Archive for March, 2015

Igor Prado Band review…The Ides Of March, 2015….

THE IGOR PRADO BAND

AND THE DELTA GROOVE ALL-STARS

WAY DOWN SOUTH

DELTA GROOVE RECORDS  DGPCD 167

MATCHBOX–RIDE WITH ME BABY–SHE’S GOT IT–BABY WON’T YOU JUMP WITH ME–WHAT HAVE I DONE–SHAKE AND FINGER POP–TALK TO ME BABY–IF YOU EVER NEED ME–YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES–BIG MAMA BLUES–YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT–ROOSTER BLUES–TRYING TO DO RIGHT

At eleven years old, Igor Prado of Sao Paulo, Brazil, fell in love with blues guitar.  Left-handed, Igor taught himself to play a right-handed guitar upside-down.  With brother Yuri, on drums, they soon became the “go to guys” whenever American players would venture south of the border.  Add in Rodrigo Mantovani on bass and saxman Denilson Martins, and the Igor Prado band became a reality.  Over the last fifteen years, they have backed many American players, and that is the theme of their latest release for Delta Groove, “Way Down South.”  It culls thirteen of the best performances from over the years, with many of the players coming from the Delta Groove stable.

Igor’s talent on guitar is tremendous for a self-taught player.  He can channel the styles of many classic bluesmen with ease, and does so with a whole lotta soulful expression as he goes along.

Every cut is a winner, and highlights abound.  Sugaray Rayford starts the party with a cool take on Ike Turner’s “Matchbox,” with Igor’s tremolo guitar and Denilson’s saxes bringing the heat.  The late Lynwood Slim, to whom this album is dedicated, gets in a fine, swingin’ “Mama Won’t You Jump With Me,” and comes back later for “You Better Believe It, yes I’m in love with you!”

Delta blues are well-represented, too.  Check out Sugaray’s haunting read of “Big Mama Blues,” featuring Igor and Monster Mike Welch on guitars, and Randy Chortkoff on harp.  The set closes with an all-acoustic affair, featuring Igor on guitar and Omar Coleman on harp, for “Trying To Do Right.”

We had several favorites, too.  Igor’s vocal prowess  shows thru on the soul-blues of “Shake And Finger Pop,” while he and J. J. Jackson share vocals on a rhumba-ish read of “You Got What It Takes.  And, the vastly-under-recorded Wallace Coleman rocks a while with the good-time fun of “Rooster Blues.”

The Igor Prado Band are doing all they can to keep the blues alive.”  “Way Down South” proves they can play with the best players in the world, and this is sho’ nuff a red-hot set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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Eight O’ Five Jive review…March 12, 2015..

EIGHT O’ FIVE JIVE

TOO MANY MEN

RED RUDY TOO TUNES RECORDS  RRTT 002

I’VE GOT A FEELIN’–HAVE MERCY BABY–BABY I’M DOIN’ IT–MISERY LOVES COMPANY–DRUNK–YOU WAS RIGHT BABY–FEED THEM MONKEYS–INSECT BALL–KISSING IN THE DARK–YOUNG ENOUGH TO BE MY SON–TOO MANY MEN–MARKET PLACE

In the years before it became known as “rock and roll,” the genres’ of blues, jazz, R & B, swing, big band and doo-wop all coexisted peacefully in a world dominated by great players such as Louis Jordan, Joe Liggins, Wynonie Harris, Bill Doggett, and many others.  This music jumps from the git-go, and Nashville is lucky to have a funky little five-piece band that knows this music inside and out.  They are bent on keeping this sound alive, and bringing it to new audiences who might not even know it ever existed.

Submitted for your approval, then, is Eight O’ Five Jive.  They consist of the lovely and talented Lee Shropshire on vocals, Andy Scheinman on guitar, Duane Spencer on drums, Bill Bois on bass, and saxman Patrick Mosser.  On April 14, 2015, they will release their debut, “Too Many Men,” on the Red Rudy Too Tunes label.  It is a clever collection of covers and originals that is described as a twelve-song “operetta” about the search for true love.

Throughout this delightful set, singer Lee Shropshire lends her sassy, strutting vocals to bring these vintage sounds into today’s contemporary world.  The guys aren’t bad, either.  Andy’s guitar lines are perfectly complemented by Patrick’s sax, while Duane Spencer bangs away standing up on a cocktail drum kit, staying in lock-step with Bill’s bass.

They kick things off in a huge way with Lee singing, “I’ve Got A Feelin’ someone’s tring to steal my man!”  The band gets into it, adding backing call-and-response vocals on Lee’s cover of Billy Ward’s “Have Mercy Baby,” while Lee tries to comfort a downhearted friend in her original, “Misery Loves Company, so come have a drink with me!”  She tackles another swingin’ tale of too many excesses in life with “Feed Them Monkeys,” especially those “felonious monkeys and Theolonius Monkeys!”

We had two favorites, too.  Another of Lee’s originals was the result of a young man hitting on her in a Toronto bar, “Young Enough To Be My Son!” It follows a staccato, rapid-fire rhythm pattern, with Patrick and Andy feeding off each other.  And, the set closes with a rhumba-fied story of love down in New Orleans, at the “Market Place.’  Andy bends off some mighty fine, Berry-fied pickin’ on this one, too.

From her designer Ray-Bans to the perfectly-straight seams of her fishnets, Lee Shropshire and Eight O’ Five Jive keep the humor and sly double-entendres’ of this classic era in music vibrant and alive.  “Too Many Men” is a diverse rave-up of songs that will have something for everyone!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Eliza Neals review…March 10, 2015…

ELIZA NEALS

BREAKING AND ENTERING

E-HRECORDS  88921122018

DETROIT DRIVE–BREAKING AND ENTERING–JEKYLL AND A HOUND–GOO GOO GLASS–YOU–PRETTY GRITTY–SOUTHERN COMFORT DREAMS–WINDSHIELD WIPERS–SUGAR DADDY–I’M THE GIRL–SPINNING–BREAKING AND ENTERING (RADIO MIX)

Eliza Neals hails from Detroit, and possesses one of those unique vocal styles that pounds with passion one moment, and oozes vulnerability the next.  This mixture of sugar and spice permeates her recent release, “Breaking And Entering.”  She’s backed by some of the Motor City’s best axemen, too, including Kenny Olson, Mike Puwal, and the ol’ Liquor Store Legend himself, Howard Glazer.

It’s Howard’s slide that adds that special touch to Eliza’s set opener, “Detroit Drive,” a lustful, primal story of “goin’ down Woodward Avenue for some wine,” then “gettin’ in the back seat to just grind!”  Howard’s electric guitar adds some funk to Eliza’s vocal on “Goo Goo Glass,” while she shows that tough-but-soft side in a love story of sorts, ‘when I’m down, You make me feel alive!”  She adds her own piano on “Pretty Gritty,” while a clever play on words conveys the theme of an ode to a lover, “You’re my Southern Comfort Dream.”  The sound of the “Windshield Wipers wiping my tears away” is the perfect metaphor for this powerful, minor-key look at a broken love affair.  Eliza’s tale of excesses is done only with her vocal over Howard’s guitar, as she sings  that “bed is Spinning, and I can’t find my way home.”

We had two favorites, too.  Eliza touches on the Motown connection with a cool cover of Barrett Strong’s “Sugar Daddy.”  This one features Tyrone Smith on sax and Shane Visbal on that chicken-scratchin’ guitar.  And, the bump-and-grind of the title cut, presented in two versions, is so hot that you’ll wish Eliza was “Breaking And Entering” your heart!

Eliza Neals has the right touch of ‘tude and tenderness, and the players she surrounded herself with make “Breaking And Entering” one of the hotteset sets we’ve had the pleasure of hearing in quite some time!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Danielle Nicole review…March 8, 2015…

DANIELLE NICOLE

DANIELLE NICOLE

CONCORD MUSIC GROUP  CRE-37175-02

YOU ONLY NEED ME WHEN YOU’RE DOWN–STARVIN’ FOR LOVE–DIDN’T DO YOU NO GOOD–WANDERING HEART–YOU ONLY NEED ME WHEN YOU’RE DOWN (LIVE FROM THE BRIDGE 90.9 FM)–DON’T THINK TWICE, IT’S ALRIGHT (LIVE FROM THE BRIDGE 90.9 FM)

Many blues fans wiill recognize Danielle Nicole as the singer/bassist from the group Trampled Under Foot, formed with her brothers Nick and Kris.  They have wound down after thirteen years and several critically-acclaimed albums, but Danielle has forged a path on her own.  She ventured to New Orleans to hone her deep-rooted, blues-based sound, this time with the help of producer/guitarist Anders Osborne.  The result is her self-titled six-song EP for Concord Records, with Danielle on bass and vocals, Anders on guitar, Stanton Moore on drums, and Mike Sedovic on keys.

These six songs show a somewhat defiant side of Danielle.  and Anders brings out her talents throughout the set.  Check out the ominous, percussion-heavy tale of a lover fighting a losing battle, as Danielle sings, “I gave you more than you deserved,” but “I Didn’t Do You No Good.”  The leadoff cut follows a loose second-line pattern, and it’s about another “sometime” lover, “You Only Need Me When You’re Down.”  The set closes with two acoustic tracks cut live at WTBG-FM 90.9 The Bridge, and served as our favorites–a stripped-down vesion of “You Only Need Me When You’re Down,” and a brilliant take on “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.”

It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why Danielle Nicole has become one of the most promising young players on the scene today.  Her self-titled EP is, hopefully, a harbinger of things to come, as a full-length album is due later this summer!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Ray Goren review…March 6, 2015…

RAY GOREN

SAVE MY SOUL

RJ RAY ENTERTAINMENT, INC.

STOP–SAVE MY SOUL–CAN’T LIVE LIKE THIS–I NEED YOU HERE TO STAY–RISE TOGETHER

The last time we heard from young Mr. Ray Goren, he was down in South Central Los Angeles with a couple of seasoned bluesmen, Sammy Lee and Bluesboy Powell, lending his youthful exuberance and blistering guitar work to “Private Angel,” the record the three of them released in 2014 as the Generation Blues Experience.  Ray certainly gave us a glimpse into the future of the blues, and he has just released “Save My Soul”‘ a five-song EP of all-originals written by Ray and producer Jon Sosin, showing Ray as a maturing, wise-beyond-his-years musician.

The funk hits the fan on the leadoff “Stop,” as ray begs a lover to “stop trying to feed me all your lies.”  The title cut is built around a spooky riff as Ray sings “Save My Soul, as I will sin before I get old,” before ripping off a sweet solo at the bridge.  “Can’t Live Like This” is a nod to today’s contemporary sound, with the story of a lost love as the underlying theme.  Perhaps Ray’s finest piece of songwriting is presented in “I Need You Here To Stay,” as he tries to “guess the right direction” in which to take a relationship.  A plea for humanity closes the set and takes a hard look at today’s society.  Trying to make the world a better place is “can we Rise Together,” as “time ain’t on our side.”

Ray Goren’s talents cannot be denied.  He’s a phenomenally-gifted player whose skills are on full display with “Save My Soul.”    Oh, to be young again…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society

Big Dave McLean review…March 5, 2015…

BIG DAVE MCLEAN

FADED BUT NOT GONE

BLACK HEN CD  0075

TOUGH TIMES–I BEST CHOOSE TO PICK THE BLUES–DEAD CAT ON THE LINE–THE FALLEN–SITTIN’ ON A FENCE–DON’T GET MAD GET EVEN–DEVIL’S IN THE JUKEBOX–ONE MORE DAY–MR. SIEGAL–SHADES OF GRACE–OH-MR. CHARLIE-OH–DEVIL GOT MY WOMAN

Big Dave McLean has been a fixture on the Winnipeg, Canada, scene for decades, winning Juno and Western Canadian Music Awards along the way.  He recently ventured down to the friendly confines of our own Music City to team up with producer/guitarist Steve Dawson to release “Faded But Not Gone,” twelve traditional-sounding tracks that combine Dave’s originals with choice covers from the likes of Tampa Red, Tom Waits, and Skip James.

Joining Dave, who is on vocals, harp, and guitar throughout, is Steve Dawson on guitar, Kevin McKendree on keys, John Dymond on bass, and Gary Craig on drums.  These musicians are well-versed in this traditional, Delta-meets-contemporary sound, and all of Dave’s originals are conceived and written within that same style.

Check out his autobiography, where we learn his “father was a minister in the Presbyterian church,” and his “mother was a pianist.”  But, for Dave, it was a case of  “I Best Choose To Pick The Blues.”  And, when “all your good luck ain’t gone but it’s leavin,” then “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even!”  Kevin McKendree gets in some fine acoustic piano on this one, too.  “One More Day” follows a second-line rhythm pattern, while Steve Dawson adds banjo on Dave’s cover of Tom Waits’ curious tale of “Mexican whorehouses and a Catholic church,” “Mr. Siegal.”

There are some somber moments, too.  “The Fallen” is a tribute to his late brother who passed a week before this song was recorded, and “Shades Of Grace,” dedicated to his late mother who sang “Amazing Grace” to him as a child, also features backing vocals from Ann and Regina McCrary.

We had two favorites, too.  Another member of the “Nashville Connection” present on this album is Colin Linden, who adds some mighty fine eight-stringin’ on Dave’s cover of the humorous “Dead Cat On The Line.”  And, the set begins with Dave’s clever use of “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms” as an intro to “Tough Times,” a song as meaningful in today’s world as when it was written.

Big Dave McLean set out initially to make a great record, and, coupled with his own immense talents as well as those of his sidemen, “Faded But Not Gone” has accomplished this goal!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Brandon Santini review…March 3, 2015…

BRANDON SANTINI

LIVE AND EXTENDED

VIZZTONE VTOLM 005

ONE MORE MILE–THIS TIME ANOTHER YEAR–ELEVATE ME MAMA–EVIL WOMAN–HAVE A GOOD TIME–HELP ME WITH THE BLUES–GOT LOVE IF YOU WANT IT–NO MATTER WHAT I DO–WHAT YOU DOING TO ME–MY BACKSCRATCHER–I WANNA BOOGIE WITH YOU–COME ON EVERYBODY

Brandon Santini moved from North Carolina to Memphis in 2003 and quickly gained a strong foothold in the Beale Street scene.  Since then, he and his blazing harp have received a Blues Music Award nomination for Best New Artist in 2009, and another nomination in 2014 in two categories–Instrumentalist-Harp and Contemporary Blues Album.  For his latest release, he journeyed to the prestigious Festival D’ ete’ de Quebec in Canada and recorded “Live And Extended,” twelve cuts of originals and covers that showed the Canadian audience just what this young man is all about.

They were an enthusiastic bunch, too, something which Brandon and the band–Timo Arthur on guitar, Nick Hern on bass, and Chad Wirl on drums–all fed off of during the night.  He jumpstarts the party with a killer take on Muddy and Cotton’s “One More Mile,” while on “Evil Woman,” Brandon and Tim trade off some hot solos as the crowd exhorts its appreciation.

“Have A Good Time” follows a freight-train beat as Brandon sings that you really “don’t need no money and don’t need no clothes to let those good times roll!”  Timo gets in some fine Berry-fied pickin’ on this one, too.  Brandon rocks hard on another original, “No Matter What I Do, I can’t get along with you,” and then gets everybody amped up with the funky, staccato backbeat of “My Backscratcher.”

He turns his harp loose for hot, extended soloing on “I Wanna Boogie With You” and gets the crowd fired up for the set-closer, an original titled “Come On Everybody.”

All these cuts are strong, but we had one favorite.  We couldn’t get enough of Brandon’s slow-burnin’ take on Sonny Boy’s “Elevate Me Mama, ’bout five or six floors on down!”

Brandon Santini continues to be one of the most impressive young harpslingers on the contemporary scene.  “Live And Extended” puts you front-row-center for a set that’s not to be missed!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.