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  • Chris James and Patrick Rynn, Barrelhouse Stomp, Earwig Music, blues CD review
    cuts Chris and Patrick s buddy Rob Stone appears on harp for a couple of tracks and the legendary Jody Williams adds his guitar on four songs Stone also helped out in penning seven of the tracks with the featured duo James sings on all cuts except the instrumentals and plays lead on most tracks and adds harp on another Rynn is the bassist for all of the cuts The original opening cut features Stone on harp and Maxwell on the piano Goodbye Later for You grabs the listener and gets the dance party started It is quite the swinging number with some wicked guitar work by James and Maxwell s piano adds a great layer of bounce and fun Stone s harp is also solid and James vocals really sold me as they always do Just Another Kick in the Teeth follows and all three horn players are there to help make a statement while Williams takes the guitar lead and Maxwell is on piano The horn work is great Maxwell tinkles the keys sweetly and Williams picks out a fine solo Rynn provides a cool bass solo while the sax players fill in and then it s Shaw s turn to impress Big Bill Broonzy s I Feel So Good is next Smith is on drums here with Viau offering up some really dirty horn work Moore is featured on the keys and he stridently fills in well James vocals are emphatic and grab at you to listen for more Nice work Messin With White Lightnin is a sweet little instrumental with Maxwell filling in around James distinctively impressive guitar he also offers up a poignant piano solo Hayes gives the cymbals a real workout as he keeps up a frenetic beat as the boys blast out a great barrelhouse cut I love this track it really gets the juices flowing On Before It s Too Late we have Moore s other piano effort and Smith s other appearance on drums James again offers up convincing vocals as Moore is emphatic on his piano work to help make the point the piano solo here is top notch Slide guitar the dual horns of Viau and Johnson and Henry Gray beating out the piano line make A Fact is a Fact a track that is hot as hell James burns up the strings and the band is in full swing here James adds some harp for us on It Can Always Be Worse where he tells us how we can always find someone far less blessed than we are straight up blues a very fun cut On I m Gonna Stop Foolin Myself we have James telling us he needs a switch in relationships The two horns and Maxwell s piano drive this one nicely as do James vocals and guitar Vicksburg Blues is a great old classic which features Eddie Shaw Rob Stone and Jody Williams This is slow blues with real depth and effect here another winner

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/chris-james-pat-rynn-cd/chris_james__patrick_rynn_barrelhouse-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Tom Holland & The Shuffle Kings, No Fluff, Just the Stuff, CD review
    Holland plenty of time to write a batch of high quality songs that rest squarely in the middle of the electric blues tradition And once you start listening it quickly becomes obvious that the Shuffle Kings have been hard at work using their club dates to hone each tune to fine edge without losing the energy and spirit that is unique to the live stage They burst out of the gate with a spirited romp through Waiting on the Other Shoe to Drop with Holland firing off licks from all angles over the solid rhythm from Mike Scharf on bass and Tino Cortes on drums Long Road to Tomorrow has a funkier sound with Holland s warm vocal playing off the mournful tones Dig D generates on his harp And when the band slows the pace you get a damn near perfect recreation of the Muddy Waters sound with Holland demonstrating his skill on the slide guitar on Hurry Up Wait The leader shows his range as a singer on the soulful Easiest Thing I ll Ever Do before breaking out an instrumental tribute Hey Pardner based on one of Hubert Sumlin s famous guitar riffs Two cuts feature one of Holland s former employers The brisk shuffle More Things Change features Holland trading guitar licks with John Primer Their fiery dialogue continues on Shuffle King Boogie an up tempo swinging tune that ends all too soon Look Here Baby is one of four tracks that include Marty Sammon from Buddy Guy s band on piano His rolling solo complements Holland s outstanding rhythm guitar work that mixes lightning quick runs and chopped chords over a rumba rhythm Another highlight is the searing take of Hardest Part of Loving You done in a minor key for that essential low down

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/tom-holland-cd/tom_holland_no_fluff_cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Dented Trucks, How's This, CD review,Tailpipe Records
    jamming throughout The trio s original tunes fit in nicely with the flow of the set Dianne s playing is the focus of the music and she s one guitar slingin mama whose playing ranges from lyrical and melodic to stinging and fiery with some serious bluesy note bending Disc 1 opens with the title track an instrumental original that can best be described as funky bluesy psychedelic Dianne ventures into Jimi Hendrix s Electric Ladyland as she pulls all manner of guitar tricks out of her bag everything from feedback and distortion to stomping on every effects pedal she owns to working that wah wah pedal and whammy bar It s a real tour de force for Dianne however How s This abruptly ends before it really goes anywhere Perhaps it was not the best song to kick off the double CD There are many other enjoyable tracks on Disc 1 nine total to listen to Dented Trucks recreates songs by Big Mama Thornton Hound Dog Steve Cropper Bo Time Albert King Match Box Magic Sam He Belongs To Me and Howlin Wolf May I Have A Little Talk With You in their own style which is sort of a cross between Stevie Ray Vaughan and Magic Sam The trio plays it their own way yet they retain the retro 50s 60s sound of the originals And instead of the usual bluesman machismo we get a feisty female take on these blues Disc One s three bonus tracks were better left off the CD Dented Trucks endlessly jamming and launching late night experimental forays into screeching psychedelia and Are You Experienced territory doesn t really fit in with the rest of the music How s This is a hefty project for a young band They have succeeded in capturing

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/dented-trucks-cd/dented-trucks-hows-this-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • LOU PRIDE, Ain't No Love In This House, Severn
    fides in his background Pride really hadn t racked up all that deep of a track record in the studio until he signed with Annapolis MD based Severn Records in 2002 There his melismatic pipes were showcased with the care and attention to detail they d long deserved on two fresh CDs Words of Caution and Keep On Believing as well as a revelatory anthology of his rare early 45s Pride died last year leaving Severn with the bittersweet honor of releasing this posthumous farewell album Producers David Earl and Steve Gomes he anchors the cooking rhythm section on bass paired with drummer Robb Stupka keyboardist Benjie Porecki and guitarist Johnny Moeller managed to conjure up a warm inviting atmosphere similar to what Pride encountered at Mitchell s studio four decades or so prior The opening title item penned by the singer sets a very attractive tone surging along atop a mid tempo groove perfectly in tune with Pride s emotionally charged vocal Pride wrote three more of the set s highlights She Boom Boom Me We Can Do What We Want and Love Come Got Me all sporting a relaxed Southern soul ambiance despite being laid down in Annapolis Splendidly tight horns add accents in all the right places as do a contingent of background vocalists wherever they turn up This is first rate old school soul recording no synths or rhythm machines replacing humans and the difference certainly shows The Hi Records connection extends to a revival of Ann Peebles I Didn t Take Your Man gender switched to maximum effect by a confident Pride The uplifting I Gotta Move On Up authorship credited to Windy City chanteuse Big Time Sarah catches Pride in an exultant mood and he somehow manages to wring the excessive mawkishness from Wayne

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/lou-pride-cd/lou-pride-this-house-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • TORONZO CANNON, John The Conquer Root, Delmark Records, CD review
    horn arrangements Toronzo s phrasing and delivery packaged with sweet female vocals harmonizing behind him remind me of vintage Johnny Taylor or Tyrone Davis two of my favorites I love the flourishes BJ Jones puts on the drum track here although it s safe to say that BJ is great throughout this disc I shouldn t have to say this but I m a Blues man through and through It s in my walk and in my talk is the opening line to a song that defiantly blasts from your speakers In Gentle Reminder Toronzo is talking to all the people declaring the blues either dead or demanding it stay as an unchanging historical piece It s hard to pick a favorite line from this song but I m fond of My friends all ask me why I play the way I do I say the blues gotta move on this ain t 1952 Amen I heard similar words from the late Muddy Waters alum Willie Big Eyes Smith who said You can t play the music like it was back then I can t even do that and I played it then This is now everything s different it s got to change I guess great minds think alike If Your e Woman Enough to Leave Me is a tidy answer to Karen Wolf s classic If You re Man Enough To Leave Me but with the added effect of funky bass and effects driven guitar Using a modernized funked up version of Howlin Wolf s Smoke Stack Lightnin which is quoted in the beautiful Omar Coleman harp track Toronzo comments on the lack of Shame in our society from corrupt preachers to patronage scandals to cheating mates shame on you Roosevelt Purifoy contributes a refreshingly unaffected piano solo tying this track firmly to the Chicago blues tradition Slow blues with plenty of space a tinkling piano and understated guitar characterize You Made Me This Way The theme in this as in most of these songs is a terrible woman who has miss behaved and is either almost gone or needs to pack and leave Makes you wonder why he s bothering to throw a spell on her surely there s a more willing woman out there Once again Roosevelt plugs a picture perfect organ solo into this surprise ending song I won t give it away listen for yourself Been Better To You gives a hearty helping of funk complete with snapping tight horns and such clever lyrics like I bought you things I can t pronounce don t know what it is but it s 65 an ounce Juicy stuff but even more satisfying here is Toronzo s stinging guitar solos as well as his call and response guitar work In a salute to golden voiced Big Ray one of Chicago s finest drummers and also the doorman at Chicago s long lived North Side club B L U E S on Halsted the Big Ray Bop

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/toronzo-cd/toronzo-conquer-root-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • FRANK BANG AND SECRET STASH, Double Dare, Blue Hoss Records, CD review
    the tinder Let the Tardis now take us ahead to Frank at around 21 and venturing into the Chicago blues club scene where he discovers as so many have the roots of rock to be the blues After a try at college he gets a job at Chicago s Hard Rock Café then gets himself transferred to their other café clubs in San Diego and Houston He s into all the music but then he comes across the venerable Stevie Ray Vaughan is blown away and realizes his dreams his blues his musical future are back in Chicago Tardis let us follow Frank home Now Tardis take us to the early days of Buddy Guy s Legends when Frank got a job working the door at the club He got a chance to get close to some of the top blues talent in the city and across the nation to soak up their styles There were late nights when he and Wayne Baker Brooks would sit and jam together well after hours when the club was closed The fire grows Linger here a bit Tardis we are getting to the good parts Frank caught Buddy s ear and then Frank began to join Buddy on some tours and concert dates stretching out a bit During this time he also got his nickname Bang while doing a gig as a road manager for Larry McCray who liked the way Frank got his work done with a bang The name stuck Mondays were always jam nights at Buddy s and Frank soon had his own band The Buzz working them He had his own style of playing and singing but it was the Holiness Church Sacred Steel tradition and hearing players like Robert Randolph that really got Frank going on slide guitar Tardis take us now to the best part Buddy likes what he hears from Frank and puts him in his touring band Five tours of the world Playing with Carlos Santana Eric Clapton Jimmy Page The Rolling Stones B B King Tardis wake us not from this dream man cuz it rocks Cruising back to the present Tardis style when in 2004 Frank pursues his own music coming out with Frank Bang Alive One followed by Frank Bang s Secret Stash a studio set done in 2005 Then in 2006 it was Homegrown Live done from the stage at Martyr s 2007 saw his release of They Named It Rock And Roll which led to the writing of most of the songs on Double Dare Frank Bang s grinding slide smooth and mean is all over Double Dare a signature sound recognizable in an instant Whether lap steel dobro or straight lead it creates an ambience for each song on the record Backing Frank are Ryan Fitzgerald on bass Bobby Spelbring on drums The Secret Stash as tight a band as you ll find going today along with guests like Russ Green on harmonica guitarists Phil Miller and Drew Pentkowski

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/frank-bang-secret-stash-cd/frank-bang-double-dare-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Barrelhouse Chuck & Kim Wilson's Chicago All-Stars, Driftin' From Town To Town, The Sirens Records, CD review
    it with his authentic vocals and a nice harp solo by Kim Wilson fronts the band with Howlin Wolf s I m Leaving You he gives us some down and dirty vocals as Chuck aptly tickles the keys The guitar solos are smooth and slick here too and Gordon steps in for a little sweet sax work Stockyard Blues is a number by Johnny Young and Floyd Jones that is always one of my favorites from Chuck I love how he handles his vocals on this song Wilson grunts and snorts out some cool harp on this one it could almost be a stockyards sound The guitar solos later in the cut are also tasty Guitar legend Jody Williams Lucky Lou instrumental is covered next and the guitar work is impeccable Billy Flynn s guitar sings lead to us here One can see how Otis Rush would fall in love with William s stuff it s a classic Chicago sound and these guys really seal the deal They follow that with Chuck Berry s Thirty Days which I have heard Wilson Flynn and Chuck do before they are spot on here and do a fantastic job They even throw in a little call and response The piano and guitar are cool and Wilson s vocals leave no room for complaint Flat Foot Sam is a swinging rockabilly with some colorful lyrics and these guys blow it away and have a fun time doing so The two leaders gang up for K C Boogie a delightful harp and piano boogie that Mssrs Wilson and Goering penned The original song is a very fine instrumental on which the two players go back and forth and the band supports the effort well Floyd Jones You Can t Live That Long is another vehicle

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/barrelhouse-chuck-kim-wilson-cd/barrelhouse-chuck-kim-wilson-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • ROOSEVELT SYKES, The Original Honeydripper, Blind Pig Records, CD review
    quiet as church mice and raucous as only blues audiences can be The star relished the attention and encouragement and he repaid it handsomely with a set that beautifully captured his prowess as an entertainer and a musician When The Original Honeydripper was recorded Sykes was 71 and had been writing music and performing for more than fifty years In this recording he drew deeply from the well of barrelhouse boogie woogie and stride styles he had mastered over his prolific career After warming up with the classic Cow Cow Blues Sykes turns in a rollicking performance of one of his best known songs Drivin Wheel It s rarely performed on solo piano and what a treat it is to hear the composer s rendition punctuated with repeated exclamations of Whoa from Sykes and answering cries from the audience Next up is Honeysuckle Rose a song whose composer Fats Waller played both fast and slow Many pianists favor the slower tempo but Sykes s buoyant upbeat performance of it here sounds fresh and true Sykes s arpeggiated introduction to St James Infirmary unusual for this chestnut sounds like a nod to pianist Professor Longhair whose style Sykes must have absorbed when he took up residence in New Orleans a decade or so earlier Less familiar originals also populate the set ranging from the silly I m a Nut Don t Talk Me to Death to the sad Too Smart Too Soon Early Morning Blues and of course the saucy I Like What You Did Throughout the recording Sykes comes across as a consummate pianist who is having far too much fun to take himself seriously When introducing the final song of the set the bawdy anthem A Dirty Mother for You Sykes teases the audience by delivering his remarks in

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/roosevelt-sykes-honeydripper-cd/roosevelt-sykes-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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