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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 Tracy Nelson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tracy Nelson. Show all posts

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, September 28, 2017

Trevor Sewell - Calling Nashville - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Calling Nashville, from Trevor Sewell and it builds on his last release, Calling Your Name. Opening with Some Day, singer /songwriter and guitarist, Sewell crafts a track with traces of pop, Charlie Daniels and Jeff Beck for his new release backed by Kellen Michael Weinrich on fiddle and Trevor Brewis on drums. Janis Ian has the floor on Fade To Grey in a vocal duet with Sewell and piano on this cool jazz number. Blues rocker, Matter Of Time has a taste of Dire Straits with grinding guitar tones and ultra  cool vocals. With a quick shuffle, You Ain't What I'm Looking For has a super feel and snappy guitar riffs. Stand Next To Him pulls in flavors of western styling and the sounds of the range. Sewell's guitar finesse and the fiddle work of Weinrich pull this off nicely with bass by Justin Kimball and Brewis on bass. Very cool. Wrapping the release is ballad, Shadows, featuring Janis Ian on piano and Sewell showing his vocal prowess. A solid track, a good closer for a solid release.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Shoot My Baby - Tracy Nelson w/ Marcia Ball

“Tracy Nelson isn’t so much a singer as she is a force field — a blues practitioner of tremendous vocal power and emotional range.” - Alanna Nash, Entertainment Weekly “ . . . a bad white girl . . .” —Etta James, from her autobiography, Rage To Live She has one of the signature voices of her generation. That natural gift has always guided Tracy Nelson’s soul; indeed allowed her to both write and seek out the deeper songs regardless of niche or genre. A fierce singer of truth, a fountain of the deepest heartache, she is an ultimate communicator and has regularly destroyed audiences across decades of performing. She is one of the few female singers who has had hit records in both blues and country genres, performing with everyone from Muddy Waters to Willie Nelson to Marcia Ball and Irma Thomas, with Grammy® nominations for both her country and blues efforts. John Swenson, writing in Rolling Stone, asserted, “Tracy Nelson proves that the human voice is the most expressive instrument in creation.” With Victim of the Blues (Delta Groove), her 26th album in just over five decades, she has circled fully, back to the original music from South Side Chicago that mesmerized her teenaged mind in the mid-1960s. “Several years ago,” Nelson reveals now, “I was driving with a friend across Montana, tooling down I-90 hauling a 1962 Bambi II Airstream trailer, the one that looks like a toaster. We were making a trip to Hebron, North Dakota where my grandfather homesteaded and built up a 2000+ acre ranch which he sold in the early ’60s.” The current owners were about to tear down the old claim shack and she wanted to go back there one last time. The car windows were down and national blues DJ Bill Wax was on their XM Satellite Radio — the great Otis Spann’s “One More Mile,” from his 1964 Prestige album, rolled out of the truck speakers. “It had always been a song I wanted to do” Nelson recalls, “and that started me thinking about all the great Chicago blues songs and artists I had heard in my formative years, especially Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. This was around the time I made my first record, Deep Are the Roots.” She thought too of just a few years ago when she was touring nationally as part of a well-known Chicago blues revue, playing a lot of blues festivals. “The music I heard back in the day in Chicago and what I was hearing from the current crop of blues acts bore little relation to each other.” From that memorable day in the Badlands hearing “One More Mile,” she decided it was time to make a record she says, with “some of those fine old songs and be as true and authentic to the style as a Norwegian white girl (is that redundant?) from Wisconsin could manage it.” This new album, Victim of the Blues, is a hand-picked collection of songs, most written by Nelson’s early heroes: Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Percy Mayfield, Lightning Hopkins, Joe Tex and Howlin’ Wolf. She has chosen 11 songs of the day, ones that were spilling out of AM radios from second-story apartments, rolled-down car windows, and live from darkened clubs with exotic names like El Macambo. The album kicks off with a rollicking Wolf tune, “You Be Mine,” propelled by piano man Jimmy Pugh (Robert Cray, John Lee Hooker, Etta James) and tough guitarist Mike Henderson (The Bluebloods), with slapping doghouse bass from Byron House (Robert Plant’s Band of Joy) consummately conjuring Willie Dixon, as Tracy Nelson’s voice soars. One contemporary song, “Lead a Horse to Water,” Nelson notes, “is by a wonderful singer/songwriter named Earl Thomas, who should have been born in that era.” The snaky, shimmery Pops Staples sound from guitarist Henderson along with the gospel background vocals (Vicki Carrico, Reba Russell, John Cowan, Terry Tucker and Nick Nixon) would make Mavis grin. A pair of Jimmy Reed (“the great Chicago blues communicator” —Robert Santelli) classics follows: “Shoot Him” pops like a wry firecracker, complete with rimshot/gunshot from drummer John Gardner (Earl Scruggs, The Dixie Chicks, James Taylor) and Henderson’s unexpected (and dismayed) shout. Nelson’s pal and guest singer/piano woman Marcia Ball jumps in on the action too. And on “It’s a Sin” Nelson delivers perfect slow-drag vocals. (Lyrics on both are by Mary Reed, Jimmy’s longtime collaborator and wife.) Women howling never sounded so damn classy in Wolf’s “Howlin’ for My Baby.” Here Nelson is joined by Texan and her fellow Blues Broad, Angela Strehli. “One More Mile,” the Otis Spann song that inspired the whole album, is a true tribute to the Delta/Chicago bluesmen who brought their soul and musical skill to future generations, and could be considered a bookend to Nelson’s 1968 version of her Memphis Slim namesake song, “Mother Earth.” Again, Nelson just tears it up, deeply, cathartically, achingly. Percy Mayfield’s minor-key masterpiece “Stranger in My Own Hometown” is seductively propulsive thanks to Gardner’s brushes and Pugh’s touch on the Hammond B-3. The dramatic and tender caution Nelson offers in “The Love You Save,” a 1966 Joe Tex gem, pleads for intimate understanding in a timely, worldly way. A New Orleans second-line beat infuses Nelson’s take on the dark Lightning Hopkin’s “Feel So Bad” with the notion to dance away the pain. And when Nelson intones “feel like a ball game on a rainy day,” you can taste the humidity, and the clouds overhead. “Without Love,” written by Danny Small, made famous by Tom Jones, Irma Thomas and Elvis Presley, closes, magnificent in presentation, humble and redemptive — ”I had conquered the world, but what did I have? Without love, I had nothing at all.” Singer John Cowen matches Nelson’s explosive power as he takes the high part and goes to church. The only piece on this album from the first generation blues era — replete with banjo, steppin’ bass from House and Pugh’s whorehouse piano — is by Ma Rainey, whom Nelson defines as “my first musical influence when I started to sing seriously. It’s the title tune, ‘Victim of the Blues’ — and the story of my life . . .” Nelson’s listening education began in the early 1960s when, while growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, she immersed herself in the R&B she heard beamed into her bedroom from Nashville’s WLAC-AM. “It was like hearing music from Mars,” she recalls of the alien sounds that stirred her so. As an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin, she combined her musical passions singing blues and folk at coffeehouses and R&B at frat parties as one of three singers fronting a band (including keyboardist Ben Sidran) called the Fabulous Imitations. She was all of 18. In 1964 she went to Chicago to record her first album, Deep Are the Roots, produced by Sam Charters and released on Prestige Records. “We hired Charlie Musselwhite to play harp on that record and he and I connected and hung together for a while. I’d go visit him in Chicago and he’d take me to the clubs on the South Side. That’s where I first met Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.” A short time later, Tracy moved to San Francisco and, in the midst of that era’s psychedelic explosion, formed Mother Earth, a group that was named after the fatalistic Memphis Slim song (which she sang at his 1988 funeral). Mother Earth the group, true to its origin more grounded than freaky, was nonetheless a major attraction at the Fillmore, where they shared stages with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Burdon. In 1968 Mother Earth recorded its first album, which included Nelson’s own composition “Down So Low.” It became her signature song, and is considered by all a staggering achievement in the canon of rock music. Esquire magazine called it “one of the five saddest songs ever written.” It has been regularly covered by great women singers through the years, including Etta James, Linda Ronstadt, Maria Muldaur and, in 2010, Cyndi Lauper, who chose it for her own Grammy-nominated blues album. In 1969, the second Mother Earth album, Make a Joyful Noise, was recorded in Nashville, leading Tracy to rent a house and later buy a small farm in the area where she still lives today. As a side project, she soon recorded Mother Earth Presents Tracy Nelson Country for which she coaxed Elvis Presley’s original Sun-era guitarist Scotty Moore to co-produce (with Pete Drake) and play on her rendition of Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s “That’s All Right Mama.” In a way, the phenomenon that is Tracy Nelson is encapsulated in that circumstance: it’s a blues song, made famous by a rock ’n’ roller, recorded on a country album by a folkie turned Fillmore goddess, produced by a rockabilly legend and the preeminent pedal steel player of the day. After six Mother Earth albums for Mercury Records and Reprise Records, Nelson continued to record throughout the ’70s as a solo artist on various labels. In 1974, she garnered her first Grammy nomination for “After the Fire Is Gone,” a track from her Atlantic Records album, a hit duet with Willie Nelson that Tracy reprised on her 2003 album, Live From Cell Block D. Willie (who, despite the rumors, is not related to Tracy although he contends they just might be “the illegitimate children of Ozzie and Harriet”) said of Tracy’s remarkable pipes, “that tremendous voice has only gotten better over the years.” The highlight of Nelson’s tenure with Rounder Records throughout the 1990s was surely Sing It!, the brilliant, big-selling 1998 album starring Nelson, swamp blues/rocker Marcia Ball and soul queen Irma Thomas. “She has a magnificent voice. She can truly sell a song,” said Thomas, and music critics enthusiastically agreed —”Nelson repeatedly stops the show with her enormous, wraparound voice, transforming tunes like ‘In Tears’ from simple country-flavored ballads into cathartic emotional experiences,” wrote Michael Point (Austin American-Statesman). And drawing from the recent albums she did with Memphis International, Nelson gave fans worldwide the chance to hear her live (in the great jailhouse album tradition of Johnny Cash and B.B. King) when she released Live From Cell Block D, recorded at the West Tennessee Detention Center in Mason, Tennessee. It was a profound experience for her and reinforced “the value of sharing music in every venue imaginable.” In late July, 2010, Nelson was featured on NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” a little more than a month after the tragic fire that took the 100+ year old farmhouse she shared with longtime partner Mike Dysinger. She was just beginning to deal with the aftermath of losing her home and many of her personal belongings. “The firemen told us they could save one room — we had to decide —we said ‘the studio.’” This album, Victim of the Blues, is the album that miraculously survived the fire. And that is the reason that the first people Nelson thanks in this album’s notes are the Burns, Tennessee Volunteer Fire Department. To date, there have been several benefits across the country to assist the two in rebuilding their farmhouse on the land they love. Seeing as how her first Grammy nomination was for “After the Fire Is Gone,” with Willie Nelson, she would say drolly, “It seemed like the perfect thing to call these events.” Nelson had titled this album before the fire, so the irony is not missed on her. Victim of the Blues is as deeply felt as anything she has recorded in her exceptional career; she is a soul survivor. - Mindy Giles If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Delta Groove Artists: The Blues Broads - New Release Review


Delta Groove has a mega release, The Blues Broads, hitting the streets on September 18, 2012. The package includes both a CD and DVD of Dorothy Morrison, Tracy Nelson, Angela Strehli, and Annie Sampson live together in concert. I've watched the DVD a few times (it is a similar but slightly different grouping from the cd)and it is very well composed, performed and shot. The video opens with Livin' The Blues, a shuffle track led by powerhouse Nelson who also trades a lead with Strehli and backed by the others and band. Bring Me Your Love, a solid R&B track is sung by Simpson, the tracks composer. The voices blend extremely well as if they have been singing together all of their lives. Next up is River Deep/Mountain High, another R&B track and gets the crowd revved up. Walk Away finds Nelson back on lead vocal for a nice slow blues number. She demonstrates her solid vocal bass and range as well as true feeling for the blues. I want to mention the band who plays extremely well, and the overall mix of the recording which is very near natural presence. The band is Mike Emerson on keys, Paul revelli on drums, Steve Ehrmann on bass and on this track especially nice guitar work by Gary Vogenson. Strehli sings her own composition, Two Bit Texas Town which follows the rhythm pattern of Wang Dang Doodle. Cool track. Morrison, Nelson and Strehli sing a very crisp trio on Strehli's Blue Highway. The vocal blending is really solid. It's Won't Be Long ( a gospel style track) lets band member Deanna Bogart step forward and sing some lead as well as have a chance to be highlighted on keys. (Her presence is obvious on every track but is especially highlighted on this track). Sampson is back on lead for Dylan's It's All Over Now Baby Blue. Gotta mention, Sampson is solid on vocals but I also like her outfit ... a real standout. Bogart steps up with a really sweet sax solo on this track... a particularly hot addition. Spiritual, Mighty Love, is led off by Morrison and she really steps up and carries the weight on this track with the support of all of the Broads. Jesus, I'll Never Forget is done totally acapella with each leading a chorus and with the addition of Bogart. This is a particularly strong performance and the voices really blend well. The concert wraps with Edwin Hawkin's Oh Happy Day. It is lead by Morrison and again demonstrated the vocalists total capability to step back and blend perfectly. This is a terrific video / cd combination for fans of blues/R&B/Spiritual and just great solid singing.
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The below video is not an extract from the film. The quality does not touch the quality of the original performance but does capture the essence of the band.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Walk Away - Tracy Nelson


Tracy Nelson (born December 27, 1944) is an American singer.
In the late 1960s Nelson relocated to Nashville, where she and Mother Earth recorded the album Make A Joyful Noise and the solo effort Tracy Nelson Country. The latter features Nelson's cover of the country classic "Blue, Blue Day". Nelson made a total of six albums with Mother Earth for the Mercury, Reprise, and Columbia labels. She has continued to record as a solo artist, for Atlantic and other labels. In 1974, her duet with Willie Nelson, "After the Fire is Gone", was nominated for a Grammy Award.

After a lengthy hiatus from recording in the 1980s, Nelson released several albums on the independent Rounder Records label in the 1990s. Her 1998 collaboration with label-mates Marcia Ball and Irma Thomas "Sing It" garnered a second Grammy nomination. During this comeback period she performed on American music television programs such as Sunday Night and Austin City Limits.

Since the early 2000s, Nelson has recorded for various independent record labels. She released her first in concert album "Live From Cell Block D" in 2004.[4] Other projects include a collaboration with blues-rock veterans Nick Gravenites, Harvey Mandel, Corky Siegel and Sam Lay. Billed as the Chicago Blues Reunion, the group toured major cities in 2005 and 2006.

In 2007, Tracy released "You'll Never Be a Stranger at My Door", her first pure country effort since her 1969 album, "Mother Earth Presents Tracy Nelson Country".
"Stranger" included her covers of Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone", Jim Reeves' "Four Walls"; the Everly Brothers' "I Wonder If I Care as Much" and a song based on a poem of her own composition, "Salt of the Earth"
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Monday, November 7, 2011

THE NIGHTHAWKS SIGN WITH SEVERN RECORDS; NEW CD RECORDED FOR EXPECTED RELEASE IN FIRST QUARTER OF 2012



TOUR DATES INCLUDE SPECIAL SHOWS WITH THE LEGENDARY
TRACY NELSON

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Severn Records announces the signing of seminal American roots music band The Nighthawks, who’ve already recorded their first album for the label, with an expected release date in the first quarter of 2012. The two Washington, DC-area based entities unite at a very special time in their history. Severn Records was just announced as the recipient of the 2012 Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Record Label from the Blues Foundation; and The Nighthawks are coming off their first-ever Blues Music Award (also from the Blues Foundation) -  Acoustic Blues Album of the Year - for their Last Train to Bluesville CD, presented in Memphis this past May.

The Nighthawks are: Mark Wenner - vocals, harmonica; Johnny Castle - vocals, bass; Paul Bell – guitar; and Mark Stutso - drums, vocals. Always known as one of the hardest working bands in the business, The Nighthawks continue to tour extensively and have several shows lined up featuring the band and their special guest, legendary singer Tracy Nelson (Mother Earth). The Nighthawks and Tracy Nelson shows are set for December 1 – Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis; December 2 – Blues Alley in Washington, DC; and December 4 - Shenanigans in Richmond, Virginia.

The Nighthawks’ still-untitled debut release for Severn Records was recorded at the label’s new state-of-the-art studios in Annapolis and features quite a bit of original material. Bassist Johnny Castle contributes a new tune and also sings on a version of Jimmy McCracklin’s “Georgia Slop;” while most-recent band member, drummer Mark Stutso, does four originals, demonstrating the added talent he brings to the band as a songwriter and additional singer. Other tracks reportedly cut include one Billy Price original, plus the classic “Smack Dab in the Middle” and Nat King Cole’s “Send for Me.”   

In addition to the band’s stellar catalogue of acclaimed albums released since 1974, The Nighthawks have long enjoyed wonderful touring and recording relationships with some of the best and brightest names in roots and blues music. On their 1978 release, Jacks and Kings, they backed up such blues all-stars as Pinetop Perkins, Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, Calvin Jones and Bob Margolin; and backed up John Hammond on his Hot Tracks album. The Nighthawks have toured with John Hammond, as well as John Lee Hooker, Elvin Bishop, Tracy Nelson and Eddie Hinton; and also played with such national treasures as Muddy Waters and Carl Perkins. Over the years, several other star artists have literally become de-facto “members” of the band at various times, including Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes and Bob Margolin.   

Recorded live at the Washington studios of Sirius XM Satellite Radio, the band’s last CD, Last Train to Bluesville, was a departure of sorts from their previous efforts. Stripped down and acoustic, Last Train to Bluesville resonated with music fans and the media alike with its honesty, passion and soul. The album features down-home versions of 10 blues classics from such artists as Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Slim Harpo, Chuck Berry, Sonny Boy Williamson and James Brown, among others. Recorded with the intimate feeling of a back-porch setting, Last Train to Bluesville bristles with all the energy of a live gig and the world-class performances Nighthawks fans from around the world have come to expect.        

In its review of the CD, The Washington Post declared, “If there were ever a question about how the Nighthawks keep their blues-rock sound fresh after nearly 40 years together, Last Train to Bluesville gives the answer…the new acoustic setting really suits the group. The crisp recording draws the group’s instrumentation into the spotlight…a recording that stands out in the band’s lengthy discography.”

International blues magazine Blues Revue said, “While these songs have been staples of The Nighthawks set list for decades, the sparkling acoustic arrangements provide them, and the band, with a new lease on life…accurately captures the dynamics of one of roots music’s long lasting, dependable and often unsung outfits. Long may they fly.”

Blues Blast Magazine called it “Ten tracks of incredible acoustic blues, all the more impressive given that it was recorded as a live session in the studio rather than pieced together of tracks and parts. The crystal clear recording would showcase any flaws – instead what comes through is a tight, professional acoustic set that truly showcases The Nighthawks’ musicianship.”

And the Blog Critics website summed up its review by stating, “…this is a superb document of the intuitive interplay between seasoned veterans who still find sheer, unbridled joy in making music together. It simply doesn’t get much better than this!”



UPCOMING NIGHTHAWKS TOUR DATES
11/10                The Bamboo Room                               Lake Worth, FL           
11/11                Mojo Kitchen                                        Jacksonville Beach, FL
11/12                Dunedin Wines the Blues                       Dunedin, FL
11/13                Chef John’s Bistro & Blues                   Jupiter, FL
11/15                Paradise Bar & Grill                              Pensacola, FL  
11/16                Paradise Bar & Grill                              Pensacola, FL  
11/18                Blind Willie’s                                         Atlanta, GA
11/19                The Ellington                                         Lynchburg, VA
11/25                The State Theatre                                 Falls Church, VA
11/26                The Globe                                             Berlin, MD
12/1                  Rams Head Tavern                               Annapolis, MD *
12/2                  Blues Alley                                           Washington, DC *
12/4                  Shenanigans                                          Richmond, VA *
12/9                  Bourbon St. Blues & Boogie                  Nashville, TN
12/10                Blues Ball                                             Birmingham, AL
12/11                Huey’s Midtown                                   Memphis, TN
* The Nighthawks with special guest Tracy Nelson
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