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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 little Charlie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label little Charlie. Show all posts

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Severn Records artist: Sugar Ray and the Bluetones featuring Little Charlie - Too Far From The Bar - New Release Review


 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Too Far From The Bar, by Sugar Ray and the Bluetones featuring Little Charlie and it's heaping dose of Chicago style blues. Opening with shuffle track, Don't Give No More Than You Can Take, featuring Sugar Ray Norcia on lead vocal and harmonica and the great Little Charlie Baty on lead guitar. This is one of the last recordings of Baty who passed away in March of this year. Norcia's vocals are always great and his harmonica playing is first class, backed by Anthony Geraci on keys, Michael Mudcat Ward on bass and Neil Gouvin on drums. Swinging piano boogie, and title track, Too Far From The Bar really hits the groove with Geraci leading the way and Norcia on piano. Baty takes a great solo run showing just how tight his riffs were. Excellent! Instrumental. Reel Burner is a super harmonica track with Norcia barely taking a breath. Stilladog take notice. This track hums! Rock and Roller, My Next Door Neighbor is a vocal workout for Norcia and Baty spanks the fretboard with 50's style riffs over Geraci's piano wizardry a thumping bass and brushed drums. More smooth and a lot more jazzy, What I Put You Through, is one of my favorites on the release with excellent piano work from Geraci under glistening guitar work by Baty and the excellent vocals of Norica. I have to mention Baty's work on jazz standard, I Gotta Right To Sing the Blues, where the entire band really shines but I gotta say, this track was made for Baty. Excellent! Returning to that classic Chicago styling, Walk Me Home is a cool shuffle with ample jam time for Geraci, Baty and Norcia. Very nice. Wrapping the release is an alternate take on Reel Burner. The is a real burner so it's a great kick in the pants to close the release with hot riffs by Norcia throughout. Very solid release. 


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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait- Little Charlie and the Nightcats


Baty (born July 10,1953) was attending University of California Berkeley and studying mathematics when he formed Little Charlie & the Nightcats with Rick Estrin (born 1949) in 1976. The band's music relies chiefy on electric urban blues of the Chicago variety, but mixed in with other compatible styles, including early rock and roll, soul, surf music, swing, jump blues, and western swing. The Nightcats issued their debut album, All the Way Crazy, in 1987, including the songs "Poor Tarzan", "Suicide Blues" and "When Girls Do It". The following album Disturbing the Peace (1988), included "That's My Girl", "My Money's Green", "She's Talking" and "Nervous". The records help established them on the blues festival and club circuits, and they began touring the country extensively, playing a number of international venues. They have played at the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1980 and 1982, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the San Diego, California Street Scene and Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival plus the Juneau Jazz & Classics Festival in 2002.

Their 1993 album, Night Vision was produced and played on by Joe Louis Walker. It featured "My Next Ex-Wife," a witty blues-rocker that won Estrin a W.C. Handy Award for 'Song of the Year', highlighting his steadily growing reputation for songwriting prowess. Original drummer Dobie Strange left in 1996, after 20 years with the group, and his spot was taken by June Core.

In early 2008 Baty announced he was entering "soft" retirement, no longer tours with the band, except for possible reunion tours/shows in Europe and select North American festivals. Baty performed with JW-Jones at Mont Tremblant Blues Festival, Ottawa Bluesfest, and Piazza Blues in Bellinzona, Switzerland in July 2009. The high-energy shows received praise from fans and industry professionals who enjoyed the package.

Estrin continued with the band re-billed as Rick Estrin and the Nightcats. Baty was replaced on guitar by Chris 'Kid' Andersen (born 1980), originally from Telemark, Norway. Andersen had played backing Charlie Musselwhite as well as fronting his own band.

Baty's most recent blues recording was as a guest on JW-Jones, Bluelisted (2008), an album which marked the first time in his career that he documented his harmonica playing on a recording, and the first time he and another west-coast blues musician, Junior Watson, had recorded together on the same tracks.
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