Archive for February, 2016

Kelly Richey review…February 29, 2016…

KELLY RICHEY

SHAKEDOWN SOUL

KRB-149

FADING–YOU WANNA ROCK–LIES–THE ARTIST IN ME–LOVE–AFRAID TO DIE–ONLY GOING UP–JUST LIKE A RIVER–I WANT TO RUN–FADING (ACOUSTIC)

Kelly Richey has been on the blues-rock scene for some thirty-five years, and she’s got fifteen albums and a gazillion road miles under her belt as proof that she can hang with the best of ’em.  Her sixteenth album may just be her best of all, ten originals that comprise “Shakedown Soul.”  On this one, her raw, husky alto vocals and in-yo-face Strat are at the fore, and her songwriting takes an honest, sometimes painful look at surviving, not only in the music business, but thru abusive, bad relationships and her quest for ultimate redemption.

This set also incorporates many of her influences, which oftentimes owe more to Led Zep, Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders, Patti Smith, and Ryan Adams than to Muddy and Buddy.  Rikk Manning holds down the bass, and Tobe Donohue adds drums and his mad skills as producer, incorporating a literal “wall of sound” thru deft use of horns, electronica, and synths.

You can hear that Zep influence on her forewarning to a potential lover–“before you rock me all night long, you better have some soul!”  It’s titled “You Wanna Rock,” and has Kelly’s killer guitar augmented by keys from Lee Carroll.   On “Love,” she uses a cool “hiccup-y” vocal delivery to convey the message that “if you want to get love, you gotta give it!”  Facing down one’s fears is the premise of “Afraid To Die,” while our favorite was a ballsy, Faces-inspired rocker, where her feelings take hold, and “my heart got in the way,” but, in the end, “some love can be tough, Just Like A River. kinda like me.”

For those seeking three chords and a cloud of dust, this one ain’t for you.  But, if you want out-of-the-box, forward-thinking, solid blues-rock from a proven road warrior, then please give Kelly Richey’s “Shakedown Soul” a hearty listen!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Peter Karp review….February 28, 2016….

PETER KARP

THE ARSON’S MATCH

LIVE IN NYC WITH

SPECIAL GUEST MICK TAYLOR

ROSE COTTAGE RECORDS

THE ARSON’S MATCH–GEE CHEE GEE CHEE WAWA–Y’ALL BE LOOKIN’–THE TURNING POINT–THE NIETSCHE LOUNGE–YOUR PRETTYNESS–ROLLING ON A LOG–I’M NOT GIVING UP–TREAT ME RIGHT–TRAIN O MINE

Peter Karp is a brilliant singer-guitarist, who was raised equally among the swamps of New Jersey and the trailer parks of south Alabama, giving him a unique North/South look at life, and, especially, his take on the blues.  He’s released albums on Blind Pig both as a solo artist and as part of a duo with Sue Foley.  His latest is “The Arson’s Match,” which was recorded live at New York’s famed Bottom Line, and contains material from Karp’s earliest works, which were never released nationally.  The really cool thing about these ten originals is the fact that Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor plays throughout this disc.  Peter and Mick are joined by Jim Ehinger on keyboards, Daniel Pagdon on bass, Paul Unsworth on drums, and Dennis Gruenling on the harp.

The fellows jump right into ther boogie, with a slide-and-harp-fueled ride thru Elmore James’ Delta with the scorching title cut, where “The Arson’s Match took everything I had!”  Another good blast of boogie blues has Mick offering up a fine solo on “Y’all Be Lookin,” for everything else, but, as for Peter, “I’ll be looking for love!”  A minor-key blues tale of a man doomed to always be a ne’er-do-well feels as if he is “Rolling On A Log, about to fall off.”  Dennis turns in some fine work on the big ol’ chromatic, too.

Peter has some good ballads on this one, too, especially on the ode to a lover to whom he vows to “follow you down” no matter what, “I’m Not Giving Up.”  And, “The Turning Point” is a Dylanesque detail of the disintegration of a relationship and Peter’s efforts to repair it and regain some measure of redemption.

Peter’s uncanny way of turning a lyric led to our two favorites.  A Chicago-blues-ish boogie takes place where “it’s enough to make poor Jesus feel mortal,” down at “The Nietsche Lounge.”  And a humorous look at a woman who’s “got no style and got no grace,” but Peter loves “Your Prettyness.”  This one has Dave Keyes on piano, gettin’ in some definite “Longhair-ed” New Orleans-styled licks!

Peter Karp and Mick Taylor make a mighty powerful combo.  And, good blues is best served up live, which makes “The Arson’s Match” a real barn burner!  Peter’s benevolent side shows thru, too, as 100% of the proceeds from this album goes to ovarian cancer research.  Kudos to you, Peter!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Anni Piper review…February 26, 2016…

ANNI PIPER

MORE GUITARS THAN FRIENDS

SUGAR DADDY RECORDS

WONDER WOMAN–JUST A LITTLE BIT–BUCKLE BUNNY–MORE GUITARS THAN FRIENDS–PAPER BAG–COLD PIZZA AND WARM BEER–SHOTGUN WEDDING–I’M LOST WITHOUT YOU–EUGENE–BLACKBERRY BRANDY

Anni Piper is an incredibly-talented bassist and vocalist, originally from Australia, now residing here in the States deep down in Florida.  She is so revered by the folks in her native homeland, she is affectionately-known as “Australia’s First Lady Of The Blues.”  After listening to her latest release (as well as virtually all her prior catalog), we’ve a new moniker for her, after another famous middle Tennessee native—Anni, to us you are the “Bettie Page of the blues!”  Killer vocals and a wicked strong bass style paired with her pinup-queen good looks makes this one a no-brainer.  Her latest, the first on her own Sugar Daddy Records label, is entitled “More Guitars Than Friends,” and consists of seven originals and three covers that lend themselves well to her brassy, sassy, sexy, and tough-yet-tender vocal delivery.

Her bass jumps the boogie on “Wonder Woman,” as she ties up a cheatin’ lover in that Lariat Of Truth, and now “I wonder what I saw in you!”  Sax legend Charlie DeChant adds the spice to Anni’s biting commentary on her lover’s latest conquest, who is in dire need of that proverbial “Paper Bag!”  The title cut features shimmering lead guitar lines from Dave Kury as Anni laments the rigors of life on the road, when sometimes you feel that you really do have “More Guitars Than Friends.”

She turns in a fine rockin’ performance on Rosco Gordon’s “Just A Little Bit,” and turns up the heat on a torch-y plea for a lover’s return, “I’m Lost Without You,” set over a sweet rhumba beat.

We had two favorites, too.  “Eugene” is another smokin’ tale of a womanizer, this one done up Fifties’-style, courtesy of Mike Franklin’s pounding 88’s.  That trend continues on the undeniable good times of “Buckle Bunny,” an ultra-humorous look at Anni’s fetish for cowboys, or, as she so aptly puts it, “chaps in chaps!”

After one listens to Anni Piper’s “More Guitars Than Friends,” we are sure you’ll feel the same way we do—Anni makes the blues FUN!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Luther Dickinson review…February 20, 2016…

LUTHER DICKINSON

BLUES AND BALLADS (A FOLKSINGER’S SONGBOOK)

VOLUMES I AND II

NEW WEST RECORDS

VOLUME 1:  HURRY UP SUNRISE–UP OVER YONDER (FEAT. J J GREY)–BANG BANG LULU–MOONSHINE–JACKSON–MEAN OLD WIND DIED DOWN–HOW I WISH MY TRAIN WOULD COME–AIN’T NO GRAVE (FEAT. MAVIS STAPLES)–LET IT ROLL–MY LEAVIN’

VOLUME 2:  HORSESHOE (REPRISE)–HIGHWATER (SOLDIER)–AND IT HURTS–STORM–MOJO MOJO–OL’ CANNONBALL–DEVILMENT–BLOW OUT–MAYOR LANGFORD BIRMINGHAM BLUES–SHAKE (YO MAMA)–HORSESHOE

Luther Dickinson has been immersed in the sounds and stories of the North Mississippi Hill Country his whole life.  The sound he has developed is his take on the music of R. L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Otha Turner, his father, the late Jim Dickinson, and all the others who were associated with the Fat Possum label.  With his latest album for New West, Luther pays an emotional and powerful tribute to those who guided and mentored him, and many of his contemporaries join to help him create “Blues And Ballads (A Folksinger’s Songbook) Volumes I And II.”

The all-acoustic affair brings forth songs that Luther has written during various stages of his development as an artist, many seeing the light of day for the first time.  First up is a sweet, playful duet with fife master Otha Turner’s granddaughter, Sharde Thomas, “Hurry Up Sunrise.”  Lillie Mae Rische adds fiddle on a good country-blues tune, the rollicking “Bang Bang Lulu.”  Jimbo Mathus is on banjo on the “endless boogie” of “Shake (Yo Mama),” and  Luther doles out a “history lesson” of sorts with “Mayor Langford Birmingham Blues,” with Lillie Mae again supplying fiddle.

Songs dealing with death and the afterlife are also prevalent on this disc.  J. J. Grey and Luther give a sweet read on that ultimate trip, “headed Up Over Yonder,” with Jason Isbell on slide guitar.  On perhaps the set’s most powerful cut, Luther pays a touching tribute to his father Jim with the help of Mavis Staples, “Ain’t No Grave hold his body down!”

There is so much excellent material on “Blues And Ballads (A Folksinger’s Songbook) Volumes I And II,” that one needs to grab a copy and determine for yourself which are your favorites.  For Luther Dickinson, it is clearly a labor of love as he shares this piece of his life’s rich history with us!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Johnny Rawls review…February 18, 2016…

JOHNNY RAWLS

TIGER IN A CAGE

CATFOOD RECORDS  CFR 022

TIGER IN A CAGE–BORN TO THE BLUES–RED CADILLAC (RAYS VERSION)–EVERY WOMAN NEEDS A WORKING MAN–RECKLESS HEART–KEEP IT LOOSE–HAVING A PARTY–YOUR LOVE IS LIFTING ME (HIGHER AND HIGHER)–SOUTHERN HONEY–LUCY–BEAST OF BURDEN–I WOULD BE NOTHING

Johnny Rawls is back and in top form with his latest set for Catfood Records, “Tiger In A Cage.” One of the true living legends of soul-infused blues, this set finds him bringing more of that award-winning blues we’ve become accustomed to.  Produced by another legend, Jim Gaines, the twelve cuts run the gamut from juke joint stompers, sweet soul love jams, and one very topical cut.

We’ve known Johnny since before that “Red Cadillac” was brand-new back in 2009.  He reprises that tune herein, with excellent backing from The Rays, epitomizing the good-time nature of the song, as he heads down Beale Street, with “the top dropped down and my hair slicked back!”  He cruises on down to the juke joints of Mississippi with true party anthems such as “Keep It Loose” and “Lucy–there ain’t no dance she can’t do!”

For the lovers, he spins a tale of a young woman who has to learn the hard way about toning down her “Reckless Heart.”  Johnny closes the set with a vintage soul ballad, “without your love, I Would Be Nothing.”

We had several favorites, too.  Johnny does a fine, uptempo take on Sam Cooke’s “Having A Party,” and turns “Beast Of Burden” into a funky, Hi-styled classic.  There’s also a playful, sexy duet with Eden Brent set over a second-line rhythm pattern, as Johnny spends all his money tryin’ to get a little bit of “Southern Honey!”  The set’s leadoff title cut deals with the harsh realities of the lure of easy money thru the drug culture in today’s society, leaving young lives ruined and locked up like a “Tiger In A Cage.”  It’s socially-conscious, and Johnny shouts out to the immortal Curtis Mayfield and “Freddie’s Dead.”  With the use of muted trumpet and wah-wah guitar, this one indeed does have that mid-Seventies feel.

Johnny Rawls proudly sings “after forty years, I’m still going strong,” and he is nominated in the “Soul Blues Male Artist” category for the 2016 Blues Music Awards in May.  With a set as powerful as “Tiger In A Cage,” be prepared for him to come home a winner!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

Benny Turner review…February 14, 2016…

BENNY TURNER

WHEN SHE’S GONE

NOLA BLUE, INC. RECORDS

I CAN’T LEAVE–PITY ON THIS LOVESICK FOOL–BECAUSE OF YOU–AIN’T NO SUNSHINE–SO DEEP–IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU–HAVE YOU EVER BEEN SO LONESOME–RECONSIDER BABY–THAT’S ALRIGHT–I’LL GET OVER YOU–BLACK NIGHT

Benny Turner is the sho’ nuff real-life brother of Texas blues legend Freddie King.  Both Benny and Freddie, as well as brothers Leon and Leonard, were introduced to the guitar thru the efforts of their mother, Ella Mae (King) Turner.  Her birthday was Valentine’s Day, and, in her memory, Benny has just released his fourth album, “When She’s Gone.’  This set consists of six of his original songs from his 1997 debut, as well as four blistering covers showcasing his undeniably-powerful vocals.

Benny played bass onstage with his brother for years, and later with gospel group The Soul Stirrers, helping to pave the way for the electric bass in contemporary gospel.  He also was bandleader for New Orleans soul legend Marva Wright for over twenty years.  He starts this party with a classic “back door man” cheatin’ tale, but Benny’s so in love with the woman that “I Can’t Leave.”  Duet partner Marva Wright leaves outta that same back door as Benny’s pleading vocal begs for some “Pity On This Lovesick Fool.”  This one has some funky keyboard riffs running throughout, too, adding to the hook of this cut.

Special guest Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin’s slide adds to the pain in Benny’s vocal on the classic “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and returns to give an “uptown,’ Chicago-blues touch on a sweet read of Lowell Fulson’s “Reconsider Baby.”  “Have You Ever Been So Lonesome” again uses keyboard stylings to give this slow-blueser a testifyin’, churchy feel.  And, another special guest, Dr. John, makes a rare appearance as rhythm guitarist on Benny’s jazzy, Fifties’-styled ballad, “Because Of You I can feel sweet life again!”

Our favorite closed the set.  In 1997, Benny had the chance to work with one of his heroes, Charles Brown.  Brown is on piano on “Black Night,” but the song barely made it to the recording session following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.  The tape was misplaced for years, but, luckily for us fans, resurfaces here as it was transferred to digital just before disintegrating.  The poignant piece to this puzzle is, with Brown’s passing in 1999, it may well have been his last recording, but he is in top form backing Benny’s impassioned vocal.

Benny Turner, with “When She’s Gone, pays tribute to perhaps his greatest musical influence–his mother.  This set is stone truth that “She made a difference!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Dave Muskett review…February 13, 2016…

THE DAVE MUSKETT

ACOUSTIC BLUES BAND

RECORDED LIVE AT

THE SLIPPERY NOODLE INN

MUSKETT MUSIC MEDIA

INTRO–THAT KIND OF WALK–AIN’T MY GOOD GIRL NOW–SHE CAN’T GIVE ME THE BLUES–HANDYMAN BLUES–AIN’T GOT IT ALL–RAIN SONG–SWEET MARY JANE–GOT THE NEED–SEMI-NAKED SHOE SHINE–TAKE A LOOK AT THIS–PET THAT THING–YOU GOTTA KNOW

Guitarist Dave Muskett was an IBC finalist in 2015 with Mark Carnes as his duos partner on the harp.  They have expanded to a full band by adding upright bass fiddle man Jay Arnold and drummer Charlie Bushor.  With an entire set of original tunes, The Dave Muskett Acoustic Blues Band have just released “Recorded Live At The Slippery Noodle Inn,” which showcases not only Dave’s finger picking prowess, but his storyteller’s soul as well.

That’s the thing with this live set.  Dave and the fellows capture the spirit of the old-school masters, while keeping the whole thing contemporary for today’s audiences.  For us, it was like having some of the players from the era of “ridin’ the blinds” sitting on your front porch and swapping tales of who’s a “good gal” and who’s not!

Make your own decision on the leadoff cut, as the girl with “That Kind Of Walk” will make you sit up and take notice!  Then there’s Mattie Lee, who “Ain’t My Good Girl Now,” mainly because she “makes a lotta money, but she don’t say how!”  This one is a lively, ragtime jumper from start to finish,  They slow things down a bit with the tale of a girl who “gives me more money than I can use, but She Can’t Give Me The Blues.”  They close the set with an Elmore James-ish rocker, “You Gotta Know, baby, you ain’t doin’ me no good!”

We had two favorites, too.  Dave channels his inner Robert Johnson on the slightly-naughty “Handyman Blues,” and then goes into full-on double-entendre’ mode on the playfully-sexy request to his lover to “Pet That Thing!”  (Why, her poodle, of course!)

The Dave Muskett Acoustic Blues Band take the traditional and make it fresh and fun.  “Live At The Slippery Noodle Inn” is a sweet listen, indeed!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.