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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 Rockin' Johnny Band. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rockin' Johnny Band. Show all posts

Monday, October 23, 2017

Rockin' Johnny Burgin @ The Rhythm Room In Phoenix - October 2017

I saw a great show at the Rhythm Room, the premiere blues club in Phoenix, last week and it was great. The Rhythm Room is a real Phoenix landmark that took over where the mason Jar left off. That's where I last saw Albert King. At the Rhythm Room I've seen a number of super shows and artists including Johnny Winter, Joe Bonamassa and Jimbo Mathus. I moved a while back and live outside of the city now. It makes it a lot tougher to see a mid week show, but when I heard that Rockin' Johnny was playing town, I knew I was going to be there. I've seen Johnny a number of times both on his own and with Tail Dragger.  I remember seeing him on film a number of years ago where he was playing backup player and just with a few riffs, he stood out and got my attention.

Now with a number of his own excellent releases under his belt, Rockin' Johnny puts on one hell of a show! He pulls from his most recent release Neoprene Fedora as well as a few other terrific releases including Greetings From Greaseland and Grim Reaper. Johnny is a great showman and at the Rhythm Room he plays 2 sets. Obviously what originally got my attention was Johnny's powerful if not often wild guitar riffs but Johnny is actually turning out to be a really good singer. Every time I see him I think, man this guy is really a good singer but I always remember those power riffs of his. Johnny isn't a Bonamassa or Clapton clone and he doesn't ape Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page or any of the other spectacular guitar players like most of his contemporaries. Johnny has his own style which is a mix of classic, underplayed riffs and his own style and blues, R&B, soul and rock. I don't take a lot of notes at a concert (hell, I'm there to drink beer and listen to a band just like you). Johnny hits the floor hard and pushes himself to gets things hopping fast. After only a few tracks, he really settles into a groove and it just keeps getting better and better throughout the show. I believe he played most every track from his Neoprene Fedora release (which is terrific by the way) and my recollection is that he played the title track near or at the end of the first set.

Excellent!  Club owner and renown blues harp player, Bob Corritore, joined Johnny on stage for a few hot Chicago blues numbers and Bob never fails to impress. He's a great harp player and extremely knowledgeable blues enthusiast, running a blues radio show on National Public Radio for many years.

Recalling the show, I'm certain that he played Guitar King, Won't Get Married Again, Give Me An Hour In Your Garden, Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear, and  Goodbye Chicago. there were a few tracks that were just over the top. From Greaseland I remember Cold Chills, She's A Hit and Homework as well as the highlight of the show for me, Johnny's take on The House Of The Rising Sun. Unfortunately the footage was unusable for reasons out of my control. Grim Reaper and I Did The Best I Could were among the best of the rest but the ultimate best groove is Smoke and Mirrors. I really think that this is one of the best grooves caught on a contemporary blues release in years.

 Off the floor, Johnny is a hell of a nice guy and just wants to put on a great show. Catch him in a smaller club while you can. It may not be next week, but this guy really has something special and you should get your share.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

That's What Love Is All About - Mary Lane

A longtime staple of Chicago's West Side blues circuit, singer Mary Lane was born November 23, 1935 in Clarendon, Arkansas. After honing her skills in local juke joints in the company of Howlin' Wolf, Robert Nighthawk, Little Junior Parker and James Cotton, Lane relocated to Chicago in 1957; backed by Morris Pejoe, she soon cut her debut single "You Don't Want My Lovin' No More" for the Friendly Five label. A favorite among peers for her dulcet tones, she nevertheless did not record again for several decades, remaining virtually unknown outside of the Chicago blues faithful; finally, in the early 1990s, Lane recorded a handful of tracks for the Wolf label, leading to 1997's full-length Appointment with the Blues.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Delmark Records artist: Rockin' Johnny Band - Grim Reaper - New Release Review

I just got a copy of Grim Reaper, the new Rockin' Johnny Band and it is great! Rockin' Johnny (Burgin)on guitars and vocals has built a strong support band in Rick Kreher on rhythm guitar, David "Big D" Erickson on harp, John Sefner on bass and Steve Bass on drums. I gotta tell you this music is pure Chicago blues but although it sounds really authentic, it doesn't sound rehashed or tired. It sounds fresh, new and hot! With at least 5 of the tracks being originals, Rockin' Johnny has assembled a solid 15 track set that opens with the title track, Grim Reaper. This is a great slow blues with not only solid soulful vocals but a tight band and great expressive guitar solos. If you don't love this song, just take the CD off. This is the real deal. Window To Your Soul is another RJ original and another really strong entry. Johnny's guitar playing has a lot of the little short runs and frenzied looseness that so define the early Chicago blues players and they beautifully compliment the entire release. Jody Williams' I Was Fooled is another outstanding track on the release, uptempo and loping with again very defined guitar work as well as Big D blowin' some sweet harp. Lousy Dimes is a mid cooker with Big D taking a pretty long harp solo and RJ playing a cool expressive but not overtly flashy guitar solo. A new interpretation of Rollin' and Tumblin' shows imagination with more of a jazz/blues feel and once again Johnny pulls out some great riffs. I really like it. Another original, It's Expensive To Be Broke, is another great slow cooker, this time with Kenny Anderson, Dudley Owens and Jerry DiMuzio on horns bringing up the bottom. It's a great opportunity to get Johnny into the slow groove playing that sweet slow blues on his guitar. Otis Rush's My Baby's A Good 'Un sets up well again for Johnny to sing the blues and to use his terrific expressive playing skills. Big D penned Brand New Boots is a terrific slow instrumental giving not only Johnny but also Big D great opportunities to show their stuff. My Sweet Baby, in the Elmore James ring has Johnny playing slide. Johnny takes a new look at Fenton Robinson's Loan Me A Dime and I think that he does a terrific job on it. Unlike a number of covers that have preceded him, he gives it his own style and it is a great track which sounds fresh and original. Check the guitar playing on this track. Just really "on" it. Another RJ original, Shoe Leather and Tire Rubber is a cool track. It hard to describe the nuances that make this such a great recording but it is consistently from top to bottom. Big D takes a nice harp solo on this track for guys like me that have to hear that solo on every song. Little Walter Jacobs' Everybody Needs Somebody is up next and it fits perfectly into the set. Rockin' Johnny plays an extended guitar solo on this track and I sit wondering where Johnny's been for the past 10 years. If I haven't made it clear, this is a great recording. If you like guitar, if you like harp, if you like blues this is a great cd!!
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