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  • Jim Liban with the Joel Paterson Trio, I Say What I Mean, Ventrella Records, blues CD review
    the magic was back in Liban s playing and singing That was the genesis for this project Paterson combed through hours of tapes of Liban s original material to make the final track selections The duo spent even more time on fine tuning the songs in some cases updating the arrangements before they headed for the recording studio One listen to this disc makes it clear that Liban is the consummate musician On tracks like Stop On By the singer s relaxed vocal glides along with the swinging rhythm He adopts a tougher approach on Right Hand Blues preaching the gospel to a mercurial woman Liban s son Matt on drums helps deliver the message The instrumental Cottonweed is a delightful romp with Liban blowing some serious licks from all angles Beau Sample s slapping beat on his upright bass drives Tell Me Everything as Liban s playing shifts to a country blues mode No More Alcohol comes from a darker corner of life as Liban describes the battle to break away from the chains of the demon rum He punctuates his tale with some hearty blowing employing a full fat tone that seems to be calling you out of the darkness The slow rolling feel of Sad Tired and Worried manages to lighten the pain in Liban s lyrics as Paterson s taut guitar licks echo the singer s down hearted exhortations Must ve Been Dreaming is jaunty tune with a Memphis feel that features some James Cotton inspired harp The band storms through the title track with a barely contained fury spurred on by Paterson s biting slide guitar Scott Ligon contributes some sparkling runs on the piano over the steady beat from drummer Mark Haines who like Paterson is a member of the Cash Box Kings The

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/jim_liban_joel_paterson_cd/jim_liban__joel_paterson_cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Dave Specter, Message In Blue, Delmark Records, blues CD review
    searing guitar lines the listener is treated to a collaboration that may rank as the most satisfying of Dave s recording career Clay s first track the old Harold Burrage favorite Got To Find A Way is first class soul sounding right out of a 60s Stax session Legendary soul singer horn section keyboards background vocals Specter brings it all and it s a huge success Got To Find A Way deserves to be a Number 1 hit today Clay s reading of Bobby Blue Bland s This Time I m Gone for Good is smooth and sweet as honey just getting better and better upon repeated listening The vocal is tortured and heartfelt leaving the listener no doubt about Clay s conviction Clay s final tune I Found A Love is reminiscent of the early R B era Rolling Stones with Specter providing a super groovy tremolo laden guitar that sounds right out of Robert Ward s trick bag It s a terrific R B song Dave Specter s secret weapon however is multi instrumentalist John Kattke In addition to playing superb piano and keyboards Kattke contributes three vocals on Message In Blue Chicago Style Same Old Blues and Watchdog Chicago Style is a wonderfully catchy song that could replace Sweet Home Chicago as Chicago s blues anthem It s a driving good time tune one that has already found its way on many radio station playlists Kattke digs deep on Same Old Blues with an emotional vocal performance demonstrating a resonant tone and wizened delivery very similar to golden era Gregg Allman It s as honest and pure a rendering of a stylish slow blues as you ll ever hear Great stuff Kattke s final vocal is a galloping rendition of Lonnie Brooks Watchdog Specter and company drive

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/dave-specter-cd/message_in_blue_dave_specter_cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Your Complete Guide to the Chica
    release of Keepin It Together the two men are now standing directly in the spotlight a place where they both deserve to be The 12 song selection features originals plus one cover While neither the credits nor the liner notes state who penned what it is evident that Smith the younger of the two men seized the opportunity to pay tribute to his elders His late father Willie Big Eyes Smith played drums behind Muddy Waters for several years and the younger Smith gives him his propers with the affectionate In My House which tenderly recounts what it was like coming up under the older man s wing The one non original Old Woman Sweetheart even has Kenny and Bob singing along with one of Willie s recordings not as gimmicky as you d think I wouldn t have guessed without reading the liner notes Kenny even pays sly tribute to Bob He Took Her refers to the fact that the elder Stroger evidently stole young Smith s lady which has to be the most flattering tribute of all how can that be he s older than me Stroger for his part gets a few turns at the microphone himself

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/bob-stroger-kenny-smith-cd/bob_stroger_kenny_smith_cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Giles Corey's Stoned Soul, Delmark Records, CD review
    Stoned Soul is rounded out by keyboardist Marty Sammon bassist Joewaun Scott and drummer Rick King all delivering a diverse amount of music The mostly original songs were recorded over just three days last summer at Delmark s Riverside Studio in Chicago and for the most part pack a strong punch Each of these stellar musicians have served time backing Chicago s greatest blues artists past and present including Buddy Guy Sammon Otis Rush Corey and Sammon Billy Branch Syl Johnson Corey Koko Taylor James Cotton King The late Buddy Scott was Corey s first employer while he was still in college Joewaun is Buddy s grandson and a member of the South Side s first family of Blues and Soul the Scotts Oh Mademoiselle is a blues funk hybrid as Corey and Sammon enter into a friendly duel with the former shredding the blues aspect and the latter bottoming out with some not so subtle funk The song written by Corey who wrote all but two of the album s originals sets the stage for a collection that could veer off into any number of directions One of the three covers on the 13 song record Don t Let The Green Grass Fool You popularized by Wilson Pickett begins with Corey establishing a slice of reggae The group then introduces a bit of lively gospel stomp with backup vocals by Diane Madison Mae Koen and Nanette Frank The acclaimed vocal trio also lays down backups on the Sammon King penned Right On This time the band ventures into R B following Sammon s lighthearted riffing keys and King s down and out but optimistic lead vocals Stoned Soul gives a jam band style workout to two other cover songs by Gary Clark Jr Bright Lights and Cedric Burnside That

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/giles-corey-cd/giles_corey_stoned_soul_cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Selwyn Birchwood, Don't Call No Ambulance, Alligator Records, blues CD review
    the University of Tampa an achievement of which he is rightly proud He was soon out on the road as part of Sonny s next tour and that proved to be the launching point for Birchwood s journey towards the blues Selwyn Birchwood is a tall rangy 29 year old with a big bushy Afro who has the kind of smile and onstage presence that captures audiences from the very first song He had a well deserved spot at the 2014 Chicago Blues Festival and his show certainly grabbed the attention of blues fans convened in Chicago from around the world Hundreds gathered under the shady grove of the newest Crossroads stage wild for his energetic rootsy sound He is known to prowl the stage barefoot switching from six string electric to lap steel with an energy and mastery of the blues that transcends his youth His show did not disappoint and put another notch on his ax for sure Don t Call No Ambulance opens with a raw upbeat shuffle Addicted reminiscent of Albert Collins a down and dirty driving tune well chosen to open this powerful CD Love is his addiction but this track goes well beyond anything Robert Palmer was thinking of in his version Next up is his title track with a parallel vocal and guitar that also recalls early blues greats like John Lee Hooker or Otis Rush Don t call no ambulance just because he s lying down no need to panic that s just how good he feels There is a lot of wit in this young man s lyrics and much wisdom that goes beyond his years He counts among his influences Albert King and Buddy Guy and it s clear he s made a thorough study of their styles their lyrics and how to put on a great show You gotta keep both hands on the wheel when you re driving or you might slip into a slide And Selwyn does slip into quite a slide on the cuts Overworked and Underpaid and Hoodoo Stew where he shows off his talents at playing a lap steel that wails the blues this time in a major key It s a classic slide sound somewhere between Leadbelly and Lowell George Blind Willie McTell and Jeff Healy Selwyn Birchwood s slide fits right into that sweet tradition One listen to his straight ahead scorching guitar on Tell Me Why will satisfy even the bottleneck purists he s the real deal Brown Paper Bag slows down the beat allowing Birchwood a chance to show off his clean side with a deft touch that gets the most out of each note and as B B King once said lets every note tell a story He gets funky too on Queen Of Hearts rounding out a CD that touches all the blues bases But we ve taken a shortcut lets get back on the main road Not a bad score landing a CD release on Alligator Records

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/selwyn-birchwood-cd/selwyn_birchwood_cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • The Rhythm Rockets, She Swings Blue -- Volume 2: After Hours, Brother Raccoon Records, CD review
    bass consistently settles into a tight swinging pocket that maintains a propulsive drive even at the more languid tempos One would be hard pressed to pick a favorite between Tony Kidonakis or Brian O Hern s contributions on piano Another constant is Dave Downer s melodic six string phrasing whether he is comping chords or doing some single note soloing Nicole Kestler is the featured singer throughout the disc She has a lighter tone that is a good fit for most of the material When she wraps her voice around an obscure tune like My Baby Left Me she makes it sound like a classic from the vault I ll Take a Holiday From Love was composed by Downer s grandmother back in the day Kestler gives it a breezy reading while the band executes arranger Jon Novi s chart with finesse Even better is her measured performance on Let s Rock A While as she steadily builds the emotions in her delivery with the band rolling along behind her Other highlights include a rendition of Hoagy Carmichael s Bread Gravy featuring a superbly executed Kestler vocal and some smoky sax from Bielicki Send For Me was a hit for Nat King Cole in 1957 The Rhythm Rockets version shifts to an unhurried tempo bolstered by accents from the horn section Dinah Washington s hit Mean Evil Blues glides along with the horns again playing with distinction The band handles the darker hue of Washington s original Duck Before You Drown with aplomb giving Kidonakis room to stretch out Ed Enright s baritone sax is featured in the arrangement of Put Your Arms Around Me Honey while the band band s most energetic performance occurs on a spirited 40 Cups of Coffee Kestler s seductive tone is a perfect fit

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/rhythm-rockets-cd/rhythm_rockets_vol.2_%20cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Nick Moss Band, Time Ain't Free, Blue Bella Records, blues CD review
    room for musical expression The title track is powerful rocker complete with a fast fingered solo from Moss over drummer Patrick Seal s hard driving rhythm Was I Ever Heard finds Moss questioning if his listeners really take the time to hear the messages he is trying to deliver To drive that point home he makes a stirring plea for listeners to move past hate and fear on No Reason with Matthew Wilson s sturdy bass line giving the cut a funky edge Bryan Rogers provides the swirling organ wash that intertwines with another searing solo from Moss on Been Gone So Long The pace shifts dramatically on EZ Bree zee as the leader delivers a heartfelt vocal on the ballad complemented by soaring backing vocals from Tina J Crawley Lara Jenkins and Michael Ledbetter The opener She Wants It has a loping rhythmic foundation and blistering slide guitar licks courtesy of Moss The band totally recasts the Son House classic Death Letter Blues into a full band workout with Rogers once again distinguishing himself while Moss again on slide keeps things grounded in the tradition On the band s previous release Here I Am Michael Ledbetter was in the studio for backing vocal support His talents so impressed Moss that Ledbetter was asked to join the group Truly one of the brightest talents in the blues realm he gets a chance to showcase his amazing vocal skills on six songs in addition to playing rhythm guitar throughout the project Light It Up is one of three tracks he co authored with Moss Ledbetter handling the lyrics while his boss composed the musical accompaniment He injects plenty of feeling into the simple lyrics showing us the scope of his vocal skills with a vibrant soulful reading of Fare Thee Well

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/nick-moss-cd/nick_moss_time_ain%27t_free-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Jarekus Singleton, Refuse To Lose, Alligator Records, blues CD review
    around the world His decision to work with Alligator worked out well Refuse to Lose is 53 minutes of exceptional art that is broken up into 12 self penned tracks and it is getting him the attention he deserves Singleton takes the guitar and vocal parts for this project and he is joined by a more than capable crew that includes James Salone on organ Ben Sterling on bass and John Junior Blackmon behind the drum kit This set kicks off with I Refuse to Lose and the first impression is that this project has a very live sound The guitar bass drums and organ on this blues rocker have a natural tone and blend so that it is almost like being at a perfectly mixed blues gig Credit for this vibrant mood goes to Pete Matthews of Nashville s PM Music who puts together a consistently tight product Jarekus voice ranges from a spoken word style all the way to a throaty roar and if you listen to the words you will get to learn a bit of his life story Not knowing all of Singleton s history it is easy to assume that many of the songs are autobiographical as the lyrics are written in a very personal manner Both Hero and High Minded sound like the voice of experience taking to task folks that are haughty and egotistical or possibly just too big for their britches Also Crime Scene and Suspicion are full of worldly wisdom that can only come from having a few relationships go sour These subjects have been staples of the blues since day one but Jarekus use of modern language and pop culture references brings his songs into the present day and makes them accessible to a new generation of listeners He is

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/jarekus-singleton-cd/jarekus_singleton_cd_review_page.html (2016-02-16)
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