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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 The Smoke Wagon Blues Band. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Smoke Wagon Blues Band. Show all posts

Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Smoke Wagon Blues Band - The Ballad of Albert Johnson - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Ballad of Albert Johnson, from The Smoke Wagon Blues Band and we got some tasty stuff here. Opening with title track, Ballad of Albert Johnson, a romping boogie with a great bass line courtesy Jason Colavecchia on bass and strong lead vocals and harmonica by Corey Lueck. With Mike Stubbs on guitar, Brandon Bruce on keys, Gordon Aeichele on sax, Steve Sherman on guitar, and Tibor Lukacs on drums, this is a strong opener. Bluesy ballad, Ain't Gonna Be Your Fool is a great showcase for Lueck's vocals and a super radio track. New Orleans flavored, Lay Say Lay has a great beat with great piano work by Bruce and snappy drum work by Lukacs and percussion by Sherman, topped off with really nice sax work by Aeichele and backing vocals by Stubbs, Bruce, Sherman, Colavecchia and Lukacs. Poor Man Blues has a great shuffle feel and gives Lueck a wide open stage to play his harmonica and he does a terrific job, followed by a soulful sax solo by Aeichele. Very cool. Another cool boogie track, Can't Take The Blues has an infectious groove with a strong bass line, super vocals, a solid sax solo by Aeichele and a tight mix. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Steaming Comrades Harp Boogie, a live track with a rhythmic Bo Diddley beat. Lueck leads the way on vocal and harp kind of reminding me of an old John Mayall performance and the band pumps it up all the way. Cool closer. 

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Smoke Wagon Blues Band - Cigar Store - New Release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Cigar Store, by The Smoke Wagon Blues Band and got a bit of everything. Opening with Walking Cane, a funky blues rocker, Corey Lueck has the lead on vocal and Jason Colavecchia on bass and Tibor Lukacs add the hot bottom. Nick Succi brings it on piano and Gordon Aeichele lays down a cool sax solo. Must've Read It Wrong is a driving blues rocker with a solid bass line by Colavecchia. Succi and Aeichele each lay in nice solos and Mike Stubbs' on guitar and Lueck on harp add the dressing. On R&B style track, I Tried, Stubbs lays in a nice intro and Aeichele plays warm sax lines complimenting Lueck's soulful lead vocals. Hoodoo Woman has a real interesting contemporary blues sound, stripped down and basic. With cool raspy vocals and a simple melody line and guitar riff, reinforced by Lueck's harp work. Put The Quilt Out To Dry has a cool percussive feel over a basic, Sonny Boy Williamson feel. With it's dual rhythms, it really digs in, making it one of my favorites on the release. Rock n' roller, Directly Under Her Thumb, has a cool boogie rhythm dressed perfectly by Succi's piano work and the walking bass line of Colavecchia. Stubbs stretches out a little on guitar and Aeichele's sax work is cool. Title track, Cigar Store has a cool walking bass line and with a taste of New Orleans, has a cool horn solo, slide solo and of course boogie piano. Lueck's intro on resonator on White Mule is way cool. The track reminds me quite a bit of Neil Young's Are You Ready For The Country but with an Allman Brother's guitar riff. Interesting. King Biscuit Boy's Mean Old Lady has a cool hi stepping feel with nice slide work by Lueck, a prominent bass line and a real nice piano solo by Succi. Following a smooth R&B hit format, I Can't Change is the most certain radio track on the release with sure footed lead vocals by Lueck and a soulful sax solo by Aeichele. Steve Sherman's organ opener on Quarter Mile really sets the pace for a rolling rocker with a driving drum beat by Lukacs and Stubbs slide work nicely pushing Lueck's lead vocals. Aeichele's aggressive sax solo really gives the track pop and Lueck hit's it hard on harp giving this track real starch. Wrapping the release is a casual, rag style track, You've Been a Good Old Wagon. It has just the right feel with sassy New Orleans style sax work, piano and harp... it's a great closer for a solid release by Smoke Wagon.
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Monday, February 24, 2014

The Smoke Wagon Blues Band - Live In Hamilton - New Release Review

I just received the most recent release, Live In Hamilton from The Smoke Wagon Blues Band and it's a cool jam with serious musicianship paired with a lot of fun. Opening with Bill Wither's Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone, SWBB gives it a slinky blues feel (think The Thrill Is Gone)for a really pleasing start. Gordon Aeichele lays down some really sweet sax work on this track and Corey Lueck handles vocals. Hen House Hopping is a cool boogie track and bassist Jason Colavecchia lays down a nice bottom. Nick Succi rolls the piano and Lueck is grinding away on harp, trading riffs with guitarist Mike Stubbs. Very cool. Josephine is a super track with swamp funk and jazz. With a sticky, slinky strut Lueck pulls you into the track and the band sings loose harmony for one of those cool tracks that you just like to sit back and nod to. With a clean solo on piano from Succi, sassy guitar riffs from Stubbs and deep throated sax work from Aeichele this is one of my favorite tracks on the release. A slight country rock flavor gives it just a touch of "The Band". Tibor Lukacs is tight on bottom and Colavecchia steps out a bit as well keeping the funk funky. Wrong Side Girl is a rocking blues track and Stubbs gets a real nice grind on his guitar leading to some complex boogie/jazz piano from Succi. Colavecchia takes a nice long phrase on this track and Aeichele rips it up on sax. Another cool track. I Can't Change is a solid ballad with Lueck and Aeichele taking the spotlight. Fine Furred Momma is a straight up boogie with a solid bass lead from Colavecchia. Lueck does some of his best vocal work on this track and also featured on the harp cranks this track up. Excellent! Succi and Stubbs trade riffs making you really appreciate live concert tapes. You never get to hear this type of interaction on studio albums. Barton Street Blues has a real easy country feel (like Up Against The Wall Redneck Mothers) featuring band members all singing and flowing piano and harp. This is likely a real favorite in live environments and while drinking! Smoke Wagon Boogie cranks it up a few notches with natural breaks for band participation. This is a track formatted along the lines of an Asleep At The Wheel track where the band lays it down, has fun and gives the audience room to participate which they always do. Great boogie jam! Lonesome Whistle Blues with a pace like It Hurts Me Too or Key to The Highway gets a great blues groove going. Succi and Aeichele both play strong instrumental roles on this track in support of Lueck's vocals. Feeling Of The Witch (a more than 10 minute jam breaking from Traffic's/Joe Cocker's Feelin' Alright and morphing into Donovan's Season of the Witch)is a really nice opportunity for each instrumentalist to lay it all out. Super solos from Stubbs, Lueck, Succi and Colavecchia highlight this track. Wrapping the track is Muddy Water's Blow Wind Blow but done boogie style. A nice walking bass line from Colavecchia sets the pace. Lueck takes this opportunity to play some of the best harp on the track and really blows it out. Aiechele steps up for some soulful sax work on this track but handing tyhe spot back to Lueck and his vocal charm to take it home. This is a fun release with some great instrumental parts and a live release that was definitely enjoyed by the audience (and the listener).

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