Archive for February, 2015

Nathan James review…February 11, 2015

NATHAN JAMES

HEAR ME CALLING

NATURAL BORN THAT WAY

SACRED CAT RECORDINGS   SCR0915   SCR0916

HEAR ME CALLING–LOOK BEFORE I LEAP–STILL I WANNA KNOW–DOING THE SAME TO YOU–BABY WHERE DID YOU GO–NO NO BLUES–SHE’S MAKING WHOPEE IN HELL TONIGHT–LOOK OUT YOUR WINDOW–DON’T BELIEVE WHAT PEOPLE SAY–SHE DON’T MAKE A SCENE–I KNOW I’VE GOT RELIGION

 

I’M GONNA LEAVE–LOOK OUT YOUR WINDOW–NATURAL BORN THAT WAY–LOOK BEFORE I LEAP–TAKE YOU BACK HOME–DOING THE SAME TO YOU–RIDE WITH ME BABY–IT MUST HAVE BEEN LOVE–I’M GONNA TELL THEM–COW PIES–DON’T BELIEVE WHAT PEOPLE SAY

For his latest release for Delta Groove, roots-blues guru Nathan James couldn’t decide whether to put out a solo acoustic set or a band set.  In the end, he decided to do both!  As such, “Hear Me Calling” is a one-man-band acoustic record,  along with a set from his band, The Rhythm Scratchers, entitled “Natural Born That Way.”

The results are outstanding on both counts.  The acoustic numbers capture the spirit and the vibe of the Delta thru the use of his vintage National Resonator, a 1956 Martin 00-17, and his own washboard guitar.  Highlights for us included his original, “Still I Wanna Know–should I stay or shoukd I go,” done in a lively, Piedmont style.  Curley Weaver’s “No No Blues” is played on the resonator and has a cool Robert Johnson feel.  The acoustic portion closes with the traditional gospel of “I Know I’ve Got Religion,” showing Nathan’s versatility.  Our favorite, tho, was the total opposite of gospel, and was Nathan’s take on a Lonnie Johnson song, the bawdy tale of a cheatin’ woman about to meet her fate, “She’ll Be Makin Whopee In Hell Tonight!”

“Natural Born hat Way” is Nathan with his band, The Rhythm Scratchers, and these cuts cover Fifties’-styled rock, New Orleans-flavored R & B, and good ole down home blues.  He also covers four of his originals from the acoustic set, presented with the full band.  Highlights include the staccato-guitar-driven tale of a woman who “never holds back from havin’ herself a time,” because she’s “Natural Born That Way.”

On this set, “Look Before I Leap” has a Huey Smith vibe, thanks to that piano from Sonny Leyland.  “Doing The Same To You” is done with a stop-time, rhumba beat, and Nathan gives a churchy, sanctified read of Earl King’s “It Must Have Been Love.”  “Cow Pies” is a cool instrumental with harp from Troy Sandow, while our favorite led off this set.  It is a very fine take on Freddy Fender’s “I’m Gonna Leave,” with more of that roadhouse piano from Sonny Leyland.

Nathan James is an unbelieveable talent on today’s scene.  With two eclectic and varied sets such as “Hear Me Calling” and “Natural Born That Way,” his versatility is unparalleled!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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John Ginty review…February 8, 2015…

JOHN GINTY

BAD NEWS TRAVELS LIVE

AMERICAN SHOWPLACE MUSIC  ASM 5003

CD 1: SWITCH–ARRIVALS–BLACK CAT–ELVIS PRESLEY–PEANUT BUTTER–ROCK RIDGE–SEVEN AND THE SPIRIT

CD 2: DAMAGE CONTROL–THE QUIRK–OFF THE CUFF–MIRRORS–TRINITY

One of the highlights for us during 2014 was the release of John Ginty’s “Bad News Travels.”  Plus, we had the great pleasure to hear him play this album live in May at 12TH and Porter.

The companion DVD came out a few months ago, and John now closes out 2014 with the live version of the CD, “Bad News Thavels Live,” with guest performances from Albert Castiglia, Todd Wolfe, Cris Jacobs, and Alexis P. Suter.

John starts things with two outstanding instrumentals with decided jazz overtones, “Switch,” and “Arrivals.”  Albert Castiglia the joins the party for the minor-key vocals and guitar on “Black Cat,” then he gives a stone-cold funky read of “Elvis Presley,” a tale of folks who think “Elvis is still alive.”  Todd Wolfe adds guitar on the creep of “Peanut Butter,” and the other-worldly elegance of “Rock Ridge.”

Female vocalist extraordinaire Alexis P. Suter comes on strong with “Seven And The Spirit,” with John’s organ giving this one an old-school R & B rave-up feel.  “Damage Control” has a psychedelic, garage-rock vibe with Albert Castiglia and Cris Jacobs on guitar.  John utilizes piano and organ along with Cris’ guitar to capture the feel of “Mirrors,” while the set closes with our favorite, the take-you-to-church instrumental,with the fevered intensity billowing up from the depths of the grooves of “Trin ity.”

Word on social media has it that John Ginty is hard at work on the follow-up to “Bad News Travels Live.”  If it is anything like its predecessor, it’ll sho’ nuff be another good ‘un!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

 

D. A. Foster review…February 5, 2015…

D. A. FOSTER

THE REAL THING

SHABOO/VIZZTONE RECORDS   VTSH 001

GOOD MAN BAD THING–THE REAL THING–WE ALL FALL DOWN–AIN’T DOING TOO BAD–THIS TIME I’M GONE FOR GOOD–SUPER LOVER–I NEED A GOOD WOMAN BAD–SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE–YOU CAN’T JUST SMILE IT AWAY–LIE TO ME–GEE BABY AIN’T I GOOD TO YOU–DOWN HOME BLUES

As a young man, D. A. Foster was the hands-on, co-owner of the legendary Connecticut roadhouse The Shaboo Inn.  From 1971-1982, D. A. booked not only rock acts such as Journey and Aerosmith, but every blues legend one can name.  Many of the blues players realized that D. A. had a natural singing talent, and encouraged and mentored him to realize this talent.  He has just released his debut album for Vizztone, “The Real Thing.”  He tackles twelve vintage-styled slabs of blues and R & B and shows a surprisingly-keen ear for this timeless music.

Joining D. A. on this set are the venerable Mike Finnigan on keys, Tony Braunagel on drums, Larry Fulcher on bass, and Johnny Lee Schell on guitar, as well as a stellar horn section.  These guys complement D. A. perfectly, capturing his many moods throughout these cuts.  There is the smoldering, smooth soul of “This Time I’m Gone For Good,” “I Need A Good Woman Bad,” and “We All Fall Down.”  all of which are perfect for those late-night rendezvous.

He can party with the best of ’em, too, as evidenced by the high-octane funk of “Super Lover,” letting us know he brings a “mighty love just like King Kong” to the table!  He shows a more traditional side with the honky-tonk-piano-driven title cut, as well as “Smack Dab In The Middle,” and the set-closing “Down Home Blues.”

D. A. Foster is sho’ nuff “The Real Thing,” with thirty-five-plus years as a bandleader.  This set serves as a fine introduction to his talents, and we look forward to hearing more from him in the future!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Dana Fuchs review…February 2, 2015…

DANA FUCHS

SONGS FROM THE ROAD

RUF CD/DVD 1207

CD:  BLISS AVENUE–HANDFUL TOO MANY–LIVIN ON SUNDAY–HOW DID THINGS GET THIS WAY–SO HARD TO MOVE–SUMMERSONG–SET IT ON FIRE–SAD SALVATION–TELL ME I’M NOT DRINKING–RODENTS IN THE ATTIC–NOTHIN ON MY MIND–VAGABOND WIND–LONG LONG GAME–KEEP ON WALKIN–I’VE BEEN LOVING YOU TOO LONG–DON’T LET ME DOWN

DVD: SAME EXCEPT FOR “LOVE TO BEG”

Dana Fuchs is one of the most powerful female vocalists on the contemporary scene today.  For her latest release for Ruf Records, “Songs From The Road,” a blistering live CD/DVD combo, she headed to NYC on March 14, 2014, to the Highline Ballroom and recorded this set in front of a fired-up crowd.  She’s backed by her long-time songwriting collaborator and guitarist Jon Diamond, with Matt Beck also on guitars, Pete Levin on keys, Jack Daley on bass, and Joe Daley on drums.

Dana’s vocals are in charge on this set, and there are several highlights.  The set leads off with the pounding, minor-key “Bliss Avenue,’ and Dana commands the crowd’s full attention.  She rocks out on “Set It On Fire,” gives a nod to classic Faces on “How Did Things Get This Way,” and shows a honky-tonk side on the good-time “Nothin On My Mind.”

There are two fine acoustic numbers, “Sad Salvation,” and “Tell Me I’m Not Drinking,” then takes us all to church on a song dealing with personal loss, “So Hard To Move.”  She closes with two hot covers that show off her vocal chops, Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” and Lennon-McCartney’s “Don’t Let Me Down.”

The DVD contains the live performances of all the songs on the CD, with one addition, “Love To Beg.”

Dana Fuchs continues to show why she is such a viable force on the scene today.  Strong performances, a fantastic stage presence, and a batch of killer songs makes “Songs From The Road” the next best thing to being at one of Dana’s live shows!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.