Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Josh Hyde review….April 24, 2019…

JOSH HYDE

INTO THE SOUL

JHR RECORDS  0070

ROCKING CHAIR–SMILE–FOR YOU I ACHE–LOVER’S CURSE–THE EDGE OF LOVE–CAN’T LET GO–THE KEY–DOWN ON BOURBON STREET–ALL YOU NEED IS SOUL–CALL MY NAME–REASONS WHY

One of the cool things about singer/guitarist/composer Josh Hyde’s latest album, “Into The Soul,” is the fact that it was recorded on a vintage 24-track analog machine once used by Robert Plant, at the Dockside Studios in Maurice, LA.  It is something he’d always wanted to do, going into a studio and laying down tracks “as is,” eschewing ProTools and other modern techniques.  Whatever methods were used, this is an excellent set.  Josh’s soulful delivery gives these eleven tales of love won and lost, as well as much-sought-after redemption, even with a few touches of humor tossed in for good measure, that perfect degree of realism and authenticity.

There were quite a number of highlights.  Leading off is one of our favorites, with Jimmy Wallace’s funky keys work spritzing up the slyly-sexy “rock you one good time in my Rockin’ Chair!”  Josh’s many trips to Nashville “at the BNA” are documented in “Smile,” while wistful longing for an affair that didn’t last is detailed in the bittersweet tale of “Mardi Gras, ’89,” “Down On Bourbon Street.”  Our other favorite rides over a strong, Jimmy Reed-ish loping groove, lovingly referred to by Josh as “Nashville funk,” as he “can’t find Heaven or Hell when you Call My Name.”  The melting pot of music that is Louisiana is the guitar-laden story of “Silas Hogan down in catfish town,” and “the Cajuns all gettin’ into that Creole,”  and is that place where “All You Need Is Soul.”

Josh Hyde’s vision on this set was to get into a Delbert-styled groove incorporating a lyrical style akin to Lyle Lovett.  The result is a great mix of songs headed straight “Into The Soul” of the listener!!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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The Rev. Shawn Amos review…April 22, 2019….

THE REV SHAWN AMOS

KITCHEN TABLE BLUES, VOLUME 2

PUT TOGETHER MUSIC

SWEET HOME CHICAGO–LI’L LIZA JANE–BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY–WHATCHA GONNA DO–MAMA HE TREATS YOUR DAUGHTER MEAN

The Rev. Shawn Amos is back to grace us with another five selections culled from the 90 Sundays he spent on YouTube, cooking in his kitchen and inviting a smorgasbord of contemporary players who cooked up a batch of blues along with their bounteous repasts!  The Rev. calls this series of music “joyful blues,” and features some of his favorite songs with some fine backing players.

Leading off, the Rev.  brings us “Sweet Home Chicago” done up the way Robert Johnson laid it down, with help from Sister Jean McClain.  Danged if we don’t have Mardi Gras in the Rev’s kitchen, as the Mudbug Brass Band serves as the backing musicians for the second-line romp of “Li’l Liza Jane,” setting the record for number of musicians in his kitchen at one sitting!   Our favorite “sax machine,” Mindi Abair, gets lowdown with the Rev. on “Bright Lights, Big City,” and features a cool sax and harp “duel” between the musicians!  Lester Lands adds some smooth vocals on the Pablo Cruise chestnut, a doo-wop style read of “Whatcha Gonna Do!”  The set closes with our favorite, as Shawn’s eldest daughter, Piper Amos, dons her Ruth Brown kitten-heels and positively nails a high-spirited take on “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean,” as proud papa blows the harp in accompaniment.

The five cuts of “Kitchen Table Blues, Volume 2,” further showcases the Rev. Shawn Amos’ love for all kinds of music and all musicians.  He has a ton of fun on this set, so let’s pass around the Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies as we anxiously await Volume 3!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Rick Vito review….April 21, 2019…..

RICK VITO

SOULSHAKER

VIZZTONE RECORDS  VT–RV01

SHE’S JUST TOO FINE–I’VE GOT A SECRET–I DO BELIEVE–WORLD ON FIRE–DOGGIN AROUND–DANCIN LITTLE SISTER–I’M GOING TO HEAVEN–SOUL SHADOWS–WALKING SHOES–PROMISE LAND–A CHANGE IS GONNA COME

Most people have heard Rick Vito whether they were aware of it or not.  A member of Fleetwood Mac from 1987-1991, Rick brought a more bluesy sound to that version of the band, but his slide guitar from Bob Seger’s “Like A Rock,” was featured in that Chevy truck commercial that ran for nearly a decade.  Rick is back with a strong set of rockin’ blues that puts his slide guitar, clever songcrafting, and bluesman’s voice at the epicenter of “Soulshaker,” for Vizztone Records.

There are some dazzling examples of Rick’s slide prowess, and they are spread across several different genres.’  Leading off is a cool, Fifties-inspired rocker, the walking-bass lope of “She’s Just So Fine.”  “World On Fire” is a tune with topical overtures, and is reminiscent of Peter Green-era Mac, as is the dark, brooding, rhumba groove of “Ball And Chain.”

We had several favorites.  “Dancin Little Sister” is a stone rocker that’d make Chuck smile up in Rock ‘N’ Roll Heaven, while both “I Do Believe” and “I’m Going To Heaven” surely had the ghost of Sister Rosetta Tharpe looking over the recording session when these were laid down.  The set closes with a brilliant and reverential instrumental read of Sam Cooke’s iconic “A Change Is Gonna Come,” the only time in our memory that we’ve heard this cut presented in such a stirring version sans the lyrics.

Rick Vito has lent his slide guitar stylings to an uncountable number of legends in contemporary music.  Flexing his own muscles, Rick Vito rocks the joint with “Soulshaker.”  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Bernard Fowler review…April 20, 2019…

BERNARD FOWLER

INSIDE OUT

RHYME AND REASON RECORDS

TIE YOU UP–DANCING WITH MR. D–UNDERCOVER OF THE NIGHT–TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE–SISTER MORPHINE–ALL THE WAY DOWN–MUST BE HELL–SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL–DANCING WITH MR. D (BONUS TRACK W/O GUITAR)

Many fans may recognize Bernard Fowler as being a collaborator and backing vocalist for the Rolling Stones.  His latest album, for Rhyme And Reason Records is called “Inside Out,” and that is sho’ nuff what it is.  Bernard has taken some of the more obscure Stones cuts and mixed them with some of the legendary ones and, basically, turned them inside-out., reworking and re-imagining them into spoken-word gems along the lines of the Last Poets, and, one of our favorites, Gil Scott-Heron.

It was during a soundcheck where Bernard was noodling around on his congas on “Sympathy For The Devil,” and Mick himself urged Bernard to make this record.  Moving forward, he enlisted some mighty backing players, including Ray Parker, Jr., Steve Jordan, Darryl Jones, and several others, for some memorable versions of these songs.

Bernard is no stranger to the spoken-word community, singing with the dub-electronic group Tackhead, as well as the avant-garde New York Citi Peech Boys.  As such, his deconstruction and subsequent resurrection of these classics is indeed inspiring.

Leading off is a BDSM-lover’s dream, as our hero begs for the bondage, but simultaneously begs his Mistress for tender mercy in a percussion-heavy, frenzied read of “Tie You Up,” from the “Undercover Of The Night” album.  The tick-tocking clock intro and outro sets the tone for the fierce, pounding, spoken-word romp thru “Time Waits For No One, and it won’t wait for me!”  When you need some funky guitar on a cut like this, who ya gon’ call?  Why, Ray Parker, Jr., of course!  He sticks around for more tasty work on the Curtis Mayfield vibe of “Sister Morphine,” with trumpet from Keyon Harrold, who re-creates the Miles Davis trumpet styles he played on the “Miles Ahead” biopic.

Our favorite was, IMHO, the set’s centerpiece.  Everybody knows it from that “Please allow me to introduce myself” beginning, and the “history lesson” that accompanies “Sympathy For The Devil!”  Mike Garson is on that well-timed piano throughout, too.

Take it from an old dude who’s been a Stones fan since my family celebrated my aunt’s birthday in front of the TV on October 25, 1964, coinciding with their appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” and listen to Bernard Fowler and “Inside Out” with an open mind.  You just might find yourself pleasantly surprised!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Big Daddy Wilson review…April 19, 2019…

BIG DADDY WILSON

DEEP IN MY SOUL

RUF RECORDS   RUF 1259

I KNOW–AIN’T GOT NO MONEY–MISSISSIPPI ME–TRIPPING ON YOU–I GOT PLENTY–HOLD ON TO OUR LOVE–DEEP IN MY SOUL–I’M WALKING–CRAZY WORLD–REDHEAD STEPCHILD–VOODOO–COULDN’T KEEP IT TO MYSELF

Big Daddy Wilson was born in North Carolina, but found his fame in an unlikely place–the continent of Europe, where he released several albums, the most recent being “Neck Bone Stew” from 2017.  However, while working on the early stages of his latest album, down in Memphis in 2018, alongside guitarist Laura Chavez and bassist Dave Smith, the whole thing came together in two places–first, down in West Tennessee at Jim Gaines’ Bessie Blue Studio in Stantonville, and finishing up on the hallowed ground of Muscle Shoals at the FAME Studios.  The result is an exuberant homecoming for Big Daddy, entitled “Deep In My Soul” for Ruf Records.

In most cases, Big Daddy opts for a more acoustic sound, but he pulled out all the stops, employing a full band for this set, accentuating that larger-than-life baritone.  He also wanted the common thread running throughout the songs to be one of love of all kinds, both the good and the not-so-good.   The horn section gives an old-school vibe to the opening cut, “I Know,” a song about that one special one who’s always there, even fixing “neckbone stew and apple pie!”   “Ain’t Got No Money” shows that our hero may not be wealthy dollar-wise, but he’s “sho’ nuff got a whole lot of honey!”  That theme is revisited a bit later in the country-styled, walking-bass lope of “I Got Plenty good lovin’, everywhere I go!”  “Hold On To Our Love” will evoke fond memories of Arthur Alexander for some listeners, while our two favorites closed the action.  “Voodoo” is all about those women who can “make a preacher want to break all the rules!”  Our other favorite shows the direction Big Daddy could have easily taken.  Born in the South, you KNOW there was some “church” in a voice that big, and he lays it all out there for the all-too-brief “Couldn’t Keep It To Myself–what the Lord has done for me!”

Big Daddy Wilson has a voice as big as the sky and as smooth as Tupelo honey.  “Deep In My Soul” serves as his powerful homecoming!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Meg Williams review…April 18, 2019….

MEG WILLIAMS

TAKE ME AS I AM

THE MUSCLE SHOALS SESSIONS

NOLA BLUE RECORDS  NB-009

COME ON OVER TO ME–TELL EVERYBODY–SHAME–LITTLE BIT OF THE DEVIL–PLAYED BY THE BLUES–SOMETIMES I NEED YOU TOO–TAKE ME AS I AM–WHAT ABOUT ME?–CAN’T KEEP WAITING ON YOU–I FEEL A HEARTACHE COMING–MAKE A MOVE–TAKE A CHANCE ON MY LOVE

One of the most pleasant surprises of 2017 was the brilliant EP, “Maybe Someday,” from Meg Williams.  (When you are done here, go check out “Not My Problem” from that release!).  Nashvillian-by-way-of-the Finger Lakes area of New York, we knew it wouldn’t be long until she busted loose nationwide.  Well, that time is now, with her full-length debut from Sallie Bengston’s NOLA BLUE label, entitled “Take Me As I Am: The Muscle Shoals Sessions.”  Meg produced, and the whole thing was laid down at the Mother Church of Muscle Shoals soul, the FAME Studios.  Some of the greats are along for the ride, too.  Will McFarlane is on guitar, Bob Wray is on bass, Clayton Ivey is on keys, Justin Holder is on drums, and Dan Wecht offers up tasty slide guitar throughout.  Meg wrote all the cuts either in whole or as collabos with some of her new “neighbors,” who happen to be part of the cream of local songwriters.  The tunes run the gamut from straight-ahead blues to some cool roots-rock mixed with just a pinch of country.

That’s the style that leads off, as our heroine “don’t want to be alone, so Come On Over To Me.”  Dan’s slide guitar paints that “last call” picture this cut begs for.  That groove re-asserts itself a bit later as our girl sees “the one” in different places every night, but confesses, “I Can’t Keep Waiting On You” to take a chance.  This one is set over a biting, rocked-up arrangement, and is followed by Meg’s best “come hither” lines in a potential lover “givin’ me that look, so “come on, Make A Move on me!”

Stone blues best served hot were our favorites.  Meg gets into that cool Prince-ly groove for the slide-drenched fever pitch of that girl with a “Little Bit Of The Devil in you!”  And, a sweet slow blues has our girl longing for a long-gone lover, realizing all-too-late that she’s been “Played By The Blues,” and, as we all know in that game, “the house always wins!”

We have been waiting for this follow-up ever since the EP hit.  Meg Williams has immersed herself within the strong influences of the Nashville songwriting community, and her playing, singing, and creativity are at an extremely high level.  “Take Me As I Am” is stunning from start to finish from a sho’ nuff rising star in contemporary blues!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

The Lee Boys review….April 17, 2019….

THE LEE BOYS

ON THE EAST COAST

MC RECORDS  MC 0085

IN THE MORNING–WALK WITH ME LORD–DON’T LET THE DEVIL RIDE–PRAISE YOU–I”LL TAKE YOU THERE–COME ON HELP ME LIFT HIM UP–LORD HELP ME TO HOLD OUT–TURN ON YOUR LOVE LIGHT–TESTIFY–WALK WITH ME–YOU GOT TO MOVE

If you are a fan of Robert Randolph And The Family Band, Sam Butler, or any of the other notable purveyors of the sound of the “sacred steel,” then you gotta love The Lee Boys.  They are Alvin Lee on electric guitar and backing vocals, Derrick and Keith Lee on vocals, Chris Johnson on the pedal steel, nephew Alvin Cordy, jr., on the six-stringed bass,  and Earl Walker on drums.  All are associated with and highly-skilled in the music and traditions of The House Of God Church, but the thing that makes them different is their inclusion of blues, soul, and a shot of funk among the spirituals.  They have signed with our friend Mark Carpentieri and MC Records, and their label debut drops on Good Friday, April 19, 2019, worldwide.  It is entitled “Live On The East Coast,” and the eleven cuts were culled from shows in Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina.

With concert-goers urged to get up and dance during the shows, obviously there is some serious spiritual uplifting, and highlights abound.  The set leads off with a strong read of the traditional “In The Morning,” with Chris and his guitar testifyin’ mightily!  That vibe carries over into the spiritual groove of “Testify,” while Chris’ guitar lifts everyone up and urges them to do as Bobby Bland used to say, “let your light shine,” and “Turn On Your Love Light.”

Our two favorites were easy.  Blues is in the house with the infectious boogie of “Don’t Let The Devil Ride,” while at the opposite end of the spectrum, the fellows use “Praise You,” to exalt our “Father in Heaven” and all his mighty blessings!

The Lee Boys know a place where ain’t nobody worried and ain’t nobody cryin’, and they’ll sho’ nuff take you there with “Live On The East Coast.”  It’s the perfect combination of Saturday-night good times and Sunday-morning salvation!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.