Archive for March, 2018

Jesse Terry review…March 15, 2018…..

JESSE TERRY

NATURAL

JACKSON BEACH RECORDS  JBR-003

KALEIDOSCOPE–RUNAWAY TOWN–MR. BLUE SKY–STARGAZER–LOOKING CLOSE ENOUGH–BEAUTIFUL WAY TO GET HOME–CARRY–I WAS AN ISLAND–NOISE–MOUNTAIN ROSE–CLOSE MY EYES–NATURAL

For Jesse Terry’s latest album, “Natural,” he chose some of his favorite female singers to duet on these twelve originals.  His November, 2017, “Stargazer,” was full of powerful songs that offered hope for a better day, and “Natural,” carries that torch further, with three songs on this set that also appeared on “Stargazer.”

Leading off is just such one of those cuts, “Kaleidoscope.”  In its 2017 incarnation, it was an uptempo rocker, but appears here in a much softer, lullabye-ish arrangement,  with Sarah Darling on duet vocal.  “Runaway Town” is still one of the coolest odes to Nashville that you’ll hear,  where “we all come from different places, and we’ve all got the same stories to tell,” with Cary Ann Hearst on the duet parts.  Dar Williams adds an ethereal touch to “Stargazer,” reminding us to always stay true to our convictions.  “Carry” features Kim Richey on duet vocals, as Jesse takes a look at life and love thru the simpler things that one encounters every day, such as “sharing a bottle of red wine,” and “not worrying about the how’s and why’s.”

We chose three favorites.  Jesse and Liz Longley team up for a wistful take on Jeff Lynne’s ELO classic, “Mr. Blue Sky,” stripping this song into it’s simplest form.  Looking at love’s other side was the theme of our other two favorites.  Dar Williams is again the duet partner as Jesse compares being alone to the fact that, “without your sweet voice, all the world is Noise.”  The set closes on a similar note, as Jesse sings the album’s title cut by himself, as he feels his grief for a lost lover will become “Natural” whenever “the sun sets in the east.”

Jesse Terry is riding an incredible string of creativity lately.  The outstanding material of “Stargazer” has led directly to more deeply-personal songs that pair him with some of Americana’s finest femmes’ to create a true “Natural.”   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Laurie Jane And The 45’s review…March 13, 2018.

LAURIE JANE AND THE 45’S

MIDNIGHT JUBILEE

DOWN IN THE ALLEY RECORDS

WAIT SO LONG–LUCKY BOY–MIDNIGHT JUBILEE–HOWLIN’ FOR MY DARLIN’–FINE BY ME–DOWN THIS ROAD–IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME–COULDN’T CRY ALONE–GOT ME WHERE YOU WANT ME–WHATS A GIRL TO DO–NOT WITH YOU

Laurie Jane And The 45’s hail from Louisville, KY, and consist of Laurie Jane Duggins on vocals, Cort Duggins on guitars, Jason Embry on bass, and Scott Dugsdale on percussion.  That Louisville area offers up some unique musical influences.  Go just a little bit north, and there’s the blues of Chicago.  Come on down this way, and there’s the Sun-kissed rockabilly of Memphis, and an hour farther south and you are down at the Crossroads.  Laurie and the fellows make good use of all those influences on the eleven cuts that comprise their latest album, “Midnight Jubilee.”  Plus, she’s got a tremendous voice that can prowl, howl, and growl with the best of ’em.

Witness that howl as Cort hits that unmistakable riff that rides thru the Wolf’s “Howlin’ For My Darlin,” as Laurie exhorts that “every time he kiss me, he makes the lights go out!”  She is excellent at playing the scorned lover who’s had enough in “That’s Fine By Me,” while Cort’s slide is full of tears as Laurie laments a lover long gone in “I Couldn’t Cry Alone,” with a definite Fifties vibe.  And, that girl who keeps coming back for more is the theme of the midtempo shuffle of “You Got Me Right Where You Want Me, that’s right where I want to be,” and Cort lays down a mean, B. B.-inspired solo at the bridge.

Our favorite closed the set.  Over a chugging, freight-train beat, Laurie and the guys turn in an absolute Sun-washed gem with the rockabilly groove of Laurie’s kiss-off to a lover, “I’m leavin’ here, Just Not With You!”

Laurie And The 45’s have a lot of fun on “Midnight Jubilee,” and that energy translates onto the grooves.  Wanna dance?  Put this one on, roll back the rug and dance until…next time!  Sheryl and Don Crow.

Marie Knight review…March 12, 2018….

MARIE KNIGHT

THE GOSPEL TRUTH LIVE!

M. C. RECORDS  MC-0084

INTRODUCTION–I BELONG TO THE BAND–BEAMS OF HEAVEN–THE ARK SPEECH–DIDN’T IT RAIN–GETTING READY SPEECH–12 GATES TO THE CITY–SING BETWEEN TEARS SPEECH–UP ABOVE MY HEAD–JESUS LOVES ME–SET A WINGS SPEECH–I’LL FLY AWAY–I AM LIGHT OF THIS WORLD–HOW I LOVE JESUS–WAKING UP EARLY SPEECH–LORD I FEEL LIKE GOING ON–BEING CLEAN SPEECH–LET US GET TOGETHER–CLOSER WALK WITH THEE–FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM

One of the most powerful voices in the field of traditional gospel belonged to Marie Knight (1920-2009).  A contemporary and touring/recording partner of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Marie continued to record virtually right up to her passing,   Mark Carpentieri of M. C. Records has documented one of her shows from October 19, 2007, at the Church Street Center in North Adams, MA, as a part of the Margaret A. Hart ’35 Gospel Fest, and will release the concert as “The Gospel Truth Live” on March 23, 2018.  Drawing predominantly from the canons of Sister Rosetta and the Rev, Gary Davis, Marie literally takes us all to church during this program.  Brother Dave Keyes on piano and backing vocals is her sole accompaniment, adding the perfect complement to her amazing voice.

Marie begins with one of Rev. Davis’ more light-hearted tunes, “I Belong To The Band.  Her between-song banter is priceless,   It includes her thoughts on the relative brevity of life, good times and hard times, and her days as a pastor of the Gates Of Prayer Church in Harlem in the early 1990’s.

Outstanding cuts abound  from this iconic vocalist, and they include a version of a song she wrote with Sister Rosetta, “Didn’t It Rain.”  Other notable hymns are “Jesus Loves Me,” “Up Above My Head,” and Rev. Davis’ “12 Gates To The City,” perhaps a Biblical reference to the Twelve Tribes Of Israel from the Old Testament.

We had three favorites, too.  Marie recounts the story of receiving word during a performance of the deaths of her mother and two children in a fire, and she “Sang Between Tears.”  The ability to carry on and cope thru these troubled times is spelled out in “Lord, I Feel Like Going On.”  And, toward the end of the program, Dave Keyes accompanies himself on piano for a heartfelt read of “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”

Marie Knight was a timeless, wonderful voice in traditional gospel.  For those of us weary Pilgrims who are tired of the daily barrage of bad news and senseless killings, we urge you to lay your burdens at the Cross and drink deeply and freely of the Living Water presented by Marie Knight and Brother Dave Keyes in “The Gospel Truth–Live!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Eric Corne review….March 10, 2018….

ERIC CORNE

HAPPY SONGS FOR THE APOCALYPSE

FORTY BELOW RECORDS   FBR 019

MAD WORLD–RIDIN WITH LADY LUCK (FEAT. WALTER TROUT)–SHORT WAVE PREACHERS–PULL STRING TO INFLATE–HISTORY REPEATS–THE DISTANCE YOU RUN–FORBIDDEN TOWN–ASHEN HEART–TRAIL FULL OF TEARS–SING, LITTLE DARLIN, SING

Eric Corne has had plenty of irons in the fire of late.  He flexed his songwriting chops collaborating with Karen Lovely, writing most of the material  on her highly-acclaimed “Fish Outta Water” album.  He has produced the last several outings from British blues legend John Mayall, and somehow found the time to write, produce, and record his latest for Forty Below, “Happy Songs For The Apocalypse.”  The twelve cuts herein are varied and eclectic, and touch on Americana, folk, rock, blues, and alt-country.  He gets by with a little help from some good friends, too, including guests Walter Trout and Rick “L.A. Holmes” Holmstrom.

Just as much as the rest of us, Eric watches the news, and knows that society is on the fast track to self-destruction, and these tunes reflect ways to cope.  The set opens with just such a tale, “Mad World,” featuring pedal steel from Eamon Ryland, and Theremin from Lara Wickes.  Walter Trout adds guitar on the grunge-rockin’ distortion of “Ridin’ With Lady Luck,” over Eric’s hellhound harp.  “The Gilded Age” uses acoustic guitar and harp on this Delta-blues inspired tune, and he closes the set with another acoustic number, this one looking at solving problems the way children often do, “Sing, Little Darlin’, Sing!”

We had two favorites, too.  “Short Wave Preachers” calls politicians on the carpet for growing corporate greed, and has Sasha Smith on accordion, and Freddy Koella on fiddle.  And, “Locomotion” offers hope for us all, with Sasha’s tack piano, the horn section, and Eamon’s slide setting up a Stones-ish groove, for “I got a notion that they can’t kill!”

Eric Corne knows that there are brighter days ahead, for the darkness is no match for the dawn.  Open yourself up to the vast array of talent from Eric and “Happy Songs For The Apocalypse!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Marshall Lawrence review…March 9, 2018….

MARSHALL LAWRENCE

FEELING FINE

ML 10500

FEELING FINE–DANCING WITH A HURRICANE–IDA MAE–WHAT AM I DOING HERE–BLUES STILL GOT ME–GOING DOWN TO MEMPHIS–HELP ME FIND MY WAY HOME–MEAN HEARTED WOMAN–KEEP ON WALKING–DIRTY DISHES

Bluesman Marshall Lawrence has been described as a “Canadian treasure,” and rightfully so.  He truly is a student of the guitar, and uses that knowledge to make sure of the most important aspect of his lengthy career—that the listener has a good time!!  That’s the mantra of the ten originals on his latest, and fifth overall release, “Feeling Fine.”  Multiple listens may remind many of the “classic rock” from the Seventies and Eighties, but ol’ Marshall puts his own stamp on everything he does.  He knows a ton of licks from everybody from Elmore to Chuck to Lemmy and back again, and pulls a lot of ’em out of his bag of tricks for this rowdy and raucous set.

He leads off with the autobiographical title cut, where we know, “I’ve been up, and I’ve been down, but I’m always happy and never frown,”  “Ida Mae” rocks with sheer abandon, with Andrew Glover’s keyboards adding to this stone party anthem!  Marshall lets his slide do the talking in “Going Down To Memphis,” while he seeks redemption from a life of hard partyin’ in the minor-key, “brother, Help Me Find My Way Home.”  And, from a man who’s laid down a funk lick or two, the set closes on the funkiest note of all, “Dirty Dishes,” guaranteed to be a dance-floor fave!

Our favorite was one of the most unique cuts on the set.  After a blistering, Sun-kissed rockabilly intro, Marshall goes into a sweet slow-blues tale about a man who, perhaps has had one or two too many, and the resulting consequences, “What Am I Doing Here.”

Marshall Lawrence uses this album as a progression of all the styles he’s played, effectively bringing it all full-circle.  Yup—on this set, ol’ Marshall sho’ nuff is “Feeling Fine!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

 

Laurie Morvan review…March 8, 2018….

LAURIE MORVAN

GRAVITY

SLR 0006

MY MODERATION–TWICE THE TROUBLE–STAY WITH ME–MONEY TALKS–THE EXTRA MILE–GRAVITY–DANCE IN THE RAIN–GOTTA DIG DEEP–THE MAN WHO LEFT ME–SHAKE YOUR TAILFEATHERS–I WANT ANSWERS–TOO DUMB TO QUIT

Laurie Morvan is a killer West coast guitar slinger who has been on our radar for a number of years.  She’s teamed up with producer Tony Braunagel, (who doubles down on drums), to release her sixth set overall, “Gravity.”  Joining her on this sweet, all-original ride are Mike Finnigan, Jim Pugh and Barry Goldberg on keys, with Bob Glaub on bass.  All these guys have played with everyone you can name, and help make this one special set, indeed, with Laurie leading the charge on vocals and guitars.

Laurie doesn’t waste any time, lading off with a blistering rocker that offers some sage advice for us all–“Keep a level head and do what you should,” in “My Moderation needs some moderation!”  She also touches on a humorous subject to which most all of us can relate.  Set over another red-hot shuffle groove, we all know how “Money Talks, but mine says bye-bye!”

She strikes a poignant chord and shouts out a message to all of us who grew up without a father in the near-spiritual, testifyin’, slide-heavy, “The Man Who Left Me.”  “I Want Answers, I won’t wait another day,” may well be a clarion call to a society pounded by a daily barrage of bad news and senseless killings.

We had two favorites, too.  Laurie pays tribute to B. B. King with a bristling solo that’d make ol’ Lucille proud in the anthem of empowerment, “Shake Your Tailfeathers.”  And, another song about all of us and our myriad of bad habits closes the set.  Slide guitar gives way to a cool wah-wah break in the tale of those habits, making us either “tough as nails, or I’m Too Dumb To Quit!”

Laurie Morvan won the Blues Foundation’s Best Self-Produced  CD award back in 2010, for “Fire It Up,” from 2009, and she continues to mix sultry, soulful vocals with powerful playing, and that uncanny knack for the right note at just the right time.  Fans, you’ll easily be pulled into Laurie’s “Gravity” within these grooves!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Katy Guillen And The Girls review…March 7, 2018….

KATY GUILLEN AND THE GIRLS

REMEMBER WHAT YOU KNEW BEFORE

VIZZTONE RECORDS VT–KGG–04

SLINGSHOT–THE LOAD–WAITING TILL THE DAY–GABRIELA–HUMBUCKER–CAN’T LIVE HERE ANY MORE–STALLING ON DREAMS–BIWI–QUIVER–FUNNY PLACE–IF YOU WERE GONE

Katy Guillen And The Girls have been blazing a blues trail throughout not only their home base in the Midwest, but all over the country, including the King Biscuit Festival, down Helena way, and The Big Blues Bender out West.  A true “power trio,” Katy is on vocals, all guitars, and piano.  Claire Adams is on bass and piano, and Stephanie Williams is on percussion.

For their latest album for Vizztone Records, they revisited some of the material from their earlier albums, breaking them down into their base elements, concentrating more on the arrangements, this time with predominantly-acoustic instrumentation and piano.  Thus the title, “Remember What You Knew Before,” which contains elements of blues, folk, and even girl-group pop over these eleven originals.  There is a decidedly-more mellow scope to these songs, showing not only versatility in the songwriting, but in the backing players also.

The whole set has a feeling of wanderlust, and that vibe leads off in “Slingshot,” as Katy begs to have “my body in a Slingshot/pull it back and let it go,”   and “land in someplace I don’t know,” set over acoustic guitars and The Girls on backing vocals.  “Waiting Till The Day” is a story of a lover, with “imprints of your hands on my skin,” while “Can’t Live Here Anymore” bristles with 60’s girl-group psychedelia.

We had two favorites, too.  “Quiver” is one of the set’s most unique cuts, a heart-pounding exercise in flamenco rhythms.  And,  “The Load,” with its acoustic dobro that gives way to a fiery electric solo at the bridge, lets you know that this girl has got some serious Delta in her DNA.

Katy Guillen And The Girls always intend to be on the cutting edge of contemporary blues.  Enjoy a new spin on their established sound with the aptly-titled, “Remember What You Knew Before.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Tommy DarDar review…March 5, 2018….

TOMMY DARDAR

BIG DADDY GUMBO

IT’S GOOD TO BE KING–HEADED DOWN TO HOUMA–BABY I CAN TELL–C’MON SECOND LINE–LET’S BOTH GO BACK TO NEW ORLEANS–DANGEROUS WOMAN–IN MY MIND–SHAKE A LEG–BIG DADDY GUMBO

Down on the Gulf Coast, specifically in south Louisiana, many people of the Houma Tribe of Native Americans shared the name DarDar.  Tommy DarDar was a brilliant songwriter, powerful vocalist, purveyor of good times everywhere he went, and was one of the best harp players on that Gulf Coast scene.  His untimely passing left a void in that musical world, and also, an unfinished album.  Now, thanks to Tommy’s good friend, producer Tony Braunagel,  this album has now been completed, to serve as a fitting memorial for this larger-than-life musical figure.  As such, the nine cuts that comprise “Big Daddy Gumbo” show just how much he meant to the folks he touched.  Most of the cuts were written by Tommy, Johnny Lee Schell, and keyboard icon Jon Cleary.  Tony is on drums, Hutch Hutchinson is on bass, Johnny Lee Schell is on guitar, Mike Finnigan and Barry Seelen are on keys, and Joe Sublett is on sax.

It was a labor of love, fans, and it parlays onto the grooves.  The party starts just like a big ol’ Saturday night fish fry, as Johnny Lee kicks things off old-school, Elmore-style, on the roadhouse rock of “It’s Good To Be King.”  “Baby, I Can Tell, ” hits another swampy groove,  as Tommy extols the virtues of his woman, who’s “got me in your lovin’ spell.”  Tommy gets into a low-and-slow groove on a couple of very soulful cuts, too.  “In My Mind” finds Tommy doing some serious testifyin’ on the vocal, trying to cope with a lost love.  And, “Let’s Both Go Back To New Orleans” is reminiscent of the classic sound of Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew.

Our favorite, tho, was just what Tommy DarDar was all about.  With piano from Jon Cleary, “C’mon Second Line”  is a sure way to lose your blues at Mardi Gras time!

In the lore of the Houma Tribe, a “treater” had the mystical powers to heal, and Tommy DarDar was a true healer, using the power of his music to heal those in need of spiritual uplifting.  He can cure what ails you, too, thru the grooves of “Big Daddy Gumbo.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, the Nashville Blues Society.

Mud Morganfield review…March 4, 2018….

MUD MORGANFIELD

THEY CALL ME MUD

SEVERN RECORDS  CD 0073

THEY CALL ME MUD–48 DAYS–CHEATIN IS CHEATIN–WHO’S FOOLING WHO?–HOWLING WOLF–24 HOURS–WHO LOVES YOU–OH YEAH–CAN’T GET NO GRINDIN’–ROUGH AROUND THE EDGE–WALKIN’ CANE–MUD’S GROOVE

Mud Morganfield is the son of blues legend McKinley Morganfield, and the whole round world knew him as Muddy Waters.  Mud has his pops’ deep baritone vocal delivery, and he wrote ten of the cuts on his latest album for Severn Records, “They Call Me Mud.”  Produced by Mud and guitarist Rick Kreher, the set was laid down in Mud’s stompin’ grounds at Joyride Studios in Chicago.  There are several hometown heroes along for the ride, too, including Billy Flynn and Mike Wheeler on guitar, Studebaker John and Billy Branch on harp, and several others.  Mud himself plays bass on three cuts.  He tackles several genres’ herein, as well, with a horn section adding a soulful touch to several cuts, including a duet with his daughter.

Things get started with the strut and swagger of the title cut, with Mud growlin’ about his prowess as a lover, backed by Studebaker John on harp.  “48 Days since you been gone” is a minor-key killer featuring Billy Flynn on guitar, with our hero pleading to a lover to come back home, while he passes down some sage advice from his grandmother on “Cheatin’ Is Cheatin,” and “you can’t make a housewife out of a ho’!”

It wouldn’t be a Mud album without a shout-out to Pops, and there are two fine ones up in here.  “Howling Wolf” and the rollicking “Can’t Get No Grindin” have it all—Mud’s signature growl, with all the musicians getting a solo turn.

A soulful, Stax-ish vibe with sweet sax from Michael Jackson leads into the beautiful duet between Mud and his daughter, Lashunda Williams, on “Who Loves You.”  The set closes with one of Mud’s original instrumentals, the jazzy “Mud’s Groove,” featuring Billy Branch on harp, and Mud himself on the bass.

Mud Morganfield is proud that “the blues is my birthright,” but he also grew up in the Seventies and Eighties when funk, soul, and R & B were a part of the musical landscape.  As such, he draws from that pool as well as his father’s deepest blues, making “They Call Me Mud” a fun and unique listening experience!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Sue Foley review…March 3, 2018….

SUE FOLEY

THE ICE QUEEN

STONY PLAIN RECORDS  SPCD  1398

COME TO ME (FEAT.CHARLIE SEXTON)–81–RUN–THE ICE QUEEN–THE LUCKY ONES (FEAT. JIMMIE VAUGHAN)–GASLIGHT–FOOL’S GOLD (FEAT. BILLY F. GIBBONS)–IF I HAVE FORSAKEN YOU–SEND ME TO THE ‘LECTRIC CHAIR–DEATH OF A DREAM–THE DANCE–CANNONBALL BLUES

Guitarist/vocalist/composer Sue Foley has just completed her debut for Holger Petersen’s Stony Plain Records.  “The Ice Queen” marks a return, of sorts, to her formative years in Austin.  It is there where she began her career,  recording for Clifford Antone, with some of her heroes being fellow Texans Billy F. Gibbons,  Jimmie Vaughan, Charlie Sexton, and Chris Layton.  On this set, these legends join Sue for twelve cuts–some new material mixed with well-played covers,–produced by Mike Flanigin.

They waste no time in letting the good times roll, as Sue and Charlie Sexton, who adds duet vocals and slide guitar, get just plain funky for the Diddley-esque “Come To Me.”  “Cruel ol’ 81” refers to Interstate 81, that runs northward from Dandridge, TN, straight up along the Appalachian Mountains to the Canadian border near Fisher’s Landing, NY, and is the backdrop for one of the bluesier cuts on the set, again with Charlie on guitar and Mike on keys.  “Gaslight” features a horn section adding to a very soulful story of a lover who’s always got “one foot on the gas, one foot on the brake,” and is never quite what he seems.  Billy F. Gibbons gets in on the fun, adding harp and vocals on the loping “Fool’s Gold,” while Sue closes the proceedings with a beautiful acoustic read of A. P. Carter’s “Cannonball Blues.”

We had two favorites, too.  Sue and Jimmie Vaughan share the vocals and guitars on the swingin’ story that plays out as their biographies, if you will, as they are “The Lucky Ones,” and “we’re still standing!”  And, Sue has a morbidly-good time in telling the judge not to spare her after cutting a no-good lover’s throat, instead telling him to “Send Me To The ‘Lectric Chair,” a tune popularized by Bessie Smith.

Sue Foley has been wielding that pink Telecaster for several years now, and has numerous awards and nominations  to show for it, most notably the 2001 Juno Award, the Canadian equivalent to the USA Grammy.  Her playing and singing have never sounded better, and “The Ice Queen” brings her career full-circle into the Stony Plain fold!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.