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  • Jimmy Burns, It Ain't Right, Delmark, blues CD review by Brian K. Read
    Parker on drums Sumito Ariyo Ariyoshi on piano as well as Roosevelt Hatter Purifoy on keys A tight as tinfoil horn section brings together Marques Caroll on trumpet Chris Neal on tenor sax and Aaron Getsug on baritone sax These are seasoned blues players who follow Jimmy through a myriad of styles grooves and arrangements all with ease as if they were at a house party My personal favorite track is the cover of the 5 Royales hit Crazy Crazy Crazy which hearkens back to street corner and doowop singing a sure dance number that radio stations should love Blues guitar great Billy Flynn also penned a couple of tunes including a catchy Big Money Problem along with the soul ballad Will I Ever Find Somebody These and all the songs on It Ain t Right reflect a thoughtful heartfelt approach to telling stories blues stories sung smooth that will resonate with truth for all who listen There s plenty of other covers too many to name em all with numbers by Percy Mayfield Jimmy Reed Ben E King and by Little Walter who wrote the title track Jimmy does one by his big brother Eddie Burns too Hard Hearted Woman But they are more than just covers they take on new life in his hands He has a smooth voice you can listen to all night long and the chops on guitar and harmonica to keep a place jumping when he plays live it has been great to see him get back to playing local gigs these past few years Jimmy Burns covers all the bases hits all the pitches and can hang with the curves just like Ernie used to do It takes a good manager to get the most out of a team and help a star

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/jimmy-burns-cd/jimmy_burns_ain%27t_right_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Sam Burckhardt, Fly Over, Airways Records, blues CD review by Mark Thompson
    by the saxophonist and Paterson starting with the opener Bird Watching sets the pace with sax and guitar both playing the melody line with crisp accents from Benson on the Hammond organ Then Burckhardt takes off turning the melody around while adding a few low honking tones Soon Paterson and Benson join in the three musicians trading the lead back and forth on a joyful excursion that gives more than a hint of what is to follow Early Bird Blues is another original with Benson switching to piano and Paterson offering a brief taste of his fluid picking before Burckhardt digs into the tune gliding into the horn s upper register blowing up a storm before settling down for a calm finish The title track is the third new song a swinging number that showcases the Sample Hall combination driving a fleet finger Paterson guitar ride leading into Benson making full use of the Hammond s pedals leaving it to Burckhardt to wrap things up with some brawny tenor sax Leroy Carr s classic In The Evening has Burckhardt laying down a laidback vocal accompanied by Paterson When the band kicks in Hall sets the pace using brushes for a subtle groove Paterson dazzles with another concise solo before Burckhardt enters with a moving solo segment Benson s Hammond organ dominates the arrangement for Route 66 and Burckhardt delivers a more energetic vocal on the timeless classic The jaunty Spring Swing comes complete with a series of memorable solos and Burckhardt s is the best of the bunch Another highlight is the romping rendition of Tiny Grimes Rock The House as the band establishes a propulsive groove for another Paterson guitar foray Doggin With Doggett is another jump blues classic with Burckhardt Benson on piano and Paterson turning in mesmerizing

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/sam-burckhardt-cd/sam_burckhardt_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Les Copeland, To Be In Your Company, Earwig Music, blues CD review by Mark Baier
    vocalist and brilliant instrumentalist His guitar work combines elements of Mississippi John Hurt Blind Blake Barbecue Bob Furry Lewis the ghost of Robert Johnson and Chuck Berry to name but a few Combining this rich and colorful instrumentation with a wizened and playful vocal delivery Les creates an intimate and heartfelt atmosphere that begs the listener to dig deep into the songs and arrangements While TBIYC is a solo performance it s certainly not your run of the mill Man with a Martin style of guitar strumming Les appears to be using an archtop jazz guitar for most of the selections and when combined with his syncopated bouncing bass treble counterpoint picking techniques it gives the material strong sonic and rhythmic elements that invoke an intimate evening one moment a crowded juke joint that s a rockin the next Don t bother knockin come on in The sound and dynamic of his particular guitar set up lends Copeland a distinctive sound that s fresh fun and familiar Copeland s superior guitar playing could easily steal the show were it not for his sublime vocals and storytelling ability Like the classic prewar stylists he s channeling Les creates sonic sonnets that relate the struggles and joys of a life lived hard but well Some of the standout tracks include the title track To Be In Your Company a loving ode to Les friend and companion late Delta legend Honeyboy Edwards Knucklehead a playful love song for Sarah his wife and Sunny Afternoon Les free and easy interpretation of the Kinks 60s classic Copeland evokes the ghosts of Ledbelly and BBQ Bob on the 12 string driven Borderline Bessie and Crosstown Bessie is notable for its heartfelt account of Honeyboy s adoration for his wife Bessie Les unwinds a deep cut written

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/les-copeland-cd/les_copeland_to-be-in-your-company_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Charlie Musselwhite, I Ain't Lyin', Henrietta Records, blues CD review by Pierre Lacocque
    stellar performances still as vibrant today as it was in 1966 Vanguard Chicago The Blues Today vol 3 In the 1960s Musselwhite was with Paul Butterfield Elvin Bishop and Michael Bloomfield among a handful of others the first white musicians to work and record with Afro American blues musicians Their impact on blues fans and musicians world wide has been and continues to be phenomenal ABOUT THIS RECORDING This live CD was recorded on September 28 th 2014 at the Valley Of the Moon Vintage Festival Sonoma CA Portions of the CD also were recorded at the Clarksdale Soundstage Clarksdale MS on December 12 th Charlie tells me that he had to redo his harp work as someone in the recording crew messed up my sound only personal communication No one else did overdubs The Sonoma performance was recorded by engineer Piper Payne and co produced by Musselwhite s wife Henrietta Henri for short and Gary Vincent As with his previous Grammy nominated Juke Joint Chapel Henrietta 2012 it was mixed and mastered by Gary Vincent Following his Grammy award nominated Juke Joint Chapel Henrietta 2012 I Ain t Lyin continues with a similar live format The set of 11 songs flows effortlessly The range of songs varies from rumbas to vintage Chicago blues Musselwhite s lyrics are clever filled with blues stories and with sexual innuendos Good Blues Tonight Long Lean Lanky Mama and Long Leg Mama are but a few examples here On I Ain t Lyin we find Charlie in superb form His vocals are as strong as ever and there are plenty of fresh and passionate harp leads Musselwhite comes across like he is enjoying himself Musselwhite is known to say I Ain t Lyin when talking from the stage which is where the CD s title comes from You will indeed hear him make that trademark comment a few times on this enjoyable recording It s just a saying of mine I never even thought about it and didn t even realize I was saying it until people mentioned it to me Since this was a live recording I used this saying like I usually do and somebody thought it would be a good album title personal communication It is indeed a perfect CD title Also of note here the CD s picture on the back cover shows the famed old highways 61 and 49 crossroads where Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the Devil It was taken by Charlie s wife Henrietta from her cellular phone the photo of the crossroads shows where it was in Johnson s day Today 61 and 49 cross at a different place personal communication THE BAND With the exception of Steve Froberg now on bass replacing Mike Phillips the band is the same quartet as on Juke Joint Chapel The overall band feel here is warm wonderfully in tune yes and is as stellar a quartet as were Little Charlie and The Nightcats or the Four Aces

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/charlie-musselwhite/charlie_musselwhite_aint-lying-cd-page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Method To My Madness, Alligator Records, blues CD review by Liz Mandeville
    Lot but No Such Luck has a really interesting dark groove The song boasts an arresting and unexpected arrangement with stops story lyrics a smoky guitar solo and a hooky chorus that begs one to sing along Some of the strongest work from the band is on the vamp where Castro bemoans his bad luck while the swampy drums play tag with the keys that answer Castro s riffing vocal I m wondering if there was a Los Lobos CD in the van s player on the last tour as I m hearing that lovely dark flavor I love so much from that group not that he s copied so much as assimilated that flavor to his vast palate Two Hearts is my favorite kind of big fat blues groove A nice shuffle that s not in a hurry the CD feels as if it hits its stride with this tune Two Hearts are better than one I m gonna be with you baby when my day is done You can break my heart break it wide open that s all right hearts were meant to be broken sings a convicted Castro And we believe him I m Qualified is a veritable Stax soul shouter song I could hear Wilson Pickett or Otis Redding singing this song set over the old Tramp groove and boosted by a wide swath of B 3 a nice break from all the guitar solos The atmosphere is so dark and moody on Ride I m almost transported to the Whisky A Go Go for a late 60s Doors concert It s the spooky guitar coupled with a gentle rain of electric piano I m digging the minor solo and hint of tremolo on the guitar played over a heavily gated reverb delay enhanced drum beat that drives the song like a ghost engineer nice producing Mr Castro The characters in this song are the dirty night people who inhabit Tom Waits best material This is my favorite track on the disc I had to play it twice to get the full treatment it s like listening to a noir film Can you say slow blues Lose Lose is blues so slow and deep I think Castro was channeling Albert Collins Some of his best work on this disc the call and response vocal and guitar tells the old story of love gone wrong broken vows and betrayal You had another man yes there was other women too We did each other wrong and I call that lose lose If that ain t the blues honey then this ain t Chicago This is my favorite guitar solo on Method too not speed not fireworks just feeling and soul All About the Cash takes another turn in the bayou I think the work with Tab Benoit has had a great effect on TC there s a flavor to his music now that isn t quite New Orleans but has some cayenne pepper to it Castro is

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/tommy-castro-cd/tommy_castro_method_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Zac Harmon, Right Man Right Now, Blind Pig, blues CD review by Eric Steiner
    attention to the blues full time over ten years ago Prior to that Zac did studio work in California for movies TV and music produced the O Jays Evelyn Champagne King and a Grammy nominated release for reggae s Black Uhuru His return to his first musical love was auspicious representing the Southern California Blues Society Zac Harmon and the Mid South Blues Revue won Best Unsigned Band honors at the 2004 International Blues Challenge in Memphis Two songs will resonate with blues fans who follow the news about shootings that sadly continue to capture newspaper headlines and devastate communities across the USA The funky Back of the Yards and the slow blues of Stand Your Ground each co written with songwriter and manager John Hahn not only highlight Harmon s sweet tenor vocals and fluid guitar playing but each song also offers up some prescient observations on the proliferation of shootings that impact many urban neighborhoods in America Back of the Yards laments the impacts of poverty and violence in a Chicago neighborhood that once played a key role in the abundance associated with the union stockyards on the South Side until the prosperous union meatpacking jobs left in the early 1970s Fortunately for the neighborhood the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council founded by Saul Alinsky and Joseph Meegan in 1939 continues to pursue equality for new generations of predominantly Hispanic immigrants who call the Back of the Yards home Unfortunately this is one of Chicago s most dangerous hoods with killings of innocent bystanders a frequent occurrence Harmon s Stand Your Ground refers to a Western legal doctrine that allows an individual to use deadly force when he or she is faced with a real or perceived threat In America many states have laws on the books that permit the use of deadly force controversial use of that law played a part in the trial over the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida On his update of John Lee Hooker s I m Bad Like Jesse James Zac s vocals thankfully stray far from the polished and smooth dulcet tones that flow on most of the CD he s obviously reveling in the opportunity to adopt a bad boy personae to deal with another historical nefarious archetype named Jody as in Jody s got your girl and gone The origins of the so called Jody myth likely have roots in World War II when soldiers and marines deployed overseas sang rhyming cadence during physical training one such ditty was about a man back home who would help out lonesome brides on the home front I remember singing Ain t no use in goin home Jody s got your girl and gone Ain t no use in goin back Jody s got your Cadillac during PT in basic training at Fort Dix New Jersey in the 1980s Zac s character in Jesse James has a buddy just like the mythical Jody who is up to no good with

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/zac-harmon-cd/zac_harmon_right_man_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Andy T - Nick Nixon Band, Numbers Man, Blind Pig Records, blues CD review by Mark Thompson
    critics as well as numerous award nominations Those discs were produced by another outstanding guitar player Anson Funderburgh who is well versed in the various shades of blue that the band creates His guiding touch is evident throughout a disc brimming with the kind of energy and vitality that is becoming all too rare these days They hit the ground running with Shut The Front Door with Funderburgh trading licks with Andy T while Nixon belts out the tale of broken hearts with his rich gospel trained voice spurred on by the presence of the Texas Horns Kaz Kazanov on tenor sax Al Gomez on trumpet and John Mills on baritone sax Things quickly shift to the place where Texas and Louisiana musical heritages collide for a joyous romp on Devil s Wife truly a woman with evil on her mind Christian Dozzler on accordion leads the way deeper into the swamp on Tall Drink Of Water where Andy T rips off one his many outstanding solos The accordion returns on What Went Wrong with Nixon pleading for understanding from his lover Nixon wrote Sundown Blues a Texas style shuffle with Van Loon on organ and Dozzler on piano while guest Kim Wilson uses his harp to give the track a real down home feel On the classic Blue Monday Nixon conjures up the ghosts of legendary blues singers like Jimmy Witherspoon as Talamantez provides another exclamation point on his guitar He burns through the opening passage s horn driven arrangement to Clarence Gatemouth Brown s Gate s Salty Blues The instrumental Hightailin is a showcase for the guitarist and Van Loon on the Hammond organ The title track is another highlight as Nixon spins an inside look at the man behind the neighborhood lottery system that was a fixture

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/andy-t-nick-nixon-cd/andy_t_nick_nixon_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Angels Sing The Blues, Featuring Liz Mandeville, Mary Lane, Shirley Johnson with Johnny Drummer and the Starliters, Earwig Music, blues CD review by Linda Cain
    s tasty guitar solos Shirley Johnson tells off her no good man in style on Get Your Lovin Where You Spend Your Time Her deep husky emotion packed voice gets the message across to a rockabilly tinged shuffle Unfortunately this studio track which sounds far more polished than the other cuts interrupts the momentum created by the previous live songs Mary Lane brings us back to Live At The Taste with her rendition of I Don t Want No Man Just As Grown As You The sassy senior stamps a feminine touch on the song which Magic Sam recorded as I Don t Want No Woman on his landmark West Side Soul album The clever singer includes a brief medley that ends with a touch of Kansas City Mary takes us for a spin with Ride in Your Automobile and sounds like she s been around the block a time or two as she engages the audience to clap along Johnny Drummer contributes his keyboard and harmonica skills to these tunes and throughout the evening Drummer returns to get the crowd Rockin In The Juke Joint with this hip shakin party song highlighted by several of Short s tasty guitar solos The tune ends with Mary Lane adding a touch of Wang Dang Doodle as she sings all night long all night long Shirley Johnson s first live contribution I m Going To Find Me A Lover is given a super fast paced disco beat by the band Admirably Shirley has the chops to keep up with them While blues fans generally aren t into 70s disco music it s not unusual to hear a South Side blues band spin off into a tune from that era At nearly six minutes long this non blues tune is way too long for this blues lover The band keeps a brisk tempo as Shirley wails for an emotion packed Unchain My Heart the Ray Charles chestnut which is a staple of her shows to this day Shirley ends her set with a real deal blues number You Can Have My Husband But Please Don t Mess With My Man another Chicago blues club staple on which Shirley gets down and tells it like it is Johnny Drummer introduces Liz Mandeville who proceeds to bring the house down with her previously mentioned risqué tune Use What You Got a blush inducing original song dedicated to inspire the menfolk Liz makes good use of her powerful commanding vocal skills on her sultry show stopping version of Willie Dixon s I Just Want To Make Love To You that includes a medley with Hoochie Coochie Woman The crowd stomps and whistles for more but at least on CD they don t get to hear more from Ms Liz which is unfortunate since hers was the most dynamic performance of the night The ladies join together for John Prine s beloved Angel From Montgomery and each takes a turn singing a verse they are joined by

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/angels-sing-blues-cd/angels_sing_the_blues_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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