Archive for February, 2019

Dirty Red And The Soul Shakers review…February 27, 2019….

DIRTY RED AND THE SOUL SHAKERS

CLOUDLESS DAY

DIRTY RED RECORDS  DR 1002

HOT SAUCE–CREEPIN–TOUCH OF A WOMAN–THE PARTY DON’T START TILL I GET HERE–NEW DAY DAWNING–SWEET POTATO PIE–HARD BAD HABIT–PRETTY BOY BLUES–HELP ME BABY

Dirty Red And The Soul Shakers are based out of the Oklahoma City area, and are very well-versed in those lowdown dirty blues with a Master’s degree in the old-school ways of the masters.  Featuring Forrest Worrell on drums, John Stendel on bass, Ike Lamb on guitar, and a horn section to die for, christened as the Dirty Red Brass Section.  Can’t leave out the fearless leader tho–ol’ Dirty Red himself, a/k/a as Eric McDaniel.  He’s all over the harp and vocals on these ten cuts that comprise their latest release, “Cloudless Day,” which ain’t nothin’ but a stone blues party!

Produced by Chris Hardwick, also noted for his work with Bill Homans, (Watermelon Slim), this set gets off on the sho’nuff good foot, with the wah-wah-infused funk of “shake it like it’s Hot Sauce, and pour yourself all over me!”  Red’s harp lines bring a sweet touch of Junior Wells to “Creepin,” whilst a cool shot of juke-joint rock is the story of that lover who’s “like cocaine–she’s a Hard Bad Habit to break!”

We had two rockin’ favorites, too.  We first heard the “Pretty Boy Blues” on Tommy Z’s Sunday Night Blues Show, (streaming live on WBFO.org outta Buffalo, NY, on Sundays from 7 PM-Midnite, EST), and it is a burnin’ slow blues jam that offers up our hero’s autobiography with sly touches of tongue-in-cheek humor.  Then, Dirty Red comes in to “”lay my hammer down,” ’cause “The Party Don’t Start Till I Get Here!”

With a voice that is a unique cross between Howlin Wolf and Omar Kent Dykes, Dirty Red And The Soul Shakers bring that mighty fine vintage sound to a collection of blues-rockers in “Cloudless Day.”  Put on your dancin’ shoes and please enjoy this one, early, loud, and often!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Eric Jerardi review….February 25, 2019….

ERIC JERARDI

OCCUPIED

NICHE RECORDS

DO RIGHT BY HIM–WHOLE AGAIN–DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY–OCCUPIED–NEVER LET THE OLD MAN IN–DEAF LEAD THE BLIND–IN MY LIFE

Dayton, Ohio-based guitarist/vocalist/composer Eric Jerardi has been an accomplished performer for some 30 years, after winning a battle of the bands contest in 1989 while attending Ohio U.  He’s shared the stage with B. B. King, Keith Urban, and Little Feat, among many others, and has teamed up with producer David Z for his latest set, “Occupied.”  It’s a soulful set of seven songs–six originals and one cover, written by Jerry Lynn Williams–laid down at the Nutthouse Recording Studios in Sheffield, AL.  The thing that makes this set extra special is the backing band–yup–the legendary Muscle Shoals guys are all on board here, including Clayton Ivey on keys, David Hood on bass, Milton Sledge on drums, Kevin Holley on rhythm guitar, and a host of others that makes this one a soul-blues lover’s dream.

Eric was encouraged to stretch out not only through his gifted writing abilities, but also in the lead vocal role, and the results are astonishing, indeed.  The songs deal predominantly with love, loss, and hopeful redemption, and the set begins with the question, “When will it stop?,” as our hero reaches the literal end of his emotional rope in “Do Right By Him.”  “Whole Again” finds him getting a measure of redemption, and picking himself up after a setback, while he gets downright funky with some sage advice for wanna-be Romeos, “Never Let The Old Man In.”

We had two favorites, too.  “Occupied” deals with a lover who’s long-gone, and our hero seeks anything he can find to keep his mind off her memory.  Perhaps the set’s most bluesy, biting offering is the wah-wah-infused “Don’t Take It Personally,” where, “sometimes the right choice is the most difficult one to make,” to just git while the gittin’ is good and cut your losses.

Eric Jerardi has also just been named an official brand ambassador for Stella Artois beer.  With a set as powerful and diverse as “Occupied,” he has also served notice to the blues community that he is here to stay!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Rockin’ Johnny Burgin and Quique Gomez review…February 24, 2019…..

ROCKIN’ JOHNNY AND QUIQUE GOMEZ

DOS HOMBRES WANTED

VIZZTONE  VT JB01

YOUR CHARM WON’T HELP YOU–TAKE IT LIKE IT IS–YOU CAN’T STEAL MY SUGAR–THE JINX–FUNNY BUT TRUE–AIN’T NO HIGH ROLLER–EVERYBODY LOVES MY BABY–COFFEE CAN BLUES–LIVIN DAY TO DAY–OTRO HOMBRE–STEP IT UP BRO–THE RIGHT TO HURT ME–ARE YOU EVER–DON’T BLAME SHORTY

We’ve been friends with Rockin’ Johnny Burgin goin’ all the back to his “Straight Outta Chicago” days for Delmark back ’round 1998.  He now calls the San Fran Bay Area his home, and, for his Vizztone Records debut, he is paired with a solid harp-meister from Madrid, Spain.  Yup–Quique Gomez and Johnny have combined their monster talents for a scalding tribute to both contemporary and old-school, Chicago-styled blues, the aptly-titled “Dos Hombres Wanted!”   Johnny is on guitars throughout, and on vocals for eight cuts, and Quique is on harp for all but one cut, and on the vocal for six.  Another of our old friends, he who is “four foot and 30 inches tall,”  Christian Dozzler, is on keys and accordion.

Nothin’ but fun to be had here, so let’s get started.  Batting leadoff is Johnny on vocal on one of his originals, an ode to a not-so-good lover, “Your Charm Won’t Help You,” with Quique wailin’ on harp.  Now, Quique knows a little ’bout singing, as he sings Sinatra covers in a band back in his native Spain, so he’s right at home with the freight train boogie of “You Can’t Steal My Sugar,” the slowed-down-and-low-down blues of Robert Lockwood’s “Funny But True,” and the Spanish-language lope of “Otro Hombre.”

We had two favorites, too.  Johnny gets into a cool slow-blues groove on the tongue-in-cheek “Coffee Can Blues,” written by Ilana Katz Katz.  And, everybody has one helluva good time with the tale of Johnny’s lover, ’cause, sho’ nuff, “Everybody Loves My Baby,” but, “her love is just for me.”

Rockin’ Johnny Burgin has seen the Grim Reaper disguised as Man’s Temptation while wearing a Neoprene Fedora.  His new partner in crime, Quique Gomez, makes “Dos Hombres Wanted” a cool listen, indeed!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Colin Linden and Luther Dickinson review…February 23, 2019….

COLIN LINDEN AND LUTHER DICKINSON

WITH THE TENNESSEE VALENTINES

AMOUR

STONY PLAIN RECORDS  SPCD 1405

CARELESS LOVE (INST.)–DON’T LET GO–HONEST I DO–CARELESS LOVE (VOCAL)–CRAZY ARMS–FOR THE GOOD TIMES–LOVER PLEASE–WHAT AM I LIVING FOR–DEAREST DARLING–I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET

Colin Linden and Luther Dickinson are two of the blues-roots genre’s best guitarists.  Colin has played with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and served as the musical director for the ABC-TV series, “Nashville,” while Luther Dickinson is a member of one of the “first families” of Mississippi Hill Country blues.  For their collaboration on “Amour” for Stony Plain, the two guitar legends tackle ten classic love songs from the country/Americana playbook.  Also, they recruited some of Nashville’s finest singers to bring the songs to life, and assembled a backing band, affectionately-dubbed “The Tennessee Valentines,” that consist of Dominic Davis on bass, Bryan Owings on drums, Fats Kaplin on accordion and fiddle, and Kevin McKendree on keys.

That ensemble leads off with an instrumental version of “Careless Love,” with Colin on electric dobro and Luther on electric guitar.  That song is reprised a bit later as a vocal, courtesy of Rachael Davis.  Other highlights for us included Rachael again on vocal for “Honest I Do,” with the fellows faithfully capturing that unmistakable Jimmy Reed lope, while Sam Palladio offers up a bluesy read of “Crazy Arms.”

Our favorite was easy.  He wrote it, Clyde McPhatter hit with it in the Fifties, and now Billy Swan sings it for himself—“Lover Please” is set over a lively arrangement augmented by accordion from Fats and Rachael on the harmony vocal.

This set is described as a soundtrack for romance and romantics everywhere.  Enjoy “Amour,” as presented by two roots-blues guitar titans, Colin Linden and Luther Dickinson!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Kathryn Grimm review…February 22, 2019….

KATHRYN GRIMM

BLUES TOOLS

BLUES TOOLS–TALKING TO THE WIND–TROUBLE OF THIS WORLD–YOU MAKE ME SO HAPPY I CAN’T SING THE BLUES–BEST OF ME–C’MON HOME–MISS CELIE’S BLUES–EMPTY SPACE–GOD IS TESTING ME–GONE–HOT DATE WITH BUZZ–LOVEGUN

Portland, Oregon-based woman of the blues Kathryn Grimm’s latest offering, “Blues Tools,” could literally be divided into two parts.  Several of the songs are autobiographical in nature, with an underlying pattern of spirituality, while the remainder are more of a secular nature.  A good example of the former is the title cut.  It offers up a positive message to lift each other up, “cause, really, it’s all about the love, “Blues Tools,” featuring a cool, Fifties-inspired backing sax.  “Trouble Of This World” finds our heroine knowing that she will one day be “going home to live with God,” while “God Is Testing Me” was written right after her van and all her gear was stolen.  but she still found the resolve to forget herself and help others who might be less fortunate than her.  She addresses domestic violence with “Best Of Me,” and tackles the same situation in reverse with a plea to a lover whom she had mistreated to “C’mon Home,” “I’m so wrong without you.”

Our favorite was easy.  “Hot Date With Buzz” chronicles our heroine after a particularly tough day and how she, er, copes with stress!  It’s a hilarious stop-time blueser with slide guitar courtesy of the late master, Jeff Buckley.

It takes a unique talent to so deftly connect both the secular and the sacred.  With “Blues Tools,” Kathryn Grimm has crafted a set that is at onCe powerful, enlightening, and uplifting!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

 

 

John Mayall review…February 22, 2019…..

JOHN MAYALL

NOBODY TOLD ME

FORTY BELOW RECORDS

WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG–THE MOON IS FULL–EVIL AND HERE TO STAY–THAT’S WHAT LOVE WILL MAKE YOU DO–DISTANT LONESOME TRAIN–DELTA HURRICANE–THE HURT INSIDE–IT’S SO TOUGH–LIKE IT LIKE YOU DO–NOBODY TOLD ME

Over the course of a career that has spanned some seven decades, legendary British bluesman and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall has always surrounded himself with outstanding guitarists.  For his latest set for Forty Below Records, “Nobody Told Me,” produced by Eric Corne, features guest appearances from Steve Van Zandt, Joe Bonamassa, Larry McCray, Alex Lifeson, Todd Rundgren, and Carolyn Wonderland, who will be touring with the band later this year.  Also on board is Billy Watts on rhythm guitar, and the faithful rhythm section of Greg Rzab on bass, and Jay Davenport on drums, with John’s horn section, on break from Conan O’Brien’s latenight talk fest, rounding things out.

Reigning Blues Award winner for Guitarist of the Year, Joe Bonamassa, helps lead off the show with an uptown, horn-fed rendition of “What Have I Done Wrong,” giving way to Larry McCray on guitar for a minor-key KO of “The Moon Is Full.”  Carolyn Wonderland adds that wonderfully-woeful, wailin’ slide to augment John’s vocal where that “spirit calls me from the barren ground on that Distant Lonesome Train.”

We had two favorites, too.  Joe B returns for a jaunt “down to Memphis, where the blues first came down,” ridin’ that “Delta Hurricane,” with a cool B-3 break from John at the bridge.  Alex Lifeson, of Rush fame, joins in on our other favorite, a blistering fun-filled romp thru Albert King’s iconic “That’s What Love Will Make You Do.”

At eighty-five, there is absolutely no slowing down John Mayall.  He’s just gettin’ better, and, with a little help from his friends, he makes “Nobody Told Me” a winner all-round!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

 

Paul Nelson review…February, 20, 2019…..

PAUL NELSON

OVER UNDER THROUGH

GO DOWN EZEKIEL–GHOST IN THE BASEMENT–COLOR IT BLUE–SECRET–LAY A LITTLE–ALICE MULLIN–I WALK THE LINE–RELATIVE WORK–SILENT MAJORITY–OVER UNDER THROUGH–THERE IS WEEPING

The first thing one will notice after listening to Paul Nelson’s latest release, “Over Under Through,” is that it does not fit specifically into any one category or genre’.  Paul wrote all the songs except for Cash’s “I Walk The Line,” and does combine elements of blues, folk, roots, and Americana, for a captivating set.  Adding to the mix is a backing band of the cream of East Coast folk and blues players, including Kevin Barry on guitars, John Sands on drums, Richard Bates and Paul Kochansky on bass, and vocalist Kristin Cifelli.

The set begins and ends on a decidedly-Biblical theme.  Leading off is the swampy, Delta-meets-the-Old-Testament blues of “Go Down Ezekiel,go down to the Riverside,” during his prophesies regarding the threats against Judah and Jerusalem.  The set closes on a quieter, more somber note, with “There Is Weeping,” in a “world of madness and fear.”

In between our favorites included the powerful “Silent Majority,” where “silence strengthens authority, and indifference paves the way,” urging us all to stand and fight for what is just and fair.  And, Paul offers up a unique, drum-heavy read of “I Walk The Line” featuring Kristin on the harmony vocals.

For those who are fans of Lyle Lovett, Amos Lee, or Roguie’s son, Ray Lamontagne, the heartfelt, true-to-life stories presented in Paul Nelson’s “Over Under Through” will resonate well.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.