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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 Mike Wheeler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mike Wheeler. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Severn Records artist: Mud Morganfield - They Call Me Mud - New release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, They Call Me Mud, from Mud Morganfield and it's got deep soul roots. Opening with title track, They Call Me Mud, Mud Morganfield, son of the great Muddy Waters shows his own take on the blues with a funky R&B twist. A high stepper with punchy horns by Phil Perkins on trumpet and Michael Jackson on sax this is a cool opener. On 48 Days, a soulful blues number Muds vocals are compelling and stylistic guitar riffs by Billy Flynn add real pepper. Mud's vocals on Cheatin' is Cheatin' coupled with E.G. McDaniel's bass work puts one in mind of the great Curtis Mayfield and his quiet soul wailing. Very nice. Muddy's Howling Wolf is definitely straight out of dad's catalog with traditional vocal styling, strong harp from Studebaker John and super Muddy slide emulation by Billy Flynn. Excellent! Another smooth R&B track and one of my favorites on the release is Who Loves You with Lashunda Williams on backing vocals. Smooth styling and just the right amount of rhythm makes this a strong contender for radio play. Shuffle track, Rough Around The Edge has a real nice feel with smart brass work by Perkins and a super bass work by McDaniel leading to real nice piano soloing by Sumito Ariyo Ariyoshi. Flynn gives he guitar a nice ride, paired with Studebaker John for one of the coolest jams on the release. Wrapping the recording is Mud's Groove, a cool War like smooth track featuring Billy Branch on harp and Bryant "T" Parker on percussion. This isn't the sound that I would immediately associate with the name Morganfield, but I like it!



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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Delmark Records artist: Mike Wheeler Band - Turn Up!! - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Turn Up!!, from the Mike Wheeler Band, and it cranks! Opening with high energy R&B style blues number, Sweet Girl, Wheeler leads the way with his silky vocals on call and his guitar on response. Brian James on organ lays out a real nice solo and Wheeler follows with a energetic solo, backed by Larry Williams on bass, Cleo Cole on drums and great horn work by Kenny Anderson on trumpet and Hank Ford on sax. Another modern fusion of R&B and blues follows on You Won't Do Right, showing that Wheeler's vocals are every bit as solid as his guitar work. Funky, Yeah!, has a real nice feel with James' keyboard work and a lot of punch from the horns. Wheeler takes a real nice ride on his strat with just a minimal amount of wah on his sound. Very cool! Heavy bottomed, Brand New Cadillac, is one of my favorites on the release with a lot of rhythmic swagger and powerful blues rock guitar riffs. Excellent! Shuffle track, Talking To Myself, has a super swing and cool organ work by James. Light fingered guitar work by Wheeler compliments his vocals nicely. Really kicking up the R&B high stepping, the horns are pumped and ready on title track, Turn Up!!. On easy soul track, Nothing Lasts Forever, Wheeler guides the band with smooth vocals surrounded by warm backing vocals and nice guitar phrasing. Taking his guitar for a nice ride on this track, Wheeler continues to show his various expressive styles. With a New Orleans flair, I Can't Do That, has a super drum beat and a super cool piano solo. Wheeler steps up with really nicely crafted blues riffs giving the track a real bite. Nice! Living My Dream is a funky R&B rocker with really nice guitar work popped by the horn guys. Hot blues number, A Blind Man Can See, slows down the pace but cranks up the heat. Wheeler again demonstrates his soulful voice with only light keys, bass and drums. Excellent blues riffs roll off of his fretboard once he lets his guitar do his talking really smoking up the place. Very nice! Coming back to the funk, That's What Love Will Make You Do, is a tight, organ, drum, bass and rhythm guitar backing for Wheeler's vocals. Stepping up with fiery guitar riffs and Cole's drum work, this track is hot. Williams steps up with a smoker of a bass solo of his own making this a real standout track. Kicker, I'm Hooked, has a terrific rolling beat and Wheeler's vocals are so smooth at this pace. Organ backing and horn punch provides an excellent platform for Wheelers' stinging guitar riffs. Very nice! Wrapping the release is Sad State Of The World, with a real slinky blues feel and cool piano and organ tracks. Wheeler's vocals are top notch and Williams' bass lines are spot on. The guitar phrasing on this track is really sweet, reminding me a bit of Vernon Reid. With just a tough of gospel influence, this is a super closer for a solid release.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Delmark artist: Omar Coleman - Born & Raised - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Born & Raised, by Omar Coleman and this guy can sing! Opening with Shuffle track, Tryin' To Do Right, Coleman exhibits his solid vocals and harp work complimented by Pete Galanis on guitar, Neal O'Hara on keys, Ari Seder on bass ad Marty Binder on drums. Man Like Me has a pure Chicago sound with nice harp work from Coleman and a tasty guitar solo from Toronzo Cannon. Funky Sit Down Baby is anchored by O'Hara's organ work and nicely driven by Seder and Binder. Coleman rides the top with great vocal style and Galanis pops off some stinging riffs along with Colemans harp work pulling the track together. Soulful, I Was A Fool, blends a light funk and soul into the blues for a really strong track. Guest guitarist Mike Wheeler plays some really soulful riffs on this track, making it one of my favorites on the release. A bit more funky, Wishing Well, has a down right limp. It gets so funky you may need an air freshner and Wheeler is right there with fluid guitar riffs keeping the track tight on. Rocker, Slow Down Baby, finds Dave Herrero laying down a solid Chuck Berry riff and O'Hara rides the 88's as Coleman delivers on vocal and harp. Herrera rips a nice solo on this track making Coleman holler for help! Cool track! Another funky track, Lucky Man, with perfect drum riffs by Binder digs a real nice groove. Galanis plays a perfect response to Coleman's vocal call and O'Hara lays right in the groove on organ. Galanis steps up with heated guitar riffs giving the track another dimension altogether making this another favorite on the release. Upbeat shuffle track, You Got A Hold On Me, opens with a real nice harp intro from Coleman. Cannon's back setting the pace with a nice guitar lead and Binders drums are particularly crisp. The coolest harp work on the release falls right into place on this one making it the complete package. Title track, Born & Raised, is a high stepper with Coleman keeping his feet high. Galanis rips a real nice guitar solo on this one over the wah wah rhythm. Very cool! Slow soul track, One Request is the most memorable melody on the track making it my choice for radio track of the release. I really like Coleman's vocal leads on this track and the light organ support by O'Hara on this track is perfect. His piano work is nicely presented, Seder's bass hand is right there and Binder is spot on. Again Galanis steps up with a nice guitar solo on this track but just enough to emphasize the dynamics on the track. Nicely done. Funky jazz track, Tell Me What You Want, has a nice bass line from Seden which really sets the table for me. Coleman's vocal phrasing on the track as well as his harp work is nicely complimented by hot guitar riffs from Herrero. New Orleans infused, I Know You Been Cheating, has an almost rhumba feel with a nice harp solo from Coleman. Seder on snare and O'Hara on piano really emphasize the cultural richness and Galanis throws down a tasty solo to ice the cake. Wrapping the release is full out jazz track, Raspberry Wine, with Coleman showing that his vocals can carry off even the more challenging style. Galanis steps up again with a real nice guitar solo on a carrier of organ and piano by O'Hara. O'Hara pulls off a real nice solo of his own on organ and then as is traditional Coleman steps back up to take the track home and the band joins in on vocals. Really nice closer.  

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Delmark artist: Mike Wheeler - Self Made Man - New Release Review

I just received a copy of the newest release, Self Made Man, from Mike Wheeler and it literally does have it all! Wheeler is a first rate soul style singer who can hold his own with just about anyone. The first track out of the gate is Here I Am, a funky blues track where Wheeler not only excels on vocal but rips out some awesome guitar riffs. This is a R&B style blues/dance track and it is a mover. Wheeler is backed by an extremely tight band of Brian James (keys), Larry Williams (bass), Cleo Cole (drums) and Omar Coleman (harp). Big Mistake is a great swing blues with a great tempo, well placed guitar riffs and strong key work from James. The title track, Self Made Man, another track based in R&B but with a funk edge really highlights Wheelers voice and guitar playing with harp by Coleman. It's really noticeable the similarities from Albert King in both guitar and singing styles. Wheeler has his own voice and guitar style but there are some of Albert's qualities present in the recordings. I'm Missing You has a cool shuffle rhythm and again Wheelers voice is sweet. James plays a nice organ bottom and solo on this track and Wheeler steps up again with a rippin guitar solo. Join Hands is a R&B track with some really heavy funk bass by Williams. Wheeler shows his versatility on guitar playing riffs that have a more jazz phrasing. Next up is Willie Dixon's Let Me Love You Baby with a modern jazz blues twist. James plays the Rhodes with a Ramsey Lewis flair adding great depth to this track. Wheeler comes back with some fleet foot guitar riffs and keeps the track sounding fresh. You're Doing Wrong is a terrific blues track to allow Wheeler the base to sing over but also a great basis to squeeze some really hot riffs from his Les Paul. This is a hot track and is the highlight of the package for me. Walkin' Out The Door is a light BB King phrased blues track. It has that happy rhythm and Wheeler of course taking his own route on guitar. On Get Your Mind Right, Cole sets the pace with a strong lead hi-hat rhythm and Wheelers singing style is a perfect compliment for this R&B style blues track. Coleman plays some nice back side harp on this track as well leaving plenty of room for Wheeler to stretch out on guitar. On I Don't Like It Like That, we got some funky blues and Wheeler get's right into the slot. Wheeler is best known as a guitar slinger (which he absolutely is)but his man could be lead vocalist for just about any band he would choose. Vocals are great. On Moving Forward Williams leads the way with some cosmic bass lines and we got us a progressive funk/blues track. Wheeler demonstrates that he knows what to do with any bottom presented to him flaming everything in his path with his searing solos. Wrapping up the recording is I'm Working which is an uptempo R&B style blues again with a funk bottom and well phrased guitars galore. This is a cool finish for this great cd. I think anyone but hard core delta blues enthusiasts would find this a terrific recording.

  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 favorite band!