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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 Lafayette Leake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lafayette Leake. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Cleopatra Records artist: Junior Wells - Blues Legend - New Release Review


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues Legend, by Junior Wells, and it's terrific. This is a compilation of vintage singles from the 50's and 60's and includes the entire gamut. Opening with Cut That Out, Junior Wells trademark harp sound is front and center with his vocal, joined by Johnny Jones on piano, Louis Myers on guitar, Dave Myers on bass and Odie Payne on drums. Excellent! Well's most notable track, Hodo Man (HooDoo Man) is on deck with Wells paired with Elmore James on his infamous slide guitar. Early In the Morning features the great Otis Spann on piano pushing Wells to the limit with Muddy Waters on guitar, Willie Dixon on bass  and Odie Payne on drums... What a lineup! On Lawdy! Lawdy! Wells harp seems to float on air, Spann on piano is excellent and of course the entire band really rocks. Syl Johnson adds guitar flair to Two Headed Woman over an active bass line by Dave Myers.  Slow blues, I Could Cry is a really great single with strong vocals by Wells and excellent guitar lead by Johnson. Lafayette Leake on piano really adds nicely to this classic with the mighty Earl Hooker on guitar. Another great Wells track pairs him with Earl Hooker and Leake on piano. This is a classic jam and one not to miss. Another of Wells' most loved tracks, Messin With The Kid features Hooker and Leroy Gibson on guitar, Jarrett Gibson and Donald Hankins on sax, Fred Bellow on drums. Classic! Hooker pulls out the slide on I'm A Stranger, adding a real nice tension against Leake on piano and Johnny Walker on organ, Bobby Little on drums and Earnest Johnson on bass. Boogie track I Need Me A Car, features Hooker on guitar, Johnny Walker on organ and cool vocals by Wells. The rest of the players are unknown. Wrapping the release is a swinging cover of What's I Say with Wells on vocal, Little Brother Montgomery on piano, Otis Rush on guitar, Jack Myers on bass, and Fred Below on drums. This really is an excellent set and if you don't have the full Wells catalog you need this one! 

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Delmark Records artist: Magic Sam Blues Band - Black Magic - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Black Magic, from Magic Sam Blues Band and it's nothing short of great! Magic Sam passed only days before the original release of Black Magic back in 1969 and this shows Sam with his allstar studded band and a few additional/alternate tracks. Opening with Roscoe Gordon's, I Just Want A little Bit, Sam leads the way on guitar and vocal for a snappy blues rocker. The great Eddie Shaw is right there blowing a great sax solo and Sam handles guitar with Mighty Joe Young. What Have I Done Wrong has a cool R&B underpinning supported by Lafayette Leake on piano, Mac Thompson on bass, and Odie Payne on drums. Willie Dixion's classic, Easy Baby has a super soul feel with strong horn work from Shaw. With it's Boogaloo style, Sam has this track hopping. Slick guitar work and rolling rhythm gives this track extra spark. Lowell Fulsom's, It's All Your Fault Baby has a great unique take showcasing Sam's vocal styling and tidy guitar riffs. Shaw's sax work gives the track depth and classic double stops and beautiful guitar runs make this one of my personal favorites on the release. Don Nix's Same Old Blues has a great swing and excellent solo's from both Sam and Eddie. Excellent! I really love Sam's take on You Don't Love Me Baby with a great tempo and spicy riffs from Shaw and Sam. Freddie King's San-Ho-Zay is a crisp rocker with Sam hittin the strings just right. You Better Stop is a really nice slow blues number with fluid "Magic Sam" riffs over Eddie Shaw tone and Leake piano riffs giving it just perfect balance on Payne's snappy drumming. Excellent! Otis Rush's Keep On Loving Me, Baby really gets up and goes. Sam leads the way with clean, simple guitar riffs, echoed by Shaw and grounded by Thompson and Payne. What Have I Done Wrong (alt)is tight with alternate vocal tracks. The alternate on I Just Want A Little Bit has some great sax work by Shaw so make certain you catch this! The alternate on Everything's Gonna Be Alright has a great feel and stinging guitar solo. Keep On Doing What Your Doing has a great Chicago feel with warm sax from Harris and cool guitar riffs from Sam, coupled with his soulful vocals...very nice! Blues For Odie Payne is a real hot one with Sam and Young each taking an excellent solo before letting Eddie off the chain for a super solo as well. Excellent! The alternate for Same Old Blues has a great groove and Sam is in it. Dig his guitar phrasing on this one! The alternate 2 on What Have I Done Wrong is a great R&B number with super vocals and close work between Shaw and Sam. Wrapping the release is the alternate to Keep On Loving Me, Baby with high energy and powerful vocals. Sam's guitar work is clean and concise speeding to a conclusion about to erupt. Excellent ending to an excellent release! Also included is an excellent 16 page booklet with some great photos and notes not published before.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Delmark Records artist: Tail Dragger - Stop Lyin' - New Release Review

I just received the newest release of Tail Dragger's work, Stop Lyin' which was recorded in 1982 but never released, and I have to say I believe that it his best work to my ear. Opening with So Ezee, with Jimmy Dawkins on guitar and Little Mack Simmons on harp. A classic Chicago track, Burks really plays some nice riffs on harp and TD is in good form. Lafayette Leake is also a standout on piano on this track. Where Did You Go is a strong slice of "Smokestack Lightning" and a terrific track with solid vocals from TD. Ain't Gonna Cry No Mo is a terrific slower blues track featuring Johnny B Moore and Jesse Lee Williams on guitars, Willie kent on bass, Larry Taylor on drums and Eddie Jewtown Burks on harp. Solid harp and guitar work punctuate this track. Don't You Want A Good Man follows along the lines of Trouble No More and Moore shines nicely on this track. On classic TD track, My Head Is Bald, Jimmy Dawkins and Leake are again present with Little Mack Simmons on harp. Alabama Bound has a Elmore James feel featuring Moore on slide guitar. TD again shows how he got his reputation as a singer with a strong vocal outing. Another of my favorites on the release is Don't Trust Yo Woman, another track strongly affected by Wolf ... the strong rhythmic structure being accented by stinging guitar riffs. Please Mr Jailer has solid roots to Muddy and Moore again steps forward with some real nice guitar riffs. Stop Lyin', with a Muddy style gets a really great groove going and cool slide work from Moore. The release is capped by an interesting description of the immediate blues environment at the time. This is a cool release and certainly the most enjoyable Tail Dragger release that I have heard in a few years. If you like TD as a vocalist and you like Chicago blues, this is more than just another collectors only edition but a strong set to hear.  

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Friday, June 1, 2012

At His Home - Lafayette Leake

Lafayette Leake (June 1, 1919 - August 14, 1990) was a blues and jazz pianist, organist, vocalist and composer who played for Chess Records as a session musician, and as a member of the Big Three Trio, during the formative years of Chicago blues. He played piano on many of Chuck Berry's recordings.
Leake was born in Winona, Missouri, in 1919. Information about his early years is sparse, but in the early 1950s he joined the Big Three Trio (replacing Leonard Caston) and began his association with Chess Records, where he worked closely with bassist, producer, and songwriter Willie Dixon.

Leake played piano on One Dozen Berrys, Chuck Berry's second album, released in 1958 by Chess. He was then on Chuck Berry Is on Top; Leake (not Berry's longtime bandmate Johnnie Johnson) played the prominent piano on the classic original rendition of "Johnny B. Goode". Leake played on numerous other Chess sessions from the '50s through the '70s, backing many of the Chess greats, including Sonny Boy Williamson, Otis Rush, Junior Wells, and Little Walter.

During the 1960s Willie Dixon formed the Chicago Blues All-Stars, with Leake as resident pianist. Leake toured and recorded with this group until the mid-1970s. After that he did little recording or touring, although he appeared with Chuck Berry at the Chicago Blues Festival in 1986 and recorded "Hidden Charms" with Willie Dixon in 1988.

Besides being a respected performer, Leake was a composer. He recorded a number of his own songs as a member of various ensembles, and others have been covered by notable musicians. Fleetwood Mac, for example, recorded his song "Love That Woman" on their album The Original Fleetwood Mac. Leake's song "Wrinkles", performed by the Big Three Trio, was featured on the soundtrack of David Lynch's 1990 film, Wild at Heart. Blues band Slo Leak was named after one of Leake's instrumental pieces.

Leake fell into a diabetic coma in his home in Chicago, where he remained undiscovered for several days, dying in hospital on August 14, 1990
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