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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 Little Village Foundation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Little Village Foundation. Show all posts

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Little Village Foundation: The Phantom Blues Band - Blues For Breakfast - New Release Review


 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues For Breakfast, by The Phantom Blues Band and it's a solid party. Originally formed as Taj Mahal's backing band, PBB began performing on their own and released their first release back in 2006. With a few changes in the lineup most significantly Les Lovitt replacing Darrell Leonard on trumpet and Jim Pugh replacing the nearly irreplaceable Mike Finnigan after his fight with cancer ending in 2021. This newest rendition of the band opens with a roaring  cover of I Take What I Want with Larry Fulcher on bass and lead vocals paired with Johnny Lee Schell on lead vocal and guitar. Backed by Tony Braunagel on drums, Joe Sublett on sax, Les Lovitt on trumpet and Jim Pugh on piano and organ this track has real juice. New Orleans flavored, She's Into Something has strong percussion by  Braunagel and the horn work of Joe Sublett and Les Lovitt really spices things up. Schell drops into a nice Texas style guitar solo really setting hit one off. Very nice. A reggae style rework of Curtis Mayfield's, Move On Up, is really cool with vocal by Ruthie Foster  and tight rhythm guitar by Tony Chin and the horn work of Subett and Lovett add nice authenticity. Very cool. Mike Finnigan leads the way on organ and vocal on OK, I Admit It with real swing. Punchy horns by Sublett and Lovitt and Finnigan's own organ work make this one of my favorites. Bonnie Raitt joins on laid back shuffle, Country Boy with her distinct vocal work. Very nice. Curtis Salgado adds lead vocal and distinctive solo harmonica on Laughin' and Clowin', a slow blues and one of my favorites on the release. On up tempo, I Know You Don't Love Me, Salgado has the lead vocal again and does a great job. Sublett, on sax lays in a solid solo making it hard to stop your foot stomping. Wrapping the release is boogie track, Stuff You Gotta Watch with a great driving bass line by Fulcher and stellar work by Pugh on piano. Power horn work by Sublett and Lovitt work great with Schell's lead vocal and Sublett finishes the release with a hot sax solo. Very nice. 

This recording is dedicated to the memory of Mike Finnigan. All proceeds from sales are being donated to the scholarship program at The Mike Finnigan School of Music in Salina, Kansas. 


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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Little Village Foundation artist: Mighty Mike Schermer - Just Gettin' Good - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Just Gettin' Good, by Mighty Mike Schermer, and I really like it. Opening with title track, Just Gettin' Good, this release is off to a hot start. With Mighty Mike and Ms. Kimmy Pickens on lead vocal and the stinging guitar work of Mike out front, this track struts. With the fat bari sax work of Aaron Lington, and joined by Dmar on drums, Steve Ehrmann on bass, Tony Snead on organ, Eric Spaulding on tenor, Jeff Lewis on trumpet and Mike Rinta on trombone, this track is smokin'. On slow, soulful This Is Where My Love Is, Schermer sings a solid ballad and keeps the instrumentation to a minimum with Paul Revelli on drums, Steve Ehrmann on bass and Austin DeLone on organ.  On island track, The Hungry Dog, Schermer gets a calypso rhythm and the guys really get into the swing. June Core on drums, Kid Andersen on bass and vocal, Chris Burns on piano, Kimmy on percussion and Wally Pickins on vocal, this track is a lot of fun. Funky blues, Tired of Travellin', is one of my favorite tracks on the release. With Mike throwing down some great riffs, with Revelli on drums, Ehrmann on bass, Tony Snead on organ, Andersen on rhythm guitar and heavy horns by Jack Sanford on sax and John Halbleib on trumpet. Super. Another blues track with a funky bottom is Cook Up A Little Love. With Kimmy and Mike trading off lead vocal, Ehrmann on bass, Tony Snead on keys and D'mar on drums this track and Mikes grip on the guitar, another cool track. Rocker, Kimmy Kimmy Gimmee Gimmee has a early rocking feel with a lot of spunk. Wrapping the release is ska track, It's Not Me, It's You. With Revelli on drums, Ehrmann on bass, Austin DeLone on organ, Andersen on acoustic guitar, John Nemeth on vocal, Uncle Bernie on sax, Mike Kobin on trumpet and James Cody Arnholt on trombone, and with Mike taking a stylized guitar solo this is a fun party closer. 


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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Little Village Foundation artist: Ron Thompson - From The Patio, Live at Poor House Bistro, Volume 1, New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, From The Patio, Live at Poor House Bistro, Volume 1, from Ron Thompson and it's a strong, raw performance. Opening with Willie Dixon's Meet Me In The Bottom, Ron Thompson on vocal and guitar gets a running start with his grinding tempo with Scotty Griffin on drums, Dave Chavez on bass, Sid Morris on piano and Jim Pugh on organ. His solid groove and unpolished but excellent blues vocals are spot on. On Lightning Hopkins' Bring Me My Shotgun, Thompson shows just how close to the "real blues" his work is with excellent vocals, slide work and minimal bass and drums. Excellent! Bob Geddins' Tin Pan Alley, made popular to most by SRV gets a real nice workout by Thompson with not only really soulful vocals and solid piano work by Morris but with some real nice electric guitar work by Thompson. Very nice. Guitar Slim's Done Got Over It is another potent track with Jim Pugh on organ solo and rockabilly style blues guitar riffs by Thompson. On Lowell Fulson's Sinner's Prayer, Thompson runs out a real nice slide solo working very nicely with Pugh's organ work. Very cool. Doctor Brown features Kid Andersen and Thompson on slide and we all know the Kid can play. With Elmore James style riffs under Thompson's vocals, this track is great! Wrapping the release is Thompson original, When You Walk That Walk with strong Hound Dog Taylor influence and Andersen again playing some wicked wicked guitar. This is really a strong release and highly recommended. 



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Monday, November 25, 2019

Little Village Foundation artist: The Mike Duke Project - ...Took A While - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, ...Took A While, from The Mike Duke Project and it's a soulful southern style release packed with musical elite. Opening with Little Miss Ponytail, a certain radio track, Mike Duke on lead vocal and piano leads the way with Bill Stewart on drums, Phil Yeager on bass, Ronnie Brown on guitar and Rick Kurtz on guitar. Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do features Duke with Jimmy Hall and the vocals are not only warm and solid but this is really a strong track. Let Me Be Your Fool Tonight is a real cool track with the addition of Lloyd Meadows, Angela Strehi  and Lisa Lueschner Andersen on backing vocal and featuring super accordion work by Bruce Gordon. I'm Not Sad Tonight sounds like it could be pulled right out of Van Morrison's songbook with distinct vocal phrasing and poise and the addition on Jim Pugh on B3. Very nice. Gospel flavored Torn & Scarred is Duke, accompanying his vocal lead on piano with  Andersen on bass. Short but very nice. I Can't Let You Go is a bluesy ballad with all the right notes. Certain radio compositional style and Elvin Bishop's trademark slide work makes this track a release favorite. Another soulful ballad, Coming 'Round Again is certainly one of my favorites on the release with some of Duke's best writing and vocals. Backed by Bill Connell on drums, Paul Hornsby on bass, Ray Honea on guitar Don Finney on sax, Larry Finney on trumpet and Roger Dennison on trombone, this track has real traction. Wrapping the release is Nicasio, a short piano track with Duke showing his stylistic chops. This is really a rich release on one to hear.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Little Village Foundation artist: Kevin Burt - Heartland & Soul - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Heartland & Soul from Kevin Burt and it's quite entertaining. Opening with Day Day, a funky R&B track with really nice vocals by Kevin Burt . backed by Jerry Jemmott on bass, Derrick DMar Martin on drums, Kid Andersen on guitar, Jon Otis on percussion, Jim Pugh on keys and with Lisa Leuschner on backing vocals, this is a great opener. Thank You is a solid soul track with a great set up. Rhythmic rim shots and a warm bass line set the pace on this one that does a sideward salute to Sly's Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin). Working this track over and over, Burt really milks the soul out of it. Very nice. I really like the soulful movement of Real Love and it's traditional R&B vocal phrasing with solid harp work by Burt. A slower, almost folksy take on Lennon & McCartney's Eleanor Rigby reminds me of Richey Havens and that's good. Unsung vocal hero. Never is a super bluesy soul track with some of Burt's best vocals on the release. With a great bass lead by Jemmott and nice guitar lead by Kid Andersen, this is one of my favorites on the release. Wrapping the release is blues shuffle, Wake Up, Baby with Burt on acoustic guitar, vocal and harp. Burt is an entertaining musician, solid singer songwriter and makes a cool album. Check it out.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Little Village Foundation artist: Howell Devine - Howl - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Howl, from Howell Devine and it's quite cool. Recorded at the acclaimed Greaseland Studios by Kid Andersen, this release has a great old style yet current vibe. Opening with Sonny Boy Williamson's The Key, Joshua Howell on vocal, guitar and harp melds nicely with Pete Devine on drums and Joe Kyle Jr. on bass. With it's lumbering pace, the track has deep blues roots. RL Burnside's Going Down South develops a rumble with solid bass lines and super vocals by Howell. Kickin it up a notch, Howell drives his guitar hard without breaking Burnside's basic monumental style. Very nice. Sookie Sookie has that great Booker T feel complimented by Kid Andersen on organ but this track is really a showcase for Howell's harp work. Very cool. One of my favorite tracks on the release is original composition, Sirenic Woman with raw slide playing and tom tom heavy drums and exaggerated bass lines by Kyle. Excellent! a traditional cover of Robert Johnson's Come Into My Kitchen will always be a welcome addition to a rough and ready blues release and HD does a real nice job on this one with clean, under exaggerated vocals and real nice slide work. Very nice. Showing broader influences, The Meter's Funky Miracle is a cool break away from the traditional style blues but tight never the less. Andersen, Howell, Devine and Kyle trade riffs like kids with a ball giving the track a real playful feel. Solid. Blind Blake's Rope Stretching Blues is another really nice primitive style cover with particularly sensitive snare work by Devine, complimenting particularly clean guitar and vocals by Howell. Wrapping the release is original composition, PM Blues with solid strong tension on a traditional, SBW style theme. With the addition of Danny Brown on tenor sax and Fil Lorenz on bari sax this is a great closer with a wide open road for Howell's harp work. Very nice.



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