JUNE 2007























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]

MIKE BADER BAND
"MATCHES MY FEELINGS"

LONGSTAFF RECORDS

If I were to start a review by saying that the CD I was about to write about was the new release from a "Bayou Country" Bluesman, everyone would immediately know the area of my reference and most of you would even have good guesses as to whom I may be reviewing. I wonder if I'd get the same kind of acknowledgement if I said the CD I was about to write about was the new release from a "Bison Country" Bluesman?  Of course not!

As it so happens, The National Bison Range is located just outside of Missoula, Montana - home of Bluesman Mike Bader.  Being the best known bluesman in an area where the American Bison roam,  makes MIKE BADER the "Bison Country Bluesman".  There's a name for your next CD, MIKE.

"MATCHES MY FEELINGS" is the second release by MIKE BADER.  Having reviewed, and certainly enjoyed, his first release - "CLEARCUT CASE OF THE BLUES" - back in November of 2004, it was a "clear cut" pleasure to hear from MIKE again. 
On "MATCHES MY FEELINGS", MIKE BADER on guitars and vocals and writer of all songs, is joined by the rhythm section of LARRY HIRSHBERG on bass and "BZ" BRANDON ZIMMER on drums - the nucleus of his three piece band.  Special guests include TOM "T-BONE" GIBLIN on keyboards, JOAN ZEN on vocals, JASON HICKS on saxophone and TOM BADER, BOB BADER and DAVE BADER (whom I'll affectionately refer to as the "BAD ASS BADER BROTHERS", respectively on harmonica, drums and bass.

The opening track,  "WRONG NAME WOMAN" describes a situation that, to say the least, would put a strain on any relationship - being called the wrong name by your mate - YIKES!  The highlights on this one appear in the very long instrumental jam in the middle of the track.  While the rhythm section locks into a nice dance groove, MIKE puts out several very hot guitar solos.

On "DEFIES GRAVITY", MIKE encounters some very disturbing obstacles in his quest to rid himself of his lady.  Throwing her in the ocean, weighted down with chains, as well as throwing her out of a moving airplane both seem to fail.  After all, she does defy gravity.  This one features all the BADER BOYS with TOM'S hot harp being one of the tracks highlights.
Along with lots of great guitar work by MIKE, "CALL ME THE GRIZZ" features some of the best sax work on the disc.  JASON definitely highlights this track.
"BEEN GROUNDED" is another track by the BAD ASS BADER BROTHERS BLUES BAND.  It's the second of two tracks, on "MATCHES MY FEELINGS", where they all perform together.  This topical cut is about something that's giving us all the blues......being grounded - by the price of gas.  This track features great blues guitar throughout.
Regardless of where you live, it seems you'll have a cross to bear when it comes to the phenomenon common to that area.  I deal with in Florida in the form of hurricanes, Californians have earthquakes, Midwesterners have tornados and MIKE BADER has to get out of the way of "SMOKIN' BUFFALO".  As he says on this track, which features excellent harp and Piano by the two TOMS, "there's nothing you can do, but step aside and let them through". Good advice from the "Bison CountryBluesman".
As the title might indicate, "JUMP SHUFFLIN' BLUES", is shuffle that gets the guys in jam mode.  Everyone's sounding great on what, in my opinion, is easily the discs best track.  Very reminiscent of the late great Little Milton's "(HEY, HEY) THE BLUES IS ALRIGHT", this one will get you movin'.

Remember, if your travels should ever take you to Western Montana, besides dodging those buffalos, make sure your you look up MIKE BADER and tell him the Blewzzman sent ya.  Another way to check him out is by simply going to www.mikebaderblues.com.

----- Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro






















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]

RICHIE BARRON - THE BARRON OF THE BLUES
"RATHER HAVE THE GREEN THAN THE BLUES"
RICHIE BARRON PRODUCTIONS

"RATHER HAVE THE GREEN THAN THE BLUES" is full of smokin' hot, jumpin' and funky blues, that will surely get you moving.  This well produced disc contains twelve originals by The Barron of the Blues - RICHIE BARRON.  For this particular project RICHIE assembled enough people to create a good size orchestra.  Joining him, on vocals and guitars are: MARK "JELLYROLL" BURGSTAHLER, JEROME FLETCHER and BOBBY JORDAN on guitars; RANDY FORRESTER, MICHAEL "SPIDERMAN" MARTIN, RICH SMITH, RICH SCHAFFER and DAVID KESNER on keyboards; STUART VIETS on saxophones; RICH ARMSTRONG on trumpet; ED BARLEY on trombone; EVAN PALMERSTON, DAVID MORENO and JOHNNY YO on bass; DONNY BALDWIN, GREG ELMORE and JEFF CREGG on drums; RICHARD "BANDITO" SEGOVIA on timbales and conga; BILL NOTEMAN on harmonica; and MICHELE and LAURA on wonderfully melodic and harmonic backup vocals.

The disc doesn't start - it rips open with a flaming hot track called "TAHOE BOOGIE".  The whole band - whoever they may be on this track - is in an all out, full blown jam.  Led by the fierce rhythm - and I do mean fierce, everyone is a highlight on what I'm already calling one of the discs best tracks.  I just couldn't get enough of the smoking horns, the hot sax solos, the great guitar riffs and the vibrant vocals.  It took me about a dozen replays just to get through this paragraph.  Wow! What a hell of a first impression.

The title track, "I'D RATHER HAVE THE GREEN THAN THE BLUES", could probably be called "THE BLUES MAN'S ANTHEM".  I'm sure most of them would gladly trade in the blues for the green.  RICHIE makes it quite clear that he'd rather drive a Cadillac than his beat up Chevrolet, eat steak and lobster over his red beans and rice and he'd rather see patent leather or alligator when he looks down at his old beat up shoes.......yes, he'd rather have the green than blues.  More great guitar work and lots of hot piano on this one.
Funk fans will certainly favor "NO TROUBLE TONIGHT".  Unfortunately, with so many different players on the different instruments, and no indication on the liner notes as to who is on what track, all I can say is whoever it is on bass and drums is doing a hell of a job.  Add more rippin' guitar and lots of hot horns and this is another smoker.  The chorus will definitely "funk you up".
As this very mellow and low down blues track indicates, things are a bit slower down on "GRANDPA'S FARM".  One of the highlights on this track is the mixing.  The sound, clearness and volume of all the instruments and vocals are absolutely perfect.  Great vocals, harp and sax by RICHIE, BILL and STEWART make this another of the discs best.
 If I gave out awards for rhythm, the players on "RATHER HAVE THE GREEN THAN THE BLUES" would be a lock to win it.  Once again, on "SOMEBODY'S GOT TO GO", the rhythm section has me in total awe.  More good vocals, guitar and some killer piano highlight this one as well.

Excellent vocals and lyrics make this next track.  It seems that no matter what RICHIE is behind on, and it sounds like quit a bit, he can still address a certain class of people by claiming "I'M STILL AHEAD OF YOU".  Great horn work adds to this soulful, funky number.

If you'd like to check out RICHIE BARRON on line, since he doesn't have his own website, you'll have to do it through http://www.soundclick.com/pro/view/01/default.cfm?BandID=107189.  If you go, shoot him and email and tell him the Blewzzman is braggin' 'bout the Barron of the Blues.See what's free at AOL.com.

----- Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro


















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]

PORTERHOUSE BOB & DOWN TO THE BONE
"WHO CALLED THE COPS?"
BIG MOJO RECORDS

Although I can sometimes tell after just one listen that I like a CD enough to be able to give it a nice review, most of the times I prefer to listen to it several times before making a qualified decision. On the other hand, with "WHO CALLED THE COPS", after just a few tracks I was ready to start writing -but first, I needed to stop writhing. In just three little words I can tell you what my first impression of this disc was......fun, fun, fun.  It's very apparent the band had fun recording it and I can assure you, you'll have fun listening to it.

Inasmuch as I take pride in my originality when writing these reviews, I'll occasionally see a quote in a bands press kit, or at their website, that compels me to use that quote.  This description of their style of music was one of those compellers........"A blend of Bourbon Street brass, rolling piano blues and a classic New Orleans beat; this high octane barrelhouse band pumps out psycho boogie, funk and zydeco-blues as if there is no tommorrow".  Touche` - the Blewzzman tips his hat to the writer of those words. 

This fiesty bunch of players are: PORTERHOUSE BOB, writer of the discs nine original tracks, on vocals and keyboards; MITCH MONTOSE, drums and rubboard; MIKE BARRY, bass; GEORGE PANDIS, trumpet; SCOTTY STRATHMANN, trumpet, trombone and tuba; DAN HEFFERNAN, clarinet, tenor and alto sax; DON ROBERTS, baritone sax; LONNIE JOHNSON, trumpet. 
If within 30 seconds of the opening track, "DID YOU CATCH THAT JACK?", you're not shaking or tapping one or more of your body parts - at a feverish pace -  you may need to call your doctor.  Man, this track rocks.  It's a fast and furious Nawlin's swing thing with lots of funky horns that has MITCH and MIKE tearing up the pace on drums and bass.
 If you're a mover and a shaker, head to the dance flo' for "TIPPIN' ON FO FO'S".  This short but scorching Zydeco instrumental is guaranteed to break a sweat.
"DOWN BY THE WATER" opens with an awesome 90 second trumpet solo before getting downright funky.  BOB is outstanding on piano and some Dr. John type vocals and the horn section, led by more great trumpet work and SCOTTY on the tuba, create a great ragtime sound. 
There's no other way to describe the next track other than to just tell you it's name - "BIG BOB'S BOOGIE".  Backed up with some great bass work, this instrumental is all about BOB and his piano..........that is until DAN jumps in with some downright kick ass tenor sax. 
"WHODOO VOODOO" is all of 63 seconds but what a furious 63 seconds it is.  It's a ritual sounding instrumental with a fierce drum beat and wailing trumpets.  This one brought to mind about a half a dozen jungle movies.
The title track, "WHO CALLED THE COPS", is all out musical mayhem.  BOB is as wild on the vocals as he is on the piano, Mitch and Mike are trying to kick each others butt on rhythm - and they're both succeeding - and the horn section, in an effort to not be outdone, are blowing their brains out.  At two and a half minutes, this track is about five minutes too short.  I wanted more - lots more - of this.  Easily the hottest track on the disc.
Just like the steak, PORTER HOUSE BOB and the band are excellent, right DOWN TO THE BONE.  Check the guys out at www.porterhousebob.com and tell them you heard from the Blewzzman that they throw one hell of a party.

----- Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro












FOREE “GUITAR” WELLS & The Walnut Street Blues Band
It’s A New Day, Brother!

Stack House SRC-1912
http://stackhouse-bluesoterica.blogspot.com/

Foree may not be a familiar name but as a guitarist his discography includes recordings with Rosco Gordon, Earl Forest, Arthur Gunter, Kid King’s Combo and Jimmy Beck, all well-known and highly respected names to collectors of vintage southern blues. For many years he was a prime mover on the Louisville, Kentucky blues scene, and this album should have been the one to introduce him to introduce him to a wider blues audience. Scheduled for release in 1997, it was due to appear on the Rooster Blues label, but Foree’s untimely death on January 8th of that year meant it was delayed. Thankfully Jim O’Neal’s Stack House label has finally allowed it to reach that larger public.

Though it may not be an album to turn the blues world on its head, it is indeed a strong set from a largely previously unknown musician. Foree had a very clean guitar style, sometimes reminiscent of vintage BB King or Little Milton, though he does occasionally get a little ‘dirtier’ (try ‘Dice Game’ for a good example); he has a fine strong voice too and his backing band provide just what is required for this programme of well-crafted and thoughtful numbers, all originals apart from a tasty closing version of Pee Wee Crayton’s ‘Blues After Hours’.

Thankfully Foree’s music has survived into the new millennium – not only has this excellent release finally seen the light of day but Foree’s children have continued his legacy, singing and playing his and their own blues. This is music that deserves to be far better known – a recommended purchase of course.

----- Norman Darwen







ELI COOK
Miss Blues’es Child
Sledgehammer Blues VLT15214
www.elicook.com

Singer and guitarist Eli Cook from Charlottesville, Virginia really does need to be careful. Listening to the music here, it struck me that by the time he is fifty – in another three decades – he is going to sound like a hundred and twenty year old whose doctor is advising him to give up smoking and drinking bootleg whiskey for the good of his health.

Eli may be from the state where the grass is blue but on the evidence of this, his debut CD, his heart is firmly in Mississippi. His sound is big and primal, as he roars his way through material from the likes of Robert Johnson, Son House (a wonderful a cappella ‘Grinning In Your Face’), Jimmy Reed, a truly ferocious rendition of Bukka White’s ‘Fixin’ To Die’ and particularly the 1960s ‘discovery’ recordings of R. L. Burnside, with a Fred McDowell influence also clearly discernible. His droning, trance-inducing guitar work is interspersed with slashing slide guitar, and the occasional use of banjo. This CD is a real treat for lovers of the hard blues sound and a wonderful way to welcome a major blues talent.

----- Norman Darwen






THE BEAT DADDYS
Five Moons
(own label)
www.beatdaddys.com

Let me tell you that this is excellent bar-room blues from this southern outfit. OK, if you already own any of the band’s previous five albums, you won’t need me to tell you that. If not, you may have come across singer/ songwriter/ rhythm guitarist/ bandleader Larry Grisham’s name in connection with Mighty Sam McClain or Bobby Bland; until Katrina took her terrible toll, he lived in Pass Christian, about sixty miles (almost 100 km) outside New Orleans.

This set took five months to complete and is a very fine blues-rocking album, with shades of the Allmann Brothers (a wonderful slide guitar rock-out on the closing ‘Where Is She’), echoes of ‘Gris-Gris’ period Doctor John The Nite Tripper on the title track, southern soul with the lyrics of the opener ‘Pale White Circle’ – in fact, the writing is of such a high standard throughout that it comes as no surprise to discover that Dorothy Moore and Little Milton recorded Larry’s songs. Just another reason then to check out this CD – you won’t regret it.

----- Norman Darwen










Artist: Various
Title: Alligators’ Crucial Blues Series.
Crucial Rockin’ Blues
ALCD122

Title: Alligators’ Crucial Blues Series.
More Crucial Guitar Blues
ALCD123

Title: Alligators’ Crucial Blues Series.
Crucial Acoustic Blues
ALCD124

Label: Alligator Records
www.alligator.com/

Here, we have three more splendid additions to the Crucial Blues Series from that esteemed modern day Blues label Alligator; each album focuses specifically on one particular type, style or instrument. Whether you call them best of, tasters, or samplers, it matters not, for they are, in themselves essential purchases. The artists appearing on these twelve track albums range over a thirty six year period. The earliest number included in this series is “No, No Baby,” by Son Seals, recorded in 1976. This number is featured on More Guitar Blues, as does Luther Allison, with his “Will it ever Change,” a pain injected, searing example of present day racism. One standout number amongst many is “Okie Dokee Stomp,” by W.C. Clark, a wonderfully rich toned, rockin ‘instrumental played at breakneck speed. Some of the other famous artists included on the album are; Lonnie Brooks, Albert Collins and Kenny Neal to name but a few.


The excellently brash raw “Last Dirty Deal,” by Coco Montoya, which was released earlier this year is featured on The Rockin’ album; a perfect Saturday night boppin’ toe-tapper. With some serious twangin’ from the likes of; Johnny Winter, playing the infectious fast moving “Route 90,” Lonnie Mack with Stevie Ray Vaughan, delivers a delicious “Hound Dog Man,” adding to the rising  temperature is Lee Rocker with his Southern Country infected “Rockin’ Harder.”   Also on the album is Shemekia Copeland, Guitar Shorty. to name but a few.

The last of the trio is an acoustic guitar piece which displays a fine collection of wonderful guitar pickin’ & pluckin,’ from lyrical soothing gentle numbers to hard crunching fiery slide. A rare acoustic recording from Koko Taylor and Keb’ Mo’ performing “The Man Next Door,” is an example of Downhome Delta blues as it should heard. The late Carey Bell with son Lurrie beautifully display their stunningly uncanny ability to anticipate each other with harp and guitar interplay. John Jackson and Cephas & Wiggins respectively give excellent examples of the Piedmont finger-picking style.  Some of the other artists featured on the album are; Bob Margolin & Nappy Brown, Corey Harris.

If you are interested in modern day urban blues (or, merely curious) then these three albums are seriously worth considering. Personally, I can only repeat myself and say that I consider them to be essential.
Recommended!

----- Brian Harman










SIDESTEPS
Steppin’ Out
ATS CD-0600

“SIR” OLIVER MALLY’S BLUES DISTILLERY
Radio
ATS CD-0624
www.ats-records.com

Besides the record label, the other common factor between these two releases is the presence of Austrian blues guitarist and singer “Sir” Oliver Mally, as the group Sidesteps consists of Mally, Klaus Paier on accordion, and the vocals and fiddle of Bernie Mallinger – and that should indicate that ‘Steppin’ Out’ is no ordinary blues album.
Indeed, apart from one track, ‘I’ll Be Forever Leaving You’, there really isn’t any that qualifies as blues at all; this is mostly singer/ songwriter material, with unique and frequently challenging arrangements that take the unwary listener by surprise. There is an extremely unusual but effective arrangement of the standard ‘Love Hurts’, and a very fine cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Billy’. In fact, the feel of the whole album is a little akin to that of Dylan’s classic mid-seventies ‘Blood On The Tracks’ set, and some may find that reason enough to investigate this CD.


“Sir” Oliver also leads the Blues Distillery, with a line-up of Walter ‘Shakey’ Kreinz on bass, Martin Gasselsberger on keyboards, and drummer Willy Hackl. The results are once again adventurous, and a couple of tracks into the CD I found myself wondering if this also was going to be a ‘non-blues’ album. However, there are several rather more conventional blues later in the running order, and perhaps the Dylan cover on ‘Steppin’ Out’ inspired Oliver’s own composition ‘The Ballad Of Billy’, which is in a (very) laid-back Albert King style.
‘Laid-back’ is a key word regarding this CD "RADIO" - there is a bit of rock, some jazz (nice sax by Christian Bachner on three tracks), a little bit of vintage rock & roll (‘a notable ‘Ruby Red Lips’), and side portions of folky and rootsy sounds. Try also the relaxed cover of Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Chile’, which I guarantee is like no other you have heard.
Once again, there is a refreshing lack of cliché with this recording, and those whose tastes stretch beyond the blues pure and simple may like to give this album a listen.

----- Norman Darwen














CAREY & LURRIE BELL
Gettin’ Up Live

Delmark DVD 1791
www.delmark.com

The last time I saw harp ace Carey and guitarist Lurrie Bell playing together was back in the eighties in London. Since then Lurrie has had more than his share of problems and a few short weeks before I write this his father Carey died. This DVD, gathering together performances from Rosa’s Lounge on 27th July 2006, from Lurrie’s home the following day, and from Buddy Guy’s Legends club three months later, serves as a reminder of the monster talents of these two men and also, unfortunately, of sounds we will never witness in person again.

There are six songs from Rosa’s, with Carey looking frail – he had only been released from hospital following a stroke a few days before, and having injured his hip, he remains seated throughout – but without the visuals, you would never suspect it. He sings as well as ever, age having added depth to his vocals, and his harmonica work is outstanding; Lurrie too is in wonderful form, totally focussed, and with a backing band of the excellent Roosevelt Purifoy on piano, Bob Stroger on bass and Brian ‘BJ’ Jones on drums, plus guitarist Scott Cable on one number, this is first class Chicago blues. The same comment applies to the material from ‘Legends’, four songs backed by Purifoy again, plus Joe Thomas on bass, Kenny Smith on drums, and Cable on all four. Carey looks better too.

The final, home recorded titles present Lurrie and Carey sitting in their front room with their instruments plugged in and these really are the icing on the cake – the blues stripped down as their children and grandchildren peek in to see what is going on, as does Lurrie’s wife, who sadly died earlier this year. Movingly, Lurrie takes a rare vocal on the last number, a stunning solo rendition of the old gospel standard ‘Stand By Me’ – which he dedicates to his wife Susan and their daughter Aria.

This set is also available on CD (Delmark DE791), though the DVD has two bonus tracks, plus short interviews with Carey and Lurrie, a listing of relevant Delmark albums, and a trailer for a forthcoming DVD by Tail Dragger. That looks good – so does this! Highly recommended.

----- Norman Darwen

























Dagmar and the Seductones
COME BACK TO ME
TYM Records


The Seductones are at it again. It seems like just yesterday when their former Wammie nominated CD, Little Bitta Love, was released. But it has been three years.

One of the best bar bands in the Mid-Atlantic and darlings of the swing dance set, singer Dagmar (Andrea Dagmar Brown Swenson) and the Seductones---husband, Bob “Newscaster” Swenson, on guitar, Bryan Smith on bass, and George Sheppard on drums—are hoping to repeat the warm, world wide reception of their initial effort and there’s no reason they won’t.


As they say, “if ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” And the Dagmar & Co. aren’t about to tinker with their recipe of success---mixing breezy, catchy, infectiously danceable originals (penned by both Dagmar and Bob) with likewise delightful, seldom heard nuggets from the past, creating quite an enjoyable concoction. In keeping with their “variety is the spice of life” credo, they not only include a whole array of  exotic oldies but also include new compositions, running the gamut of musical genres from Bob’s strong suit of rockabilly, “Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet” and “Bad Sad or Mad” to C&W ballads, like the Patsy Cline inspired “I’m Not Going To Cry” to jump blues, like “That Doghouse Double Bass,” to even 60s garage rock influenced “You Said.”  As for the obscure gems of yesteryear, what band today would tackle such a diverse lot as soul, Don Covay’s “Mercy, Mercy,” 50s R&B, like Ruth Brown’s “As Long As I’m Moving,” Huey Smith’s second line shuffle, “Hush Your Mouth,” and old timey country blues like Memphis Minnie’s “Me And My Chauffeur Blues” and Willie Moore’s “Old Country Rock,” the latter an acoustic instrumental.

The musicians who created Come Back To Me are not kids; they are seasoned veterans of the local club scene for decades and they are well steeped in music history. What they have presented here is a box of chocolates for your aural consumption. And this eclectic collection will go a long way to not only dispel the notion that they are merely a cover band but also amply demonstrate why they are one of the most sought after bands in the region.

----- Larry Benicewicz

PS: Come Back To Me is available through CDbaby.com/Dagmar2, Amazon.Com, and Raucousrecords.Com









COEN WOLTERS BAND
Broken Glass

Crying Tone CT2097

As The Crow Flies
Crying Tone CT2098
www.cryingtonerecords.com             www.coenwolters.com

As he was only born in the seventies (!), Dutch singer/ guitarist and composer Coen brings the self-confidence and self-belief of youth to his loud, brash blues-rock – and this injection of youth is most welcome in a genre where many of the main protagonists seem to be aging along with their audience.

For sure, the first CD demonstrates that Coen has some of the licks of a Jimi Hendrix (’Spanish Castle Magic’ is a rare cover), some of the swagger of a Stevie Ray Vaughn, some of the good-natured, down-to-earth approach of a Rory Gallagher, some of the inventiveness of early Led Zeppelin – try the searing slow blues ‘Ain’t No Way’ - and some of the awareness of youth: the other cover of the set is Chris Smither’s ‘Mail Order Mystics’. He can also convince on the reasonably straight blues of ‘King’s Café’ – Albert being the King in question here – though he does over-reach himself a little with the ambitious closer. Backing is courtesy of bass-man Michel Mulder and drummer Nico Groen, with both doing a fine job behind the leader, who also plays keyboards, and the Albert King tribute has horns.

‘As The Crow Flies’ was cut live in the studio as the product of a no-frills, powerhouse blues-rocking trio, bass and drum duties being filled this time around by Bert Oostveen and Marco Kleinnibbelink respectively. On this album the songs are all originals and Coen’s vocals are just as declamatory as on the previous set. This is a little more varied and individual than its predecessor – I enjoyed the strut of ‘Don’t Turn Your Back On Me’ - though just as raw and uncompromising, and it goes out with a real bang thanks to ‘Dancing With Shadows’.

How to decide between the two? Don’t! If your tastes run to raunchy blues-rock, get both!

----- Norman Darwen























TERRY GILLESPIE & THE GRANARY BAND
Brother Of The Blues
TEK0612-01

Terry Gillespie may well be Canada’s king of roots music. So where has he been? Or more appropriately, where have we been that we haven’t come across him before? Gillespie was born in Edmonton, grew up in England, and following his father’s career, moved to the United States. While in Detroit, Michigan, Gillespie played with Howlin Wolf, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Junior Wells, and John Lee Hooker. In the late ’60s, he temporarily relocated to Toronto, Ontario before settling in the nation’s capital city of Ottawa. There, he was part of the cultural dissemination of American music into Canada. He was one of the forefathers of that movement because he had previously been a part of the American music culture. After a two decade gap, Gillespie – a guitarist, vocalist, trumpeter, and songwriter – is back with his semi-autobiographical Brother Of The Blues. He is backed by the impressive Granary Band, who are all reputable musicians in their own right.

The rootsy title track is inconspicuously complex yet it is relaxed and calming. Here, Gillespie’s real blues guitar contains elements of many other genres. The lyrics introduce you to the family of the blues; (“Terror is the father of the blues / heartache is the mother”). The basic rhythm of Yellow Moon sounds extracted from the walls of Sun Studios, but horns give it an urban sensibility. More ’50s Memphis rock ‘n’ roll can be found on Change My Style. Among 11 brisk songs, it is the only cover. Love Again has a ’70s feel courtesy of polished production. Sounding like an AM radio hit, it reminds me of the great balladeers of that decade. Fear provided the inspiration for Kruschev. A discussion about the current state of affairs and how it was any different to the cold war era reminded Gillespie of what it was like to be a kid and afraid. When he was a youngster, he recalls the school kids being brought into the gym and being shown pictures of the A-bomb. He had nightmares for years. Carl Nicholson was the first person Gillespie met upon moving to Ottawa. Here, sounding like Van Morrison, Gillespie sings, (“Van Morrison taught me what to do”).

Too many artists bill themselves as blues artists when they are nothing more than rock ‘n’ rollers in disguise. Terry Gillespie is not that type of bluesman. Yes, he is Canadian so his blues aren’t like that of the Delta or Chicago, yet this powerful roots musician has gained the pride of his homeland. This comeback recording is sure to bring 60-year-old Terry Gillespie more respect and admiration than even his past warrants. Yet if he wants to take the music world by storm, he will require more to make him stand out in the crowd. His vocals are articulate, but sound too similar to Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, and Mark Knopfler. His blues-based folky rock songs are more memorable. They don’t focus on a blazing guitar or rampant rock energy. Brother Of The Blues is about the songs as a whole. These days that is a joy to encounter.

----- Tim Holek






PAUL LAMB & The King Snakes
Snakes & Ladders

SPV/ Blue 49302 CD
www.spv.de

This beautifully packaged CD presents a live recording of the leading UK blues harmonica ace Paul and his band. There have been other live albums from him – the last made in 2002 - but the line-up can change quickly and this is more or less up-to-the-moment, having been recorded in September 2006 at Wimborne in Dorset, on Britain’s south coast.
The line-up for this set finds Paul on harmonica and vocals, Chad Strentz on vocals and guitar, Raul De Pedro Marinero on lead guitar, Paul’s son Ryan Lamb on guitar on six of the eleven tracks, Rod Demick on upright bass, Sonny Below on drums. The result is a storming set of uptempo, rocking rhythm & blues, with Paul wailing away in a Big Walter Horton or Sonny Terry style or slowing things down after the fashion of George Smith, whilst the band complement him to perfection. Though the set list contained such staples as ‘Things I Used To Do’, ‘Got My Mojo Workin’’ and ‘I Got A Woman’, these versions have a vibrancy that makes them stand up to repeated listening - plus there are some fine Lamb originals too. Sounds like it was a more than good night for all concerned…


----- Norman Darwen






ROBERT JR. LOCKWOOD
Steady Rollin’ Man

Delmark DD 630
www.delmark.com

Recorded over two days in August 1970, this was Robert Jr.s first album as leader. He had the backing of the Aces (Louis Myers, guitar, Dave Myers, bass, and Fred Below, drums), and though the production is a little thin by modern standards, it caused something of a sensation due to the amount of material that could be associated with Lockwood’s stepfather, also known as Robert Johnson, who at the time was still a very mysterious figure. What Robert also showed though was that he was not only a Mississippi bluesman but that he was also familiar with the likes of such sophisticates as Charlie Christian and Eddie Durham – not for nothing had he been one of Chicago’s most in demand guitarists since the fifties. Besides his little known recordings under his own name, he had recorded with Little Walter (in particular), Willie Mabon, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Otis Spann and many other classic names.
This is subtle blues, music that demands attention, and for those who already have the original vinyl, this CD comes complete with two additional alternate takes.

----- Norman Darwen








DAVID FACKEURE
Jazz On Biguine Vol. 2

Freméaux & Associés FA 488
www.fremeaux.com

A fusion album, a real success! French jazz pianist David Fackeure here tackles the biguine, the classic mix of African and European music of the French Caribbean which attained its height of popularity between the twenties and the fifties and which is related to New Orleans jazz in some ways but came under the influence of bebop in the fifties. It is a rich and beautiful style, which David has mastered completely, resulting in an eminently listenable album for all those interested in the music of the African Diaspora or just fine swinging sounds.

Helping out on this set are the saxman Xavier Richardeau, who impresses on baritone but even more so with his alto sax on two titles, bassist Silvio Marie from the island of Guadeloupe who has recorded with Ray Charles, and regular drummer David Gore. Thomas Dutronc adds some wonderful ‘gypsy jazz’ styled acoustic guitar playing to the final number, and the veteran (in her nineties!) singer Jenny Alpha lends her sprightly vocal talents to ‘Douvan Pote Doudou’ – more please! The material is split 50:50 between beguine classics and originals in that style. If what you have read interests you – then go ahead and buy!

----- Norman Darwen
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