Archive for August, 2019

Battle of the Blues review…August 5, 2019…..

VARIOUS ARTISTS

BATTLE OF THE BLUES

CHICAGO VS. OAKLAND

DELTA ROOTS RECORDS  DR 1002

BROKE ASS MAN–MZ SUMAC  FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY–ALDWIN LONDON  TAKE IT EASY and RED TIDE–FREDDIE ROULETTE  GOOD MORNING MR. BLUES–NAT BOLDEN  HIT AND RUN LOVER and ME AND MY GUITAR–JAMES NEWMAN  HURTIN’ ON YOU and MAMA DON’T WEEP–EMERY WILLIAMS, JR.  NOW THAT I’VE GONE and TIME SLIPPIN AWAY–MR. EXCITEMENT DEL BROWN  COLD IN THE STREETS–GERALD MCCLENDON  HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAMA–COUNTRY PETE MCGILL

When one thinks of cities associated with the blues, of course Chicago comes to mind, and we are only a few hours from Memphis.  However, Oakland, CA, out in the Bay Area, has long been a blues hotbed, now boasting the highest per capita of blues artists in the entire USA!!  Drummer and long-time bluesman Twist Turner spent time in both Chi-Town and Oakland, and realized there was a plethora of under-recorded yet well-deserving blues men and women who just needed a break in both camps.  He’s spent the last six years or so completing “Battle Of The Blues–Chicago VS. Oakland,” for Delta Roots Records, its sole purpose to give back to those deserving players needing an opportunity to show their stuff!

The talents herein are simply amazing, and how they all stayed so far under the blues radar is anyone’s guess.  Leading off, Sacramento-area blues woman MZ Sumac bemoans her “Broke Ass Man,” preferring one with “money,” and that absolute must-have, “Cadillac car!”  Aldwin London is a native of Oakland, and his ultra-smooth read of Willie’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” is made even sweeter thru Boom Brumbach’s sax.  Representing Chicago, Freddie Roulette offered up three unique cuts.  A lap steel master who jammed with Earl Hooker, he fires off two outstanding instrumentals, “Red Tide,” and “Take It Easy,” and backs the late Country Pete McGill in a fun, stop-time romp of “Hoochie Coochie Mama,”  Hey–she carries a pistol in her purse, and if you mess with her, you go home in a hearse!”

Another gent who identifies with the Chicago players, “Mr. Excitement” Del Brown was our favorite vocalist, as his style, tone, and delivery were reminiscent of another great singer and our good friend, the late former Metro Nashville Councilman and Excello artist, Roscoe Shelton.  Brown’s plaintive, upper-register vocals fit perfectly on his two ballads herein, “Now That I’ve Gone,” and his ode to coming to grips with aging, “Time Slippin’ Away.”

Twist Turner purposely left his name off the credits of “Battle Of The Blues–Chicago VS. Oakland,” preferring to allow the accolades to fall on those who deserved them most–the unsung heroes of two great blues Meccas!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Moonshine Society review…August 4, 2019

MOONSHINE SOCIETY

SWEET THING

SWEET THING–SHAKE–MAMA, HE TREATS YOUR DAUGHTER MEAN–COME ON HOME–SOUTHERN ROAD–BISCUITS, BACON, AND THE BLUES–USE ME/ON GILDED SPLINTERS–I’D RATHER GO BLIND–DEAL THE DEVIL MADE–THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY (BONUS TRACK)

Moonshine Society is the offspring of three multi-talented Berklee music scholars.  Al three had a passion for blues and vintage R & B, and lead singer Black Betty is one part Bettie Page and one part Memphis Minnie.  Joe Poppen, on guitar, is a master of that vintage sound, and harpoon man Charlie Sayles rounded out the trio.

Their sophomore release is entitled “Sweet Thing,” and it is full of Betty’s big-voiced looks at love thru both lusty rockers and plaintive ballads.  The party opens with the title cut, as our girl doesn’t mind a good time, but this “Sweet Thing” sho’ nuff don’t take no mess, either!  Hellhound harp man Jason Ricci adds the spice to this bump-and-grinder.  Joe’s guitar gets into a Chi-town groove on “Shake, shimmy, and sway, like a willow tree,” featuring sax from Ron Holloway and Ken Wenzel.  “Come On Home” is a soulful, original ballad from Betty, and she follows it up a bit later with a scintillating read of Etta’s iconic “I’d Rather Go Blind,” showing why this song blurred the lines between blues and R & B.

We had two favorites, too. Ruth Brown’s “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean” is presented here as a stone, New Orleans-styled second-line party jam, with Benjie Porecki all over the 88’s.  Our other favorite is one of Betty’s originals, as she tells us the only three things she desires the morning after a lustful night–“Biscuits, Bacon, And The Blues,” a succulent menu request, indeed!

It’s easy to see why Moonshine Society is always in the mix for the Washington Area Blues Society’s WAMMIE Awards!  A red-hot mama on vocals who writes the blues the way we like to hear ’em, with Hall Of Fame musicianship, “Sweet Thing” has all the goods!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Donna Hourigan review…August 3, 2019….

DONNA HOURIGAN

AND THE LUCKY LIPS BAND

TALK THE TALK

REAL FAT CAT–GET YOUR BABY BACK–TALK THE TALK–CRASH AND BURN–I CAN’T BE SURE–LAY MY HEAD–THE PAGES OF MY SKIN

Down Under has offered up some serious thunder in the contemporary blues arena thus far in 2019.  Earlier this year, we had the great privilege of reviewing “Headline,” the latest from Kate Lush, and now we are honored to present, courtesy of Leen Velthuis and ABIK Radio Promotions, fellow Aussie Donna Hourigan And The Lucky Lips Band and their debut EP, “Talk The Talk.”  The seven original offerings show off Donna’s magnificent three-octave vocal range, and she incorporates elements of swing, jump-blues, soul, and, even a touch of the gospel herein.  With guitarist John Lawson and saxman Rob Gow feeding off each other and Donna nicely, things are held together at the bottom by drummer Chris Chirnside and bass man Darren Griffiths.

The good times get to rollin’ with the Fifties-inspired jump of “Real Fat Cat,” and that vein continues with the title cut.  Here, our girl is just “a little dirty,” and promises a paramour a night of passion as long as he’ll “Talk The Talk, or I’ll walk the walk!”  She easily reaches her upper registers on the powerfully-soulful ballad, “Lay My Head,” and shows off her sultry, sexy, seductive side with the slow-blues of a lover done wrong, “Crash And Burn.”  This one served as a favorite.

Our other favorite closed the set.  It plays out as Donna’s autobiography of sorts, as she takes us down to the Sanctified Church Of The Blessed Blues, with the rousing, call-and-response of loving oneself, flaws and all, “The Pages Of My Skin.”

Donna Hourigan is sho’ nuff making a big splash in the world of contemporary blues.  Excellent material and a spot-on backing crew that perfectly compliments her versatile vocals to make “Talk The Talk” a sizzling debut!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Bobby Rush review…August 2, 2019….

BOBBY RUSH

SITTING ON TOP OF THE BLUES

DEEP RUSH RECORDS 10215 CD

HEY HEY BOBBY RUSH–GOOD STUFF–GET OUT OF HERE (DOG NAMED BO)–YOU GOT THE GOODS ON YOU–SWEET LIZZY–BOBBY RUSH SHUFFLE–RECIPE FOR LOVE–POOKY POO–SLOW MOTION–SHAKE TILL YOU GET ENOUGH–BOWLEGGED WOMAN

If you have ever been lucky enough to see a Bobby Rush show, then you know what we’re talking about.  Bobby has been entertaining folks for decades, and his long-deserved Grammy award finally happened in 2017 with the release of “Porcupine Meat.”  He’s played festivals all over the world, including Bonnaroo, and played for a handful of us diehard fans inside Grimey’s Records not too long ago.  His latest album is entitled, “Sitting On Top Of The Blues,” for his own Deep Rush label, and it is eleven originals that show Bobby’s unbelievable energy on vocals and harp.

This is a stone funkfest, y’all.  Leading off is basically Bobby’s autobiography, with Vasti Jackson on guitars, “Hey Hey Bobby Rush” tells everybody, “I’m a bluesman, that’s all I’ve ever been.”  He encourages us all to “Shake It Till You Get Enough,” which is full of the harp-rockin’ boogie that Bobby’s been known for all his career.  There are a couple of cool shout-outs to those young ladies with just the right “assets”–“Good Stuff,” and the breezy “You Got The Goods On You,” featuring guitar from both Li’l Buck Senegal and Roddie Romero.

We had three favorites, too. A sweet midtempo groover that finds our hero trying to get hitched to a “country girl” soon realizes that her father sho’ nuff “don’t want no blues singer to marry my daughter” and is the hilarious theme of “Get Out Of Here (Dog Named Bo).”  “Slow Motion” simmers along nicely as a shout-out to all the lovers in the house, while the similarly-themed “Recipe For Love” is done up acoustically and Delta-fied, with Vasti on the guitar.

Bobby Rush was a friend to Boyd Gilmore and Elmore James, and he’s been funkin’ up these blues for virtually our entire lives.  We’re proud to call him friend, too, and “Sitting On Top Of The Blues” further solidifies his growing legacy as one of the premier showmen in all of blues!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Ben Davis, Jr. review…August 1, 2019….

BEN DAVIS JR,

SUTHERNAHIA

I THINK YOU SHOULD–CAN’T GET ENOUGH–IF YOU EVER WILL–PORCHLIGHT–JUST LET ME IN–SUNDAY MORNING–RAMBLIN BLUES–(I’M DOING) FINE GIRL–LINE BOAT BLUES (FEAT. DAVID CHILDERS)–CARLY

Singer-songwriter Ben Davis, Jr., was born amidst the hills and hollers of southern Ohio, and he has already elicited comparisons to the likes of Todd Snider, Steve Earle, and David Childers (who appears herein).  That Ohio homeland serves as the backdrop for his latest set, ten originals that comprise “Suthernahhia.”  Produced by Eddie Ashworth at The Oxide Shed in Athens, Ohio, Ben is the vocalist, with superb backing from The Revelry–Erik Miller on drums, Levi Westfall on bass, Ben Ervin on guitar, and Eddie Ashworth doubling down on keys.

Virtually all these songs deal with love and relationships, with our hero, sadly, often on the outside looking in.  The set opens with Ben calling out an immature lover unwilling to accept her responsibilities as an adult, “I Think You Should.”  A jumpin’, bluesed-up cut finds our hero “headed west” to see a lover in the throes of an abusive relationship, even tho he’s “the other man,” and just “Can’t Get Enough” of her.  That abusive relationship cycle continues with the somber reach-out to another survivor, “Just Let Me In.”  “Sunday Morning” is set over a lively arrangement, even tho our hero is mourning the loss of a lover  thru an act of violence predicated by those “Johnson brothers.”  The set closes on a similar, tragic note, as “Carly” traces high school sweethearts, she in her “Chuck Tay’s” on the way to Junior Prom with him.  Alas, he falls for the drink, and she, for the needle, as her life ends much too soon, leaving him to ponder, “Carly, will I ever see you again?”

Folks, let’s head on down to the bar–you know the one, behind the stoplight.  Let’s order a round of Jack and Cokes, sing a chorus of “Don’t Think Twice,” and raise a glass to one of Americana’s brightest young artists, Ben Davis, Jr., and “Suthernahia.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

 

 

Jason Ricci review…July 31, 2019….

JASON RICCI

AND THE BAD KIND

MY CHOPS ARE ROLLING

ELLERSOUL RECORDS   ER 1901

BREAK IN THE RAIN–DON’Y BADGER THE WITNESS–FOOEY ON THE FALCONS (WHO DAT NATION)–GOING TO CALIFORNIA–IF YOU SHOULD LOSE ME–MY CHOPS ARE ROLLING–SLEEPING ON BISCUITS–SNOW FLAKES AND HORSES–THE WAY I HURT MYSELF–THINK IT OVER–WHO DAT NATION (CLEAN)

We have known Jason Ricci since his earliest days as an artist, way back in the days of the old Music City Blues Society, when he was a youngster blowin’ harp with Big Al (Lauro) And The Heavyweights.  You could tell he had something special back then, and he continues to prove us right.  His latest set, for EllerSoul Records, is “My Chops Are Rolling.”  Herein, he collaborates with guitarist and vocalist John Lisi for nine sweet originals and two cool covers that take the listener on a ride thru the swampier side of the blues.  Jason is on harp and vocals, and John adds vocals and dazzling guitar throughout.

Leading off is one of those deep, swampy numbers, as “Break In The Rain” chronicles two lovers, “stompin’ thru the puddles, naked, holding hands!”  “Don’t Badger The Witness” is a Fifties-inspired cut, full of twangin’ guitars and Jason’s trademark harp runs.  Staying in that vintage vein, Kaitlin Dibble is on vocals for a sweet tribute to Barbara Lynn with “If You Should Lose Me, you’ll lose a good thing,” while Jason blows the reeds outta his harp on a stunning instrumental read of Zep’s “Going To California,” which served as one of our favorites.

We had two others, too.  Jason shows off some cool, James Brown-inspired harp on the title cut, “My Chops Are Rolling, like a ball that’s bowling!”  The other was a fun, cha-cha-styled groove that shouts out to his girl and her penchant for late-night KFC runs, “Sleeping On Biscuits!”   This one is finger-lickin’ good, too, with John’s sweet guitar runs playin’ off Jason’s hap throughout!

Jason Ricci continues to be one of the most impressive and expressive harpoon men on the scene today.  Check him out at his best with “My Chops Are Rolling!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.