Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Damon Fowler review…August 16, 2018….

DAMON FOWLER

THE WHISKEY BAYOU SESSION

WHISKEY BAYOU RECORDS WBR 7737

IT CAME OUT OF NOWHERE–FAIRWEATHER FRIEND–HOLD ME TIGHT–UP THE LINE–AIN’T GONNA ROCK WITH YOU NO MORE–JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE–POUR ME–HOLIDAY–RUNNING OUT OF TIME–CANDY–FLORIDA BABY

Tab Benoit started the Whiskey Bayou Records label with artists such as Damon Fowler in mind.  We’ve been fans of his work since his solo albums for the Blind Pig label, and thru his work with the Butch Trucks Freight Train Band, and his collaboration with keyboard man Victor Wainwright and guitarist JP Soars in the blues “supergroup” Southern Hospitality.”  All his works are punctuated by his unprecedented guitar work passionate vocals, and mature songwriting.

With Tab producing down at the Whiskey Bayou Studios in Houma, LA, Damon gives us fans perhaps his best, and surely most versatile album to date, with the eight originals and three covers that make up “The Whiskey Bayou Session.”  Over the course of this one, you get a taste of all Damon’s influences, including rock, blues, roots, and gospel, and Tab draws some inspiring performances from this young bluesman.

The fun hits you like a 2 X 4 right between the eyes with the funky-good “It Came Out Of Nowhere, and it came from you!”  Damon and the band step into a sweet Little Walter groove for “Up The Line,” while both Damon and Tab pooled their writing talents for the slide guitar stomp of “Ain’t Gonna Rock With You No More!”  The slide here is indeed a beautiful thing to listen to.  He closes the set with another tune co-written with Tab, the laid-back, summery groove of “Florida Baby,” a cool nod to Damon’s Southern Hospitality days.

We had two favorites, too.  “Hold Me Tight” has been around a while, written by Johnny Nash.  (Extra credit for any of you REAL old-schoolers who can remember the Score Hair Cream commercial from 1970, featuring The Four Jets–Don Maynard, Jim Turner, Bake Turner, and Matt Snell–from the Super Bowl III-winning New York Jets!)  Anyways, Damon plays it with just the right touch of twang, filling the chorus with some mighty fine pickin’.  And, Damon knows a thing or two about Sunday morning down South, with some incredibly-sweet lap steel on “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”

Admittedly, Damon Fowler had a tough time coming to grips with the sudden death of his friend and mentor, Butch Trucks, and it seems he has found the perfect outlet for his feelings throughout the grooves of “The Whiskey Bayou Session.”  As such, he has crafted a spirited set that includes excellent guitar work, soulful vocals, and powerful originals.  This is what makes Damon one of the most exciting players on the scene today!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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Jeremiah Johnson review…August 15, 2018….

JEREMIAH JOHNSON

STRAITJACKET

RUF RECORDS 1261

STRAITJACKET–GETTING TIRED–BLUES IN HER EYES–KEEP ON SAILING–BELIEVE IN AMERICA–KING AND QUEEN–DIRTY MIND–9TH AND RUSSELL–OLD SCHOOL–BONNEVILLE SHUFFLE–HOLD MY HAND–ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC TO THE WORLD

Jeremiah Johnson is a product of the blues hotbed that is St. Louis, MO.  This young guitar slinger cut his teeth in the rough-and-tumble 9TH and Russell neighborhood, before moving to Houston and winning their Blues Challenge three straight years.  Eventually returning home, he has solidified himself as a major force in contemporary blues, and his latest set for Ruf with production from the right honorable Mike Zito, is entitled “Straitjacket.”  This set is eleven originals and one splendiferous cover that conveys the message Jeremiah wants us to hear–some powerful blues-rock with a heavy shot of soul.  Tom Maloney is on bass, Benet Schaeffer is on drums, and Frank Bauer is on sax.  His contributions to this set are great, and he is as important to this album  as much as Eddie Shaw with Howlin’ Wolf, and Steve Berlin with Los Lobos.

Leading off is the biting title cut, about women one should avoid at all cost.  We all know ’em–“where you going–who are you with–did you smoke?”   They’re the kind that, literally, want to put a “Straitjacket” on you!  Philosophical advice to us all plays out over a riff that sounds as if “Voodoo Chile” and “Spoonful” had a head-on collision, the stop-time funk of “Gettin’ tired of gettin’ old, gettin’ old gettin’ tired!”  Frank is featured on a killer sax break, just like Eddie woulda done!  Jeremiah doesn’t try to wax politically on “Believe In America,” he just “still believes in our country, and I think you do, too.”  The aforementioned “9TH And Russell” spells out Jeremiah’s beginnings, and he preaches some sho’ nuff fine Southern rock in the story of the changes his life has undergone, and how he has not only survived, but thrived.

There’s no question as to our favorite, as old-school as we are. With the 49TH anniversary of Woodstock later this week, Jeremiah and Zito do a positively ass-kickin’ version of Alvin Lee’s “Rock And Roll Music To The World,” where you always “give peace a chance–get up and dance!”  The dueling guitars in this one are what makes this set so much fun!

Jeremiah Johnson has carved out a sweet niche’ for himself in today’s contemporary playground altho it hasn’t all been pretty.  His soul has remained true to his blues roots, and, if you don’t dig “Straitjacket,” you must have that proverbial hole in your soul!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Dennis Jones Band review…August 13, 2018….

DENNIS JONES BAND

WE3—LIVE!

BLUE ROCK RECORDS

BLUE OVER YOU–WHEN I DIE–PASSION FOR THE BLUES–STRAY BULLET–HOT SAUCE–DON’T WORRY ABOUT ME–SUPER DELUXE–ENJOY THE RIDE–YOU DON’T KNOW A THING ABOUT LOVE–KILL THE PAIN–BIG BLACK CAT–DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE–I’M GOOD–BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN

We remember Dennis Jones from the IBC’s back in 2004, as the guitarist for the eventual winners that year, the Zac Harmon Band.  As one of my old friends used to say, “He was a BAD MAN back then, and he is a BAD MAN today, having only gotten better with time.  His solo career has seen the release of five prior albums and a DVD, and he and his power trio of Sam Correa on bass and Raymond Johnson on drums have just released their latest, WE3—Live!,” from a blistering live set laid down at the Beaver Creek Brewery in  Wibaux, MT.

The band has always been L. A.-based, but, thus far in 2018, these guys have logged more than 12000 miles, and that doesn’t even include a European leg of four countries!  Dennis’ fans know what to expect, and DJ gives ’em a heavy dose of blues-rock all thru this red-hot live offering.  All our favorites from his previous albums are peppered throughout, beginning with his ode to that lover and her “story that never seems to end,” “Blue Over You.”  More bad-news lovers are the theme of “Stray Bullet,” the Robert Cray-ish story of she with “the face of an angel and a soul straight from Hell.”  He gets in a playful mode with the rockabilly-country-blues of the mystical powers of “Hot Sauce” on everything!  They pull out the old bump-and-grind for a deft slow jam tale of a lover who’s plainly addicted to “cocaine in your coffee and whiskey in your tea,” but, “still can’t Kill The Pain.”

We had two favorites, too.  By listening to Dennis, it’s obvious he’s doing what he was born to do.  On “Passion For The Blues,” he echoes the sentiments of all the greats who have come and gone to spread the gospel of the blues.  And, he closes the set with the encore, seven minutes of pure bliss that is his take of “Born Under A Bad Sign.” Dennis leaves nothing on the table nor anything to the imagination as he infuses this legendary cut with nods not only to Albert, but to Hendrix, SRV, and just about anyone else you can think of.

It’s easy to forget that there are only three guys on stage for this set, because they create such a wall of sound throughout “WE3—Live!”  Dennis, we love you!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Billy Hector review…August 11, 2018….

BILLY HECTOR

SOME DAY BABY

GHETTO SURF MUSIC   GSM 026

WIZARD OF BABYLON–SOMEDAY BABY–BUTT NAKED AND FUNK–HIT THE ROAD–BUSY MAN–MOONLIGHT IN HER EYES–BAREBACK–JOLENE–ALABAMA BOUND–ON YOUR BOND–WHISKEY–CREEPER–ROAD TO HAPPINESS

Billy Hector is a blues guitarist of the highest order.  A long-time stalwart on the Asbury Park/Jersey Shore scene, many scribes have referred to him as a “New Jersey state treasure,” and rightfully so.  Add in his powerfully-soulful vocals, and Billy’s the whole package.  With a career spanning over three decades, he’s won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jersey Shore Jazz And Blues Foundation, and his latest album, “Some Day Baby,” finds this outstanding man of the blues at the absolute top of his game.

He starts things off with the horn-soaked, funky tale of con men in general, and that “Wizard Of Babylon,” in specific, a true “joker who never done a damn thing right!” Wah-wah’s the word on the scalding blues-rock of the title cut, where our hero vows, “Some Day Baby, I ain’t gonna mop no dirty floor.”  “Jolene” is a pure dance floor burner, as Billy wonders aloud, “where you get your whiskey from,” and “why you won’t give me none!”  Dennis Gruenling is the guest harpoon man on the traditional blues of “Alabama Bound,” with Billy lettin’ his slide run wild, as he does on another fine old-time blues cut, “you’re gonna need somebody On Your Bond.”  And, John Ginty is on the B-3 that defines the slinky groove of the story of a no-good woman who’s a real midnight “Creeper.”

We had two favorites, too.  If you want to dance your blues away, there’s no better way to do it than just get “Butt Naked And Funk!”  And, the set closes with a fine duet featuring Suzan Lastovica.  The cut is synonymous with that whole breezy, endless-summer vibe the Jersey Shore is noted for, and it takes us on “The Road To Happiness–it’s right outside my door!”

Billy Hector sums up life in general at the end of the final cut on “Some Day Baby,”—“Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff!”  His reputation as one of the most unique and revered bluesmen on the planet is further embellished by this killer set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Brooks Williams review..August 10, 2018….

BROOKS WILLIAMS

LUCKY STAR

RED GUITAR BLUE MUSIC  RGBM 1801

BRIGHT SIDE OF THE BLUES–ALWAYS THE SAME–SOMETHING YOU GOT–MAMA’S SONG–GAMBLING MAN–AFTER YOU’VE GONE–HERE COMES THE BLUES–NO EASY WAY BACK–ROCK ME–JUMP THAT TRAIN–WHATEVER IT TAKES–GOING TO NEW ORLEANS–BONUS TRACKS–ROCK ME–GAMBLING MAN, BOTH FEATURING HANS THEESINK

Brooks Williams hails from Statesboro, GA, the town made famous by Blind Willie McTell and, later on, by the Allman Brothers.  A ferocious finger-picker and slide master, he mixes his own compositions and some well-chosen covers for his latest release, “Lucky Star.”

Nothin’ beats a good bluesman telling a good story, and this album is full of ’em.  Brooks is on guitar and vocals throughout, and opens the set with a look at a man tired of playing “the blame game” in a love affair, and walks away, over to the “Bright Side Of The Blues.”  Chris Kenner’s New Orleans nugget, “Something You Got,” has that good-times Sixties’ feel, in the spirit in which it was written.  He takes us down to those mythical, mystical Crossroads, where “that midnight deal is made,” in “Here Comes The Blues,” and revisits that vintage rock and roll feeling on the ballad of a scorned lover  willing to do “Whatever It Takes to make things right.”

Brooks has a lot of ol’ Willie in his DNA, too.  “It’s a curse to love a Gamblin’ Man” details the pitfalls of emotional attachment to those dyin’ crapshooters, and Brooks re-imagines a tune from Sister Rosetta Tharpe, giving a fine, gospel-fired, country-blues read of “Rock Me in the cradle of your love,” with harp from Paul Jones. These same two songs close the set as its Bonus Tracks, but both of these feature the iconic Hans Theesink on duet vocals.  Both are well-crafted in their original arrangements, but the addition of Hans’ deep baritone brogue mixed with Brooks’ spirited vocals makes for a brilliant pair of duets with which to close the proceedings.

With “Lucky Star,” Brooks Williams showcases his recent forays into a bluesier sound with a most excellent set of songs that blend country blues and traditional folk sounds.  Hey y’all—Brooks Williams rides again!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Benjamin Jason Douglas review…August 9, 2018….

BENJAMIN JASON DOUGLAS

FIRST WORLD BLUES

FLOUR SACK CAPE RECORDS

TENT POLE–BEAT BLACK AND BLUE COLLAR BLUES–WALKING DOWN THE GRAIN–RAGGEDY ANDY WILLIAMS–DOC RED BLUES–DIGGING A STIGMATA–FUNNY FEELING–TCHOUPITOULAS–STREET PREACHER–GLORIA

East Nashville resident Benjamin Jason Douglas has just completed his long-anticipated debut album, “First World Blues,” for Flour Sack Cape Records.  Originally from just outside of Baltimore, Benjamin has a vocal style that has seen its fair share of East Nashville’s most potent potables, and, musically, he stands squarely in the middle of the see-saw, one move away from the drunkenness of Saturday night or the redemption of Sunday morning.  That vibe is the common thread that holds this sweet ride together.

The Sunday-morning side of Benjamin leads off, as our hero has found Jesus somewhere other than outside Tootsie’s or Robert’s, and vows to be a “Tent Pole in the big tent revival” of life.  Looking back over a life of might-have-beens is the story of the “Street Preacher,” and he further waxes philosophically on life and love in “Doc Red Blues,” where he’s in “no hurry to get to where I’ve already been!”  And, that first love really never dies, even tho she left you “more alone than an Elliott Smith song,” that “Funny Feeling I’m not over feeling funny over you!”

These are all gems, but one stood out for us.  When the dissolution of property is all that remains, and “the wedding album is yours to burn,” the only question is, “how did you expect the Raggedy Andy Williams love story to end?”  It’s poignant, and, heart-tuggingly-humorous at the same time.

Whether he’s on a fast train to Heaven or a slow boat to Hell, Benjamin Jason Douglas will grab you and hold on.  His characters are those souls lookin’ for that one magical gig that’ll turn their fortunes, but, alas, the brass ring is always just out of reach.  Pour yourself one for Saturday nights long past, and redeem yourself on Sunday morning with “First World Blues!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

 

 

Slinky and P’Tit Loup review…August 8, 2018….

SLINKY AND P’TIT LOUP

ZONE BLEUE

PHONECTOR LC 13752

MY BABE–HIGH AND LONESOME–THESE BLUES–SUGAR DADDY–HOW LONG BLUES–IS YOU IS OR IS YOU AIN’T MY BABY–BLUE LIGHT BOOGIE–MY BABY LEFT ME–RIVER BOAT SONG–MARRIED MAN BLUES

From deep in the heart of Germany, near the Dutch and Belgian border, we have just received the latest release from the critically-acclaimed duo of Slinky (Williams) and P’Tit Loup, this one entitled, “Zone Bleue.”  Slinky and Loup have been together since 1972, when they were classical guitar students in Cologne.  They’ve been performing as a duo since 2014, with a slight departure from the norm for this set.

Slinky is accomplished on guitar and mandolin, and has a vocal style that brings to mind two of our favorites.  Imagine Diana Krall and Ilana Katz Katz with that sexy, sultry, Euro-brogue, and that’s Slinky’s sound!  P’Tit Loup is also adept on guitar, and has a mellow tenor vocal that melds well with Slinky.  For this set, we are also introduced to the talents of acoustic bass man Joe Leduc, making this a formidable trio.  Four of the cuts were laid down at Tonstudio Gutthoff, while the remainder were recorded at the duo’s home studio.

Leading off is the classic “My Babe,” with a fingerpicked backing from P’Tit Loup.  Jimmy Reed’s “High And Lonesome” has P’Tit Loup on the vocal, with Slinky’s mandolin giving this one a good ole Johnny Young feel, and was one of our favorites.  Slinky gets in a playful mode, extolling the virtues of her “satisfaction guaranteed,” “Sugar Daddy,” one of her originals.  They get in a downright rockabilly groove with the Sun-splashed “My Baby Left Me,” before getting back into that light-hearted swing, with another original, the tale of “enjoying him as long as you can, ” those “Married Man Blues!”

Our other favorites rocked with a steady roll.  First up is the Louis Jordan classic, about that guy who’s always late, “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby!”  The other is Jesse Mae Robinson’s story of that legendary party where yo do “the boogie real slow with the blue lights way down low,” the great “Blue Light Boogie!”

Slinky and P’Tit Loup create a timeless set of jazzy, swingin’ blues with universal appeal. Enjoy a sweet journey down to “Zone Bleue.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.