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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 Mark Bird Stafford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mark Bird Stafford. Show all posts

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mark Bird Stafford - Live At the Delta - New Release Review

I just received the new release (July 23, 2013), Live At The Delta, from Mark Bird Stafford and it's sensational. I have read a few of the clippings on Mark's work and I keep seeing key figure in Canada's Blues Scene and Canada's Blues elite but this guy is world class. His tone and phrasing are terrific! Stafford has put up a Live set for us consisting of all blues standards. Opening with Junior Parker's Pretty Baby, Stafford and crew, Aaron Griggs on guitar, Fabio Parovel on guitar, Tyler Burgess on drums and Dennis Pinhorn on bass are smokin! SBW's Born Blind gives Stafford a great bed to play on and his riffs are cut. Slick guitar riffs on this track give Stafford a chance to set up for solid vocals and then back to the harp. Sweet! Walter Jacobs' Juke (ish) is a hot instrumental that really should not be missed (you listening still a dog). Another Jacobs track, Mellow Down Easy shows how well Stafford's vocals work with these tracks and then he cuts loose... nice instrumentals on harp and guitar! Jimmy Reed's I Found Joy is particularly notable for super harp tone. SWB's I Don't Know carves a great groove with super guitar riffs from Aaron Griggs on guitar. Slim Harpo's Got Love If You Want It is driven by Burgess on tom tom and again Stafford takes command on vocal. Super understated guitar work also works really well with this track. Willie Dixon's Can't Hold Out Much Longer starts the triple threat close to this release. Stafford has a way of phrasing his vocals and carries the track nicely punctuating his vocals with superb harp work. This is thick and fat and ready to boil over. This is likely the best track on the release but there is a lot here to choose from. It's Too Late Brother pushes up the tempo a bit and with a cool uptempo swing, Stafford has it by the short hairs. The band staying on the down low and giving Stafford room to blow his distorted harp is acoustically really cool. Finishing with Up The Line takes the band to a nice quick Latin tempo. With guitar rhythm and melodic riffs under the heat, Stafford gets a frenzy going. The fans who saw this show live back in July of 2012 got to see a great show. This is a really enjoyable release with great harp playing and strong blues tracks played by solid musicians. I really enjoyed it. Hope you do too!

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Friday, July 12, 2013

New CD From Canadian Blues Artist Mark "Bird" Stafford

Mark “Bird”Stafford is a key fixture on the Canadian Blues Scene and has been since he got his start with Hock Walsh (Downchild Blues Band) in the mid 80’s at the Pine Tree jams. His distinct vocal pureness and powerful harp tone are again present on this latest release “Live at the Delta”. This raw, no overdub recording is another strong example of Bird capturing his strengths as an artist true to his love of roots music. Mark continues to dedicate his skills as a band leader, guest performer, blues educator, and harmonica teacher at festivals, clubs and workshops everywhere.
Known for his mastery and enthusiasm for classic blues styles - from Chicago blues to swing, R & B, jump, funk and most things in-between, Stafford puts the capital
‘T’ in tone when it comes to his harmonica prowess. A serious student of "fat tone" harmonica, he subscribes to the teachings of the masters: Sonny Boy Williamson, Little
Walter Jacobs, Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells and James Cotton, imbuing what he's learned with a healthy dose of his own creativity.
Mark “Bird” Stafford is one of the hardest working musicians on the scene today. With his regular performances in his home town of Toronto, Ontario as an in-demand harmonica player and singer to his additional talents as a drummer with several duos and house gigs. Stafford is also busy with extensive work with the Blues In Schools Program, conducting blues harmonica workshops at festivals across Canada, teaching harmonica classes with the Toronto District School board, and regular month long excursions to the East Coast of Canada to perform with legendary blues guitarist Joe Murphy.
Recorded at Monarch’s Tavern in the Delta Chelsea Hotel downtown Toronto Stafford’s new album “Live at the Delta” is a perfect showcase for his talents, enthusiasm and a homage to blues greats - featuring 11 classic blues songs redone only in the way that “Bird” can, including Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Born Blind”, Jimmy Reed’s “I Found Joy”, and Willie Dixon’s “Up The Line”.
In his own words:
“I realize that it is heavy on the “Greats Of The Blues,” and I am totally OK with that. After all, this is what I do and this album is a slice of that. After my summer away, doing shows in Nova Scotia with Joe Murphy/Garrett Mason, I returned home to Toronto and assembled a band for one hot night at the Delta Chelsea Hotel to record “Live at the Delta”! We had a SUPERB CROWD and I hope this recording captures the energy of the evening.”
- Mark “Bird” Stafford
Hear Mellow Down Easy