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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 Yellow Dog Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yellow Dog Records. Show all posts

Friday, July 7, 2023

Yellow Dog Records artist: William Lee Ellis - Ghost Hymns - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the newest release, Ghost Hymns, by William Lee Ellis and it's an interesting exploration of blues, gospel and bluegrass. Opening with Cony Catch The Sun, Ellis on fretless banjo and vocal play a very cool, primitive, Hill Country like track. Very cool. On Pearl River Blues, Ellis and Mikahely on guitar work nicely over a piedmont styling and solid vocal work by Ellis. One of my favorite tracks on the release is instrumental, Lost Heaven featuring  Ellis on acoustic guitar and a Chinese folk string instrument called a yueqin with it's quiet melody and clean articulation. With honor to father Tony Ellis and godfather Bill Monroe, Mumblin' Word is a great bluegrass tune with Ellis on vocal and 12 string, Neil Rossi on fiddle, Rik and Julie Coffey on vocal. Very cool.  Tony Ellis penned track, Belarus, has a beautiful melody, with Ellis on guitar and Tom Cleary on piano. Very nice. Closing the release is Bury Me In The Sky, with Ellis on vocal and guitar, KeruBo on vocal, Hannah Assefa on fiddle and Larry Nager on bass. This is another strong melody and a solid closer for a real cool release. 

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Yellow Dog Records artists: The Ragpicker String Band - Self Titled - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, The Ragpicker String Band by Mary Flower, Rich DelGrosso and Martin Grosswendt and it's refreshing. Opening with Walter Vinson's Honey Babe, Martin takes the lead on vocals and guitar with Mary on harmony and slide and Rich on harmony and mandolin. Nicely blended vocals, warm slide and clean mando work makes for a super opener. Lil Johnson's Minor Blues features Mary on lead vocals and she does a really nice job grabbing the tension of the original. A tight mando solo by Rich and Mary's guitar accompaniment enriched by Martin on fiddle rounds out the track. Contemporary Google Blues by Rich Lyons, features DelGrosso on lead vocal and mando. Martin's bottleneck slide work on this track is really sweet and Mary rounds out the track with clean guitar riffs. Very nice! A change in perspective altogether with Thelonious Monk's, Blue Monk... rag style. Mary on guitar, Martin on slide and Rich on mando...very nice! Sleepy John Estes' Clean Up At Home is a cool track featuring lead mando and vocal by Martin. Mary compliments on guitar with a nicely executed solo and vocal and Rich on vocal and mandola. JW Routh's Motel Towel has really rich vocal harmonies behind Rich on lead vocal and mandola. Mary's lap slide playing is really stylistically nice and Martin also adds guitar. Mary's own composition, Baby Where You Been, of course features Mary on vocal and guitar. With a 40's flavor and backed by Martin on mando, Rich takes a really nice resonator solo. Another Sleepy John track, Black Mattie, is one of my favorites on the track. Rich's mandola work on this track is particularly cool backed by Mary on guitar and Rich on slide. Another Walter Vinson track, Lonely One In This Town, is a cool period piece reminding me quite a bit of the Red Clay Ramblers. Rich vocals highlighted by Martin on fiddle makes this a standout track. One of DelGrosso's originals, By Your Side, has a little bit of an island feel but still remaining in the folk blues realm. Rich on lead vocal and mandola is really nicely complimented by Mary's slide work on this track. Another Sleepy John track, Milk Cow Blues is one that I was introduced to long before I knew of Estes by Ry Cooder. Love Estes but have a particularly soft spot for those early Cooder releases and this track has a similar mandolin riff by Martin as played by Cooder. Mary takes the primary guitar solo on this one and Rich compliments on Mandola. Very nice! An excellent take on Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning is offered up here and Mary does her best lead vocal on this track. Accompanying herself on guitar with Martin and Rich adding warm backing vocals, this is one of my release favorites. Another DelGrosso original, Street Doctor Blues, has a real Estes sound and Rich's lead vocals and especially his mando work really make this track breathe. Mary's slide work on this track is really slick and Martin supports on guitar. Mary penned the closer, Bruno's Dream, a real nice instrumental featuring her on slide, Martin on guitar and Rich on mando. This is a really clean track and a super closer to a honest release. Excellent!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New music from Eden Brent and more

New Music from Eden Brent and more

Eden Brent picks up the pieces of her Jigsaw Heart with a soul-baring set of new songs
Take Eden Brent to a Nashville studio and you still hear the Mississippi Delta.
Recording in the historic RCA Studio A with producer/guitarist extraordinaire Colin Linden, the blues-piano powerhouse stretched her musical legs, ambling into soulful Americana territory. But by reaching back to Mississippi, recalling memories, old friends and all she learned from her piano mentor Boogaloo Ames, she combined an immensely satisfying array of American music styles — blues, gospel, soul, country and R&B — to forge her deepest, most reflective album yet.
CDs and downloads are available now! Get yours now »
"Crafting her own genre that mixes blues, roots and her own vision, this is an unflinchingly gorgeous album that never strikes a false note..."  –Midwest Record Recap
"It smoked a hole in our soul..."  –Blues Music Magazine

Final Recordings of Counterculture Legends Asylum Street Spankers Unearthed
Look: it’s embarrassing for such an acclaimed band as this
to have to admit that they honestly don’t remember where their final album came from. What becomes clear upon listening to these recordings is that none of these songs has ever been recorded by the Asylum Street Spankers before. What’s even clearer is this: the band is in their finest form ever here, living up to their firmly cemented reputation as an acoustic powerhouse. Who else can blend string-band virtuosity, multi-instrumental skills, tight vocal harmonies and counterculture wit like this?
CDs and downloads are available now! Get yours now »
"One of the most ribald and irreverent roots music acts of our time... they've got hearts of gold, even if they have blood of chemicals and minds of mirth."  –The Independent Weekly
"A roots-rock riddle, nestled in a satirical Vaudeville enigma, packaged in an old-timey radio-show puzzle and slathered with hippie-fried mystery sauce..."  –Tampa Weekly Planet

Independent Music Awards voting closes soon
Congratulations to The Claudettes and The Soul of John Black, who each recently took home honors in the 13th annual Independent Music Awards. Each were nominated in two categories, and The Claudettes won Instrumental Album of the year (Infernal Piano Plot...HATCHED!) while JB's song "Higher Power" won Soul Song of the year. Well done, boys!
The judges have spoken, but the general public is also invited to vote in each of these categories for the IMA’s "Vox Populi" award. Visit the links below to check out these songs, albums and videos... and vote!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Yellow Dog Records artist: Eden Brent - Jigsaw Heart - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (May 6, 2014), Jigsaw Heart, from Eden Brent. This new release has a definite weight toward country music but remaining all Eden. The opening track, Better This Way is a solid ballad illustrating clearly why Eden is regarded so highly for her vocal skills. A slow, easy waltz paced ballad, it's a nice opener. Everybody Already Knows busts out with honky tonk pride, Brent swinging on piano as she hammers out cool piano riffs. Title track, Jigsaw Heart, has a definite country feel again in ballad rather than easy pop style. There is a definite class to her songs separating them from today's pop country efforts by other artists. Dan Dugmore add a nice easy steel guitar counter to Brent's vocals. Very nice and air bound. Opportunity has a gospel/R&B feel and is one of my favorites on the release. Brent gets into a super groove and really delivers vocals nicely against her own rhythm piano. Drums by Gary Craig bass by John Dymond and Colin Lind on guitar and with super vocal backing woven into the fabric of the track by Ann and Regina McCrary. Easy blues track with a gospel base, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free features not only fine vocals but a slick slide guitar solo by Linden. Very nice. The Last Time has a distinctive country ballad feel. The clarity of Brent on piano contrasted against the sounds of Kenzie Wetz on fiddle create a nice environment for this subtle track. Panther Burn maintains a country sub feel with bouncy piano riffs and gospel/revival like vocals. Let's Go Ahead And Fall In Love has a definite southern delta blues feel. Brent really leads the way on keys and her vocals are tops. Chris Carmichael on viola and Dan Dugmore add to this New Orleans sound, woven together like a dixieland band. Cool track. Tendin' To A Broken Heart is a straightforward blues ballad. Brent has this style down to an absolute science and her vocal with piano accompaniment (and light drums) is superb. Locomotive has a train trestle rhythm and an open country delivery. You can tell that Brent is just having a pure ball with this release. Get The Hell Out Of Dodge is a quirky little rag tune with nice acoustic guitar accompaniment by Linden and fiddle by Wetz. He blues styling on vocal is really clean and warm. This track features one of the longer instrumental interludes on the release in a nice laid back format. Valentine is a simple heartfelt ballad to wrap the track. Charmichael on violin adds nice warmth to a simple backing of acoustic guitar by Linden and John Dymond on bass.

  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 favorites band! ”LIKE”

 Not from this release but a good representation of Brent's style:


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Yellow Dog Records artists: The Claudettes - Infernal Piano Plot...HATCHED! - New Release Review

I just received a copy of the new Claudettes release (October 1, 2013), Infernal Piano Plot... HATCHED! and it's a non stop piano riot. Opening with Stumblin' Home Satisfied is a cool piano boogie track featuring Johnny Iguana on piano and Michael Caskey on drums. This is pure blues and one for traditional style piano blues lovers. Big Sucker Punch gets a bit more jump in the step when Caskey kicks the pace up a few notches. With Hound Dog Taylor intensity the two men create a rockin frenzy. On Hammer and Tickle a dash of Latin rhythm dictates a more jazz approach and the title aptly describes Iguana's playing style where he hammers out the beat and then tickles the notes. Tide Pool has the roots of rock and R&B at it's core but Iguana takes a musical interlude on piano again showing a bent toward jazz. Deep Soul For High Society has a strong R&B feel a la Ray Charles. Again taking a jazz twist with expansion and experimentation Iguana circles back to R&B. New Orleans Yard Sale has a real stew of musical components which I think is what makes New Orleans music interesting. The track sound like bits and pieces of different styles of music making you think about what you're listening to. The title track, Infernal Piano Plot...Unhatched! is a fast paced almost rocker but retaining the barrelhouse feel. Serenading The Clean Up Crew is actually a cool New Orleans sounding track. It has the easy pace and punctuation of the city and nice blues changes. Tremblin' Blues is a classic blues track right out of the rag era. Caskey really adds a lot on this track giving it a march and stumble sound behind the cool attack on the piano. My favorite track on the release. Motorhome has the intensity of a punk track but done with blues and jazz construction. With a swerve in the middle the track changes directions and then comes back with a relentless piano attack. Land Of Precisely Three Dances is musically a very interesting track with a lot happening rhythmically. Iguana has a lot to say and says a lot without saying a word. Very creative. Chin-Up Tango is a cool track with...a tango beat! Otherwise it has solid blues components and could easily be a part of a Black Keys track. Another interesting slice. On the final track, Do You See It Too?, Iguana calls and responds to his own call on piano, theoretically blues like but sounding more classical in nature. This may be a little intense for some, but if you get it... you may really get it! Enjoy!

  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 favorites band! ”LIKE”


Friday, June 28, 2013

Yellow Dog Records artist: The Soul of John Black - A Sunshine State of Mind - New Release Review

I just received the new release, A Sunshine State Of Mind, from  The Soul of John Black and it's really enjoyable. John A. Bigham, playing most of the parts as singer, songwriter and instrumentalist really delivers a nice package here. Opening with Magic Woman a rock/R&B style track, JB provides a solid package with a catchy hook and snappy beat. Echoing his voice with layers of backing vocals and lead guitar melody, this is a track that easily find it's way to the airwaves. Beautiful Day is a great soul track with a certain Al Green feel... excellent! East LA Lady has an uptempo club beat but not venturing far from the soul thread established by Marvin Gaye. Higher Power is another soul ballad again with an Al Green style structure. No real question where influences come from here. My thoughts, listen to masters to make masterful music. Johnny Bear (Give It To Me), is another high energy dance track with R&B rhythms. I know that I make references to legendary artists in comparison but this music sounds fresh. Everyone is influenced by someone. It's what they do with it. JB is doing something new. With ripping guitar riffs JB pierces the standard for R&B dance music. Lenny Love Cha Cha is a great soul track strongly showing the vocal and rhythmic strength of JB. This is a great release to just lay around the pool and sip a beverage and take in the day. Too Much Tequila again has strong ties to Al Green and if I haven't made it clear, I really like Al Green. Again, not a clone but a branch of a great style. Wrapping the release with Summertime Thang, JB does a marvelous job of pulling all of the feeling of a great classic soul track (which this may be). I've only had the opportunity to listen to this release a few times, but it will be in my car soon, and I expect to listen to it quite a bit more... Very Strong!

  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 favorites band! ”LIKE”


Friday, May 31, 2013

Yellow Dog Records artist: Cassie Taylor - Out Of My Mind - New Release Review

I just received a copy of the new release, Out Of My Mind, by Cassie Taylor and she just keeps getting better! This release of 12 original tracks opens with Ol' Mama Dean, a soulful strut with a great pop hook and in addition to sweet vocals from Taylor includes rippin nice slide guitar work from Steve Mignano. Some Spare Love is a particularly cool blues track with soft but rich vocals supported by clean guitar riffs by Mignano and minimal drums by Larry Thompson and bass by Taylor. Mignano really has a nice hand on the fretboard and adds significantly to the overall feel of the track. I really like this. Lay My Head On Your Pillow is a real nice R&B style track done lightly backed by acoustic guitar and drums. Taylor continues to demonstrate her individuality in vocal style, not going over the top with vocal pyrotechnics but singing solid tracks with certain feel. New Orleans shows a definite period style with solid pop style vocals and is strengthened by addition of trumpet by Jon Gray and light rimshots by Larry Thompson. No Ring Blues has a Latin beat chased by Mignano on electric guitar. This is a slick track allowing Taylor her spotlight but also giving a decent space to Mignano to slash some really tasty riffs. Forgiveness has the fullest ensemble featuring `Gray on trumpet, Todd Edmunds on tuba as well as Taylor on bass and hammond, Mignano on guitar and Thompson on drums. Gone And Dead has a bit of a progressive edge featuring Steven Vidaic on keys. With an unusual time signature and almost Stomo Yamashta like sonic image, this is a really cool track. The final track on the release, Again, sets up in a gospel like manner with Taylor on piano, Mignano on guitar, Thompson on drums and Owen Tharp on bowed bass. This track is particularly strong and should easily make airtime routinely. Really nice.

 I have had the opportunity to review a number of projects that Taylor has worked on and this stands tall with any other work that she has done.

  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!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mississippi Flatland Blues - Eden Brent

Eden Brent is an award-winning American musician on the independent Yellow Dog Records label. A blues pianist and vocalist, she combines boogie-woogie with elements of blues, jazz, soul, gospel and pop. Her vocal style has been compared to Bessie Smith, Memphis Minnie and Aretha Franklin. Brent also attended the University of North Texas.

Along with other awards, Brent garnered two 2009 Blues Music Awards - one for Acoustic Artist of the Year, the other for Acoustic Album of the Year (Mississippi Number One). In 2006, she won the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge.
Brent has appeared around the country at recognized venues and events including the Kennedy Center, the 2000 Republican National Convention, the 2005 presidential inauguration (sharing the bill with B.B. King), the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the British Embassy, Portland’s Waterfront Blues Festival, the Edmonton Blues Festival, the annual B.B. King Homecoming, and aboard the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mean Old World- Terry Robb

Considered one of the top acoustic blues guitarists on the West Coast, Terry Robb is also an inventive and ever-evolving American primitive master. As an heir to the late, great John Fahey’s musical legacy, Robb is an established icon in a pantheon that includes Robbie Basho, Leo Kottke, Peter Lang, John Renbourn, and Stefan Grossman.

Because American primitivism, a transitional style that ranges between country blues and early 20th century string-band music, is often nuanced by dissonance and minor tunings, it is sometimes considered esoteric and obscure, appealing only to a musically intellectual elite. But Robb has distinguished himself by redefining this complex finger-picking style, using popular and traditional genres to open up and make this approach accessible to the general music-loving public.

Robb is that rare talent, a musician’s musician and an enormously popular performer. Onstage, his fleet fingers, wry humor, and intense focus mesmerize audiences. The passionate artistry of a Terry Robb event – whether a solo acoustic performance or a high-energy show with his electric band – often leaves new and longtime fans with mouths agape.

With the release in 2005 of his critically-acclaimed solo album, Resting Place, recorded for Memphis’ renowned Yellow Dog Records label, Robb has increasingly gained national attention. In his music-savvy hometown of Portland, Oregon, Robb is a celebrity in high demand as a performing and studio guitarist, and as a bandleader, composer, arranger, producer, and teacher. With years of real-world musical experience in his gig-bag, Robb brings this expertise to his most recent role as head of the Northwest’s new recording label, PsycheDelta Records.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Dyin' Crapshooter's Blues - Chris Cotton

February of 2010 Chris Cotton got an interesting idea while talking to a long-time friend and artistic collaborator who had been living in a van in Brooklyn, NY over that previous winter that intrigued both Chris, a San Francisco Bay Native, and his friend, which subsequently led to a concept idea for a new record that Chris was highly skeptical of but couldn't stop thinking about. Chris and his friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke for hours about murky and unknown details which naturally led to a wager. The terms of this wager are not exactly clear, but what can be understood thus far is that this is a sea change for Mr Cotton many steps removed from his preferred turn-of-that-last-century-hokum and string band anachronism that he has been known for mastering over the last decade. This album will be be released in Feb. 2011.