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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 Way Back Home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Way Back Home. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Harpo Records artist: Backtrack Blues Band - Way Back Home - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the newest release, Way Back Home, from the Backtrack Blues Band and it's solid. Opening with Going to Eleuthera, a snappy shuffle, Sonny Charles leads the way on lead vocals and Kid Royal is hot on his heels on lead guitar. Rounding out the troupe is Little Johnny Walter on rhythm guitar, Joe Bencomo on drums and Stick Davis on bass. Victor Wainwright is featured on piano and does a real nice job and Charles really makes his harp sing. Nice opener. On Tell Your Daddy, the band sets a funky dance groove with a boogaloo bass line. Breaking into a smooth shuffle Royal plays it like a stud and the deal is on. Breaking back, Charles brings his harp to the forefront with great tone. Shoot My Rooster has a real nice blues lope with Charles' harp on call and Royal's guitar on response. One of my favorite tracks on the release, this track features super piano work by Wainwright in the mix with Royal and Charles. Excellent. Sonny Boy Williamson's Your Funeral, My Trial really gets the feel of old Chicago blues with Charles working his harp. Royal's Texas blues guitar styling is tight and forceful giving the track great balance. Nobody But You has a bit of 50's R&B blues styling and Royal's guitar work is clean and distinctive. Charles' harp work is fat and rich with tight underpinnings by Wainwright, Davis and Bencomo. On Heavy Built Woman Royal takes a real nice walk on his six string with Funderburgh like runs and Charles' vocals and super harp are nicely backed by Latonya Oliver and Dana Merriwether. Blues classic, Baby Please Don't Go is up next and with great enthusiasm Charles shouts out the lyrics. This track has great instrumental qualities with solid entries by Charles and Royal. Check it out! Rich Man Blues has a real deep lope and strong Chicago blues styling. Royal and Charles take nice solo passes and Wainwright's contributions are essential. Wrapping the release is Help Me Just This Time, a modified boogie. With it's driving bass riff, Wainwright's extensive piano work and Royal and Charles trading riffs, this is a great track to wrap a fun release.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Backtrack Blues Band Brings It "Way Back Home" on New Harpo Records CD Coming on September 2

Backtrack Blues Band Brings It Way Back Home on New Harpo Records CD Coming on September 2

Special Guests Include 2016 BMA Winner Victor Wainwright

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Tampa Bay-based group Backtrack Blues Band announces a September 2 release date for Way Back Home, on Harpo Records, distributed in the USA by Select-O-Hits and in Canada on Flaming Cheese Records. This is the fifth CD from Backtrack Blues Band, which has won three consecutive Tampa Bay Music Awards for “Best Blues Band.” 2016 Blues Music Award-winner Victor Wainwright adds his major chops on piano throughout the album’s 10 tracks, a perfect blend of Chicago blues (a la Paul Butterfield Blues Band) and the rompin’, stompin’ Texas style of the early Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Members of Backtrack Blues Band are Sonny Charles – lead vocals, harmonica; Kid Royal – lead guitar; Little Johnny Walter – rhythm guitar; Joe Bencomo – drums; and Jeff “Stick” Davis – bass.  Founded in 1980, this talented blues quintet has been one of Florida’s longest-running original blues bands and takes its name from legendary harmonica player Little Walter’s instrumental, “Backtrack.” Since its inception, Backtrack has been tearing up stages all over the globe, including a recent sojourn north of the border to the Tremblant International Blues Festival in Montreal. Over its history, the band has performed with many of its musical mentors, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Gregg Allman, John Lee Hooker and Johnny Winter.

“This first class band has recorded one of the strongest traditional blues records to date,” writes Blues Music Magazine editor Art Tipaldi in the liner notes for Way Back Home. “Led by the double barrel attack of harmonica ace and lead vocalist Sonny Charles, and the biting Texas blues guitar of Kid Royal, the Backtrack Blues Band is now poised to carry its musical message to a larger audience.”

From the jumping opening track of “Goin’ to Eleuthera” (a song about a beautiful island paradise in the Bahamas), through the original songs and such covers as Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Your Funeral, My Trial” and “Checkin’ on My Baby,” to the driving closer, “Help Me Just This Time,” Way Back Home delivers a constant barrage of great blues riffs and flavors that create a powerful impression. At the core of the band’s sound are the stellar harmonica work and vocals of Sonny Charles and the stinging Texas blues guitar work of Kid Royal. With Little Johnny Walter laying down solid rhythm guitar parts and an in-the-pocket rhythm section of Jeff “Stick” Davis on bass and Joe Bencomo on drums, the Backtrack Blues Band sound is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

“On this studio record, we tried to capture more of a live analog sound,” says Sonny Charles about the recording sessions. “We think the CD has a warm and authentic feel that avoids the sterility that comes with many modern digital recordings.

“We had lots of fun making this album; it was a relaxed journey for the band.  Everyone had a great time playing the tunes, and we hope the joy of performing real blues shines through on this record.

Way Back Home is our fifth album, and I guess we learned from our past projects. This CD really captures the tones and energy we were looking for when we planned the sessions. We think it’s, by far, our best recording effort and truly reflects the ‘Backtrack’ sound.”

Sonny Charles and Little Johnny Walter formed Backtrack in 1980, and have played together for over 35 years. Sonny is an accomplished blues harmonica player, whose tone and style are reminiscent of Little Walter and Paul Butterfield. His devotion to blues music runs deep, as he founded the Tampa Bay Blues Festival in 1995 in St Petersburg, Florida. The festival has since grown into one of America's largest and most-respected blues gatherings, winning a prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive Award (2011) from the Blues Foundation for Best U.S. Blues Festival.
Kid Royal, originally from London, Ontario, has appeared at many major blues festivals throughout Canada and America, and his style is influenced by the great Texas guitar players. He is widely respected as one of the very top guitarists in Florida.  
Joe Bencomo is an exceptional drummer, who has played in the best blues and jazz bands in Tampa Bay for over 40 years. Little Johnny Walter adds solid rhythm guitar and backup vocals to the band. He met Sonny at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where they first formed a band while attending college at UNC; and they've remained great friends and musical collaborators ever since those early days. Jeff “Stick” Davis is a gifted bass player, won a Grammy as a founding member of the Amazing Rhythm Aces, and has traveled the world, touring with BB King, John Mayall, Al Green, Jesse Winchester, Pure Prairie League, and others. He was also an in-demand bassist for many years at Memphis and Nashville recording sessions.
“Goin’ to Eleuthera” audio link: