Archive for March, 2012

Eric Bibb review 03-26-12…

ERIC BIBB

DEEPER IN THE WELL

STONY PLAIN CD  SPCD 1360

BAYOU BELLE–COULD BE YOU, COULD BE ME–DIG A LITTLE DEEPER–MONEY IN YOUR POCKET–BOLL WEEVIL–SINNER MAN–IN MY TIME–MOVIN’ UP–NO FURTHER–EVERY WIND IN THE RIVER–SITTIN’ IN A HOTEL ROOM–THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’

For his debut album for Stony Plain, “Deeper In The Well,” world-traveling troubadour Eric Bibb journeyed to Point Breaux, Louisiana, to the Cypress House Studio.  Teamed with some of the world’s finest folk, blues, and roots players, Eric has forged one of his finest albums to date.  He is joined by harp man Grant Dermody, Danny Devillier on drums, Cedric Watson on fiddle, and multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell.

The set starts off with the trance-like groove of “Bayou Belle,” with great fiddle and harp interplay over Eric’s vocals.  The traditional tunes “Sinner Man” and “Boll Weevil” are excellent examples of country blues, while the incomparable Jerry Douglas adds dobro to the sweetly-soulful “In My Time,” a tune that teaches the lesson that “the best thing you can be is a faithful friend.’   Counting your blessings is the theme of “Money in Your Pocket,” while the evils of addiction are addressed in “No Further.”

We had three favorites, too.  The lively title cut, learned by Eric from a Doc and Merle Watson recording, lets us all know that nothing worth having comes easy.  And, the set closes with a unique, banjo-infused version of “The Times They Are A-Changin.”  Perhaps the most straight-ahead blues cut was Eric’s poignant look at how society views the plight of the homeless, “Could Be You, Could Be Me,”  written by Canadian soul/blues musician Harrison Kennedy, and punctuated by Grant Dermody’s call-and-response harp.

As he sings in “Music,” Eric Bibb explains that one can call it by any name, but if it “soothes my soul” and “if I feel it, it’s good enough for me.”  That sums up this excellent collection of songs that comprise “Deeper In The Well,” from one of the best contemporary players proudly carrying on the sounds and emotions of traditional blues.    Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

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Mud Morganfield review 03-14-12

MUD MORGANFIELD

SON OF THE SEVENTH SON

SEVERN RECORDS CD 0055

SHORT DRESS WOMAN–SON OF THE SEVENTH SON–LOVE TO FLIRT–CATFISHING–HEALTH–LOCO MOTOR–MONEY (CAN’T BUY EVERYTHING)–MIDNIGHT LOVER–GO AHEAD AND BLAME ME–LEAVE ME ALONE–YOU CAN’T LOSE WHAT YOU AN’T NEVER HAD–BLUES IN MY SHOES

 

Larry “Mud” Morganfield is the eldest son of blues icon McKinley Morganfield, who was forever known to blues fans as Muddy Waters.  Muddy popularized the classic “Chicago sound,” and his son proudly carries the torch he’s been passed with the release of his latest CD for Severn Records, Son Of The Seventh Son.”  Produced by Bob Corritore, Mud cuts loose on seven originals, as well as a couple of tunes made famous by his father.

 

The backing band is a virtual “who’s who” of contemporary players with experience in that classic combo sound.  Rick Kreher and Billy Flynn are on guitar, E. G. McDaniel is on bass, Harmonica Hinds and Bob Corritore share harp duties, Barrelhouse Chuck is on keys, and the son of another legend, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, is on drums.  They mesh together seamlessly to give authenticity to the whole project, and bring out the absolute best in Mud’s vocals.

 

The set kicks off with the shuffling good-times of “Short Dress Woman,” setting the tone for the rest of the album.  Check out the slow burn of “Health,” with some fine organ from Barrelhouse Chuck, and  the poignant lyrics, “what good is being rich without good health.”  Chuck’s organ is again prominent in “Money (Can’t Buy Everything), and the minor-key “Midnight Lover” who is caught up in the web of tryin’ to love two.

 

We had two favorites, too.  Mud uses the titles and characters from many of “Pop’s” songs to create the ultra-cool title cut.  And, Mud has an uncanny vocal resemblance to his father, and nowhere is that likeness more evident than in his version of the classic tune that was used as the recurring theme of Martin Scorsese’s PBS documentary, “Presents The Blues,” from 2002.  It’s  “Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had,” and Mud’s rich baritone and the wailing slide guitar accompaniment makes  this one a real treat.

 

Somewhere up in blues heaven, Muddy is smiling down upon his son.  Mud has successfully continued his family tradition, and “Son Of The Seventh Son” is a sure-fire hit!!   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

 

 

Omar And The Howlers review 03-07-12….

OMAR AND THE HOWLERS

ESSENTIAL COLLECTION

RUF RECORDS 1174

CD ONE:  MAGIC MAN–EAST SIDE BLUES–BORDER GIRL–HARD TIMES IN THE LAND OF PLENTY–BAD SEED–WALL OF PRIDE–MISSISSIPPI HOO DOO MAN–BIG CHIEF PONTIAC–TEARS LIKE RAIN–MONKEY LAND–SNAKE OIL DOCTOR–MUDDY SPRINGS ROAD–BOOGIE MAN–YOU MADE ME LAUGH–JIMMY REED HIGHWAY

 

CD TWO: I WANT YOU–SNAKE RHYTHM ROCK–BURN IT TO THE GROUND–GOT MY HEART SET ON YOU–WORK SONG–ALLIGATOR WINE–DO IT FOR DADDY–I’M WILD ABOUT YOU–THAT’S YOUR DADDY YADDY YO–STONE COLD BLUES–GIRL’S GOT RHYTHM–LIFE WITHOUT YOU–WORLD OF TROUBLE–SUGAR DITCH-BUILT FOR COMFORT

 

McComb, MS native Omar Kent Dykes first got our attention over twenty-five years ago when he burst onto the scene with “Hard Times In The Land Of Plenty.”  A tune that is as viable today aas it was back then, it could easily serve as an Occupy Movement anthem with its poignant lyrics of  “some’s got it all, and the rest ain’t got any.”  And, Omar and his Howlers have continued to record hard-hitting blues-rock that has captivated his worldwide legion of fans.  On this “Essential Collection,” Omar draws from thirteen albums and consists of thirty cuts over two discs.  Disc One showcases the songs that defined Omar’s career, and Disc Two has fifteen of Omar’s hand-picked favorites.

 

For those unfamiliar with Omar, he truly is “300 pounds of muscle and joy,” with a vocal delivery that is equal parts Howlin’ Wolf and Lightnin’ Slim.  He has a slashing guitar style borne of his Mississippi youth, listening to the likes of Muddy and Jimmy Reed.  The set kicks off with a tribute to Elias McDaniel, better known as Bo Diddley, who also was a Mississippi native, “Magic Man,’ with that signature beat.  He blows some cool harp on an acoustic “Big Chief Pontiac,” and pays tribute to his homeland with “Muddy Springs Road.”

 

For us, the highlight of this disc was his homage to Elvis and John Lee Hooker,  They had that certain “something inside them that had to come out, ” and when it did, well, “you can’t stop the Boogie Man.”

 

Dis Two is full of the spirit of the Mississippi blues that Omar grew up on.  Check out the stop-time slash of “Burn It To The Ground,” and the seerious mojo of “Alligator Wine.”  “Work Song” is a collaboration with David “Fathead” Newman, while “Do It For Daddy” features that Diddley beat, augmented by the venerable Reese Wynans on keys.  “That’s Your Daddy Yaddy Yo” has a swingin’ horn section and harp from Gary Primich.  And, the set closes with another acoustic number, “Built For Comfort,’ which was recorded in Denmark along with Rock Nalle and Magic Slim.

 

Omar Kent Dykes has thrilled audiences with his gritty, authentic approach to the blues, and has stood the test of time.  His “Essential Collection” pulls it all together, and is highly enjoyable and highly recommended!!   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.