Archive for January, 2017

Tom Craig And Soul Patch review…January 16, 2017…

TOM CRAIG AND SOUL PATCH

GET READY FOR ME

SOULPATCHBAND.NET

LOUITA–HOW DID I BREAK THE RULES–GET READY FOR ME–CAN’T STOP THINKING ‘BOUT YOU–SHE DID IT TO ME (SHE’LL DO IT TO YOU)–BALLROOM DANCER–CAPTAIN FUNK–PLEASE FORGIVE ME BABY–TORNADO–I CAN’T HELP MYSELF–NOTHIN’ THAT A MAN CAN’T DO–EVERY WOMAN

Tom Craig was a jazz vocal major in college, and his style owes  much to the crooners such as Mel Torme’ and Ol’ Blue Eyes.  He fell in love with blues and R & B thru the music of the three Kings, Otis, and Pickett.  As such, he and his band, Soul Patch, with  the twelve original cuts that comprise their debut, “Get Ready For Me,” has a little bit of something for every  taste.

Tom, on guitar and vocals, and John O’Connell on drums, have been playing together for the last decade.  Add in the horn section on these cuts, and you have a full, “big band” sound throughout these grooves.  The party starts with the story of “Louita” and her ability to “satisfy my hunger with your lovin’ stuff!”  The horns set up a sweet groove as Tom begs the question to a lover who’s grown cold, “How Did I Break The Rules.”  The title cut is just the opposite, as, with the “New York skyline in my rear view mirror,” he’s “on my way back to you, so Get Ready For Me!”  The swingin’ retro vibe of  of “I Can’t Help Myself,” with the call-and-response chorus may remind some listeners of James Hunter, while Tom gets his slow-blues groove on, with the pleading, plaintive, “Please Forgive Me Baby, all I do is disappoint you.”

We had two favorites, too.  The breezy ode to a one-night stand with a “Ballroom Dancer” sways over a cha-cha beat and begs you to dance along.  A story to which many of us guys can relate is a slab of sage advice to be wary to whom you give your heart.  If she turns out to be a cheat, then you  can tell the next man that “She Did It To Me, she’ll do it to you!”

Tom Craig And Soul Patch will represent the Central Delaware Blues Society in the upcoming  IBC’s.  When you get on that stage, you’ve gotta have something that sets you apart from the other 250 or so acts that will be vying for the same prize.  With a set as varied and enjoyable as “Get Ready For Me,” these guys are set to make a big racket down on Beale!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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Derrick Procell review…January 15, 2017…

DERRICK PROCELL

WHY I CHOOSE TO SING THE BLUES

HEAR AND NOW MUSIC

THE WOLF WILL HOWL AGAIN–TROUBLE ME NO MORE–THE EYES OF MISSISSIPPI–WHY I CHOOSE TO SING THE BLUES–THEY ALL FIND OUT–BROKE THE MOLD–AIN’T NUTHIN’ MORE ABOUT IT–SORRY?–WHO WILL TELL LUCILLE–BACK IN THE GAME–DON’T WASTE A WISH ON ME–TOO MUCH (BONUS TRACK)

Derrick Procell’s intention was to write songs along with Grammy-winner Terry Abrahamson for other artists.  But, the  positive feedback from the blues community was overwhelming for the man with the voice that lies somewhere between Delbert and Gregg Allman to make his own record.  Derrick had already made a name for himself with previous sets released in the Americana genre’, but “Why I Choose To Sing The Blues” is his first foray into mainstream blues.  Fans, it is one fine set, indeed.  Derrick and Terry wrote or co-wrote all the cuts herein, and each  man has a way with the lyrics on these cuts, all of them clever with that extra touch of wit and wisdom that only a bluesman can impart to us.

Terry Abrahamson’s ties to the blues community run deep, and several f his friends lend their talent on this album.  You gotta love the cool story-in-song tribute to Chester  Arthur Burnett, “The Wolf Will Howl Again, like the calling of a friend!”  The legendary Eddie Shaw is on second vocal here, adding to this cut’s uniqueness.  Another clever lyric deals with the four “Eyes Of Mississippi,” and how they are “all on you, seeing everything you do,” featuring deep Delta slide from Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin!  And, Billy Branch blows up a storm on the harp as Derrick pleads to the Lord for a chance to get “Back In The Game!”

We had three favorites, too.  A natch’l-born charmer, guilty of “sowing seeds just like a farmer,” has no regrets for anything, and  “ain’t Sorry  at all  for things I can still recall!”  A jumpin’ track built for the dance floor deals with trying to cover your tracks when you cheat on a lover, knowing full well that “Baby, They All Find Out!”  And, the title cut tells us all we need to know about the blues, from “the drone of Bukka White” to “the boogie of John Lee,” and is Derrick’s reason for “Why I Choose To Sing The Blues.”

Want a history lesson on how the blues made it from the Delta to Memphis and up north to Chicago, Detroit, and beyond?  Then let Derrick Procell tell you how the nitro meets the fuse on “Why I Choose To Sing The Blues!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Jack Mack review…January 14, 2017…

JACK MACK

AND THE HEART ATTACK HORNS

BACK TO THE SHACK

SSR FREEROLL RECORDS

STANDING BEFORE THE KING–SOMETHING IN THE WATER–DON’T LET HER GO–NEVER TOO LATE–SOMEBODY TO TRUST–SERVES ME RIGHT–BAD HABIT–CHANGE MY WAYS–AIN’T NO WAY–LET ME IN

Jack Mack is back.  A fine champion (and a pioneer, too!) of “blue-eyed soul,”  the band has just released their latest,  “Back To The Shack.”  It’s ten cuts of nothin’ but powerhouse horn-and-guitar-driven R & B, soul, and blues that Jack Mack’s been playing for lo these last thirty years or so.  Dedicated to the legends that have passed on, such as B. B., Pickett, Solomon Burke and countless others, this set oozes soul from note one.

Featuring Mark Campbell on vocals, Mike Finnigan is on keys on the tale of corporate  and political greed that rings true today, where “who’s got the money’s got control,” “Something In The Water.”  A clever turn on the lyrics is the funky story of a cheatin’ lover, who finds out the hard way that “It Serves Me Right, for doin’ you wrong!”  You gotta love that swampy guitar from Andrew Kastner, too!

The fellows really get down on some classic-styled songs with a feeling, too.  Check out the breezy ode to that special love, “Don’t Let Her Go!”  A man burned at love once is now looking for that “somebody who’s got your back,” that “Somebody To Trust.”  And, when he’s guilty of backslidin’, he mans up and swears, “I’m Gonna Change My Ways,” for a second chance!

We had two favorites that book-ended the set.  Leading off is an acoustic intro that morphs into a full-on blast of R & B as Mark’s vocal recounts how he was introduced to the “sweet Southern comfort” of the blues of B. B., “Standin’ Before The King.”  Melanie Taylor is red-hot on backing vocals as is Carlos Murguia on piano.  He’s on fire on that piano again as the set closes, with Mark begging a lover to “Let Me In.”  This one is done up as a screamin’, shoutin’, testifyin’,  all-out stomper, with all the soul and passion of ol’ Jake Blues when he “saw the light!”

For Jack Mack And The Heart Attack Horns, “if life is a highway, then throw me the keys, ’cause all I can do is ride!”  And, when we all get “Back To The Shack,”  we’ll know sho’ nuff that it’s been one sweet soul ride!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Cary Morin review…January 13, 2017…

CARY MORIN

CRADLE TO THE GRAVE

MAPLE STREET MUSIC AGENCY

CRADLE TO THE GRAVE–LAID BACK–DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT–LAY BABY LAY–MISHAWAKA–MISSISSIPPI BLUES–GHOST DOG–TRUST–BACK ON THE  TRAIN–NOTHING COMPARES 2 U–WATCH OVER ME

Bluesman Cary Morin is Native American, specifically a member of the Crow tribe.  He was born in Billings, MT, and spent his formative years honing his guitar chops in Great Falls.  Touring with bands such as The Atoll and the Pura Fe’ Trio, as well as his solo career, has led to his becoming  one of the premier acoustic fingerpickers on the scene today.  His latest set is entitled “Cradle To The Grave,” and here he fuses folk, the blues, and sounds of his heritage over the course of these eleven songs, eight originals and three excellent covers.

Along with his incredible guitar stylings, Cary possesses a quietly-unassuming yet passionate vocal style.  The set leads off with the title cut, a poignant reminder of both the frailty and brevity of life, and closes with a continuation of that theme, with “Watch Over Me,” bringing the album full-circle.  It’s Cary’s plea to a higher power to “watch over me, for I am only a child” as he travels life’s highway.

Cary’s “protest song”  on this set deals with the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe regarding treaties and promises made by the government throughout history.  He urges them all to “Stand up and fight ’til the Dawn’s Early Light” for their freedoms.  He has a lot of fun with the Delta feel of Willie Brown’s “Mississippi Blues,” and its tales of “moonshine whiskey” and “my old-time used-to-be!”  He takes Phish’s “Back On The Train” and Prince Rogers Nelson’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and breaks them down to their bare essentials, turning each into acoustic, blues-oriented delights!

Cary Morin has toured all over the world, and continues to wow audiences everywhere  with his deft picking and unique, passionate lyrics.  “Cradle To The Grave” powerfully carries on the traditions of his native ancestors as well as the Delta masters!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Kenny Neal review…January 12, 2017…

KENNY NEAL

BLOODLINE

CLEOPATRA BLUES MUSIC

AIN’T GON’ LET THE BLUES DIE–BLOODLINE–PLAIN OLD COMMON SENSE–FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY–KEEP ON MOVING–I GO BY FEEL–I’M SO HAPPY–BLUES MOBILE–I CAN’T WAIT–REAL FRIEND–THANK YOU B. B. KING

For Kenny Neal, the roots of the blues run deep, indeed.  His legendary father was Louisiana blues legend Raful Neal, and Kenny proudly carries on the family tradition with perhaps the best album of his career, “Bloodline.”  Produced by Tom Hambridge, the eleven cuts herein detail Kenny’s strong ties to his family as well as his incredible love for the blues.

Kenny’s on guitar and harp throughout, and he features eight family members playing various instruments.  Kenny comes at you right out of the gate just like a fire-and-brimstone Baptist preacher on Sunday morning with “Ain’t Gon’ Let The Blues Die,” name-checking many of the greats who have passed on and vowing to carry this bidness on!  A midtempo groover that offers up some sage advice  and reminds us all to “think twice and speak once” and just use some “Plain Old Common Sense before you jump the fence!”  The poignant minor-key ode to a blind friend from Kenny’s youth who lived his life by this mantra–“I Go By Feel”–is heart-tugging for sure.  And, at the other end of the spectrum is Kenny’s vow to “live my life to the fullest,” “I’m So Happy!”  He’ll be cruisin’ and bluesin’ down life’s highway in a big  ol’ “Blues Mobile,” too,  headin’ up 61 from Louisiana to the Crossroads at 49, then on out west along Route 66!  This one is a righteous boogie, fueled by Kenny’s harp wailin’ away!

We had two favorites, too.  The swampy feel and laid-back groove of the title cut has Kenny recounting tales from his childhood, knowing full well that “the Bloodline runs thru me!”  Closing the set is an all-out, rompin’ and stompin’ tribute to the King of the Blues–“Thank You B. B. King, for paving the way for me!”

Kenny Neal is a member of the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame, and, on February 12, he may become Grammy winner, as “Bloodline” is one of the five nominees for Best Contemporary Blues Album.  Best of luck, Kenny, and thanks for a fantastic set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Eight O’ Five Jive review…January 9, 2017….

EIGHT O’ FIVE JIVE

SWING SET

RED RUDY TOO TUNES  RRI  1003

MAKE MINE A DOUBLE–RAGGED–GET AWAY–PUT IT BACK–NEVER–I WON’T WEAR FLATS TO YOUR FUNERAL–ONE MORE GLASS OF WINE–MY MUMBLIN’ BABY–WATCH OUT FOR THEIR WIVES–BACK OF MY HAND–A LITTLE BIT OF BOURBON

In the tradition of Louis Jordan and Roy Milton And His Solid Senders, Nashville’s Eight O’ Five Jive are the epitome’ of cool, especially when it comes to laying down vintage blues and R & B that jumps, jives, and wails right outta your speakers directly into your soul! Vocalist Lee Shropshire is as brassy, sassy, and classy as they come, with Andy Scheinman on guitar, Bill Bois on bass, Duane Spencer on drums, and Pat Mosser on sax.  On January 27, 2017, they will release their sophomore CD, aptly-entitled “Swing Set,” with ten band originals and one rarely-heard cover, showcasing just what a  tight-knit group they are, easily capturing the intricacies of vintage jump-blues groups popular in the years immediately following WWII.

Letting the good times roll is easily the theme of this platter that matters, with several “drinkin” songs, as well as a few where Lee calls out some skirt-chasing guys, defiantly standing her ground.  And, there are a few that allow time for reflection, and just plain ol’ getting away from the grind for a while.  “Ragged” tackles a lover who’s a bit too possessive, and Lee reminds him that “sometimes I need time to be alone!”   The rapid-fire bursts of sax and guitar fuel the stop-time request of Lee to just “Get Away, to any place but here!”  “Never” has Lee being totally disinterested in a lothario, because “I’ll never wear your ring/we’ll never be a “thing!”

The set’s lone cover is a sho’ nuff hoot, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser at their live shows.  Rudy Green originally recorded “My Mumblin’ Baby” for Excello waaaay back in the day, and Lee  captures that tricky, staccato stutter-step vocal perfectly.  Add to that Pat’s sax, which goes into overdrive on an extended solo at the bridge!

We had two favorites, too, and they open and close the party.  On “Make Mine A Double,” Lee name-checks every drink from a Bloody Mary to a Tom Collins, and, “if you add rum, I’m so much more fun!”  The good-time vibe of this one also has Lee’s witty allusion to Shirley Ellis’ “The Name Game” for good measure! They turn the lights out with a rousing story of Lee leaning heavily on her “coping mechanism”–“A Little Bit Of Bourbon makes everything better–good thing I’ve got a lot!”

For the second year in a row, Eight O’ Five Jive will be representin’ the Nashville Blues Society at the 33RD IBC’s in Memphis later this month.  The judges better be ready to dance, because the grooves they lay down in “Swing Set” are simply irresistible!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Starlite Campbell Band review…January 7, 2017…

STARLITE CAMPBELL BAND

BLUEBERRY PIE

SUPERTONE RECORDS  STR 06–CD

WALKIN OUT THE DOOR=–I NEED A LIGHT–YOU’RE SO GOOD FOR ME–CRY OVER YOU–SAY WHAT YOU WANT–BLUEBERRY PIE–GUILTY–EMPIRE–DON’T GET ME WRONG–SHIMMY–THRILL YOU

The Starlite Campbell Band consists of Suzy Starlite on bass and vocals, with Simon Campbell on guitars, vocals, and percussion.  For their release of all-original material, “Blueberry Pie,” they are ably joined by Steve Gibson on drums, Jonny  Henderson on keys, and Danny Boy Sanchez on the harp.

Recorded in Spain for Supertone Records, this is a set with something for every taste.  The grooves run from stone classic Memphis grease to  Chicago blues, even a touch of folk, with Simon’s acoustic guitar over the couple’s duet vocals on the  title cut.  It chronicles the fact that, even tho “times have changed,” it’s the simpler things that are always constant, such as that unmistakable “taste of Grandma’s Blueberry Pie!”

Suzy takes the lead vocal on “Guilty,” a Dusty Springfield-ish, soul-filled cut punctuated by fine B-3 from Jonny.  “Shimmy” is a sweet, Sixties-inspired instrumental, and the set closes with Simon’s jazzy promise to “say goodbye to yesterday and Thrill You!”  His guitar lines are reminiscent of B. B., and this one is really sweet.

Suzy and Simon had a lot of fun on our favorites.  With all the bluster and swagger of Muddy’s “I’m Ready,” check out “Say What You Want, but don’t you mess around with me!”  This Chicago-edged killer has mighty fine harp from Danny Boy Sanchez.  And, the set opens with a hypnotic, wah-wah infused groove that’s straight outta 926 E. McLemore down in Memphis, the greasy groove of the goodbye to a lover, “Walkin’ Out The Door!”

Thanks to Suzy and Simon for sharing this one with us.  A refreshing blast of good, solid blues, it’s as sweet as a slice of that “Blueberry Pie!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.