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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 Diane Blue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diane Blue. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Stony Plain Records artist: Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters - Mercy Me - New Release Review


 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Mercy Me, from Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters and it's strong. Opening with Muddy Waters' classic shuffle, Blow Wind Blow in Earl style and it's great. With Diane Blue handling the lead vocals nicely, Dave Limina on B3, Paul Kochanski on bass and Forrest Padgett on drums and Peter Ward sharing the guitar work with Earl, this is a solid opener. Slow blues, Blues For Duke Robillard, is prime Earl. I know that this may sound repetitive, but although Earl is an excellent player across the spectrum, his flow and chops on slow blues instrumentals are really tops in todays market. His feel, phrasing and tone is excellent and this track is an excellent example. With a slight uptick, Anthony Geraci's A Prayer For Tomorrow, is another great jam showing Earl not only with strong lead phrasing but gripping trem bends and lush chords under the beautiful key work of Geraci. Very nice. Another great shuffle, Dave's Groove, has just the right feel with Earl playing just behind the beat adding nice tension. Mario Perrett lets it fly on tenor sax giving the track a fat horn push along with Limina's B3 work. Excellent! Percy Mayfield's Please Send Me Someone To Love features Blue again on lead vocal and powerful horn work by Perrett on tenor and Mark Earley on bari sax adding a real soulful feel. The warm B3 tone by Limina and Padgett's light drum rhythm lends an excellent slate for Earl's clean, complimentary guitar soloing. Clocking in at over 10 minutes, a terrific track. Wrapping the release is Higher and Higher, further reinforcing the R&B influences throughout the release. Blue gets a great groove going, backed by Tess Ferraiolo on backing vocals and with the warm, gospel feel of  Limina on B3 and piano, excellent sax work by Perrett and Earley really sets the stage for Earl's highlighted guitar accents. Very nice closer for a strong release. 


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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Stony Plain Records artist: Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters - Rise Up - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Rise Up, from Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters and it's smokin! Opening with a simple, acoustic guitar cover of traditional I Shall Not Be Moved, gives you no clues that Earl is about to open a can of Whoop on us. Shuffle, Higher Love, with a solid intro by Earl and Dave Kimina on B3 gives the stage over to super blues vocalist, Diane Blue and she fits like a glove. Settling down into a super groove laid out by Kimina on B3, Forrest Padgett on drums, Paul Kochanski on bass and Peter Ward on guitar, Earl really steps up with some of his beautiful blues phrasing. Fenton Robinson's R&B track, You Don't Know What Love Is is a super platform for Blue and Earl. Blue's vocals are perfectly suited for this style of music and her feel and sense of timing are super. Blues For Lucky Peterson is the first of a number of slow blues tracks where Earl really stretches it out. Busting out at over 10 minutes, you get enough powerful, guitar emotion on this one track to warrant the cost of admission, and there's more to come. Excellent! One of my favorite tracks on the release is Lil Green's, In The Dark which not only brings out the best in Blues' soulful vocal style, but also plays nicely to Earls own guitar strength. Very nice. Soulful gospel track, Lord Protect My Child, is really strong with powerful vocals by Blue that sometimes remind me of the Queen of Soul and excellent B3 work by Limina, reinforcing that gospel flavor. Very nice. Talking To Mr. Bromberg is another excellent slow blues giving Earl an excellent opportunity to show that extraordinary guitar phrasing that he is known for. The tension is thick. Blues For J is an excellent shuffle that gives Limina a nice bit of time center stage. Wrapping the release is Navajo Blues, the last of the slow blues instrumentals on the release. Earl continues to put out terrific releases with deep blue guitar emotion. Excellent. 



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Friday, October 18, 2019

Stony Plain Records artist: Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters - Beyond The Blue Door - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Beyond The Blue Door, from Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and it's really strong. Opening with Brand New Me, a Jerry Butler track, the bands starts off in a solid slot with vocal dynamo, Diane Blue up front backed by Dave Limina on piano and B3, Ronnie Earl on guitar, Forrest Padgett on drums and Paul Kochanski on bass with Mario Perrett on tenor sax, and Scott Shetler on bari sax . Slipping into a cool shuffle, Baby How Long,  Kim Wilson is up front on lead vocal and harmonica. A real Chicago style blues gives Wilson and Earl a nice opportunity to exchange solos with Anthony Geraci on piano and Peter Ward on guitar. Very nice. Henry Glover's tune made popular by Ray Charles, Drown In My Own Tears gives Earl the stage to do exactly what everyone expects of Earl, to play those long soulful runs that have been such a trademark of his sound. Exchanging phrasing with Greg Piccolo on sax, this track is really hot. An interesting twist on a Ronnie Earl album is an acoustic take on Bob Dylan's, It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry . This is a great track that I have a special fondness for and it's earlier remake by Leon Russell, featuring Dave Bromberg on acoustic guitar and lead vocal balanced with Earl on electric guitar. Two great masters playing separate interpretations together making one very nice interpretation. Another favorite and certainly one of the best showcases for Blue is A Soul That's Been Abused with it's somber feel and that of course brings out the best in Earl. If you've followed his work, you know when a track goes in excess of 9 minutes, you're in for some rich guitar soloing and it's right here. Perrett, Shetler and Piccolo add sax work making this a terrific track. The TBone Stomp is another trademark style track for Earl with his articulate and sometimes lagging off beat playing and a rock solid bottom by Michael Rush on bass. Want another slow, blues ballad. When Blue and Earl are in... I'm in. Peace of Mind is a real nice track with Blue's rich vocal playing off of Earl's response. This is a terrific track. With a serious lope, Bringing Light (To A Dark Time) has such a great feel. Blue's vocals are spot on and Earl sounds like he's a tiger waiting to pounce during his lead filler. With warm sax backing by Perrett and Shetler and Limina pushing, this is another excellent track. Wrapping the release is slow blues number, Blues for Charlottesville. With a firm bass line by Kochanski and Limina on Hammond, Earl is free to just play and he does play. This is an excellent closer for a really excellent release. 

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stony Plain Records - Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters - Maxwell Street - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (September 9, 2016), Maxwell Street, from Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and it's a scorcher! Opening with Mother Angel, a tight jazz influenced number featuring Ronnie Earl and Nicholas Tabarias on guitar, Lorne Entress on drums, Dave Limina on keys and Jim Mouradian on bass. Slow blues, Elegy For A Bluesman is one of many beautifully executed tracks on this release. With subtle bottom and really nice piano and B3 by Limina, Earl takes it front and center with lush melodic guitar lead. Excellent! In Memory of T-Bone is a strong, T-Bone Walker "modeled" blues track with Earl interpreting T-Bone Walker's style and phrasing. With just a wisp of bass and drums and a carrier tune of keys, Earl just flat out plays the melody in fine style. Excellent! Diane Blue joins the mix for original track, Kismet, showing why she is the go to girl on many blues release. Her vocals are clean and powerful and a good balance for Earl's powerful dynamic style. Earl's emotional bends are pointed and precise, and his solo phrases succinct giving the track the sound of fine wine. Otis Rush's Double Trouble is certainly one of my favorite tracks on the release pushing the bar even higher with Blue's emotional vocals and Earl's incredible knack of squeezing every drop of sweat from his guitar. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, this track is stimulating from end to end. Excellent! R&B track made popular by Gladys Knight, Imagination, has a definite funky drive with a tight bass line and excellent vocals from Blue. Earl brings the pace down again on Blues for David Maxwell. Limina takes a long lush stroll on the piano leading up to Earl's incredibly soulful solo giving this track air for more than 8 minutes. Wow! On Eddy Arnold's jazz ballad, You Don't Know Me, Blue takes front and center again with strong support from Limina and Earl. There's plenty of room here for both Earl and Limina to take brief expressive solos of their own but this track is really all about Blue. Very nice! Kicking it up to a strong loping shuffle on Brojoe, Earl is back, front and center, with Limina on B3 pushing him all the way. Entress' tight drum work and walking bass work from Mouradian frame the work nicely with Earl shooting riff after riff. Smooth. Wrapping the release is Don Roby's ultra soulful, As The Years Go Passing By. This track has been given up by a lot of the best including Otis Rush, Albert King and Elvin Bishop and Earl's entry will certainly not go unnoticed. Blue handles the vocal lead with authority and Earl would be a certain candidate for top blues player today. This is an excellent closer for an excellent release!

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Regina Royal Records artist: Diane Blue - Blues In My Soul - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Blues In My Soul, from Diane Blue and it's really good! Blue has teamed up with blues guitar superman, Ronnie Earl and it's a beautiful match. Opening with That's What They Call The Blues, a wicked loper, Blue throws out some ultra thick vocals and Earl unleashes the dog on his strat. Joined by Lorne Entress on drums, Dave Limina on keys and Jesse Williams on bass, this track is a killer. On Nina Simone's Do I Move You, Blue gets into a more introspective space with nice piano work from Limina and a really nice guitar solo from Bobby Gus. Bobby Womack's Nothing You Can Do has a gospel swing featuring yet another side of Blue's voice and backed by John Moriconi on trumpet and vocals, Scott Shetler on sax and soul style vocal backing by Toni Lynn Washington. Excellent Lil Green blues track, In The Dark is on of the absolute standout tracks on this release. Blue stands solid delivering a modern vocal rendition of this classic blues number, backed by Mr Earl. Limina adds just the right balance of piano and B3 over Gus' rhythm chords as Earl plays some of the most soulful lines you'd ever want to hear. Excellent! Another track made famous by Nina Simone, I Love Your Lovin' Ways gets a strong R&B flavor. This is a great switch up after such a soul searcher and Gus lays in some real tasty guitar riffs over the hot key work of Limina and great vocal blending of Washington. Someday Soon opens with a beautiful B3 intro by Limina and staying in the R&B vein, Blue's vocals, complimented nicely by Shetler on sax leads to a nice harmonica solo by Blue herself. Gus spanks the guitar with his beautiful articulation on this track giving it a definite blues kick. Excellent! Aretha Franklin's Soulville, has a real 60's sound with hot sax work from Shetler and trumpet highlights from Moriconi. Following a fun track another Franklin track, Today I Sing the Blues, an absolutely excellent rendition of the queens classic. Is Blue Franklin... no. She doesn't need to be. She is an excellent singer and does an excellent job on this track teamed up again with master guitar man Ronnie Earl. Masterful gospel style B3 from Limina adds just the right amount of tension and Earl drives this train right up to the edge. Excellent! Another track made popular by Nina Simone, Day and Night, gets a lighter pop touch with a driving bass line from Williams, and cool guitar riffs by Gus and harmonica from Blue woven throughout. I Can't Shake You is a solid soul track featuring warm, heartfelt vocals from Blue. Earl, controlled but ever on top, plays really nice guitar solos throughout the track as punctuating landmarks in a war sea of sound created by Limina on keys. More to a country 2 stepper Blue pulls out Man About Town, a track that could easily see cross radio play. JLL style piano work by Limina is off the hook with tight drum work from Entress. Driving bass lines by Williams and Blue's own harmonica work highlight the track, topped off by Gus' flashy rock styled guitar riffs. Ballad, Cry Daddy,is another track that could easily be radio bound. Rich B3 backing throughout and a nice guitar solo from Gus gives the track additional texture. Wrapping the release is a funky Koko Taylor track, Jump For Joy. Blue trades vocals with Washington on this horn saturated track and a cool bass solo from Williams is a nice intro to Limina's B3 interlude. Moriconi and Shetler add horn punch and Earl steps up with a smoker of a solo of his own. Solid conclusion to one of the best releases I've heard this year!



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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Stony Plain Records artist: Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters - Father's Day - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (July 17, 2015), Father's Day, from Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and it's terrific! I have to admit that I've always had a soft spot for Earl but these last two releases have been over the top. Opening with Otis Rush's It Takes Time with Michael Ledbetter on lead vocals, Earl lays down a super guitar shuffle supported strongly by Lorne Entress on drums, Jim Mouradian on bass and Dave Limina on B3. Excellent! Higher Love, another shuffle track has a deep almost drag which gives it a cool gait. Ledbetter shares vocals with Diane Blue and Earl plays classic guitar riffs over the sax work of Mario Perrett and Scott Shetler. Very nice! Another Rush tune, Right Place Wrong Time has excellent pace and Earl is squeezing out ever drop of blues from his strat from the opening intro. You may as well drop what you're doing right now... cause when you hear it... it will stop you in your tracks! Ledbetter is such a great choice of vocalists for this track and he really hits it! Excellent! Magic Sam's, What Have I Done Wrong,features Diane Blue on lead vocal and she has a super voice. This track struts and Earl is just as fresh as the first time I heard him with stinging, dripping riffs. Shetler really holds the bottom down on this track and Limina makes it glide on B3. Van McCoy's Giving Up is a huge soul tune with amazing dynamics compliments of Ledbetter on vocal. Earl coaxes the blues out of the track in the nicest possible way and Perrett blows a great sax solo. Absolutely brilliant! Fats Domino's Every Night About This Time is a super New Orleans style blues with a heavy kick. Ledbetter again carries the weight on vocals and Earl is absolutely on fire just kicking ass on guitar. Title track, Father's Day, has a slower pace with nice piano work from Limina. Clocking in at over 8 minutes, Ledbetter, Earl and Limina each take nice opportunities to enrich this track. Very nicely done! BB King's shuffle, I Need You So Bad, is up next and Ledbetter really hands tight on the King's thing. A cool B3 solo from Limina opens the soloing and Earl rides the groove nicely. Brook Benton's I'll Take Care Of You is up next and Diane Blue is excellent! Limina sets up a warm cushion of B3 for her to belt out the blues and she takes full advantage of it. Nicholas Tabarias put up a real nice guitar solo in the first of a series of solos on this 9 minute bluestravaganza. Limia is second on B3 doing an exceptional job as well leading up to Earl. Nicely phrased and quietly timed, this track cooks! Blue is back, sharing with Ledbetter lead vocals on funky, Follow Your Heart. Earl hits the strings with a plucky guitar solo leading back to the vocal duo and ultimately Tabarias again for a tight conclusion. Bobby Timmons jazz track, Moanin', is a fine swing style instrumental with classic Earl chording and really hot sax solos from Perrett and Shetler. Limina really gets the chance to break loose on this one laying out some really nice B3 work before turning over the floor to Earl. Earl really works it over needless to say, this being the only track of it's kind on the release and throws everything but the kitchen sink at it. Very cool! Another Magic Sam track, All Your Love, takes an absolute great road with Ledbetter on vocal and Earl playing crisp riffs in response to his vocal call. Limina takes a really sweet piano break on this one but as you might imagine, it's Earl that milks this one for all it's worth. Ledbetter's vocals just work so nicely with Earl's guitar work that they seem to feed each other. Excellent! Wrapping the release is Rev. Thomas Dorsey's Precious Lord. Diane Blue really shows the richness of her vocals supported by nicely stylized key work from Limina. Earl plays beautiful guitar work under the vocal work, ultimately coming to the top but still holding in quiet and respectful volume. This track is powerful and beautiful. This is an excellent release and one that I feel belongs in every modern blues lovers collection!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ilana Katz Katz - I've Got Something To Tell You - New release review

I just received the newest release, I've Got Something To Tell You, from Ilana Katz Katz, and it's quite good. I'll preface this review with a note that this release is strongly bluegrass/ rural feel and has a unique open look at the blues. Opening with Marilyn's Blues Ronnie Earl and Katz trade riffs (guitar and violin) over a solid blues bass line by Jesse Williams. Very nice. On John Lee Hooker's She's Long She's Tall, a strong sense of Hooker and boogie underlies this updated version of a classic blues track. Katz is on lead vocal and violin and Earl provides percussive guitar rhythm. On traditional track Cruel Willie Blues, Katz really takes the lead on what I'd call a traditional fiddle tune, joined by Marylou Ferrante on guitar for a simple country instrumental. Robert Lockwood Jr.'s Take A Little Walk With Me features Diane Blue on lead vocal and she does a really sweet job. Ronnie Earl is back on lead guitar, this track falling square in his wheel house. Really nice. Another traditional tune, Old Medeira Waltz pairs Katz with Dotty Moore for a very sweet fiddle duet. Shove the Pig's Foot A Little Further In The Fire is a continuation of the duet but with a fun, country/Irish reel feel. If you like simple country /bluegrass style tunes, this is really well done. PB Cracker Blues again pairs Ronnie Earl with Katz on a 12 bar blues jam. Earl takes the lead and Katz stays with him on the melody but when it comes to the solo, Earl and Katz each step up their game and make strong statements. Conan's Farewell was written in memory of Katz's deceased cat. A playful tune with only fiddle and rhythm guitar by Ferrante it is relaxing and nicely articulated. Runnin' in Peace is written in response to the bombing at the Boston Marathon and the writers personal experience being there. This is my favorite track on the release with super deep roots guitar riffs from Earl and wailing vocals by Diane Blue. Excellent! Another traditional bluegrass track, Johnny Don't Get Drunk pairs Katz with Ferrante on banjo. This track is a lot of fun and well executed. Memphis Minnie's Ain't Nothin' In Ramblin'/Frisco Town finds Ferrante on vocal and guitar with Katz on fiddle. Delivered with a lot of feeling but maintaining the rural country feel these tracks stand out on their own. Wrapping the release with a traditional fiddle tune, Piney Ridge, Katz goes it alone showing pure mastery of country / bluegrass fiddling. This is a different kind of blues release but one that I find quite entertaining. Want something different with a country blues feel. This is it!

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Spider in My Web - Ronnie Earl with Diane Blue, Seth Holzman, and Gil Correia


Boston's DIANE BLUE has the “whole package” – she is a strong vocalist, skillful harmonica player and a crowd pleasing entertainer. Voted Outstanding Female Singer in The Blues Audience 2011 Readers’ Poll, Ms. Blue is a soulful and sassy performer with a strong, confident attack and energetic delivery, serving up her own spin on soul, blues and R&B.

Ms. Blue won the 2010 Massachusetts Blues Challenge, earning the honor of competing at the 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. She was nominated for "Best Female Singer" in the 2010 Blues Audience Readers Poll, "Best Blues/R&B Act" and "Best Female Vocalist in 2007 by the Providence Phoenix and also nominated "Best Local Blues Act" by Motif Magazine in 2007.

Ms. Diane Blue has played harmonica and/or sung with guitarist extraordinaire, Ronnie Earl, as well as international performers Luther Guitar Jr. Johnson (former sideman for Muddy Waters), Big Jack Johnson (of Clarksdale, Mississippi) and Irma Thomas (the Soul Queen of New Orleans). Juke joint legend Big Jack Johnson dubbed Ms. Blue “A Monster” on the harp after she performed as his guest star at Red's Lounge in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Ms. Blue continues to tour internationally as well as performing in the USA.
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