Archive for April, 2012

44’s review….

44’S

AMERICANA

WITH SPECIAL GUEST KID RAMOS

RIP CAT RECORDS  RC 1106

HANGING TREE–LADY LUCK–COCAINE–DIXIE–SHE’S POISON–PLEADING MY CASE–MR. OPERATOR–YOU’LL BE MINE–SLIP SLIDIN THANG–99 TO LIFE–HARD TIMES–MR. HIGHWAY MAN–HOLD ON

 

Back in 2007, he 44’s burst onto the scene from their base in Southern California with “Boogie Disease,” and garnered national attention.  Now, they are poised to make an even bigger splash with “Americana,” thirteen cuts of the hi-octane blues that brings audiences to their feet everywhere they go.

 

Johnny Main is on vocal and guitar, Tex Nakamura blows the hell outta some harp, Mike Turturro is on bass, and J. B. Lozano is on drums.  Ron Dzuibla adds sax on two cuts, and the inimitable David “Kid” Ramos is not only producer, but adds guitar throughout.

 

There are songs about hard livin’, such as the leadoff “Hanging Tree,” with its chugging, roadhouse-boogie beat, and a love that’s like “Cocaine–all it takes is just one taste!”  And, there are songs about hard lovin’, too, such as “99 To Life,” and a mean mistreatin’ mama who, with just one kiss, proves “She’s Poison!”  Ron’s sax adds to the rhum-boogie beat of “Lady Luck,” while Kid Ramos’ sweet dobro on “Hard Times,” an acoustic number that takes the listener on a journey deep down into the Delta,  adds authenticity to this cut, which includes a killer harp solo from Tex at the break.

 

We had two favorites, too, at two different ends of the blues spectrum.  The first one again features Kid on slide guitar, and is the epitome’ of Chicago blues.  It’s the story of a man in love who’s always “Pleading My Case” to please his lover!  And, “Dixie” sounds like a long-lost cut from Sam Phillips’ Sun studio, with its rockin’ freight-train-to-Memphis beat and stinging lead lines.

 

These guys don’t pull any punches and sho’ nuff don’t hold anything back.  This is some of the swingin-est blues you’ll hear from any band on the planet, and we expect more big things from the 44’s with “Americana!”   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

Geoff Achison and the Souldiggers review 04-08-12…

GEOFF ACHISON AND THE SOULDIGGERS

LITTLE BIG MEN

JUPITER 2 RECORDS

CRAZY HORSE–NEWS–HAPPENING–RULE THE WORLD–LITTLE BIG MEN–FEEL LIKE A KING–WAGGING THE DOG–ZOMBIFY–BIT BY BIT–FAKE IDENTITY–LIVING IN FEAR–NEVER GIVE IT UP–REACH FOR THE SKY–BOY–KERRY LOU–CHASING MY TAIL–CHANCE

 

Growing up,in an isolated section of Australia, a young Geoff Achison taught himself to play an abandoned guitar he found under the stairs of his family home.  Armed with only a handful of records in his limited collection from which to learn, he was soon coaxing a myriad of sounds out of his instrument without the aid of any pedals or modification.  By his twenties, he was lead guitarist in Melbourne’s top blues band, and, after a move to the UK,  he soon had a worlwide following.

 

His latest release is actually a remastered version of his 2005 debut, “Little Big Men.”  It saw limited U. S. distribution, but that has since been remedied with this version, which includes three bonus tracks.  Throughout, Geoff’s unbelieveably-dazzling string-bending is the epicenter of the project.  He also possesses a gritty, soulful vocal delivery, acquired through listening to the great blues and R & B singers during his youth.  He  has a keen ear for a good lyric, and does not shy away from hot topics dealing with a world seemingly at war with itself.

 

That was an underlying theme of this set.  In 2005, when this album was released, the world was still reeling from 9\11, and Geoff’s writing reflects this.  Check out “did you see the News,” “Living In Fear,” and “Rule The World”  for great examples of this.  He has hope for the future, tho, through “Feel Like A King” and the slightly reggae-fied beat of “Never Give It Up.”  He shows us a brilliant display of guitar pyrotechnics in the sonic thunderstorm that is “Reach For The Sky.”  Also, two of the three bonus tracks, “Kerry Lou” and “Chance,” both dealing with love affairs that go awry, are augmented by a punchy horn section that give them a classic-soul feel.

 

Geoff Achison tapped into the blues as a young man, enamored with its philosophy of looking into oneself for truth and honesty.  Perhaps if Robert Johnson had somehow met Geoff at the mythical Crossroads, that infamous “deal” might never have gone down!  Catch Geoff during his extensive tour of the U. S. this summer, and find out why he was voted one of the “100 Most Gifted Guitarists You Should Know!”   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow

 

JT COLDFIRE Review 04-01-12…

JT COLDFIRE

ALWAYS AND NEVER

SELF-RELEASED

GET IT ON (IN THE BACK OF THE BAR)–IT’S ALRIGHT WITH ME–RATHER DIE IN MY SLEEP–LET’S GO FOR A DRIVE–FEELIN THE MUSIC–TOAST TO A BLUESMAN–I’M THE BEST THING YOU EVER HAD–PARTY LOVIN PAPPA–TELL ME MAMA–TIRED MAN’S BLUES

 

 

Texas bluesman JT Coldfire has heard all the connotations of always/never that one could think of–“you’re ALWAYS on the road and NEVER at home,” or “you’re ALWAYS out late and NEVER home arly,’ and the like, but one thing has remained constant over his career as a musician–he ALWAYS gives his all every night, and that’ll NEVER change.  And so it goes with his latest release, aptly titled “Always And Never.” This one is ten cuts of some of the hottest blues this side of the Rio Grande.  All ten are originals that follow JT’s mantra of lettin’ the good times roll all night long.

 

Give a listen to the leadoff shuffle, a tale of hormones overtaking common sense, “Get It On (In The Back Of The Bar), punctuated by JT’s red-hot leads and a double shot of harp and sax from Roland Guajardo and Kaj Sundqvist, respectively.  Doin’ what makes you happy in life, even if you “don’t live forever,” is the theme of “It’s Alright With Me,”  with a cool, Slim Harpo-inspired vocal effect.  This effect is used again in “Toast To A Bluesman,” where JT  will “forever be swimmin’ in whiskey and women!”  And, the set closes with “Tired Man’s Blues,” featuring accordion from Clas-Goran Dahlberg, adding to the Tex-Mex feel of this one.

We had two favorites, too.  JT is a true “Party Lovin’ Pappa,” complete with a “Guitar and a ’55 Caddy” ready to rumble!  And, even tho he might be down on his luck and drowning his sorrow in a bottle of gin, he’s gettin’ by with the help of “Feelin’ The Music.”  This one is a sweet acoustic jam with JT’s guitar and harp from Roland.

 

JT Coldfire has a tattoo that reads “Ain’t No Saint,” and one listen to “Always And Never” will make you a believer, just as we are.  This is a helluva sophomore set of rockin’ blues that needs to be played LOUD to be fully appreciated, so grab your baby and a cold one and get busy gettin’ down!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow