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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 Grady Champion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grady Champion. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Gulf Coast Records/Hillside Global artist: Tito Jackson - Under Your Spell - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (August 6, 2021), Under Your Spell, by Tito Jackson and it blends modern funk, blues, pop and rock for his own style. Opening with Wheels Keep Turning, Jackson on lead vocal and guitar sets a pop pace joined by Michael Harris on drums, Michael K Jackson and Brandon Adams on keys, Darnell Neal on bass, Jason Parfait and Ian Smith on horns. I really like the horn work and slide guitar efforts by Jackson on this track. Heavy footed, Under Your Spell, has a great foot drum thump and with strong addition by Joe Bonamassa on guitar, Robert King on bass and sassy horn work by Parfait and Smith, this track has a great groove. R&B track, Big Leg Woman has a strong sax intro by Parfait, and gives Jackson a great chance to shine on lead vocal, features Kenny Neal on guitar with Jackson and keeps with the theme of ballsey horn throughout. My favorite track on the release is You're Gonna Push Me To Far with some really nicely stylized guitar "JG Watson" like work by KT Thomas. Very cool. George Benson is a standout on lead guitar on Rock Me Baby, a smooth, R&B take on BB King's classic track. Also featured are James "Boogaloo" Bolden on trumpet, Russell B Jackson on bass, Eric Demmer on sax, Wilber Crosby on lead guitar, lamar Boulet on trumpet, Darrell Lavigne on keys, Brandon Jackson on drums, and with Claudette King on lead vocal, Michael Lee and Tito Jackson on lead vocal and guitar. Wrapping the release is smooth soul track, I Got Caught (Loving In A Dream) with warm vocal harmionies and featurning Tito on guitar, Harris on drums, Brandon Adams on organ, synth bass and piano, Tyree Neal on guitar, and with pootent horn accents by Parfait and Smith. Solid closer. 


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Friday, October 21, 2016

Malaco Records artist: Grady Champion - One Of A Kind - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, One Of A Kind, from Grady Champion, and it has variety. Opening with Bump and Grind, Grady Champion on lead vocal and harp along with Ken Smith on bass, Eddie Cotton on guitar and Carroll McLaughlin on keys set an early groove, not unlike a more polished Jesus Just Left Chicago. Nice opener. With a R&B feel, Heels and Hips floats along with a really cool bass line by Smith and nice backing vocals by Champion, Jewell Bass, Eddie Cotton and Lisa Palmer. Shuffle track, House Party, gets deeper in the groove with the addition of Kimble Funchess on trumpet, Jessie PrimerIII on sax, Sydney Ford II on bari, Robert Lamkin on trombone and champion's harp backed by nice vocals by Bass and Palmer. On Life Support, Champion really gets the band swinging on harp and some of his best vocals on the release. Myron Bennett's bass work is tight and vital giving this track just the right weight. Classic, Chicago style blues track, Leave Here Running, features Theodis Ealey on guitar and Champion really opens up his harp for a super run. Ealey throws down a cool solo of his own giving this track even more spirit. Another R&B track, Move Something, has a real nice feel, pumped by the bass work of Smith and the Jackson Horns. Soul tune, One Of A Kind, is one of my favorite tracks on the release with just the right amount of warmth, a nice sax solo by Primer, guitar solo by Ealey and most soulful vocals by Champion backed by super horns and backing vocalists. Stone In My Path has an Albert King kind of feel with Champion's gravely vocals balanced against his harp punctuation over nicely executed piano work by McLaughlin. Thin Line has a rolling bass line edged along by cool backing vocals. Champion's lead vocals and harp capper gives the track a real nice feel. What A Woman has a bit of a Willie Dixon lumber with vocals along the lines of the Wolf. Mr. Elvin Bishop adds slide guitar to the track giving it that extra bit of texture. More contemporary track, When I'm Gone has a cool funky edge, with nice backing vocals from Bass and Palmer. Clean piano work by McLaughlin stands out on this track bumped along by Scott's drum work. Wrapping the release is GC Boogie, a slick instrumental featuring Champion playing harp riffs and Cotton playing guitar riffs over a plucky bass line by Bennett and McLaughlin riding on organ. Cool closer.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Dechamp Records artist: Eddie Cotton - One At A Time - New Release review

I just received the newest release, One At A Time, from Eddie Cotton and it's a great followup to his first release, Here I Come which was on my favorites list from last year!
This release is off and running from the start with title track, One At A Time, a soulful blues track with Cotton on vocal and hot guitar riffs.
James "Hotdog" Lewis , who passed away only a week ago today adds some real nice keyboard work on this release.With Myron Scott laying down a nice bass line and Samuel Scott Jr. on drums this track is moving, nicely complimented by Kimble Funchess on trumpet, Jessie Primer III on sax and Mike Weidick on trombone. Very nice! With it's super walking bass line by Bennett, Be Careful has a classic blues sound but with a definite R&B overtone. Cotton has a great voice and Carlos Russell adds harp giving it a cool contemporary feel. People keep commenting that we have to keep the blues alive. This is positive proof that all you got to do is play good blues and it will spring to life. Super! Slow blues number, Better Deal gives Cotton a real nice opportunity to lay it all out and that's exactly what he does. With a hot and crispy extended guitar intro, Cotton sets the fire and with his vocals he fans the flames. Hotdog's contributions on this track add a lot of texture and Bennett's bass sets the stage. Cotton has a real nice ability to play under the lead vocal with hot guitar riffs keeping you on edge awaiting his solo and he doesn't disappoint. Cotton is fluid and emotional with a great feel for phrasing. Excellent! Catch I Wanted is funky with cool horns and Al Green like vocals. Hi steppin and happy, this is a great track! R&B track, Dead End Street, has really nice harmonies with JJ Thames who's release Tell You What I Know was also on my favorites list last year! A smooth and mellow track with strong radio potential. Texas style, Fair Weather Lover, shows Cotton's influence by Albert King with strong stinging guitar riffs and phrasing. This is one of my favorite tracks on the release with a perfect balance between Cotton's vocal and solid guitar riffs. This guy is sorely underrated as a guitar player with clear, fresh phrases and stinging punctuation. Funky, Filling Me With Pleasure, finds Cotton on slide and Mayfield like falsetto. Bennett again gives the track spring and Hotdog and the Jackson Horns punch. Lumbering blues track, Hard Race To Win, again rides tight on the back of Bennett on bass. Cotton knows how to lay back and sing the blues with a solid platform under his feet and injecting clever riffs of texture. I really like his style and the little pieces of history I hear in his delivery. His vocal phrasing even hints at James Brown. Je Ne Sais Quoi has a real nice strut that defies you to sit still in your seat. Hotdog rides hard on the organ giving it a spiritual quality but Bennett digs in on bass making you bob you head. Cotton's smooth vocals and easy rhythm guitar is just right. Shuffle track, Mississippi, is uptempo BB King style without the fist clap. Cotton is showing that he has what it takes to be today's top blues performer with Russell and John Genous on backing vocal. Hotdog rides the wave on keys and Cotton stylistically grooves along on guitar over the melody. Very nice! On more casual blues number, My Money, Grady Champion who's last release Bootleg Whiskey was reviewed here as well, joins on harp. This track has a real nice blend of Hotdog's excellent piano riffs, Cotton's clever guitar riffs and Champions harp texture making it a real easy going blues number. Getting back into the R&B styling, Ego At Your Door, is a super track with very strong backing vocals from Thames. Hotdog again on organ gives the track excellent warmth and the Jackson Horns do a real nice job of giving the track it's wind. I really like this track and it's gospel R&B style roots. Excellent! Race To The Dollar has a real nice fusion of R&B and blues with Al Green style vocals and SRV style guitar riffs. Cotton has his own voice and his own style but keynotes to the past are his stepping stones. Very nice job! Wrapping the release is a solemn blues number, War Is Over. Cotton musters the most soulful vocals on the release on this track and his guitar riffs are light and tasty. With a solid bass line from Bennett, simple keyboard tension from Hotdog and straight drum line from Scott this track is wide open for Cotton to place his shots just where he wants them. Confidently placed and soulfully expressed, this track is an excellent closer to an excellent release!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Malaco Records artist: Grady Champion - Bootleg Whiskey - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Bootleg Whiskey, from Grady Champion and it's an interesting blend of R&B, Blues, Soul and Gospel. Opening with Beg, Borrow, Steal; Champion has his harp on point and Taylor Scott is hitting it hot on guitar. With a twist of country and rock, this blues number is fast paced and nicely crafted to feature Champion's skills on harp. Bootleg Whiskey has a definite R&B feel with warm backing vocals from Darrell Luster, Ray Braswell and William Purvis. Addition of horns by Kimble Funches on trumpet, Micah Brown on sax, and William Brown on Trombone add additional depth to a very cool track. Don't Waste My Time takes a definite turn to the blues featuring Champion laying down some nice vocals with strong horn support. Home Alone maintains that horn feel but with a funkier groove. David Hood plucks a nice bass line driving the track and Champion alternates between vocal lead and harp echo and solos with a smooth feel. Ten Dollars has a real nice laid back feel and Champion put out some of the finest vocals on the release. A full horn sound punching the vocals and and Forrest Gordon setting the line on drums punctuates this as one of my favorite tracks on the release. South Side oozes R&B and Champion really captures the "South Side" feel. William Purvis on keys and Michael Thomas on B3 fill out the track nicely and backing vocals are perfect. Who Dat has that "special feel" bringing Al Green to mind. I love Al Green so his basic sound is a great start for anything. JJ Thames adds lush backing vocal on this track and Castro Coleman adds some cool guitar riffs. Very nice! I Tripped And Fell In Love has an easy R&B groove with Vick Allen and Sonya Allen adding really nice backing vocals to a solid front line vocal from Champion. Mr. Right is an easy going soul infused pop track. It has a smooth melody and a cool hook. Wrapping the release is White Boy With The Blues, having a really solid gospel like backing from The Crowns Of Joy (singing richly including Amazing Grace). Champion speaks the story as The Crowns carry the vocal melody and Clayton Ivey on warm enriched key work. Very nice!

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Friday, January 10, 2014

DeChamp Records artist: Eddie Cotton - Here I Come - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (January 21, 2014), Here I Come, from Eddie Cotton and it's a hot mix of Blues, Soul and R&B. Opening with the title track, Here I Come, Cotton wastes no time letting you know that he has a great voice and a strong understanding of blues guitar phrasing. This R&B infused blues track is really hot! A Woman's Love, is another strong entry with soulful blues vocals and stinging guitar riffs. Sam Brady adds warmth on this track with organ but it's the spot on vocals and gripping guitar riffs that makes this track tick. Samuel Scott Jr adds drums and Myron Bennett bass for this, one of my favorite tracks on the release. Pay To Play is a fast paced shuffle track with a lot of BB King feel. Cotton steps up again showing his guitar chops and he is really on it. Nice! Friend To The End is a soul style ballad, vocals handled with the craftsmanship of Curtis Mayfield. Really Nice! Get Your Own has a big time James Brown feel but without the horns. My Boo has a real nice step to it putting me in mind of Al Green. Cotton uses his guitar sparingly but effectively on this track. This is some serious stuff here! Leave Love Alone is a updated blues vamp (Wang Dang Doodle) with hollerin and harpin by Grady Champion. Back In A Bit is a stylized blues track with some soul wrapped in. Carlos Russell adds some nice harp work melody on this track as well. No Love Back could be right out of the Curtis Mayfield songbook. I really love Mayfield so that's a good thing. Emphasis on vocals and vocal harmonies carry this track but the tight bottom on this track is really down. Another of my favorite tracks of the release! Berry So Black, a simple blues shuffle, wraps the release with a nice bow. Grady Champion is back on harp and takes the lead on soloing. He does a real nice job but I keep waiting to hear Cotton bust loose one more time. Yeah... keeps you wanting more!

 This is a release that should hit ever blues lovers disc player once..and stay on most.

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This is not from the new release but a good example of Cotton's sound:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Grady Shady Music artist: Grady Champion - Tough Times Don't Last

I just received the newest release, Tough Times Don't Last, from Grady Champion and it's his best to my taste that I've heard. The release opens with My Time Baby, a Chicago blues style track featuring Champion on harp and vocals and it's right on the spot. Next up is Missing You, a solid R&B track and I really like it. Featuring Caleb Armstrong on guitar, Marquis Champion on bass, Lil Cal Jackson on drums, Nathan Keck on guitars, Chris Gill on guitars, Granard McClendon on guitar, Larry Addison on piano, Kevin Culver on keys, Steve Wilkerson on keys, Amy Lott on clarinet, and Thomasine Anderson on backing vocals there is no lacking for musical talent. Broken Down Cadillac is a upbeat city blues/R&B track with over driven guitar work that really contributes to the overall sound and intensity. Glory Train has a bit of the delta blended into the city sound with a cranked down background and slaying harp attack over the vocal. This is a real nice effect. Things Ain't What They Used To be is a really cool track laying down a R&B style blues and nice vocal harmonies. Possibly the best track on the recording Champion lays low with some tasty guitar riffs. The backing vocals on this track really add the right spice. Tough Times Don't Last is a really nice country/gospel/blues track. It has a great pace and instrumentation. With angelic backing vocals and Champion leading the way this could be the airplay favorite. Amy Lott add a real sweet clarinet solo on this track as well. Ghetto has a bit of early Stevie Wonder blended into a contemporary sound. Constant knifing guitar riffs add a lot of texture to this track as in other tracks on this release. Cookie Jar has a real old school sound with Howlin Wolf like vocals and textural harping over an otherwise rhythmic track. Very cool. Completing the release is What Would Christmas Be Without You? is a a shuffling R&B track with smooth backing vocals. This is a track that should be inserted into the regular Christmas season repertoire certainly being a spectacular improvement over most of the moldy "contemporary" Christmas tracks that are usually played. This is a real enjoyable release and if you like your blues with a strong taste of R&B mixed in ... this may be the ticket!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

GSM/Blind Raccoon artist: Grady Champion - Shanachie Days - New Release review

On May 8th 2012 Grady Champion released a retrospective called Shanachie Days. The release showcases 17 Champion originals such as the harp driven I'm Smilin' Again, the bluesy Lady Luck with some scorching guitar riffs, the soul sounds of Love Is My Middle Name, the shuffle styling of Let Me Be and the stinging guitar riffs on rocker Stop Chasing Me. Nothing I Can Do takes the form of a blues standard with some Texas style guitar riffs and Champions solid vocals. You Got Some Explaining To Do takes the soul route again with full horn bottom. Very cool. Troubled Mind, another interesting track has a real swampy feel with a gumbo beat and haunting guitar sounds and harp chirping. Champion wraps up the set with stomping boogie My Rooster Is King. This is a CD that is bound to see great success.
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dreamin' - Grady Champion New release review

A fresh mixture of Blues, R&B, Gospel, Funk, Reggae and Rock this release is a pleasure to listen to, can get you movin and has some nice guitar and harmonica and guitar riffs to satisfy the instrumental desires in you.
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