Archive for April, 2014

Bob Corritore review…April 17, 2014…

BOB CORRITORE

TABOO

DELTA GROOVE MUSIC   DGPCD 163

POTATO STOMP–MANY A DEVIL’S NIGHT–ROCKIN’ RHYTHM–HARMONICA WATUSI–TABOO–HARP BLAST–MR. TATE’S ADVICE–5TH POSITION PLEA–FABULOCO (FOR KID)–SHUFF STUFF–T-TOWN RAMBLE–BOB’S LATE HOURS

Bob Corritore has always been one of our favorite harp players.  Born and musically bred in Chicago, Bob honed his skills by learning from many of the greats who either lived in our toured thru the Windy City.  As such, he’s got that old-school feel in his soul that always puts the song first, which is why he has been such an in-demand sideman and producer throughout his career.  His latest album for Delta Groove is entitled “Taboo,” and it is a departure of sorts for Bob.  This is a set of all-instrumental harp blues that puts Bob at the forefront, and allows his versatility to grab center stage.

Joining Bob for this foray into the varying sounds of the blues harp are some killer musicians, including Junior Watson and Jimmie Vaughn on guitars, Fred Kaplan and Papa John DeFrancesco on keys, and Richard Innes, Brian Fahey, and Dowell Davis on drums.  Virtually on every cut, Bob steps aside from his harp playing to let those talented cats stretch out a little, adding to the verve and flair of the overall set.

A perfect case in point is the leadoff “Potato Stomp,” with Bob’s harp working in perfect tandem with Doug James’ sax.  They re-create that interplay on the jazzy swing of “Mr. Tate’s Advice,” and on the uptempo “Shuff Stuff.”  The latter two also feature Jimmie Vaughn on guitar.

Bob explores some varying genres’ herein as well.  Farfisa organ coupled with Bob’s reed work make the “Harmonica Watusi’ reminiscent of some of the great instrumentals from the Sixties.  “Harp Blast” is a stone shot of Chicago blues, while the Latin-flavored spice of “Fabuloco (For Kid)” is done in tribute to Bob’s good friend, guitarist Kid Ramos.  The loping pattern of “Ruckus Rhythm” recalls the great Jimmy Reed sides for Vee-Jay, and Bob closes the set with his own version of “After Hours,” with the slow-burn of “Bob’s Late Hours,” punctuated by Junior Watson’s guitar and Fred Kaplan’s piano.

We had two favorites, too.  “Many A Devil’s Night” has a brooding, dark vibe as Bob plays this minor-key blues on the chromatic.  And, the title cut takes you down to a South Seas paradise as his harp leads work effortlessly over a smooth rhumba groove.

Another harmonica great, Charlie Musselwhite, has nothing but praise for Bob Corritore’s “Taboo.”  We echo these sentiments, as Bob has indeed hit on a winning formula!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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Terry Hanck review…April 16, 2014…

THE TERRY HANCK BAND

AND FRIENDS

GOTTA BRING IT ON HOME TO YOU

DELTA GROOVE MUSIC  DGPCD 164

RIGHT NOW IS THE HOUR–WHOLE LOTTA LOVIN–PINS AND NEEDLES–PEACE OF MIND–T’S GROOVE–MY LAST TEARDROP–THERE’S NO GETTIN’ OVER ME–JAM UP–GOTTA BRING IT ON HOME TO YOU–ONE HORSE TOWN

We’ve been fans of Terry Hanck since his days with Elvin Bishop.  His relationship with Delta Groove began in 2011 with the release of “Look Out,” and in 2012 he won both the Living Blues and Blues Music Award for Best Horn.  He has just released “Gotta Bring It On Home To You” for Delta Groove, and this year again finds him nominated in the upcoming BMA’s for Best Horn.  This album solidifies the reason why he’s such a fan favorite.  He is a charismatic performer and his sax playing and singing are reminiscent of the greats such as Lee Allen and Cannonball Adderley, while his original compositions all have that bluesy “cool” that is so easy to enjoy.

On this set, Terry is joined by Johnny “Cat” Soubrand and producer Chris “Kid” Andersen on guitars, Tim Wagar on bass, and Butch Cousins on drums.  There are also a few special “friends” that round out the festivities that we’ll get to in a bit.

The good times git to rollin’ on the opener, “Right Now Is The Hour,” which follows a Hank Ballard-styled groove as Terry reminds us that “Father Time is creepin’ in,” and tomorrow might not come!”  “Pins And Needles” is a good rockin’ rhumba number, with Farfisa organ from Jim Pugh, and guitar from Kid Andersen.  “T’s Groove” is a sweet-and-soulful original instrumental, and your pleasure is doubled by the addition of Doug James on baritone sax as he and Terry mortally raise the roof on Tommy Ridgely’s classic, “Jam Up!”

We had two favorites, too.  Another of Terry’s originals, “Peace Of Mind,” finds him happy to have found that one true love.  His vocal, along with Kid’s guitar, has a decided West Side feel, reminiscent of Magic Sam.  And, Debbie Davies adds guitar and duet vocals on the gentle lope of the title cut, as two long-distance lovers strive to keep it together despite the miles between them.

Terry Hanck continues to bring those good rockin’ blues to the masses.  His voice is in outstanding form, and he plays one of the meanest saxes on the planet. “Gotta Bring It On Home To You” is one helluva good ride!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow

Ray Fuller review….April 14, 2014…

RAY FULLER AND THE BLUESROCKERS

LIVE AT BUDDY GUY’S LEGENDS: CHICAGO

AZURETONE RECORDS

WILD ABOUT YOU BABY–ROCK N ROLL COWBOY–BOOM BOOM–LOVE AND ALCOHOL–BAYOU BLUE–WALKIN’ SHOES–SO MANY ROADS–TAKE OUT SOME INSURANCE, BABY–ROCKINITUS–FEELIN’ EVIL–SALLIE MAE–I WOULDN’T LAY MY GUITAR DOWN

Ray Fuller hails from New Albany, Ohio, and he has been layin’ down some of the hottest in guitar-driven blues for some forty years.  He and his aptly-named Bluesrockers band played Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago on April 27, 2013, and the fine folks at Azuretone Records have made that incendiary set his most recent release.  “Live At Buddy Guy’s Legends: Chicago” finds Ray and his six strings blazing over the course of twelve cuts and 70-plus minutes of hard-core blues, with six originals mixed with six raucous, crowd-pleasing covers.

Joining Ray are Keith Blair on all keys, Manny Manuel on bass, Mark Ward on drums, and special guest harpman, from Big Bill Morganfield’s outfit, Doc Malone.  They kick down the doors with the leadoff Elmore James/Hound Dog Taylor classic, “Wild About You Baby,” with Ray’s wild-man vocals leading the way.  He keeps the pedal to the metal and doesn’t slow down for nearly twenty minutes, powering thru the risque’ “Rock N Roll Cowboy” and Hooker’s “Boom Boom” before slamming into the  original slow-blues that warns us “just like oil and water, you can’t mix Love And Alcohol.”  This one features excellent backing work from Mr. Blair on the piano and Doc’s harp.  Ray expounds on the Jimmy Reed groove in a smokin’ “Take Out Some Insurance On Me Baby,” while Billy Boy Arnold’s “Rockinitus” just makes you wanna get up and dance with its rhumba-rockin’ beat.  “Sallie Mae” is another slightly-naughty original that finds Ray using the old reliable “shave-and-a-haircut” shuffle to tell the tale of a woman who can “lay on your back and earn ten times as much!!”

We had two favorites, too.  “Bayou Blue” positively drips with a swapalicious, trance-like groove as Ray weaves the tale of Marie Antoine, an old-school “voodoo woman,” who’s not afraid to turn a man into “gator bait!”  And, the set closes with one of our all-time faves, Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater’s “I Wouldn’t Lay My Guitar Down.”  This one is pure roadhouse bliss, and Ray and the fellows rock it for all it’s worth!

With Ray Fuller and The Bluesrockers “Live From Buddy Guy’s Legends: Chicago,” the jams are long enough and strong enough to let all the players stretch out and show off a little.  The bottom line is simply this—the crowd loved it and so do we!!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow

 

Josh Hoyer review…April 13, 2014…

JOSH HOYER AND THE SHADOWBOXERS

JOSH HOYER AND THE SHADOWBOXERS

SELF-RELEASED

SHADOWBOXER–CLOSE YOUR EYES–ILLUSION–EVERYDAY AND EVERYNIGHT–JUST CALL ME (I’LL BE SURE TO LET YOU DOWN AGAIN)–TILL SHE’S LOVIN’ SOMEONE ELSE–MAKE TIME FOR LOVE–DIRTY WORLD

Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, and arranger Josh Hoyer formed The Shadowboxers late in 2012, and, since then, they have represented his home base of Lincoln, Nebraska, in the IBC’s and have won the Best Soul/R & B Band at the Omaha Entertainment Awards.  But, the proof for this band is in the listening.  Hoyer and the Shadowboxers consist of immensely-talented musicians that either teach music or have toured nationally, or both.

That’s why their self-titled debut is so doggone hot!  Josh’s eight original tunes are augmented by a smokin’ horn and rhythm section, and hearken back to the glory days of Atlantic and Stax while maintaining a firm grip on today’s contemporary sounds.

Josh jumps right out at you with that soulful delivery of his on the opener, “Shadowboxer,” then on “Close Your Eyes,” he takes a jab at a world “moving so fast there’s no time to look back.”  “Illusion,” where crooked politicians are “all about the money” and “what is and what you see is not the same thing” serves as a warning to us all about whom to trust.  The set closes on another topical note with the percussion-heavy vibe of “Dirty World,” featuring great solos from drummer Justin G. Jones and guitarist Benny Kushner.

We had two favorites, too.  Josh plays the lover vwho’s had enough of being used and plainly tells his soon-to-be-ex to “Just Call Me (And I’ll Be Sure To Let You Down Again).  And, “Till She’s Lovin’ Someone Else” follows a sweet Crescent City pattern that’ll remind many of Dr. John and the Meters with its funky beat, punchy horns, and Josh’s outstanding piano.

These guys bring a lot to the table on this set.  Experienced players who know a thing or two about soul and blues with a fantastic bandleader make this a group to definitely watch.  Fans of local artist Charles Walker and the Dynamites will love Josh Hoyer And The Shadowboxers!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Albert Castiglia review…April 12, 2014…

ALBERT CASTIGLIA

SOLID GROUND

RUF RECORDS  RUF 1201

TRIFLIN’–KEEP YOU AROUND TOO LONG–SEARCHING THE DESERT FOR THE BLUES–HAVE YOU NO SHAME–PUT SOME STANK ON IT–LOVE ONE ANOTHER–SLEEPLESS NIGHTS–GOING DOWN SLOW–CELEBRATION–HARD TIME–BAD AVENUE–SWAY–LITTLE HAVANA BLUES (ARROZ CON MANGO)–JUST LIKE JESUS

Albert Castiglia (pronounced “ka-STEEL-ya”) continues to turn out one great album after another.  His latest is no exception, and it just happens to be his debut for Ruf Records, “Solid Ground.”  It consists of fourteen cuts of Albert’s trademark swingin’-from-the-hip blues guitar and original songs that share stories we can all relate to, dealing with love, loss, hope, and redemption.

Albert was born in New York and raised in Miami to an Italian father and a Cuban mother, and these eclectic influences permeate his playing and composing.  He toured with Junior Wells for several years until Junior passed in 1998, but those experiences seasoned him well for his own career as a bandleader, and he ppossesses a hugely-charismatic stage presence.

On “Solid Ground,” Albert keeps on improving as a contemporary bluesman.  He uses a Hill-country beat propelled by the stomping percussion of Bob Amsel to tell the tale of people we can all do without, even including some of his own “flesh and blood,” who are nothin’ but “Triflin”   Bob’s drums again play a major role in the blues-rock of “Searching The Desert For The Blues,” while Albert offers up a couple of soulfully-strong messages of hope in “Love One Another,” and “Celebration.”

Albert can really let loose on guitar on some slow-blues tunes, and there are a few excellent examples of these on a wild trip down to “Bad Avenue,” where even “the women carry pistols, too,’ and perhaps the most poignant ballad he has recorded, “Have You No Shame.”  It’s the sad story of a man seeing the end of a love affair, and his vocal and guitar are full of emotion throughout.

We had several favorites, too.  One of Albert’s originals begs the question, “Did I Keep You Around Too Long,” played out over a rockin’ roadhouse beat with piano from Jeremy Baum.  He adds a touch of funk to the St. Louis Jimmy Oden classic, “Goin’ Down Slow,” and turns in a great Latin-flavored instrumental with “Little Havana Blues” (Arroz Con Mango.)  Debbie Davies joins in the fun on guitar and backing vocals as Albert encourages us all to seize the world by the horns and “Put Some Stank On It.”

Albert Castiglia confesses that “Solid Ground” is his best album thus far, and we have to agree.  Fine musicianship with strong original material and choice covers make this one that blues fans will not want to miss!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Brent Johnson review…April 10, 2014…

BRENT JOHNSON

SET THE WORLD ON FIRE

JUSTIN TIME RECORDS  JUST -253-2

DON’T MAKE A SOUND–MEET ME IN THE MORNING–THE TICKET–DON’T TAKE IT WITH YOU–SO GLAD YOU’RE MINE–LONG WAY BACK TO NEW ORLEANS–GLASS CEILING–MEET ME IN THE BOTTOM–AS THE YEARS GO PASSING BY–THE HUCKLEBUCK–SET THE WORLD ON FIRE

For New Orleans-based guitarist Brent Johnson, the emphasis has always been on his feeling for the music, regardless of any particular genre’, altho he does have an affinity for the blues.  New Orleans’  “Blues Daddy” himself, Bryan Lee, found that out not long after hearing Brent, and hired him for his band on the spot.

Playing with Lee gave Brent even a better perspective on music, and alloed his scope to broaden.  He began writing his own material, and, when not touring with Lee, Brent took drummer John Perkins and bassist Bill Blok on a tour of his own, to see how his originals would play to an audience.  With the addition of Wayne Lohr on keys, these four men have recorded and released Brent’s debut, “Set The World On Fire,” for Canadian label Justin Time Records.  There are seven originals and four covers, which utilize special guests Alvin Youngblood Hart and Sonny Landreth on guitars.

The set starts with a funky blast of riff-heavy blues-rock, “Don’t Make A Sound,” the tale of too many nights on the road that culminates with a one-night stand with “the Devil drinkin’ at the end of the bar.”  “Don’t Take It With You” is a plea for everyone to realize that “all your anger just weighs you down,” while Brent closes with the title cut, as he ponders a crumbling love affair, asking her not to leave, and not to “Set The World On Fire.’

The album has several light-hearted moments, too.  Perhaps the antithesis of the title cut is “So Glad You’re Mine,” which focuses on a relationship that has seen hard times, but, thru love, has persevered.  The keys and guitar here are breezy and light, in keeping with the song’s tone of hope.  And, Brent takes the venerable classic, “The Hucklebuck,” and turns it inside-out and upside-down as a brilliant instrumental.

Brent is joined by Alvin Youngblood Hart on slide guitar on Dylan’s “Meet Me In The Morning,” on the roadhouse rock of “The Ticket,” and on the Delta chug of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Meet Me In The Bottom.”  Sonny Landreth also drops in with his signature slide on Brent’s yearning-for-home tale of missing those “Louisiana pines and second lines,” “Long Way Back To New Orleans!”

With “Set The World On Fire,” Brent Johnson had full creative control over the material and production.  The results are a resounding success, and we look forward to hearing more from him in the future!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Arthur Migliazza review…April 9, 2014…

ARTHUR MIGLIAZZA

LAYING IT DOWN

HOBEMIAN RECORDS  HB 0017

OVERTURE–I’M READY–ROCKIN’ PNEUMONIA AND THE BOOGIE WOOGIE FLU–BOOGIE WOOGIE STOMP–LOVE YOU MAMA–SING SING SING/BUMBLE BOOGIE–BOURBON STREET PARADE–THANK YOU BLUES–HONKY TONK TRAIN BLUES–SUITCASE BLUES–ST. LOUIS BLUES–PROFESSOR CALLING ME–THE BOOGIE ROCKS

Along with making the Finals a few months back at the IBC’s representing Washington state, Arthur Migliazza also can be heard on keys on fellow “northwesterner” Polly O’ Keary’s “Compass” CD.  He learned piano as a child, and mentored with Ann Rabson, even playing with the other members of Saffire at Ann’s memorial when she passed away.

On his latest release, “Laying It Down,” Arthur makes his intentions clear—he wants to bring the boogie woogie piano back to the forefront of blues, since it was such an integral part of not only blues, but rock and roll in its early days.  As such, he and his band have, well, “layed down” thirteen tracks that showcase Arthur’s incredible piano abilities while concentrating on the left-hand dominating boogie beat.  There are four of Arthur’s originals mixed among covers that keep the left hand pounding the rhythm while the right hand adds color and flair.

The set starts with the original “Overture,” with its notes of things to come as it builds to a New Orleans-ish climax, with Jeff Fielder on the wah-wah guitar.  He rocks two of Albert Ammons’ classic pieces, “Boogie Woogie Stomp,” and the set-closing left-hand brilliance of “The Boogie Rocks.’

Arthur also pays tribute to some of the Crescent City’s best boogiemen, with a fine read of the Fat Man’s “I’m Ready,” Huey Smith’s “Rockin’ Pneumonia,” and, perhaps the best of these, as Arthur adds his own personal touch to Henry Roeland Byrd’s “Tipitina” entitled “Professor Calling Me.”

We had three favorites, too.  This is the Centennial anniversary of the publishing of W. C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues,” and Arthur rocks it for all it’s worth, with plenty of tricky time and signature changes, while staying true to the melody.  Perhaps the most “traditional” blues cut is a Chicago-styled  number that features Grant Dermody on harp as Arthur lovingly shuffles over a tribute to his mother, “Love You Mama.”  And, his medley of “Sing Sing Sing/Bumble Boogie” is the true show-stopper.  He fires off run after run on these two chestnuts over the course of six blistering minutes, showing off a plethora of his moves with ease.

If Arthur Migliazza wants to bring back the boogie to the blues, then “Laying It Down” is a great start.  An irresistible groove runs throughout from a brilliant young musician!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.