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  • Shemekia Copeland, Outskirts of Love, Alligator Records, blues CD review by Greg Easterling
    with a spare but compelling guitar figure over which Copeland starts to sing about a number of scenarios A forsaken wife a child left alone by working girl mom and another woman who wakes up with a stranger All are portraits of lost love from a woman s perspective that connect with anybody regardless of gender when Copeland sings When you can t find the thing you ve been dreaming of you re living on the outskirts of love In the wake of well publicized allegations made against Bill Cosby Crossbone Beach feels like it s ripped from today s headlines It s the hard rockin tale of a woman who s been slipped a knockout drug by Mr Gold Tooth and ends up with her soul washed up on Crossbone Beach Copeland communicates the emotions of surprise and agony as she takes on the role of the victim here asking how d I end up on Crossbone Beach close to hell as you can reach In this fictionalized account at least the victim gets revenge on her perpetrator later as Copeland confides Payback s a bitch Devil s Hand is a well regarded song from one of her father s Johnny Copeland albums It s the straight stuff real blues driven home by guitar and horns as Shemekia pleads Please Mr Devil go back where you belong relating That no good Devil wrecked my life like a hurricane Copeland tackles another street level issue with the acoustic blues of Cardboard Box a John Hahn original crafted for her to sing on the subject of homelessness never more prevalent than today throughout America She duets with Alvin Youngblood Hart an effective combination that helps get the point across with a hint of ironic humor Don t need a roommate I live all alone Don t need a door I don t need a lock Living my life in a cardboard box It is a surprise to hear country steel guitar on a Copeland song but with Nashville in the song title and also the location where this CD was recorded it isn t too shocking Purists might be aghast but Drivin Out of Nashville is a witty sounding assessment of a not so fun topic sexual harassment in the entertainment business Once again the point is made with humor and besides as Copeland declares Country music ain t nothing but the blues with a twang For cover songs Copeland taps into a stream of classic rock and blues that should entertain baby boomer fans She brings a soulful quality to a great John Fogerty Creedence song originally from Cosmos Factory Long As I Can See The Light Billy Gibbons shows up to play guitar on Jesus Just Left Chicago which feels more contemporary these days with its references to both Chicago and New Orleans highly influential American cities in terms of music and culture that are facing huge challenges economically and with gun violence here in 2015 By the time

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/shemekia-copeland-cd/shemekia_copeland_outskirts_love_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Albert Cummings, Someone Like You, Blind Pig Records, blues CD review
    now enjoys The remaining members of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble were in turn impressed with Albert s debut album The Long Way Albert Cummings and Swamp Yankee in 1999 which lead to them producing and playing on the 2003 release From the Heart This was the first recording session for Shannon Layton and Wynans after the passing of the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan Cummings was joined once again by Tommy Shannon on his first Blind Pig release True to Yourself in 2004 this time produced by Jim Gaines one of the best in the blues business today Staying with Blind Pig Records for his next three releases Albert has returned to the record label for his latest release Someone Like You Keeping the music fresh and energetic Grammy winning producer David Z has assembled a brand new cast of stellar musicians including Mike Finnegan on keys Tony Braunagel on drums and Reggie McBride on bass in addition to adding Jimmy Vivino leader of The Basic Cable Band on the Conan TV show along with the sensational vocals of blues recording artist Teresa James The album delivers original powerful soul driven ballads with blues played the way it was meant to be played It opens with the hard drivin tune No Doubt blending the vocals of Albert and Teresa with the heavy rhythm guitar and fiery guitar solos from Cummings Jimmy Vivino joins Albert on guitar for intense unrestrained blues on I Found You Up Your Sleeve and Make Up Your Mind serve up some hard rockin Texas style roadhouse blues On Movin On the band combines Southern rock with funk for a tune that would even mesmerize Jerry Reed They slow the pace down considerably to add some soul to the recipe on the song So Strong

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/albert-cummings-cd/albert_cummings_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Henry Gray and Bob Corritore, The Henry Gray/Bob Corritore Sessions Vol. 1 -- Blues Won't Let Me Take My Rest, Delta Groove, Blues CD Review
    s happily made up for lost time in recent years recording albums as a leader for Blind Pig HighTone and other labels both stateside and abroad This 14 song compilation further enhances Gray s still expanding legacy Spearheaded by Phoenix harpist Bob Corritore whose full bodied playing is featured prominently throughout the set was recorded between 1996 and earlier this year with a vast array of sidemen all of whom speak the same fluent traditional blues language that Gray so effortlessly does Even if the set wasn t cut here there s a strong Chicago flavor to the proceedings Opening with the raucous houserocker Let s Get High that he cut with Pejoe in December of 54 for United Records Henry displays a spry vocal delivery as he storms through a pair of originals the title blues and I m Gonna Miss You as well as the party time They Raided The Joint and a horn leavened reprise of Fats Domino s I m In Love Again Gray s wide ranging repertoire encompasses B B King s She Don t Move Me No More Lowell Fulson s Trouble Blues and Reed s Honey Don t Let Me Go benefitting from solid backing from the rotating cast of carefully chosen sidemen Henry s easy going patter with Chicago s Tail Dragger is a delight on the rollicking Boogie Woogie Ball guitarist Chris James and bassist Patrick Rynn matching the ageless piano man in the energy department Thanks to his ownership of the Rhythm Room Phoenix s top blues club Corritore has brought some true blues heavyweights to his town over the years Three of them all sadly gone now appear on this set while casting Gray in the sideman role that he filled for so long in Chicago Robert Lockwood Jr

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/henry-gray-cd/henry_gray_bob_corritore_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Buddy Guy, Born To Play Guitar, RCA/Silvertone, blues CD review by Jeff Johnson
    intently chomping down on the strings of a vintage Stratocaster The Chicago blues legend might be accused of taking a mercenary stance on this familiar bluesman with a whip refrain but he didn t actually pen the autobiographical toned theme Producer drummer Tom Hambridge takes a writing credit on this and 11 other numbers while Guy at age 79 co wrote five of the 14 songs And simply put the songs that Guy penned himself on Born to Play Guitar most notably Crying Out of One Eye Turn Me Wild and Crazy World are the standouts of the disc Damn Right I ve Got the Blues the guitar superstar s 1991 debut disc for Silvertone Records created a commercially successful formula that Guy repeated for most of his late career output including five Grammy winning discs But while the early Silvertone albums were littered with rehashed pop soul commercial hits Born to Play Guitar contains just two non originals And the guest stars who often chew up the scenery are less obtrusive this time There s ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons on Wear You Out the Fabulous Thunderbirds harpist Kim Wilson on Charles Brown s Too Late U K soul singer Joss Stone flirtatiously duetting on Brook Benton s Baby You Got What It Takes and a tastefully reserved Van Morrison on Flesh Bone The latter reverently dedicated to B B King upon his recent passing reflects onetime firebrand Guy s fully evolved status as elder statesman for the blues And since one good tribute deserves another Guy closes with Come Back Muddy a wistful remembrance of good times shared between mentor Muddy Waters and eager apprentice Guy Guy obviously benefitted from his association with the Delta blues masters Even at this advanced stage of his career his fretwork can

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/buddy-guy-cd/buddy-guy-born-play-guitar-cd-page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Hank Mowrey, Excuses Plenty, Blue Bella Records, CD review by Pierre Lacocque
    listening to this blues roots band and yet are presented with fresh musical interpretations You can tell that Excuses Plenty inspired the protagonists The addition of guests 12 of them do not interfere in the least with the musical sound and flow They integrate themselves seamlessly into the core band s sound Besides these guests are no strangers to Hank Mowery as he traveled and or performed with them in the past such as with Mike Morgan appearing here on two tracks or with Doug Deming appearing on two tracks as well Some of the other distinguished guests are Larry Taylor on bass three tracks and harp master Dennis Gruenling doing what he does best playing his baritone harmonica on Would You Still Love Me On a Rainy Day as well as trading harp solos with Mowery on a West Coast swing shuffle penned by William Clarke Telephone Is Ringing Mowery has a unique harp style As he said in a recent interview When I write I don t sit down and try to write blues music I take ideas that are presented to me through my experience and observations and I put them to music It tends to come out with a blues feel because I enjoy the genre but it could easily come out as a soul R B or country tune if that what makes sense From a 2014 interview with Michalis Limnios blues greece October 28th And indeed it is what you hear on this CD Mowery s singing and harmonica playing fit his music like a glove Sometimes the harp playing is sparse even non existent as on I Don t Know or on Cry For Me Sometimes it is up front and center as in the opening rock n roll tune Anna Lee an

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/hank-mowrey-cd/hank_mowery_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Muddy Waters 100, Various Artists, Raisin' Music, blues CD review by Eric Steiner
    Skoller is a Grammy nominated producer for his work with the Heritage Blues Orchestra on the excellent And Still I Rise CD and the Chicago Blues A Living History compilation While that disc s follow up Chicago Blues A Living History The R evolution Continues didn t get a Grammy nod it did garner the Best Traditional Album of the Year honors at the 2012 Blues Music Awards in Memphis from The Blues Foundation Blaise Barton along with producer Michael Freeman also earned a 2010 Grammy for their work on Joined at the Hip that featured long time Muddy Waters bandmates Joe Willie Pinetop Perkins and Willie Big Eyes Smith While the majority of the songs on Muddy Waters 100 are performed in a traditional blues style there are a few songs that are updated with technology that did not exist in Muddy s lifetime On Mannish Boy Blaise Barton adds drum loop programming to update this song from 1955 to 2015 and Barton also adds similar effects on Trouble No More On Forty Days and Forty Nights Kenny Beady Eyes Smith subtly adds a polyrhythmic touch with electronic drums that updates a song from the 1950s that originally featured Chicago blues harmonica greats Little Walter and James Cotton Overall Muddy Waters 100 offers up a mix of traditional and contemporary interpretations of Muddy Waters work none of the drum loop programming or additional beats are jarring or out of place The producers took extra care in honoring and featuring Muddy Waters alumni and present 15 songs in an easily accessible format however this is a far cry from such EDM influenced blues experiments from the critically acclaimed Tangle Eye Alan Lomax s Southern Journey Revisited or Hard Garden Wild Blue Yonder The packaging of Muddy Waters 100 is exceptional

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/muddy-waters-100/muddy-waters-100-cd-page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Christian Collin, Spirit of The Blues, C-Train Records, blues CD review by Greg Easterling
    tail on a Friday night The tone of the song is not approval it s more of an observation Matthew Skoller weighs in on harp here in the first of four appearances providing an authenticity that isn t always possible but certainly within reach for albums recorded in Chicago with the wealth of local talent that is available While the lyrics occasionally lapse into cliché a trap that is hard to avoid there s plenty of heartfelt lines that hit home especially on the next few songs starting with a A Woman Like You a cautionary tale I took you home to mama she warned me about you A woman like you will give a man the blues Johnny Iguana shines on some tasty honky tonk piano here with Skoller soaring on harp and some blazing solo guitar work from Collin It may come as no surprise that Spirit Of The Blues gets more bluesy the deeper you wade into the album Dance The Blues Away is an ode to dancing and good times that benefits from deft keyboard touches by Iguana and vocal highlights by Jen Williams while Collin plays another notable solo Collin delivers one of his most emotional vocals on the album next on Without You a soulful sad portrait of lost love that still burns Oh how I try to forget you Oh how I try to get through It s a ballad that also evokes some of the more subdued but smoldering tracks by blues influenced bands like Thin Lizzy and Savoy Brown In the very personal title track Collin name checks the sources of his blues influences such as Chicago Baton Rouge Texas Kansas City and more kind of a primer on the blues delivered slow and with feeling Highway Song features some nice

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/christian-collin-cd/christian-collin-cd-page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Omar Coleman, Born & Raised, Delmark Records, blues CD review by Mark Thompson
    yet fresh and exciting Certainly some of the credit goes to the veteran backing he gets from Pete Galanis on guitar Neal O Hara on keyboards Art Seder on bass and Marty Binder on drums The Special Guest list is limited to three guitar players with strong Chicago resumes Toronzo Cannon Mike Wheeler and Dave Herrero But the real star is Coleman Listen to his dramatic rendition of One Request delivering an impassioned plea for love Man Like Me is a driving shuffle that sounds like something the Nick Moss Band conjured up with the leader s smooth harp tones and Cannon s fiery guitar leading the way The title track is brimming with enthusiasm as Coleman preaches about his West Side heritage over swirling organ accompaniment from O Hara and a feisty wah wah solo from Galanis Binder s rolling beat propels I Know You Been Cheating as Coleman casts off his despair with some hearty blasts on his harp Tryin To Do Right is resurrected from his previous album with bold vocal and harp statements from Coleman before Galanis responds with some fine fretwork Wheeler adds his fluid guitar lines to I Was A Fool which finds Coleman updating the familiar theme of learning too late to appreciate a good woman His emotional torment is right there for all to hear on this standout track The pace quickens on Slow Down Baby with Coleman blowing sweet high notes over Herrero s rocking guitar He also co wrote Tell Me What You Want a tune that strikes a deep funky groove that stumbles a bit due to weak lyrics The same issues pops up on the easy rolling Wishing Well but Coleman and Wheeler overcome it with incisive performances Several tracks highlight some of Coleman s musical influences The

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/omar-coleman-cd/omar_coleman_born_cd_page.html (2016-02-15)
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