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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 Rick Estrin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rick Estrin. Show all posts

Monday, November 18, 2019

Gulf Coast Records artist: Billy Price - Dog Eat Dog - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Dog Eat Dog, from Billy Price and it's old school R&B. Opening with Funky rocker, Working On Your Chain Gang, Price, who has one of the smoothest voices on the circuit leads the way with strong support from Alex Pettersen on drums, Jerry Jemmott on bass, Jim Pugh on keys, John Halblieb on trumpet, Jack Sanford on sax, Kid Andersen on guitar and organ, and Walter, James and Dwayne Morgan on backing vocals. Very cool. Smooth pop jazz track, Lose My Number sounds like it's right off of a Steely Dan record with it's strong melody and supple vocals over a organ lead backing melody. Eric Spaulding adds a real nice sax solo on this one giving it a real kick. With a smooth dance groove, title track, Dog Eat Dog is really in the groove with great lead vocals by Price, tight backing vocals by Lisa Leuschner Andersen and Alabama Mike, cool congas by Vicki Randell, the super sax work of Spaulding and great harmonica by Rick Estrin. Dark soul track, My Love Will Never Die, is one of my favorites on the release with screaming vocals, and ripping guitar work by Kid Andersen. Excellent! Another favorite is funky, New Orleans flavored, All Night Long CafĂ©. Price really rides high on the rhythm on this track with Jon Otis on congas and percussion, and power horn work by Spaulding, Sanford and Halblieb and a funky bluesy guitar solo by Mike Zito. Really cool. Wrapping the release is radio style track, You Gotta Go with heavy tom tom driven rhythm and glistening key work by Pugh. Andersen's guitar attack is direct and essential as always and Price's vocals are as solid as when I saw him in Pittsburgh with Roy Buchanan a lot of years ago. Price's best album in years. 

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

VizzTone Label Group artist: Terry Hanck - I Still Get Excited - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, I Still Get Excited, by Terry Hanck and it's jam packed with sax infused blues. Opening with a rumble, title track, I Still Get Excited has a real nice boogie feel with excellent piano work buy Jim Pugh and cool guitar work by Johnny Cat Soubrand, with backing vocals by Whitney Shea and Lisa Leuschner Andersen, bass by Kid Andersen and drums by Butch Cousins. On Smooth Tyrone, Hanck leads on vocal and soulful sax with really nicely styled guitar work by Soubrand and again really nice piano work by Pugh. On Early In The Morning I particularly like Hanck's vocals and Chris Cain adds really strong lead guitar. I like Andersen's bass attack on this track and the backing vocals by Lisa are really nice. Pugh's B3 work on this track adds that additional dimension and June Core's drumming sets up a solid opening for Hanck to solo. Very nice.  Harmonica great, Rick Estrin joins in on Come On Back playing tag with Hanck on sax. With a cool shuffle feel and a slick guitar solo by Soubrand, this is one of my favorites on the release. Slow instrumental, Rosita (No Wall Can Hold Our Love) is a really nice showcase for Hanck on his sax with warm undertones by Pugh on B3. Howlin' Wolf's Howlin' For My Darlin' maintains it's original arrangement and spunk. Soubrand's stinging guitar work are nicely highlighted on this track of course sharing the spotlight with Hanck on sax. Very cool. Tracy Nelson joins Hanck on lead vocal on Spring with Tim Wagner on bass, Butch Cousins on drums and a soulful sax solo by Hanck. Super. Wrapping the release is Feel So Bad with a lot of spring in the rhythm. A Stax feel really gets the blood flowing on sax and Hanck really knows how to play it. Soubrand plays some of his flashiest solos on this one and Hanck's vocals work really nicely with this style. Solid closer for a real cool release. 

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

VizzTone Label Group artist: Mighty Mike Schermer - Bad Tattoo - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Bad Tattoo, from Mighty Mike Schermer, and I really like it. Opening with She Won't Be Coming Back, a cool Latin rhythm rocker features Mighty Mike on vocal and guitar and in particular Eric Bernhardt on bari sax. Nancy Wright slaps down a really nice tenor sax solo of her own and with Paul Revelli on drums, Steve Ehrmann on bass and Austin Delone, this is an excellent opener. Slipping into a really nice R&B groove on Lover's Hall Of Fame, Schermer shows his outright style on vocal and guitar backed by D'mar on drums, Kid Andersen on bass and organ and Dennis Love on congas and vocal. Shifting gears again on How Much Longer, Schermer gets on a country track with a really nice Cajun spice. With Revelli on drums, Ehrmann on bass, Delone on piano/Farfissa and Lisa Lueschner Andersen on backing vocals this track has great radio flavor and sets up explosive guitar riffs by Schermer. Title track, Bad Tattoo has a great loping swing and a solid, funny, story. With horn warmth and slick riffs by Schermer, this is definitely one of my favorites on the release. Tex Mex track, Hey Francine, is another of my favorites with tight drum rhythms, a cool guitar riff and nice lead and backing vocals by Schermer and Andersen. Excellent! Baby Down The Well is another track of specific note with Aki Kumar on harp, a slapping drum beat and a solid vocal delivery by Schermer, not to mention his hot slide work. Very cool. Make sure you check out Suffocating Love, in Johnny Guitar Watson style. Yeah, I'm talking that funky R&B blues, with a real back beat. Schermer doesn't mimic Watson's guitar style but plays twin leads and alternating solos with Chris Cain. Very very cool! Wrapping the release is Up All Night with a bright, Clapton/Cale style. Delone takes a nice piano solo, Schermer flashes his cards a few times and harmonizes with Andersen but holds back on an explosive ending. This is a nice track keeping you wanting more. This may not be the flashiest releases you will hear all year, but it may be one of the most solid end to end. Very nice work!

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

16th Annual Blues From The Top Festival, Star-Studded Lineup


   Taking place Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24, Blues From The Top is jam-packed with great artists both days: Saturday, June 23 includes performances by, among others, guitar ace Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band; harp great (and 2018 Blues Music Awards "Traditional Blues Male Artist" and "Blues Song" winner), Rick Estrin And The Nightcats; 2018 BMA "Best Emerging Artist Album" winner, Memphis soul/blues band, Southern Avenue. On June 24, the North Mississippi All-Stars; popular L.A.-based guitar-powered R&B band, Vintage Trouble; and Nick Moss Band with harp virtuoso, Dennis Grueling. Hideaway Park, 78820 US Highway 40. Gates open 10am; music from 11am to 6pm (Saturday) and 11:00am to 6pm (Sunday). Currently, General Admission tickets are $35. (one day), $60. (2 days). V.I.P. Experience: $100.00 per day per person, $185. for two days. V.I.P. Seating features Stage Right starting at the Front Row; Daily Buffet; Private Bar with two Complimentary Drinks each day; free water and soft drinks; Shade Tents with tables and chairs; and Private Restrooms. Kids 12 and under, free (when accompanied by an adult). Tickets/info: Presented with pride by the Grand County Blues Society.

  Expect some diversity of sounds at this year's Blues From The Top. "Until recently, Blues From The Top primarily has been straight-up blues music," explains Maria Chavez, President of the Blues from The Top Festival, in a recent Blues-E-News interview. "However, we realized that if we want the festival to grow and diversify and to also reach a younger audience, we needed to add more blues “roots” music into the mix – indie blues, blues rock, rock and soul. This includes bands such as Honey Island Swamp Band, North Mississippi All-Stars and Vintage Trouble that help break down what “blues” music is. Blues is the seed, creating roots and watching other musical forms grow from these musical blues roots, " adds Chavez. "We also are very prideful of our program Blue Star Connection which provides musical instruments for children with life threatening illness in over 57 hospitals nationally."

Friday, November 17, 2017

Howlin' At Greaseland - Various Artists - New Release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Howlin' At Greaseland, from Kid Andersen's Greaseland Studios and it's strong. This all-star tribute release to Howlin' Wolf features many of today's greatest blues players. Opening with Meet Me In The Bottom, Alabama Mike is upfront on lead vocal backed by Rick Estrin on harp, Alex Pettersen on drums, Bobby Yamalov on bass, Kid Andersen on guitar and slide and Lorenzo Farrell on piano paving a wide path. On Smokestack Ligntnin', John Blues Boyd has the mic, joined by Rockin' Johnny Burgin and Kid Andersen, Joe Kyle Jr. on bass, Estrin on harp, D'Mar on drums and Jim Pugh on piano. Very nice. Howlin' For My Darling features Terry Hanck on sax and vocals, backed by Johnny Cat Soubrand on guitar, Andersen on bass, Pettersen on drums and Pugh on piano. Both Hanck and Soubrand stretch a bit instrumentally adding nicely to the tight groove.  Tail Dragger is upfront on I'm Leaving You and Aki Kumar's harp work stands out nicely, with a crisp guitar solo by Burgin, backed by Vance Ehlers on bass and June Core on drums. Henry Gray is on top on Worried Life Blues, one of my favorites on this release. His vocals and piano work are very real backed by Patrick Rynn on bass, Chris James on guitar. Shuffle track, Riding In The Moonlight, features Boyd on lead vocal, Andersen and Rockin' Johnny on guitars and Estrin on harp. This is a super track giving each featured artist space to take a whack. Very nice. Lee Donald belts out Forty Four with Andersen on piano, Soubrand on guitar, Kumar on standout harp, Phillips on bass and Core on drums. Another of my favorites on the release is Don't Trust No Woman with Tail Dragger on vocal Burgin on guitar and Kumar on harp. Gritty and tasty. Gray and Andersen play a simple duet on Little Red Rooster which is quite powerful with Gray's gripping vocals and piano styling. Wrapping the release is Spoonful with Boyd on vocal with stinging guitar riffs by Burgin and Andersen. This is a solid release of Burnett originals, performed in authentic style. Very cool.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016



Alligator Records has set a June 10, 2016 release date for the Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Collection. The 2CDs-for-the-price-of-one set -- boasting over 148 minutes of music -- features career-defining performances from blues royalty past, present and future.
The blues and roots music Alligator Records has been releasing since 1971 -- created by iconic giants of the genre like Hound Dog Taylor, Koko Taylor, Albert Collins, Luther Allison, James Cotton, Elvin Bishop and Mavis Staples, and label-nurtured legends including Son Seals, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Saffire—The Uppity Blues Women and Michael “Iron Man” Burks -- has more than stood the test of time. With the Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Collection, label founder and president Bruce Iglauer, along with his 15-person staff (many of whom have been on board for well over 20 years) celebrate Alligator’s extraordinary past, history-in-the-making present, and a future filled with more "Genuine Houserockin’ Music."

The Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Collection clearly lays out Alligator’s wide-ranging, forward-looking vision with tracks from newer voices – Selwyn Birchwood, Toronzo Cannon, Shemekia Copeland, Moreland & Arbuckle and Jarekus Singleton – seamlessly programmed next to legendary artists including Curtis Salgado, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Joe Louis Walker, Delbert McClinton, Anders Osborne, The Holmes Brothers, Guitar Shorty, JJ Grey & Mofro, Ann Rabson and Roomful Of Blues. Together, the Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Collection presents a comprehensive portrait of this singular, rooted, soul-stirring American music.

On June 10, the day of the album's release, the City Of Chicago will celebrate the label's 45th anniversary during the 33rd Annual Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park. Alligator artists scheduled to perform are Shemekia Copeland, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Curtis Salgado, Toronzo Cannon, Moreland & Arbuckle, Corky Siegel and Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater.
The history of Alligator Records, founded by blues-bitten Bruce Iglauer in 1971 for the express purpose of releasing an album by Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers, reads like a history of contemporary blues and roots music. Iglauer, a native of Cincinnati, first fell in love with the blues in 1966. A live performance by the great Mississippi Fred McDowell struck him deep inside. "It was as if he reached out and grabbed me by the collar, shook me and spoke directly to me," he recalls. After that show, Iglauer, a student at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, immersed himself in the blues. In 1968, he made his initial pilgrimage to experience Chicago's thriving blues scene. His first stop was the famous Jazz Record Mart, where he met proprietor Bob Koester, also the owner of the prestigious blues and jazz label Delmark Records. With Koester as his de facto guide, Iglauer began making regular visits to Chicago to see Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Otis Rush, J.B. Hutto, Carey Bell and many other stars in the ghetto blues clubs.

Koester was impressed with Iglauer's passion for the music and his promotion of two sold-out Luther Allison performances at Lawrence. When Iglauer moved to Chicago for good at the beginning of 1970, Koester hired him as a $30-per-week shipping clerk. Almost every night, Iglauer hung out in the funky South and West Side bars, spellbound by the blues men and women performing on their home turf. He accompanied Koester to the studio for every Delmark session, where he watched blues greats such as Junior Wells, Roosevelt Sykes and Robert Lockwood, Jr. create classic blues albums. Iglauer wanted Delmark to release an album by his favorite band, Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers. But Koester wasn’t interested, so Iglauer gathered up what little money he had and decided to do it himself, soaking up everything he could learn about record production before heading into the studio with Hound Dog in 1971.

Iglauer became producer, booking agent, business manager, roadie, promotion man and publicist for Hound Dog. He ran Alligator out of his tiny apartment, filled with stacks of record cartons and a shipping table next to the bed. For years, each record had to finance the next one, which meant Alligator released about one record a year. Luckily, those records continued to impress fans and critics and sell enough to keep the label going. Albums by Big Walter Horton, Son Seals and Fenton Robinson all contributed to getting the fledgling company off the ground. When Koko Taylor came aboard in 1975, the label was taking larger steps, soon attracting giants like Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan and Johnny Winter.

Now, Alligator Records is the largest independent blues label in the world, and has been repeatedly honored for its achievements. Three Alligator recordings have won Grammy Awards, and 41 titles have been nominated. The label and its artists have received well over 100 Blues Music Awards and more than 70 Living Blues Awards. But even with all of the accolades, Alligator Records never rests on its laurels. According to Iglauer, "Alligator should be the label that's exposing the next generation of blues artists and bringing their music to the next generation of blues fans. I want the future of the blues and the future of Alligator Records to be one and the same. I want to keep bringing blues and roots music to new fans and getting them as excited about the music as I am." With those goals, Alligator Records is still fueled by the same principles that it first established in 1971. The staff continues to push forward, still bucking the odds, with everybody working long hours on a shoestring budget.

Throughout its history, Alligator has operated not only as a business, but also as a tight-knit family. Relationships between the staff and the artists are personal and run deep. It's not at all uncommon for an artist performing a Chicago show to drop by the office for an unannounced visit. Musicians regularly call Iglauer at any hour, looking to have CDs shipped out at the last minute, or to discuss their upcoming recording sessions or sing new tunes over the phone. Iglauer has opened his house to musicians needing a place to live during times of personal trouble.

From the early days of recording only Chicago talent, to attracting national and international musicians, to the label's commitment to nurturing the next generation of blues artists, Alligator continues to break new ground. Now, as clearly proven by the Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Collection, the label is still dedicated to recording and promoting great talent, confirming that the passion, energy and soul-healing power of Alligator’s music is strong, genuine, and capable of rocking the house with no end in sight.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

LRBC #25 Updates! Oct. 2015 Big Easy/Fantasy

Your deposit to reserve a stateroom is $500 per person ($1000/single) payable by Visa, MasterCard or Discover.
Please email for a copy of applicable terms and conditions.

Click for detailed pricing & availability!

Buddy Guy, one of this year's Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients, is headlining the October cruise, marking his First Appearance Ever on our Blues Cruise Charters!

"Whenever I accept an award like this I do it for all the Blues men and women who came before me and never got the recognition they truly deserved." - Buddy Guy
For a man who name is nearly synonymous with the Chicago blues sound, Buddy Guy has one of the warmest smiles in the business. Rock titans, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards and Stevie Ray Vaughan have all cited him as a major influence on their own music. Now 78, the 2005 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has barely slowed down as he continues to encourage and inspire a new generation of musicians.
A Self-Taught Legend: Born to Louisiana sharecroppers Sam and Isabel Guy on July 30, 1936, George "Buddy" Guy taught himself to play guitar as a young boy. He took a train to Chicago in 1957, and landed at the famous 708 Club where he became a sideman for legends such as Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter and Muddy Waters. By the early 1960s, Guy was a first-call session man at Chess Records.
After years of touring and recording, the musician opened Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago in June of 1989. As the premiere blues club in the world, its stage has hosted myriad of blues and rock greats. Guy inked a deal with Silvertone for three albums that began with the 1991 comeback smash Damn Right, I've Got the Blues (reissued in 2005), which he followed up with 1993′s Feels Like Rain and 1994′s Slippin' In. All three earned Grammy Awards.
Guy has firmly cemented a blues legacy that places him squarely in the company of his heroes who came before. In 2012, he published his autobiography, When I Left Home: My Story. He has said he feels an obligation to keep their legacy alive. Guy still holds a 16-show residency at his eponymous Legends club in Chicago every January. After one of his shows seven years ago, Guy met then eight-year-old Quinn Sullivan (who also joins us on LRBC #25), a budding blues guitarist. Now a mentor to the teenaged musician, Guy tours with him and produced his first album. "I learn from Buddy every day," Sullivan says.

The clubs are lining up bands already...

Announcement soon, including Surprise/Special Guests!

Just announced!

RANDY MCQUAY II(IBC 2015 Solo/Duo Winner)

Special Guest HAROLD BROWN (Lowrider Band)

Click for upcoming Land Festival Destinations.




















"THE BLUES IS A WOMAN" Play written by Theodis Ealey & Tom Jones. Featuring: Lacee, Bernardine Mitchell & Theodis Ealey

RANDY MCQUAY II(IBC 2015 Solo/Duo Winner)






Itinerary | Holland America ms Westerdam
10/24: Ft. Lauderdale, FL | Depart 5p
10/25: Key West, FL | 8:00a - 5:00p
10/26: Bluesin' At Sea
10/27: New Orleans, LA | 11:00a - 11:00p
10/28: Bluesin' At Sea
10/29: Cozumel, MX | 1:00p - 9:00p
10/30: Bluesin' At Sea
10/31: Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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