Archive for December, 2011

Electro Glide Sampler review 12-22-11…

VARIOUS ARTISTS

THE BLUES: AN EVOLUTION

ELECTRO GLIDE RECORDS 196408

BIG DOG MERCER:  SOME OTHER FOOL–HELPLESS–BIG DOG BLUES

BRANDON SANTINI:  YOU RUINED POOR ME–WHAT CAN I DO–SHE’S SWEET LIKE HONEY

DANNY AND THE DEVILS:  DON’T COME BACK THIS TIME–JEALOUSY–MAMA’S BOY

TOM HOLLAND AND THE SHUFFLE KINGS:  KEEP ON PLAYIN–S. A. BLUES–ZEB’S BLUES

 

Dedicated to the musicians and the preservation and growth of the blues, Electro Glide Records has just released a twelve-song sampler entitled “The Blues: An Evolution,” that shows off four of their most talented artists and their various interpretations of what the blues is all about.

 

Illinois native Big Dog Mercer kicks things off with a gritty blues-rock kiss-off song, telling his no-good lover to find “Some Other Fool” to take his place.  “Helpless” takes a look at the power of addictions, while the “Big Dog Blues” reminds his lover who the Alpha dog is!

Dan Baron fronts Danny And The Devils, and he has opened for the likes of Lonnie Brooks and Leon Russell.  He is responsible for two of the most clever songs on the set.  A call-and-response guitar and organ fuel Dan’s vocals about the sad plight of a friend still living with his mother, when we all know “a woman needs a man, not a Mama’s Boy!”  And, a sweet mandolin mixed in with the guitars helps to tell a worthless lover to just “Don’t Come Back This Time!”

 

Tom Holland And The Shuffle Kings stay true to the roots of Chicago blues.  The slow-blues of “Keep On Playin” has some deep slide,  while the set closes with an instrumental called “Zeb’s Blues,” which one might liken to a cross between Elmore James’ “Hawaiian Boogie” and Earl Hooker’s “The Leading Brand.”

 

We saved Memphis native Brandon Santini for last.  He is known for fronting the band Delta Highway, and we found his three offerings to be the most exciting on the set.  “You Ruined Poor Me” has a funkified groove punctuated by his hot harp solo at the bridge.  “She’s Sweet Like Honey” has a swampy, Excello feel, while “What Can I Do” rocks with some Berry-fied guitar over Brandon’s fiery harp and vocals.

 

Terry Lape, Electro Glide’s president, states his label is committed to presenting the music of life, and these four fine bands show how the similarities of the blues can be interpreted by different players in different ways.  “The Blues: An Evolution” serves as an excellent introduction to this label!   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.

 

Advertisements

Roy Trevino review 12–14–11

ROY TREVINO

ROY TREVINO

TROUBADOUR RECORDS  TR 001

GLORIA–THE BOY CAN PLAY–HURRICANES–SIN ELLA–TRINIDAD–LIVELY UP YOURSELF–LA LUNA–THANK YOU–GOING AWAY–LITTLE GIRL

 

Born in south Texas, a young Roy Trevino mentored under Ronnie Earl, and was soon fronting his own band.  One of their highlights was backing Lazy Lester whenever he came to town, and harpman Tim Gonzalez urged Roy to seek out Jim Gaines to produce his album.  The resulting set is Roy’s self-titled debut, and Gaines brought out the best this young guitar-slinger had to offer on nine smokin’ originals and one Bob Marley cover.

 

Roy is fluent on slide guitar, and holds nothing back on these cuts.  Check out the call-and-response of the intense, gospel-flavored opener, “Gloria,’ which was originally intended to be a Mass written as blues.  The elegant instrumental, “Trinidad,” has elements of Carlos Santana, while “Sin Ella” and the acoustic beauty of “La Luna” feature lyrics in English and Spanish.  And, Roy gives a funky arrangement to Marley’s “Lively Up Yourself,” making it a highly-danceable affair.

 

We had two favorites, too.  “Going Away” is the sad tale of a Civil War soldier’s last meal with his family before heading into battle, and its story is as powerful and poignant in today’s society as it was during the era for which it was written.  And, Roy’s autobiography surfaces in “The Boy Can Play,” where he name-checks all his heroes and mentors.  It features Roy’s guitar spouting deft lines after each lyric, then branching out for some nasty solo work.

 

Roy Trevino wields a mean guitar, and, under Jim Gaines’ tutelage, has crafted a deeply-soulful and highly satisfying set!!   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Armstrong review 12-11-11

JAMES ARMSTRONG

BLUES AT THE BORDER

CATFOOD RECORDS  CFR 014

EVERYTHING GOOD TO YA–SOMEBODY GOT TO PAY–BABY CAN YOU HEAR ME–BLUES AT THE BORDER–DEVIL’S CANDY–NOTHING LEFT TO SAY–HIGH MAINTENANCE WOMAN–GOOD MAN BAD THING–YOUNG MAN WITH THE BLUES–BRAND NEW MAN–LONG BLACK CAR

 

 

James Armstrong was born into a musical family, and his dazzling guitar style and gritty vocal style has served him well throughout a career that has endured despite some tough times.  He’s taken those life experiences and turned them into the gems that comprise the cuts on his first release in eleven years, “Blues At The Border.”

 

James was heavily influenced by his father, and later by bluesman Sam Taylor.  He pays tribute to both, thru the “Young Man With The Blues” cut, and by using a sample of Taylor’s trademark “Weeeellll” at the top of “Everything Good To Ya is not good for you.”

 

He takes a heavy look at love, life, and relationships and the pitfalls that accompany them.  Check out the two lovers who aren’t always honest with each other on “Somebody’s Got To Pay,’ and the plaintive vocal of a lonely man in “Baby Can You Hear Me.’  And, after a sweet piece of the “Devil’s Candy,” she becomes “a tough habit to beat.”  This one is characterized by some sweet slide work from James, too.

 

James also doesn’t always look at the blues as sad or morbid, and injects a sly sense of humor into his music whenever possible.  It’s that element of humor that permeates our two favorites.  The unabashed funk of “High Maintenance Woman” drives the tale of a woman with “more issues than the New York Times!”  And, James’ slide is again at the forefront on the story of tough times in a post- 9\11 world, bemoaning the fact that if you don’t have “your papers in order,” you’ll feel the heat of the “Blues At The Border!”

 

It’s been waaaay to long since we’ve heard from James Armstrong.  But, he has stuck it out, and his music has evolved and matured along with him.  “Blues At The Border” is a welcomed return to the spotlight for a fine bluesman!!!    Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

Roy Roberts review 12-09-11…

ROY ROBERTS

STRANGE LOVE

OCEAN BEACH RECORDS 01

MY LOVE BONE–I TRULY LOVE YOU–HEY BABY–STRANGE LOVE–I’M NEVER GONNA STOP–WAIT FOR ME–A WOMAN NEEDS LOVE–WE STILL TOGETHER–THE NEXT TIME–I CAN’T WAIT–

 

Growing up in Tennessee, a young Roy Roberts got hooked on the blues the same way we did–listening to the late night offerings from WLAC.  After moving to North Carolina, Roy started his own band and has been performng and recording periodically since the late Sixties, and, after hearing Robert Cray during the Nineties, he re-dedicated himself to his career.  His current release is entitled “Strange Love,” and finds Roy exploring literally every shade of the blues on ten fine and funky originals that run the gamut from deep Stax-era soul to gritty down-home blues.

 

 

Roy is an excellent guitarist and has a smooth vocal delivery.  He also plays B-3 and keys on this set, and the whole thing is punctuated by a red-hot horn section that gives everything that extra kick.  This one is a non-stop party groove from start to finish!

 

The set kicks off with the irresistible funk of “My Love Bone.”  There’s a “message” tune for the fellows, too, reminding them that “A Woman Needs Love.”  Also of note is the sweet tune about a relationship that outlasts the nay-sayers and the storms of life, “We Still Together.”  The set closes as it began with a blistering slab of  horn-and-guitar-driven rockin’ soul, “I Can’t Wait to get back home to you!”

 

We had two favorites, too.  The slow-burn of “The Next Time” introduces us to the ultimate “back door man,” who “can be theere before the next teardrop falls!”  And, “I’m Never Gonna Stop loving you” will conjure up memories of another of Roy’s heroes, Otis Redding.

 

Roy Roberts has crafted a sweet set of danceable groovers and soul-shakers with “Strange Love.’  This one is guaranteed to get you movin’ and groovin!   Until nextbtime….Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.