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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 Jane Lee Hooker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jane Lee Hooker. Show all posts

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ruf Records artist: Jane Lee Hooker - Spiritus - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Spiritus, from Jane Lee Hooker and it's smoking! Opening with How Ya Doin?, Hooker opens up where they left off on their hot release, No B! back in 2016. Dana "Danger" Athens is upfront with a powerful voice and Tracy "Hightop" Almazan and Tina "T-Bone" Gorin create a sense of Thin Lizzy while Melissa "Cool Whip" Houston on drums and "Hail Mary" Zadroga on bass give you flashbacks to Van Halen. Powerful is the word. With the poise of Free, Gimme That is a solid blues rocker... oh yeah...with cow bell! Blues ballad, Later On shows a more subtle side of Athens' vocals and Almazan and Gorin's guitar tones are round and mellow. Blending Hound Dog Taylor with a modern garage rock feel gives you a hot rocking version of Lightning Hopkins' Black Rat. Excellent! Clean blues ballad, How Bright the Moon is a real spin featuring Athens on piano and total blues sincerity for one of the best tracks on the release. It doesn't have the frenzy of most (and I like frenzy) and it doesn't have the rawness of many (and I like rawness) but it is a really nice track showing what this band can do in the pure blues ballad arena. Very cool. Bobby Blues Bland's Turn On Your Love Light is a fusion of tandem (Allman like) guitar leads, Greatful Dead like jamming and of course Bland's own energy, spun into a modern blues rocker. Very cool. Wrapping the release is The Breeze, a smooth, blues (mostly) instrumental giving the gang a good chance to stretch instrumentally. Athen's lays down some of her most emotional vocals on the release here making it a perfect conclusion to another strong release by the band.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Ruf Records artists: Jane Lee Hooker - No B! - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, No B!, from Jane Lee Hooker and it's a riot!! I got to tell you, when I saw the name I was dubious but one look at the cover I was intrigued. I'm thinking L7 and John Lee Hooker... and I'm thinking... let's get it on! This excellent release opens with powerhouse, Wade In The Water written by John Wesley Work II and he never heard it this way in his head... believe me. This is kick ass from the first note with Dana "Danger" Athens on lead vocal, "Hail Mary" Zadroga on bass, Tracy "High Top" on guitar Melissa "Cool Whip" Houston on drums and Tina "TBone" Gorin on guitar. Rockin excellent! Johnny Winter's Mean Town Blues is up next and it's mind blowing! Zadroga and Houston set a smokin' pace and Athens knows how to steer this runaway locomotive. I really love the raw energy of this band and High Top and TBone's guitar exchanges. Excellent! Ray Charles has got to be sitting back listening to I Believe In My Soul with the hair standing up on the back of his neck. These musicians grab this track by the collar and throw it around like a rag doll. Powerful, soulful and razor edged, this track is over the top. These guys know how to squeeze ever bit of blues out of a track and kick it's butt. The way it was meant to be...not soft smooth and polished but raw, scratchy and dangerous! Excellent! Kansas Joe McCoy's Bumble Bee has the most straightforward blues approach of any track on the release.  With concise guitar soloing from both guitarists and emphasis on more constrained vocals, this track has a more contemporary blues sound. Original track, In The Valley departs from the pure blues for a power pop track with a sweaty edge. With tight rhythms, slashing lead guitar work and a steady beat, this track is cool! Otis Redding's Free Me, holds it's strong soul heart and Athens really works it into a lather. A powerful support from the band gives it a rockier edge but this is pure soul. Very nice! Booker T's, The Hunter, takes on a more modern rock bottom but with it's original hook reinforced by the tandem guitars. Not letting off at all, Gorin, Zadroga and High Top ride high on Houston's solid foundation. What a rocker! OK...Muddy Waters never thought of this, but I bet he would have smiled ear to ear hearing this rendition of Champagne and Reefer. With it's slinky pace, soulful vocals and grinding guitar support to Athen's vocals, this is a great interpretation of an absolute classic. With High Top and Tbone trading lead riffs, this is smoking. Milt Gabler's Didn't It Rain is a super rocker a hot bass line and crisp drums. Holding it's spiritual quality and with a pure rock and roll beat, this track has you jumping. Again returning to the Muddy Waters songbook JLH pulls out a heavily powerful Mannish Boy.. You really got to hear this to appreciate it. Pounding through this Muddy Waters classic this band wields a heavy stick, taking out everything in their path. Very nice! Wrapping the release is Willie Dixon's Shake For Me, with Gorin and High Top playing call and response over Zagroga and Houston's hard rock bottom. Kicking it into high gear the band rocks the blues right up to the finish. This is an impressive band. Looking forward to seeing them in person!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016


CD Out On April 15

These ladies mash up the grit and attitude of NYC

And hold nothing back

"Blistering. Sweaty. Raw…” -  Tom Tom Magazine

On April 15th Ruf Records group, Jane Lee Hooker will release No B! a record filled with blues and rock covers as well as originals that stick like glue with grinding guitars backed by a pounding drum beat. Produced and recorded by Matt Chiaravalle at Mission Sound, Brooklyn, NY and Mercy Sound, NYC, it’s bound to shove new life into their fans.

"These women do more than just pay tribute… they mix in elements of punk and classic rock to give them such a distinct, hard-edged sound."   - Guitar Girl Magazine

Tearing out of their native New York these five rockers fuse the sticky thrills of golden-era punk and blues with a healthy slug of modern attitude. “Not a lot of bands can capture the excitement, sweat, and charisma of the ’70s bands we grew up listening to,” they say. “But we can, and we do.”
Who are these chicks?

Dana “Danger” Athens: Vocals
“Hightop”: Guitar
Tina “T-Bone” Gorin: Guitar
“Hail Mary” Z: Bass
Melissa “Cool Whip” Houston: Drums

Between the five members, they have decades of experience playing, recording, and touring both nationally and internationally. Individually, the members have performed for thousands of fans while sharing bills with the likes of Motörhead, MC5, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Deep Purple.
Guitarists Hightop and T-Bone honed their love of blazing dual leads in Helldorado in the ’90s. From there, Hightop joined Nashville Pussy, T-Bone joined Bad Wizard, and both toured endlessly around the world. But when their time with those bands ended, they realized they missed the rush of trading guitar solos with one another, leaving audiences howling with joy. They quickly recruited Hail Mary, who played bass with Hightop in the punk band the Wives. Cool Whip sat behind the drum kit and got the nod before she even finished slamming out the first song of her audition.

And no other singer in NYC can bring a crowd to its knees harder or faster than Dana "Danger" Athens.

 “Black-clad New York blues revivalists Jane Lee Hooker ripped the balls out of Muddy Waters’ Mannish Boy." -
Evelyn McDonnell, Populism (live review)

When it came to tracking No B! last year in Brooklyn, the five-piece were equally clear in their mission statement. “We told our producer, Matt Chiaravalle, that we wanted it to sound exactly like the album “Hard Again” that Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter did in 1977,” recalls High Top (who coincidentally chose her nickname after Mud’s shout-outs to Pinetop Perkins on that record). “It’s the album that both Tina and myself played along to when we were kids, to learn how to solo. I still think it’s one of the greatest albums ever recorded and some of the finest from Muddy and Johnny.”
Ten of these tracks find the band digging back into the blues songbook, exhuming a fistful of standards including Muddy Waters’ “Champagne And Reefer,” Willie Dixon’s “Shake For Me” and Albert King’s “The Hunter.” In each case, Jane Lee Hooker claims ownership, pouring on the rocket fuel until even the dustiest standard becomes a stinging punk-blues thrill-ride, driven by jackhammer rhythms, twin lead guitars, and Dana’s scorched-earth vocals.

"…captures the nostalgic feeling of classic blues-rock, a ballsy punch in the face…This all-female ensemble of virtuosos knows when to step out of the pocket to balance the explosive driving force of Dana Danger Athens’ vocals." - Tom Tom Magazine

“We basically play songs we like, and they end up turning into something that has our own take on it,” says the band of their respectful-yet-rebellious approach. “Like Mean Town Blues”: it’s such an amazing song, and our version pays tribute to that. We feel the spirit of Johnny Winter is with us on the ride.”

No B! is a testament to the band’s own songwriting skills that original tune “In The Valley” stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the celebrated moments on the track listing. “We’ve been having a blast taking the spirit of these amazing classics we’ve been playing and developing a style to write our own original songs,” says the band. “There are thousands of masterpieces out there that so many people don’t even know about. And at the same time, there are enough shitty songs in the world – we’re not interested in adding to them.”

In the era of cut-and-paste, computer-driven recordings,  No B!’s production was as minimalist, and the results explode out of the speakers. “We played live,” continues High Top, “and we used no effects. We all played in the same room at the same time. Most songs were done on a first take. I don’t think we played anything more than twice!”

They drive the van at 100mph with their music. You can’t call them girls; you call them chicks. They are by no means new to the game. This five-headed punk-blues juggernaut is coming for your hearts and eardrums. 

Are they bleeding yet?


02/27 - Tupper Lake, NY - Rock n Blues Review
03/03 - Kennett Square, PA - Kennett Flash
03/11 - Jim Thorpe, PA - Mauch Chunk Opera House
03/12 - Rehoboth, DE - Dogfish Head Brewery
03/24 - Harrisburg, PA - HMAC
03/25 - Cleveland, OH - Happy Dogs at Euclid Tavern
03/26 - Blawnox (Pittsburgh), PA - Moondog's
03/30 - New York, NY - Webster Hall (A Celebration of Adam Roth)
04/20 - Rochester, NY - Dinosaur BBQ
04/21 - Syracuse, NY - Dinosaur BBQ
04/23 - Albany, NY - Move Music Festival
04/30 - Orlando, FL - Moonstone Music Festival w/ Kiss, Def Leppard, Vintage Trouble
05/06 - Stillwater, OK - Willie's Saloon
05/08 - Tulsa, OK - Guthrie Green Concert Series
05/13 - Marlboro, NY - The Falcon
06/02-05 - Hunter, NY - Mountain Jam w/ Beck, Gov't Mule, Wilco, Chris Robinson's Brotherhood
08/21 - Long Branch, NJ - West End Park Summer Concert Series
09/08-09 - Las Vegas, NV - Big Blues Bender Festival w/ Beth Hart, Delbert McClinton, Tab Benoit
09/27-28 - Sayville, NY - 25th Annual Seafood Festival