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  • Johnny Drummer, Bad Attitude, Earwig, blues CD review
    thing The Mississippi native s fourth CD for co producer Michael Frank s Earwig label is a tightly produced affair that finds him deftly alternating between straight ahead in the pocket blues and horn leavened soul blues that should greatly appeal to Bobby Rush fans In fact the playful Bit Her In The Butt is laid over a lowdown groove redolent of Rush s classic Chicken Heads Some of the Windy City s top blues sessioneers keyboardist Ronnie Hicks guitarists Anthony Palmer and Sir Walter Scott bassist Kenny Hampton saxist Rodney Hotrod Brown and trumpeter Kenny Anderson among them keep the proceedings tight and steady grooving behind Drummer whose insistent richly burnished vocals recall his late 60s stint as a front man on the South Side soul circuit unfortunately Drummer s scattered recording sessions during that era for One derful and Billy The Kid Emerson s label never made it to the pressing plant Drummer wrote all 13 songs on Bad Attitude preceded in the Earwig catalog by 1999 s It s So Nice Unleaded Blues in 2001 and 2007 s Rockin In The Juke Joint and he clearly has a knack for compositional pursuits his witty lyrics frequently exhibiting memorable turns of phrase and unusual subject matter He warns the public at large not to pre judge him just because he lives in a trailer on Don t Call Me Trash conjures up some intriguing barnyard metaphors for Another Rooster Is Pecking My Hen one of four tracks where he blows some pungent harmonica and laments the hazards of contemporary telephone technology on Star 69 If a song calls for a downhome flavor witness My Woman My Money My Whiskey a harp laden Sure Sign Of The Blues and the solid shuffling title track Drummer brings the goods in

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/johnny-drummer-cd/johnny_drummer_bad-attitude_cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bob Corritore, Taboo, Delta Groove Music, blues CD review
    play prestigious festivals and clubs A huge talent Bob has a knack for blending well with a wide variety of artists With his fat toned harp he always finds the right spot for his vintage sound This holds true with Taboo an impressive blues harmonica instrumental CD Bob Corritore wrote 9 of the 12 tunes here and authored another one with Junior Watson each of them jewels in their own right He moves easily from chromatic to diatonic harmonicas jumping from the three basic blues harp positions with ease as well as delivering one song in fourth position and another one in fifth position a beautiful song aptly named 5 th Position Plea This recording is a fine display of ensemble prowess Yes Corritore s wailing harp is at the center of the mix yet he grooves so well with the rest of the musicians that no lyrics are needed There are no harp pyrotechnics that could distract the listener from the delightful pallet of songs Bob Corritore s unpretentious playing weaves beautifully in and out of each song Each tune is cleverly crafted and with attractive hooks The rhythm section mainly uses an upright bass and brushes format on 10 out of 12 songs It s a remarkable sound experience inviting you into the heart of each tune Besides vintage guitar work from Junior Watson and Jimmie Vaughan you can hear piano saxophone and B 3 solos as well Everyone participates The cast of characters is made of stellar artists Besides the aforementioned Junior Watson and Jimmie Vaughan you can hear Doug James sax Fred Kaplan piano and B 3 Kedar Roy acoustic bass Richard Innes drums on 10 cuts Brian Fahey and Dowell Davis drums Papa John Defrancesco B 3 and more Taboo presents a variety of Chicago

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/bob-corritore-cd/bob_corritore_taboo_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Black Beehive, Shout! Factory, CD review
    duties and they are joined by frequent collaborator and Chicago native Ronnie Baker Brooks on guitar Recorded in Chicago at Butcher Boy Studios Black Beehive was produced by Steve Jordan who also contributes backup vocals drums percussion and rhythm guitar Jordan co produced and played on both of Keith Richards solo albums and contributed his signature drums with Keith s touring band He was also part of the John Mayer Trio and has collaborated with the likes of Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton Nevin kicks things off on Hey Delila written about Memphis Minnie Minnie settled in Chicago in the early Thirties and recorded here for several years The band achieves a dirty groove augmented by Squires bass and a whiplash organ solo from Lawton while Mohr reminds us that Minnie even taught Elvis how to shake and moan The album s title track is a soft poignant electric piano driven tribute to the tragically departed Amy Winehouse Mohr plays some delicate guitar as he laments her joining the equally tragic 27 club while tenderly conveying You cheated yourself but you had your reasons Another tribute much more in the blues vein comes in the form of Hubert s Dream The shuffling number is a munificent call out to the late great guitarist Hubert Sumlin Sumlin was one of the guests on the Big Head Blues Club recording and concert tour not long before his death in 2011 Although Sumlin was born in Mississippi and died in New Jersey the song states concretely Chicago always gonna be your home It closes with a sax solo by Eddie Shaw who like Sumlin was a member of Howlin Wolf s band and would take over the Wolf Gang Band after the Wolf s death in 1976 Hubert s Dream is followed appropriately

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/big-head-todd-monsters-cd/big_head_todd_black_beehive_cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Sleepy John Estes, Live in Japan with Hammie Nixon, Delmark, blues CD review
    Long Curly Hair Divin Duck Blues Someday Baby Blues Drop Down Mama and Lawyer Clark Blues But those glory days were long in the rearview mirror by the time Sleepy John was rediscovered and reverently presented to the folk blues crowd for their edification Often accompanied on harmonica jug and occasional kazoo by his longtime pal Hammie Nixon they started playing together in the mid 20s Estes did a fair amount of recording during the 1960s most of it for Delmark The label even deposited him in a modern amplified setting in 68 in the wake of Muddy Waters Electric Mud drolly christening the results Electric Sleep Estes was still going strong during the mid 70s touring Japan twice with Hammie his loyal playing partner Live in Japan is culled from four of the pair s acoustic concerts over there the first two dating from November of 1974 and the others from December of 76 Despite being in his mid 70s Nixon was in his late 60s Estes brought laudable enthusiasm to his vocals and strumming Sleepy John and Hammie reprised The Girl I Love and Divin Duck as well as the Delmark era Broke And Hungry Stop That Thing and Rats In My Kitchen which Estes had first done for Sun Equally deft on harp and jug Nixon was a deeper gruffer singer than Estes the two handily complementing one another in much the same way that Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee did before personal animosity broke that legendary duo up Estes and Nixon s Japanese repertoire encompassed brief reprises of When The Saints Go Marching In and Holy Spirit Don t You Leave Me and Hammie s spirited Fox Chase alongside the meatier Corrina Corrina and Tin Pan Alley all delivered with an authority honed over half a

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/sleepy-john-estes-cd/sleepy_john_estes_cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Tommy Castro & The Pain Killers, The Devil You Know, Alligator Records, CD review
    and enhance Castro s own considerable talents Guitarist Joe Bonamassa makes his guest appearance on the third track I m Tired whereby he takes the tune by its short hairs and propels it into a rock dimension Center of Attention has a snappy second line drum feel and a clever lyric and vocal phrasing reminiscent of Jack White or the Strokes Indeed this ain t no twelve bar blues record the music is solidly in this century Covering J B Lenoir s The Whale Have Swallowed Me Castro shares vocal duties with Tasha Taylor daughter of Johnnie Taylor who turns in a warm and approachable vocal performance Other highlights of this tune are James Pace s lyrical piano solo like mint in the julep exactly right for the part and Castro s generous dollop of slide guitar When I Cross the Mississippi a duet with Tommy Castro and Tab Benoit feels like long separated brothers have finally reunited and it sounds so good Their voices and guitars blend so seamlessly and leave you feeling their love of the rich fertile delta I d love to hear these two collaborate on a disc and tour it Of course if these two handsome bluesmen toured there would be crowds of salivating blues women selling out every venue It s a thought I love the unaltered raw abandon of Byron Cages drum part which brings an unquenchable energy to this love song to ole muddy Marcia Ball brings her considerable chops and working woman vocals to Mojo Hannah I never tire of Marcia Ball no matter where she turns up and her pairing here with Castro is one of my favorites on this disc The song has a great feel and unexpected chord changes that keep entertaining listen after listen Next up is Two Steps Forward Famous blues harp maestro Magic Dick along with the Holmes Brothers and vocalist Vicki Randle help TC and the Pain Killers bring it on home in this gospel call and response drone tune When they kick into the chorus and double the tempo you just want to grab your tambourine and start testifying We start to get pretty funky on the morality play that is She Wanted to Give It To Me a song that will be a comfort to women everywhere who wonder just how seriously their men take that sacred vow when they are out of sight if not out of mind as the second half of the line is but I didn t take it It s a very hook y tune that shows off not only Castro s range on guitar but his elastic and versatile voice as well Mike Duke is guest piano player on Wet Willie s 70s radio hit Keep On Smiling He adds a great gospel feel which Tommy and the band compliment with their funky rock n blues approach What sets this arrangement apart is Mark Karan s guitar harmony with Castro during the solo bringing that Southern

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/tommy-castro-cd/tommy_castro__the_pain_killers-cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Bobby Rush with Blinddog Smokin', Decisions, CD review
    years old but nothing about his energetic onstage persona or up to the minute studio activities even hints at that many birthdays gone by for the Homer Louisiana native This time Rush has teamed up with Blinddog Smokin a Southern California aggregation that s in tune with Bobby s mindset throughout Decisions Songwriting duties were split largely between Rush on his own and Blinddog Smokin vocalist Carl Gustafson sometimes with various band members Most of the best and funkiest stuff on the set emanates from Bobby s fertile pen from the wry title track its lyrics loaded with inarguable home truths and a highly infectious If That s The Way You Like It I Like It to the grinding blues shuffles Love Of A Woman and Skinny Little Women both spiced by Rush s fluid harmonica The ominous opener Another Murder In New Orleans one of Gustafson s contributions is full of drama and danger Rush splits mic time here with Mac Dr John Rebennack seemingly the Crescent City s unofficial musical ambassador at this juncture The Latin tinged anthem Stand Back is soaked in Santana style rock guitar and finds Bobby rapping as much as singing Our own master harpist Billy Branch and guitarist Carl Weathersby and Houston bred guitarist Sherman Robertson cameo on the lightweight Bobby Rush s Bus but after individual spoken introductions their solos are limited to one brief chorus apiece Dr Rush is basically a throwaway a rap scenario casting Bobby as a phone in radio sex therapist Seemingly the set s closer Too Much Weekend another of Rush s own creations is also one of its highlights opening with expertly picked acoustic guitar and Bobby s understated harp as Rush borrows the first lyrical stanza from Detroit Jr s classic Call My Job before

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/bobby-rush-cd/bobby_rush_with_blinddog_smokin_cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Holmes Brothers, Brotherhood, Alligator Records, blues CD review
    to tell a compelling story with their music and Brotherhood is testament to that While the groove and the backbeat lures you in it s the Brothers ability to connect personally that distinguishes them as subtle practitioners of the craft Their songs have gravitas and they re fun to hear to boot In addition to vocals Sherman handles the bass duties while Wendell contributes guitar with Popsy holding down the drums how old are they amazing Co producer Glenn Patscha provides keyboards and Chris Bruce adds guitar to the mix Also of note is Wendell s daughter Felicia harmonizing with her father on the original composition Loving you From Afar and blues jazz diva Catherine Russell assisting vocally on four of the 14 tracks Brotherhood contains eight originals and six covers including Ike Turner s You ve Got To Lose a beguiling groove that will percolate the soul accented by a silky sax courtesy of John Ellis Lickety Split is next up and it s a standout with Wendell s vocal punctuated by infectious keyboard parts and inventive guitar figures Wendell s distinctive vocal style is particularly compelling and features prominently on Brotherhood He is a natural vocal stylist his personality and vivacity evident on every track he fronts Gone For Good Loving You From Afar with daughter Felicia and Darkest Hour all bristle with charisma and liveliness As the band leans into Darkest Hour and the nasty gritty guitar sounds steal the moment the party is in full swing A slow blues goes very well with Wendell s wonderfully idiosyncratic vocal style and by the way everyone s swaying with the beat Sherman s The Last Man Standing knows the party can t end just yet and an upbeat dance number that leaves everybody bouncing and bopping across the

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/holmes-bros-cd/holmes_brothers-brotherhood-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Joe Louis Walker, Hornet's Nest, Alligator Records, CD review
    guitar and Tommy MacDonald on bass This is the same team that worked on his Hellfire album a few years ago and they are a stellar group of musicians that know how to craft a top shelf record The title track is first up on this CD and Hornet s Nest is a hard core blues rocker that proves that Walker s skills have not faded at all His voice may be weathered but is as strong as ever and his guitar leads burn as brightly as the sun This would be a fine album if he recorded 11 more songs just like this one but Walker and his team did not take the easy route as they explored many of the different genres that JLW has perfected over his career Next up is All I Wanted to Do a pop infused rhythm and blues song that takes advantage of the Muscle Shoals Horn Section Charlie Rose Jim Horn and Vinnie Ciesilski to set the mood for his heartbroken lyrics His guitar tells the same sad story on As the Sun Goes Down and his axe takes the spotlight for this more traditional blues tune The covers they chose for Hornet s Nest are diverse and unexpected and include gems such as the 1967 Rolling Stones song Ride On Baby and Jesse Stone s Don t Let Go Fortunately Walker left off the harpsichord and marimbas on the Jagger Richards classic and took it in a more contemporary direction it is now a fast paced pop tune with vocal harmonies galore Don t Let Go retains the original s rockabilly feel but at a considerably slower pace than the Roy Hamilton or Jerry Lee Lewis versions But it is JLW s take on Kid Andersen s Soul City that steals

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/joe-louis-walker-cd/joe_louis_walker_hornets_nest_cd_page.html (2016-02-16)
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