Mick Kolassa review…July 2, 2016….

MICK KOLASSA

TAYLOR MADE BLUES

SWING SUIT RECORDS  MMK 032016

BABY FACED LOUISE–TAYLOR MADE BLUES–PRISON SONG–I’M GETTING LATE–IN THE DAY–WITH FRIENDS LIKE MINE–LUNGS–KEEP A GOIN–LEFT TOO SOON–CAN’T GET NEXT TO YOU–MY HURRY DONE BROKE–RAUL WAS MY FRIEND

In a relatively short period of time, Mick Kolassa has become one of our favorite artists in contemporary blues.  Not ashamed of his age or his laid-back lifestyle, he’s got that innate knack to put a bluesman’s perspective on things we might take for granted in everyday life.  His latest set, for Swing Suit Records, is titled “Taylor Made Blues,” an allusion to his home in Taylor, MS.  And, just about everybody who is anybody in the circle of Memphis blues players is along for this ride.

Mick is on vocals and acoustic guitar, with Jeff Jensen on electric and acoustic guitars, Bill Ruffino on bass, James Cunningham on drums,  and Chris Stephenson on keys.  Stellar special guests abound, including Colin John, Long Tall Deb Landolt, Eric Hughes, Reba Russell, Vic Wainwright, Castro Coleman and Tullie Brae.

Mick is right at home with country blues, electric blues, funk, and even gospel on these twelve cuts.  He starts off with the down-home stomp of “my woman, Baby Faced Louise,” with Beale Street alumni Eric Hughes on the harp.  That slowed-down lifestyle is the theme of the title cut, where Mick knows, “my ramblin’ days are over!”  He revisits this theme a little later on the humorous “My Hurry Done Broke,” where, no matter how fast people want him to go, he’s “movin’ at my own pace!”

“Left Too Soon” and “Raul Was My Friend” deal with the pain of loss, and hearkens back to something ol’ Mr. Johnson once said–“If you got a good friend, you’d best give him all your spare time.”

We had three favorites, too.  “I’m Gettin’ Late” is another touch of humor reminding us that “I started out good, but now I ain’t that great!”  It has mighty fine piano from Victor Wainwright.  “In The Day” is a topical cut that is Mick at his funkiest.  It deals with folks that long for the “good old days,” but, as Frank alludes to the “four dead in Ohio” at Kent State University in April of 1970, those days weren’t really all that different from today.  And, Mick adds music to Frank Stanton’s timeless poem, “Keep A Goin,” and turns it into a Sunday-morning footstomper with a vocal solo from Long Tall Deb Landolt, and Colin John all over the Resonator slide guitar.

Ever the philanthropist, Mick’s “HART” is in the right place, too–100% of the proceeds from “Taylor Made Blues” is earmarked to be split between the Blues Foundation’s HART Fund and Generation Blues.  Just another of the many reasons to love Mick Kolassa!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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