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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 Reba Russell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reba Russell. Show all posts

Friday, March 23, 2018

Ruf Records artist: Victor Wainwright and The Train - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent self titled release, Victor Wainwright and The Train and it's rockin. Wainwright on lead vocal and keys pushes a nice duel with guitarist Pat Harrington, on Healing, backed by Billy Dean on drums and Terrance Grayson on bass. Also adding a nice bit of oomph are Mark Earley on sax and Doug Woolverton on trumpet. Nice opener. Train is a hot boogie woogie track with Wainwright really driving hard on vocal and piano. Woolverton and Earley fill nicely and Reba Russell's vocals are super.  Excellent track. Soulful, Dull Your Shine is a really nice track that puts me in mind of D'Angelo with a suspenseful approach to the song and super vocals. Also of particular note on this track is a sweet guitar solo by Greg Gumpel. Blues with a distinct R&B feel, Thank You Lucille, is possibly my favorite track on release featuring some of Wainwright's best vocals on the release and Monster Mike Welch handling the lead guitar spot, backed by Reba Russell, Nick Black and Patricia Ann Dees on vocal. Boogie Depression is another driving boogie with super piano and excellent slide work by Harrington. Nice! Foot stompin rocker, Righteous really gets that tent revival feeling going with a solid bottom, powerful vocal by Wainwright, super slide work by Harrington, and vocal backing by Russell. Very cool. Rocking boogie, I'll Start Tomorrow is a real mover with cooking piano and organ, tight drums, a great sax solo by Earley and punchy trumpet work by Woolverton. Another track with strong slide lead by Harrington is Sunshine. His slide work is inspired and fat, soaring into the music nicely. A track, seemingly built around his excellent slide lead, a real keeper. Wrapping the release is gospel styled, That's Love To Me, with it's rich melody, organ and soulful vocals by Wainwright. Subtle but nice acoustic guitar by Jeff Jensen adds nicely and solid lead guitar by Harrington adds depth for an excellent closer to a really strong release.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Big Legal Mess artist: Robert Finley - Age Don't Mean A Thing - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Age Don't Mean A Thing, from Robert Finley and it's a powerful new soul release. Opening with high stepping Memphis groove, I Just Want To Tell You, Robert Finley wastes no time establishing that his talent far exceeds his professional experience. An extremely soulful vocalist, Finley traveled north to Memphis to work with members of the Bo-Keys. Players include a who’s who of the Memphis soul scene including drummer Howard Grimes (Al Green, Otis Clay, Syl Johnson, OV Wright), Marc Franklin (Bobby “Blue” Bland), Jimbo Mathus (Elvis Costello), Al Gamble (St. Paul & The Broken Bones, the Hold Steady, Alex Chilton), Kirk Smothers (Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Guy), Reba Russell (U2, BB King), Harold Thomas (James Carr) and Daunielle Hill (Solomon Burke). With full soul backing vocals and Al Gamble's B3 rolling this is a great opener. On title track, Age Don't Mean A Thing, Finley really sings with gut wrenching authority. This track is exceptional with almost spiritual organ work by Gamble and essential underpinnings by Mathus. R&B track, Let Me Be Your Everything, is saturated with horn work by Kirk Smothers and trumpet by Marc Franklin and super backing vocals by Russell and Hill. Slowing down to a smoldering simmer, It's Too Late, puts Finley back upfront with nicely blended backing vocals by Russell and Hill. This is a really nice track and one that could easily hit the radio hard. Solid soul track, Snake In My Grass, has a nicely anchored melody with Finley's vocals drawing out the emotions, complimented by Smothers and Franklin. Very nice. James Brown like, Come On, gets a super groove cooking pressing you to get on your feet. With warm vocals and horn punctuating over a wah wah and funky bass work, how can you not love this! 70's pop track, Make It With You, written by David Gates, is given a really soulful overdo with light guitar rhythm, shimmery organ and Finley's powerful vocals. Very nice. You Make Me Want To Dance has a real Al Green kind of feel and you automatically feel that bounce starting in your head. Russell, Thomas and Hill really warm up the background on this track and Smothers and Franklin work is tight. Super. Wrapping the release is excellent soul track, Is It Possible To Love 2 People. With warm sax work by Smothers, nicely placed guitar riffs by Mathus, tom tom work by Grimes, B3 by Gamble and tight punctuation by Franklin, this track leaves you with nothing but wanting more. Excellent release.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Swing Suit Records artist: Mick Kolassa - Ghosts of the Riverside Hotel - New Release Review

I just received the most recent release, Ghosts of the Riverside Hotel, from Mick Kolassa. A cornucopia of blues like last years release by Kolassa, "Michissippi Mick" , the net proceeds will go to The Blues Foundation and Generation Blues. Opening with Hank Williams' Ramblin' Man, Kolassa on lead vocal and guitar, Jeff Jensen on Lead guitar, Bill Ruffino on bass, Robinson Bridgeforth on drums and Chris Stephenson on organ, this is an interesting track with march like rudiments and tasty guitar work. Slow swinging blues track, Grapes & Greens, featured nice electric guitar and slide work from Jensen and Eric Hughes on harp coupled with solid lead vocals by Kolassa. Lou Singer's depression era, One Meatball, gets a light reggae rhythm treatment under the vocal harmonizing by Reba Russell and bright piano passages by Victor Wainwright. I Always Meant To Love You is a swinging 12 bar with some real jazzy riffs from Jensen, complimented nicely by Kirk Smothers on sax and Wainwright on piano. Lighthearted Trouble, written by Todd Snider, has a cool swing. Kolassa's vocals are spot on, Santini takes a real nice harp solo on this track and Jensen throws in a few country influenced riffs of his own. Nothing Left To Lose (Robin's Blues) is a smooth jazzy blues ballad featuring Smothers on melodic sax. Kolassa's most serious vocal of the release are restrained but well placed and pointers by Smothers and Jensen are perfectly executed. Very nice! If I Ain't Fishin' has a cool pace with Wainwright and Hughes teaming up with tension against the calm. Randy Newman's, Mama Told Me Not To Come, made popular by Three Dog Night, gets a modified Chicago blues remake and a totally different type of cover. Kolassa uses an almost spoken delivery and Santini really wails on this one giving it it's best showing to my ears. On Whiskey Woman, Cole Layman trades lead guitar lines with Jensen and Logan Lyman lays down some cool funk bass. Chris Stephenson's organ solo punches up the track eliciting nice guitar soloing and even more pluckiness from Layman. Walkin' (Dead) Blues capitalizes on the current zombie obsession. With an Elmore James basic track, Kolassa gets the band cranked up with his frantic vocal antics. Santini gets his harp rolling hard and Jensen kicks out his best set of riffs on the release. Tongue in cheek but the hottest track on the release! Following a Magic Sam format, Mama's Got A Mojo, is a cool track with shimmery guitar soloing by Jensen over solid organ work by Stephenson. Real nice! Wrapping the release is Delta Town featuring Watermelon Slim on dobro and harp. Bridgeforth and Ruffino give the track a bit more structure and Kolassa leads the way. This is quite an enjoyable release with a bit of something for most blues lovers.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

King Biscuit Blues Festival "Call and Response, The Blues Symposium" rocks Helena, Arkansas!

King Biscuit Blues Festival presents 5th annual "Call and Response, The Blues Symposium" in historic Helena, Arkansas


Call and Response Blues Symposium Looks into The Origins of Delta Blues at The King Biscuit Blues Festival
(Helena, Arkansas) — What is about the Delta that gave rise to America’s music, the blues? Artists, journalists and presenters will discuss the special magic that defines the King Biscuit Blues Festival and inspires the world’s music at the Fifth Annual Call and Response Blues Symposium, a featured event of the 30th annual King Biscuit Blues Festival.  “Memphis is blues, but this is it,” says singer/songwriter Reba Russell about The Biscuit, America’s foremost showcase of authentic blues at the Call and Response Blues Symposium that begins at noon on Saturday, October 10 at the Malco Theater on Cherry St. “This is the freaking deal. It’s like are you kidding me? I totally think there is something that rises up from that river and that dirt there. I think that the ancestry, the ghost, everything remains there.” 
Joining Reba in the first of two hour-long sessions is Jackson, Mississippi native and Blind Pig recording artist Zac Harmon who is on a mission “to bring the moniker of the blues back to Mississippi because I think that Mississippi has gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to the spoils of the blues.” Rounding out the first hour are Bubba Sullivan, one of the founders and Godfather of King Biscuit from its inception; Matt Marshall, editor of American blues Scene, the most popular blues website in the world; and moderated by King Biscuit’s own veteran blues journalist Don Wilcock.
Roger Stolle, filmmaker, columnist, oft quoted authority on Delta blues and owner of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art in historic Clarksdale, Mississippi, hosts part two of the symposium at 1:15 p.m. with four of the most colorful southern juke joint owners: Red Paden of Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale, Willie “Po’ Monkey” Seaberry whose juke is in Merigold, Mississippi; Henry “Gip” Gipson of Gip’s Place in Bessemer, Alabama; and Teddy Johnson of Teddy’s Juke Joint in Zachary, Louisiana.
The fifth annual Call and Response, The Blues Symposium is free to the public thanks to the support of our wonderful sponsor: Economy Drugs.
Part One 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Bubba Sullivan
Bubba Sullivan likes to tell people that Robert Lockwood, Jr. carried more history to his grave than any man that ever was. Truth be known? Bubba’s in the same category except he’s still with us. The historian for the Sonny Boy Blues Society, he’s been involved in booking and hosting the King Biscuit Blues Festival since the first one in 1986 when he helped secure an evangelist’s trailer as the first stage for $25. He’s proprietor of Bubba’s Blues Corner, the official record store of the festival that was jump started with the encouragement of ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.
Zac Harmon
Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, guitarist/organist,/singer/songwriter Zac Harmon was a childhood friend of Sam Myers who embarrassed him as a teenager by stopping him mid-song to tell him the Jimi Hendrix cover he was doing wasn’t blues. Zac has written songs for Evelyn “Champagne King, Freddie Jackson and the O’Jays. As an in-demand L.A. session musician, he was booked out three and four years in advance. His just released fifth album Right Man * Right Now on Blind Pig Records features four songs written or co-written by John Hahn, Shemekia Copeland’s manager/songwriter, and  Zac does a killer scratch vocal cover of John Lee Hooker’s “I’m Bad Like Jesse James.” The CD mixes old school and new school blues with guest artists Bobby Rush, Lucky Peterson and Anson Funderburgh.
Reba Russell
Reba Russell calls herself “a stepchild of the blues. I don’t really run in the mainstream circle.” ” On “Blues Is Mine,” she sings, “I’m not privileged/I’m not rich/But I’m one hell of a bitch.” A perennial favorite at the Biscuit, she expresses her love for the festival in “Heaven Came to Helena.” In 1992 when Rufus Thomas heard her cover band that had been voted the best in Memphis, he told her, “You got it! Use it! Do it!” She fired the band and never looked back. She’s done background vocals for John Nemeth, Tracy Nelson, Huey Lewis & The News, Jimmy Thackery, Jerry Lee Lewis and U2 on “When Love Comes to Town”  for Rattle & Hum at Sun Studios. Reba has won three Premiere Vocalist Awards from the Memphis chapter of the National Recording Arts and Sciences. She has eight independent CDs with originals and covers by artists like Willie Dixon, Memphis Minnie, Tracy Nelson, and Walter Trout. Her eighth CD 8 was recorded in four different studios and mixed at Ardent Studios in Memphis for BEB Productions standing for Blue-eyed Bitches Production.
Matt Marshall
Matt Marshall is the Steve Jobs of tomorrow’s music journalism and the editor of American Blue Scene Magazine, the popular and exciting quarterly subscription blues music magazine. The magazine’s digital side, with thousands of free articles, is the most popular blues music website in the world, and commands nearly half a million visitors a year. Matt and his staff channel the very heart of the blues community. It’s as much about connecting people who love the blues with each other and the musicians as it is about capturing the pulse of the blues community. Whether it’s an intimate discussion with blues icon Buddy Guy or being the first to break the story of Johnny Winter’s passing, Marshall understands the relationship between contemporary blues culture, the fan and the digital frontier.

Don Wilcock co-moderator, Part One
Award winning editor, writer, film maker and blues society founder Don Wilcock organized the Call and Response Symposium five years ago and is currently working on a coffee table book on The Biscuit with award winning photographer Bob Van Degna. He has interviewed more than 5000 artists in nearly a half century as a music journalist and was writing for Blues World in England before there was an American blues magazine.  He is a recipient of the Blues Foundation’s Keeping The Blues Alive in Print Journalism Award, writes for The American Blues Scene and is a weekly music columnist for two dailies in New York’s Capital Region. He is the author of the 1991 authorized biography of Buddy Guy Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues that set the stage for Guy’s multi-Grammy-winning career surge.
Part Two 1:15 to 2:15 p.m.

Red Paden
Sixty-something Big Red has operated his quasi-legal Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale, Mississippi, for more than three decades, but he’s been in the juke-running business for most of his life. Through the years, bluesmen like Robert Belfour, “T-Model” Ford and “Big Jack” Johnson have graced Red’s carpet-remnant stage on weekends while locals, tourists and notables like Robert Plant, Tom Waits, Samuel L. Jackson and Steven Seagal listened, bathed in red light. Customers are treated to sayings like: “The game’s for life.” “I’m backed by the river, fronted by the grave.” And, “I kill for fun.” Red’s has been much celebrated — from the LA Times to We Juke Up in Here!

Willie “Po’ Monkey” Seaberry
In 1963, Mr. Seaberry opened his juke (which doubles as his home) in a cotton field near Merigold, Mississippi. Now in his mid-70s, he still drives a tractor on the land, and his weekly Thursday parties night have become legendary. As a deejay spins discs, a mix of regulars and tourists drink, dance and shoot pool. The host parades through the crowd in colorful zoot suits, often wearing humorous two-sided placards. Occasionally, a nearby university books live blues there on off-nights. Signs on the exterior tell visitors to pull up their pants among other helpful hints, making the juke a photographer favorite. It’s appeared in countless publications.

Henry “Gip” Gipson
Ninety-something Gip Gipson is a gravedigger, blues musician and juke runner. His Gip’s Place in Bessemer, Alabama, nearly defies description. "The place is almost frightening in the daytime," noted one long-time regular in a recent article. "At night, though, it's pure magic." The juke opened in 1952 in what is now a large, residential neighborhood. His Saturday night blues parties are the stuff of legend with everyone from Willie King to Bobby Rush performing. In recent years, area law enforcement has raided his establishment, and local politicians have attempted to shut it down. But Gip’s is still there (though now BYOB), and its owner is beloved by his fans.

Teddy “Lloyd” Johnson
Teddy’s Juke Joint in Zachary, Louisiana, opened for business 36 years ago, but not the building. The building — once a simple shotgun shack — was Teddy Johnson’s family home. In fact, he was born in it 69 years ago. Through the years he’s added on to the structure, so now the colorfully-decorated juke includes a long wooden bar, deejay booth, performance stage and soul food kitchen. Mr. Teddy’s wife Nancy handles the food while family members and friends help out behind the bar (which features a liquor license — a rarity in a juke joint!). In addition to food, drink and music, the smiling owner is known for his colorful outfits, often complete with cape.

Roger Stolle
Roger Stolle owns Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art store in Clarksdale, Mississippi — which just celebrated 13 years. He is a Blues Music Magazine columnist, Juke Joint Festival co-founder, Hidden History of Mississippi Blues author, former Sirius-XM Bluesville contributor, and co-producer of blues films like Hard Times, M for Mississippi and We Juke Up in Here. He is co-creator of the forthcoming Moonshine & Mojo Hands web series and a recipient of both Keeping The Blues Alive and Blues Music Awards. An authority on Delta blues and tourism, he has been quoted by The New York Times, The Economist and Travel+Leisure. His web site is