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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 Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Kingswood Records artist: The Jim Kweskin Band with Samoa Wilson - I Just Want To Be Horizontal - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, I Just Want To be Horizontal, from Samoa Wilson with The Jim Kweskin Band and it's really strong contemporary looks at 20's and 30's  music. Opening with After You've Gone, a Turner Layton composition with crystal clear vocals by Samoa Wilson, musicologist, Jim Kweskin on vocal and guitar leads a great gang of players including Mike Davis on trumpet, Paloma Ohm on alto sax, Sonny Barbato on piano, Dennis Lichtman on clarinet, Matthew Berlin on bass and Jeff Brown on drums. Excellent opener. Bluesy title track, (I Just Want to Be) Horizontal, really milks Wilson's vocal style with a lot of richness, with strong guitar work by Kweskin and Titus Vollmer. Very nice. Muted trumpet work by Davis sets the track off nicely Barbato's piano work. With a Dixieland style interwoven instrumentation, I Cried For You, is a great track with really cool trumpet and clarinet interplay. Made popular by Billie Holiday, Until The Real Thing Comes Along brushes into the jazz arena with an excellent sax solo by Ohn, clarinet passage by Lichtman and piano solo by Barbato all supporting the perfect vocals or Wilson. Me, Myself and I is a cool rag with emphasis on finger picking by Kweskin and bright singing by Wilson, and soloing by Davis, Barbato and Ohm. Bessie Smith's Kitchen Man is up next and like Smith, the innuendo is thick. Wilson's delivery is perfect and convincing, reviving this classic for todays market with cool clarinet and trumpet interplay. Bing Crosby's I Wished On the Moon really works well with Wilson's vocal style and may be the coolest track on the release with an excellent sax solo by Ohm and piano solo by Barbato. Wrapping the release is Tony Bennett's Someone Turned The Moon Upside Down. A proper 40's ballad, jazz style sax work by Ohm really gives the track a nice warmth and Barbato's piano solo adds a formal crispness. This is a different release but it's merits are strong.


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Monday, September 21, 2020

JayRay Records artist: Lisa Mann - Old Girl - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Old Girl, from Lisa Mann and it's a solid radio style release with meaty melodies and strong vocals. Opening with title track, Old Girl, a country flavored ballad, Lisa shows real richness backed by Jason Thomas on guitar, Michael Ballash on drums and her own bass work. With an up tempo rockin' beat, It's The Monkey or Me features swinging guitar work by Thomas and really hot drumming by Dave Melyan. Mann's vocals are undeniable with plenty of grit and a lot of polish. With a great blues laden beat and sassy guitar work by Thomas, Mann shows her grit on bluesy, That's All. This is my favorite track on the release with it's extended instrumental work smoky feel. Wrapping the release is Around Here, the definite radio track with a strong melody and well balanced vocals. Super backing vocals by Sonny Hess, Brian Foxworth, Larhonda Steele and Arietta Ward really dress this track in richness. 


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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Peter Roland - I Don't Like What's Going On - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, I Don't Like What's Going On, from Peter Roland and it's a cool contemporary blue release. Opening with Black Cat Bone, Peter Roland wastes no time showing that he can work the fretboard hard. A smooth, slow blues number with only George Caldwell on bass and Jermane Dukes on drums. Midway, the track doubles pace and with JP Soars really smokes it. Very nice. Evil pairs Roland again with strong vocal with Soars on dobro and a stiff foot drum by Dukes setting up a country flavored blues rocker with the swagger of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Trading lead with soars on electric guitar, Roland keeps it clean and articulate. Really grinding in with SRV like rhythm and tempo on Lonely Tonight, Roland's  lead guitar work is vibrant and tight. This band is a tight unit with Roland's vocal and guitar cementing it all together. Wrapping the release is title track and my personal favorite on the release, I Don't Like What's Going On, a laid back, lightly funky, blues track. Roland sings against the beat and keeps his guitar lead in the pocket. It's cool delivery and fiery guitar soloing works well together, making for a really nice closer. 


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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Screen Door Records artist: Kirsten Thien - Two Sides - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Two Sides, from Kirsten Thien, and it's a solid rocker. Opening with heavy footed, Shoulda Been, a blues rocker with Thien on vocal and acoustic guitar, Erik Boyd on cool slide bass and rhythm guitar, Arthur Neilson with a nice slide guitar solo, Steve Holley on drums and Tommy Mandel on clavinet. Solid opener. Contemporary blues shout, After I Left Home (Song For Buddy Guy) Thien shows the power of her voice and Neilson lays down a strong guitar solo. Latin flavored Montanas is my favorite track on the release, featuring Fabian Almazan on piano, John Benthal on cuatro and requinto, Boyd on bass and Alex Alexander on drums and percussion. Excellent! Wrapping the release is an up tempo take on Leon Russell's, I'd Rather Be Blind, with a cool R&B feel. Steve Holley on drums plays it light, Neilson lays in a compact but clean guitar solo and the addition of Tommy Mandel on Wurlitzer and organ makes this a strong closer.


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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Little Village Foundation artist: Ron Thompson - From The Patio, Live at Poor House Bistro, Volume 1, New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, From The Patio, Live at Poor House Bistro, Volume 1, from Ron Thompson and it's a strong, raw performance. Opening with Willie Dixon's Meet Me In The Bottom, Ron Thompson on vocal and guitar gets a running start with his grinding tempo with Scotty Griffin on drums, Dave Chavez on bass, Sid Morris on piano and Jim Pugh on organ. His solid groove and unpolished but excellent blues vocals are spot on. On Lightning Hopkins' Bring Me My Shotgun, Thompson shows just how close to the "real blues" his work is with excellent vocals, slide work and minimal bass and drums. Excellent! Bob Geddins' Tin Pan Alley, made popular to most by SRV gets a real nice workout by Thompson with not only really soulful vocals and solid piano work by Morris but with some real nice electric guitar work by Thompson. Very nice. Guitar Slim's Done Got Over It is another potent track with Jim Pugh on organ solo and rockabilly style blues guitar riffs by Thompson. On Lowell Fulson's Sinner's Prayer, Thompson runs out a real nice slide solo working very nicely with Pugh's organ work. Very cool. Doctor Brown features Kid Andersen and Thompson on slide and we all know the Kid can play. With Elmore James style riffs under Thompson's vocals, this track is great! Wrapping the release is Thompson original, When You Walk That Walk with strong Hound Dog Taylor influence and Andersen again playing some wicked wicked guitar. This is really a strong release and highly recommended. 



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Monday, September 14, 2020

Ruf Records artist: Bette Smith - The Good The Bad And The Bette - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Good The Bad and The Bette, from Bette Smith and it's a cool rockin' R&B release. Opening with Fistful of Dollars, a funky rocker, Bette Smith really hits a groove, backed by Matt Patton on bass, Bronson Tew on drums, Eric Carlton on piano, Jimbo Mathus on organ and with Henry Westmoreland on horns. Very cool. Possibly my favorite track on the release is bluesy ballad, Whistle Stop, showing excellent vocal by Smith, and with strings by Jamison Hollister. Punchy rocker, I'm A Sinner, has a driving beat and a cool guitar riff underlying with strong but unflashy guitar lead and backing vocal by Hood, Patton, Tew and Schaefer Llana. Nice. With it's straightforward nature and nice melody, Song for a Friend is my choice for radio track. Dominants bass lines by Patton and tight drum work by Tew and solid backing vocals by Hood, Patton, Tew and Schaefer Llana give this track a certain cool feel. Wrapping the release is soulful, Don't Skip Out On Me, another strong ballad with Smith, acoustic guitar accompaniment and super atmospheric guitar work giving the track a strong feel and nice trumpet work by Westmoreland. Super closer. 


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Friday, September 11, 2020

Downchild - Live At The Toronto Jazz Festival - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Live At The Toronto Blues Festival, from Downchild (The Downchild Blues Band) and it's packed full of blues and stars. Opening with piano boogie, Can You Hear The Music, with Mike Fonfara on keys,  Chuck Jackson on lead vocal and Donnie Walsh on harmonica, Chuck Jackson and Pat Carey on sax, Gary Kendall on bass and Mike Fitzpatrick on drums, this is a lively opener. David Wilcox joins on shuffle, It's A Matter Of Time adding slide and vocal. With great feel and energy, this is an all out party. I'm Gonna Tell Your Mama is packed with energy featuring Gene Taylor  piano and giving Walsh a great opportunity to really hang out there on harmonica. Very cool. Finland's favorite slide player, Erja Lyytinen joins on harmony vocal and slide guitar on Mississippi Woman, Mississauga Man, a cool blues rocker with Cajun kind of rhythm. Shotgun Blues is one of my favorite tracks on the release with Kenny Neal on vocal and guitar. The longest track on the release, clocking in at over 9 minutes a solid slow blues number with plenty of  room for solos by Neal, Jackson and Carey. Very nice. Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd and band leader Paul Shaffer join on R&B classic, I Got Everything I Need (Almost) and the band gets into full swing. Walsh winds up his harmonica again and the party continues. Wrapping the release is Elmore James' TV Mama with Walsh on slashing slide and Walsh back upfront on vocal. Solid closer for a solid release. 


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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Bart Ryan - Starlight and Tall Tales - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Starlight and Tall Tales, from Bart Ryan and it's a cool rocker with nice edge. Opening with Wanna Be, a smooth, R&B track featuring Ryan on lead vocal and guitar, Jim Evans on drums, Ted Russell Kamp on bass, Mark Kovaly on keys, and Jeff Byrd and Steve Smartt on horns. Solid opener. Half Way is a really nice ballad with a bluesy edge. With it's strong melody, Ryan's fine vocal work, clean lead guitar soloing and strong arrangement, this is a certain radio track. Nicely blended vocals with Aubrey Richmond and another memorable melody gives Walk Away my vote for one of my favorites on the release. With it's almost Bowie like presentation, Lennon like chord progressions and strong but brief guitar solo, it stands tall. Another bluesy ballad, Bring Out Your Joy, uses the space around the vocal lead nicely with bold, powerful lines, a terrific tune and melodic guitar lead over a well formed bass/drum combo. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Desire, played on acoustic guitar with slide under Ryan's own vocal. Borrowing lightly from Winwood on the chord progressions under the lead, this is a strong closer.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Nola Blue Records artist: Eric Johanson - Below Sea Level - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (9/18/20), Below Sea Level, from Eric Johanson and I really like it! Johanson, who grew in Louisiana has blues rock in his blood. Opening with Buried Above Ground you hear distinct influences of Free/Humble Pie and the best of the blues rock generation mixed with Luther Dickinson and the best of the southern blues rockers in this totally fresh sound. This may be the best blues rock release of it's kind since Humble Pie's Smokin'! Cody Dickinson on drums lays down a great tom tom beat and with Johanson on gritty guitar and excellent lead vocal and Terrence Grayson on bass, this release is off to a great start. On Down To The Bottom, Johanson slips on his slide and cranks up the heat. This is a modern boogie in the vein of Hooker but with fat fat slide tones and strong vocals. Really excellent! Blues ballad, Changes The Universe, has the potential to rival Gary Moore with better vocals, a sweet melody line and nicely phrased guitar lead and great guitar tone making this a perfect radio track. Hammer On The Stone is a well constructed blues rocker with strong vocal/lead guitar pairing and a with a quick turnaround riff, an excellent track. This is great music! Lumbering, Have Mercy, has the solid bottom driven by Grayson and Dickinson and always strong vocal and well poised guitar lead. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Open Hearted Woman with it's lead footed bottom and take no prisoner attack. Johanson really hits a grand slam on this one with soulful vocals, an infectious beat and smoking guitar lead. Wrapping the release is stripped down, Riverbend Blues, with Johanson on acoustic guitar and vocal, this is modern delta blues, Johanson has really put together a great release here. This is one you must hear! 


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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Sweetspot Records artist: Al Basile - Last Hand - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Last Hand, from Al Basile, and it's a solid performance showcasing Basile's vocals with only 2 tracks where he contributes cornets work. Opening with It Ain't Broke, a cool, low slung club style blues with Basile on vocal, Bruce Bears on piano, Brad Hallen on bass and Mark Teixeira on drums. With a solid piano line, strong bass work and tight rhythm, a super opener. Smooth shuffle, Don't, has a strong melody and Basile's cornet work paired with bear's cool piano lines is strong. Bears and Basile lay nicely in the groove on After I'm Gone with it's excellent bottom and tight skins. The Problem is Me is one of my favorites on the release with strong piano work from Bears and Basile working the track like a pro. My favorite track on the release and release closer is Time Heals Nothing with it's somber overtone, and minimal backing support. Simple bass line, light brushes, straightforward piano and Basile... with a great muted cornet sound. Strong closer.


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Friday, September 4, 2020

Quarto Valley Records artist: Savoy Brown - Ain't Done Yet - New Release Review

 

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Ain't Done Yet, from Savoy Brown and they are definitely on a solid path again. Opening with blues rocker, All Gone Wrong, Kim Simmonds is up front on lead vocal and guitar and Simmonds is developing into a very solid lead vocalist. His guitar  playing and blues chops are as good as any, possibly one of the best electric/contemporary lead blues rockers ever. Joined by Pat DeSalvo on bass and Garnet Grimm on drums, the band sounds tight. With it's droning bass line and steady drums beat, Borrowed Time has a classic feel. Simmonds uses a Multivox FullRotor for shimmery guitar effects and keeps the underpinnings of the track spartan. Boogie rocker and title track, Ain't Done Yet has classic Savoy Brown styling with crisp lead work by Simmonds and a solid base. Latin flavored, Feel Like A Gypsy, is a cool radio style track with a smooth, "Santana" like feel. Simmonds is a talented player and improvisor and can pull off just about anything he attempts. Very cool. One of my favorites on the release is Jaguar Car with a driving bottom and giving Simmonds open road to plays slide. If you don't know Simmonds' slide playing, think classic rock track, Tell Mama or think the and Foghat, who built their trademark sound around Simmonds' slide sound. I love the Marshall crunch on Soho Girl, a heavy weight rocker with Simmonds singing and playing with authority. His lead playing is fluid and inventive. Wrapping the release is Crying Guitar, my favorite on the release. Simmonds is an expert at defining and playing long fluid guitar lead and with just a light Latin touch, this expressive, bluesy guitar melody springs to life. Excellent closer. This is really quite a good release and if you love the Savoy Brown sound, or blues rock in general, this is one to hear!



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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Davis Chris & Mr Foster - Wings and Blue Cheese - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (September 4), Wings and Blue Cheese, by Davis Chris and Mr Foster and it's a very contemporary look at blues today. Opening with Marinate, a bluesy track with a strong modern R&B feel, it features superstar recording artist Chel and Davis Chris on vocal, Platinum Producer Caleb Bingham on lead guitar and Mr Foster on drums. Catchy opener.  A bit of a high stepper, Watch Yo Mouth has a strong rhythm and with vocal by Chris this track will have you dancing in your seat. Chris and Foster team up  on vocal on title track, Wings and Blue Cheese, a soulful track with a cool melody and solid beat. My favorite track and my choice for radio track on the release is soul ballad, What Would It Take featuring Chel on lead vocal with a minimalist bottom of light drum, bass and keys. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Hold It Over My Head, with the most contemporary look on the release. Super vocal blending, low key but tasty guitar work and an strong forward drumming leaves you with a solid flavor of Davis Chris and Mr Foster. 

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Monday, August 31, 2020

Big Pacific: Welcome To The Party - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Welcome To The Party, from Big Pacific and it's a pretty cool rocker. Opening with title track, Welcome To The Party, Roly Sandoval on guitar and vocal, Nick Dokter on drums and vocals, Wayne Veillet on bass and vocals and John Hannah on keys set a solid groove. Sandoval's slide work gives the track a fun feel and Dokter's drumming keeps it tight. Slip Away is a strong pop rocker that reminds me of early Kinks or Who. With it's strong melody, blended male vocals, primarily piano accompaniment and slide guitar, it's a cool radio track. Hard Road is another radio track but with a smoother "Eagles" type approach. With it's "sweet" melody, clean guitar solo and warm vocal harmonies, the track is on good footings. Run To The Night is another firm track with influences of Tom Petty or Don Henley with isolated lead vocal and well placed keyboards and guitar lead. My favorite track on the release is Blue Moon Blues with it's double time rhythm, driving drums and guitar sequence and over the top organ. Very cool. Wrapping the release is country flavored Here's To Yesterday with acoustic guitar accompaniment and cool vocal blending. This is a cool and pleasurable rocker with a little bit for everybody. 

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Friday, August 28, 2020

Jeff Fetterman - Southern Son - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Southern Son, from Jeff Fetterman, and it's a cool blues rocker with some really hot guitar. Opening with I Don't Want To, Fetterman on lead guitar and vocal, backed by Kid Andersen on guitar, Ralph Retinger III on bass, John McGuire on drums, Kid Andersen on B3 and keys, John Halbleib on trumpet, Ric Feliciano on trombone and Doug Rowan on sax, this is a solid opener with a number of time changes. Living With the Blues is a strong, slow blues number with super vocals and explosive guitar soloing by Fetterman. Feels Like Rain is a straight up rocker with a southern flair almost like Outlaws or Skynyrd but without the tell tale signature riffs. Pretty cool actually. Blues For Charlie is my favorite track on the release with it's melancholy melody, easy pace, glistening chords and clean lead guitar not unlike the approach that SRV took with Riviera Paradise. Very nice! Another interesting track on the release is Jimi's All Along The Watchtower with hot, fiery guitar riffs and driving drum rhythm. The release is capped with a few bonus tracks. The first one is called Voodoo Funk with a super funky bass line by Reitinger, B3 by Andersen and scorching guitar jams by Fetterman. The second is Southside Blues, a real nice slow blues, led off by Andersen on B3. The is a strong soulful track, along the lines of the Allman's interpretation of T Bone Walker's Stormy Monday and Fetterman lets it all hang out here with blistering guitar work. Excellent closer. 

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Gulf Coast Records artist: Mark May Band - Deep Dark Demon - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Deep Dark Demon, by Mark May Band and it's solid. Opening with Harvey's Dirty Side, a dark blues rocker with a bumping bass (Darrell Lacy), steady drum (Brandon Jackson) and wide open guitar by May and Billy Wells and Barry Seelan on B3. Cool opener. Back has a strong Latin influence with Al Pagliuso on percussion and Jackson on drums and excellent stylized guitar lead by May under nicely blended vocal by May and Wells. Excellent! With a New Orleans beat and paired lead slide, this is a real cool track. Solo slide work by May is strong and warm leading nicely into a nice piano roll by Seelan. Certain radio track, Something Good, has a strong melody and warm vocals over a simple R&B style ballad format. A nicely crafted slide solo by May anchors this track like Bishop's trademark slide solo in Fooled Around and Fell In Love giving it staying power. Wrapping the release is Invisible Man, another R&B style track with a great beat, melody and solid vocals. Limited use of a guitar talk box and jazz style lead guitar soloing makes this track a solid closer. 

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Scott Weis Band - Simmer Me Down - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Simmer Me Down, by Scott Weis Band and it's a great blues rocker. Opening with Pride And Soul, a strong foot stomper with country and gospel influences, SWB sounds great. With Weis on lead vocal and guitar and Cindy Mizelle on backing vocals this track is smoking. Backed by Robert Kopee on bass, Roger Voss on drums and John Ginty on keys this track is tight. All Over Again is a great blues track with a bouncy beat but lots of grit. Weis' guitar playing isn't highly technical but it is high octane and emotional. Excellent track. Issac Hayes' soul track, When Something Is Wrong With My Baby gets just a little more blues heat giving Weis a great venue to solo on guitar  and his style and emotion is terrific. Saved is a super blues rocker with loose guitar work that works really nicely over a complex drum and percussion (Bashiri Johnson) work. Very cool. Wrapping the release is Transcendence has more of a jam framework along the lines of an eastern pattern and Allman or Trucks execution. Strong closer for a really nice release. 

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Solid Blues Records artist: JW-Jones - Sonic Departures - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Sonic Departures, from JW-Jones and it hits solid on the radio track styling with great guitar soloing. Opening with Blue Jean Jacket, a pop rocker with a shuffle beat, JW-Jones is up front with solid vocals and joined by Jesse Whiteley on keys, Will Lauin on drums, Jacob Clarke on bass Brendan Cassidy, Jim John, Daniel Koelsch and Rolf Rogde on sax, Scott McGonigal, Rob Williams, Rob Mee and Rob Scott on trombone, and Bob Clegg, Noel Methven, Jim Shea and Brad Harrison on trumpet. Jones does a funky overlay on classic blues number, Drowning on Dry Land and I like it. Whiteley's organ work, along with the tight rhythm work of Laurin really make this track move. Jones stabs in some real nice guitar riffs, working really well with sax and trumpet accents. Very cool! Big swing track, It's Obdacious has great feel and dynamics with harmonies by Brit Wynne-Jones. Jeff Pighin really wails on sax on this one giving it a great kick. On Guitar Slim's, The Things That I Used To Do, Jones maintains Slims original trademark guitar riffs which give it great presence and his own twists, with the addition of sax and trumpet which work really nicely. Possibly my favorite track on the release. Wrapping the release is rock shuffle, When It All Comes Down with Jones' solid lead vocals and warm sax work maintaining the balance. His lead guitar work on the track is concise and well blended making this a solid closer for a solid release. 

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