Archive for June, 2018

Stone Stanley review…June 17, 2018….

STONE STANLEY

THE MUDSTOMP TAPES

BITTER END–DROP IT–SO GLAD–BEAST INSIDE–COBBLE HILL–IROQUOIS CHANT–BE WITH ME–UNFAITHFUL WOMAN–FREEDOM CHANT–MY SHAME–SOULSHINE–BOTTLED

Stone Stanley consists of Jason Trombley on vocals, guitar, and percussion, Scott Longnecker on bass, Ralph Gilbert on guitar, Jim McComas for one cut on guitar, and Dan Stevens on percussion.  For their latest, “The Mudstomp Tapes,” recorded at the Cobble Hill and Pepper Ranch Studios, is a unique exercise into the world of music most closely-associated with the South.  It is part deep Delta blues, mixed with the droning stomp of the Mississippi Hill Country, with a side order of Warren Haynes and the ABB tossed into the mix.

There are several looks at love, both good and not-so-good represented herein.  That Hill Country boogie drives the opening charge of “Be With Me,” as our hero proclaims his love, with one caveat–“don’t ever think you own me–I’ll never follow you.”  A Crossroads-ish solo at the bridge gets this one’s point across, too, before it segues’ neatly into ol’ Son House’s “don’t you mind People Grinnin’ In Your Face,” before coming back around for the climax.  “Beast Inside” is a powerful cut dealing with addictions and the subsequent consequences, with a force as chilling as “Charlie Manson’s eyes.”  As the set winds down, we are offered a ray of hope for the future in a somber, reverent read of Warren Haynes’ “Soulshine,” and the set climaxes with one of Jason’s more unique offerings.  The acoustic “Bottled” takes a nostalgic look at the happier times of childhood and the halcyon times of the mid-80’s and “Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, or Dr. J,” and, even “Bo Jackson and Clubber Lang,” as Jason raises a glass to those days gone by.

Stone Stanley offers up a set of honest, hard-hittin roots-blues that pays tribute to the sounds of the South and the unsung heroes who created it.  Kick back, pour a cold one, and enjoy “The Mudstomp Tapes!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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Billy Price review…June 16, 2018…

BILLY PRICE

RECKONING

VIZZTONE RECORDS  VT-BP-03

39 STEPS–DREAMER–RECKONING–NO TIME–I LOVE YOU MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY–I KEEP HOLDING ON–ONE AND ONE–GET YOUR LIE STRAIGHT–NEVER BE FOOLED AGAIN–EXPERT WITNESS–LOVE BALLAD–SYNTHETIC WORLD–YOUR LOVE STAYS WITH ME

East coast soul stalwart Billy Price has been carryin’ this bidness on since the 1970’s.  In 2016, he won a Blues Music Award for Best Soul-Blues Album with “This Time For Real,” a brilliant collaboration with Otis Clay.  His latest, and sixteenth overall, is entitled “Reckoning,” for the Vizztone Label.  Joining Billy for this fine set of soul-flavored blues is a stellar cast including Alex Pettersen on drums, Jim Pugh on keys, Jerry Jemmott on bass, and uber-producer Kid Andersen (at Kid’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose, CA), on guitar.

The thirteen cuts include some penned by Billy, Jim Britton, and Fred Chapellier, alongside several classic covers.  All these cuts give Billy a leg up in telling us fans all about the game of love and how it’s played, both good and bad.  Gettin’ out while the gettin’s good in a bad relationship is the theme of the set opener, where our hero only needed “39 Steps to my freedom!”  Billy’s a man who’s been done wrong more than once, and has become an “Expert Witness” when it comes to spotting a cheater!  This one has a strong, gospel-ly, testifyin’ vibe, and features Nancy Wright on the tenor sax solo.  Another cheatin’ song has a stone Stax or Hi vibe, with Kid’s greasy guitar setting the tone, as Billy tells this lover, “if you’re gonna tell a lie, might as well make it good,” on “Get Your Lie Straight.”  Billy gets his love groove on, too, with the smoky-sweaty Booker T. Jones/Eddie Floyd chestnut, “I Love You More Than Words Can Say,” and keeps that good-lovin’ stroke goin’ with one of our all-time favorites, a classic from our youth, (hey–we fell in love to this one back in the day!), “Love Ballad,” originally performed by the group LTD, and presented here from Billy with all the passion and soul of the original.

Our other favorite was the title cut.  It opens with a hellfire-and-brimstone preachin’ intro from Marcel Smith, as Billy testifies over the horn section and Kid’s shimmering guitar to society as a whole, warning that someday soon, “there’s gonna be a Reckoning.”

Billy Price continues his legacy as one of the most dynamic artists in the soul-blues camp of contemporary blues.  “Reckoning” finds him at the top of his game, with a sho’ nuff hi-octane set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Delmark 65 review…June 15, 2018….

VARIOUS ARTISTS

TRIBUTE: A CELEBRATION OF DELMARK’S 65TH ANNIVERSARY

DELMARK RECORDS  DE 856

TRAIN I RIDE-OMAR COLEMAN  ONE DAY YOU’RE GONNA GET LUCKY-LURRIE BELL AND THE BELL DYNASTY  ALL FOR BUSINESS–LINSEY ALEXANDER AND BILLY FLYNN  RIVERBOAT–DEMETRIA TAYLOR  SHE LEFT ME A MULE TO RIDE–JIMMY BURNS  SPEAK MY MIND–LI’L ED WILLIAMS AND DAVE WELD  OUT OF BAD LUCK–JIMMY JOHNSON AND DAVE SPECTER  BROKE AND HUNGRY–COREY DENNISON AND GERRY HUNDT  SO MANY ROADS–MIKE WHEELER  NEED YOUR LOVE SO BAD–SHIRLEY JOHNSON  BOOT THAT THING–KEN SAYDAK

This year, Bob Koester’s Delmark Records turns 65 years old!  Over that span, Bob has presented fans with some of the finest blues performances ever committed to wax.  Over such a storied career, it stands to reason that many of today’s contemporary artists got their careers started either listening to or playing on many of these classic sets.  With that in mind, “Tribute: A Celebration Of Delmark’s 65TH Anniversary,” gathers together a collection of artists who desired to pay a debt of gratitude not only to Bob Koester, but also the artists who came into greatness thru his label.

Believe us, folks, every cut here is a winner, and all the players are in some way tied into the history of Delmark.  Leading off is harmonica ace Omar Coleman with his tribute to Junior Wells, the freight-train funk of “Train I Ride,” with cool tenor sax from Hank Ford.  Country-blues is well-represented, also, from Jimmy Burns with “She Left Me A Mule To Ride,” and a bit later with the “Tennessee Connection” of Corey Dennison and Gerry Hundt (on mandolin) to Sleepy John Estes with “Broke And Hungry.”  Women of Chicago blues strut their considerable stuff, too.  Demetria Taylor’s tribute to Big Time Sarah and “Riverboat,” and Shirley Johnson’s ode to Bonnie Lee, “Need Your Love So Bad,” indicates just how rich this label’s heritage was for both male and female artists.

Lurrie Bell and the Bell Dynasty rock one of their dad Carey’s best-known cuts, “One Day You’re Gonna Get Lucky,” with Steve Bell on the harp.  And, Li’l Ed Williams and Dave Weld get the juke joint jumpin’ with a tribute to Ed’s uncle, J. B. Hutto, with the raucous “Speak My Mind.”  If we had to name one favorite, it would be the set-closer.  Ken Saydak, long one of our favorite piano men, rocks the boogie with just his vocal and piano on the good-time, sly and sexy, “Boot That Thing!”

Delmark Records was where we bought our first blues album, the venerable Delmark 612, Junior Wells’ “Hoodoo Man Blues,” back in 1978, the year we were married.  Yeah, we still got it, and we’ve been privileged to review many of these fantastic artists and their music.  The players on “Tribiute:  A Celebration Of Delmark’s 65TH Anniversary” show their deep appreciation to one of this country’s finest entrepreneurs and his ionic label!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Tomislav Goluban review…June 14, 2018….

TOMISLAV GOLUBAN

FEAT. TONI STARESINIC

VELVET SPACE LOVE

SPONA CD 201

DEEP SPACE ZONE: ZERO GRAVITY–SPACE DRIVE–MY JUPITER MISTRESS–HYPERSLEEP DREAM

STILL DREAMING: 10_9_3–THE BUSIEST WOMAN I’VE EVER LOVED–TSMK–THE END OF SPACE AND TIME

REMIXED ZONE: ZERO GRAVITY REMIX–SPACE DRIVE REMIX–TSMK REMIX–

TRIBUTE ZONE: MAN WITH A HARMONICA

Tomislav Goluban is a brilliant harmonica player and composer from Croatia.  He’s played in twenty different European countries as well as in the USA.  Toni Staresinic is also from Croatia, and his skill-set lies in anything with a keyboard.  Also a dynamic composer and arranger, he has a flair for experimentation and improv, and uses electronic music mixed with elements of rock, funk, and jazz to create his own one-of-a-kind sound.  Both of these esteemed players front their own blues bands in their homeland, and both journeyed to the Tonic Electronic Studio and the Kasandra Studio in Croatia joining forces to create a  “harmonica meets keyboards” summit, if you will, entitled “Velvet Space Love.”

This set is exactly that–Tomislav’s energized harp peacefully coexists with the sparkling keyboard stylings and electronic techniques applied by Toni to create a trippy excursion into the boundless deep space of the listener’s mind.  Evidence the opening “Zero Gravity,” which rides Tomislav’s harp lines over, under, around, and through the spacey electronica.  Hypersleep Dream” leans toward a more traditional setting, with the harp and subsequent synthesizers giving way to the set’s sole vocal, a wordless, operatic soprano conclusion from Josipa Loncar.  “Till The End Of Space And Time” uses a “popcorn-ish” synth line running thru it, mixed with both traditional harp and a Jew’s Harp in the background.

Remixed versions of “Zero Gravity,” “Space Drive,” and “TSMK” delve deeper into Toni’s specialty of electronica and tripped-out beats, and the set closes with its only cover–Ennio Morricone’s “Man With A Harmonica,” which features Tomislav blowing over  that classic “Spaghetti Western” motif.

Our favorite was vastly different from all the other cuts.  This one featured a horn section and everybody riffing over a jazzed-up, bluesy instrumental with Mike Sponza on guitar, “The Busiest Woman I Ever Loved.”

Imagine if Ennio Morricone had scored all the music for the “Star Wars” franchise instead of John Williams, and you’ll get a close idea of where Tomislav and Toni are going with “Velvet Space Love,”  But, a great man once said it best–“You are about to enter another dimension, a journey into a wondrous land of imagination…”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Russ Green review…June 14, 2018….

RUSS GREEN

CITY SOUL

CLEOPATRA RECORDS

FIRST THING SMOKIN–BELIEVE IN LOVE–THE EDGE–GOIN DOWN SOUTH (WITH ERIC BIBB)–LOVER MAN–TRAIN OF PAIN–UP FROM THE BOTTOM–LINT IN MY POCKET–SOMETHIN NEW–LOVE TO GIVE

Bluesman and harp-meister Russ Green offers up a love letter to the city of his birth, Chicago, and all those who came before him that helped shape that town as a beacon in the blues world.  His album of ten originals, “City Soul,” for Cleopatra Records, pays tribute to the good, and, sometimes, not so good,  aspects of his hometown.  Russ was born and raised on the West Side, the stomping grounds of Sam Maghett, Jimmy Dawkins, Otis Rush, and others noted for a more raw, passionate sound in their blues.

As a young man, Russ was more interested in film-making than making music, but he did enjoy the sounds Hendrix coaxed out of his guitar.  Alas, Russ couldn’t afford a guitar, but he did own a harp, and began to translate Hendrix’ guitar parts thru that harp!  Other players encouraged him to seek out Sugar Blue and Billy Branch, and Russ now can reach the upper-registers on his harp as effortlessly as do they, and their influence upon Russ was invaluable.

This set also features Giles Corey on guitar, Vince Agwada on slide guitar, Joe Munroe on keys, Marvin Little on bass, and Ricky Nelson on drums.  Russ sends out a big “thank you” to the Chicago sounds as the set leads off, with the “endless boogie” story of a cheatin’ lover, forcing our hero to catch that “First Thing Smokin” outta town!  “Goin’ Down South” has a good country-blues vibe, as Russ wants to see first-hand why people “live the blues.”  This one features duet vocals and acoustic guitar from Eric Bibb.  “Lover Man” is a straight-up blast of swagger-riffic funk,  while Russ takes a hard look at bein’ so broke that even the “Lint In My Pocket got so lonely, it up and left me, too!”

Our favorites hit even harder as far as bringing to light the myriad of problems in today’s society.  “The Edge” features a scalding, Hendrix-like intro that gives way to a story of alcohol abuse and depression and a man literally “standing on The Edge of a razor blade with no shoes on my feet.”  And, people with “a ticket in their hand and nowhere to go,” are all, sadly, passengers on that downbound “Train Of Pain,” a sad commentary on prostitution, homelessness, and teenage sex trafficking, with Russ’ hell-hound harp and an ominous backbeat setting the groove.

Russ Green’s Windy City roots run deep thru the cuts of “City Soul,” even tho it ain’t all pretty.  His harp skills and vocal prowess are soulful and powerful, and he is surrounded by an A-list of sidemen that makes this a very special debut!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Steve Krase Band review…June 12, 2018…

STEVE KRASE BAND

JUST WAITIN’

CONNOR RAY MUSIC  CRM 18-002

SETTIN’ THE WOODS ON FIRE–I DON’T MIND–JUST WAITIN’ ON MY BRAND NEW BABY–IRENE IRENE–THE BALLAD OF JED CLAMPETT–ALL IN THE MOOD–DIRTY DIRTY–BLAME IT ALL ON LOVE–NOBODY LOVES ME–MY BABY WALKED OFF

Texas harp-blaster Steve Krase wanted to keep things simple on his latest set for Connor Ray Music, “Just Waitin,” and have some fun while doing it.  As such, the ten cuts on this set offer up some fine examples of blues mixed with  a touch of roots, rock and roll, and even a blast of zydeco!

Steve’s been blessed with a solid core of backing musicians, including guitarists David Carter and Kenan Ozdemir, and bassist-producer, Rock Romano, who penned three of the cuts.  The versatility of Steve and this band adds to the good-times vibe of this set, and the opening cut sets the tone for the fun ahead.

David’s twangin’ intro kicks off Steve’s rockin’ take on Hank Sr.’s “Settin’ The Woods On Fire,” and Steve positively wails on the Diddley groove of “I Don’t Mind–I ain’t gonna worry and I ain’t got time!”  One of Rock’s tunes serves as the title cut, “Just Waitin’ On My Brand New Baby,” presented here in a more traditional Chicago-styled arrangement, while the funk’s the thing in the sly strut of “Dirty Dirty.”

We had two favorites, too.  Steve’s version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “All In The Mood” swings with the unabashed joy of the original, this one spiced up by David’s slide guitar.  By far, the set’s most unique cut had to be “The Ballad Of Jed Clampett,” done in zydeco fashion with accordion from Brian Jack, and rub-board from Mike Vee.  Markedly different from the TV theme, it’s still a real rockin’ good time!

The Steve Krase Band takes the traditional blues into all-new territory with “Just Waitin.”  And, it’s guaranteed to get you outta your seat and on your dancin’ feet!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Kara Grainger review…June 1, 2018….

KARA GRAINGER

LIVING WITH YOUR GHOST

STATION HOUSE RECORDS   SHR 0101

LIVING WITH YOUR GHOST–WORKING MY WAY BACK HOME–MAN WITH SOUL–NOWHERE TO BE FOUND–YOU’RE IN NEW ORLEANS–GROOVE TRAIN–REASON TO MY VERSE–BROKEN RECORD–FAVORITE SIN–NOBODY BUT YOU–LOVE WILL GET YOU THROUGH THE DOOR–FREEDOM SONG

Kara Grainger is another world-traveling blueswoman, spreading the good word of the blues everywhere she goes.  From her beginnings in the town of Balmain, Sydney, Austrlia, she and her slide guitar have brought joy to fans as far away as Japan, India, Germany, the UK, here in the USA, and many other places.  Last year, she headed to Austin to write the songs that now comprise her latest set for Station House Records, “Living With Your Ghost.” While in Austin, she connected with fellow guitarist Anders Osborne, who served as co-producer, and who adds guitar and vocals, with Ivan Neville on keys.

Leading off is Kara’s poignant story of “Living With Your Ghost,” and a lifetime of regret, when that one special love gets away, never to return.  She lets that incredible slide guitar do the talking in a story full of “sweet temptation,” offered those who spend their careers on the road, bringing joy to others, and now our heroine is “Working My Way Back Home!”

You can put on your dancin’ shoes, too, and “let your body roam,” when you get on board the “Groove Train,” which features the Texas Horns and Kara layin’ down some mean wah-wah.  And, a tune that encourages peace and unity urges us all to use that love to ensure entering into Heaven, where “Love Will Get You Through The Door.”

We had two favorites, too.   A pounding beat and Kara’s guitar lines are used to describe a lover who’s the literal “smoking gun” and her “Favorite Sin!”  Anders Osborne adds guitar and duet vocals on the breezy, light-hearted look at just how laid-back things are in The Big Easy, “You’re In New Orleans!”

Kara Grainger is a beautifully-talented artist who is woefully-under-recorded.  However, this sweet set, “Living With Your Ghost,” is a fine remedy for now.  Blues sister, please hurry back into the studio, ok?  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.