Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Vanessa Collier review…July 10, 2018….

VANESSA COLLIER

HONEY UP!

SWEATIN’ LIKE A PIG, SINGIN’ LIKE AN ANGEL–DON’T NOBODY GOT TIME TO WASTE–HONEY UP–PERCOLATIN–ICARUS–THE FAULT LINE–BLESS YOUR HEART–YOU’RE A PILL-YOU GET WHAT YOU GET–LOVE ME LIKE A MAN

Vanessa Collier brings her vast talents and her mighty Horns Of Plenty to the table on her latest offering, “Honey Up!”  This young lady is a graduate of the ultra-prestigious Berklee College Of Music who has received multiple Blues Award nominations and who has worked with Tommy Castro on his Blues Revue.  She’s at once funky, soulful, and bluesy, and it all comes together in this ten-cut extravaganza, nine of which are Vanessa’s originals.  She’s got a full band at her disposal throughout, and everybody’s chemistry makes this one special, indeed.

We start off in church–yep–everybody in this part of the country knows all about summertime and Sundays down South.  You’re workin’ your church fan, the choir is bringin’ it, and you’re literally “Sweatin’ Like A Pig, Singin’ Like An Angel.”  That’s Brother William Gorman testifyin’ all over the piano, too!  We all stick around for Sunday evenin’ service on the next cut, where Vanessa tells us “Don’t Nobody Got No Time To Waste,” and laziness ain’t tolerated in her house!  William rocks the B-3 on this one!  Vanessa gets into a downright funky groove on the title cut, shoutin’-out to a no-good lover that she doesn’t intend to “Honey Up and kiss your behind!”  She rocks out on an extended sax solo here, too, to get her point across even further!  She hits a modified New Orleans groove on a tune with more sage advice for all of us–we can whine and have pity parties all day long, but, at the end of the day, “You Get What You Get, and you don’t get upset!”

Vanessa is on acoustic guitar for one of our favorites.  We all know the story of “little Icarus,” who wanted more than anything to “rassle the sun,” and serves as an example to us all to never give up on our dreams.  And, she closes the set in a Memphis Minnie way, gettin’ down’n’ dirty, pleadin’ with her lover to just come on and “Love Me Like A Man!”

With Vanessa Collier, it’s all about the performances.  She loves connecting with her audiences, finding out what makes them tick, and feeding off their energy.  When you are as blessed with natural talent as she is, that comes easy, and “Honey Up!” is a fantastic set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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Bruce Katz Band review…July 8, 2018…

BRUCE KATZ BAND

GET YOUR GROOVE!

AMERICAN SHOWPLACE MUSIC

HESITATION BLUES–FREIGHT TRAIN–BEEF JERKY–SHINE TOGETHER (TRIBE OF LIGHTS)–RIVER BLUES–MAKE THINGS RIGHT–GET YOUR GROOVE!–ZONE 3–RUSH HOUR–WASN’T MY TIME–THE BUN

Bruce Katz is one of the most accomplished keyboard men of our generation.  He was a member of Gregg Allman’s band, as well as some of the Allman Brothers’ “offshoot” groups, including Butch Trucks’ Freight Train Band, and Jaimoe’s Jassz Band. That free-spirited, jam-band vibe is the common thread that holds all the tunes together in Bruce’s latest set, “Get Your Groove!,” for American Showplace Music.  Joining Bruce for this groovy ride, are Chris Vitarello on guitars and vocals, Ray Hangen on drums, and an extra-special-guest appearance from the mighty Johnny Jaimoe himself on three cuts.

The whole thing starts with a bang as Chris is on vocal for the chicken-shack groove of a man on the prowl for a new lover, but she’s got to “see that dollar first,” the “Hesitation Blues!”  A similar groove closes the set, with some icy-cool licks from Chris set over Bruce’s B-3 on a jazzy instrumental called “The Bun.”

The fellows know how to lay down a mean second-line pattern, too.  Bruce is on piano for the NOLA funk of “Beef Jerky,” and keep the good times rollin’ all the way thru the title cut, as we all can “Get Your Groove!”

Two of the vocal cuts from Chris served as our favorites.  In the positive vibe of “Shine Together (Tribe Of Lights),” we’re all encouraged to “set your spirit free in the gospel of the blues!”  And, a deep, minor-key, down-to-your-soul slow-blues finds Chris recalling tales of his life where he coulda been dead several times over, but, thanks to his “angel pushing down on me,” it “just Wasn’t My Time.”

Bruce is one of the most versatile keys men in all of contemporary blues, and, with this fine backing band, “Get Your Groove!” carries his legacy forward.  Yep–from Bach to Basie, from Beethoven to the blues, this “Katz” sho’ nuff got it goin’ on!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Lurrie Bell And The Bell Dynasty review…July 7, 2018….

LURRIE BELL AND THE BELL DYNASTY

FEATURING CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE AND BILLY BRANCH

TRIBUTE TO CAREY BELL

DELMARK 855

GONE TO MAIN STREET–HARD HEARTED WOMAN–I GOT TO GO–KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE–TOMORROW NIGHT–SO HARD TO LEAVE YOU ALONE–WHAT MY MOMMA TOLD ME–WOMAN IN TROUBLE–CAREY BELL WAS A FRIEND OF MINE–BREAK IT UP–HEARTACHES AND PAIN–WHEN I GET DRUNK

Carey Bell came to Chicago in the late-Fifties’, absorbing all he could from the harmonica legends who were already ensconced in that town.  Everyone was still alive and thriving, and it was no big stretch to go see Little Walter, Big Walter, Wolf, Cotton, Junior Wells and countless others, often on the same night!  By the time Carey began his recording career in 1969, he had already developed his own unique style that served him well until his untimely passing in May of 2007.  His sons, however, have all achieved their own level of musical expertise, and blend their talents to present Lurrie Bell and the Bell Dynasty’s “Tribute To Carey Bell,” for Delmark.  This set features Grammy-nominated Lurrie on guitar and vocals, Steve on harp, Tyson on bass, and James on drums and vocals (for three cuts).  Eddie Taylor, Jr., another famous son, adds guitar on nine cuts, and Ariyo Ariyoshi is on piano on three cuts.  Many of the songs on this set were favorites of Carey, and were staples in his live shows and recordings.

Leading off is Lurrie on vocals and guitar as Steve blows strong on the shufflin’ “Gone To Main Street,” and, a bit later, Charlie Musselwhite is on harp for the freight-train choogle of “I Got To Go.”  The fellows get into some serious slow-blues grooves, too, with Lurrie on vocal for “Hard Headed Woman, studies evil all the time,” “So Hard To Leave You Alone,” which features Billy Branch on harp, and Ariyo on piano, and “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize,” with James on the vocal.

Fans, every cut is priceless, but we had two favorites.  First up, Billy Branch is on harp and vocals as he proudly tells everybody that “Carey Bell Was A Friend Of Mine,” and “taught me everything I know.”  And, Lurrie closes the set with a Chicago juke-joint staple, “When I Get Drunk, who’s gonna carry me home?”

The Bell Dynasty—Lurrie, Steve, Tyson, and James—do an excellent job of carrying Pops’  bidness on, and their “Tribute To Carey Bell” is blues as raw as they come, and as good as it gets!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

Lady A review…July 6, 2018…

LADY A

DOIN FINE

DOIN FINE–THE RIDE–NEXT TIME U C ME–TRYIN’ TO GET OVER–CHANGE THE WORLD–THAT MAN–CATCH ME ON THE LOW–THROW DOWN–ROOF OVA MY HEAD–GLAD TO KNOW YOU

Lady A has long been a fan favorite in the Pacific Northwest.  Staying busy on the festival circuit, this year will find her at the Winthrop Rhythm And Blues Festival, the Ruston Point Festival, and also as a part of the Top Dogs Of Soul, touring Sweden in November.  For now, this dazzling Lady Of The Blues is back and at the top of her game with “Doin’ Fine,” ten cuts that feature Lady A’s combination of blues, funk, soul, and gospel as only she can deliver.

The party starts with the raucous title cut, and a hard left to the jaw of the POTUS, where, “45’s tryin’ to kill us, turn us one against another,” knowing fully that the only true answer is to love your neighbor as you would love yourself.  The band sets up a swingin’, danceable groove for “Next Time U C Me, things won’t be the same,” while a mystical lover who manifests himself in a dream sequence is just “like bread and butter with a little jam,” “That Man!”  “Throw Down”is “funky all day long,” lettin’ us “party from dusk til’ dawn,” and is tailor-made for the dancers.  She closes the set with the jazz-flavored ode to all her fans and friends within the blues scene, “Glad To Know You.”

Our favorite was deep-down-in-your-soul, down-home blues at its finest.  You can hear the influences of singers such as Denise LaSalle and Little Milton as she takes a look at today’s troubled society with a sincere hope to make a difference, “Change The World.”  It has some serious gospel overtures and makes a powerful, positive statement.

Lady A will straight-up tell you that God has graced her with style, and urges us all to be blessed and pay it forward, and be a blessing to someone else.  If we do, we’ll all e “Doin’ Fine!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Rory Block review…July 5, 2018….

RORY BLOCK

A WOMAN’S SOUL

A TRIBUTE TO BESSIE SMITH

STONY PLAIN RECORDS  SPCD 1399

DO YOUR DUTY–KITCHEN MAN–JAZZBO BROWN FROM MEMPHIS TOWN–GIMME A PIGFOOT AND A BOTTLE OF BEER–NEED A LITTLE SUGAR IN MY BOWL–I’M DOWN IN THE DUMPS–BLACK MOUNTAIN–WEEPING WILLOW BLUES–ON REVIVAL DAY–EMPTY BED BLUES

Having just completed a series of recordings dedicated to some of the finest male Delta blues masters to ever bend a string, guitarist/vocalist/composer, and five-time Blues Music Award winner Rory Block now turns her massive talents toward the distaff side with the first of her series entitled “Power Women Of The Blues,” with “A Woman’s Soul: A Tribute To Bessie Smith,” for Stony Plain Records.  With this album, Rory begins a musical journey that has been on her “to-do_ list for more than fifty years, to bring notoriety to the turn of the 20TH Century female blues singers.  Herein, Rory played all the guitar and bass arrangements on her Signature Martin guitars, as well as all the percussion parts!

The whole thing is a stone gas from start to finish, likely as Bessie would’ve wanted.  Leading off, Rory calls on her man to “come and drive my blues away” and “Do Your Duty!”  Rory’s slide makes “Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle Of Beer” bristle with spit-in-your-eye swagger, while our lovelorn heroine, “tired of bein’ lonely/tired of bein’ blue,” simply asks for a little “Sugar In My Bowl,” and, yeah, “a little hot dog in my roll!”  Rory closes the set with perhaps one of Bessie’s best-known songs, as that “deep-sea diver” is long gone, leaving her with those inconsolable “Empty Bed Blues.”

Our favorite praised the virtues of ol’ Dan, her “Kitchen Man.”  Seems he had a way ’bout “warmin’ my chops,” with that “jelly roll so nice and hot!”  Obviously, the double-entendres’ run rampant throughout, and is just one of the many reasons  Bessie Smith is held in such reverence today.  Yes, she was known as the “Empress Of The Blues,” and, with “A Woman’s Soul,” Rory Block has captured the soul and essence of one of the pioneer women of the blues, who paved the way for generations of artists after her.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Waydown Wailers review…July 3, 2018…

WAYDOWN WAILERS

BACKLAND BLUES

WOODSTOCK RECORDS  WR62

BACK DOOR WOMAN BLUES–I WANT YOUR SOUL–DONE SOMEBODY WRONG–ANOTHER BUMP IN THE ROAD–NO MERCY–DIZZY MISS LIZZY–EVERY PASSING MILE–SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE–I’M ON THE HUNT–STATE OF THE UNION-REMIX—LOVER OF THE BAYOU

Nestled in the “Backlands” region along the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York is the town of Canton.  Known for generations for its progressive, forward-thinking settlers throughout history, that town also serves as the home base for the Waydown Wailers, and serves as the catalyst for the title of their latest album, “Backland Blues,” for Woodstock Records.  This eclectic offering has eight originals and three choice covers, with siblings David and Christian Parker on guitars and vocals, Connor Pelkey on bass, and Scruffy Scriminger on drums.  The set was produced by the keyboards man, the honorable “Professor Louie” Hurwitz.

The songs run the gamut from rock to blues, with elements of The Byrds, and the jam-band leanings of the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers.  The party starts with the juke joint stomp of that woman who’ll be your honey as long as you got some money, “Back Door Woman Blues,” featuring the Professor on piano.  A pulsating slide riff drives “I Want Your Soul,” while “No Mercy” draws on the rich heritage of the Dead thru its extended solos.  “Another Bump In The Road,” again with the Professor on the keys, follows the trials and tribulations of our hero who’s always a day late a dollar short.

The fellows take a look at both sides of the current political coin, too.  “Somewhere In The Middle, closer to Jesus, is where you’ll find me” is in direct opposition to the scalding “State Of The Union-Remix,” where, as far as faith and hope are concerned, “I haven’t seen that yet.”

Our favorite has been around a long time, even longer than us!  Written by Elmore James, the slide-guitar leads and grungy backbeat gives “I Must Have Done Somebody Wrong” a sweet new sound as the fellows recount the story of how “the bell just tolled–my baby caught that train and gone.”

The Waydown Wailers refer to their music as “outlaw jam,” and, given the free spirits of the earliest settlers in that region of New York, “Backland Blues” mixes blues, rock, and jam-friendly grooves into one potent musical potable, indeed!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Paul Filipowicz review…July 1, 2018….

PAUL FILIPOWICZ

UNFILTERED

BIG JAKE RECORDS   BJ2018

ALL MY WHOLE LIFE BABY–BRAND NEW HAT–UNFILTERED–CANAL STREET–HOWLING FOR MY DARLING–EVERYTHING GONNA BE ALL RIGHT–I FOUND A NEW LOVE–MY WOMAN–TIN PAN ALLEY–RECONSIDER BABY–RIDING HIGH

Paul Filipowicz is one of those Chicago blues guitar players that has seen a lot, and lived it, too.  From the days of his adolescence, when his father would take his sons to bars and pool halls instead of the movies on Saturday nights, until today, Paul has always been immersed in the sounds, sweat, and soul of the Windy City.  He’s been influenced by Howlin’ Wolf, Lowell Fulson, and Magic Sam, and it wasn’t unusual for Paul to play an entire set of Sam’s music in local clubs.  That’s the story on his latest offering and tenth overall, “Unfiltered.”  Five cuts are Paul’s originals, but everything is soaked in the heritage of clubs such as Theresa’s, The Wise Fools Pub, and any other you can think of.  His backing band knows a few things about playing some blues, too.  They include alumni members of the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, Tommy Castro, and The Groove Hogs, among others, all who are familiar with the sound Paul is seeking throughout the set.

The party starts with one of Magic Sam’s finest, the West Side grit of “All My Whole Life Baby” setting a torrid pace for things to come.  Paul’s got a way with some mighty cool instrumentals, too.  Benny Rickun is on the harp on the loping title cut, and returns for more on “Canal Street,” a brooding ode to Paul’s adolescence, and those Saturday night bar visits in Lemont, IL.

Want some more fiery, passionate guitar work?  Paul turns up the heat on one of Little Milton’s classics, “I Found A New Love,” while Lowell Fulson’s “Reconsider Baby,” usually done in a jazzy, walking tempo, is presented here with a strong shot of that little bit of extra Chicago “bite” that makes this whole set such a pleasure.

Just like the young Paul Newman in “The Hustler” who grew into the cagey veteran of “The Color Of Money” thirty years down the road, Paul Filipowicz has wielded a wicked blues axe throughout his entire career.  (And, a mean pool cue, too, from accounts in his Bio!).  For fans of pure, unadulterated Chicago blues with a good dose of that extra “snap” that makes you want another taste, light up and take a drag off of some “Unfiltered,” fine stuff!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.