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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 Rocky Athas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rocky Athas. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Catfood Records artist: Sandy Carroll - Blues & Angels - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues & Angels, from Sandy Carroll and it's got something special. Opening with Soak Me In The Spirit, a gospel soaked shuffle, Carroll has lead vocal backed by Rick Steff on keys, Steve Potts on drums, David Smith on bass and Will MacFarlane on guitar. Soulful ballad, Wrapped In An Angel, has a really nice melody, with Mark Narmore on keys, Smith on bass, Potts on drums and MacFarlane on guitars. Sassy shuffle, Mama Don't Like It is one of my favorite tracks with a cool shuffle feel clean bluesy riff by MacFarlane and some of Carroll's best vocals on the release. Funky, Headin' Home is another of my favorite tracks with snappy drum work by Mario Dawson, bass by George Moye and featuring Bernard Allison on guitar. Very cool. Wrapping the release is ballad, Mississippi Me featuring only her vocal and Narmore on piano. A fitting closer for a nice release. 

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Forty Below Records artist: John Mayall - Find A Way To Care - New release Review

I just received the newest release, Find A Way To Care, from John Mayall and it has a real nice groove! Opening with Don Robey's Mother In Law Blues, Mayall leads the drive both vocally and with solid piano work. Mayall has been blazing the blues path for 50 years and this release sounds as fresh as his earliest work. A Chicago style harp solo from Mayall with only the most basic of rhythm addition from Rocky Athas on guitar, Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport makes for a great opener. Percy Mayfield's The River's Invitation keeps a funky R&B feel with Mayall on keys and warm horn backing giving the track a certain "authentic" feel. Very nice! Ain't No Guarantees blends blues with jazz and rock with a classic Mayall sound. Mayall takes an extended organ solo on this track with a cool irregular drum rhythm by Davenport. Lightnin' Hopkins' I Feel So Bad, has a slightly different rhythmic twist but Mayall's vocals are compelling and his electric piano work blends micely with horn backing. Rocky Athas leads off title track, Find A Way To Care, with a slick guitar solo. A more melodic, radio style melody with traditional horn arrangements and a dance rhythm makes this track a strong contender for airplay. Muddy Waters' Long Distance Call, is a real cool interpretation of a Morganfield classic. Maintaining Morganfield's original certainty but adding the silkiness of an older man's eyes, Mayall delivers the track with Spann like piano work and vocal tenderness. Athas doesn't really step out on the track but does a really nice job of adding understated but meaningful guitar riffs to the blend. Excellent! Lee Baker's shuffle, I Want All My Money Back, is next up and Mayall's vocals are super. Backing himself on organ and with a stiff drum beat from Davenport, this track moves. Athus steps up on this track flaming off some really hot guitar riffs balanced out by Mayall on keys. Very cool! Ropes and Chains has an easy, melancholy feel with Mayall playing subtle harp riffs. Developing into a cool jazz driven blues with cool bass riffs from Rzab, Mayall and Athus trading riffs on harp and guitar,this may be my favorite track on the release. Charles Brown's classic blues track, Drifting Blues features Mayall on vocal and piano with only light bass and brushes. Mayall really does a nice job of bringing his piano work to the foreground on this track making it another favorite. Matt Schofields's War We Wage is a hot modern style blues/jazz track with scorching guitar work from Athus. Latin rhythms and British changes make this a track with surprises. Super! Wrapping the release is Crazy Lady, a cool piano boogie featuring Mayall playing old style. This is a terrific cut showing a genuine appreciation of the real boogie woogie piano styling and a great way to wrap the release.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Forty Below Records artist: John Mayall - A Special Life

I just received the newest release (May 13, 2014), A Special Life, from John Mayall and in keeping with tradition, Mayall gives us another new view at his take on the blues. Opening with Why Did You Go Last Night, a Jimmy Reed like track, features Mayall on piano and CJ Chenier on accordion and lead vocal. Sonny Landreth's Speak Of the Devil has a strong bottom thanks to Jay Davenport (drums) and Greg Rzab (bass). Rocky Athas rips a nice guitar solo on this track as Mayall fills out the body on organ. James Lane's That's All Right has a strong R&B blues feel and features Mayall not only on vocal but also on harp. Nice! World Gone Crazy has a cool Doors like feel with Mayall on vocal, harp and keys but it's all about the bass on this track. Albert King's Floodin' In California still has the funky R&B style but with a definite Mayall twist. Easy going guitar work from Mayall on this track complimented by his own organ work leaves a nice open path for Athas to play a crisp guitar solo of his own. Very nice. Eddie Taylor's Big Town Playboy is up next with a cool shuffle beat. Mayall echoing himself on vocal and harp and accompanying himself on piano, this is a cool Chicago style blues. Davenport lays in the pocket as Mayall shows he still knows his way around the keys and the harp. Nice. Title track A Special Life is an easy going ballad with a really nice harp work. Jimmy McCracklin's I Just Got To Know has a real strong R&B feel and Mayall's vocals are best shown on this track. Athas plays a particularly well articulated solo on this track making it the front runner for my favorite track on the release. Heartache has a bit of a Latin feel with, Mayall playing a clavinet adding to an island feel. Getting into the Latin spirit, Athas lays down a nicely articulated guitar solo in contrast to a somewhat calming track. Like a Fool has a driving bass line compliments of Rzab and Mayall leads the way with classic vocal styling and nice organ work. Athas again steps up with blistering fretwork making this another of my favorites on the release. Wrapping the release is Just A Memory, a really nice ballad delivered a la blues. One of the coolest compositions on the release and featuring an extended piano solo from Mayall this is a super conclusion to one of the founders of the modern blues' newest releases.

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