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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 McCrary Sisters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label McCrary Sisters. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Last Music Company: Dr. John - Ske-Dat-De-Dat, The Spirit Of Satch - New on vinyl

The Last Music Company has released Dr. John's tribute to Louis Armstrong, Ske-Dat-De-Dat, on vinyl on June 5, 2020. I had the opportunity to review this newest release and it's a lot of fun. Opening with What A Wonderful World, Dr John joins up with Nicholas Payton on trumpet and the Blind Boys of Alabama for a Mac stylized version of this Armstrong classic. Payton floats on the melodic rhythm and Mac's vocals are tops. Bonnie Raitt joins on I've Got The World On A String and an easy swing. Both Mac and Raitt seem very comfortable with excellent lead vocals, bluesy guitar riffs, clarinet and full horn backing. Very nice. In traditional Mac/New Orleans Jazz style, Gut Bucket Blues is one of my favorite tracks on the release, again featuring Payton on trumpet and with strong horn backing and some really tasty drumming. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child features Anthony Hamilton on lead vocal with smooth soulful backing and solid horn work. The McCrary Sisters and Ledisi do a totally spiritual version of Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen with powerful rich vocals, organ and strong piano work from Dr. John. Excellent! Mac is back up front on piano and vocal on Wrap Your Trouble in Dreams, joined by The Blind Boys of Alabama and Terrance Blanchard. This is a particularly cool track with Mac's classic New Orleans blues styling, blended with the warm gospel backing of BBA and the cool jazz styling of Blanchard on trumpet. Very cool. More traditional New Orleans style blues on Dippermouth Blues is a great track with Mac on lead vocal and piano and a super new Orleans beat. James 12 Andrews (Trombone Shorty) hits the trumpet on this one and it's another of my favorites. Shemekia Copeland contributes her own lush vocals to Sweet Hunk of Trash, a funky New Orleans number. With cool trombone work and tight drumming, another strong track. Easy jazz ballad, Memories of You features mac on lead vocal and piano but it's the terrific trumpet soloing of Arturo Sandoval that really sails this one. Sandoval plants himself and just wails. Excellent! Wrapping the release is a totally Dirty Dozen-ized When You're Smiling with a great tuba bottom and with excellent, trumpet led, march style jazz. Snappy percussion and mac on piano works really nicely with Mac's lead vocals. It's nice that Last Music has captured this on vinyl. Very cool. 

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Superstar Records artist: Tom Hambridge - The Nola Sessions - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The NOLA Sessions from Tom Hambridge and it's got real feel. Opening with Easy flowing, Blues Been Mighty Good To Me, Hambridge has lead vocal and of course drums backed by superstar Allen Toussaint on piano, max Moran on bass and Wendy Molten on backing vocal. Smooth opener. On Bluz Crazy, Hambridge has a distinctive slap on the snare that I really like and the lope of the track is further enhanced by John Fohl on guitar with Tommy MacDonald on bass and Kevin McKendree on piano. Very nice. Sonny Landreth's Slydeco guitar on This End Of The Road gives the track a real nice edge on a John Hiatt style track. Great two stepper. With real New Orleans style, I Love Everything has a great melody and sense of rhythm. With Shance Theriot on guitar, Calvin Turner Jr. on bass, David Torkanowsky on piano, McKendree on B3, SaRachael on backing vocals and The Naughty Horns this track rocks! Landreth is back again on Little Things, funky New Orleans style blues rocker. Gotta love his slide work and Hambridge really works the skins over. Very nice! Save Me has a cool country rock flavor and strong melody with outstanding backing vocals by The McCrary Sisters and super punchy horn work by The Naughty Horns. Wrapping the release is Faith, a quiet acoustic track featuring Hambridge on vocal, with Fohl on guitar, macDonald on bass and Nathaniel Smith on cello. This is a really nice closer to a very enjoyable release.



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Monday, April 4, 2016

Black Hen Music artist: Steve Dawson - Solid States and Loose Ends - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Solid States and Loose Ends, from Steve Dawson and it's a smooth integration of blues, country and bluegrass... in other words... very cool! Opening with Loose Ends, a cool, swampy blues funk, Dawson on guitar and vocal is joined by Gary Craig on drums, John Dymond on bass, Kevin McKendree on organ, Jim Hoke on sax, Steve Herrman on trumpet and Regina and Ann McCrary on backing vocal. With solid vocals, really tasty slide, warm horns and cool lower register guitar work, with the hot backing vocals, this track is an excellent opener! Broken Furniture Blues has an upbeat rural rock feel with acoustic guitar picking driving the train. Again Dawson slips in some excellent slide riffs backed by Craig and Dymond. Leave My Name Behind has a really nice Rev Gary Davis feel reinforced by Mike Bub on bass. The choice of resonator on this track with some choice electric guitar riffs, backed by Fats Kaplin on viola, really cool sax work by Jim Hoke and the McCrary sisters vocals makes this one of my favorites on the release. California Saviour is a more laid back pop track with Keri Latimer joining on harmony vocal. Again Dawson's guitar work is really nice with resonator, pedal steel and electric making for a gourmet meal of flavor. On Top Of The World has a real nice Gypsy feel with a European beat, Kaplin on fiddle and Dawson's pedal work. Very nice! Little Silver has a catchy melody but with a country acoustic picked guitar rhythm and Bub and Craig reinforcing the feel. Again Dawson steps up the pedal steel work giving the track a nice kick. Riley's Henhouse Door is a really cool track featuring only Dawson on vocal and acoustic accompaniment. With it's roots in country blues along the lines of Led Belly, this is a super track! Final Words slips back to ward the main stream with a solid rock entry. Dawson is very capable as lead vocalist and with sophisticated bass work and warm organ, Final Words is a strong radio track with crisp slide ornamentation. Very nice! Can't Put That Monkey On My Back is a traditional track with a distinct Ry Cooder feel. Dawson has his own fingerprint and with more of a modern, rock feel, this is a really nice track. McKendree's piano work on the track nicely highlights Dawson's excellent slide work. Another favorite! Early Warning is a spiritually structured track with a light back beat. With the McCrary sisters on backing vocals and McKendree on organ this track is smooth. Dawson's slide technique is really super giving the track great contrast. You Got What It Takes is a hot, lumbering blues track with a simple melody. With throaty electric slide guitar work and a fat compliment of Bari sax from Hoke, this is a really hot track! Driver's Wheel has a rolling country blues feel with Craig providing a light train rhythm and Kaplin's fiddle work laid nicely on Dawson's acoustic picking. Delia, another traditional number, has a distinct country blues feel with light fiddle and acoustic backing. Joined by Keri Latimer on vocals, this track has a simple purity. Wrapping the release is Rose's Blues, an easy paced ballad with an almost Grateful Dead feel. Kaplin on mandolin and organ adds nice texture and Dawson's slide work is always perfect. Nicely blended vocals by Dawson and Latimer makes this a very nice conclusion to a very special release.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Landslide Records artist: Webb Wilder - Mississippi Moderne - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Mississippi Moderne, from Webb Wilder and it's super! Opening with a short intro, Stones In My Pathway, is a super heavy, swampy, bluesy track. If this was recorded in the early times of Son House or Lightnin' it would still sound gritty and super honest. Excellent! Rough and Tumble Guy is up next, a boogie woogie rocker with a great rhythm track. Wilder takes the lead on some rowdy guitar backed by Jimmy Lester on drums, Tom Comet rompin the bass and Bob Williams on guitar. Excellent! If It Ain't Broke, (Don't Fix It) has a much more rural and laid back feel but with just a touch of funk...boogie if you will. Backing vocals by the McCrary Sisters, Williams and Comet give it a homey feel but Wilder's vocals keep it edgy. Very nice! Only A Fool has a euro pop sound with an easy hook. Not the voice but the style, think the kinks, Todd or E. Costello. The Kinks, I Gotta Move, maintains a real 60's rock sound but with a separate signature from the original. This is a quick paced rocker with wicked guitar rock and a straight ahead drumming. Too Much Sugar For A Nickel is a great pop rocker. If I just heard the track out of context and was asked who wrote it I'd Guess Frank Black...or is that Black Francis (Or Ray and Dave). In any case, I really like it. Very nice with clever guitar riffs surrounding a slick hook and a tight execution. Conway Twitty's Lonely Blue Boy is a super low slung blues rocker. Pushed with it's country honesty, and low keys but really nicely styled guitar riffs, this track is over the top. Mississippi garage band, The One Way Street penned, Yard Dog see's plenty of daylight here with solid delivery, raggedy vocals and tight drumming. Very smart! I'm Not Just Anybody's Fool is really a nice ballad. A strong melody, Micah Hulscher lays out warm organ backing and a melodic guitar work makes this one of the strongest statements on the release. Very nice! Otis Rush's It Takes Time, has a super walking bass line but uptempo from Rush's original. With an almost jazz feel, it has new life in it's sail. You've been waiting for me to say, and he cut's the guitar loose and here it is. Wilder doesn't go nuts but he does play some really crisp, Otis Rush/Peter Green inspired and nicely executed riffs. Super! Frankie Lee Sims' Lucy Mae Blues has a primitive feel but with some more modern sounds creating a eerie tension. Wilder's vocals in echo with basic jangly blues guitar riffs, hi hat and tamborine and snare make this stripped down blues rocker special! Charlie Rich's Who Will The Next Fool Be has an easy country swing feel. Wilder's vocals morph from track to track and continuously surprise me. In this case, rich not thin but an almost Willie Nelson feel. A super nice groove with Hulscher on piano and organ and cal and response guitar work compliments the vocal lead making it one of my favorites on the release. Jimmy Reed's I'm Gonna Get My Baby has a solid boogie feel with Bob Williams adding some slick slide work over a nice rhythm guitar and bass line from George Bradfute. Super groove. Wrapping the release is the return to the beginning and a full blown Stones In My Pathway. This is a powerful recording eliciting the gritty nature of original early blues musicians. It is an excellent conclusion to a strong release of blues based music.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Eller Soul Records artist: Andy Poxon - Must Be Crazy - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Must Be Crazy, from Andy Poxon and it's terrific. I had reviewed Poxon's earlier releases, most recently Red Roots. and I can tell you without question the kid is getting better by leaps and bounds! Opening with the title track, You Must Be Crazy, Poxon is smoking right out of the gate. With a hell of a swagger and killing the Elmore James riff, this track is super. Poxon, who plays lead guitar and takes lead on vocal, is joined by keyboard ace, Kevin McKendree and the connection is golden. Poxon sounds really relaxed but plays with fiery intensity. I've heard comparisons drawn to Johnny Lang but I'd say shoot higher...say Sean Costello! Kenneth Blevins on drums, Steve Mackey on bass and Jim Hoke on sax makes this one powerful opener. Living Alone is a mid paced boogie woogie track featuring a more vocal feel and McKendree showing his fine piano flair. Kicker jump track, Next To You, really moves and Poxon pulls out some really hot riffs. Sit still listening to this one...can't do it! Excellent! Radio oriented track, Give Me The Chance, adds the McCrary Sisters on key backing vocals. Poxon only shows a few flashes of guitar spark but with solid lead vocals and certain piano body delivers a nice air track. Slow cooker, Cold Weather, opens with really excellent blues guitar articulation. Playing heart felt guitar lead against his solid vocals, this track stands out as one of the top tracks on the release. Ouch! With a definite R&B/New Orleans kind of sound, Don't Tell Your Mama, gets a super sax push from Hoke over McKendree's fancy finger work. Soulful ballad, Harder Everyday, has such a warm sound between sax and the backing vocals of the McCrary Sisters it almost sounds fully orchestrated at times. Nicely written with a solid melody, this could be a cross radio track as well. Very nice! With a light jazz touch, I Want To Know, shows Poxon's understanding of vocal phrasing and certain maturity. Solid sax work from Hoke gives the track a definite boost and Poxon steps back up with some really nicely executed guitar soloing. Very cool! On Already Gone, Poxon shows a nice blend of Cornelius Brothers style soul and country rock for a unique ballad. His vocals, blended nicely with McKendree on keys makes for a very solid track. Making A Fool is another track with a bit of New Orleans feel and McKendree is just the guy to roll the piano. Poxon injects tight guitar riffs into the roll this time and Blevins nicely jazzes up the bottom on drums with a solid bass line from Mackey. Very nice! Don't Tell Me What To Do is a cleverly disguised blues track with an almost soul feel vocally but with only faint cues to it's exact intention. McKendree injects organ giving it a gospel feel and Poxon's own guitar work having more of a rhythmic country feel. A subtle guitar solo gives definite blues intention leaving you with an overall feel of solid work. Light jazzy number, Too Late, has a real nice feel and showcasing Poxon's vocals, McKendree on piano and strummed chords on guitar gives this track an absolute platform for lush jazz/blues style guitar soloing. Sweet! Wrapping the release is Rebound, an easy paced instrumental with it's blend of country style guitar picking and jazz inflections. Addition of Yates McKendree on organ and a bright melody makes this a solid conclusion to a top flight new release.



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Thursday, October 1, 2015

15 South Records artist: D.L. Duncan - Self Titled - New release review

I just received the newest release, D.L. Duncan from Dave "D.L." Duncan and it has a good feel. Opening with I Ain't The Sharpest Marble, a rockin boogie track, Duncan lays down a cool groove on vocal and guitar with David Hood on bass and Vince Santoro on drums reinforcing the bottom. Kevin McKendree hammers out a real nice piano line making this a solid opener. Dickerson Road has a super guitar rock sound (think All Along The Watchtower) and Duncan sets his strings searing into the stratosphere. On Walter Vinson style blues track,You Just Don't Never Know, McKendree adds nicely to the texture on the track and the McCrary Sisters provide a warm background as Duncan sings lead, Delbert McClinton plays harp with Duncan's guitar adornment. Very nice! Your Own Best Friend has a distinctively Gregg Allman sound and Sonny Landereth adds a heaping share of his distinctive slide sound. McKendree takes a really nice piano solo over B3 and with the McCrary Sisters on vocals, this is certainly one of the best tracks on the release. I Know A Good Thing is a high stepping stripped down blues track with a solid bass line and drum beat keeping it tight. Duncan's own guitar work which rides the melody is quite effective. Super! Sending Me Angels is a solid blues based pop track sounding like an Eric Clapton hit. The McCrary Sisters really warm up the track along with Duncan's smooth vocals as well as resonator. McKendree on B3 and piano adds just the right touch of gospel style keyboards giving the track an embracing feel. Orange Beach Blues has a R&B sway with warm jazz overtones. Duncan's vocals are pure and his guitar work clean as a whistle. The McCrary Sisters again add just the right mix of warmth with McKendree on B3 and Duncan pairs with Guthrie Trapp on guitar giving the track a super overall sound. St. Valentine's Day Blues is an easy paced R&B style blues track with Duncan's vocals leading the way balanced nicely with McKendree on keys. Duncan does some of his nicest guitar work on this track throwing down some really sweet blues riffs. Sweet Magnolia Love is another track which to me has a distinctive Eric Clapton pop style. A nice hook and warm backing vocals from the McCrary Sisters along with twin guitar riffs from Duncan and Trapp make it perfect radio track. Wrapping the release is All I Have To Offer You Is Love, a simple bluesy ballad with nice acoustic slide guitar work and rich lead vocals from Duncan. McKendree always seems to have just the right amount of throttle on keys adding nicely to most anything he touches. The slide work on this track is sweet and well manicured making this an excellent closer for a solid release.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Proper Records artist: Dr. John - Ske-Dat - De-Dat ... Spirit Of Satch - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Ske-Dat-De-Dat ... Spirit of Satch from Dr John and I quite like it. Oh yeah. With a tribute to an older statesman, there are some old time ballads but with a fresh look which is overall very interesting. On opener, What A Wonderful World, The Blind Boys Of Alabama add a different dimension to what is done sixties pop style with a twist of New Orleans. Terrence Blanchard a really nice melodic trumpet solo over what is otherwise a funky orchestral arrangement. Mack The Knife gets a total revamp with a solid New Orleans strut. With very little except lyrics to the original track, this is an ingenious mix with brilliant work from Blanchard. There is a rap break which I don't care for but overall the track is excellent. Tight Like That has a real Latin feel with vocals by Telmary and sweet Spanish guitar and really smart trumpet work by Arturo Sandoval. I've Got The World On A String stays with very traditional arrangement say, Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra but with a Dr John twist. The good Dr and Bonnie Raitt handle the vocal duet which is very solid. Stylized swing blues guitar work on the bridge is really nice. Gut Bucket Blues has a really cool bari sax bottom and full horn tribute. Dr Johns vocals are as good as any on the release with a gritty feel. Nicholas Payton takes the floor with trumpet on this track blowin some serious brass. On Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child, Anthony Hamilton takes the mic singing a counter melody to the all to familiar track adding mystery and interest. With a neo soul feel to the track, warm backing vocals and horns this track is as fresh as the first time I heard it. On That's My Home, Dr John takes a straight ahead swat and with his relaxed interpretive way weaves a smooth and comforting track with beautiful trumpet highlights from Wendell Brunious. On classic gospel track Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen, lead vocals are handled by Ledisi backed by the McCrary Sisters. It still maintains a a spiritual feel but with more of a modern take and less of a "pure spiritual" track as most of us (at least me) have heard. Nice job! Wrap Your Troubles In Your Dreams finds the good Dr back at the mic and also predominantly out front with the piano. The Blind Boys of Alabama are back with both solo and backing vocals and less tight but soulful trumpet work from Terence Blanchard adds a nice touch. Dippermouth Blues comes out with horns blaring and a cool New Orleans march rhythm. The Dr has the keys rolling and the saxs are honking. James Andrews steps up with some authentic feeling NO trumpet styling. This is a great party track and with warm organ work may be one of my favorite tracks on the release. Blues giant Shemekia Copeland joins the Dr on Sweet Hunk O'Trash and with a funky bottom gets you groovin fast. Hot funky instrumentals throughout this track make it another nice add. Memories Of You has Dr John in the lounge mode laid back with his piano with brilliant punctuation by Arturo Sandoval on trumpet. Hot sax work opens the last track on the release, When You're Smiling. With a definite Latin/Mardi Gras feel and the great Dirty Dozen Brass band, the party is leaving town. This is a fun release with some hot trumpet work.

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