Chris “Bad News” Barnes review…October 21, 2019…..

CHRIS “BAD NEWS” BARNES

LIVE

VIZZTONE RECORDS  VT–CB18

BACK IN A CADILLAC–YOU CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY THE COVER–BOOM BOOM (OUT GO THE LIGHTS)–HUNGRY AND HORNY–HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAN–GOING DOWN–WHAT’S COMING NEXT–IT’S TIGHT LIKE THAT–IT HURTS ME TOO–KEEP YOUR MIND ON IT–I DRINK ALONE–WHIPPING POST–RAISE YOUR HAND

Chris “Bad News” Barnes is one of the true “characters” in contemporary blues.  A veteran of Chicago’s famed Second City comedy troupe, he’s got a killer voice that gives him a great stage persona.  During the Legendary Rhythm And Blues Cruise, he fired up the crowds with three sizzling live sets.  Taj Mahal was also on board, as were his backing players, Tony Braunagel and Johnny Lee Schell, and they captured the best of these performances for his latest album, “Live,” for Vizztone Records.

Over the course of these thirteen cuts, Chris mixes his humor-filled originals with some iconic covers.  Joining Chris is Gary Hoey on guitar, and South Philly’s best, Steve Guyger, on harp.  This set is full of highlights.  Check out the Diddley groove on “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover,” and that baby child born for “bad news,” who grew into the “Hoochie Coochie Man.”  He offers a slow-blues read of Paul deLay’s ode to watchin’ your back when things are going good, for there’s always “What’s Coming Next.”  Elmore James’ “It Hurts Me Too” has cool slide from Gary, and piano from Sandy McDonald, and is done up in an uptempo groove.

Chris visits his hokum days with a sly-and-sexy take on Big Bill Broonzy’s “It’s Tight Like That,” and closes with a fun, soul-filled read of “The Colonel” Cropper’s “Raise Your Hand.”  Our favorite was a Chris original from his “90 Proof Truth” CD, loosely based on an Oprah episode, dealing humorously with man’s two basic emotions, “Hungry And Horny–that’s how we roll!”

Chris “Bad News”Barnes was definitely in his element and had the crowd eating out of his hand for the good times of “Live.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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