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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 Kenny Neal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kenny Neal. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Blue Heart Records artist: Chris Beard - Pass It On Down - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Pass It On Down, by Chris Beard and it's a super set of blues, soul and R&B tracks. Opening with funky, Let The Chips Fall, with Brother Wilson on rhythm guitar, Marvin Parker on bass, Carlton Campbell on drums, John Tucker on keys and featuring Chris Beard on lead guitar and vocal. Hot opener. Rocker, Big Girl, has influence of Santana and the Isleys with a solid melody and vocals, a rich lead guitar solo by Beard and backing by Richard Rodolph on bass, Quinn Lawrence on horns, Jonathan Curry on keys and Duane Beard on backing vocals. One of my favorite tracks on the release is House Of Shame with slashing lead guitar work and deep vocal by Beard. Backing vocals by Mary Ellen Haden really add the right element and Parker's bass lines and tight drum work by Campbell make this one of the nicest tracks on the release. Strong bluesy R&B track, Son I Never Knew, has a real nice groove with Beard trading off vocal with guitar riffs over Darnell Neal on bass, Kenny Neal on rhythm guitar, Gralin Hoffman Neal on drums, and Fredrick Neal on keys. Wrapping the release is slow blues, Bitter Baby, with a nicely stated guitar lead on the intro.  With  Rodolph on bass, backing vocals by Beard, Campbell on drums, the track has a great footing. Beard on lead vocal has terrific phrasing and with a real nice piano solo by Curry and his own guitar work, this is an excellent closer. 


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Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Deuce 'n a Quarter - Keep Moving On - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Keep On Moving, from Deuce 'n a Quarter and it has a little bit for everyone. Opening with Swinging At The Blues, a cool shuffle, features Brian Peters on lead vocal and harmonica and he has a great voice. With crisp riffs by Keith Colbert on guitar, Andre Scott on  drums, Martin O. Brown on bass and Brandon Adams on keys, this is a solid opener. I like rocker, Same Old Blues with it's blend of garage band rock and blues. Colbert's guitar work is really a strong anchor on this track and it's format makes it a good candidate for rock radio. Boogie, All She Wrote really chugs along with Peters on lead vocal and solid harmonica soloing. Kenny Neal adds guitar work and Brown's bass work really sets the pace.  Sun Kissed Wheat is a standout track on the release with it's Delta styling and showcasing Peters' harmonica and vocals. Very nice. Wrapping the release is ballad, Why with Peters on lead vocal strongly showcased over a bed of piano rich organ work by Tim Dvorkin. Colbert shine with a cool, melodic guitar solo making this track the likely choice for mainstream blues oriented radio listeners. 


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Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Club 88 Records artist: Mitch Woods - Friends Along The Way - New Release review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Friends Along The Way, from Mitch Woods and it features a who's who in the blues business. Opening with Ma Rainey's C.C. Rider, Van Morrison on vocal and Taj Mahal on vocal and guitar, join Mitch Woods on piano for a early blues style rendition of this classic. Very nice. Oliver Perry's Keep A Dollar In Your Pocket is a great boogie with Elvin Bishop on lead guitar and vocal, joined by Woods on piano and Larry Vann on drums. Woods really lays in his notorious piano boogie style and Bishop's guitar signature is prime. John Hammond steps up on Don Roby's Mother In Law Blues, adding not only super National steel riffs but solid lead vocals. Rolling piano riffs by Woods makes this one of my favorites on the release. Springing to life is Nasty Boogie with Joe Louis Walker on lead vocal and guitar and excellent piano by Woods. Very nice. Jimmy Liggins' Saturday Night Boogie Woogie Man is a ripping way to open side two with Woods really showing what he's got on piano and excellent riffs by Bishop. Superharp James Cotton joins on Chicago Express wailing away over Woods really hammering on the piano. Excellent! Another real nice entry with Morrison and Mahal is Leroy Carr's Midnight Hour Blues with real nice vocal lead by Morrison and trademark riffs by Mahal over the melodic piano work of Woods. Marcia Ball and Woods have a cool piano boogie playoff on In The Night, a New Orleans flavored track. Maria Muldaur adds some sassy vocals on Mojo Mambo accompanied by Woods on vocal and piano. Woods really does have a cool feel on the piano making him a favorite in todays market. Wrapping the release is Worried Life Blues, with Woods on piano, Walker on guitar and vocal. A real foot stomper, penned by Lightning Hopkins, is a strong closer for a really solid release. 


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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Ruf Records artist: Kenny Neal - Straight From the Heart - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Straight From the Heart, from Kenny Neal and I like it quite well. Opening with Blues Keep Chasing Me, Kenny Neal sets a great funky blues pace. With a solid bass line by Darnell Neal, Arnet Hayes on piano, Brandon Adams on B3,  fat sax work by Jason Parfait, trumpet accents by Ian Smith and tight rhythms by Michael Harris, this is a solid opener. Cool blues, I'll Play The Blues For You has great pace and Neal's lead vocal and guitar are really clean and soulful. Horn backing by Parfait and Smith really adds a lot of punch, and the keyboard work of Adams and Henry really work nicely with the snappy drum work of Morris. Very nice. Louise Ana shows that New Orleans slow blues feel. With the melody carried by Lee Allen on bass, addition of Rockin Dopsie Je on washboard and Big Nate Williams on accordion, this track really has the sound. With a great walking bass line by Darnell Neal, I've Got To Tell Somebody, is one of my favorite tracks on the release. Kenny's vocals are perfect and Hayes piano soloing and Neal's own lush phrasing, punched up by Parfait and Smith is great. Wrapping the release is straight up New Orleans street party, New Orleans with Parfait and Smith leading the way. Darnell keeps the bass pace and and snappy rhythms by Morris really keeps it tight. Hayes piano groove is great and Neal's vocals ride high on the mix. Excellent closer. 


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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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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Booga Music artist: Patti Parks - Whole Nother World - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (May 28, 2021), Whole Nother World, from Patti Parks,  and it's a mix of blues, soul, funk and gospel. Opening with shuffle, I'm Trouble, Patti Parks sets a swing pace on lead vocal with Kenny Neal on lead guitar, Carlton Ross on rhythm guitar, Arlando O'Connor on bass, Fredrick Neal on keys, Michael Harris on drums Brandon Adams on organ, Guy Nirelli on organ and with some hot sax from Jason Parfait. On slower blues, More Than You'll Ever Know showcases Neal's soulful guitar lead working nicely with warm organ overtones by Adams surrounding some of Parks' best vocals on the release. A softer yet effective take on James Brown's It's A Man's Man's Man's World, Parks delivers on vocals, with strong support from Neal, O'Connor, and Harris. Neal shares the mic on straight up blues track, Baby Bee playing harmonica and guitar with little other backing. Pure blues... very nice. One of my favorite tracks on the release is soulful gospel influenced Don't Play Me Cheap with Adams on organ and Parfait on sax. Wrapping the release is No Means No with a funky, high strutting attitude and cool guitar riffs by Neal, backed by Adams, Nirelli, O'Conner and Harris. Solid closer. 


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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

L&M Star Productions release: Friends & Legends of Louisiana - New release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Friends & Legends of Louisiana, an idea created by Lucas Spinosa and Mike David and it's a broad swatch of blues featuring a who's who of contemporary artists. Opening with shuffle, Beale Street Blues, Jason Parfait is upfront on lead vocal and wailing on sax, backed by Cranston Clements on guitar, Bob Henderson on guitar, David Hyde on bass, Ian Smith on trumpet, Brian Brignac on drums, Lucas Spinosa on keys and Seth Lecoq on guitar fills. Swinging opener. Wayne Toups has the mic on Belly Of The Beast and featuring Sonny Landreth on guitar. Very nice. Don Rich's lead vocals on Want It To Be are soulfully excellent with strong horn emphasis and a strong sax solo by Parfait. Kenny Neal is upfront on vocal and harmonica on Southern Side of Life. Warm backing vocals by Bob Henderson, Elaine Foster and Taylor Lendo really make this track sail. Rocker, Living In A Fantasy features Ryan Foret on lead vocal with real nice piano work by Spinosa and a tight guitar solo by Clements. Wrapping the release is Memories, a soulful ballad featuring Bryan Romano on lead vocal and sweet sax work by Parfait. Solid closer for a solid release. 


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Friday, September 11, 2020

Downchild - Live At The Toronto Jazz Festival - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Live At The Toronto Blues Festival, from Downchild (The Downchild Blues Band) and it's packed full of blues and stars. Opening with piano boogie, Can You Hear The Music, with Mike Fonfara on keys,  Chuck Jackson on lead vocal and Donnie Walsh on harmonica, Chuck Jackson and Pat Carey on sax, Gary Kendall on bass and Mike Fitzpatrick on drums, this is a lively opener. David Wilcox joins on shuffle, It's A Matter Of Time adding slide and vocal. With great feel and energy, this is an all out party. I'm Gonna Tell Your Mama is packed with energy featuring Gene Taylor  piano and giving Walsh a great opportunity to really hang out there on harmonica. Very cool. Finland's favorite slide player, Erja Lyytinen joins on harmony vocal and slide guitar on Mississippi Woman, Mississauga Man, a cool blues rocker with Cajun kind of rhythm. Shotgun Blues is one of my favorite tracks on the release with Kenny Neal on vocal and guitar. The longest track on the release, clocking in at over 9 minutes a solid slow blues number with plenty of  room for solos by Neal, Jackson and Carey. Very nice. Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd and band leader Paul Shaffer join on R&B classic, I Got Everything I Need (Almost) and the band gets into full swing. Walsh winds up his harmonica again and the party continues. Wrapping the release is Elmore James' TV Mama with Walsh on slashing slide and Walsh back upfront on vocal. Solid closer for a solid release. 


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Monday, May 13, 2019

Ruf Records artist: The BB King Blues Band - The Soul Of The King - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Soul of the King, from The BB King Blues Band and the title hits the nail on the head. Opening with Irene Irene, Russell Jackson has the mic and Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays scorching hot guitar riffs making this an excellent opener. The hear of the band is James Boogaloo Bolden on trumpet, Eric Demmer on lead sax, Jackson on bass, Walter King on sax, Herman Jackson on drums, Darrell Lavigne on keys, Lamar Boulet on trumpet, Wilburt Crosby on guitar, Brandon Jackson on drums, and Raymond Harris on trombone. Kenny Neal is up next on Sweet Little Angel covering both lead guitar and vocal. His playing is more mellow but no less soulful as he gets a good grip on the track in BB King style. Diunna Greenleaf's supreme vocal styling is There Must Be A Better World Somewhere and Demmer literally blows the doors off with his sensational sax soloing. Excellent! Solid soul on She's The One with Demmer on lead vocal and sax. The man is hot and his sax screams... check it out! Funky, Taking Care of Business has Jackson back on lead vocal backed by Bolden and Richardson. Crosby and Demmer trade rich solos giving this track real tension over the punchy horn work. Very nice. Regal Blues (A Tribute To The King) features Joe Louis Walker on lead vocal and guitar. With a solid shuffle rhythm Walker gets the band rockin' … you can almost see BB King's softly clenched fist clapping into his extended open palm. Bolden has the lead on Pocket Full Of Money, with a nice groove. Jackson's bass line sets the tone and Lamar Boulet blows a great trumpet solo. Very cool. Wrapping the release is Michael Lee on lead guitar and vocal on BB King's classic, The Thrill Is Gone. A soulful but bouncier track than typical of King, an excellent closer for a solid release. 

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Friday, April 26, 2019

Nurs'n Blues Music Fest Benefits Music Therapy Program





NURS'N BLUES MUSIC FEST BENEFITS MUSIC THERAPY PROGRAM; PRESENTED BY BUFFALO MUSICIAN AND NURSE, PATTI PARKS; GRAMMY-NOMINATED KENNY NEAL HEADLINES STRONG LINEUP  

Saturday, May 25 - THE COVE  - 3PM to 10PM





Patti Parks, creator of the Music Therapy program,
is also a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.


   (Depew, NY) - The Nurs'n Blues Music Fest takes place at The Cove, 4701 Transit Rd., Saturday, May 25. Showtime: 3pm to 10pm. Tickets: $20. Donation in advance, $25. at the Door. Info: (716) 870-3600 or visit https://www.musicisart.org. Proceeds benefit Nurs'n Blues Therapy Program, that uses Blues Music Therapy for those struggling with chemical dependency. Presented as a non-profit collaborative by the Blues Society of Western New York and Music Is Art.

   Nurs'n Blues Music Fest features two stages with continuous music all day long, headlined by Grammy nominee, blues guitar great, Kenny Neal. Also performing: Robert "Freightrain" Parker; Jeremy Keyes Band; Grace Stumberg and Grace Lougen; Hanna PK; 12 Pack Jack McArdle; Sheila Connors; and the Patti Parks Band (Parks, from Buffalo and a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, is the creator of the Nurs'n Blues Music Fest).

   Now in its fourth year, the program has served over one-thousand clients and families. Each week, a Board-Certified Music Therapist creates a plan of care that includes music interventions. During these sessions the therapist makes a correlation examining influences of Blues American History, lyrics or particular music format or rhythm which help insight feelings or touch upon thoughts opening critical pathways to the brain. This past March, the Music Therapy Program visited Kids Escaping Drugs and Horizon Village, both located in the Buffalo area, where they've been providing sessions every week for the last three years. At a 2018 press conference, Music Is Art founder, Goo Goo Dolls' bassist Robby Takac, formally endorsed the Music Therapy program.
  
  "The Blues was chosen as a beautiful art form and positive affect on improving communication," explains Parks, who felt helpless as her own son was affected by struggles with chemical dependency. "The Blues genre was a perfect means of communicating deep-rooted feelings and mirrored Blues American history, while serving as a positive influence on those struggling with chemical dependency and their families," Parks adds.  "Over one-thousand people within three years from ages thirteen to adult have been helped. We currently provide services at Kids Escaping Drugs and Horizon Village in Sanborn, (New York). We have also expanded services to colleges, and see a need in other community settings."

   In 2016, Parks was invited by the Blues Foundation to speak at their "Blues As Healer" symposium in Memphis about her Music Therapy program along with famed guitarist Walter Trout, Dr. Marie Trout, blues journalist Don Wilcock and the aforementioned Neal, whose performance this year was donated by a family whose child was affected in a positive way from the program. At the symposium, Parks shared dramatic stories illustrating how the Blues has helped young people, veterans, and performers in their road to recovery.

         Patti Parks Interviews/Music Therapy Promotional Materials Available.

                                             www.musicisart.org
                                www.facebook.com/MusicIsArtOrg

   

 


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Dirtshack Records artist: Brigitte Purdy - Still I Rise - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Still I Rise, by Brigitte Purdy and it's a solid hit record. Opening with Hoodoo, a rocker with a driving bass line compliments of Dave Osti, Brigitte Purdy leads charge with powerful vocal melody backed by Drake Shining on keys, Donnell Spencer on drums and Kenny Neal on harp. My Kinda Blues is an uptempo track with a country blues shuffle feel. Hot guitar picking by Osti gives this track some real electricity under the sassy vocals of Purdy. Funky, If I Could has a real nice plucky bass and bump rhythm and Purdy's restrained vocals are spot on. Bluesy, Lucille Don't You Weep is my choice track of the release with it's thumping bass line, electric piano and my favorite lead and backing vocal on the release. Osti's guitar soloing on the track really stands tall. Very nice. R&B style Blues Angel has a real nice hook and smooth radio presence. Wrapping the release is title track, Still I Rise, a somber ballad showcasing Purdy's voice with mostly spartan drum and key backing. An appropriate backing for a primarily vocal release.



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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Blues Guitar Legend Kenny Neal Receives Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album. “Bloodline”


Blues Guitar Legend Kenny Neal Receives Grammy Nomination  for Best Contemporary Blues Album. “Bloodline”

Los Angeles - Cleopatra Records would like to proudly congratulate Kenny Neal on his Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album. for his “Bloodline” album released through the Cleopatra Blues imprint.

Kenny Neal is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and is widely renowned as a modern swamp-blues master who also is a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and a multi-award winning talent. Born in 1957 in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge, Neal began playing music at a very young age, learning the basics from his father, singer and blues harmonica player, Raful Neal. Family friends like Lazy Lester, Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo contributed to Kenny's early musical education. At 13, he joined his father’s band and, four years later, he was recruited and toured extensively as Buddy Guy’s bass player.

Through the years, Neal has shared the stage or worked with a who’s-who list of blues and R&B greats at one time or another, including B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Muddy Waters, Aaron Neville, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker. Since signing with Alligator Records in 1988, Neal has released a series of consistently lauded albums featuring his laid-back, Baton Rouge blues, with a modern spin on the Louisiana sound he grew up with. The Chicago Tribune pegged Kenny as “one of a mere handful of truly inventive young contemporary guitarists, Neal has something fresh to say and the chops with which to say it,” while AllMusic said his “gruff-before-their-time vocals retain their swamp sensibility, while assuming a bright contemporary feel that tabs him as a leading contender for future blues stardom.” Blues Revue agreed, calling Kenny “one of the brightest young stars on the blues horizon, and a gifted artist.” 

Neal has never sounded better than he does on Bloodline, offering some of the most moving songwriting and electric performances of his incredible career. In addition, no less than 8 members of the Neal clan lend their musical talents to this unique album, making it a true family affair and proving beyond doubt that the blues is most definitely in Neal’s “Bloodline.”

Watch the “Bloodline” video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puayq7Koj_A
Watch the video for “Thank You BB King”: https://youtu.be/eSBwhOG2nck


For more dates visit: http://kennyneal.net

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cleopatra Records artist: Kenny Neal - Bloodline - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Bloodline, from Kenny Neal and it has strong blues and R&B roots. Opening with country blues influenced, Ain't Gon Let The Blues Die with it's Elvin Bishop/country flavored gospel flavor. This track is off and running with Kenny Neal on slide guitar and lead vocals, Tom Hambridge on drums, Tommy Macdonald on bass and Syreeta, Tyrell, Jazzy, Brine', Kaydence Bates, Tahj Mosby and Darien Neal as well as the McCrary sisters. Title track, Bloodline, has a deep groove with a funky bottom and Kenny on lead vocal and harp. Cool loping Plain Old Common Sense is one of my favorite tracks on the release with great guitar work, supeer vocal phrasing, nice piano lines and strong horn backing from Quentin Ware on trumpet, Billy Huber on trombone, Tyler Summers on sax and Dana Robbins on sax. Very cool. On Willie Nelson's Funny How Time Slips Away, skillful piano work and crafty vocals give this track the weight of a serious R&B/country ballad. Coming out with horns blazing, Keep On Moving, has a funky R&B feel and the electric key work of Lucky Peterson is a perfect setting for strong soloing by Kenny. With tight horn work by Ware, Huber, Summers and Robbins. With it's BB King style phrasing, I Go By Feel, is a real cool track along the lines of The Thrill Is Gone with soulful vocals by Kenny and nice horn work by Ware, Huber, Summers and Robbins. Kenny takes a relaxing guitar solo that has really nice grip. R&B style, I'm So Happy, is really a super horn track with prime radio vocals by Kenny and crew. Blues Mobile is an uptempo shuffle with Kenny leading the way on harp. Kevin McKendree on piano and Ware, Huber, Summers and Robbins on horns give this track a bright feel and Kenny's vocals are super. With a much more acoustic feel, I Can't Wait, has Kenny way upfront on vocal and harp with Steve Dawson on Weissonborn, Bob Britt on guitar, John Lancaster on keys and Hambridge on percussion. Really digging in on an R&B feel, Real Friend, has a super Wilson Pickett kind of feel with Kenny on vocal, Ware, Huber, Summers and Robbins on horns. Ware takes a smooth trumpet solo followed by a soulful sax solo that really sits nicely. Neal's own guitar solo is tight and warm giving the track a cool Memphis feel. Wrapping the release is Thank You BB King, a track that could be right out of BB's song book with BB vocal and guitar phrasing styles. Kenny of course puts his own spin on the guitar work making and with Peterson on organ, this a super wrapper for a cool release.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Cleopatra Records artist: Kenny Neal - I'll Be Home For Christmas - New release review

I just received the newest release, I'll Be Home For Christmas from Kenny Neal and it has a bit of blues mixed into it's traditional and modern Christmas. Opening with upbeat 12 bar number, Christmas Comes But Once A Year, Neal takes the lead on vocal and harp with Vestie Jackson on guitar, Darnell Neal on piano, Frederick Neal on keys and Bryan Morris on drums. With a slower pace classic Christmas ballad, Silver Bells gets a R&B, Ray Charles flavor. Neal does a real nice job on lead vocals and guitar backed by Darnell, Fredrick and Bryan. Next up is a rolling version of Winter Wonderland featuring Syreeta Neal on lead vocal, Kenny on harp and guitar, and Kenny Neal Jr on bass and drums. Very nice! Syreeta does a real nice job on Merry Little Christmas backed by Joel Joseph on piano. On Please Come Home For Christmas, Kenny is back up front on lead vocal and guitar, backed by Fredrick on piano, Bryan on drums and Vestie and Darnell on guitars. Kenny's guitar solo on this track is particularly clean and soulful. Very nice! I'll Be Home For Christmas gets a real homey makeover as I would picture Al Green doing. Neal, on lead vocal, guitar and harp, really hits to groove on this one, backed by Fredrick on piano, Darnell on bass and Bryan on drums. Definitely one of my personal favorites. Merry Christmas Baby#2 is a funky shuffle with a hot bass line thanks to Darnell. Fredrick rattles the piano with hot rhythm and Kenny covers lead vocals and plays some really fine guitar riffs making this one of the bluesiest tracks on the release (think funky BB King). Lazy blues track, Lonesome Christmas, has a cool bass line and Taj Mahal kind of delivery by Neal. Fredrick's piano work is tight and Bryan's drumming precise. Merry Christmas Baby #1 has a really nice T-Bone Walker kind of feel with expressive blues guitar riffs from Kenny. One of my favorite tracks on the release, you get so caught up in the bluesy feel, you forget you're listening to a Christmas track. On the traditional, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Syreeta is back on lead vocal, backed by Joel Joseph on keys. This is a very nice arrangement and should replace some of the moldy versions that are played year after year. Wrapping the release is a rocking blues version of Silent Night. Syreeta is back at the mic on lead vocal and Kenny lays in some relaxing guitar riffs cushioned by Joseph on keys. A real nice conclusion to a solid contemporary seasonal release!

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Kern Pratt - Broken Chains - New release Review

I just received the newest release, Broken Chains, from Kern Pratt and the boy can play. Opening with Greenville Mississippi Blues, an Elmore James like track with nice slide riffs and Eden Brent on piano. Lights Are On But Nobody's Home is up next with a compliment of horns including Lacy Blackledge on trumpet, Bob Henderson on sax, Pete Verbois on bari and Chris Belleau on trombone. There is some exceptionally warm sax work here that you should check out and Kern absolutely smokes the guitar on this slow blues number. Excellent! Somewhere South Of Mississippi has a radio style format but nice and clean... well written. David Hyde runs a nice bass line on this track and Denise Owens on backing vocals adds a bit of warmth. Black Hannah is a high stepper with tight drums by Nelson Blanchard, nice vocals with Kern and Owens and tight horn work from Blackledge, Henderson, Verbois and Belleau. Nice blues rock guitar riffs lay out nicely on this track making it a sure radio crossover track. Cotton Pickin' is a cool upbeat blues track a great lead guitar line and sax melodic response. One that I will point out that my old pal Stilladog will likely really dig. I do! Don't Leave Me Baby has a Rhumba beat with Blanchard really digging in. Kern shares the guitar stage with Kenny Neal and along with Henderson and Verbois really crank this track up. It Hurts Me Too takes a more traditional feel with Luc Borms on harp and Pratt on acoustic guitar. Very nice! Handcuffed To The Blues gets more into a funky rock feel with an Albert King style guitar attack. Pratt, Owen, Elaine Foster and Blanchard get an almost gospel blend on vocal on this track. Very cool! Smokin' Gun features Denise Owen on lead vocal backed by Pratt for another radio track. There are some nice vocal harmonies on this track and Kern does some some hot riffs off as well. Soulshake, a classic revival style track from the 70's is up next and the vocals are blended nicely, the horns are hot and the drums are tight. Sit back and wait for the hot sax solo! Excellent! Closing the release is Broken Chains, an Eerie resonator guitar solo by Wes Lee. Almost ends too quickly. Very nice!

  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”

 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival: New Name, New Venue, Legendary Lineup


8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival
New Name, New Venue, Legendary Lineup


A Full Day Of Blues Music And Family Enjoyment 
At Our New Location, Moorpark College 

(Formerly The Simi Valley Blues Festival) 
Benefits The American Diabetes Association & Local Charities  
   (MOORPARK, CALIF) - New name, new venue, legendary lineup: Michael John's 8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival takes place Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Moorpark College, 7075 Campus Rd., Moorpark. Gates open 10 a.m., music starts 11 a.m. Tickets $25 in advance, $30. day of show. Kids 12 and under free with adult. Plus food and craft vendors; guitar giveaway signed by all the artists; special kid's area; and silent auction including new autographed Fender guitar signed by Johnny Rivers, and photo opportunity (with Rivers). Info: www.venturacountyblues.com or call the Festival Hotline: (805) 501-7122. Festival proceeds benefit the American Diabetes Association and local charities. Presented by the Ventura County Blues Society.

    This year's 8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival is headlined by musical living legends: Johnny Rivers and Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds; plus talented national acts guitarist Kenny Neal; keyboardist-vocalist Dona Oxford; Preston Smith and the Crocodiles; and Michael John and the Bottom Line. Special Guest Emcee: Actor/musician, Mickey Jones. Another capacity crowd is anticipated this year, so purchase tickets now in advance.
                      
                                                                        Johnny Rivers                         
 
                                    
                                                     The Headliners...

    Johnny Rivers: With seventeen Gold Records, twenty-nine Chart Hits and over thirty million records sold, this legendary singer/songwriter and producer continues to perform before sellout crowds worldwide, remarkably at an age (70) when most people are happily retired. The "Secret Agent Man" has many other accomplishments and has made significant contributions to the history of rock 'n roll. River's long list of hits include "Baby I Need You Lovin," "Maybelline," "Memphis," "Mountain Of Love," "Poor Side Of Town," "Rockin Pneumonia & Boogie Woogie Flu," "Secret Agent Man," "Seventh Son," "Summer Rain," "Swayin To The Music (Slow Dancin)," "The Tracks Of My Tears" and many more. In 2009 Rivers was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame. www.johnnyrivers.com.

Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds
   Savoy Brown Featuring Kim Simmonds: Legendary ... a Blues/Rock institution ... true innovators. These are just a few of the ways Savoy Brown has been described over the past forty years by music critics and fans. One of the earliest of British blues bands, Savoy Brown, with founder guitarist Kim Simmonds at the helm, helped launch the 1967 UK blues boom movement that brought blues music back to the USA invigorating the style forever. In the process, the band became part of the framework that launched the rock and roll music of the 1970's. Their influence now stretches into modern rock as we know it today. www.savoybrown.com
  
                                               Also Performing....        
                                              
   Kenny Neal: Kenny Neal is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist widely renowned as a modern swamp-blues master. His new release, Hooked On Your Love, follows the triumph of his multi-award winning 2008 comeback album, Let Life Flow. An outstanding success, the CD raked in accolades including three prestigious Album Of The Year awards, two Song Of The Year awards for the title track, and two Artist of the Year honors for Neal. It was clear that Kenny touched something deep in the blues community with his soulful guitar playing and uplifting songwriting, and his hot streak continues. Hooked On Your Love covers the plethora of accomplished roots styles Kenny has become known for: a tasty musical gumbo of swamp-boogie, jazz, R&B, and straight-ahead blues. www.kennyneal.net.    
      
  Dona Oxford: Santa Claritan Doña Oxford earned her reputation as a top-notch keyboardist and vocalist while playing with such legendary performers as Keith Richards, Bob Weir, Levon Helm, Phil Upchurch, Buddy Guy, Son Seals, Mark Termonti (Creed), Jimmy Vivino (Conan O'Brien Show) and her idol, former Chuck Berry sideman and Father of Rock & Roll Piano, Johnnie Johnson. www.donaoxford.com.

   Preston Smith & The Crocodiles: The 2013 VCBS IBC Winner,  Preston Smith has crafted his own irresistible original songs and colorful stage show. His expressive showmanship and varied musical influences have endeared Smith to fans all over the globe. He keeps the crowd on its feet with eyes glued to the stage, a bluesman to the core. Smith's music can be heard on Movie soundtracks as well as numerous TV commercials, and he has appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. His snarlin' guitar sound blends with his screamin' harmonica work to produce a raw, soulful treat for any music lover. In addition to his guitar, harmonica and vocal work, Preston soars over the solid backbeat set by the tightly wound rhythm section of the Crocodiles.
www.myspace.com/prestonsmithmusic.

   Michael John And The Bottom Line: Michael John, Founder and President of the Ventura County Blues Society, is also the Founder of the Ventura County Blues Festival and leads his band The Bottom Line. Since the festival's inception, Michael John & The Bottom Line have performed and donated their music which now has become an annual tradition for the festival kick off. When you combine family and lifelong friends you get a special musical bond that touches the hearts and souls of all music lovers alike. The band consists of Michael John (lead singer, guitar, harmonica), Michael John's son Mikey Mo (lead guitar), Steve Nelson (electric, stand-up Bass), Eddie Z (tenor, alto sax), Jeff Dellisanti (tenor, baritone sax), and Tom "T-Bone" Broderick (drums, backup vocals). The group attracts people of all ages with their blend of Swing to more contemporary rocking blues. They have received national airplay and have won multiple awards including placing in the top ten bands in the finals for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee. In 2006 Michael was awarded the All Access Magazine award for "Best Male Vocalist." www.michaeljohnandthebottomline.com.
   

                       

                                                    A History....


   Michael John's Ventura County Blues Festival, formerly the Simi Valley Blues Festival, was the vision of Simi Valley resident Michael John Basowski. John (who also recently founded the  Ventura County Blues Society) has been a musician all his life and had always dreamed that someday he could do something which would make an impact on his community.

   Being a blues musician, the idea of a blues festival was the ideal way to turn his dream into reality. At the first festival - held in 2006 - Michael John teamed up with the local non-profit organization Write4Hope, who was instrumental in helping with the logistics for the event and made it possible to hold the first three blues festivals in Oak County Park in Simi Valley.
  
   Simi Valley resident musician/actor and celebrity figure Mickey Jones has emceed the Simi Valley Blues Festival every year since its beginning. In addition, Michael John's family and friends have donated their time and talent to help make this event a yearly success, with over three thousand attendees at the 2012 Simi Valley Blues Festival
.  

8TH ANNUAL VENTURA COUNTY BLUES FESTIVAL MEDIA CREDENTIALS ON REQUEST.            http://venturacountyblues.com/                 http://www.venturacountybluessociety.org/ 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Happy Birthday to Kenny Neal

Kenny Neal (born October 14, 1957, New Orleans, Louisiana), son of Raful Neal, is an American blues guitar player, singer and band member. Neal comes from a musical family and has often performed with his brothers in his band. Neal preserves the blues sound of his native south Louisiana, as befits someone who learned from Slim Harpo, Buddy Guy and his father, the harmonica player, Raful Neal. In 1987, Neal cut his debut album for the Florida record producer, Bob Greenlee — an updated swamp feast initially marketed on King Snake Records as Bio on the Bayou. Alligator Records picked it up the following year, retitled it Big News from Baton Rouge!! In 1991 he also proved to be a talented actor in the Broadway production of the folk musical Mule Bone (by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston), singing numbers written by Taj Mahal. Neal has played with blues stars including Lucky Peterson and Lazy Lester, and was at one time a member of The Downchild Blues Band, during a period of relocation to Toronto. In September 2006 Neal announced he was taking a year's break from recording and performing, due to an undisclosed illness. He returned to the public eye at the Monterey Blues Festival in June 2007. His illness was also disclosed as Hepatitis C. He has children named Kenny, Syreeta, and Micah. Lately he is touring with Efes Pilsen Blues Festival “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson 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, October 3, 2012

Going Down Slow - Billy Branch & Kenny Neal

Billy Branch has followed a very non-traditional path to the blues. Unlike many blues artists, he isn't from the South. Billy was born in Chicago in 1951 and was raised in Los Angeles. He first picked up a harmonica at the age of ten and immediately began to play simple tunes. Billy returned to Chicago in the summer of '69 and graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in political science. It was during these years that he was introduced to the Blues. He soon became immersed in the local blues scene. He spent a great deal of time at legendary blues clubs such as: Queen Bee’s and Theresa's Lounge; he learned from such stalwart harmonica players like: Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, Junior Wells and Carey Bell. His big break came in 1975 during a harmonica battle when he beat Chicago legend, Little Mac Simmons at the Green Bunny Club. He made his first recording for Barrelhouse Records and began to work as an apprentice harp player in Willie Dixon's Chicago Blues All-Stars. He eventually replaced Carey Bell and worked with Willie Dixon for six years. During this time, Billy formed the Sons Of Blues (S.O.B.s) featuring musicians who where the sons of famous blues artists. The original S.O.B.s consisted of Billy, Lurrie Bell, Freddie Dixon and Garland Whiteside. They toured Europe and played at the Berlin Jazz Festival. Shortly afterward, they recorded for Alligator Record's Grammy-nominated Living Chicago Blues sessions, and Billy has been a regular studio player appearing on over fifty albums. Billy has recorded and/or performed with an incredible list of Blues legends including: Muddy Waters, Big Walter Horton, Son Seals, Lonnie Brooks, Koko Taylor, Johnny Winter, and Albert King. In 1990, he appeared with three harp legends:Carey Bell, Junior Wells, and James Cotton on W.C Handy Award winner, Harp Attack! His most recent recordings for the Polygram label are entitled The Blues Keep Following Me Around and Satisfy Me. Billy is also passing on the blues tradition to a new generation through his Blues In The Schools program. He is a dedicated blues educator and has taught in the Chicago school system for over twenty years as part of the Urban Gateways Project. In 1996, some of his finest students opened the Main Stage at the Chicago Blues Festival which was broadcast throughout the U.S. on National Public Radio. Blues producer, Chicago Beau has written, "Billy Branch has become a beacon, and model for his times; as an artist, and social/cutural activist... Billy Branch is a Bluesman; Billy Branch is the Blues." If you like what I’m doing, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”