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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 Vance Kelly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vance Kelly. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wolf Records Artist: Vance Kelly & His Backstreet Blues Band - Tell Me Why - Release Review

Today I'm featuring another fine release that was not sent to me for review but that I feel deserves a good listen. I checked on Amazon and even they don't have a review. Well readers, here's a review of a real cool release that deserves your attention. This is an August 2012 release of Tell Me Why by Vance Kelly. Opening with Twenty Four Hours, a smooth shuffle track, Vance demonstrates in seconds that he is a first rate blues singer. Wall To Wall is a high stepping R&B song along the lines of James Brown (Living In America among others). How can you not like this. Kelly strikes hard with his guitar and with solid bass behind him and brass pushing, this is a super track. Foot Loose & Fancy Free is a solid blues track with gospel influence. This is a super track with Kelly playing smart guitar riffs balanced by organ, horns and harp. Possibly my favorite track on the release, it's certainly one not to be missed. Doing My Own Thing is a strong R&B /soul track which melds into a cool arrangement of the Temptations' I Can't Get Next To You. Members Only is a gospel style blues track having a strong resemblance to Curtis Mayfield's People Get Ready. Kelly does a nice job both vocally and on his six stringer. Drivin Wheel is a very cool blues track with a R&B twist. Vance leads the way with strong vocals but steps up a bit on guitar work and does a real nice job laying it down. There's also a part of the track that calls to mind Leon Russell's version of Youngblood. I know that this isn't specifically a Russell characteristic but it is effective. The title track, Tell Me Why has a really nice slow pace and Kelly opens with a nice intro on guitar. Another of my favorite tracks on the release, Kelly really grabs the essence of the blues and holds it in his hands. A sax solo on this track is right on the money and blends well with Kelly's great soul singing. Kelly rips a fine guitar solo on this one as well. Bad Taste In My Mouth takes the 12 bar route with warm horns carrying the bottom supporting the rich vocals of Kelly. Really hot harp riffs on this track floating on a bed of fine horns and sugar sweet guitar riffs make it another of the releases best. You Steppin Out has a real nice tempo and Kelly continues to show over and again his prowess as a band leader and vocalist. With a swagger all it's own, this is a great blues show tune with horns blazing. Highway Here I Come is a smokin hot slow blues with a smokin hot guitar intro. Kelly delivers some really bluesy vocals on this track and really pumps the track with fluent guitar riffs over great drumming. A fast paced version of Wilson Picket's Mustang Sally gets the groove moving leading up to an explosive version of Hendrix's Hey Joe. Opening with guitar pyrotechnics, Kelly switches gears to a reggae beat and then with strings blazing, lights the towers and burns it down with white hot guitar riffs (and a little China Grove). Excellent! This is one of this sleeper releases that I didn't have direct exposure to. If you missed it, here''s your chance to check it out!

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

VANCE KELLY

Vance Kelly (born January 24, 1954) is an American soul blues singer and guitarist, who has performed regularly at various music venues in the Chicago area, chief among them being the 1815, Checkerboard Lounge, Rosa's Lounge, Kingston Mines, Buddy Guy's Legends, and B.L.U.E.S. As a music journalist noted of Kelly, "Like Primer, he combines an enquiring eye for a song with a moderately conservative taste in sound, producing music that lives by the principles of classic Chicago bar blues yet is not enslaved by the past" Kelly was born in the Near West Side community area of Chicago, Illinois, United States. His father was a gospel musician, and his uncle, LeRoy McCauley, was a part-time blues musician. Kelly's own interest in and talent for performing music were on display at an early age; he was playing guitar by the age of seven, despite never having had a formal lesson. Then, at the age of 10, Kelly performed blues for the first time at a Chicago school. As a teenager, he sat in at various clubs on Chicago's South Side and later appeared both as a solo artist and as a sideman in those clubs, backing such artists as the West-Side singer Mary Lane when he was 15. It was during this time that Kelly developed his unique "ringing" guitar sound, which raised his profile among members of Chicago's blues community Kelly experimented with disco music during the late 1970s, but he had rekindled his interest in blues music by the end of the decade. Major influences on Kelly's playing style during this stage of his musical development included B.B. King, Muddy Waters, and Johnny Christian. In 1987, Kelly was invited to become a member of saxophonist A.C. Reed's Sparkplugs. Kelly's tenure with this group influenced his vocal style, while allowing him to refine his guitar skills, and provided him with road experience. After playing with Reed's band for three years, however, Kelly decided to strike out on his own. One reason for this decision was his eagerness to cultivate his own style, which has come to be characterized as a mixture of electric blues, R&B, funk, and disco. Kelly's urge to leave Reed's band also stemmed from his desire to adapt his blues playing to the perceived tastes of a particular audience. With regard to the latter point, Kelly has said, "If the older folks come in, I want to take them back to the Delta blues. When the middle-aged folks come in, they just want to hear regular-type blues. If a younger crowd comes in, they want to hear up-to-date type blues Kelly formed the Backstreet Blues Band soon after he ended his tenure with Reed, and signed a recording contract with the Vienna, Austria-based Wolf Records International in 1992. Members of Kelly's band included John Primer on guitar; David Honeyboy on harmonica; Eddie Shaw on the saxophone; Erskine Johnson on the keyboard; and Johnny Reed playing bass. In 1994, Kelly and his band had a breakthrough when his debut album, Call Me, earned critical acclaim and introduced Kelly to audiences beyond the Chicago area. The album went on to win the Best Album of 1994 (New Recording) as well as the Living Blues Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 1995. The following year, Kelly released Joyriding in the Subway, which featured assistance on lyrics and vocals by Vivian Kelly, Vance Kelly's daughter. As with Kelly's debut outing, Joyriding in the Subway also included the guitarwork of John Primer, bass playing of Johnny Reed, and keyboard music of Erskine Johnson. Critics largely praised the album and noted its "stylistic breadth," citing influences on the songs such as A.C. Reed, Tyrone Davis, and Little Milton Kelly has worked steadily since these two hit releases of the 1990s, producing a string of well-received albums that showcased his signature mix of blues, soul, and funk styles. He continues to record with the Backstreet Blues Band, most recently releasing the album Bluebird on October 2008. He has also played at numerous blues gatherings, including the annual Chicago Blues Festival. Between 1999 and 2002, Kelly took part in three separate European concert tours. While Kelly remains relatively unknown outside of the Chicago blues community, his fan base is loyal and has expanded considerably over the years. His daughter, Vivian Kelly, is a blues musician in her own right who released her debut album, Hit Me Up, on October 10, 2006. A musical documentary 'Someplace Else' made by filmmakers Kai-Duc LUONG & Avisheh MOHSENIN portraying Vance Kelly and featuring many of his trademark songs, was released in 2008 and played at international film festivals such as Hawaii International Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (VC Film Fest), Rhode Islan>d International Film Festival.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

If You Didn't Come Up And Touch Me (It Wasn't Me) - Vance Kelly



Vance Kelly (born January 24, 1954, Chicago) is a soul-blues singer and guitarist, who has performed regularly at various music venues in the Chicago area, chief among them the 1815, Checkerboard Lounge, Rosa's Lounge, Kingston Mines, Buddy Guy's Legends, and B.L.U.E.S.

Kelly formed the Backstreet Blues Band soon after he ended his tenure with A.C. Reed, and signed a recording contract with Vienna, Austria-based Wolf Records International in 1992. Members of Kelly's newly formed band included John Primer, providing assistance on the guitar; David Honeyboy on the harmonica; Eddie Shaw on the saxophone; Erskine Johnson on the keyboard; and Johnny Reed playing bass.



In 1994, Kelly and his band would enjoy one of the most important breakthroughs of Kelly's musical career: The debut album, Call Me, earned worldwide critical acclaim and introduced Vance Kelly to audiences beyond the Chicago area. The album went on to win the Best Album of 1994 (New Recording) as well as the prestigious Living Blues Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 1995.



The following year, Kelly released Joyriding in the Subway, which featured assistance on lyrics and vocals by Vivian Kelly, Vance Kelly's daughter. As with Kelly's debut outing, Joyriding in the Subway also included the guitar work of John Primer, bass playing of Johnny Reed, and keyboard music of Erskine Johnson. Critics largely praised the album and noted its "stylistic breadth," citing such obvious and varying influences on the songs as A.C. Reed, Tyrone Davis, and Little Milton.



Like Primer, he combines an inquiring eye for a song with a moderately conservative taste in sound, producing music that lives by the principles of classic Chicago bar blues yet is not enslaved by the past.

Kelly has worked steadily since these two hit releases of the 1990s, producing a string of well-received albums that showcase his signature mix of blues, soul, and funk styles. He continues to record with the Backstreet Blues Band, most recently releasing the album Bluebird on October 2008. He has also played at numerous blues gatherings, including the annual Chicago Blues Festival, and garners rave reviews from his frequent performances at music venues in and around the city. Between 1999 and 2002, Kelly took part in three separate European concert tours.



While Kelly remains relatively unknown outside of the Chicago blues community, his fan base is loyal and has expanded considerably over the years. His daughter, Vivian Vance Kelly, is a blues musician in her own right who released her debut album, Hit Me Up, on October 10, 2006.