Archive for November, 2018

Dale Bandy review…November 19, 2018…..

DALE BANDY

BLUE.

ELASTIC PENGUIN   1929 1444 0420

MY BAD REPUTATION–IF I COULD ONLY TAKE IT BACK–GET IT ON–BIG LEGGED WOMAN–COUNTRY STAR–THE THRILL IS GONE–COMIN’ DOWN–I’M ON YOUR SIDE–TROUBLE IN MIND

Dale Bandy’s “Blue.” is his debut release, and one might best characterize his style as one that swings effortlessly from 50’s-inspired rockin’ blues, to his unique takes on the current state of contemporary blues.  He crafts songs that deal with the ups and downs of everyday life, and how we cope within relationships.  Throughout, Dale is on vocals, guitar, keys, and the drum program, and shares bass duty with Gary Thompson on two cuts.  The horn section of Joe Bolero and Goran Eric appear on two cuts to round out the ensemble.

The set begins with layered, ultra-cool echo-effect vocals as our hero bemoans “My Bad Reputation” as well as “the public condemnation all across this town” that his lover has to endure.  Dale digs deep down into a soulful groove for a song to which we can all relate, after opening mouth and inserting foot one time too many, “If I Could Only Take It Back.” punctuated by sweet keys-and-guitar interplay.  He goes off on a humorous, amped-up tangent on “I want to be a Country Star,” and “hang with Bocephus and Willie, too!”

Dale’s covers are unique and well-played, too.  You gotta love his funky, down-home take on Freddie King’s “Big Legged Woman, in that short short miniskirt,” and a brilliant organ and guitar duel that fires up “The Thrill Is Gone,” which served as our favorite.  He closes the set in a unique manner, too. With only his vocal and guitar, Dale gives a performance of the traditional “Trouble In Mind” in the vein of a true Fifties’ troubadour!

Dale Bandy is hittin’ on all 8 on “Blue.”  He’s a well-rounded songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and producer, and his songs ring with personal experiences, mixed with his own takes on contemporary blues.  Two big thumbs up!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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Popa Chubby review…November 18, 2018…..

POPA CHUBBY

PRIME CUTS

THE VERY BEST OF THE

BEAST FROM THE EAST

POPA CHUBBY PRODUCTIONS  PCP 54323

LIFE IS A BEATDOWN–ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER–HEY JOE–STOOP DOWN BABY–SWEET GODDESS OF LOVE AND BEER–SAN CATRI–CAFFEINE AND NICOTINE–GROWN MAN CRYING BLUES–GO F@@K YOURSELF–HALLELUJAH–SOMEBODY LET THE DEVIL OUT–I CAN’T SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY–DIRTY LIE–DADDY PLAYED THE GUITAR (AND MAMA WAS A DISCO QUEEN)–THERE ON CHRISTMAS

It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that Ted Horowitz, better known to blues fans as Popa Chubby or The Beast From The East.  has been layin’ down these good blues since 1990.  Yep, over the course of the last 28 years, Popa has released some memorable albums, and hand-picked fifteen of his most favorite songs for his latest album, “Prime Cuts.”  It gives you a good dose of where Popa’s coming from, going back to his release of the “Gas Money” album from 1994, with three cuts culled from one of our personal favorites from 2001, “The Good, The Bad, And The Chubby.”  We are also treated to two new, unreleased cuts, one a commentary on our current society, the other, holiday-themed.

Popa’s always tempered his blues with a touch of that NYC ‘tude, and that theme leads off, with “Life Is A Beatdown,” and “only the strong survive.”  He pummels his six strings into submission on two stone party anthems, “Stoop Down Baby,” and the roadhouse-rockin’ tale of two of Popa’s favorite things, “Caffeine And Nicotine.”  “Sweet Goddess Of Love And Beer” features tenor sax from Anders Garman, too.

We had a slew of favorites.  Popa’s always been a disciple of Hendrix, and “Hey Joe” fits the bill perfectly.  He offers up a look at some of the less-than-desirable aspects of our current society, calling out racism and prejudice of all kinds with “Go F@@K Yourself,” with the violin courtesy of his daughter, Theodora Horowitz.   He then offers an olive branch of hope for peace and unity thru a compelling live read of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” culled from his “Wild Live” album from 2004, and closes the set with an unreleased holiday tune that shouts-out to the classic Phil Spector sound, “There On Christmas,” with our good friend Dave Keyes all over the keys.

Popa Chubby had a twenty-eight-year-long playlist  to draw from for his fifteen “Prime Cuts.”  He urges us to play them loud, often, and always, making this an excellent career overview, indeed!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Old Riley And The Water review….November 18, 2018….

OLD RILEY AND THE WATER

BITING THROUGH

HOWLIN FOR MY DARLIN–BLUES WALKING–KIND-HEARTED WOMAN–TRY AND UNDERSTAND–BITING THROUGH–TROUBLE–POWER TO CHANGE

Guitarist, vocalist, and composer Sean Riley literally lives and breathes the city of New Orleans.  He created his latest EP, “Biting Through,” with a little help from some of his friends in Sean’s rehearsal space and his living space in his Creole Cottage in uptown NOLA.  The vibe of the Crescent City can be heard throughout the seven cuts, all originals save for “Howlin For My Darlin.”

Utilizing a core of excellent New Orleans musicians and Joshua Cook, who provides guitar and vocals throughout, the party starts with the aforementioned Howlin’ Wolf chestnut, embellished herein with unique echo-effects to achieve the desired vocals.  Joshua and Sean collaborate on the Robert Johnson-inspred “Blues Walking,” and again with “Kind-Hearted Woman,” while “Try And Understand” is pure Chicago blues, as our hero tells a paramour that “I just want to be your lover, don’t want to be your old man,” slide guitar wailing alongside Scott Craver’s harp.  “Biting Through,” amid all its psychedelia and distortion, pays homage to the British Invasion bluesmen, and that power-packed punch served as one of our favorites.  The set closes with our other favorite, as the fellows dig into some cool, Meters-ish funk, as we all “got the Power To Change, it’s up to you to use it!”

Sean and the members of Old Riley And The Water have crafted a set that, as soon as it starts gettin’ good to you, is over.  It’s hard-hitting, funky blues from a group who all draw from the deep musical wells of New Orleans, and we look forward to a full-length set from these fellows soon!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Ms. Zeno review…November 16, 2018…..

MS ZENO

THE MOJO QUEEN

BACK IN LOVE

BLUE LOTUS RECORDS  BL-05

BACK IN LOVE–IN MY SHOES–THAT’S HOW I KNOW–WILLIE BROWN–MOJO QUEEN–RISE UP–LOVE IS LIKE A FLOWER–CALL MY NAME–GOTTA GET PAID–MISTRESS–HOT SAUCE–FATHER TIME

Ms. Zeno The Mojo Queen was discovered by Little Milton himself in her home city of Natchitoches, LA, and soon joined his backing singers, The Angels. That gig led to her eventual move to Memphis, where she held court on Beale Street for over 25 years.  Blue Lotus Records in St. Louis is proud to release her latest, “Back In Love,” produced by Ms. Zeno, Kevin O’Connor, and label head Paul Niehaus IV, who plays multiple instruments over these twelve cuts.

Ms. Zeno is a dynamite performer, and wrote the originals herein based on her life’s experiences, being a nightly performer down on Beale.  She’s backed by a full band on most of these cuts, giving the whole thing a good ol’ down-home feel.  Leading off is the title cut, where Ms. Zeno lets everybody know that she’s back in the game, “on cloud nine,” and “Back In Love again!”  She plays the cheated-upon lover to the hilt, confronting the dirty dog with the slow-burn of “what would you do if you were In My Shoes?”  The string section adds a feeling of soulful authenticity to another cut, as our heroine finds the high heel is on the other foot, as she realizes, sadly and much too late, that “I’m just a Mistress to you.”  A cool zydeco groove drives Ms. Zeno’s autobiography , our “Mojo Queen,” who’ll “love you up, and love you down,” as long as you don’t mess around!  This one features Tom Martin on the accordion.  She closes the set with some sage advice that we all have to heed, “no one–not no one, can beat old Father Time!”

Our favorite was decidedly different from the other cuts.  It’s acoustic, and as deep down in the Delta as you can go, as Ms. Zeno sings a love song to ol’ “Willie Brown,” this one featuring Brandon Santini on harp, and our old friend Little G Weevil on guitar.

We have had the great pleasure to have seen Ms. Zeno at B. B.’s club down on Beale, and we can sho’ nuff tell you that she’s classy, brassy, bold, and sassy, and “Back In Love” is as close to one of her live shows as you can get!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

David Lumsden review…November 15, 2018….

DAVID LUMSDEN AND FRIENDS

HUES OF BLUES

YOU GOT TO LOSE–FURTHER ON UP THE ROAD–YOU ARE RUINING MY BAD REPUTATION–BRUSH WITH THE BLUES–WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE MILL–RAISED ME RIGHT–ON BENDED KNEE–THRILL IS GONE–CUT YOU LOOSE–ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’–GEORGIA ON MY MIND–RAIN SONG

Regular readers of this humble forum may recognize David Lumsden as the long-time guitarist for Hurricane Ruth for the last six or so years.  Now, he’s stepped out on his own, and, with sho’ nuff a little help from his friends, he has just released  “Hues Of Blues,” twelve cuts that show the versatility of this fine artist in tackling many varieties of what we know as blues.

David wastes no time at all in getting into the spirit of the album, leading off with his raw, raspy read of Earl Hooker’s “You Got To Lose,” which features one dazzling solo after another!  David busts out all his knowledge of the guitar in successfully tackling Jeff Beck’s simmering instrumental, “Brush With The Blues,” while another of David’s friends, fellow guitarist Andon Davis, punctuates the set-closing cover of Led Zep’s “Rain Song,” with cleverly-spaced slide runs that adds to the overall vibe of this instrumental.  David and Central Illinois legend Bill Evans swap more licks than Hagler v, Hearns on a down-and-dirty “Further On Up The Road,” serving as one of our favorites!  Reggie Britton and Steve “Harp Man” Mehlberg get their grind on in the good times of “What’s The Matter With The Mill,” with Ezra Casey gettin’ into some good piano, too.

Wayne Carter adds the vocals to our other two favorites,  a beautiful read of “The Thrill Is Gone,” and a reverential-to-Brother-Ray’s “Georgia On My Mind.”

David Lumsden And Friends, with “Hues Of Blues,” is just that–differing styles of blues that are raw and powerful.  And, they remind us why we fell in love with the blues in the first place!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Martha Scanlan review…November 15, 2018..

MARTHA SCANLAN

THE RIVER AND THE LIGHT

BROTHER WAS DYING–WEST VIRGINIA RAIN–HIGHER ROCK–BUTTERMILK ROAD–LAS CRUCES–TOO LATE–ONLY A RIVER/TRUE EYED ANGEL–REVIVAL

Songstress Martha Scanlan is equally at home, musically, in the rambling, wide-open spaces of Montana or the mountains of East Tennessee.  Her music reflects her inner peace and tranquility, and that is the feeling one gets as you listen to her latest album, “The River And The Light.”  Joining her on this musical journey thru the rivers of your soul is longtime collaborator, guitarist, and producer Jon Neufeld.  They met in 2010 in Portland, OR, during the Pickathon Festival, and clicked instantly.  They have developed that rare “sixth sense” that is almost telepathic within the scope of their playing.  Natch’l fact is, they recorded most of this album in just one take!

Martha, when creating the songs for this album, “wanted to record songs in the places where they were written,” thus the references to rivers, the open spaces of Montana, and the rustic surroundings of East Tennessee.  Leading off the set, Jon’s guitar lines take “Brother Was Dying, blamed it on the times,” to that ethereal place where we often are “chasing dreams we never find.”  Dirk Powell’s fiddle, set over Martha’s haunting vocal and Biblical references to Saul and David give “when you reach for the Higher Rock, you reach for me,” a gospel undertone, as does the set-closing story of heading down to the “Revival,” where we “follow the sounds where the creek runs down!”

Martha Scanlan is strong-yet-vulnerable in the songs of “The River And The Light,” and challenges us to re-awaken our own spirits thru this most excellent set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Doyle Bramhall II review…November 12, 2018…

DOYLE BRAMHALL II

SHADES

PROVOGUE 75722

LOVE AND PAIN–HAMMER RING–EVERYTHING YOU NEED (FEAT. ERIC CLAPTON)–LONDON TO TOKYO–SEARCHING FOR LOVE (FEAT. NORAH JONES)–LIVE FOREVER (FEAT. GREYHOUNDS)–BREAK APART TO MEND–SHE’LL COME AROUND–THE NIGHT–PARVANNAH–CONSCIOUSNESS–GOING GOING GONE (FEAT. TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND)

Fortunately for us fans, we only had a two-year wait between albums from Doyle Bramhall II this time around.  His latest set, “Shades,” is just that–Doyle shows us his varied shades of soul and blues and how they relate to our lives throughout these cuts.  Plus, he has some dynamite special guests, including the Greyhounds, Norah Jones, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Eric Clapton.  Overall, this set is a bit looser and heavier on the soul-blues material than some of his earlier works, but it’s a sho’ nuff guaranteed sweet ride, indeed!

The set begins with the stark “Love And Pain,” where “that ol’ Reaper’s coming, and he won’t be denied!”  “Hammer Ring” recounts a tale of a young man for whom the hammer of justice hits hard, “leaving his mother crying in the courthouse,” set over a brooding arrangement.  Clapton’s guitar adds  embellishment to the soulful groove of “Everything I Need,” while Doyle is joined by Norah Jones on vocal and piano on “Searching For Love,” as our paramours grapple with the fact that “nobody said it would be easy, nobody said it would be so hard” to forge a relationship.  The Greyhounds feed off the Sixties-ish, psychedelic groove of “Love Forever,” while the set closes with our favorite.  The Tedeschi Trucks Band join the party “down where the willow don’t bend,”  for a soul-grabbing, gospel-infused read of Dylan’s classic, “Going Going Gone.”

It takes a lot of “Shades” of blues to get where you are on life’s journey.  Doyle Bramhall II recognizes this up front, and utilizes the music on this set to convey a message easily understood by all his fans!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.