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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 Open Road. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Open Road. Show all posts

Monday, November 22, 2021

Stony Plain Records artist: Colin James - Open Road - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Open Road, from Colin James and I really like it. On James' landmark 20th release, James covers some classic blues tracks and adds some of his own. Opening with Tony Joe White's As the Crow Flies, James cranks out a real driving boogie with stinging lead guitar, backed by Geoff Hicks on drums, Norm Fisher on bass and Simon Kendall on keys. Strong.  Albert King's Can't You See What You're Doing To Me, is up next and with Chris Caddell on rhythm, Steve Hilliam on sax, this is another potent track with excellent phrasing by James. Magic Sam's That's Why I'm Crying fits in perfectly with it's slower pace, giving James a chance to stretch a bit with soulful vocals and nicely crafted solo lead. Excellent! James original, When I Leave This House, has a country rocking honky tonkin feel that will get you moving. James really plays guitar to this one with a nice flair and the addition of Jesse O'Brien adds real sauce. Very cool! Otis Rush's It Takes Time, a long time favorite on the blues rock scene, gets a moderate workover and James it right there with his guitar to add the spark. Fisher really lays heavy on the bass which is great and the addition of harmonica by Steve Marriner and bari sax by Jerry Cook, cooks the track. Another original James track, There's A Fire, really brings the pace down but turns up the heat. James' vocals are really strong and his lead guitar work is smoking. This is definitely one of my favorites on the release and likely to be a fan favorite in concert. A really cool take on Bob Dylan's It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry brings to mind Leon's redo of this track back in the 70's. I don't think anyone's come close since but this is a real nice deal. The rhythm is loose and slinging and with James on slide, and some hot sax work by Hilliam, a great track. Wrapping the release is Eddie Floyd's classic,  I Love You More Than Words Can Say, again really parlaying the strength of James' soulful vocals and includes a brief but potent dash of guitar edge. This is a fine release and one I really enjoy listening to.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Blues Rebels- Open Road - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Open Road from the Blues Rebels and it's title is spot on. Blues artists Andy Watts (guitars) and Dov Hammer (vocals/harp), together with Avi Barak on drums and Amos Springer on bass make up the blues rebels. Opening with boogie track, All I Want,the Rebels establish a gritty take no prisoners attitude with a solid bottom, a driving guitar rhythm and solid vocals with Dov and Andy trading hot licks on harp and guitar. Very cool! Before The Jubilee has a real poppy sound with a catchy tune but I particularly like the hot guitar riffs at the end. Driving rocker, Seen The Light, has a steady rhythm and warm harp additions. Devil By My Side is a smokey boogie with a great bass line. Dov maintains the lead throughout with some creative harp riffs. Turn Back The Clock has a R&B feel with another cool bass line from Springer. Vocal harmonies on this track give it a more polished feel that may appeal commercially. What If is slower paced, constructed over the bones of a pop format. Watts takes a nice guitar solo in this track complimented by Hammer on harp. Reason To Live has a bit of western styling with guitar strumming and wind swept harp soloing. Very nice! Don't Want You Back is a nice blues based rocker with a cooker of a groove. Watts and Hammer both take nice stretches on this track. One of my favorite tracks on the release. Ballad, Looking In, opens with a sorrowful harp riff and is followed by smooth vocal harmonies. This track reminds me of Marshall Tucker Band in structure. Watts lays down a cool solo on this track and Hammer carries melody on harp when he breaks from vocals. Boogie track, Secret Smile, really grinds it down and Hammer cooks on harp. Yes he does. Living The Dream has a bright but cocky strut. I Don't Mind has a lighter jazzy feel with vocal harmonies and a catchy sound. This track catches a nice wave reminding me of some of the sounds that Savoy Brown used to get on some of their jams. Very nice! Trying To Get Paid is a jazzy shuffle track. Hammer takes his nicest run on harp on this track with the band keeping a tight track behind him. His vocals are also nicely suited for this style of music. Watts takes a crisp solo on this track as well but overall always remaining contained. Wrapping the release is title track, Open Road, with Matan Ashkenazy on Fender Rhodes piano and Hammer on harp. This is a really clean instrumental ballad with Watts' screaming guitar riffs taking center stage. Excellent completion to an interesting release.

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