Artist: Betty Harris
Title:
Intuition
Label:
Evidence ECD26135-2 (American catalogue number)

For more information go to:
http://www.evidencerecords.com
http://www.blindraccoon.com
http://www.myspace.com/bettyharris

Betty Harris was born in 1939 in Orlando, Florida into a deeply religious family; as both her parents were devout church ministers they seriously frowned upon the idea of young Betty’s desire to leave the church and choir to perform secular music. As a consequence of this opposition from her parents, at the very young age of seventeen Betty left home to pursue her career in New York. Whilst in New York Betty watched a number of performances at the Apollo of the wonderfully larger than life Big Maybelle and after meeting her backstage they struck up what became a long lasting friendship. Early, in those formative years Big Maybelle became her mentor and teacher.

A few years later, Betty began working alongside such legendary writers, producers and artists as; Bert Russell Burns, Allen Toussaint, James Carr and Otis Redding to name but a few. It was during this time, 1963 actually, that her now legendary version of Solomon Burkes’ “Cry to Me,” was recorded.

Betty’s reasons for her sudden retirement from the music business in 1969/70, was simply that she had decided to concentrate on bringing up a family and continuing with her formal education.

In 2001 Betty’s daughter had found a number of internet ‘Betty Harris’ fan sites; which focused on her somewhat short but nevertheless, important career. After becoming more aware of the vast amount of interest shown by many fans in her career Betty joined an internet based mailing list in 2004 to tell the soul world that she had been living a quiet family life but now, she was back on the scene and performed her first live gig on the 17 th of April 2005 at a benefit for her daughters old college Hartford.

Now in 2007/8 we have the recently released new offering from Betty; an album which without doubt re-establishes Betty’s position in the Blues / Soul world.

From the first number onwards Betty’s whole demeanour bristles and crackles with intensity and electricity. The quality, poise and projection of her powerful voice is warmly comforting, yet barely covers the fierceness of her enthusiasm. The quality of her beckoning and captivating presence encompasses the sensual allure of Nina Simone, coupled with Dionne Warwick’s warmly reassuring tones, but simultaneously the raw raunchiness of Etta James and Tina Turner burst through driven by her astoundingly powerhouse personality..

The sixteen original numbers cover a wide variety of subjects which range from no holds barred stormers to heartfelt emotion filled slowburners .All of them are crafted into being by the accomplished and ever resourceful production techniques of John Tiven, who’s ingenious incorporation of instruments such as the Sitar to create memorably exotic sounds and textures which ensure an added freshness and vitality to the numbers on offer.

Joining John, who plays; guitars, organ, electric piano, sitar, alto & tenor saxophone, Harp and percussion. are; Sally Tiven; bass, Wayne Jackson; trumpet, Chester Thompson, Craig Krampf, Greg Morrow, Billy Block; drums. Special guests on the album are; Bekka Bramlett; backing vocals on “Intuition,” Buddy Miller; lead guitar and harmonies on “Still Amazed,”  Jerry Ragavoy provides piano on “It is What It Is,”  lastly but not least Freddie Scott duets with Betty on “Since You Brought Your Sweet Love.”

Well! What can one say about such a stunning 21st Century debut? Oh, yes buy, buy, buy!

----- Brian Harman



































This review has been complimentary written for your newsletter by Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro, a contributing writer for BLUESWAX, BluesART and the Blues Editor at
www.Mary4Music.com
where you can read many more CD and live show reviews, view lots of blues photographs and find an abundance of blues material.
I can be reached at
[email protected]

TERESA JAMES & THE RHYTHM TRAMPS
"THE BOTTOM LINE"
JESI-LU RECORDS

And the hits just keep on coming.  The quality of music that has been sent to
www.Mary4Music.com since the beginning of this year has been absolutely stellar. Therefore, it was just a matter of time before we'd be hearing  from our first Blues Music Nominee, and that time is here.  Having said that, let me now congratulate and wish the best of luck to TERESA JAMES, nominee for 2008 "Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year".

Regardless of that outcome, TERESA'S new disc "THE BOTTOM LINE" already makes her a winner.  Of course, she didn't do it alone - she had lots of help from THE RHYTHM TRAMPS - of which there are a bunch.  Collectively, TERESA JAMES & THE RHYTHM TRAMPS are: TERESA JAMES on vocals and piano; TERRY WILSON on bass, rhythm guitar and background vocals; JERRY PETERSON & LEE THORNBURG on horns and horn arrangements; HERMAN MATTHEWS on drums; DEBRA DOBKIN on percussion; BILLY WATTS on lead guitar and background vocals.  Additional "guest tramps" used on this project are: TONY BRAUNAGEL & GARY FERGUSON on drums; KENNY BALL on harmonica; MIKE FINNEGAN & JOHN "RABBIT" BUNDRICK on B3 organ; MARTY GREBB on piano; RED YOUNG on piano and organ; TERRY TOWNSEN on horn and horn arrangements.


On "THE BOTTOM LINE", twelve of the thirteen tracks are band originals - most of which are written or co-written by TERRY WILSON.  Although the disc never really strays far from the blues, there's no question in my mind that many tracks will appeal to a broader range of listeners.  Let's go listen.

If you've never heard TERESA sing before, "ALL TIME LOW", the opening track, will make you an immediate fan.  Her vocals highlight this, as well as all of the other tracks.  And as you can well imagine, with the many talented keyboard players listed above, so will the piano, organ and B3.  MARTY and RED get the credit, along with JERRY and LEE on the horns for making this funky track work.

As TERESA begs "(PLEASE) PUT THE SQUEEZE ON ME", she does it in such a soulful and sultry way it made me wish it was me she was asking.  BILLY & MARTY providing great blues licks on guitar and piano make this steamy ballad even hotter.

"DON'T MAKE A HABIT OF IT" could easily be a hit on any of the charts.  It's the perfect song for airplay - just the right length with a country, pop, soul and R&B sound all wrapped up in one and a good sing-a-long chorus.  Great rhythm by TONY, TERRY and the horn section featured on this one.

When TERESA sings about the band becoming "THE NEXT BIG THANG", she just may be on to something.  This disc, and a big win at the BMA'S in May may just make this track a reality.  This smoker features strong rhythm - this time from GARY on the drums, TERRY on bass and DEBRA on percussion with JERRY & LEE blowing flames through the horns and TERESA burning up the keys.  Another of the discs best.

As you might expect from it's title, "I DO MY DRINKING ON THE WEEKENDS" rocks.  The only cover on the disc is this three minute jam that closes it out.   This is obviously what "going out in a flurry" means.  It features everyone on it tearing it up at their best.

Other tracks on "THE BOTTOM LINE" are: "IF MOMMA DON'T DIG IT", "WHET MY APPETITE", "EIEIO", "THE BOTTOM LINE", "HOW AM I GONNA STOP LOVING YOU?", "IN THE PINK", "I CALL YOUR BLUFF" and a track that although the notes on the disc must have been erroneously omitted, I know was meant to be dedicated to this writer....."I KNOW HANDSOME WHEN I SEE IT"..... thanks TERESA!

Now here's whatcha gotta do folks.  First, go to www.teresajames.com, and grab yourself a copy of "THE BOTTOM LINE".  Then once you decide, as I know you will, that you like it as much as the Blewzzman does, ya gotta go to www.blues.org and cast your votes......for you know who, of course.  And last but not least, remember to tell Teresa who sent you.

----- Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro

sorry no cover today

CATH & PHIL TYLER
Dumb Supper
No-Fi


www.no-fi.org.uk

This raw, lean, authentic and sometimes spooky sounding album could have been recorded on the front porch of a mist-shrouded shack high in the Appalachians in the fifties – but in fact it originates from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England in the first half of 2007. No matter; as a wise man once said, it’s the music that counts, and this strongly traditional-sounding set certainly rates highly on that score. Cath is originally from New Jersey and a teacher of Sacred Harp singing (an almost arcane art in itself) and her archaic vocal timbre draws deep from the well of American folksong; husband Phil’s high harmonies complement her perfectly on a programme of common stock material that they have sometimes rewritten or rejigged. The musical accompaniments are correspondingly sparse, often just a guitar echoing the vocal lines, occasionally expanding to include banjo, fiddle or jaw-harp. Pure and unadorned, this is folk music as it was and should be.

----- Norman Darwen






BOB LENOX
Season Of Souls
Frémeauz Et Associés FA 493

www.fremeaux.com


Born in Brooklyn, New York and now based in Berlin, Bob Lenox is a man of many talents, some of them musical. This excellent CD certainly displays his aptitude for and experience across many different categories, often lumped together now under the catch-all phrase ‘Americana ‘ or ‘Roots’. This CD has twelve titles and features his individual and  (seemingly) whisky soaked vocals on a programme of (sometimes very) original material running from solo material to full-blown electric band and strings, and that references the likes of Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Jimmie Rodgers ‘The Singing Brakeman’, Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie, and Elvis Presley – who are all blues influenced to one degree or other! The lyrics are sometimes pointed and always worth a listen – if you are intrigued, give it a try.

----- Norman Darwen


RALPH DE JONGH
Just Ralph
DVD-Select (no issue number)

Live At The Saint Izaire Blues Festival
DVD-Select (no issue number)

www.ralphdejongh.com

Born in 1975, this young Dutch singer/ guitarist/ blues harpist and songwriter is causing something of a sensation on Holland’s blues scene with the intensity of his performances. ‘Just Ralph’ finds him fronting a band on several numbers tackling bluesy rock as opposed to the blues pure and simple, and the music is indeed brooding and deep. The others numbers find him in more of a folky mode, but just as deep – the opposite of easy listening. Vocally, Ralph sounds a lot like vintage Mick Jagger.

The live set is all solo and has a far stronger blues content, including material Ralph has borrowed from Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Son House, Bo Diddley and Leiber/ Stoller’s ‘Hound Dog’ alongside some original material. Also included is a cover of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy For The Devil’, performed in a Delta style. Again, this is a deep, dark and brooding set.

----- Norman Darwen



JON LORD WITH THE HOOCHIE COOCHIE MEN
Live At the Basement
Edel 0186228ERE


Virtually all of the great British rock bands of the late sixties and early seventies had strong blues roots, and Deep Purple were no exception. Jon Lord was organist with the heavy metal heroes but on this DVD, professionally filmed and recorded in Sydney, Australia in 2003 and now available again in this ‘New Edition’ (read “slightly expanded”), he returns to his blues roots in the company of a fine group of Australian blues-rockers the Hoochie Coochie Men (whose first studio album is also included in this package as a bonus and which is also well worth a listen).

The background to this release is documented on the cover – it literally came about by accident! However, the music – over two hour’s worth - is fine, blues-rock for much of the set, sometimes reverting to a more purist blues sound and occasionally tending towards full-blown rock. Legendary Oz vocalist Jimmy Barnes shows his worth and talent with a guest appearance too. This is a good-rocking, good-timin’ and good-natured set, guaranteed to please old rockers and Brit-blues fans alike.

----- Norman Darwen




KOLVANE
They Called Me Evil/ Reckless Sinner
D.Berkery (no issue number)

www.Kolvane.com


Singles come along very rarely these days and this CD is certainly worth noting. The first title (top-side as was at one time) has some excellent lyrics, well-sung over a (slightly psychedelia tinged) blues-rock backing which shades into Hendrix territory as the number progresses. Singer and guitarist Kolvane was the founder and leader of Portland, Oregon’s ‘Rose City Kings’ and his accompanying musicians have vast experience, ranging from stints with Miles Davis to backing work with Whitney Houston and Joe Cocker. ‘Reckless Sinner’ is a solo blues-inflected acoustic number.

----- Norman Darwen





ON MY MERRY WAY
Various Artists
SPV/ Blue Label50962 CD

www.spv.de


Blues fans looking for an introduction to the vast, intriguing and sometimes bewildering world of doo-wop are certainly advised to consider buying this collection of 24 tracks by groups from New York and Chicago. It covers the whole of the fifties from the Ink Spots flavoured ballads of the earliest titles right through to full-fledged rock and roll, and there is plenty of blues and blues influenced material along the way. Well-known names like The Drifters, The Clovers and The Flamingos rub shoulders with obscurities like The Inspirations and the Rockettes. These tracks come from labels such as Apollo, Red Robin, Parrot, and Fury – all companies guaranteed to excite any red-blooded blues lover. As I said at the beginning, worth checking out.

----- Norman Darwen



NEBO & THE DOWNSTROKES
Nebo Plays Christmas Songs
Dallas CD 482

www.nebobuhin.com


A fine and fun seasonal release from ace Croatian guitarist Nebo Buhin (his previous CD ‘Guitar Language’ was reviewed in Blues Art Journal July 2007). Nebo’s playing is excellent, concise, and varied; he sticks close to the familiar melodies but is not afraid to improvise whilst maintaining an appropriate Yuletide vibe. His backing musicians join in the fun, and although this may not be one to pull off the shelf in the height of Summer, I have a feeling that this may well be in my CD player when I put the tree up next December.

----- Norman Darwen




NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS
Hernando

Songs Of The South 006


.....which sees the North Mississippi Allstars abandon the droning hill-country blues sound and shift to more conventional blues-rock – maybe! Listening to the excellent Muddy Waters influenced ‘Take Yo Time, Rodney’ or the Magic Sam meets laid-back Otis Rush groove of ‘I’d Love To Be A Hippy’, the shift isn’t that great. True, there are some frenetic outbursts –  ‘Keep The Devil Down’ is classic powerhouse blues-rock trio stuff, a la Cream or Hendrix Experience, and ‘Blow Out’ is a fine Chuck Berry styled rocker – but the roots run deep with these guys and sometimes it is just a riff or the way they sing a phrase – for example, “All night long” in ‘Eagle Bird’ – that is enough to convince the listener that they certainly know the tradition. If you enjoy the sound of classic blues-rock, you’ll go for this.

----- Norman Darwen



































Artist: John-Alex Mason
Title:
Town and Country
Label:
Naked Jaybird Music NJBM -006

For more information go to
www.johnalexmason.com
www.nakedjaybirbmusic.com
www.bluesartstudio.at


John is a native of Colorado and during his childhood and teenage years there, he had three very different influences that would have very singular and significant effects on his future musical direction; The first of these was the day when his elder brother introduced him to the exotic, evocative sounds of the second Led Zeppelin album, secondly, his godmother Viola Marignas’  voice, for she sang regardless of whether she was in attendance at her local Baptists church or not, also the massed choir concerts and meetings where the Baptist and gospel voice could be heard at its best. As he says, “how powerful the smell of heavy perfume and anticipation was at Viola’s church.” Lastly, in his teens he was showing an interest in blues records, but the clincher was two separate blues concerts that he attended at Colorado College; one by the guitarist Johnny Winter and the other, by harp player James Cotton; two artists that had a singular connection to Muddy Waters, in that Johnny Winter was the producer/player of Muddys’ album “Hard Again,” (which, at the time John was currently listening to) and James Cotton; who is featured on the album and was also part of  Muddys band.

After this experience John was determined to perform the blues; whilst at college John teamed up with Gerry Hundt (currently with Nick Moss & the Flip Tops) to play live concerts, but, after starting work with a military contractor in Germany John found that being a multi- instrumentalist in his spare time was a satisfying outlet for his musical aspirations and after spending a good deal of time plying his busking trade in the cities of Germany, France and Holland he  found that finally his musical skills and natural persona were becoming finely tuned, honed and fully developed.

After returning to America John spent his time over the last six years teaching slide guitar, recording and performing at festivals and concerts up and down the country; with this album we hear the culmination of many years of hard work and endeavour. Of the fifteen tracks on offer here seven are original compositions the others are old numbers but with the addition of original twists.

John’s vocals bring to mind a slow southern drawl with gravelly inflections, crossed with what can only be described as the cold, hungry plaintive emotion of a Native American Indian, spine-tingling yet somehow comforting. To accompany this astounding vocal he uses the combination of; electric guitar, Loewbow & foot drums and National Style O guitar.

The deeply rich and lush guitar sounds created here reminds one of long hot summer afternoons lazing under the plentiful swaying braches of a shade giving   tree and nights of energetic country dances in isolated rural juke joints.

John’s re-creation of the rural delta sound is simply staggering and emotion filled, his pace and inflections inexorably draws you in to the very heart of the numbers. On the more upbeat numbers you find various parts of your body involuntarily strumming and tapping out the beat.

This album is a very, very fine addition to the delta/country/ roots genre; an essential sound that never should be forgotten.

----- Brian Harman      
















Artist: Gail “Mojo” Muldrow
Title: Peace of Mind
Label: Feelin’Good Records 006

For more information go to www.feelingoodproductions.com

After the delicious differences of Gail’s last two live albums in 2006 we now have the opportunity to appreciate what Gail can do in the more controlled atmosphere of the studio. With this, her new album a greater clarity of approach to her ideas is evident in that Gail comfortably takes on the role of a good old fashioned blues shouter who sings passionately from the heart about love life and work Her voice has a solid structural maturity about it that convinces you that she has personally experienced the trials and tribulations that life can and will throw at you.

The tightly coiled core of the music is created by the hypnotically magnetic use of the ever satisfying combination of vocals, harp, guitars and drums which sharply tugs and ferociously pulls at you relentlessly until you succumb to its devilish charms and groove enthusiastically to the tunes.

Assisting Gail who takes vocal and guitar, are; Andy Just; Harmonica, Tiziano Galli; guitar, Dewayne Pate; bass and Patrick Ford; drums. This very tight unit blast their way through ten searing original hot numbers, although not all of them are fast and furious the slower and more thoughtful numbers are highly emotive and sensitive.

Gails’ voice, playing, presentation and style is definitely of the “the more you hear, the more you want” variety.

----- Brian Harman      






















Artist: Gail “Mojo” Muldrow
Title: Live at the Rappersvil-Jona Jazz and Blues Festival,
Switzerland June 30, 2007

Label: Feelin’Good Records 004

For more information go to www.feelingoodproductions.com

This is the third live release from Gail and I understand it is the first performance to include numbers, from her at the time, forthcoming scintillating studio album. On the evidence of this adrenalin and enthusiasm filled performance, one can only be filled with anticipation for the studio album (you can read my review of the album “Peace of Mind” on this site) that this live set promises.

In absence of the tight, sharp harp playing of Andy Just, Giovanni Guerretti  supplies immaculate keyboard performances which range from delicate flourishes and flurries through to a hard driving, swirling organ to cool, cool downtown dirty honky-tonk piano. Gail leads the band with supreme confidence and skill, energetically displaying both vocal and guitar dexterity that leaves the audience spellbound and clamouring for more as each number is fed to them as red meat would be to a ravenous lion.

Helping to hold this highly inflammable fuelled performance firmly rooted to the stage is one Piero Orsini who supplies a solid and menacing prowling bassline that when combined with the energetic, stamina filled, drum pounding performance of Lele Zamperni the whole performance is astounding.

The set consists of eleven numbers, five of which appear on Gail’s new album.

Throughout the whole performance Gail proves that not only does she possess boundless energy and a unique talent for enthralling her audience but, also  she displays the talent and skill that enables her to play smoothly and seamlessly with any group of seasoned blues musicians on any stage. One can only look forward to hearing more beautiful blues with each and every record she releases in the future.

But, this will certainly do for now!

----- Brian Harman      























Artist: Dagmar & the Seductones
Title: Come Back to Me
Label:  TYM Records 1002

For more information go to: www.theseductones.com and
www.TYMRecords.com

This is the second incarnation of the Secductones that Dagmar (her full name is Andrea Dagmar Brown) has created, the first time around it consisted of a trio of women and one man who together played Rockabilly with a healthy tinge of Punk mixed in for good measure; the group were together for a number of years until Dagmar decided to take a break from performing and touring to go into teaching; later in her highly diverse career; a move into television production enabled her to create a number of award winning music videos.

In 1998 Dagmar joined the Americana / alternative country band Juliet at the Rodeo; the instruments she played were; violin, fiddle, acoustic guitar and she also took lead vocals.

After having decided to leave Juliet at the Rodeo in 2001 and settling in Washington D.C. Dagmar took the decision to re-form the band and in the current line–up Dagmar takes charge on lead vocals, with Bob Newscaster; guitar, Bryan Smith; bass and George Sheppard; drums, guest artists on the album are; David Kitchen; guitar and Chris Watling; baritone saxophone.

Eight of the thirteen numbers on the album are bright and sparkling band originals, the five crackingly performed covers include Memphis Minnie’s “My chauffeur” which I’m certain features a splendid spoons solo. Don Covay’s “Mercy, Mercy” is backed with Huey ‘piano’ Smith’s “Hush your mouth,” and Charles Calhoun’s “As Long As I’m Moving,” and at a more thoughtful pace is William Moore’s “Old Country Rock.”

Now, how does one describe the music on offer here? Well, with Dagmars suggestively sultry wraparound southern, dripping, vocals; the best I can suggest is; a rather fruity mixture of The Stray Cats and The Blasters.

A very fine, enjoyable home, Rockabilly hoe down.

----- Brian Harman      























Artist: Bernard Allison
Title: Chills & Thrills
Label: Jazzhaus Records JHR 012

For more information go to:
www.bernardallison.com and
www.jazzhausrecords.com

Bernard has been playing the blues, for a good number of years now, twenty nine in fact and has now released this, his latest album.  As he grows older and matures he continues to evolve and improve upon his own individual style; benefiting from the years he spent learning his trade playing with bands such as; Koko Taylor’s Blues Machine and Willie Dixon’s Blues All-stars; at one point Texan gunslinger hi Johnny Winter helped Bernard to perfect his slide guitar technique, he later also gained valuable insights and tips from Stevie Ray Vaughan.

From 1989 onwards he moved to Paris to live, record and perform with his father; he subsequently joined Luther’s touring band. He made the decision in 1999 two years after the death of his father to return to America and concentrate on his solo career. In the past eight years he has recorded a number of albums which has over this period of time shown a distinct and singular talent which is not in any way lingering in the shadow of  his fathers talents.

The poise, pace and relaxed approach to the thirteen numbers here amply display not only Bernard’s grasp of twenty first century blues but his passion for classic Chicago blues. His creamy soulful vocals shine, especially on the more slightly jazz influenced cruising; oozing, piano/organ led rolling slower burning numbers; which  I have to say easily slip into your subconscious after only a few listenings. The distinctive sound of his extremely enjoyable dexterous guitarwork may at one point seem to some to border on Rock but, any hardened blues fan should not be put off by this tiny musical exploration; bear with it and the rewards will be forthcoming. Helping Bernard; vocals, guitar are; Jassen Wilbert; bass, Rusty Hall; organ, piano and nord, Mario Dawson; drums, Eric Gales; rhythm guitar, Bruce McCabe; piano and clavinet.

This album is a fine addition to the very fine tradition of mixing old and new, contemporary with classic; trust me evolution is painless.

----- Brian Harman      



























Artist: Dave Fields
Title: Time’s a Wasting
Label: FMI Records 801901 000027

For more information go to www.davefields.com or www.fieldsmusic.com

This is Dave’s second album and his first recorded venture into the world of blues; this may come somewhat as a surprise considering that his early influences are more rooted in the classic pop music end of the musical spectrum. that is; in the shape and form of his fathers body of work, who was the renowned writer, arranger and producer Sammy Fields who, in his time has created such classic hits as;”Who Wears Short Shorts” by the Royal Teens and “There is a Moon Out Tonight “by the Capris, his father has also worked with Sarah Vaughan Jerry Lewis and Jackie Mason to name but a few.

On the album Dave displays his undoubted skills and dexterity when performing the many varied styles and genres found on this album; ranging from; fast and furious Rockabilly, straight ahead rockin’ blues and seamless evocative slowburning slide guitar. His light and almost seemingly translucent vocals give the impression that they are dancing with his impressive guitar strokes.

Backing Dave; who takes lead vocals and  plays; guitar, piano, bass, steel guitar, organ and drums, is also backed by; Rob Paparozzi; Harmonica, Lee Finkelstien; Kenny Soule; Dave Moore; Wes Little(Poppa Chubby) and Mark Greenberg on drums, Erik Boyd; bass, Paul Shapiro and  Rob Chaseman  on saxophone.

Dave and the bands obvious confidence and relaxed attitude in the surroundings of the recording studio are evident and most of the twelve numbers on the album are certainly in the fine tradition of classic blues; mean shuffles, sharp movers and emotion filled slowburners.

Sadly during the proceedings, seemingly a wrong turn is taken and some of numbers veer to and from the saccharine injected type of rock that is on offer from the likes of Ryan Adams and even more perplexing is the fact that at least one number seems to mutate into something that should be most definitely included into a Broadway Stage Musical.

As I write this review I am still recovering from the shock of finding a show tune on a blues album (not that I have anything against show tunes).

Finally, I would like to say that this collection of numbers could have been a pleasant album; if it, seemingly had not, lost its way.

----- Brian Harman




























LURRIE BELL
Let’s Talk About Love
Aria B.G. ABG1

Let’s Talk About Love is a personal triumph for Lurrie Bell, who has experienced his share of adversity. In 2007, Bell lost both his partner Susan Greenberg and his father, Chicago blues harmonica legend Carey Bell. It’s not as if Lurrie hadn’t survived enough hardship. He already had triumphed over a debilitating bout of mental illness that stretched through much of the ’80s and ’90s during which he’d even gone homeless for a time. Through it all, Bell took refuge in his music. In choosing the edifying songs for this album, “A theme started to emerge,” says producer Matthew Skoller, who chose all the songs, “and that theme was love.” None of the 12 songs were written by Bell, but the conceptually innovative blues stylist makes each one of them his own.

Bell is joined by several Chicago blues colleagues including Felton Crews (bass), Kenny Smith (drums), and Sidney Wingfield (keyboards). Billy Branch’s superb harp appears on one track. Together, they comprise the city’s upper echelon of blues artists.  Lurrie’s bursting at the seams full of feeling guitar style isn’t flashy. Nor is it slashing or stinging, but it will leave its mark on your soul. His earthy vocals are rough but tender.

The shuffling title track is modern day traditional Chicago blues at its finest. Quite simply, the entire 46-minute disc could be described the same way. It may not be one of his most often covered songs nor a classic like Spoonful, but Earthquake and Hurricane is undoubtedly Willie Dixon. Andrew Brown’s You Ought To Be Ashamed isn’t the most memorable song, but each one of Bell’s finger-plucked lead guitar notes sounds wonderful. Hip Linkchain’s Cold Chills is a simple boogie but Anthony Palmer’s potent rhythm guitar and Bell’s intense lead guitar make it brilliant. With a shrill harp, Skoller raises a commotion on two songs. Turn To Me is a slow minor key blues. Is there a better kind? Missing You – written by another Chicago blues guitar colleague Billy Flynn – can be interpreted as an admirable farewell to Greenberg. The song is so sad, it’s sweet. How Bell is capable of singing the loving lyrics without breaking down is proof that he is a rock of strength.  At this time in his life, there likely isn’t a more suitable song for Bell than Pop Staples’ Why (Am I Treated So Bad). Via affectionate vocals and probing guitar, Bell expresses his pain. You’ll feel it so much that you will hurt. But like a canker sore you can’t resist touching, it’s a pleasure to experience.

Bell comes across musically mature on his triumphant first solo release in eight years. You almost sense him as a wounded veteran carrying the torch through the homestretch so that it can be handed on to another generation. As Skoller observes in his liner notes, “Lurrie is now a blues master. There are very few blues masters left.” He may not have the dynamism of Luther Allison, but along with John Primer, Magic Slim, and Lil’ Ed Williams, Bell may be the last of the great Chicago blues guitarists. After listening to this real deal blues CD, you’ll realize that Bell, like Chicago, is loaded with the blues.

----- Tim Holek


































This review has been complimentary written for your newsletter by Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro, a contributing writer for BLUESWAX, BluesART and the Blues Editor at
www.Mary4Music.com
where you can read many more CD and live show reviews, view lots of blues photographs and find an abundance of blues material.
I can be reached at
[email protected]

DAVE WALKER
"WALKING UNDERWATER"
IRON HORSE ENTERTAINMENT

As I listened to "WALKING UNDERWATER", by DAVE WALKER, I found myself thinking that what I was listening to was such good stuff and I couldn't believe that I had never heard of this artist before.  Wondering why, I just had to find out if there were more of his music that I might be able to get my hands on.  As it turned out, having done stints with Savoy Brown, Black Sabbath and Fleetwood Mac, and having recorded several dozen discs, I've probably heard DAVE more times than I could imagine.

On DAVE WALKERS newest release - "WALKING UNDERWATER" - DAVE, on vocals, guitar and writer of most tracks, is joined by: ROBERT BRITTEN on piano, organ and guitars; MIKE GILLAN on drums; CRAIG HALL on bass; SHEAMUS CONLEY on lead guitar; JIM LEWIS on lead and slide guitar.

On the opening track, "LITTLE SUSIE & MR. TIGHT", it just took the opening guitar chord by JIM for me to decide I was going to like this disc.  Then, DAVE started singing and my decision was reaffirmed.  He's got one of those very articulate, attention commanding, yet melodic voices, that were made for singing.

For reasons I'm finding difficult to explain, this is one of the more interesting discs I've listened to in many a year.  The conviction with which some of the songs are sung brought back memories of the way RICHARD HARRIS presented "MACARTHUR PARK", and the chills I'd get from hearing PROCOL HARUM do "A WHITER SHADE OF PALE".  Meanwhile, instrumentally, MIKE OLDFIELD'S "TUBULAR BELLS" occasionally came to mind.

I can see I've got my work cut out here.  Choosing just a few tracks to comment on is going to be a challenge.  "I CAN MAKE IT ON MY OWN", the next track, is a good place to start.  Nothing fancy here and nothing fancy needed.....just five minutes of DAVE intriguing me with his vocals, while JIM works his magic on guitar with the rhythm section getting my fingers snappin' and my foot tappin'.  Great stuff!

Phenomenal would be the word I'd pick, if only given one, to describe the title track - "WALKING UNDERWATER".  This is one of the songs I had in mind when I made my earlier references.  With this year's Blues Music Awards still several months away, I've already got one of my nominations for the following years "Song of the Year".   ROBERT on piano, SHEAMUS on guitar, MIKE on drums and DAVE on vocals are astounding.

"BLACK STEEL BLUES" takes it up a few notches.  This one's three and a half minutes of smoke caused by wailing guitar (SHEAMUS), thunderous rhythm (JIM & CRAIG) and fierce piano and organ (ROBERT).  And yes, DAVE had something to do with it as well.  This one easily reached 7-8 replays.

At just under three minutes, "RABBITS FOOT CHARM" is an all too short - but oh so very sweet shuffle. With a smooth, soft rhythm going on behind them, DAVE on vocals and ROBERT on piano run with this one.  Once again, the replay button came into play.

"CRAZY BABY", "WEEP NO MORE", "BLUES FROM THE BOTTOM", "GIRL TROUBLE" and "HARD HEADED WOMAN" make up the rest of the tracks - which if I had the space, I could sit here and talk about all night long - on "WALKING UNDERWATER".

I can't see how, but if I haven't made myself perfectly clear yet, let me just come right out and say it - ya gotta get this disc.  I've just got done picking the winner of the 2007 BLEWZZY AWARD - which will be announced soon - and here I am, three weeks into `08 and thinking "WALKING UNDERWATER" may very well be this year's disc to beat.

Check DAVE out at www.aboutdavewalker.com/.  From there, you know the drill.....You tell him the Blewzzman sent ya and you're here to buy the disc.

----- Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro















DAN TREANOR – JACK HADLEY
Brothers, Blood & Bone

Plan-It Records PPCD 0016
www.dantreanor.com


Colorado based Dan Treanor is one of the more individual and distinctive blues artists around with his Afrosippi blues. He plays some excellent blues-harp, but he is probably best-known for playing the blues on African instruments, recalling but in no way attempting to recreate the music’s roots – for a good example of his style and approach, check out his version of Billy Boy Arnold’s ‘Wish You Would’ on this, his third CD, very familiar in arrangement yet a little strange at the same time. Or try his take on Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Help Me’, which the inattentive listener may well fail to recognise first time around. The title track recalls modern African music with its bright and fluid playing. And he can make you hear things afresh: “ah, a bit of down-home funk”, I thought as  ‘You And Me’ started up with a guitar riff… but after a minute or two, I’m thinking “this sounds like King Sunny Ade, Nigerian juju music” – and it still sounds like funk mixed with blues!

Dan and his rhythm section are joined this time around by singer and former Otis Taylor lead guitarist Jack Hadley. Jack has an excellent, flexible voice – ditto his guitar style - and Otis Taylor is perhaps a good reference point, his droning ‘trance-blues’ not too dissimilar in places. Jack is responsible for the excellent, near blues-rocker ‘Deeper And Deeper’ too. It is good to note too that Dan and Jack are not afraid to be topical – take a listen to ‘The War’, and quite amazingly, and by a very simple but totally effective tactic, they bring Blind Lemon Jefferson’s ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean’ bang up to date.

I have enjoyed Dan’s previous two CDs very much – but to my mind (and ears) this is easily the best so far.

----- Norman Darwen












ROBERT CRAY
Live At The BBC
Universal Music

Back in the eighties singer and guitarist Robert Cray may not have single-handedly rejuvenated the blues but he was one of the major figures in the revival of interest in and the fortunes of the music. He was young and handsome, with the required blues pedigree obtained on the California blues circuit and more importantly perhaps the talent, blessed with a voice just made for the kind of southern soul he adored (i.e. O.V. Wright and the like) and a lean but accomplished guitar style that appealed to the guitar fans but distanced itself from the ‘guitar freak-out’ – a true contemporary blues act at the time. With these credentials he succeeded in getting blues albums into the charts and became a familiar figure worldwide with television and radio performances too numerous to chart.

The 14 tracks on this CD date from 1988 (six titles), coinciding with the release of ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’ and 1991 (the remainder) tying in with the release of ‘Midnight Stroll’, and include performances of many of his best-known numbers. Robert was sometimes criticised at the time for not differing too much on stage from his performances on record, and often for being too slick (this at a time when many artists were still working with pick-up bands), but these sides prove that the critics perhaps didn’t listen closely enough, or maybe were just a little too blinkered, as these are all excellent renditions of numbers that deserve their place in any blues collection.

The Robert Cray revival starts here…..

----- Norman Darwen






ZYDECO TED
Texas Zydeco
(own label)
www.cdbaby.com/cd/zydecoted


Zydeco releases do not come along too often so this new CD by a name previously unknown to me is very welcome – and especially so when the musical quality is so high! Rub-board player Mike Vee and guitarist Tom Potter have known Ted since the nineteen-seventies, and accordionist Raymond Chevis, bassist Thurman Hurst and drummer Joseph Rossyion all combine together with Ted to create a mighty groove for him to sing over – in English mostly, with a few French phrases thrown in; and given that Ted was raised in Illinois and now lives in Kentucky (though with a long spell in Houston, Texas in the middle), that is perhaps a little surprising.

The music itself rocks and stomps and swings, a little less smoothly than some these days (that’s a compliment, Ted), and when Ted turns to the blues, as on ‘Heartbeat Blues’, he is very convincing. So too is the waltz ‘Clair De Lune Valse’. At its best, Zydeco is about having a good time, letting the bon temps rouler, and this hugely enjoyable release certainly fits the bill.

----- Norman Darwen



































This review has been complimentary written for your newsletter by Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro, a contributing writer for BLUESWAX, BluesART and the Blues Editor at
www.Mary4Music.com
where you can read many more CD and live show reviews, view lots of blues photographs and find an abundance of blues material.
I can be reached at
[email protected]

THE BLUES EXPERIENCE WITH CASH MCCALL
"THE VINTAGE ROOM"
DIXON LANDING MUSIC

What a great way to start off the new year.  After having our most successful and productive year ever at www.Mary4Music.com, and having reviewed and helped to promote forty five CD'S, it stands to reason that we should start off 2008 - our 10 year anniversary - with something special and exciting, like working with the kin of Blues Royalty.  I'm talking about ALEX DIXON, the grand son of WILLIE DIXON, the late blues legend who had no problem telling the world "I am the blues".

On their debut CD, "THE VINTAGE ROOM", members of THE BLUES EXPERIENCE include: CASH MC CALL -  with well over 30 years experience, much of it with WILLIE, on vocals and guitar; ALEX DIXON on piano; STEVE BELL - son of another late legend, CAREY BELL, on harp; BILL "YOUNG BLOOD" LEARNED and KATY J on rhythm guitars; BRADY WILLIS on bass; VINNIE THREATS on drums; JOHN RISTROM on guitar; DYLAN COOPER on upright bass.

On "THE VINTAGE ROOM", listeners shouldn't expect to experience any attempts to reinvent the blues, any attempts to reinterpret the blues or any attempts to redefine the blues....and thank God for that.  What you can expect is a sincere and very successful attempt to carry on the tradition of the blues in the way that WILLIE DIXON, and many of his legendary associates, meant it to be.

"THE VINTAGE ROOM" offers eleven tracks of which ten are DIXON penned - seven by ALEX and three by WILLIE.  The opening track of "HELLUVA TIME" is an ALEX original that is very reminiscent of "WANG DANG DOODLE".  It's an invitation, by name, to many past and present blues legends, to come to a party where instead of "wang-dang-doodling, they'll be having a "hell-uva-time".  CASH is stellar on vocals and STEVE is very impressive on harp.  Good opening track.

Classic WILLIE D is up next.  THE BLUES EXPERIENCE did such an admirable rendition of "I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU", I'm thinking the originator of this one would feel proud of these guys.

Maybe it's just me, but another track reminding me of something gramps did is "SLICE OF THAT PIE".  I could swear I hear some of "SPOONFUL" in here somewhere.  This track is the first to give you a good taste of ALEX on piano.  Great rhythm by BRADY and VINNIE, and more hot harp by STEVE also highlight this one.

"MAKE A FOOL OF ME" is one of several smokers on the disc.  STEVE leads the jam on this one with ALEX, BRADY and VINNIE once again unrelenting on rhythm.  Of course, CASH gets his licks in as well.

What kind of a tribute to WILLIE DIXON, which indeed this disc is, would it be without "I'M READY"?  Well, the THE BLUES EXPERIENCE certainly agree and they certainly were ready to hit this one.  The track is very short but oh so well done.  CAREY - who obviously was a strong influence on his son - would be real proud of STEVE BELL on this one.

Other tracks on  "THE VINTAGE ROOM " include: "GYPSY WOMAN", "CATCH ME BEFORE YOU GO", "MAMA", "BRING IT ON HOME" and a vocal and instrumental version of "ONE TOUCH".

If you're a fan of WILLIE DIXON, you'll want to grab a copy of  "THE VINTAGE ROOM".  Additionally, you'll want to keep your eyes and ears open for future work, be it performing or producing, by ALEX DIXON.  The whole purpose of him and his wife MELISSA, forming DIXON LANDING MUSIC is to "reach out to the little known or undisclosed musician/artist and to bring back the Chicago Blues feel that his grandfather helped create".  AMEN!  It doesn't need to be reinvented, reinterpreted or redefined......it just needs to be kept alive.

To learn more about THE BLUES EXPERIENCE, and the company's mission in general, shuffle on over to www.dixonlandingmusic.com and tell them you came to see what the Blewzzman's fussin' about.

----- Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro





Patrick Yandall
“New York Blues”.
Zangi 2007

Patrick Yandall is an expert versatile guitar player who, after recording seven jazz albums, comes back with determination to his roots, that is to say, contemporary blues and rock. He gives fresh air to both musical styles with his cool creative witty very personal musical approaching, full of details of other musical styles such as gospel, funk and specially jazz, which is always present due to his concept and the phrasing and riffs he pulla out od his Fender guitar.
An excellent record full of good intense passages that will satisfy fans for the variety of different but at the same time close flavours coming from guitar players like Jeff Beck, Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan, all performed with the personal Patrick Yandall playing which shows him as a real Stratocaster genius.
GREAT.

----- Vicente P. Zumel, La Hora del Blues, Spain.





Laurie Morvan Band
“Cures What Ails Ya”
Screaming Lizard 2007


Singer and guitar player with powerful ressources, Laurie Morvan brings us a new twelve songs cd full of straight charismatic dinamism that will fire the enthousiasm of the most hardened road rock blues listeners. Laurie arouses sensuality and passion, not only for her childlike beauty but also for her excellent guitar technique together with a wrapping velvety voice and an immediate deep communication and feeling.
Our heroine shines at a very high level in every song included on “Cures What Ails Ya”cd. The whole band sound smooth but at the same time doing a very elaborated work, while Laurie Morvan cleverly leads with an extremely very good all cd songs, mainly with passionate cool intense guitar riffs and solos.
VERY GOOD.

----- Vicente P. Zumel, La Hora del Blues, Spain.




Tracy K & The Right Hand Band
“Old, New, Borrowed & Blues”
Self 2007

Tracy K fans can feel happy because the second album of this Canadian singer, harmonica and guitar player has been published a few months ago. She is backed by her habitual musicians plus some other guest artists and reputed guitar player Jack de Keyzer who has also produced the cd, Tracy walks along different musical styles, from the most contemporary blues to rockin’ blues, funky blues, acoustic roots, some folk rock, blues ballads and other interesting surprises you will find on this nice record which gathers the enthousiastic work of a new Canadian star who arises with a vitalistic strenght into Canada musical scene.
A careful selection of twelve Tracy K own songs and a couple of Willie Dixon and Dave Specter & Ted Robinson covers, all them performed with great passion and self-confidence.
VERY GOOD.

----- Vicente P. Zumel, La Hora del Blues, Spain.





Big Joe Williams
“Shake Your Boogie”
Wolf 2007

Outstanding Big Joe Williams show that took place in 1974 at the Old Capitol Building in Jackson, Mississippi. Although in those days he already was not in good health, this thirteen songs collection represent one of the greatest shows of this very special singer and guitar player he did during his last eight years of life.
Williams will be remembered in the blues history as one of the first performers and creators of Delta blues technique and sound, Besides he always played on a convincing way he gave the best of himeself in every show he did during the more than sixty years he was active on blues scene, because he never minded if he was playing on a roadhouse juke joint or on the best European theather or concert hall and he always played with the same heartbreaking passion. An album that deserves the attention of all blues lovers.
ESSENTIAL.

----- Vicente P. Zumel, La Hora del Blues, Spain.



LZ Love & Lightning Red
“Gut Bucket Blues”
Self Production 2006

Beautiful and sincere album, coming from two real enthusiastic music lovers, singer LZ Love and singer and guitar player Lightning Red, who gives the good backing support to make marvellous LZ Love sound cool and savoury. Gifted with a powerful reliable voice, Love developed her singing skills on the gospel choirs of the churches she regularly attended with her parents.
Both musicians have chosen a good varied bunch of songs such as “Wang Dang Doodle”, “Baby What You Want Me To Do” or “Gates Of Heaven”, on an acoustic performing full of swing, passion and temperament in every of the nine songs included on “Gut Bucket Blues”, an honest thrilling cd of a couple of talented but at the same time disciplined musicians.
VERY GOOD.

----- Vicente P. Zumel, La Hora del Blues, Spain.




Carlos Johnson / Lefty Dizz
“The Healer”
Wolf Recordsf

Both singers and guitar players Carlos Johnson and Lefty Dizz share the cd. The two are genuine Chicago blues musicians of the intermediate generation of this particular style. The recording sessions were done in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Carlos Johnson’s ones in 2000 and Lefty’s ones some years before, in 1992. Both artists gave all their knowledge, mastery playing and feeling to produce an interesting piece of work.
All backing musicians shine at a very high level giving the perfect support to emphasize Carlos and Lefty work along the fifteen songs included on “The Healer”. Both musician perform the kind of blues now in fashion in Chicago blues circles with a cool actual energetic sound.
VERY GOOD.

----- Vicente P. Zumel, La Hora del Blues, Spain.







Buddy Flett
“Mississippi Sea”.
Out Of The Past 2007


First solo album of Bluebirds band singer, song writer and guitar player. The cd includes twelve songs, eight own compositions and the rest are Leadbelly, Elmore James and Freddy King versions.
Buddy Flett is backed by excellent bass player Joe Osborn, owner of Sandbox recording studios in Shrevenport, Louisiana, where they did the whole recording and who also plays on five tracks, together with his son Darren Osborn as co-producer and drummer. “Mississippi Sea” is firmly based on Delta blues and deep south mysticism which produces a particular way of reaching a very personal sound with an bright but at the same time subtle acoustic guitar and a kind of broken whisky hoarsed voice.
All these things have led Buddy Flett to be in the front sight of blues fans who really appreciate the quality of music. Also say you will find Steve Howell, Jim Caskey and Keny Wayne Shepherd as guest musicians.
GREAT

----- Vicente P. Zumel, La Hora del Blues, Spain.
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