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.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: