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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 Omnivore Recordings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Omnivore Recordings. Show all posts

Friday, May 31, 2019

Omnivore Recordings artist: Johnny Shines - The Blues Came Falling Down - Live 1973 - New Relese Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Blues Came Falling Down - Live 1973, by Johnny Shines and it's rich in traditional blues. Playing during his career with Robert Johnson as well as Robert jr Lockwood, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Willie Dixon Shines is a lesser publicly known but spectacular blues man. Opening the never before released Live recording from 1973, with Big Boy Boogie shines starts this one man show with fleet fingered blues picking that will make you sit back with wonderment. Seems A Million Years, a strong delta blues track shows Shines is not only an accomplished guitar player but with a terrific voice, transitioning smoothly from his wonderful mid range singing voice to his nearly falsetto wailing as was prominent with James and Johnson among others. Very cool. On classic, Kind Hearted Woman, you find a perfect balance of Shines' singing and guitar work, both smooth as silk and uniquely Shines.  One of my favorite tracks on the release is Freddie King's, Have You Ever Loved A Woman where Shines really steps up his vocal game and using call and response plays his vocal against his guitar soloing. Another favorite is Happy Home with a tight recurring guitar riff and Shines' soulful wail coaxing on his fleet fingered soloing. Excellent! Someday Baby Blues has a special hand on the guitar and classic Shines vocals...yet another demonstration of his rich heritage. A rowdy cover of Sweet Home Chicago really got the crowd hopping. Shines demonstrating once again his fleet fingered picking. Excellent! Tuning his guitar down to a lower register and playing slide on Tell Me Mama, Shines really gets to the gritty part of his vocal range and a more guttural sound. With Elmore James style he slams the slide on the strings. Excellent! Shines starts the wrap up with fast paced, Goodbye Boogie and then the sensitive, How You Want Your Rollin' Done. Shines was a spectacular talent and we are indeed fortunate to have this new release of this live performance.



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Monday, April 15, 2019

Omnivore Recordings artist: Henry Townsend and Roosevelt Sykes - Blues Piano and Guitar - New release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues Piano and Guitar, live 1973 recordings of Henry Townsend and Roosevelt Sykes and it's really strong. Recorded live at Washington University, Graham Chapel, this is a great set. Opening with Townsend on Sloppy Drunk Again, the feel of a different era is alive and Townsend's percussive attack is a great accent for his perfect vocals. Tired Of Being Mistreated has great pace and Elmore style guitar riffs giving this track sensational life. Henry's Worry Blues is an excellent example of early blues with tight guitar riffs and excellent vocals. Roosevelt Sykes enters the stage with Night Time Is The Right Time and his distinctive piano style brings it all together. Piano boogie, Boot That Thing is one of my favorites on the first disc with excellent vocal and a great piano stretch. Dirty Mother For You (Don't You Know) is a humorous track by Sykes with solid piano work and vocal by Sykes. Contemporary blues listeners will recognize it as a standard in Buddy Guy's repertoire. Done Got Tired is an excellent Sykes/Townsend duet with Townsend on vocal and solid balanced soloing by both artists. I really love Sykes' dynamic piano work on Life Is A Puzzle. It's clean, bright and nicely accented. Another terrific piano boogie is Gulf Port Boogie. Sykes shows without a doubt why his style is popular. Henry's Guitar Boogie answers back with his own hot riffs getting the audience wound up. Vernell joins Henry on Tears Coming Rollin' Down, one of my certain favorites on disc two. Wrapping the release is Dangerous Man with Sykes on vocal and piano, This is a super conclusion for this 30 track set. Very nice. 

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Friday, March 1, 2019

Omnivore Recordings artist: Henry Townsend - Mule - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Mule, by Henry Townsend, and it's solid old school blues. Opening with Bad Luck Dice, Townsend is on vocal and piano laying down really strong piano blues. This is a great intro of things to come. Townsend's vocal wailing continues into Things Have Changed with terrific piano and added mandolin by Yank Rachell. On boogie piano track, The Old Man's Soul, Townsend changes it up a bit but it's all Townsend with signature piano style and vocals. Very nice. Vernell Townsend has excellent lead vocals on Tears Come Rollin' Down with additional guitar to henry by Norman Merritt. One of my favorite tracks on the release is It's A Hard Road To Travel with some of the more refined vocals by Townsend with smooth piano lead. Rachell joins Townsend on guitar on Talkin' Guitar Blues, another solid romping blues track with a cool jagged rhythm. Piano instrumental, Alley Strut is a cool piano boogie with Townsend on piano and in his traditional style. Excellent. Vernell is back up front on vocal with Henry on Can't You See. These two voices mesh together quite nicely with only jangly guitar behind. Rachell's mandolin playing on Dark Clouds Rising is very strong and again a superior vocal and piano effort by Henry. Another favorite is Nice and kind with crisp piano work and vocal by Henry. Rachell and Henry play guitar on Goin' Back Down South and with strong conviction, delivers super melodic vocals. Wrapping the release is Since You've Come Back Home with Henry on vocal and piano and Merritt on guitar. This is an excellent closer for a really strong early blues recording. This release has excellent fidelity and includes 8 previously unissued tracks. Very fine. 

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Omnivoire Recordings: Get Right - The Ru-Jac Records Story, Volume Two: 1964-1966 - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Get Right - The Ru_Jac Records Story, Volume Two: 1964-1966 and it's really super. Opening with Brenda Jones on It Must Be Love, we hear classic R&B with solid vocals and tight horn backing. On So Alone, Jones takes strong command of this super melody and orchestration. What More (Can Anyone Want) has a simple 60's Latin influence and strong vocal harmonies from Shirley of the Soul Sisters and Brother. Butch Cornell's Trio stretches out on a jazz fusioned instrumental, Goose Pimples. With super lead organ and tight bass/drum rhythm, this is great. Another more laid back instrumental by Cornell, Here 'Tis Now, has a great groove again allowing Cornell to ride high on organ. Excellent! Arthur Conley shows real authority on the demo for Whole Lotta Woman backed by piano. This is a terrific soul track. Shuffle track, Get Right is a great showcase for Bobby Sax & His House Keepers. With solid sax lead and light fingered electric guitar soloing over a walking bass line, super groove. Super saxy, Soul At Last, also by Bobby Sax is raspy and hot smoking blues. Very nice. Winfield Parker's demo, I Love You Just The Same shows the ultra expressive vocals of Parker, backed only with simple guitar rhythm. Raw and soulful. The Mask Man & The Cap-Tans set up Chicken Wings, a cool dance tune with pumped up sax and cool organ work over a snappy rhythm. Wrapping the release is another demo from Arthur Conley, Hiding Out In Blue Shadows, with only piano accompaniment and backing vocal. This is a strong closer for a really cool release. 

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Unheard music from Rev. Gary Davis 'The Avant Garde Recordings' coming from Omnivore Recordings on March 23rd













REVEREND GARY DAVIS: THE AVANT GARDE RECORDINGS:
 RECORDED LIVE — OCTOBER 1966
FROM OMNIVORE RECORDINGS
PORTRAYS BLUES LEGEND CAPTURED LIVE
AT THE PEAK OF THE LATE ’60s BLUES REVIVAL 
Two-CD and digital set, the first of many Avant Garde Coffeehouse offerings, 
features 22 previously unreleased tracks, plus liner notes by Bill Dahl
and an unheard interview with Rev. Davis in the digital version.
Street date March 23, 2018.


MILWAUKEE, Wis. — The Rev. Gary Davis, born in 1896 in the Piedmont region of Laurens, S.C., was a blues and gospel singer who played guitar, banjo, and harmonica and influenced a generation of blues revivalists in the ’60s and beyond — ranging from Dave Van Ronk to Keb’ Mo’. Following decades of playing the Carolinas and mentoring fellow musician Blind Boy Fuller, Davis was introduced to the American Recording Company, where he recorded the bulk of his pre-World War II work. In 1937, he became an ordained minister and released mainly gospel music. The late ’60s proved a career renaissance for the Reverend; he played to a new, largely white audience at the Newport Folk Festival. He died in 1972.
In late October of 1966, Davis was captured on a single microphone in the small Milwaukee coffeehouse called Avant Garde. Only open from 1962-1968, the Avant Garde featured everything from experimental film and poetry to some of the best blues and folk performers of the era. Rev. Davis rolled out his classics “Samson and Delilah,” “Jesus Met the Woman at the Well,” “You Got To Move,” “Twelve Gates to the City” and others in an intimate setting.
Omnivore Recordings will release this previously unavailable material as Reverend Gary Davis: The Avant Garde Recordings: Recorded Live — October 1966, a 2-CD set and Digital, on March 23, 2018. Musicologist Bill Dahl wrote the biographical liner notes along with memories of the venue by John Stropes of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Included as a bonus download is an interview with Rev. Davis after one of the shows. Produced by native Milwaukeean and Grammy Award-winning producer, Cheryl Pawelski with restoration and mastering by Grammy Award-winning engineer, Michael Graves, these spellbinding, never-before-heard recordings are a revealing addition to his recorded legacy. 
In his notes, Stropes wrote: “The Avant Garde Coffeehouse, founded by Harold Strohmeier in 1962, was the locus of the folk/blues revival in Wisconsin. There were places like this in other geographic areas, but, in Wisconsin, none as important as the Avant Garde…The proximity to the Chicago electric blues scene provided a distinctive mix of performers. Patrons regarded the music with the same seriousness and respect given to classical music. It was a classroom. You went there to learn. You could actually sit down and have a conversation with these performers. Without the Avant Garde, there would have been no centrality for these older traditions or the recasting of these traditions by revivalists.”  



   
Track listing:
DISC ONE:
1. Samson And Delilah
2. Jesus Met The Woman At The Well
3. Twelve Gates To The City
4. Buck Dance
5. The Sun Is Goin’ Down
6. Oh Glory, How Happy I Am
7. You Got To Move
8. One More River To Cross
9. I Feel Like My Time Ain’t Long
10. Might Well Get Ready, You Got To Die
11. Soon My Work Will All Be Done  
DISC TWO:
1. Children Of Zion
2. Sally, Where’d You Get Your Liquor From?
3. She’s Funny That Way
4. Maple Leaf Rag
5. You Got To Reap Just What You Sow
6. Lo, I’ll Be With You Always
7. Before This Time Another Year
8. Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning
9. Marine Band
10. I Am The Light Of This World
11. A Long Way To Tipperary  
# # #  





Monday, February 5, 2018

Omnivore Recordings: Something Got A Hold On Me - The Ru-Jac Records Story, Volume One 1963-1964 - New release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Something Got A Hold On Me - The Au-Jac Records Story, Volume One: 1963-1964 and it's quite cool. Opening with previously unreleased, Fatback by Lamont Esquires, this release is off to a great start. This instrumental features low key but tasty guitar lead with hot sax work, all over a tight rockin' R&B track. Jessie Crawford with Kay Keys Band is up next, first with a smart Latin influenced rocker, Please Don't Go, followed by solid soul track Because I Love You So. Little Sunny Daye with the Shydells Band gives us blues ballad, A Woman Like You with super vocals and cool lead guitar work under the lead. Very nice. Celestine does a great job on You Won with it's cool rhythm. Honkin' sax work sets this track apart giving it a distinctive early 60's feel. great track. Winfield Parker really delivers on blues ballad, When I'm Alone. With only the basics of backing, Parker shows real poise. Winfield Parker set out a real nice R&B track on One Of These Mornings with snappy drums, and soulful sax soloing. Spiritual, Take Care Of Me, is a powerful track by the Fruitland Harmonizers. Really cool! The Teardrops Band featuring Marie Allen perform Cryin Won't Help You, a really hot R&B track with a great beat and cool sax solo behind a raucous voice. Trash Can is performed by an unknown artist, with solid sax solo lead. The Monkey Cha Cha is another really nice instrumental with of course a Latin rhythm and guitar and keyboard lead by The Jolly Jax. Wrapping the release is Joe (Take 5) which was previously unreleased by The Jolly Jax. Stilladog...this one's for you. Excellent closer.



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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Omnivore Recordings artist: Arthur Alexander - Arthur Alexander- New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent self titled release (July 28, 2017) by Arthur Alexander and it's chocked full of country, pop and soul. Opening with I'm Comin' Home, Arthur Anderson shows the style he's know for with a bright beat and smooth vocals. One of the standout tracks on the release, Go On Home Girl, has all of the attributes of a Jimmy Buffet track with the catchy melody and an easy going rhythm. Another track that of course grabs a lot of attention is Burning Love which was covered by Elvis only months after this recordings original release. My favorite track on the release is Rainbow Road, a solid ballad with a lot of soul. Steve Cropper's Down The Back Roads is another strong track with warm melody, cool piano and the soulful vocals of Alexander. Original track, Thank God He Came, is a really nice track with a spiritual theme. Alexander's vocals coast nicely on a wave or organ and rich backing vocals. Another original, They'll Do It Every Time has classic "hit" trademarks with a catchy melody, super vocals and nicely stylized guitar work. Wrapping the release is pop track, Simple Song Of Love, with Alexander just doing his thing. Minimal instrumentation is all he needs to convey his message.


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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Arthur Alexander's self-titled album coming from Omnivore Recordings in expanded edition; notes by Barry Hanson







COUNTRY SOUL PIONEER ARTHUR ALEXANDER’S
SELF-TITLED ALBUM
RETURNS IN EXPANDED EDITION
FROM OMNIVORE RECORDINGS
1972 release is reissued with six bonus tracks, plus liner notes
 from Barry Hansen (Dr. Demento and former Warner Bros. staff writer)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — When the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Dusty Springfield, George Jones & Johnny Paycheck, Bob Dylan, the Bee Gees and countless other artists cover your songs, you must be on to something.
Arthur Alexander was a songwriter and song stylist whose first records in the early 1960s — such as “Anna (Go to Him)” and “You Better Move On” — were some of the earliest hits recorded at Rick Hall’s Fame Studios and to feature the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. After a short break at the end of the decade, Alexander released the second of only three albums that he made in his lifetime — a self-titled “comeback” album in 1972.
On July 28, 2017, Omnivore Recordings will reissue Arthur Alexander, expanded with six bonus tracks — two previously unissued.
With new liner notes by Barry Hansen (better known to most as Dr. Demento), the package also features the piece he wrote for the album’s original issue. Arthur Alexander’s 12 tracks were produced by Muscle Shoals bassist Tommy Gogbill, and include a version of “Burning Love” — covered by Elvis Presley shortly after the album’s release. Alexander’s two Warner Bros. follow-up singles are also here, as well as a pair of tracks from the original sessions, unearthed and unheard until now.
As Hansen wrote in the original notes, “Arthur is especially proud of the variety and versatility of his work on this album. All of it is strong medicine, and should be a fine antidote for a lot of bad scenes.”
He adds in the current notes, “[The Omnivore volume] honors the soulful wonderment that Arthur brought forth from his difficult time on earth.”
Arthur Alexander, inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, is a music legend. Arthur Alexander is a legendary recording.  
Track Listing:
1. I’m Comin’ Home
2. It Hurts To Want It So Bad
3. Go On Home Girl
4. In The Middle Of It All
5. Burning Love
6. Rainbow Road
7. Love’s Where Life Begins
8. Down The Back Roads
9. Call Me Honey
10. Come Along With Me
11. Call Me In Tahiti
12. Thank God He Came  
Bonus Tracks:
13. Mr. John
14. You Got Me Knockin’
15. Lover Please
16. They’ll Do It Every Time
17. I Don’t Want Nobody
18. Simple Song Of Love
Tracks 17 & 18 previously unissued   





Monday, May 15, 2017

Bobby Rush's 'Chicken Heads' box set wins Blues Music Award in Memphis












BOBBY RUSH’S CHICKEN HEADS BOX SET ON OMNIVORE
TAKES HOME “BEST HISTORICAL ALBUM” HONOR
IN BLUES MUSIC AWARDS 
Grammy Award-winning blues legend’s career compilation
spans 50 years and more than 20 labels



MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush box set, on Omnivore Recordings, won Best Historical Album at the Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Awards (BMAs), held at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis on May 11. The BMAs are recognized as the highest honor given to blues musicians, and are awarded by the vote of Blues Foundation members.
Nominated in multiple BMA categories for his new music throughout the night, Bobby Rush earlier this year also took home the Best Traditional Blues Grammy® for his latest release, Porcupine Meat. His lengthy career was the subject of the BMA-winning Chicken Heads, Omnivore’s four-CD, decades-spanning overview project. 
The set contains over five hours of music culled from more than 20 labels including Rush’s Checker, Galaxy, and Jewel sides, through Philadelphia International, Malaco/Waldoxy, LaJam, and Urgent cuts, as well as material from his own Deep Rush label. Chicken Heads tells the story of Bobby Rush: unfiltered, unedited and unbelievable. 



Bobby Rush, 1951
The 32-page, full-color booklet is filled with photos, ephemera, liner notes from Bill Dahl and testimonials from friends and fans including Mavis Staples, Keb’ Mo’, Elvin Bishop, Denise LaSalle, Leon Huff, Al Bell, and many more. 
Produced by Rush himself along with Omnivore’s co-founder and Grammy®-winning producer Cheryl Pawelski; Jeff DeLia, Rush’s manager; and long-time publicist Cary Baker, Chicken Heads traces the bluesman’s career, from 1964’s “Someday” to the title track, from 1979 collaborations with Gamble & Huff to tracks from 2004’s FolkFunk. With mastering and restoration handled by Grammy® winner Michael Graves, Bobby’s vintage recordings have never sounded better.
According to Omnivore’s Pawelski, “When you’ve played with Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Jimmy Reed, you must be on to something. When you’ve had a multi-generational career in music, spanning blues, soul and funk, that’s something else.”  
# # #
  



Chicken Heads co-produders Jeff DeLia, Cheryl Pawelski, Bobby Rush
and Cary Baker