Archive for August, 2018

Frank Bey review..August 27, 2018….

FRANK BEY

BACK IN BUSINESS

THE NASHVILLE SESSIONS

NOLA BLUE RECORDS   NB 006

BACK IN BUSINESS–GUN TOTING PREACHER–TAKE IT BACK TO GEORGIA–COOKIE JAR–THE HALF OF IT–WHERE YOU BEEN SO LONG–BETTER LOOK OUT–AIN’T NO REASON–BLAME MOTHER NATURE–GIVE IT TO GET IT–YESTERDAY’S DREAMS

Frank Bey now hails from Philly, but he was born and raised in Millen, GA.  He’s been singing since age four, and he and his brother plus two cousins toured the South singing gospel as “The Rising Sons.”  Frank joined up with Otis Redding at age seventeen, and he’s never looked back.  Oddly enough, he ventured to Music City for perhaps his most satisfying album to date, working with producer Tom Hambridge (who adds drums on the set), for “Back In Business,” on the NOLA Blue label.

We’ve had the great pleasure to have heard Frank before, and he possesses a classic soul man’s voice–that big, booming baritone that calls to mind Solomon Burke, of the greats who have passed, or Johnny Rawls, who’s still bringin’ the heat.  On this set, some of this town’s best are on board as backing musicians.  They include Rob McNelly on guitar, Marty Sammon on keys, Tommy MacDonald on bass, and Tom on drums, who wrote or co-wrote six of the eleven cuts.

Just like a lot of us, Frank’s had some health issues, but the title cut leads off and sez it all–“I’m Back In Business now,” a boisterous shuffle that chronicles his “story to be told!”  A strutting, funk-o-riffic groove backs Frank’s story of that “strong Georgia boy” with that “sawed-off 12 gauge” by his side, the “Gun Toting Preacher!”  The sly-and-sexy humor of his lover and that ol’ “Cookie Jar” has Rob laying down an ice-cold Albert Collins groove, and Frank goes back to his gospel roots and being “baptized in the Muddy”as he details a singer who had a “Greyhound P.H.D,” for “the road was her schoolhouse,” the testifyin’ “Give It To Get It!”

We had two favorites, too.  A scorching slow-blues closes the set, as Frank laments a life of what might’ve been,  where “the blues is my life today,” the poignant “Yesterday’s Dreams.”  And, the lyric says it best in the classic soul sound of “The Half Of It,” because this one is “spine-tingling,” indeed!

Frank Bey has one of those voices that they just don’t make anymore, and he’s garnered the nickname of “The Southern Gentleman of the Blues.”  We’re gonna give him another one, with all due respects to Slim Harpo, because he’s a “King Bey, baby!,” and he’s sho’ nuff “Back In Business!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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Johnny And The Headhunters review…August 26, 2018….

JOHNNY AND THE HEADHUNTERS

THAT’S ALL I NEED

JT 0006

THAT’S ALL I NEED–LEAD ME ON–BODY AND FENDER MAN–CHICKEN HOUSE–ROCK ‘EM DEAD–SHAKE YOUR MONEYMAKER–ACE OF SPADES–WATCH AND CHAIN (HEY GYP)–ALL MY WHOLE LIFE–COLLINS MAMBO

Johnny Ticktin started playing guitar at the age of six, and was always drawn toward the blues, even after obtaining a degree in psychology from the University of Miami.  He’s shared the stage with a host of the legends, including Louisiana Red, for whom he was guitarist for a number of years.  They toured, along with harp man Larry Wise, as “Nobody’s Children,” leading to several festival gigs.  Johnny, with his band, The Headhunters, has just released his eighth album overall, this one titled “That’s All I Need.”  Here, we get his versatility on guitar on ten swingin’ covers, from everyone from his beloved Magic Sam to Bobby Bland, and, even Donovan.

One of his odes to Sam Maghett opens the program, with a swampy, back-scratchin’ groove defining the title cut.  A bit later, he revisits Sam’s canon with a Wes Cide rockin’ version of “All My Whole Life.”  We mentioned his versatility earlier, and it’s readily evident on a couple of powerhouse instrumentals.  “Ace Of Spades,” originally from Link Wray, is full of struttin’ twang and surf-abilly, and he closes the set with an Austin Powers-ish tribute to the Master of the Telecaster, “Collins Mambo.”

We had two favorites, too.  Back in the day, Johnny had a “day job” at JT Auto Service, so it’s no stretch that all the little girls understand he’s one helluva “Body And Fender Man.”  ready to “check yo’ oil,” and “pound out your dents!”  And, sho’ nuff, nothin’ beats the slide-drenched juke joint boogie of “Shake Your Moneymaker and roll your aggravator!”

Johnny makes the Washington, D. C. area his home base of operations, and plays venues there, plus all up and down the East Coast, most notably at Manny’s Car Wash on Manhattan’s trendy Upper East Side.  He rocks the house everywhere he goes, and he goes just about everywhere!  “That’s All I Need” is a brilliant testimony  to his bandleader skills!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Joanne Shaw Taylor review…August 25, 2018…

JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR

WILD

SONY MUSIC/SILVERTONE

DYIN TO KNOW–READY TO ROLL–GET YOU BACK–NO REASON TO STAY–WILD IS THE WIND–WANNA BE MY LOVER–I’M IN CHAINS–I WISH I COULD WISH YOU BACK–MY HEART’S GOT A MIND OF ITS OWN–NOTHIN’ TO LOSE–SUMMERTIME

Sony Music is re-launching its once-vaunted Silvertone imprint, at one time the label home of Buddy Guy, The Stone Roses, and several others.  For this occasion, Sony is also re-issuing Joanne Shaw Taylor’s “Wild,” while looking ahead to a new album from her in the spring of 2019.  With the new distribution deal, “Wild” will be much more readily-available than on its initial release back in 2016.

This beautiful and talented UK blueswoman hails from the Black Country, known for its coal-mining and steel industries.  She is a wise-beyond-her-years songwriter,  especially when it comes to material dealing with love and relationships, a theme that runs predominantly throughout “Wild.”

One such cut is the tale of youthful lust that is “you gotta let it show if you’re Ready To Roll,” and she vows to right some wrongs in a seemingly-finished affair, “Get You Back.”  Another lover has our heroine feeling “so wrong I can’t go on,”  the heart-pounding, “I’m In Chains.”

We had two favorites, too.  In perhaps the set’s most poignant offering, Joanne is on acoustic guitar in the wistful tale of an affair where “that ship has sailed,” but, “I Wish I Could Wish You Back.”  The horn section comes into play on the Allen Toussaint-meets- B. B. King groove of “My Heart’s Got A Mind Of Its Own,” with that NOLA-styled piano from Steve Nolan.

Joanne Shaw Taylor is back in a big way and in support of this re-issue effort from the re-energized Silvertone label, she will be playing a series of more intimate venues from August 22, 2018, thru September 16, 2018, including a Labor Day weekend stop on September 2, 2018, in Nashville at the City Winery.  She will be playing some songs from her catalog, plus debuting a few songs from her forthcoming album.  Get to know, or get re-acquainted with the “Wild” talents of this amazing woman of the blues!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

The Bob Lanza Blues Band review…August 24, 2018….

THE BOB LANZA BLUES BAND

KIDS, DOGS, AND KRAZY WOMEN

CONNOR RAY MUSIC  CRM 1804

KIDS, DOGS, AND KRAZY WOMEN–LITTLE MOMMA–NOT THE MAN I USE TO BE–WALKING AFTER MIDNIGHT–FULL TIME LOVER–HEY COTTON–PROBLEMS–EVERY SIDE OF LONESOME–LET ME IN–HEY BABY–RARITAN RIVER STOMP

Bob Lanza hails from north New Jersey, and is one of the most prolific artists in the Connor Ray Music stable of artists.   Hard-hitting, guitar-driven blues is his forte’, and, man, does he show up and show out on his latest set, “Kids, Dogs, And Krazy Women.”  It features a cool mix of Bob’s originals and covers, and the whole thing was laid down on Bob’s home turf, produced by  Anthony Krizan at his  Sonic Boom Recording Studios in Raritan, NJ.  Anthony is on guitars, especially the slide, and is also on drums and percussion.  with Vin Mott on drums and harp, and Dave Lockhart on bass.  Along with Bob on vocals and guitar, is the venerable John Ginty, another member of that close-knit Jersey blues scene, on anything with a keyboard!

For openers, there’s the slide-happy title cut, where Bob laments three things that terrorize his life!  Bob takes us all down to the West Side of Chicago for the Magic Sam-flavored “Not The Man I Use To Be,” an excellent, minor-key, slow-blues.  As a young, up-and-coming bluesman, Bob backed harp legend James Cotton, so Bob and Vin absolutely tear the house down on a lightning-fast tribute to this iconic player with “Hey Cotton–’til we meet again!”  “Problems” follows an Excello-riffic groove as Bob laments the “problems with my woman,” and “problems with my wife!”  Another dance floor burner seems to be the corollary to the above-mentioned problems, where, “since my baby’s been gone, I’ve been on Every Side Of Lonesome!”  “Let Me In” features mighty fine acoustic piano from John, as our hero pleads for a second chance at love, and the set closes with a beautiful acoustic instrumental straight outta the Delta, “Raritan River Stomp.”

We had two favorites, too.  Bob turns the classic “Walkin’ After Midnight” into a swingin’ rave-up, while he breaks off another monster jam with a song we first heard by Kim Wilson and the Fabulous Thunderbirds back in the day, the slow-to-fast groove of “she used to be my part-time woman, but she’s my Full Time Lover now.”

It’s a foregone conclusion that The Bob Lanza Blues Band is always going to bring the best in blues to his fans.  We are loving us some “Kids, Dogs, And Krazy Women!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

David Olney review…August 23, 2018….

DAVID OLNEY

THIS SIDE OR THE OTHER

BLACK HEN MUSIC  BHCD 0089

ALWAYS THE STRANGER–WALL–BORDER TOWN–I SPY–RUNNING FROM LOVE–THIS SIDE OR THE OTHER–DEATH WILL NOT DIVIDE US–OPEN YOUR HEART (AND LET ME IN)–STAND TALL–SHE’S NOT THERE

Hard to believe that it’s been more than thirty years since rock bands such as Gary Nicholson and the Change, Jason and the Nashville Scorchers, Guadalcanal Diary, Webb Wilder and several others, roamed the Nashville clubs back in the early Eighties, literally in the midst of the honky-tonkers.  Another such band, and one of our favorites, was Dave Olney And The X-Rays.  Lead singer, now David Olney, was one of the forefathers of what is now referred to as Americana, and we are excited to present our thoughts on his latest album, “This Side Or The Other.”  These ten cuts were produced by another mighty fine guitarist and friend of ours, Steve Dawson for his Black Hen imprint.  Special guests include Fats Kaplin, Charlie McCoy, The McCrary Sisters, and Anne McCue, along with Dave’s regular bandmates, Daniel Seymour on bass, Justin Amaral on drums, and Ward Stout on fiddle.

Some of these songs are collaborations with friends, while some have been works-in-progress for years.  Several have common themes running thru them as well, taking veiled shots at today’s twitter-centric society.  There are songs about outsiders always looking for a place to call home, and “Always The Stranger,”  is one such song, written with Johnny Cash, likely music’s ultimate outsider, in mind.  It also features Dave playing Cash’s trademark chicka-chicka beat, over Steve Dawson’s dobro and Charlie’s harp.

Themes of walls, shadows, and light are also common.  One such, “Wall,” offers a question that only the birds of the skies can answer, whether it is built to keep someone out, or us, in.  “I Spy” follows shadows and light, as our hero “”lives in two worlds, and can’t tell which world is real.”  He closes the set with the lone cover, a song where finding true love is likened to a magic act, where, as The Zombies once opined, “She’s Not There.”

Our favorite was co-written by Abbie Gardner.  Based on Romans, Chapter 8, verses 38 and 39,  where Paul describes that “moment of decision” and “the darkness swallows daylight,” and is entitled “Death Will Not Divide Us.”  It features guitar from Steve Dawson, as well as the McCrary Sisters on backing vocals, giving this one a good gospel feel.

Oh, would that it were that we could all get into Time’s souped-up Chevy and go back for one more legendary Saturday night at Cantrell’s on 18th and Broadway.  Since we can’t, we can look forward to David Olney playing in Nashville on Saturday, September 1, at East Nashville’s famed 5 Spot, starting at 7 PM.  With “This Side Or The Other,” one of this country’s most endearing troubadours offers an excellent set of his own brand of Americana!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Michele D’Amour review…August 22, 2018….

MICHELE D’AMOUR AND THE LOVE DEALERS

WIGGLE ROOM

BLUESKITTY RECORDS

FALLING DOWN–SWEET LOVIN MAN–WIGGLE ROOM–HONEY ON THE SIDE–NOTHING TO NO ONE–LET IT SLIDE–BEEN SO LONG–WORTHY–HE CAN’T BE WRONG–HARD TIMES

Michele D’ Amour (pronounce it de-Moore) grew up in west Seattle, and was a child prodigy on piano by age six.  She and her band, The Love Dealers, have just released their first album on Michele’s own BluesKitty label, “Wiggle Room,” ten originals (and two co-writes with guitarist Jeff Cornell and keys man Brian Olendorf), that showcase the reason she won a Grand Prize in the 2017 John Lennon Songwriting Competition.

Michele is a big-voiced, blues-beltin’ chanteuse, who’s equally comfortable with a torch song as she is with straight blues and even protest songs, of which there are a couple of brilliant ones herein.  She’s expanded the fullness of the sound of The Love Dealers, adding four new members, and everything comes together quite swimmingly.

Michele gets into the “swing” of things with the stop-time swagger of that “Sweet Lovin’ Man to come home to every night!”  Gotta love Noel Barnes on that sax solo, too!  The title cut is a sweet shot of “last call” jazz, with our heroine lookin’ for a lover to “send me to the moon, with a little bit of Wiggle Room!”  And, all you back-door-creepin’ lotharios better heed Michele’s advice, set over a cool, Seventies’ wah-wah-fired arrangement, “watch out for the bees, when you got Honey On The Side.”

Our favorites came in the form of two songs that tell a sad tale of the current state of much of today’s society.  Over the Chet Baker-ish trumpet of Greg Lyons, Michele tells the story of the plight of the nation’s homeless, “Nothing To No One, of no consequence.”  Nothing, however, compares to the powerful “Hard Times,” detailing the senseless violence in Charleston, SC,  as well as what seems to be a daily occurrence somewhere in the world.

Michele D’Amour’s desire was to create a set that uses music to help us celebrate good times and cope with life’s struggles.  This one has “Wiggle Room” to spare, and spreads a positive message to all blues fans!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Karen Haglof review….August 21, 018….

KAREN HAGLOF

PALOMINO STEADY ROCKING

ODE TO BON JOVI–SNAKEBITE 2–PALOMINO STEADY ROCKING–SLOW STAMPEDE

Karen Haglof is a rare bird on the rock scene, indeed.  A brilliant singer, guitarist, and composer, she began her career in the Minneapolis indie scene.  From there, she pursued a medical degree which ultimately led to her “day job,” if you will, where she still serves as an oncologist with the New York University Hospital.  As a musician, Karen has a unique sense of humor that plays well over the four cuts that comprise her most recent EP, “Palomino Steady Rocking.”  Joined by long-time musical all Steve Almaas on bass and CP Roth on drums, this set pursues Karen’s love for a true “wall of sound,” as well as the common thread of horses and all things equine over these four cuts.

Leading off is a stone shot of Eighties’ head-bobbing pop, “Ode To Bon Jovi.”  Next up is a “cowboy song” entitled “Snakebite 2,” and describes  what happens when a mythical race involving a wild mustang and “the rancher’s daughter’s brown mare” takes an unusual twist, even after the mare pulls the upset!  This one’s done up in true “old west” style, too.  The title cut goes back to the smooth gait of Karen’s blues-rock influences, while she closes the set with the clippity-clop of “Slow Stampede,” where we are all encouraged to “travel like you are the best version of yourself.”

Given our experiences with oncologists, we know they can give you some of the best possible news, or news that, well, ain’t so good.  As such, Karen Haglof takes a page from the “physician, heal thyself” book, where you pursue what you love in the now, for tomorrow is not promised.  Here’s hoping Karen will expound upon the themes of “Palomino Steady Rocking” and give us more of this dazzling material!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.