CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

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!


Please email me at Info@Bmansbluesreport.com
Showing posts with label Michael Mudcat Ward. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Mudcat Ward. Show all posts

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Severn Records artist: Sugar Ray and the Bluetones featuring Little Charlie - Too Far From The Bar - New Release Review


 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Too Far From The Bar, by Sugar Ray and the Bluetones featuring Little Charlie and it's heaping dose of Chicago style blues. Opening with shuffle track, Don't Give No More Than You Can Take, featuring Sugar Ray Norcia on lead vocal and harmonica and the great Little Charlie Baty on lead guitar. This is one of the last recordings of Baty who passed away in March of this year. Norcia's vocals are always great and his harmonica playing is first class, backed by Anthony Geraci on keys, Michael Mudcat Ward on bass and Neil Gouvin on drums. Swinging piano boogie, and title track, Too Far From The Bar really hits the groove with Geraci leading the way and Norcia on piano. Baty takes a great solo run showing just how tight his riffs were. Excellent! Instrumental. Reel Burner is a super harmonica track with Norcia barely taking a breath. Stilladog take notice. This track hums! Rock and Roller, My Next Door Neighbor is a vocal workout for Norcia and Baty spanks the fretboard with 50's style riffs over Geraci's piano wizardry a thumping bass and brushed drums. More smooth and a lot more jazzy, What I Put You Through, is one of my favorites on the release with excellent piano work from Geraci under glistening guitar work by Baty and the excellent vocals of Norica. I have to mention Baty's work on jazz standard, I Gotta Right To Sing the Blues, where the entire band really shines but I gotta say, this track was made for Baty. Excellent! Returning to that classic Chicago styling, Walk Me Home is a cool shuffle with ample jam time for Geraci, Baty and Norcia. Very nice. Wrapping the release is an alternate take on Reel Burner. The is a real burner so it's a great kick in the pants to close the release with hot riffs by Norcia throughout. Very solid release. 


View Bman Blueswriter's profile on LinkedIn

  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”

 For added exposure - Blues World Wide Group "LIKE" 

  qrcode

“Like” Bman’s Facebook page and get support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gandy Dancer Records artist: Peter Ward - Blues On My Shoulders - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues On My Shoulders, from Peter Ward and it's quite good. Opening with solid shuffle, She Took It All, Peter Ward on guitar and lead vocal sets a great pace with Mudcat Ward on bass, Neil Gouvin on drums and Sugar Ray Norcia on harp. Excellent opener. Surf rocker, Which Hazel, is a solid rocker along the lines of Chuck Berry with a strong surf twist. Clever lyrics and guitar riffs by Ward give this track a lot of gas. On title track, Blues On My Shoulders, Anthony Geraci adds nice piano and I particularly love the guitar work by Monster Mike Welch. Collaborate is all about lush chords and sassy sax and Ward's guitar work with Sax Gordon Beadle's sax work is just that. Excellent! Shuffle track, It's On Me is another outstanding entry on the release with a hot sax solo from Beadle and hot fingering from Ronnie Earl and Ward. Very nice. Southpaw is a hot number with a smoking B3 solo from Rusty Scott, solid bass work from George Dellomo, and hot guitar riffs by Ward.  One of my personal favorites on the release is jump track, Kansas City Blues featuring great vocals, a strong bass line by Joe Delia and really nice soloing by Ward. Wrapping the release is Drummin' Willie, about Willie Big Eyes Smith with Neil Gouvin on druma, Mudcat on bass and Sugar Ray Norcia on harp. This is a strong release with a lot of cool surprises. Check it out. 

View Bman Blueswriter's profile on LinkedIn

  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”

 For added exposure - Blues World Wide Group "LIKE" 

  qrcode

“Like” Bman’s Facebook page and get support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE

Monday, August 28, 2017

Boston-Based Guitarist Peter Ward Sets October 20 Release Date for His New CD, "Blues on My Shoulders," on Gandy Dancer Records; Special Guests Include Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones and Sax Gordon Beadle



Boston-Based Guitarist Peter Ward Sets October 20 Release Date for His New CD, Blues on My Shoulders, on Gandy Dancer Records

Special Guests Include Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones and Sax Gordon Beadle

BOSTON, MA – Guitarist Peter Ward announces an October 20 release date for his new CD, Blues on My Shoulders, on Gandy Dancer Records. Besides Ward on guitar and vocals, special guests on the new disc include multiple Blues Music Award-winning guitar legend Ronnie Earl, Sax Gordon Beadle on sax and the members of Sugar Ray and the Bluetones: Sugar Ray Norcia (vocals and harmonica), “Monster” Mike Welch (guitar), Anthony Geraci (piano), Michael “Mudcat” Ward (Peter’s brother – bass) and Neil Gouvin (drums). 

“It pleases me to present Blues on My Shoulders, my first solo project,” Peter Ward says about the new album. “I wrote the words and music to 12 of the 13 songs. I grew up wearing out the vinyl records trying to understand how Robert Jr. Lockwood, Tiny Grimes, Louis Meyers and Jimmy Rogers made songs sound so good. It's what I wanted to do. I was lucky to sit in often with my friend (and former roommate) Ronnie Earl and play alongside many of my musical heroes. A highlight was touring with the Legendary Blues Band: Joe Willie ‘Pinetop’ Perkins, Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, Calvin ‘Fuzz’ Jones and Jerry Portnoy, who had brilliantly backed Muddy Waters for years. The way they played blues was everything I believed in, then and now. Willie Smith was an inventive drummer — and a wily character. I pay tribute to him in the song, ‘Drummin' Willie.’ The track ‘Which Hazel’ is my homage to Chuck Berry. Sugar Ray Norcia honored me by singing the heck out of ‘Collaborate,’ a tribute to Lockwood and Lonnie Johnson. I appreciate that Ronnie Earl and Sax Gordon Beadle accepted my invitation to perform on two songs: ‘A Little More’ and ‘It's On Me.’ ‘Southpaw’ is my ode to lesser-known left-handed swing guitarist Dickie Thompson, who worked with organist and front man Wild Bill Davis. My instrumental, ‘Shiprock,’ reminds me of a hallowed part of Navajo country I visited with my wife Mai Cramer, who died of breast cancer in 2002 and previously hosted a popular blues program every weekend for 24 years on WGBH-FM. She was an avid supporter of the blues and its purveyors. I think she would have liked Blues on My Shoulders. I hope you do.”

As a teenager growing up in Lewiston, Maine, Peter and his brother Michael (“Mudcat”) listened intently to blues records and went to see Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Taj Mahal and Hubert Sumlin whenever they performed in the area. Peter played blues with Mudcat and did gigs also with his younger brother Jeff, who died in 1991. “Jeff was too young to drink, but club owners would let him in so he could play bass with New York City drummer Ola Dixon and me,” Ward recalls.

Ward later moved to Boston and played in various bands, frequently sitting in with Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, who then featured his brother and Ronnie Earl, and backed blues artists such as Jimmy Rogers, Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson and Lowell Fulson.

“In the Big Apple, I was thrilled when Otis Rush told me I played chords like an ‘old man,’ Ward remembers. “In 1978, each week I drove across I-90 to Rochester, N.Y. to play blues for three nights with guitarist-vocalist Joe Beard. Beloved there, Joe had once been a neighbor of Son House. In the 1980s, I loved everything about touring with the Legendary Blues Band — the traveling and camaraderie, but especially the way we played blues in an unhurried, improvisational way. We recorded a CD for Rounder Records that featured Duke Robillard, whose brilliant guitar I had first heard at a high school dance.


“I married Mai Cramer, who spun records for Boston station WGBH-FM every weekend from 1978 until 2002, when she died of breast cancer. Her fans and I stage a fundraiser in her honor each spring for charity at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Mass. Headliners have included Jody Williams, Luther ‘Guitar Junior’ Johnson, Lurrie Bell, Ron Levy and Eddie Taylor, Jr. In 2010, I produced Goodbye Liza Jane: Hello Western Swing, a CD of western swing (a cousin to the blues) with Herb Remington, an original member of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. In recent years I've begun writing songs, as I culled the many snippets of melodies and phrases stuck in my mind. It's fun to turn thoughts into songs and then sing them while people dance. It's been a blast, and it's not over.”

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Severn Records Sets October 7 Release Date for "Seeing Is Believing," New CD from Acclaimed Sugar Ray & the Bluetones




Severn Records Sets October 7 Release Date for Seeing Is Believing, New CD from Acclaimed Sugar Ray & the Bluetones

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Severn Records announces an October 7 release date for Seeing Is Believing, the new CD from the acclaimed Sugar Ray & the Bluetones. Seeing Is Believing is the band’s seventh album for Severn Records and follows their highly-successful 2014 CD, Living Tear to Tear, which garnered them seven Blues Music Award nominations, including “Best Band,” plus individual nominations for Sugar Ray as “Traditional Male Blues Artist” and “Instrumentalist – Harmonica,” and a song nomination for “Things Could Be Worse.” At the most-recent Blues Music Awards in May, the group was again nominated for “Band of the Year,” as well as individual nominations for keyboardist Anthony Geraci, guitarist Monster Mike Welch and bassist Michael Mudcat Ward. Anthony Geraci’s album with The Boston Blues-All-Stars, Fifty Shades of Blue, received three additional nominations.

Produced by the band, the dozen tracks on Seeing Is Believing – 11 originals and a scintillating instrumental cover of B.B. King’s “You Know I Love You” – sweep out of the speakers with the power of a gale force wind, blowing with a transcendent groove. The band: Sugar Ray Norcia on lead vocals and harmonica, Monster Mike Welch on guitars, Anthony Geraci on pianos and Hammond organ, Michael Mudcat Ward on bass and Neil Gouvin on drums, never wastes any notes. From the opening Mississippi blues of “Sweet Baby,” that features Norcia's down-and-dirty harmonica and his signature blues growl, and the wink-and-a-nod jazz blues of “Misses Blues,” to the smoky lounge tune, “Not Me,”  Sugar Ray and the Bluetones wring out every emotion, demonstrating  just how blues ought to be played.

“We do this to have fun,” laughs Sugar Ray. “Every time we go into the studio or out on a road trip or onstage, we always say ‘let’s have some fun’.” It’s that spirit of keeping it loose and playing for the fun of it and simply letting the music carry them wherever it will that keeps Sugar Ray & the Bluetones burning up the musical landscape. As the band sings on the song, “Blind Date,” written by Norcia, “if you ain't having fun/you're doing something wrong.” Each player’s ability to step right up and plug right into the groove with his own musical vision for the song creates the overarching unity of the band’s music.

“We’re almost telepathic in the way we work together,” says Sugar Ray about the band’s communication, creating a unity that results in the band’s tightness. No notes ever get left on the floor, and Welch, Ward, Geraci, and Gouvin seem to know just when to come in with a riff or a beat and when not to. Monster Mike “understands me very well musically,” observes Sugar Ray; “so if I want to play a low-down blues, he has the part down and comes right in.” Mudcat knows the right things to do and the right things not to do, “and that last part might be even more important,” chuckles Norcia. It’s so refreshing to work with Anthony and Neil, too, Norcia says, because “they, like all of us, want to play this music right to pay homage to it.” This unity of musical vision and ability, says Norcia, is what “sets us apart.”

That musical oneness also grows out of the Bluetones’ time together. They just celebrated 35 years as a band. Monster Mike Welch is the “youngster” of the band, since he’s only been with the Bluetones for 16 years. Over those years, the band has put out many critically-acclaimed albums and garnered high honors; this past April, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones were inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame. In 2014, Sugar Ray received his third Grammy nomination (“Best Blues Album”) for his playing on Remembering Little Walter.

On Seeing is Believing, as on all their albums and at their shows, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones are having fun—and so will anyone who listens to any song on this new album—but they’re also paying homage to this “beautiful, wonderful genre of music.” This new album itself is a work of beauty and wonder, indeed, both paying tribute to the music of everyone from Muddy Waters, Otis Spann, and Little Walter to Louis Jourdan and Louis Armstrong. The sound is that big and that tight.

Websites: www.sugarrayandthebluetones.com                www.severnrecords.com


Itinerary
Aug 26 - Blues & BBQ Event, Webster, NY
Sept 2 - Blues In Hell Festival, Hell, Norway
Sept 4 - Harvest Time Blues Festival , Monaghan, Ireland
Sept 9 - Thunder Road, Somerville, MA
Sept 10 - The Knickerbocker Cafe, Westerly, RI
Sept 17 - Pennsylvania Blues Festival (Boston Blues All-Stars) Lake Harmony, PA
Sept 24 - Pitman’s Freight Room, Laconia, NH
Oct 1 - Crossroads Music Series, North Andover, MA
Nov 19 - Blackstone River Theater, Cumberland, RI
Nov 25 - Poland (Sugar Ray and the Bluetones with The Boston Blues All-Stars Featuring Anthony Geraci, Darrell Nulisch and Michelle Willson)
Nov 26 – Holland
Dec 2 - Blue Rooster, Sarasota, FL
Dec 3 - Bradenton Blues Festival, Bradenton, FL
Dec 7 – Englewood’s On Dearborn, Englewood, FL
Dec 8 - Wireless Blues Society Christmas Party, Dothan, AL
Dec 9 - Aces, Suncoast Blues Society Christmas Party, Bradenton, FL
Dec 10 - Eats and Beats, Parkland Amphitheater, Parkland, FL
Dec 16- Chans, Woonsocket, RI