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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 New West Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New West Records. Show all posts

Friday, February 24, 2023

New West Records artist: Angela Strehli - Ace of Blues - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Ace of Blues, by Angela Strehli and it's her best in years. Opening with Bobby Bland's Two Steps From The Blues and it's soulful presentation. Strehli's vocals are smooth as silk, backed by Mike Schermer on guitar, Steve Ehrmaann on bass, Kevin Hayes on drums, Mike Emerson on keys and a power horn section of Rob Sudduth on tenor sax, Johnnie Beaumont on bari sax, and Marvin McFadden on trumpet this is a fine opener. Funky track, Ace of Spades shows Strehli falling back into her R&B feel delivering "in spades" with cool trumpet highlights by McFadden. Schermer plays a beautiful intro on Gambler's Blues, setting a deep bluesy path for Strehli, supported by Jim Pugh on B3, Emerson on keys and Sudduth, Beaumont and McFadden on horns. Schermer really digs in on this track laying you back in your seat just cruisin. Very nice. Another fine soul track, Otis Clay's Trying To Live My Life Without You, holds true to the original with punchy horns and a tight bottom. Wrapping the release is Strehli's own, SRV, a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan. A strong radio ballad with a solid guitar solo, SRV is a smooth closer. 

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Friday, April 1, 2016

New West Records artist: Luther Dickinson - Blues & Ballads - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger's Songbook: Volume I & II) by Luther Dickinson and it is a pure delight! Opening with Othar Turner's Hurry Up Sunrise, Dickinson teams up with Turner's granddaughter, Sharde' Thomas for a country blues pop track with really nice slide and a tight rhythm. Excellent opener! Up Over Yonder features JJ Grey on vocal and greasy slide work from Jason Isbell which adds real grit. Dickinson's own guitar work, bass by Amy LaVere and Thomas on drums round out this super track. Bang Bang Lulu is a really cool track with a New Orleans feel. Dickinson's own piano and slide work, along with fiddle by Lillie Mae Rische, and Paul Taylor on tub bass gives this track an excellent vibe. Super! Moonshine is an easy paced folk ballad with light, straight up acoustic picking and Dickinson on lead vocal. His slide work on this track again slides giving it a warm homey feel. Jackson is a well constructed folk ballad with simple acoustic accompaniment. This is just pure music. Mean Ol' Wind Died Down is a track that I would say sounds quite a bit like Othar with it's structure, snare drum, duet vocal and fife by Thomas and Dickinson on guitar. Very nice! How I Wish My Train Would Come has a strong melody and with secondary vocals by Thomas, B3 by Charles Hodges and Dickinson on guitar and mandolin, a very nice track. Ain't No Grave was written by Dickinson after the passing of his father. Mavis Staples joins on vocals on this eerie track and Will Sexton on acoustic guitar with Luther taking the prime vocal position and adding beautiful slide work. Excellent! Let It Roll is a very cool jam in spiritual form with a blend of B3, piano and slide guitar, breaking into very bluesy/gospel style melody featuring Thomas and Dickinson. One of my absolute favorites on the release! My Leavin' features Jimbo Mathus on banjo under Dickinson on lead vocal with Thomas on second vocal and fife. Very cool! Horseshoe (Reprise) is an excellent jam with Dickinson on coffe can diddley bo, Jimmy Crosthwait on washboard, Paul Taylor on tub bass and Thomas on fife. Excellent! Blues track, Highwater (Soldier) has a heavy kick drum bottom and lead diddley bo slide work balancing nicely with Dickinson's vocals. And It Hurts is a quiet ballad with acoustic guitar accompaniment, fiddle by Rische and some of the softest vocals on the release. Very nice! Storm, another ballad, has an unsettling melody reinforced by Dickinson's slide work. Dickinson is a master of tension and blending which is well exhibited here. Mojo, Mojo has a solid hill country sound with a raw unpolished feel. Dickinson's vocals, complimented by Thomas, his own guitar and the fiddle work of Rische make for a solid folk track. Very nice! Ol' Cannonball has a pure country blues feel with shuffle brushes by Thomas. This track just flows like water from a stream, natural and pure. A gritty blues number, Devilment, has a great primitive feel with unpolished vocals, raw slide and rudimentary drums. Excellent! Blow Out sounds like an early rocker with simple percussion and Dickinson's driving vocal and guitar work. Very cool! Mayor Langford Birmingham Blues is a really country blues track and another of my favorites on the release. Dickinson's vocals and guitar pickin is well complimented by Rische on fiddle and Dominic Davis on bass. Excellent! Shake (Yo Mama) has a real mountain country feel mixed with a city rock blues. The raw blending of vocals and mandolin, Jimbo Mathus on banjo and Alvin Youngblood on guitar is seriously cool! Wrapping the release is Horseshoe, with Dickinson on acoustic guitar and vocal. His playing technique is nicely showcased on this track making it a perfect conclusion to an excellent release!

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Friday, February 6, 2015

New West Records artist: Terraplane - Steve Earle & The Dukes - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Terraplane, from Steve Earle and its a cool mixture of blues, country and all Earle! Opening with easy shuffle track, Baby Baby Baby, Earle leads off with vocal and harp and Chris Masterson laying in some cool guitar riffs. You're The Best Lover I Ever Had has a real rural country blues feel with acoustic guitar and rudimentary percussion by Will Rigby. A cool pace, catchy melody and Eleanor Whitmore on fiddle makes for a great radio track. The Tennessee Kid opens with a storied talk but quickly emerges as a driving boogie. This is a real cool song with a lot of musical tension. Excellent! Ain't Nobody's Daddy Now is a free wheelin' blues track primarily featuring Earle on guitar and Whitmore on fiddle. Nice track. Better Off Alone is a somber ballad more fully orchestrated with Kelly Looney on bass and low cello like violin sound and Earle's vocals complimented by Masterson with a cool guitar solo. The Usual Time is a casual shuffle with Earle on vocal and harp, Whitmore and Rigby on drums driving the track. Real nice feel. Go Go Boots Are Back has more of a country flavor and only minimal discretionary instrumentation. Just a good solid track. Acquainted With The Wind actually puts me in mind of early British rock blues but stripped down and countrified. Very cool! Baby's Just As Mean As Me is an easy stepper with a feel of the 40's. Whitmore shares vocal lead with Earl and does a really nice job. Her fiddle playing is nicely featured on this track as well. Gamblin' Blues is a cool finger picked blues track with only light percussion and Earle on vocal. Very nice! Wrapping the release is King Of The Blues, a swampy blues track with heavy a single note bass line. Cool understated guitar soloing and a steady drum beat by Rigby makes this a great closure to a really cool release.

  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”


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Luther Dickinson - Rock 'n Roll Blues

Rock 'n Roll Blues
Dear Music Lovers —
You all know Luther Dickinson from the North Mississipi Allstars — the world-boogie power trio that has been touring the world and breaking down barriers for more than a decade now.  You may also know Luther from his work with the South Memphis String Band, or his two Grammy-nominated solo albums.
New West Records has just released Luther's latest, ROCK 'n ROLL BLUES.  Luther describes it as "folk country punk blues."  It's acoustic guitar, upright bass, drums and vocals, recorded directly to 8-track tape at Zebra Ranch, the Dickinson family studio in Coldwater, Mississippi.  Helping out are celebrated Memphis actress/singer-songwriter Amy Lavere (bass, vocals), Otha Turner's granddaughter Sharde Thomas (drums, fife, vocals), and longtime cohort Lightning Malcolm (bass, drums). By the way, these drums are just drums — there is not a cymbal on the entire record!
Anyone who knows anything about Jim Dickinson and his sons understands that the mark of the rebel is deeply embedded in their DNA.  When Luther and Cody Dickinson produced the first North Mississippi Allstars album in 2000, they took traditional hill country blues, amped it up, gave it a mighty twist to the left, and proceeded to demolish what was left of any pigeonholes people had in mind for them.  Luther has always created music from his heart, without trying to fit into a mold or cater to anyone else’s expectations.  ROCK 'n ROLL BLUES is a superb and timely addition to Luther’s musical canon, rolling up the punk rock exuberance of his early years and the blues and folk music traditions that are his birthright into a careening autobiographical album, full of wit, irony, and joy.
Needless to say, this album covers a lot of ground stylistically. For those of you looking for BLUES CONTENT, may I suggest:
Track 3: YARD MAN
It's a finger-picked country blues reminiscent of Sid Selvidge and Jimmie Rodgers, telling the story of a musician who is not inclined to cut the overgrown lawn, no matter what his old lady says:  "I ain't no yard man, ain't no yard man's son / Got a pocket full-a money, she won't pay to get it done / Bought a ridin' lawn mower, the dirty sumbitch won't run..."
This is pure Juke Joint Punk Blues, with Luther rocking the one-string coffee can Diddley Bo. It also has the distinction of being his 4-year-old daughter's favorite song.
Track 5: MOJO MOJO
The hypnotic, marching groove of MOJO MOJO features Sharde Thomas singing background vocals and playing the cane fife that belonged to her grandather, the late, great Otha Turner.
To hear and/or buy the album, CLICK the links below:
Luther is currently on tour with Southern Soul Assembly, which features Luther Dickinson, Anders Osborne, JJ Grey (of MOFRO), and Marc Broussard — see tour dates below. 
Thanks and Best To All,
  — Richard Rosenblatt
     Vizzable Music / VizzTone label group
Release date 3/18/2014
some early press..

Rollicking, raw and teeming with palpable punk energy one minute, laid back and burning with the tranquil beauty of a southern sunset ...Made with just acoustic guitar, vocals, stand-up bass and drums, the album of acoustic punk country blues offers a side of Luther seldom seen before.
    — New Releases Now

The music on Luther’ Dickinson’s Rock and Roll Blues is every bit as earthy and organic as its cover art would suggest- a guitar planted in an expanse of verdant countryside. Teeming with the spontaneity of the moment, the album is a series of pithy vignettes extracted from every phase of this not-so-young man’s life, back before he formed the North Mississippi Allstars carrying on through his current state as a family man and musician working regularly on a diverse roster of projects...  Its subdued acoustic textures markedly different than the cauterizing electricity of The North Mississippi Allstars’ World Boogie is Coming, Rock and Roll Blues nevertheless vividly demonstrates the maturation process of the committed but fun-loving musician that is Luther Dickinson, wholly and completely of a piece with previous solo endeavors such as Onward and Upward as well as Hambone’s Meditations.
    — Glide
Luther Dickinson's new solo album, Rock 'n Roll Blues, will be released March 18 on New West Records. Made with just acoustic guitar, vocals, stand up bass and drums, the album of self described "folk punk country blues" offers a side of Luther seldom seen before. From the propulsive beat and unbridled sound of opener "Vandalize" to the rambunctious acoustic strut and barbed chorus hook of "Bar Band," which relives Luther's dues-paying youth playing battles of the bands and plastering Memphis with concert flyers to "Blood 'n Guts," chronicling the transience of a life spent in a van driving from one gig to the next, it's clear this is a unique chapter in the acclaimed Southern musician's songbook.
     — Guitar Player
In this climate of over produced, slicked up Americana, Dickinson’s dialed down approach is charming, rustic, uncluttered and delivered with the honesty of a guy who wouldn’t know how to do it any other way.
    — Hal Horowitz, American Songwriter
Because a lot of great songs have been written about the crossroads, but none of 'em cover what happens next quite like this: "Got the busted eardrum, bad news baby, bloodsuckin' bed bug, rock 'n roll blues."

    — Andy Langer: The Best Songs Of March 2014 - Esquire

Apr 05 • T Bois Blues Festival 2014 • Cut Off, LA

Apr 07 • Texas Union Ballroom • Austin, TX

Apr 08 • House Of Blues • Boston, MA

Apr 09 • Concert Hall, Norwalk City Hall • Norwalk, CT

Apr 10 • The Grand Opera House • Wilmington, DE

Apr 12 • Howard Theatre • Washington, DC

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New West Records artists: Delbert & Glen - Blind, Crippled And Crazy - New Release Review

I just received the new release (June 18, 2013); Blind, Crippled And Crazy; From Delbert (McClinton) & Glen (Clark) and it's good rip roaring fun! Opening with the tongue in cheek, Been Around A Long Time, a great lyrical track with a bit of country and a bit of rock, The band is a who's who including Gary Nicholson on guitar, Tom Hambridge on drums, Bob Britt on guitar, Kevin McKendree and Bruce Katz on keys. This track is way sophisticated for "country music" but with a great country swing attitude it really is a fun track! Up tempo 2 stepper, Whoever Said It Was Easy, brings a smile to your face as it is obvious that D&G are having as much fun making this track as I am listening to it. A slick country pickin guitar solo sets off nicely in the middle of the track but this is really all about the singers and this is entertainment. Oughta Know, featuring Anson Funderburgh, has a real Texas lope to it and of course lots of really tasty guitar. This is a great track that happens to feature great guitar licks by the master. World of Hurt has a real solid strut to it and a slick guitar solo accenting a really cool vocal arrangement. Someone To Love You is another great rocker featuring D&G's voices in tandem and hot little guitar riffs sprinkled throughout. Sure Feels Good is a laid back track again showing the magic of D&G's voices together. A nice harp solo by McClinton on this track breaks the duet and leads to individual vocal bridges. Steel guitar work on this track also gives it a bit of a country flair. Peace In The Valley really starts to broach on funk sounding like a Billy Preston track. This is a happy go lucky track with individual lead singing, fat guitar riffs and cool funky piano filler. There is also a short slide solo on this track adding a bit more paint to an already colorful palette. Peace In The Valley is a great country rocker with driving guitar with piano pushing the vocalists to a higher level. I really like this track and rate it among the best on the release. Good As I Feel Today has a distinctive New Orleans sound and the vocal blend is great. I also want to mention that I especially like the piano work on this particular track. The final track on the release, If I Could Be Your Lover, is really different with a Spanish twist. Acoustic guitar backing as well as really nice nylon string guitar soloing played against beautiful violin work makes this a great finish to a really interesting new release.

  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!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New West Records artist: Randall Bramblett - The Bright Spots - New Relese Review

I just received the newest release, The Bright Spots, by Randall Bramblett and it shows Brambletts talents as a singer, songwriter, band leader and instrumentalist. Opening with Roll, a springy pop track, Bramblett puts forward a real catchy radio track. 'Til The Party's All Gone is a snappy, jazz rock track that also has a catchy hook and great instrumentation. My Darling One is a special track and one of my favorites on the release. Bramblett hits his stride vocally and the track is very strongly written, reminding me of one of my favorite Mike D 'Abo tracks, Handbags and Gladrags, (better known by Rod Stewart and Chris Farlow). This song has real sensitivity that I rarely see in music. Whatever That Is, a bluesy track finds a nice groove and also allows Tom Bukovac space to lay down a hot guitar solo. John The Baptist is a mix of numerous world components but has a strong gospel influence which is very cool. Michael Steele, Betsy Franck, Adam McKnight and Tom Ryan provide strong vocal backing on this track. Trying to Steal A Minute has a real solid bottom by Michael Rhodes, Gerry Hansen and Dylan Hansen. A really cool (in a cool way) track with a laid back attack, is a sneaky strong entry on this album. Again, Bramblett's vocals on this track are really super. Bukovac plays an unconventional but tasty guitar solo and Bramblett hits the horn for a quick dose as well. You Bring Me Down shows strong gospel and soul influences and both horn and vocal compliments are really spot on. Bramblett really brings on the sax to punctuate a strong moving entry. Rumbling Bridge, the closing number, has a jazz rock "Steely Dan" feel and I think it will also be a strong entry for radio play. It's good to hear Bramblett back on tape and doing well  

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!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Delbert McClinton & Glen Clark reunite for album after 40 years, New West Records June 18

Delbert & Glen . . .
Blind, Crippled And Crazy, co-produced by Gary Nicholson,
due out June 18 on New West Records, blends masterful songwriting,
musical maturity and down-home humor
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Three-time Grammy winner Delbert McClinton’s 28th album Blind, Crippled and Crazy, set for release on June 18 on New West Records, blends R&B, country, blues and rock ’n’ roll with humor, heart and roadhouse virtuosity. The disc also reunites McClinton with his longtime friend and musical running partner Glen Clark, making these 12 songs the first time the seminal roots music duo Delbert & Glen have recorded since 1973.
“We’ve always had an amazing rapport as musicians and friends, but we’ve been off living our own lives,” McClinton explains. “For the last decade Glen and me have been talking about doing another album, and everything fell into place last year here in Nashville with my songwriting partner Gary Nicholson.”
Besides co-writing several tracks, Nicholson co-produced the LP with McClinton and Clark and played guitar alongside drummer Tom Hambridge, fellow six-stringer Bob Britt, keyboardists Kevin McKendree and Bruce Katz, and other members of McClinton’s touring band as well as blues guitar hero Anson Funderburgh, who guests on “Oughta Know,” a hot-licks fest penned by McClinton’s son Clay.
Blind, Crippled And Crazy’s opening Texas shuffle “Been Around a Long Time” sets a reverberating tone of self-deprecating humor, as does the album’s title.
“We’re a couple guys who started playing together in ragtag bands around Fort Worth in the ’60s,” Clark relates, “so we like to poke some fun at ourselves for being older now.”
Clark picked up the tune’s tag line many years ago from a feisty 102-year-old woman in Arkansas, who told him, “Sonny, I ain’t old. I’ve just been around a long time,” and the song finally emerged during the disc’s 2011 writing sessions.
The loping and textured “More and More, Less and Less” resonates similarly as it dismisses the excesses of youth, although its acoustic guitar bedrock and the yearning timbre of McClinton’s vocal performance and his haunting harmonica solo add poignancy, too.
“The bottom line is that we’re still bulldogs on a pork chop, but our teeth are ground down, so it takes longer to chew that thing up,” Clark says, chuckling a bit. “But we still get it right down to the bone.”
That also explains the amount of sheer growl in Blind, Crippled And Crazy’s grooves. “World of Hurt” is a snarling six-string rocker about biting heartbreak, and “Good as I Feel Today” rings like a great lost Little Feat number — although McClinton and Clark come by its drawling melody, swaggering rhythm and buttery slide guitar via their own assimilation of R&B, blues, country and nascent rock in the 1950s and early ’60s.
They were schooled by the sounds of Ray Charles, Charles Brown, Little Richard, Bob Wills, Elvis Presley and Hank Williams courtesy of the radio and their siblings’ record collections. Then they graduated to playing the roadhouses of their native Texas.
Musical mutual admiration rapidly followed. “Delbert was the first great singer I ever saw in person, so he’s always been one of my biggest influences,” Clark relates. In turn, McClinton testifies that “Glen is one of the few people I can really duet with. Our phrasing just compliments each other, and our voices sound great together. I have more fun singing with Glen than anybody else.”
Clark left Texas in the early ’70s for the lure of Los Angeles’ big-time music business, and after a while McClinton followed. Soon the collaborators landed a record deal and cut two albums, 1972’s Delbert & Glen and the follow-up Subject to Change. Both of these now-hard-to-find classics plumbed the same turf as Blind, Crippled And Crazy, albeit in the sweeter vocal registers of younger men.
McClinton’s “B Movie Box Car Blues” from Delbert & Glen was re-cut six years later by the Blues Brothers for the double-platinum-selling Briefcase Full of Blues and has become a standard of the genre. In a twist of fate, Clark would later play keyboards with the Blues Brothers after becoming music director for Jim Belushi in 1997.
Delbert and Glen began their four-decade hiatus after both men moved back to Texas separately to follow romance and their solo careers. Clark returned to Los Angeles in 1977. He became a popular songwriter, authoring tunes for Rita Coolidge, Etta James, Loretta Lynn, Wynonna Judd, Kris Kristofferson and many others. He also hit the road with his keyboards, touring with Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and others before beginning his dozen years with Belushi, which included nine years as composer for the sitcom According to Jim.
Of course, McClinton became an international star in the realms of blues and traditional country music, cross-pollinating the genres into his own unique sound. Since 1980, when his sixth solo album The Jealous Kind sparked the top 10 hit “Givin’ It Up for Your Love,” he has remained one of the most respected figures in American roots music. In 1992 the man who gave John Lennon his first harmonica lesson — when McClinton toured England in the early ’60s as part of Bruce Channel’s band — won his first Grammy Award, for the duet “Good Man, Good Woman” with Bonnie Raitt. That was followed by a second win in 2003 for Nothing Personal in the Best Contemporary Blues Album Category. In 2006, he won a third Grammy for his Cost of Living album. McClinton’s songs have also been recorded by a who’s who of country music royalty including Vince Gill, Wynonna Judd, Garth Brooks, Emmylou Harris, Martina McBride and Trisha Yearwood.
Over the decades his blend of soaring blue-eyed soul singing sprinkled with red Texas dust, the emotional wealth of his songwriting and his command of virtuoso supporting ensembles has built McClinton a wildly avid fan base in the United States and Europe. They are nearly like Deadheads in their willingness to travel to repeated shows and their level of support. Each January they turn the Delbert McClinton & Friends Sandy Beaches Cruise, a weeklong music festival he hosts aboard luxury liners, into a sell-out.
“The bottom line is, at this point I don’t believe in doing anything that’s not fun,” McClinton says, “and recording Blind, Crippled And Crazy was a blast. Me and Gary, who I’ve known for 40 years starting back in Texas, handpicked every musician on the record and made sure every song was perfect. The title, from the old soul tune, is something I’ve wanted to use for years. And singing with Glen again — between the way our voices mix and his sense of humor — makes me excited about us taking this music out on the road together.
“I’ve got a good deal in life,” McClinton continues. “I’ve got a lot of good people for fans who support me — although I’ve won over each of them one-by-one on the road. I can pick and choose whatever I want to do. And I’ve never had to keep a job for long, thank God, because jobs stink. I know. I’ve had a lot of them, and I know why I got fired from every one. And believe me, making this album and singing these songs with Glen is nothing like a job.”
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