat
will not only please Rush’s older fans, but is likely to win over many new ones. Billington reflects, “We wanted to come up with something fresh, while staying 100% true to Bobby.”

The album was recorded in New Orleans, and Rush was pleased and proud to be given the opportunity to make an album in his home state for the very first time. His impassioned vocals and in-the-pocket harmonica playing are among the best performances of his career. Unlike most of his recent releases, these sessions only feature real instruments and no synthesizers. All of the rhythm tracks were cut live in the studio, often edited down from jams that on several occasions ran close to ten minutes.

For the project, Billington assembled some of the best Louisiana musicians, including Shane Theriot, David Torkanowsky, Jeffrey “Jellybean” Alexander, Kirk Joseph, Cornell Williams, and others. Rush brought along his old friend and longtime collaborator, guitarist Vasti Jackson, who worked with Bobby and Scott on getting the songs ready for the studio. Guitar greats Dave Alvin, Keb’ Mo’, and Joe Bonamassa all make guest appearances on the album.

Rush has always been a prolific and clever songwriter. The songs he penned for Porcupine Meat such as “Dress Too Short,” “I Don’t Want Nobody Hanging Around,” “Me, Myself And I,” “Nighttime Gardener,” “It’s Your Move,” and the title selection, all equal or rival his best material. “Funk O’ De Funk” delivers exactly what the title suggests and what Rush has always done the best, which is putting the funk into the blues. While “Got Me Accused” is inspired by events from Rush’s own life, the lyrics tell an all-too-familiar tale about the rampant racial injustice that afflicts our society. Producer Billington and his wife Johnette Downing (the well known New Orleans songwriter and children’s musician) co-wrote a couple of fine selections, “Catfish Stew” and “Snake In The Grass.”

Bobby Rush is the greatest bluesman currently performing. Porcupine Meat is a testament to his brilliance, which presents him at his very best, and doesn’t try to be anything that he is not. “I just try to record good music and stories,” he humbly states.  With this recording, he has more than accomplished his goal, and has produced one of the finest contemporary blues albums in recent times.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Flying Machine Records artist: Anne McCue - Blue Sky Thinkin' - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (February 10, 2015), Blue Sky Thinkin', from Anne McCue and it takes you to a different place. Opening the release is Dig Two Graves, a swinging blues track with smooth vocals and slick guitar work from McCue, joined by Dave Raven on drums, Carl Byron on piano, Dusty Wakeman on bass and Deanie Richardson on violin. Things You Left Out In The Rain is a cool period blues style track with silky vocals and great jazz style horn work from Jim Hoke (clarinet), Steve Herrman (trumpet) and John Hinchey (trombone). Spring Cleaning In The Winter Time is a light hearted track with some fleet fingered guitar work from McCue. Devil In The Middle, co written by Dave Alvin and David Olney features McCue and Alvin in duet and classic early blues instrumentation. This is that "New Orleans Jazz" in it's classic form. Featuring Hoke on clarinet, Randy Leago on sax, Steve Herrman on trumpet and John Hinchey on trombone ...Terrific! Long Tall Story has thata Memphis Minnie sound with McCue on vocal and dobro. lightly backed by Carl Byron on piano and Dave Raven this track has a nice swing and cool melody. Little White Cat is a bit more upbeat with some hot lap riffs by McCue. With backing vocals by Szu Wong and bass by Djordje Stijepovic this track almost has a gypsy sound. Very cool! It Wasn't Even Fun While It Lasted has a theme which most everyone can relate to. Strong piano by Byron and violin by Richardson dress this simple melody making it quite a pleasant venture. Save A Life has a 50's jazz sound with only basics for backing with finger snaps and cool bass riffs by Dave Pomeroy. Uncanny Moon has a really nice Latin feel with stylized drums and piano. McCue's vocals are very nice but her guitar work is beautiful on this track. My definite favorite. Cowgirl Blues has a memorable melody and simple instrumentation with basic blues fundamentals but presented in a more modern manner. Knock On Wood again gets that moody horn soaked feel and it is performed flawlessly. With McCue on vocal and guitar with Tisha Simeral on bass, Bill Huber on trombone, Herrman on trumpet and Hoke on clarinet, this is quite a cool track. Title track Blue Sky Thinkin', is a poppy track really allowing McCue to step forward on guitar with clever jazz riffs, blended with Byron on piano and Hoke on clarinet. A very nice conclusion to a solid contemporary yet rootsy blues based release.

Also want to comment that I really like the cover art which is also by McCue.

  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”


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Troublebound - The Blasters with Dave Alvin

Grammy award winning singer/songwriter/bar-room guitar player Dave Alvin has been a constant force in traditional American roots music, both electric and acoustic, for over 25 years. From his earliest days with roots pioneers The Blasters through his stinits with punk rock/folkies X and The Knitters through his various solo releases, Dave has mixed blues, folk, rockabilly, rhythm and blues, country, surf, cajun and even doo wop into his own unique brand of American Music. His songs have been recorded by Los Lobos, Buckwheat Zydeco, Robert Earl Kean, Dwight Yoakam, Kelly Willis, James McMurtry, Joe Ely and Little Milton to name a few, and have been heard in tv shows like THE SOPRANOS and movies like CRYBABY and THELMA AND LOUISE. .. .. .. CHECK OUT DAVE ALVIN NOW TOURING AS DAVE ALVIN AND THE GUILTY WOMEN, AND CHECK OUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING!!! .. .. "GREAT show last night. Besides the stellar musicianship (Amy Farris - hokey smokes!) of the band, and the wonderful songs, Dave's stage presence was low key and self-effacing 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”