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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 Soul Stew Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Soul Stew Records. Show all posts

Monday, October 14, 2013

Soul Stew Records artist:Bob Eike - Happy Little Songs About Futility And Despair - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Happy Little Songs About Futility And Despair, from Bob Eike and it's quite good. I'll start by saying this is a lot of music from a man and his guitar...think early Ry Cooder for style and taste. Opening with That's Just Not Right, Eike plays country rag style and has no hesitation on the strings. This track is super. Next is My God's Better Than Your God, a slower paced rag style track again with the light hearted look at life. Had To Leave Louisiana has a more traditional RGD or Hot Tuna style with great story, guitar runs and turns. Lucifer Jesus Jones is a clever track with obvious contrast and shows some interesting progressions and plenty of fleet finger work. Very cool. That's The Way It Goes is a very strong folk type song in the manner of Pete Seeger or Bob Dylan. My Oven's Broke is a great little blues track and the cracking on Eike's voice is a great accent to the general feel. You Can't Go Home has a bluesy folk track with particularly loose vocals which I really like. What I mean is this is very real music and the guitar is precise. Allowing the vocals to wonder really compliments the composition. I Don't Do Lies is a great delta style blues track with the stiff bass rhythm and Lightning Hopkins like guitar runs under the vocals. Excellent! Wrapping the release is Do It By Myself, a sweet little slide blues track reminding me quite a bit of Seigel Schwall band. This is another of my favorite tracks on this really cool release. If you like real original blues, I mean the delta stuff, and Piedmont stuff, you haven't heard anything new in a while... this may be your ticket. It has a few different shades of blue and definitely captures the original spirit of the blues.  
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This isn't on the release but a good representation of what Bob sounds like:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Soul Stew Records artist: Billy Thompson - Friend - New Release Review

I just received the new release, Friend, from Billy Thompson and I think it's really super! Opening with Soldier of Misfortune, a funky rocker, Thompson demonstrates not only a cool singing voice but unique arranging talent and hot guitar riffs. Backed by Chris Dominicion keys, Gene Monroe on bass, Jonathan Greenburg on trumpet, Ian Charlton on sax, Tom Tierney on sax and Eric Selby on drums Thompson really lays out nice guitar riffs making this a really hot track. Garden has a contemporary Latin rhythm and Thompson really shosw a mastery of slide guitar and vocals and is also backed by Mr Bill Payne on keys. Interlude is a deep gripping blues ballad featuring some of the best vocal work that I have heard in weeks. Mike Finnegan adds warm organ to this track and Thompson skillfully adds nice guitar backing to his own vocals like a master trimming his bonsai. A really tasty guitar solo erupts but never out of character of a contained ballad. Masterfully beautiful! Farmer Kenny is a cool swing track with a cool lope on the bottom by Chris Brown. Ron Holloway and Wes Lanich (keys) add a lot of texture to this track but Thompson really knows how to showcase his skills and here they are...kick back and listen. On title track, Friend, Mike Peed (keys) and James East (bass) join Thompson for a somewhat straight forward radio player. Very nice melody and hook. Half A Man is a soulful ballad which really has the stuff that gives a track longevity. Thompson again demonstrates that he really is a vocalist first and an instrumentalist second. His vocals are really terrific. I don't often comment on the credibility of vocalists unless they are superior because I really hear the voice as an instrument. When I hear someone who sings like this, I have to comment. I really like it... and he can rip on guitar too! Happy go lucky with a bop, Many Faces, has that light funk and great horns to push it along. Ron Holloway whips out some key riffs on this track and you need to think to keep your butt from squirming on this one... very hot! Also nice vocal backing from Dani Grays and Xzantiny Grant. With it's Louisiana stomp, Satisfied is driven by Selby's hot drumming and Bill Payne on keys. Undercover slide work adds nice texture to the track but it's really about the beat, the keys and cool vocals. Then I, My Love is another smokey blues ballad. It is so infrequently that I am really attracted to the vocal work of an artist that I have to stop once again and say...this guy is terrific! Mike Finnigan props up the vocals on this track with a bed of organs while Thompson dances lightly on the fretboard under his singing... brilliant. Ain't But One is a full out New Orleans hi speed funky march again featuring Finnigan but with Kenny Gradney on bass. Thompson doesn't hold back on his riffs on this track adding yet another track to the list of really great tracks on this release. On Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine, Thompson throws his own spin and Peed adds drama with piano. Bassist Dave Curtis and percussionist Danny Campbell join the mix and Thompson's vocal interpretation sounds fresh. Completing the release is While The World's Winding Down, sounding a lot like Further On Up The Road, is a great blues boogie romp giving Thompson on final chance to rip and rip he does. Finnigan adds really nice organ lines and Gene Monroe is right on with the bass. Selby has maintained the rhythm like a rock throughout the release. Overall this is one of the most enjoyable releases that I have had the pleasure of reviewing this year. Excellent job!

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