Hurricane Sandy and Blue HOF Capital Campaign Benefit Saturday, January 27th and BITS January 28th Hurricane Sandy, the super storm that hit the Northeast, killed many, left thousands stranded and homeless and devastated even more families. When we saw this we decided to change up our planned benefit to support this cause in addition to the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame Capital Campaign. With the BFHOFCC we made a three year commitment to donate $1,500, so we have time to make that commitment and support other notable causes like the new hurricane relief effort. After Katrina hit New Orleans we raised and sent $1,800 as a club along with several personal donations by members and friends of the Society. In any case, our date in Sunday, January 27th. From 3 to 6 PM things will be rocking to Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys with Westside Andy Linderman joining them on harmonica! We will have silent auctions, a 50-50 raffle and the door (suggested
donation of $10 cover) that will go to support these causes along with any other donations that we receive. It will be a heck of a time and there is no regular or playoff NFL football that day so come on out to the American Legion in Byron on Union Street to support these efforts and have a great time. Some food will be available for purchase and a cash bar will be available staffed by the Legion.
students on the 28th!
Keeping the Blues Alive
On Monday the 28th Andy , Rev and the band will be visiting Washington and Haskell Elementary School. We have these programs set for them in Rockford and they will be working with hundreds of
Field of Blues Fest is Gaining Momentum Fast The Field of Blues Festival on June 22, 2013 at Riverhawks Stadium is a reality. Fundraising in earnest resulted in exceeding the goal of $4,000 seed money established by the CBS Board as a “safety net”! Sponsorship has already been received from UAW Local 1268, our good friends in Belvidere. They were our first sponsors and have sent a check putting them in the platinum level. We thank them for their support– they were the first to come on board and we appreciate their support for us, the blues and our BITS program. Lamonica Beverage has pledged financial
support at the Gold Level and that is a very welcomed pledge. In kind services for media have pledged support– Cumulus Broadcasting/The Eagle, and WNIJ 89.5 are on board. EA Rollins Design has graciously donated graphic arts services. We have approached many organizations and await their support. We also have exceeded the $2,000 support drive goal on Kickstarter.com (part of the $4,000 overall goal).
We have contacted many bands and have been approached by dozens of others. Our lineup will be solid and impressive once finalized! Contact Steve Jones for more info, or to pledge support at 779-537-4006 or via email at email@example.com.
Inside this issue: News Music Reviews Playlist, Shows Membership Application Upcoming Events
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Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
Music Reviews Cell Phone Man Willie Buck Delmark Records Www.delmark.com 17 tracks/59:31 Veteran singer Willie Buck adds another chapter to the resurgence of his career with a recording that builds on the momentum generated by his 2010 release on Delmark Records, The Life I Love. His latest mixes seven original songs with a variety of covers that include five written by Buck's greatest influence, the legendary Muddy Waters. After raising his family and supporting them primarily as an auto mechanic, Buck is ready to share his talents with a wider audience. He did make an occasional club appearance over the last three decades but only the most die-hard blues fans had ever heard of him, let alone actually heard him singing live or on record. If it is true that we are judged by the company we keep, Buck scores high marks for the outstanding group of musicians that help him out on this project. Every one of them is well-versed in the traditional Chicago electric style, starting with the twin guitars of Rockin' Johnny Burgin (who coproduced the disc with Delmark’s Steve Wagner) and Rick Kreher (who played in Muddy Waters’ band). Barrelhouse Chuck Goering studied with all of the great Chicago blues piano players and his playing testifies to the fact that he learned his lessons well. The rhythm section of John Sefner on bass and Steve Bass on drums is rock-solid. Bharath Rajakumar and Martin Lang may not be names that spring to mind when you think about harp players, but both offer proof that they deserve wider recognition. Buck's voice rings out loud and clear throughout the disc -- gritty one moment before slipping into a soulful lament the next. His feelings of resignation are apparent on the opener, “Doin' Good and Bad at the Same Time” while the title track finds him attempting to incorporate modern technology in his pursuit of a love interest. Other originals like “I Want My Baby” and “Two Women Talking” find Buck applying new lyrics to familiar blues progressions. He sings with unerring frankness on the first tune while Barrelhouse Chuck's hands dance across the keyboard. The
second number finds Lang and Goering weaving together rich fills behind Buck's powerful voice. The longest cut, “Strange Woman” is the first of the Muddy Water's tunes that the band tackles. Buck adopts some of his mentor's vocal qualities, Rajakumar wails on his harp and Burgin impresses with his distinctive guitar playing. Goering’s spirited efforts on “Going Down Main Street” are another highlight, followed by Buck's emotionally-charged rendition of “Streamline Woman”. Burgin switches to acoustic guitar for a stripped-down version of “Two Trains Running” that keeps the focus on Buck's raw voice. A second acoustic track, “I Wanna Talk to My Baby”, is in a similar vein with another potent effort from the singer. The disc closes on a high note as once again the band unites as a tight ensemble behind Buck for a hearty run-through of “Blow Wind Blow”. Add this one to recent recordings from Mud Morganfield and Taildragger that show there is still plenty of life left in the old-school styles, especially when the music is entrusted to musicians with a deep love of the roots. Willie Buck understands because he was there back in the 1950s, experiencing the power of Muddy Waters, and other pioneers, live in the flesh. He honors their legacy with this unembellished update that never strays from the traditional sound – and is well worth a listen. Reviewed by Mark Thompson Blues Beyond the Borders Live In Istanbul Mitch Woods VizzTone Label Group www.vizztone.com/ artists/mitch-woods 21 Tracks Mitch Woods and Rocket 88s have delivered music that transcends cultural boundaries as they embarked on their recent five week trip to the Republic of Turkey. Blues Beyond Borders–Live In Istanbul, resulted from a live recording at the Efes Blues Festival, October, 2010. The Vizztone label made the CD/DVD combo possible for release, selecting this memorable show, which was one of
twenty-six shows in twenty cities over this five-week period. Mitch Woods, the New Orleans style boogie woogie piano man from California, with his booming vocals and all-star band, keep the crowd entertained with a retrospective collection of Mitch Woods classics and cover songs from a vault of treasures. The Rocket 88′s absolutely radiate with Amadee Castenell on sax and background vocals, Cornell Williams on bass and vocals, Adam Gabriel on guitar and background vocals, and Larry Vann on drums. The CD/DVD combo share Mitch Woods tunes "Solid Gold Cadillac," "Mojo Mambo," "Boogie Woogie Bar-B-Q" "Queen Bee," and "Long Lean & Lanky." Other common cover songs include "I Got A New Car" written by Erin "Big Boy" Groves, Jr., "What Can I Do" by Roy Milton, Rene Leon's "Crawfishin'," the Henry Glover and Fred Weismental tune "Down Boy Down," the Eddie Boyd and Willie Dixon classic "Third Degree," Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88," Roy Byrd's "In The Night/Lambaya Puf De" (an American and Turkish tune combined), and the closing track, the old time boogie woogie classic "House Of Blue Lights" written by Don Raye and Freddie Slack. The DVD includes videos of their journey, exploring the Republic of Turkey, the culture, adventures on the road with the Kenny Neal band, Turkish Independence Day at Izmir, introduction of the Pozitif Crew, and a slide show of the scenes from Turkey. Mitch Woods remarks about the reception they received throughout the country. The Istanbul concert was filled with predominantly young college age fans. With Wood's charisma, he brought the house down during the concert. Founded in 1989, Pozitif, based in Istanbul, Turkey, is an independent leader in music dedicated to bringing a wide range of music to audiences with the following mission statement: "changing the way people perceive life through music." Judging from the response of the audience, this mission statement was met. Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88s are truly ambassadors of the blues. This tour really brought the two countries together using the common tread of music, proving the real emotional power of the blues. Review by Rick Davis
January-February 2013 Live Blues Protected By Smith & Wilson Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Roger “Hurricane” Wilson Bluestrom Records www.hurricanewilson.com 12 tracks/66:23 “Live Blues Protected By Smith & Wilson” is a read deal acoustic blues CD featuring two outstanding blues artist. The late Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, long time drummer for the Muddy Waters Band, plays blues harmonica as well as giving us his vocal take on blues tunes that we all know. Joining him on this live show recording is Roger “Hurricane” Wilson. Roger is a very proficient finger picking guitar player as well as being very capable of carry out vocal duties on several tunes. Both musicians on this CD write very interesting and heartfelt lyrics on several tracks also. The 12 tracks on this recording are a mix of Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters and Slim Harpo tunes as well as Smith and Wilson songs. There is something for everyone mixed into this CD. These songs all feature both artists doing their best blues vocally and instrumentally. Opening the set with Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Eyesight To The Blind”, “Big Eyes” blows solid blues harp with great feeling and timing as well as inserting his own style to honor previous masters of the harmonica. His vocals also have their own qualities which have that certain roughness and grittiness that we want to hear with the blues. Roger shuffles along with his guitar picking his way down the blues highway with Willie. This is an ear opening tune that takes us into the world of real acoustic blues. Willie’s “Born In Arkansas” is an upbeat tune with more awesome harmonica playing which shows a different dimension of his harp style. Willie states, “I was born in Arkansas, raised on a country farm and had to work my way up North to make good.” This is the blues. Wilson also plays some strong finger picking guitar for us. “You Do Your Job” is a fun tongue in cheek song written by Roger Wilson. He states that he has been doing his job for a long time and that I don’t tell you how to do yours, so don’t tell me how to do mine.”Big Eyes” chugs along on harp as Roger is picking his guitar. The harmonica solos on this track are very interesting as well as unique. This is a real strong tune on the CD. A favorite track on this recording is “Dreamin’” which is an instrumental featuring Willie’s chromatic har-
Page 3 monica talent. This is a real deep slow blues number played with strong emotion and great tone as well as timing. This is a track for you harp fans to listen to. “Hurricane” rides along on this one on his guitar paving the way for Big Eyes’ blues. This is really a strong tune for the CD. With tunes such as “Scratch My Back”, “Can’t Be Satisfied”, and “Long Distance Call” included on the play list as well as tunes from both Wilson and Smith this is a CD to be listened to over and over. Both of these blues artists brought their own take and feelings to all of these tunes making them stand out even more. For acoustic blues fans and blues fans not really familiar with them, “Live Blues Protected By Smith & Wilson” is a powerful recording to listen to. This live show is truly a hit and a great tribute to Willie Big Eyes” Smith. Thanks to Roger “Hurricane” Smith for putting this recording together and preserving it for all of us blues fans. www.cdbaby or www.hurricanewilson for CD. Reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis The Road To Mississippi J.P. Reali Reali Records www.jpreali.com 12 tracks/35:29 J.P. Reali is an outstanding example of a very talented resonator slide guitar blues artist. For over 30 years he has shaped and nurtured his music while playing several genres of music. During this period he also developed his vocal skill as well as a strong lyric writing ability. He has won several music honors over the years also. He was the winner of the DC Blues Society’s Battle of the Bands category in both 2010 and 2011. “The Road To Mississippi” is Reali’s third blues album to be released. All of the tracks on the CD were written by J.P. except for “Jefferson Lament” penned by Chris Reali and “The Book Or The Bottle” by J.P. and Chris. All of these songs have good lyrics in them. Joining Reali on this recording are Pete Regusa playing drums on 2 tracks, John Previtti on upright bass on 1 track and Mark Wenner (Nighthawks) playing harp on 4 tracks. Other than these musicians Realli does a fine job as a solo blues artist for the rest of the CD. “Jefferson Lament” quickly lets us know that we are about to hear some serious country acoustic blues. Realli gives us a large dose of powerful resonator guitar playing as he does a great job on vocals while adding a thought provoking field
holler for the lyrics. There is some swell call and response with the vocals and guitar here. “Time to get your boots on, it’s time for work” starts the tale of the workers enduring tough times in the fields. J.P. seems to bring this tale to life for us as he performs. Chris Realli did a fine job writing this tune. It is refreshing to hear someone play the really old style acoustic blues as well and heartfelt as well as J.P. Realli does. This style of playing seems to be a dying form of the blues. We should not be willing to let it be hidden away or just disappear. This is where the blues came from. Besides the serious blues that Reali takes us to, there is also a lighter side of the blues from him. With tune such as “Biscuit Baking Mama”, featuring Mark Wenner on harp, and “Cold Steel Blues” we are in a happier place of blues. These tunes definitely show a good, free and loose side of Reali’s music style. You may want to take time to listen both his finger picking and slide work on the resonator guitar. This is some really good stuff. “The Road To Mississippi” is easy to listen to, memorable and grabs at our senses as to what the blues are all about. Except for the fact that the opening and closing instrumentals are just a short tease of J.P.’s guitar playing and should have great stand alone tracks on the CD, there is nothing bad about “The Road To Mississippi.” Being only about 36 minutes in length we are left hanging wanting more J.P Reali’s blues. Reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey) Mighty Sam McClain City Hall Records www.mightysam.com 14 tracks/48:27 When he first came to prominence in the 60's, Mighty Sam McClain joined a long line of talented soul and blues singers like Solomon Burke and Bobby “Blue” Bland. He scored a major hit with a cover of Patsy Cline's “Sweet Dreams” along with several records that made a dent in the charts. But McClain wasn't able to keep things rolling along and he eventually slid into a hand-to-mouth, homeless existence until the Neville Brothers reached out a helping hand and started McClain on the road recovery. Since 192, the singer has released more than a dozen recordings that consistently garnered effusive critical praise and numerous blues award nominations.
Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
Page 4 His latest project continues the winning combination of McClain's passionate vocals complimented by his razor-sharp band that excels at a variety of styles. The band's leader, guitarist Pat Herlehy, wrote all of the arrangements and collaborated on the horn charts with sax player Scott Shetler. Herlehy is a multi-talented musician as witnessed by his contributions on tenor sax, flute, Clavinet, Hammond B-3, and percussion. He also cowrote all but one song with McClain. The other band members include Chad Owen on bass, Rick Page on drums, Joe Deleault on keyboards, Russell Jewell on trombone and Grayson Farmer on trumpet. McClain has always had a creative vision that allows him to concoct engrossing frameworks for his on-going exploration of of the familiar themes of love, loss, God and maintaining a caring spirit. The funky “Rock My Soul” finds McClain excitedly expounding about his new love interest. Herlehy's taut guitar opens “Stand Up” over a strong horn chart before McClain issues to rousing proclamation for everyone to reach out a helping hand. “Wake Up Call” centers on the need to get things right before God's return. As you listen, notice the expert phrasing McClain utilizes as he easily switches from a sweet plea to a gritty shout without missing a beat. Other highlights include the riveting ballad, “Tears”, with McClain making a stark plea for forgiveness with special guest Conchetta on backing vocals and “Real Thing”, which McClain wrote with Allen Toussaint that is sparked by some muscular sax from Shetler. The title song is potent admission that a measured approach is best in all things. Equally fine is the swaying rhythm on “I Wish You Well” and McClain's sorrowful confession regarding the end of a relationship on “ Missing You”. Even a generic number like “Dance” will have you up and moving in short order as the band sets up an infectious groove. Mighty Sam has not lost a thing over the years. He remains perhaps the finest living soul singer from a by-gone era. And don't be put off by the religious references. McClain is one of those vocalists that could sing the phone book and make it exciting. With the support of his fine cast of backing musicians, he has fashioned another in a long line of soul/blues gems. Definitely recommended!
artists like Sue Foley and JW-Jones have become prominent figures connected with the blues scene. Flying under the radar since 1997, the Southern Ontario group Corey Lueck and The Smoke Wagon Blues Band has released their third CD It Ain’t Easy. Of the 15 tracks, Corey has co-written all but one with the guitarist Mike Stubbs. The cover song on the CD is the slow blues tune "Ain't No Use" by Rudy Stevenson, featuring a superb piano performance from Jesse O'Brien and equally good guitar riffs from Mike Stubbs. The rest of the songs are all original tunes played by a seasoned group of blues veterans. Corey's vocals have that gritty, smoky, raw sound of Joe Cocker or Murali Coryell. The steady rollin' tune "Devil Got My Woman," the funky original "Drinking Hard And Steady," and New Orleans tempered song "Tongue Tied" feature superb cameo performances on saxophone by Gordon Aeichele. Aeichele also has solo saxophone spots with a complete horn section background on "Fine Furred Momma." "Where Did I Go Wrong" is a special treat, featuring the sweet vocals of Robin Banks complimenting the entire band. Guitar solos, keyboards, harp, in addition to the full horn section of the Kingston St. Quartet, make "Down Hearted Blues" one of the standouts on the album. Lueck blends both vocals and harp into a slow, symphonic background on the tune "Hold On To You." "Josephine" is a blend of funk, with the ambience of the delta created with a dobro guitar from Mike Stubbs. The tongue-in-cheek "Hen House Hopping" is a little more on the lighter, humorous side. "That Voodoo" will find you deep in bayou, this time with Robin Banks and Corey Lueck sharing the vocals on this swamp blues track. The title track "It Ain't Easy," "Some Other Fool," and "Damaged Time" are a slower tunes with smoother vocals about a relationship in the past. It Ain’t Easy concludes with a very roots sounding tune with Mike Stubbs again on the dobro guitar and Corey wailing on his harmonica, echoing blues artists Moreland and Arbuckle. After listening to this CD, you will find Corey Lueck to be a very accomplished harp player with a perfect, whiskey soaked blues voice. It offers a multitude of blues styles created by an all-star cast of Canadian artists.
Reviewed by Mark Thompson
types of venues including bars, festivals, concert halls and even Attica prison. Willie's music can also be heard on blues radio stations in Europe, Australia, Argentina, South Africa and back to Buffalo N.Y. At this time “Thirteen” is on the NY Roots Music (blues) list at #10 and the Roots Music Report at # 34. Willie infuses roots, country and some reggae - Cajun in with his blues. Besides playing dobro and guitar on the recording we are also treated to the different sounds off a kalimba and acarina. Performing along with May on “Thirteen” are Doug Yeomans on guitar, Evan Laedke with piano and organ, Jim Whitford playing upright bass and Josh Meyers and Randy Bolam sharing the drum tracks. The mix of sound on the CD is also enriched by the addition of Kevin Espinosa playing harmonica, Leeron Zydeco's accordion and several background singers. All of this group together make for a strong lineup on this CD. Yes, we have a lot to listen to and for with “Thirteen”. The cover art work may just scare the heck out of you if you think about it. You can just take it for what it is or read what you feel like into it. With tunes such as “”Dealin' with the Devil”, “Devil's Daughter” and “I'm a Tragedy” the mind may wander freely on the subject. “Dealin' with the Devil” is a strong example of Willie's fine dobro playing ability. This track features some really powerful sounds from the instrument and is good to listen to. May's has a rough, unpolished, gritty nature in his vocals (not being derogatory here) that just enhances the quality of his blues. He does sing with much emotion and feelings for the lyrics that he has written. He tells us that “you can't outrun the devil” and telling the devil that you've got Heaven on your side. This tune is a story that we should listen to. “Smile” takes us to a more upbeat place with a down south Cajun type tune. Infused into the lyrics we hear Willie playing electric guitar featuring a real strong solo. This is another solid track from “Thirteen”. “I'm a Tragedy” is a bluesy, rock almost Rollin' Stone type tune. “Take a look at me. I'm a tragedy”, Take a good look, I was once like you” tells us of the trials of life to look out for. Willie seems to have taken the time and effort to write lyrics with meaning and the strength to make us listen to them. Every track on this CD is different, easy to listen to and make one feel like you are on a musical adventure.
Review by Rick Davis It Ain't Easy Corey Lueck and the Smoke Wagon Blues Band Self released thesmokewagonbluesband.bandzoogle.com 15 Tracks Canada produces some of the finest blues artists in the blues world. Names like Colin James, Powder Blues, Jeff Healy, The Downchild Blues Band, and contemporary
Thirteen Willie May Booman Records www.williemaymusic.com 10 tracks/40:44 Willie May's new CD, “Thirteen”, is a very intriguing recording. It is the 13th CD to be released by this very talented guitarist, singer, song writer and performer. Over the years he has played at many
Willie May and his recording, “Thirteen”, are both unique and interesting. May's is a talented guitarist, writer and singer who has place his heart and feelings into his music. He seems to be willing to venture anywhere to tell his stories with his music. “Thirteen” may go in many directions as far as being an all out blues recording but it still remains as a fine example of good music to listen to. Reviewed by Harmonica Joe
January-February 2013 Right Here Right Now Sunny Crownover Blue Dutchess Records https:// www.facebook.com/ pages/L-Wood-JoyTrio/112686259855 11 Tracks Sunny Crownover's first experience singing the blues started in Dallas-Fort Worth area working in clubs and coffeehouses. After moving to Austin in high school, she sang with Austin's own Van Wilks, a blues-rock native, as well as other blues and R&B groups in Austin. After moving to New England, she began singing with the Boston blues group 2120 South Michigan Avenue. Duke Robillard first heard her voice at a Harvard University show where he was a guest and decided she was the singer he was looking for to complete the projects that he titled Introducing Sunny and Her Joy Boys, Stomp! The Blues Tonight, and Tales from the Tiki Lounge. He was impressed with her ability to phrase like Etta James and still maintain her own unique voice quality. Sunny has a certain southern charm in her voice like many of Texas blues singers of the '70s and '80s. Sunny Crownover and Duke Robillard's latest project Right Here, Right Now is the 4th release that she has been involved with since 2009. This cast of all-stars includes Sunny on vocals, Duke Robillard on guitar, Bruce Bears on keyboards, Brad Hallen on bass, Mark Teixeira on drums, and a horn section that includes Doug Woolverton on trumpet, Mike Tucker on tenor sax, Doug James on baritone sax, and Billy Novick on clarinet. Also included in this line-up, is guest musician Sugar Ray Norcia on harmonica. Once again Duke Robillard produced the album, which is really Sunny's debut CD as a roots blues singer. Right Here, Right Now is a collection of all original material with Sunny taking her musical career to the next level. Her distinctive vocals and the strong horn section are superb on the opening tune "Oh Yes I Will." Sunny's smooth, sultry, southern style vocals, along with Robillard's jazz guitar leads, make "One Woman Man" one of the album's best tunes. "Love Me Right" is the first traditional blues number to engage the expertise of Sugar Ray Norcia on harmonica. The title track "Right Here, Right Now" adds a little country flavor showing the versatility of Sunny's voice. The slow, steady blues tune "Roll Me Daddy" brings back Sugar Ray on harp. "Cook In Your Kitchen" is a boogiewoogie piano blues tune with strong guitar leads from Duke. "Warned" and "I Might Just Change My Mind" once again involves the full horn section blended with powerful vocals and Robillard's rich guitar licks. "Hi-Heels and Home Cookin'" travels south for a little Dixieland jazz. "Trust Your Lover" blends some boogie-woogie piano and slide guitar for the
Page 5 Elmore James fans. They conclude on the soulful side with the song "Can't Let Go." Right Here, Right Now is a culmination of the success that Sunny Crownover and Duke Robillard have shared on the first three projects. Hopefully, it is just a sample of what's to come in the future. Reviewed by Rick Davis Tired of Bluesmen Cryin' Tas Cru Crustee Tees Records www,tascru.com 11 Tracks At the age of nine, Tas Cru was exposed to the blues style of Howlin' Wolf through his uncle and father who had a strong interest for the blues legend and his unique vocals. He also listened to other bluesmen like Albert Collins, who to him was one of the best blues artists at phrasing. Tas is quoted as saying, "many musicians have an electrifying guitar stage presence, but an important part of what makes a great artist is their unique way of phrasing and Albert Collins was one of the best at phrasing." His latest release Tired of Bluesmen Cryin' was inspired from a statement made by a student who had attended one of the Blues In The Schools programs Tas had given. She said she was tired of bluesmen singing about what they had lost and that some of them probably deserved it. Impressed that a young student made such a significant observation, he decided to write the song as the title track of his new CD. The CD opens the title track "Tired of Bluesmen Cryin'," with Tas playing slide on his homemade Tejano Cigar Box guitar that he uses as a significant part of his live performances. With strong vocals paralleled to those of Jimmy Thackery, Tas changes guitars to a resonator on the slow, soulful tune "Changin' My Ways." He changes once again to deliver this time the slow love song "One More Time", with smooth guitar solos. The tempo picks up on "Road To Obsession" with a fiery guitar style and funky bass line. "Try, Oh I Try" is another slow blues tune about the sweet temptations of life on the road. The slide guitar and organ dominate the tune "That Lovin' Thang." According to Tas, he hears every word his baby says as heard in the original track "Every Word You Say." "Sure Do (want to fool around)" assures us he will be nobody's fool. He enlists the fine slide guitar of sideman Jeremy Walz, along with a smooth acoustic guitar groove throughout the original song "Storytime." "Heal My Misery" would be a good theme song for a travelin' bluesman and his trials and tribulations of life on the road. On the serious side, Tas pays tribute to the soldiers and families of the US Army's 10th Mountain Division in the final melancholy song "Dark Side Of The Mountain."
Tas Cru is quite the story teller as heard in his latest release Tired of Bluesmen Cryin'. The 11 original tunes are well written and the musicality is superb! You owe it to yourself add this CD to your collection. Reviewed by Rick Davis BoogieRollSwingJazz L Wood Joy Self released https:// www.facebook.com/ pages/L-Wood-JoyTrio/112686259855 10 Tracks The Danish trio L Wood Joy has been entertaining crowds in Denmark since 2005, when they met at The Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense, Denmark to form the trio. While studying at the academy, they found they all had a fond attraction to the music native to New Orleans from the 1930s to the 1970s. Since forming in 2005, this dynamic, energetic, young group has performed at both blues and jazz festivals in Denmark, developing a solid fan base. Since the release of their EP in 2008, there has been overwhelming response from their audiences to release a new album, resulting in their latest CD BoogieRollSwingJazz. This new release will give you a sample of their style and interpretation of music from that era in New Orleans. They have done a terrific job of researching jazz, rock, boogiewoogie, and swing from that time period. This extremely talented trio is fueled by Lasse Skov, delivering vocals and the boogiewoogie style piano, Jakob Riis on bass, and Morton LyngsĂ¸e on drums. Their latest release is a collection of five original songs and five classics. The CD opens with a superb original "Shake 'n Bake" bringing back Jerry Lee Lewis '50s style rock 'n' roll. L Wood Joy serves up some hot and spicy Bourbon Street jazz with their originals "Workin' So Hard" and "Where Did She Go." Next on the list of eclectic music is Bobby Troup's "Route 66" and "Big Chief" written by Earl King, giving you a taste of the Mardi Gras. The party continues with the danceable originals "Make You Feel Good," with blistering guitar solos from Perry StenbĂ¤ck and the boogie-woogie tune "Walking My Baby," delivering perfect vocal harmony. They pick up the pace with the Ray Charles classic "Mess Around" introducing Hans Mydtskov on tenor saxophone. They continue to strut Louisiana style with Allen Toussaint's (The Meters) "Hej Packy Way." L Wood Joy concludes their new release with their own arrangement of the Seymour Simons / Gerald Marks tune "All Of Me." BoogieRollSwingJazz will leave you both exhilarated and totally satisfied. This Danish group will entertain you with fantastic musicality and extraordinary vocals. Reviewed by Rick Davis
Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
Page 6 In Between Time Al Miller Chicago Blues Band Delmark Records www.delmark records.com 17 tracks/72:41 Al Miller’s, “In Between Time”, released by Delmark Records, was recorded in 1999 and originally released in 2000. Miller is an outstanding harmonica player, singer and guitarist who has been playing Chicago style blues since the 1960’s. In the past he has moved to California, returned to Chicago, left the music scene to raise a family then came back to the blues scene with the release of “Wild Card”. Then after several years with health problems he came back and recorded “In Between Time”. The play list for this project includes relatively lesser known tunes by BB King, Johnny Young, Eddie Taylor and Walter Jacobs. Also added to the list are 5 songs written by Miller which make this CD over 73 minutes of strong Chicago style blues. Miller has a large group of very talented musicians, that we are all aware of and embrace, joining him for this recording. “In Between Time” features Billy Flynn, Dave Specter, John Primer as well as Miller playing guitar. Harlan Terson takes on the job of bass player for most tracks while Barrelhouse Chuck and Ken Saydak are at the piano while Willie and Kenny Smith and Mike Schick share the drum rolls on different tracks. All this plus several other fine musicians just enhance Al Miller’s ability with the harmonica, guitar and vocals. This man presents his music with much feeling and a great feel for his love of the blues. “In Between Time” is a strong example of Miller’s tune writing and ability to sing some real slow Chicago blues. The lyrics tell us the possibilities of life that may come to us. Al states “In between times of sickness and in health, darkness and light, when shadows capture the night and when I don’t know right from wrong”. These are all examples that state that we all have a lot going on in our life. Miller on guitar along with Billy Flynn’s slide guitar is really a treat for the ears. Joe Filisko steps this tune up a notch by playing his style of electric harp while the addition of the piano (I do not know who plays here) really makes this tune a hit. Johnny Young’s tune, “ I Got It”, is a swell instrumental tune showcasing Miller on the harmonica. Al plays with strong tone and a feeling for the mood of the tune. Ken Saydak shows off his stuff on the piano as Billy Flynn solo’s away on the guitar. This track is like a full blown blues jam highlighting the massive talent of these musicians on “In Between Time”.
Al plays his great style of harp on the cover of Willie Dixon’s “Dead presidents”. With John Primer singing the vocals and the saxophones of Berry Winograd and John Brumbach plus Harlan Terson and Mike Schlick leading the way, Miller is allowed to treat the ears to a swell harmonica solo. Also, if you have never heard of a tune called “1839” by Elmore James you will enjoy listening to it. John Primer again sings the lyrics and play guitar while Miller stands out on the harp. This tune has it all as blues tunes go.
Combine ample guitar riffs, meaningful lyrics and skillful looping for a sound that will keep you interested and catching something new with each listen.
With 17 solid tracks and almost 74 minutes of awesome Chicago style blues on “In Between Time” it is very easy to recommend that you take the time to check out the music of Al Miller and the Chicago Blues Band. Miller does not allow himself to change the blues to fit into something other than what they should be. He and the band are a true example of what the Chicago blues are.
Jason Vivone wrote and produced this CD. Considered one of the most respected musicians in Kansas City, MO, his story-telling lyrics, slide guitar pickin' and lilting harp provide the lead for The Billy Bats, comprised of Paula Crawford (guitar, vocals), Imani Glasgow (percussion, vocals), Matt Bustamante (drums)(any relation to Sergio Bustamante, the famous Mexican sculptor and jewelry designer?) and Ben Hoppes (banjo, vocals).
Reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis I Love Hate You Claude Hay www.claudehay.com.au 2012 on 128 Records 12 tracks/41:19 All tracks written by Claude Hay except for Lennon & McCartney's "Come Together" All vocals and instruments by Claude Hay except bass and drums on "Turn it Up", drums on "Good Times" and cello on "Close".
Reviewed by Diane Mandell Lather, Rinse, Repeat Jason Vivone & The Billy Bats www.billybats.com 2012 self-produced 9 tracks/36:52
This CD kept me toe-tapping and dancing through several tracks like "The Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria" and "Do the Nod". Melancholy lyrics in "Photograph" tell the story of a man's love interest that never materialized beyond a photograph in his wallet. "Baby Fat" pays respectful homage to plus-size girls. The woeful and yearning harp in the last track, "Medusa Blues", will tug at your blues strings. Add several spoonfuls of country rockabilly for an album worth a listen. Reviewed by Diane Mandell
Claude Hay's third studio album is refreshingly different rocking blues. Hailing from New South Wales, Australia, he uses "looping pedals" (see his demo on You Tube) to layer his slide guitar, bass, sitar and electronic drums and create his band sound. In addition to his instrumental and looping prowess, he is a DIY artist, having built his double-necked guitar "Betty" from a kitchen counter and cigar box guitar "Stella" from a baking sheet. In addition, he's built his dome home replete with recording studio and customized his tour van. Claude's lyrics are about real life things he loves and hates. The title track, "I Love Hate You" is about the mixed emotions he feels. "Good Times" and "Blues Train" are about some fav blues venues. "Stone Face" describes his frustration with retail clerks who care nothing of customer service or the products they sell but "just want your money now".
Diamonds and Stones Jake Lear www.jakelear.com 2012 self produced 10 tracks Jake Lear wrote all tracks except John Lee Hooker's "Jack o' Diamonds" and Junior Wells' "Work, Work, Work". This is the second full-length release for this Vermont native driving his blues sounds in Memphis clubs. Complementing Jake's guitar and vocals is Roy Cunningham on drums and Carlos Arias on bass. Jake's lyrics are reminiscent of Dylan-esque story-telling while the guitar in tracks like "Strange Things" and "Down by the River" will remind you of Stevie Ray Vaughn. Keeping your feet from dancing to Boogie Times" may not be possible. Two thumbs up for this disc. Reviewed by Diane Mandell
January-February 2013 Fourteen Stories Red Lotus Revue Self-Released redlotusrevue.com 14 Tracks Early fifties Chicago blues has been resurrected again via the west coast. Echoing legends like Sonny Boy Williamson II, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, Howlin' Wolf, Eddie Taylor, Jimmy Reed, Robert Nighthawk, Magic Sam, and B.B. King, the San Diego blues group Red Lotus Revue has released their debut album Fourteen Stories. Rising from the ashes of the San Diego blues band West of Memphis, formed in 1999, co-founder Karl Cabbage formed Red Lotus Revue after returning with West of Memphis from competition at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in early 2010. Along with guitarist Jimmy Zollo, a guitarist with blues artists like Rod Piazza, and Chris James and Patrick Rynn just to name a few, they were able to launch Red Lotus Revue as a new west coast sensation. Cabbage who is the vocalist-harmonica player for both groups hails from Chicago, where he started playing harmonica at the age of 16. As he continued, he learned harmonica riffs of mid-century legends such as Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson. Jimmy Zollo, a Revere, Massachusetts native, learned guitar after listening to greats like Room Full of Blues, Johnny Winter, T-Bone Walker, and Howlin' Wolf. Pete Fazzini, also a Chicago native, started playing guitar at the age of 13. He was infatuated with the raw slide guitar of Robert Nighthawk and Muddy Waters, the vocals of Howlin' Wolf, and the extraordinary harmonica ability of Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson. Red Lotus Revue's drummer Kurt Kalker, also a Chicago transplant, has worked with country and blues artists too numerous to mention. He outlines the goal of the blues group as "Keeping this music alive is our goal, and bringing it to the people is what we intend to do." The group got it's name from their first gig at Red Lotus Society in downtown San Diego. Their self-produced CD Fourteen Stories consists of 7 covers and 7 originals written by Cabbage and Zollo. The opening original song "Suzanne," features a fat tone harmonica and Howlin' Wolf style vocals. It's followed by the Calvin Carter tune "Ain't Got You," made famous by numer-
Page 7 ous blues artists like The Yardbirds and Jimmy Reed. They do a superb job on their arrangement of the Otis "Big Smokie" Smothers tune "Drinkin' Muddy Water." The Deep South and the delta blues have a large impact on their original "Pass This Way." The guitars and bass create a lively groove blended seamlessly with Cabbage on harmonica for the Johnny Shines song "Please Don't." Cabbage nails Sonny Boy Williamson's harmonica style on the Williamson's cover "Key To Your Door." The original "Homebody" almost has a west coast blues sound with vocals and harp close to Lester Butler of the Red Devils. The original shuffle "Barkin'" also parallels Sunny Boy's harp style. The Johnny Shines tune "Fish Tail" could be a page right out of Robert Johnson's songbook. Jimmy Reed fans will appreciate the Reed classic "Honest I do." The original tune "River" follows a similar melody to Hambone Willie Newbern's "Rolling and Tumbling," featuring great opening slide guitar and harp riffs. The original song "Smoker" reminds me of the '50s R&B classics. If you are a Howlin' Wolf fan, you will be impressed with their version of Burnett's "You Can't Be Beat (Go To Sleep)." The closing original tune "Santee" is a take off of Robert Johnson's "They Are Red Hot." This quartet brings a lot of experience to the blues world with heavy Chicago blues influence that you will want to hear on this their debut album. They work extremely well together, much like a blues group that has been assembled for many years. There has been an abundance of high quality blues streaming from the west coast lately! It is turning into a contemporary blues Mecca. Review by Rick Davis Live and Untapped Stacy Jones Band EZ Money Records Www.stacyjones band.com 11 Tracks Stacy Jones got her start in music playing piano at the age of four. From there, she began playing the guitar at seven and at eight she began performing with her father, Tom Jones in Seattle, Washington. At fourteen she worked with a local group and by sixteen she was learning harmonica. She became a regular performer at The Scarlet Tree blues jams where she worked with other notable blues artists including Mark Dufresnes from Roomful of Blues. She later worked with The Seattle Blues Band and Highway 99 Blues All-
Stars. Her first band, Stacy Jones And The Wolf Tones was formed in 2007 releasing their debut CD Red Dirt Road. The band evolved into the Stacy Jones Band and has since released Live at the Triple Door EP in 2009," Long Time Comin' in 2010 and the 2012 studio album No Need to Spell it Out. Also released in August of 2012 is their latest CD Live And Untapped, featuring the current line-up of Stacy Jones on vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar, and harmonica, Jeff Menteer on guitar and vocals, Tom Jones on bass, and Rick Bowen on drums. The live CD is superb collection of five cover songs and six original tunes. They begin with a lively 7:46 rendition of T -Bone Walker's "T-Bone Shuffle" with Stacy and Jeff Menteer trading riffs on harmonica and guitar after Stacy takes charge on her opening harp solo. "Heavy Water", one of their studio tunes written by Rick Bowen, would be a great flip side to The Commitments "Take Me To The River." It really shows just how powerful Stacy's vocals carry through the audience. "Back Again," is a hard-drivin' song by Jeff Menteer, with Stacy and Jeff combining efforts on strong vocals. B.B. King's "You Upset Me" takes a different direction with Jeff's fiery guitar licks and Stacy delivering stellar keyboard solos. Tom Jones takes center stage on bass with the band's interpretation of The Rolling Stones classic "Miss You." You owe it to yourself to hear the versatility of Stacy's voice both on this song and the next cover song, the Ellington Jordon & Billy Foster classic "I'd Rather Go Blind." Jeff Menteer displays his guitar prowess on two of his tunes "You Belong To Me" and "Waitin' On Love." The set also includes another tune penned by Menteer, "I Feel Like Leavin,'" reminiscent of a Texas blues number echoing from the confines of Antone's. The last original tune, "Glory Bound," is this time written and sung by Stacy Jones applying her powerful, impassioned vocals. She also delivers those explosive vocals along with acoustic guitar on the Jackson, Miner, Smith hit (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher, done originally by the late great Jackie Wilson. This live performance reflects a force to be recognized in the blues world. Hopefully they will be performing soon in a location close enough for everyone to enjoy. Don't let The Stacy Jones Band and Live and Untapped get away! Review by Rick Davis
Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
A True Friend (Is Hard To Find) Ori Naftaly Self produced www.orinaftaly.com 10 tracks/48:11
and singers led by Ori Naftaly playing the blues in the right way. Listen to this one and pay attention and you will see that the blues are still alive for young rising stars.
Ori Naftaly, a guitarist and composer from Israel, has been playing guitar since the age of 5. He has studied various genres of music which included jazz, classical and blues. Now the Ori Naftaly Band has released a true blues CD. With the release of “A True Friend (Is Hard To Find) they hope to let the blues fans know who they are and the blues that they perform. In October 2012 the band won the Israeli Blues Challenge and will be in Memphis for the International Blues Challenge to promote their new CD.
Self Made Man Mike Wheeler www.mikewheeler band.com Delmark Records 13 tracks/66:33
The band for this CD features Ori Naftaly on lead guitar, Eran Szendri on bass, Ofir Ventura blowing harp, drummers Yam Regev and Shoni Dadon sharing the drum work and keyboardist Kfir Tzairi and Erez Ofer. Also included in this mix of fine musicians are Yiftach Mandelbaum on sax, Dor Nagar on slide guitar and harmonica. Added to this are no less than six singers which make it tough to determine which one is doing a great job of singing the lyrics. You may go to www.orinaftaly.com to check out all the artist. This is really a great lineup of blues artist for this CD. The opening track, “Devil Red Blues”, was written by Naftaly and Nagar. This song starts out with Dor Nagar laying down some really bluesy harp as Naftaly plays some way down south acoustic guitar. Nagar’s vocals sound authentic as he sings out his lyrics his feelings and power. This is a solid blues tune that makes you want to listen to the rest of the blues coming at you. On “Dust My Broom” we get a large dose of Ori’s guitar solo talent along with a large helping of some strong keyboard from Erez Ofer. The harmonica and vocals from Nagar again are a treat to the ears. With tunes such as “She’s 19 Years Old”, “Help Me’, “It’s A Man’s World” and Koko Taylor’s “I’m A Woman” we become aware of the bands talent and feelings for the traditional blues. This band does a great job presenting these tunes with their own style. The 10 songs on this CD are a strong indication that the Ori Naftaly Band studied the blues of past masters and want to be a future force keeping the blues alive. It would not be right to look at Ori Naftaly’s “A True Friend (Is Hard To Find) as a band from Israel trying to play the blues. This recording should be listened to first and then find out who and where the musicians are and came from. This CD showcases a very talented and dedicated group of musicians
Reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis
“Self Made Man”, released by Delmark Records, features outstanding blues guitarist Mike Wheeler. He has been on the Chicago blues trail for over 30 years. He has toured and recorded with Cadillac Dave, Big James and Peaches Staten just to name a few. Having been the leader of his own band for 10 years has lead to the production of this CD. Wheeler surrounds himself with a very strong and dedicated band which features multi genre keyboardist Brian James, Larry Williams playing straight forward blues bass and Cleo Cole doing a strong job on solid Chicago style blues drums. Also added to the lineup is Omar Coleman bringing his own awesome harp playing into the mix on 3 tracks. All of the songs on “Self Made Man” were written by Wheeler, Williams, Cole and Vollriede except “I’m Missing You” penned by Wheeler and “Let Me Love You” by Willie Dixon. These are all varied and well done tunes. Wheeler’s songs do not just linger on the old style drag down depressing blues that we all know and respect. He incorporates more current upbeat subjects that are relevant today and get the attention of the next generation of blue fans also. We need this style to keep the blues alive and to grow. Opening this recording is “Here I Am” which right from the start showcases the whole band and sets the mood for the rest of the CD. Brian James leads us into the song with his solid keyboard playing as the bass from Williams and Cleo Cole’s drum beat all lead the way letting Wheeler walk in with his guitar skills. Mike is one of the most tasteful smooth players as he takes his time and puts feeling and depth into every note that he plays. His solo on this song is outstanding and shows us that he has learned to play the blues. Mike’s vocals feature that strong blues tone as well as allowing us to hear and understand all of the lyrics. He is very easy to listen to and enjoy the blues stories told. Also this track features Brian James with his really outstanding keyboard work. The title tune, “Self Made Man’, opens with a hard charging drum line from Cleo Cole along with a searing guitar lead from Wheeler. This is a strong statement as to the strength of this tune. Omar Coleman jumps
in with strong harmonica background playing. This is all good stuff for the ears. “I’m a self made man and made myself get the blues” is a great line that takes us to the story of a love gone bad with no one to blame but himself and he just as well blow off his job as well. This is really a story of the blues. Wheeler’s guitar solo is also one of those top notch one’s that just twist your ear to get the full effect from it. Mike Wheeler’s “Self Made Man is filled with one hour of real Chicago blues relevant to our times and performed by a band that is really outstanding. Mike Wheeler is a blues artist that plays guitar, sings and writes lyrics with a deep passion for the blues. Delmark Records seems to have the skills to find and record blues artist that we need to keep genre moving forward and alive. Mike Wheeler and “Self Made Man” are fine examples of this. Reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis 25 Years of Rock n’ Roll The Bopcats Eller Soul Music www.bopcats.com 17 tracks/53:31 Starting to review a CD with a title such as “The Bopcats 25 Years of Rock n’ Roll” is tough to do when doing it for a blues society. The road for the blues has been a long Hell hound journey so here it is. The Bopcats have been playing their type of music together for over 25 years. Lindy Farin is featured on guitar and vocals, John and Gary Farin share keyboard duties with several different bas players, drummers and horn players over the years. Along with this Lindy and Gary also write lyrics for their music. The 17 tracks on this CD are a collection of recordings made by the Bopcats over the past 25 years. This group hits upon rock-abilly, rock & roll, surfer sound and blues. All in all it is a fun recording to listen to. The tune reaching into the genre of the blues are “Ventilator Blues”, written by JaggerRichards, “Wheels Of Mine” a rock-blues boogie type tune and “Life Of Crime”. “Life Of Crime, written by Lindy Farin, is probably the standout track from this CD. TheBopcats are truly fine musicians and song writers for the type of music that they write and perform. They seem to have stood up to the test of time. As stated before, “The Bopcats 25 Years of Rock n’ Roll” is not a straight forward blues recording. It is a strong example of a good band showcasing the rock a billy, rock and roll music that they have been performing over the past 25 years. This form of music still evolved from the blues in a way somehow. Take the time to check out “The Bopcats 25 Years of Rock n’ Roll.” Reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis
Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter Waiting For The World to End Dave Widow and the Line Up Self released www,davewidow.com 14 tracks Dave Widow: guitar player, vocalist and song writer. I’d never heard of him; that’s not abnormal in my position. I get a lot of CDs done by folks I’ve not heard of. Sometimes I am surprised, both good and bad. Well, here in this CD I was mostly surprised in a good way. Dave Widow admittedly is not a household name. Hailing from Cincinnati and now from L.A., Widow blends blues, soul, funk, and rock. He’s got a good lineup of L.A. Area musicians backing him up, for the most part being Reggie McBride on bass, Gary Mallaber on drums, Mike Finnigan on organ and piano (along with David Morgan on piano, too), and a host of backing vocalists and other musicians picking up a track here and there. He starts this set with a down tempo track called “Bluesman” and follows it with three more slow to mid tempo cuts. Good songs, but he doesn't let it all hang out until track five, “Baby Wants to Rock.” As you continue to listen you see that’s not his scene. The styles change, but rocking out is not the norm here. Two other tracks really can be said to be truly up tempo. But while that is perhaps a small complaint, the mid and down tempo stuff has feeling, depth, really decent lyrics and varies in style from track to track. The closer “Sweet Janine” is a pretty little love ballad. The title track is funky, sarcastic and cool He says, “I’m not afraid of Jesus, I’m afraid of germs” and goes on about how dumb society can be. Sadly, one has to agree with his assessments if you watch the news. “Leave a Piece of Me” opens like a Motown cut, with a catchy intro. “Piss You Off” is a deep blues, with a nice guitar solo; this demonstrates Dave’s feeling for the genre. He growls out about the woman who doesn't treat him right in an updated blues on a subject we all know well. “Nothin’ On You” is another nice funky cut, with a big chorus of backing vocalists on the chorus and some wicked keys. He even goes acoustic on “Picture of You,” somewhat folky and country. It leads into “Second Hand Love,” a big, bold statement of another not-so-hot relationship. It’s my favorite track, too.
Page 9 The No Refund Band The No Refund Band Self released www.norefundband.com 12 tracks
Still Live Colin Linden Yellow Dog Records www.colinlinden.com 12 tracks
Never judge a book (or a CD) by its’ cover. I saw this, the band’s name surrounded by a guitar body in a neon sign look on a black background. Not too way out, not big budget. There’s some familiar covers listed, some original stuff. I admit I underestimated this from the start. I threw it in the CD player and was immediately wooed by Ricky Jackson’s vocals. He’s got a style that grabs you– real, authentic, emotive. Great pipes. And then you ad he and Mike Crownover on guitar, Rik Robertson on bass, Walter Cross on drums and a horn section of diamond Juim Brady and Anthony Terry, Travis Doyle on B3, Randy Whal on piano, James Metcalf o n congas, Tyson Sheth on percussion, and Max Dyer and Aleph Yonker on strings and you have an amazing, big sound.
This is Colin Linden’s twelfth solo album, He’s appeared on somewhere around 350 albums. He’s produced over 100 albums. One would expect after three decades of music and all that work that he’d sound a bit tired and unoriginal. Not a chance.
“Eleanor Rigby” is one of the covers. A little schmaltzy and over done, but they sold me. The only other bluesman to do that on this song was Mem Shannon. I could have done without some of the echo, but it’s pretty neat and full of feeling. “Never Been to Spain” takes the Hoyt Axton song where Three Dog Night did not; it goes to a gritty and grungy place, with dirty vocals and Terry on the sax and the guitar just laying it out. Warren Haynes’ “Soul Shine” is a number I usally only want to here Haynes and Gregg Allman do. They pull it off, with Jackson up front and Tommie Lee Bradley backing him vocally (she can growl right along with Jackson) and a nice B3 line throughout with guitar and sax solos also selling it. They close to “Willie the Wimp,” and while it might not be like SRV it is cool with the trumpet and horn and the “No Refund” sound. “Got Whiskey” opens with a drum solo and gives us the band’s feelings about how they like 80 proof, golden stuff, grooving and beating it out. They follow it up on the theme with “One More Drink,” changing it up with acoustic guitar and hearing the lament of someone who wants to go home feeling less of life’s pains. “Blues is My Business” is the opening cut, and as I said it grabbed me. Jackson and company are sort of the Grand Funk RR meet Chicago done up in Texas blues style. Big, ringing guitar sounds, smooth yet gravel toned vocals, a big beat and heavy instrumental backing
The songs are cool, the musicianship is professional and together, and Widow makes some statements. An interesting CD; I bet we hear more from this Southern California bluesman!
Some nice originals and covers that are fun, moving, danceable and just good listening. I was impressed with these guys (and gal); the No Refund Band exceeded my initial expectations and I recommend this to blues fans who like to hear blues with a big sound!
Reviewed by Steve Jones
Reviewed by Steve Jones
One cover, eleven originals. “Who’s Been Talkin’” gets the nod here, a song the man who got him started made famous. Linden and Spooner Oldham (organ) sell it. It’s real, it’s fresh and it sounds great. I would have loved to listen in to the three hour conversation that the eleven year old Linden had with Howlin’ Wolf back in the day. “John Lennon in New Orleans” is hauntingly Lennonesque. It describes fictional weekend visit to New Orleans with Lennon and the singer. Linden describes this as a cross between the Beatle and Charlie Patton. Okay, well that is something to think about and even more to hear. Oldham is amazing on this, as is Linden. Gary Craig on drums and John Dymond on bass round out the band, his old Toronto rhythm section. Minimal yet vibrant; these guys are tight. The finger picking on “Smoke ‘Em All” is amazing and vibrantly alive. Linden goes it alone on acoustic guitar and he lays out traditional and clean sounding vocals. The opening track has another great guitar solo; “Big Mouth” is a winner that hooks you from the get go. He is expressive and soulful on cuts like “Sinking Down Slow” and “Sugar Mine.” He’s a little more vibrant on cuts like “I Give Up” and “Between the Darkness And The Light of Day.” No bad songs here– Linden has 11 new songs that are respectable additions to his catalogue. Recorded live with no over dubs, this is real music done right and sounding beautiful. The acoustics are great, the overall quality just superb. I guess if you have made over 100 records you know how to make a CD sound good. He does that with his artistry– there are no acoustic tricks here. 50 years old, over 3 decades in the biz; this is a guy who knows music and does it right. Highly recommended. Reviewed by Steve Jones
Page 10 Christmas With The Blues David Gogo Cordova Bay Records 9 Tracks Born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canadian blues-rock artist David Gogo started his professional musical career at the age of 16 with his first group the Persuaders, opening for groups like Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Over the years, he has several electric and acoustic blues guitar albums to his credit. Gogo recently released his Christmas album which is a follow-up to his 2011 release Soul Bender. The 2011 release was a Juno nominated and WCMA award winning album. David is no stranger to Canadian Blues awards. Prior to the release of Soul Bender, David had three Juno nominations, was a two-time Maple Blues Guitarist of the Year, was awarded WCMA Musician of the Year and received the Saturday Night Blues' Great Canadian Blues Award for a lifetime contribution to the blues in Canada. The Toronto Blues society has recently nominated Gogo again for Guitarist of the Year at the 2013 MBAs (Maple Blues Awards). Christmas With The Blues is a collection of blues saturated Christmas standards and two original tunes. It opens with a very soulful tune "Christmas Blues." He then takes you south to the bayou with "Christmas On The Bayou," trading in his sugar plums for some crispy catfish and cornbread. In a traditional B.B. King style guitar, David informs us that on the outside he is crying "Christmas Tears." Growing up on a Christmas tree farm, it is a tradition in his family to get a real tree. "Let's Get a Real Tree" incorporates a Jimmy Vaughan, Texas style guitar along with a Chuck Berry groove. Sitting by the fireplace, you can listen as the band brings in saxophone solos for the slow, soulful arrangement of "Please Come Home for Christmas." Gogo brings his fiery guitar style center stage on "Santa Claus Is Back In Town." You can hear the Albert Collins guitar influence when you listen to "Merry Christmas Baby." "Little Drummer Boy" is done as a very traditional delta style instrumental. The album concludes with David playing cutting edge guitar on "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'." This collection is a great mixture of traditional roots and Cajun blues simmered with old style rock 'n' roll, showcasing the superb vocals and guitar of David Gogo. It is an album you will want to put on your Christmas list this year.
Reviewed by Rick Davis Come On Home Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps Jesi-Lu Records 12 Tracks Working with blues artists like Levon Helm, Delbert McClinton, Bonnie Raitt, Kirk Whalum, Marcia Ball, Tommy Castro, Al Anderson, Asleep at the Wheel, and Lee Roy Parnell, Teresa James has established herself as a well recognized contemporary blues singer. Her voice is featured on albums released by artists like Kirk Whalum, Randy Newman, Tommy Castro, Lee Roy Parnell, Walter Trout, Stephen Bruton, and Glen Clark. She started as a Texas blues singer and moved to Los Angeles where she is now based, working with her band The Rhythm Tramps. Her latest release on Jesi-Lu Records is titled Come On Home and comes highly endorsed by Bonnie Raitt. "I've been a fan of Teresa's voice and writing for a long time. Her legions of fans, including me, are so glad to finally have both on this CD." Ten of the twelve tracks are originals either written or co-written by the bass player Terry Wilson with Teresa co-writing two of the tracks. Mike Finnigan shares vocals with Teresa on the soulful Etta James & Harvey Fuqua tune "If I Can't Have You." Her Texas roots can be heard in the up-tempo, boogie-woogie T. Klemperer song "Long Way From Texas." Her vocals evoke those of Alannah Myles on the funky opening tune "Come On Home To Me," offering only retribution for a lousy relationship. Her style of delivery follows closely to Bonnie Raitt's on the original "My Baby Knows What I What." Teresa will reach out and capture your emotions with the slow, soulful tune "Forgetting You." The horn section consisting of Jerry Petersen on saxophones and Lee Thornberg on trombone and trumpet, deliver a stunning performance on this slow ballad as well as the funky, soulful "Still Got The Message." Teresa James and The Rhythm Tramps bring that Motown sound center stage with powerful vocals and a strong instrumental performance on "She's Got A Way With Men." "That's Just Love" has a sweet soul charm singling out both her fine vocals and the exceptional musicality of the band. Add an element of Zydeco, the presence of the Congo Square, and the magic of voodoo for the haunting sound of "Voodoo Doll." The lyrics seem to penetrate your soul on the acoustic song "Carry That Burden." The fiery slide guitar riffs of Billy Watts added to the powerful vocals of Teresa James on the horn-driven number "I Can Do Better," will knock you off your feet. The CD ends all too soon with another high
-powered foot stomper "All I Wanna Do Is Dance." The songwriting and instrumental presence of this album lend themselves so well to an extraordinary stage performance. After listening to Come On Home, you will be ready to see Teresa James and The Rhythm Tramps live. Reviewed by Rick Davis My Guitar's My Only Friend James "Buddy" Rogers Blue Wave Productions Ltd. www.jamesbuddy rogers.com 10 Tracks/35:19 Canadian native James "Buddy" Rogers started playing guitar at the early age of 10, formed his first band at 11, and by the time he was 13 was a regular at the local blues clubs. At 19 he teamed with former B.B. King bassist, Russell Jackson, and went on the road for the next 5 years. While performing at numerous clubs, concerts and festivals, Rogers shared the bill with the likes of Canned Heat, Sam Taylor, The Holmes Brothers, Elvin Bishop, Kenny Neal and many others. Now, with 25 years of gigging behind him, this veteran blues man has teamed with producer Tom Lavin, of "Powder Blues" fame, to record "My Guitar's My Only Friend", a collection of 10 original blues tunes written by James and Lavin. Buddy opens the CD with the title track, a traditional blues tune, as are most on this disc, featuring smooth vocal complimented by some very nice guitar. Next comes "Let's Get Loose," an upbeat party song, with some good blues riffs. "I'm On The Road Again" has Buddy doing some fine lead guitar, reminiscent of ZZ Top, followed by "Disappearing Baby Blues", a bluesy swing tune with Freddy King influenced guitar. Track 7, "Guitar Sue", is a nicely done, easy going, uplifting, happy tune with Chuck Berry inspired riffs. "Dawg", perhaps the best cut on this CD, is a funky, blues tune about, what else, man's best friend and the blues. With the funky rhythm and Rogers's excellent guitar, this is sure to be a favorite with most folks. The closer, "Buddy's Walk", the only instrumental on the disc, is one you will listen to over and over, a great tune to end a very solid effort by both James and producer, song writer, musician, Tom Lavin. James "Buddy" Rogers has paid his dues, and it shows. Reviewed by Dennis Barker
Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter Delta Time Hans Theessink & Terry Evans Blue Groove www.terryevans music.com www.theessink.com 13 tracks/58:25 It's a strange combination – a Dutch guitarist who learned the blues from listening to old records of the legendary acoustic blues singers and a Mississippi-born singer who grew up in the church before gaining recognition doing backing vocals on Ry Cooder albums. Their first duo project, Visions, was nominated for a Blues Music Award and garnered plenty of critical praise. Their latest effort leads off with title track, one of five Theessink originals on the disc. Evans use his electric guitar to lay down a strong rhythm line and Hans uses overdubs to add acoustic slide guitar and mandolin parts. Theessink takes the lead vocal, his resonant baritone voice creating a powerful presence. When Evans joins in along with his long-time singing partners Arnold McCuller and Willie Greene Jr., the track becomes a joyous celebration of the quiet country lifestyle.. Theessink's foot supplies the steady pulse on “It Hurts Me Too” as he and Evans take turns handling the lead vocal. There is also a nice exchange between the acoustic guitar and mandolin. “I Need Money” establishes an infectious pace with Evans soulfully relating the details of his precarious financial situation. Even better is the duet on the James Carr classic, “Pouring Water on a Drowning Man” with Theessink's deep tones seamlessly mixing with Evan's honeyed voice. The duet format is employed again on “Honest I Do” to a similar effect. Minus the usual upper register harp squeals, the delicate interplay between the two singers commands your full attention. “Build Myself a Home” is another Theessink original, yet it perfectly captures the feel of a old traditional gospel hymn with his half-spoken vocal surrounded by the glorious harmonies of the backing trio. The Jewel Aiken's hit “The Birds and the Bees” seems like an odd choice to cover until you read that Evans sang backing vocals on the original. All of the voices join together on Theessink's stirring arrangement of “Heaven's Airplane”.
Page 11 Evan's former employer appears on three cuts. He adds his trademark slide guitar licks on the Delmore Brothers classic, “Blues Stay Away From Me”. Evans and Theessink trade vocals once again on a revved up version of “How Come People Act Like That” with Cooder leading the way. The longest track is also the most intense performance of them all. Evan's give a chilling accounting of racism in the South on J.B. Lenoir's “Down in Mississippi”, then finishes with a burst of gospel intensity with Cooder's slide guitar weaving its own spell-binding tale throughout the nine minute run time. This recording is one of those little gems that come around every so often. Theessink, Evans and a few of their friends turn in one memorable performance after another simply by using the power of the human voice and a few stringed instruments. They mine the enormous depths of human emotions without sacrificing the back-porch feel that permeates every track. You don't want to miss this one – which comes highly recommended!! Reviewed by Mark Thompson Brothers in Bamako Habib Koite & Eric Bibb Stony Plain Recording Co. www.stonyplain records.com 13 tracks/52:41 With more than twenty recordings to his credit, most of them released in the last fifteen years, Eric Bibb has established himself as one of the leading practitioners in the folk blues genre. His music has always blended a variety of elements into music that honors our humanity and rejoices in the human spirit. An accomplished songwriter with an easy-on-theears vocal style, Bibb's music rarely ventures into the dark corners of life, opting instead for a gentle approach that focuses on the best aspects of our existence. His stature in the Blues community is reflected in his numerous nominations for Blues Music Awards, including two this year for Acoustic Artist and Acoustic Artist of the Year for his Deeper Well project, which had Bibb working with some of the best Cajun and Creole musicians in Louisiana. Now he has partnered with Habib Koite, a leading light for modern African music. Their friendship started a decade ago, leading to this collaboration that reaches deep into Koite's Mali homeland. Both men play a variety of guitars, banjos and
ukeleles with Mamadou Kone handling the various percussion instruments. The setlist includes five songs that Koite wrote plus four others he co-authored with Bibb, who contributed two originals of his own. The disc opens with “On My Way to Bamako” as Bibb relates his excitement at making his first visit to West Africa over a lilting rhythm. The following cut finds Koite sharing his thoughts regarding his first visit to Los Angeles for a serries of live performances. Singing in an African dialect, Koite switches to English on the chorus to express his delight for the way tequila made him feel. The two singers trade the vocal on “Needed Time”, a traditional tune that Bibb has recorded several other times. Bibb's “Tombouctou” is his tribute to a famous town in Mali, better known in the West as Timbuktu. The instrumentalists develop a deeper, harder rhythm with Kone's light touch providing a pleasing contrast. “Nani Le” and “Mami Wata” are two instrumentals with the former featuring some delicate picking while the later track honors the worship of the African water goddess. Koite's banjo is prominently featured in the arrangement for “Khafole”. The blues element is the strongest on “We Don't Care”, with Bibb taking listeners to task for the shallowness that often drives our daily lives. Another original, “With My Maker I Am One”, Bibb sings convincingly about how we are all connected as the music echos Memphis Slim's classic “Mother Earth”. Koite provides a striking example of blues done in an African style on “Foro Bana”, his rich voice ringing out over more excellent guitar picking. Bibb lightens the mood with a pervasive prayer of hope on “Send Us Brighter Days”. The disc closes with two covers, the first a melancholic take of Bob Dylan's “Blowin' in the Wind” with Olli Haavisto's pedal steel guitar injecting a strong country feel into the track. Next is “Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad”, with a wistful vocal from Bibb over an insistent banjo line and excellent acoustic guitar work. They make a fitting close for a project that successfully completes the circle of bringing traditional blues, folk and spiritual elements back to their African origin, where Habib Koite burnishes the sounds with a presentation that looks to the here and now rather than the past. The end result is not strictly blues – but there is plenty to enjoy for listeners with eclectic tastes. Reviewed by Mark Thompson
Page 12 Jammin' With Friends Freddie Roulette Self released http://www.michael borbridge.com/ freddiepixs.html 10 tracks/39:07 Most area blues fans have never heard of Freddie Roulette even though he gtrew up in Evanston and was part of the unheralded band that backed up guitarist Earl Hooker in the late 1960's. Roulette played his lap steel guitar alongside Pinetop Perkins on piano, Carey Bell on harp plus Andrew Odom on vocals on what was possibly the pinnacle of Hooker's recorded legacy, Two Bugs & a Roach. Roulette also did a stint in Charlie Musselwhite's group. He later made the move to California and released Sweet Funky Steel, the first record under his own name. More than thirty years later, Roulette's latest project is the seventh bearing his name. The title is certainly appropriate given the number of musicians and singers joining in on the fun. The core band includes Michael Warren on bass, Rich Kirch on guitar and producer Michael Borbridge on drums & percussion. Four other guitarists make appearances including Harvey Mandel on six tracks and Barry Melton (Country Joe & the Fish) on one song. The disc opens with “Directly From My Heart to You” as Roulette spins a web of bright, metallic tones around the late Kathi McDonald's huge voice. David LaFlamme, founder of the band It's A Beautiful Day, follows a shimmering solo from the leader with a slow-burning excursion on his violin. Roulette picks out a nimble-fingered solo to start off “It Hurts Me So”, then McDonald growls her way through the slow blues supported by Terry Hanck and Bernard Anderson on sax. Roulette shows off his vocal skills on “Key to the Highway” and “Need Your Loving”, taking a laidback approach on both. The pedal steel fills “Killing Floor” with a variety of other-worldly sounds that are tempered by the sprightly keyboard work from Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship) in support of Davey Pattison's robust vocal. The singer is a bit more subdued on “Reconsider Baby” but Roulette and Mandel engage in a aggressive exchange of six string talents. The band shifts into a funk mode on “Wrapped Up in Love Again” as Rick Baskin's harp play off another hearty dose of Roulette's engrossing work. Kirch gets his moment in the spotlight on “Flip, Flop and Fly”, opening with a blazing guitar solo. Once Cobb finishes
the first verse, Sears and Roulette burn through a fast-paced musical dialogue. And of course, there are a couple of instrumentals. One listen to “Mojo” is all it will take to make you realize that Roulette has chops to spare. “Funky Chicken” delivers exactly what it promises with Sears. Roulette and LaFlamme trading licks over the hearty blasts of approval from the horns. It adds up to another solid effort from a musician who deserves wider recognition. There aren't many people playing blues with a pedal steel guitar. If you want to hear how it's supposed to done, this is the place to start! Reviewed by Mark Thompson Candy Store Kid Ian Siegal & the Mississippi Mudbloods Nugene Records www.iansiegal.com 11 tracks/46:21 I am going to stray from the usual review format and admit that I really struggled with Ian Siegal's latest release. While I refrain from reading reviews on discs that I know I will be writing about, I still managed to hear/read lots of positive comments about the British guitarist's second venture deep into the Mississippi hill country. And when your backing band includes brothers Cody & Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars plus Alvin Youngblood Hart, you are pretty guaranteed that the music will be authentic, deeply grounded in the roots. The buzz on this one was seemingly confirmed when it received a nomination for a Blues Music Award in the Contemporary Blues Album category. It has also appeared on several Best of the Year lists from several on-line blues websites. So why is it that I can't get all warm and fuzzy over a disc that has received plenty of critical respect? There are a number of strong performances. “Earlie Grace Jnr” finds Siegal painting a descriptive portrait of a man staying to stay ahead of bad luck. His slide guitar dances around in the background, riding a shifting rhythm from Cody Dickinson. Siegal co-wrote “Kingfish” with Luther Dickinson and they trade guitar licks throughout the insistent hill stomp. “So Much Trouble” is another powerful tune penned by Lightnin' Malcolm that settles into a sweltering groove punctuated by the droning tones of Luther's sitar.
Siegal's earnest vocal on “Bayou Country” is so convincing that you quickly forget that he grew up in the UK, not the swamplands of Louisiana. The track is one of several that feature the spellbinding backing vocals of Stefanie Boltan, Sharisse Norman and Shontelle Norman. Other cuts illustrate where the disc comes up short for me. With only a couple of tunes in hand when he arrived at the studio, Siegal had to compose on the fly – and it shows. “Loose Cannon finds Siegal tossing off a string of phrases that never come together, making this one one long boast. It is followed by the rapid shuffle rhythm of “I Am the Train”. This time Siegal spouts off a stream-of-conciousness lyrical stream that leaves him sounding like a poor man's Bob Dylan and detracts from the fine musical accompaniment. Garry Burnside sits in on guitar on “Strong Woman”, another track whose primal energy fizzles due to simplistic lyrics. On “The Fear”, Siegal indulges in his rock roots, delivering a stark vocal over ringing guitar chords. He recovers to deliver a memorable performance of the intimate love ballad, “Rodeo”. Hart doubles on guitar and bass while Cody's poignant keyboard work fleshes out the arrangement. The closing cut, “Hard Pressed (what da fuzz?)” sports distorted guitar tones and a swirling soundscape as Siegal rattles off another series of boastful statements that ring true due to his ardent delivery. While there is much to enjoy on this project, it could have been even better. Siegal isn't the only artist who has waited until their back was against the proverbial wall before they get fully engaged in the creative process. You have some fine music being played by a collection of outstanding n musicians. I find it unfortunate that Siegal didn't take the time to make sure that the lyrical content on all of his songs was up to the standards of the rest of the project. Reviewed by Mark Thompson
Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter
Top Blues Releases December 2012 Sunday Morning Blues WKGL-FM 96.7 The Eagle Rockford, IL Johnny Neel / Every Kinda' Blues…But What You're Used To / Breakin' Records Kelly Joe Phelps / Brother Sinner & The Whale / Black Hen Music Catfish Keith / A True Friend Is Hard to Find / Fish Tail Various Artists / Blue Yule / Rhino The Blasters / Fun on Saturday Night / Rip Cat Shemekia Copeland / 33-1/3 / Telarc Julian Fauth / Everybody Ought to Treat a Stranger Right / Electro-Fi Mike Wheeler / Self Made Man / Delmark Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King / Close to the Bone / Delta Groove James 'Buddy' Rogers / My Guitar's My Only Friend / Blue Wave Productions Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames / Burnin' Love / Delmark Shaun Murphy / Ask for the Moon / Vision Wall Ann Rabson w/Bob Margolin / Not Alone / Vizztone Vance Kelly & His Backstreet Blues Band / Tell Me Why / Wolf Various Artists / Santa's Got Mojo 2 / Electro-Fi B.B. King / A Christmas Celebration of Hope / MCA Rockin' Johnny Band / Grim Reaper / Delmark Various Artists / Blue Xmas / Evidence Peaches Staten / Live at Legends / Swississippi
This list is submitted to Living Blues Magazine for inclusion in the December 2012 National Radio Chart. This list is compiled from actual radio air play statistics. WKGL-FM broadcasts 2 hours of blues per week. Rich Gordon Sunday Morning Blues WKGL-FM 96.7 The Eagle 3901 Brendenwood Road Rockford, IL 61107
www.thebluesblast.com The free internet blues magazine!
CBS Brings the Blues to You in 2013 The first three months of 2013 bring Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, Westside Andy Linderman, Bryan Lee and the Blues Power Band, and Bobby Messano to our area. Crossroads is working to keep the blues alive in Northern Illinois!
Crossroads Blues Society P.O. Box 722 Freeport, IL 61032 On the web at: www.crossroadsbluessociety.com/ Our blogs: News: http://crossroadsbluessociety. blogspot.com/ Music Reviews: http://crossroadsreviews.blogspot.com/ Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keeping the Blues Alive Blues on Local Radio WNIJ - 89.5 FM Friday evenings from 9 PM to midnight with Jerald Fitzpatrick Saturday afternoons from 1 to 4 PM with Patrick Sheehan Saturday evenings from 9 PM to midnight with David James The Eagle - 96.7 FM Sunday Morning Blues 6 AM to 8 AM with Rich Gordon
Blues News and Upcoming Events The big upcoming events in January for CBS are the Hurricane Sandy Relief and Blues Hall of Fame fund raiser on the 27th and BITS with Reverend Raven and Westside Andy Linderman on the 28th. Washington Academy (ES) and Haskell ES are the AM and PM schools to received programming. See the lead article and poster on page one. In February we are bringing Bryan Lee and the Blues Power Band in for BITS and an evening show at Byron Middle School Theater. That is Monday, February 11th with school programs at McNair ES in the AM and Byron MS in the afternoon. More BITS for March and April will be disCrossroads Blues Society Officers and Board Members Contact Info President: Steve Jones Vice-President: Karl Dahlin Secretary: Bonnie Fox Treasurer: Al McNary Board of Directors: Denny Barker Rick Davis Rich Gordon Bob Haendler Terry Keller
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cussed and planned soon, too. Stay tuned for details! Bobby Messano is scheduled to play at Mary’s Place Friday March 15th at 8 PM. Bobby is a killer guitar player, having toured as Stevie Winwood’s lead guitar player and starring in other bands and tours. He is amazing and will also be at our August 24th fest in Byron. He and bass player Steve Geller (who was Davy Jones from the Monkees bassist) put on a great show and cover is just $10; advanced purchase gets reserved seats. We have no other big shows planned yet for 2013 but that does not mean we aren’t working on them. We have had a few inquiries from bands and we are looking at tour schedules that might work out.
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