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  • SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY, Easy Livin', Blind Pig Records, CD review
    up and coming master of guitar lap steel and dobro as well as an expressive vocalist who has been gigging since his teen years and releasing records since 1999 His releases on Blind Pig feature blues country and soul influences combined to great effect and are essential listening for modern roots fans JP Soars also from Florida is a guitarist and songwriter to be reckoned with who has skills ranging from gypsy jazz to death metal for real and has been blowing up in the blues world in recent years His solo albums have gotten much acclaim and he won the International Blues Challenge in 2009 as well as the Albert King Award as the best guitar player in the competition Savannah GA native Victor Wainwright is all about boogie woogie piano deep soul and a voice that recalls Dr John at his best He is a rising blues star a tremendous player and an air traffic controller down in Memphis in his spare time The cool thing about this combination of players is that each person brings to the party a mixed bag of influences rather than a purists attitude towards the music Put all those flavors together and the sky is literally the limit Nothing is off limits here and listeners are treated to tastes of swampy blues western swing and even a bit of reggae through the course of the album which not incidentally was produced by Louisiana man Tab Benoit who we already know and love Each player brought in their own songs to the project and they also wrote a couple together and that adds a lot to this set too as the different writing voices prevent the record from getting boring Bassist Chuck Riley and drummer Chris Peet do a great job giving all

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/southern-hospitality-cd/southern-hospitality-easy-livin-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • BIG BILL MORGANFIELD, Blues With A Mood, Black Shuck Records, CD review
    Bill demonstrates some tenderness and finesse in the second cut Memphis Slim s Havin Fun where it seems like he has dressed in a top hat and a tux as he is painting the town with his lady This piece features the piano of Augie Meyers giving the entire song a distinctive historic feel Bill s vocal ability shines in Willie Dixon s Ooh Wee as he hits a higher range with more power than the previous three songs His voice invokes the image of his desire This is another great bump and grind song No Butter for My Grits shows his soulfulness with a haunting guitar line introducing the tune He starts his vocal with a moan and then talk sings through most of this entertaining story about the search for a real stick of butter It s a bit lengthy but the groove the mood and Big Bill s charisma holds you and leaves you satisfied Throughout the CD Big Bill purrs growls moans and roars as he goes through his various moods of the blues He brings you the joy of stylishly dressed women on the rhumba Tight Things He switches moods to get down about the Devil At My Door Richard Doc Malone s harp solo on this cut seems to mimic the feeling of being tried with temptation Later Bill becomes lighthearted and fun with I Feel Alright Again and then upbeat as he jazz swings the audience on Another Lonely Night The best vocal expression on this CD is on Son of the Blues Big Bill s voice is deep rich and sultry at first Then he strikes like a snake as he belts out Sing The Blues All in one song Bill displays his vocal prowess from soft sultry tones to gut wrenching growls With tasteful fills the guitar moans capturing the deep blues feel of this seemingly autobiographical song The instruments in the background create a backdrop for the pain and the searching Big Bill is expressing It comes from the heart the soul and his gut as he hums the intro along with the guitar accompanying him in his blues Kudos to Colin Linden the producer and Big Bill executive producer for an excellent recording and mix This CD recorded in Nashville was put together extremely well The sound quality is awesome you can hear all of the instruments and their nuances The arrangements of the instruments in each song and how they are mixed during the recording is incredible There s a lot of ear candy here but nothing is overbearing The subtleties create a wonderful weave of sound that provides the background and mood to this music What s interesting is that most of the songs are reminiscent of the old school blues with a pre WWII style that stems from the 30s Throughout the CD the sound of the band has an old time quality to it From the distorted harp to the horns and the resonating guitar

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/big-bill-morganfield-cd/big-bill-morganfield-moods-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Buddy Guy Live at Legends, CD review
    dime tight and can switch gears to follow Buddy s every whim at a wave of their leader s hand going from a whisper to a scream in moments Set list Forget about it They are musical mind readers Buddy generously allows superb piano man Sammon to solo heartily during many of the instrumental breaks much to the audience s delight And of course the fearless leader s legendary guitar prowess and showmanship is on full display The show starts with a bang as the band launches into overdrive for a funky wah wah guitar driven Best Damn Fool segueing into Mannish Boy featuring Buddy s thunderous voice which he suddenly takes down to a whisper apparently he s singing off mic or strolling into the crowd at this point Ever the fickle performer Buddy gets loud again on his guitar playing a scorching rockin intro to I Just Want To Make Love To You as he beckons the audience to sing along Buddy quiets down singing off mic again then suddenly wails on his guitar with a psychedelic wah wah solo notes flying at high speed He throws in a bit of Bobby Rush s double entendre ode to Chicken Heads before switching to more serious matters on his own tune Skin Deep Buddy s starts the gospel influenced song with his sitar guitar effect as he delivers the heartfelt socially conscious message that underneath we are all the same It is the only number in the show that Buddy plays all the way through to the end without distraction It s back to goofing around with the fans in the house for Damn Right I Got The Blues and then into a blues history lesson as he plays a medley of songs in honor of John Lee Hooker

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/buddy-guy-cd/buddy-guy-live-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Sunny Road, Delmark Records, CD review
    an end He made one off singles for Champion as Arthur Blues Crump Checker as Percy Lee Crudup and Trumpet as Elmo James before returning to RCA s Groove subsidiary for a couple of 1953 54 sessions under his actual sobriquet After that Crudup s recording career fell on hard times He made an album in 1961 for Bobby Robinson s Fire label in New York not Nashville as the liner notes claim and certainly not for a nonexistent Fireball label Then in 1967 Koester s Delmark Records happily resurrected Arthur s flagging fortunes reuniting him with Knowling for one session and pairing him with several Chicago veterans for a couple more The result was a pair of LPs that jump started Big Boy s career revival All ten tracks on Sunny Road were cut November 10 1969 at Sound Studio on North Michigan Avenue languishing unheard in Delmark s vaults until now The 64 year old bluesman was surrounded by younger local sidemen Jimmy Fast Fingers Dawkins contributes lead guitar to three tracks and Willie Big Eyes Smith is the rock solid drummer throughout Plugging Crudup s axe into the same rotating Leslie speaker a rig generally associated with the Hammond organ that Buddy Guy previously employed on Junior Wells Hoodoo Man Blues for much of the session gives his signature licks a sound they never had before Purists may be skeptical but the effect isn t particularly upsetting just different The songs featuring Arthur in front of the full rhythm section are a tad out of tune at times but nothing too severe The title track a hit for Crudup s then RCA labelmate Roosevelt Sykes in 1946 Sykes would also be associated with Delmark during the 60s is a fine vehicle for Arthur s impassioned vocal delivery

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/arthur-big-boy-crudup-cd/arthur-crudup-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • OTIS TAYLOR, My World Is Gone, CD review, Telarc International
    occasional wail of Starski s electric guitar echoes hauntingly Harris fiddle is a constant thread beautifully running like a river throughout the cut With simple lyrics plus the traditional repetitiveness of a Taylor song they succeed in getting the point across Taylor Nanji and Thompson take a more minimalistic approach on the second track as Taylor sings of the Navajo man who says Lost My Horse which was a major tragedy back in the day Nanji s lead guitar is driving and intense while Taylor adds mandolin and slide and Thompson beats out a furious groove After two tracks I was pretty much emotionally spent Wow Taylor s banjo and Ron Miles cornet are featured next on Huckleberry Blues the banjo plucks out a distinctive line as the cornet Ron Miles flutters emotionally It is a really nice track Sand Creek Massacre Mourning tells a tale of the Navajo and Arapaho Indian massacre at the hands of Colonel John Chivington and his men on November 29 1864 Brian Juan s organ is introduced here and with Miles cornet they provide a funeral like sound in the background of Taylors singing and strumming on top of a military like marching drum beat More powerful and emotional music is on display for us here A traditional electric blues sound is next on The Wind Comes In Nanji s lead is impressive and Taylor s counterpoint on banjo is a striking contrast Blue Rain in Africa tells the story of the sacred and mystical white buffalo as seen on television in the story teller s youth Nanji Taylor and Starski add electric guitar to the mix and the duet by Nanji and Taylor is well done Never Been to the Reservation tells the story of the rich man who escaped traditional Native American life and has never experienced the hardships of the reservation Juan s organ and Nanji s guitar drive this one as Taylor blurts out the minimalistic story On Girl Friend s House Taylor plucks and moans as he catches his wife in a same sex relationship and then wants to join in Jae Jae Waltz is a simple Americana styled tune of a widow being courted featuring Taylor s banjo and Edmunds on tuba Ever amazing us with wild topics Gangster and Istatoz Chauffer gives us the story of an Indian woman with cats who chauffeurs a wealthy gangster He loves the chauffer but she does not share his feelings Coming With Crosses is the story of a mother s murder by Klansmen who came in the night as Taylor sings to murder his mama Harris returns on fiddle to help hauntingly build this one up and then slowly draw it to a sad conclusion Green Apples gives us some cool guitar work and Taylor sings of green apples and lemonade in the morning and red apples and champagne at night These are part of his recipe to being treated right Miles cornet speaks to us here along with Taylor

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/otis-taylor-cd/otis-taylor-world-is-gone-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Jesse Dee, On My Mind/In My Heart, Alligator Records,CD review
    and opened for greats such as Al Green and Etta James For On My Mind In My Heart which is co produced by Jack Younger Dee goes soul searching in the Facebook age His Tribble like pompadour on the album cover says re worked retro his facial stubble bespeaks 00s hip while his sound is universal honest toe tapping music sung with verve and panache Backed by his tight sharp core band that never overwhelms Dee s vocals the disc starts out with a jaunty version of the title song and keeps the energy up through Stay Strong an almost gospel like tribute to being positive What is heartening about Dee is that although he can belt out a tune with the best of them he seems to have learned a secret of successful public speaking Sometimes when you want your audience to really pay attention you speak softer not louder And so it is with Dee when he croons What s a Boy Like Me to Do or The Only Remedy which showcases Dee s range from falsetto to furnace blast or when he laments lightly on Boundary Line In Sweet Tooth he channels his inner Elvis with insouciant rocking charm Standouts on this cut are the horn arrangements by Scott Aruda and Timo Shanko on tenor sax Indeed Dee s own guitar work is well served by his core band of guitarist Johnny Trama bassist Jim Larkin drummer Matt Pie Beaulieu and horn brothers Scott and John Aruda Additional guitar work is supplied by Matthew Joy and Milt Reder Joanie Pimental provides backing vocals and Dee duets with Rachael Price on From the Start The album is a bit of a departure from Alligator Records line up of blues artists According to the liner notes Alligator president Bruce

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/jesse-dee-cd/jesse-dee-on-my-mind-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • AL MILLER, In Between Time, Delmark, CD review
    the Bay Area he traded licks for a while with guitar wizard Michael Bloomfield around the end of the decade Real life interrupted Al s blues ambitions after that he returned home to start a family and earn a weekly paycheck at a day job But Miller never hung up his harp or his musical dreams altogether In 1995 he released his first Delmark CD Wild Cards I had the pleasure of writing the liner notes for that one That set utilized an all star backing cast several of whom returned for more musical action on Al s In Between Time sessions They represent a who s who of top Chicago blues sidemen whether currently residing here or not guitarists Dave Specter and Billy Flynn pianists Ken Saydak and Barrelhouse Chuck bassist Harlan Terson and a cadre of drummers the late Willie Big Eyes Smith his son Kenny Beedy Eyes Smith and Mike Schlick This expansive aggregation knew instinctively what traditional Chicago blues is supposed to sound like and they delivered the goods behind the harpist Miller exhibits excellent taste in covers on this album reaching back for three numbers penned by his old friend Johnny Young as well as obscure gems by Jimmy McCracklin Eddie Taylor Percy Mayfield and Elmore James Though quite a capable singer Miller brought in estimable guitarist John Primer to handle the vocal honors on B B King s I Need You So Bad Little Walter s wry Dead Presidents the only selection sporting a sax section and Elmore James 1839 adding to the fun and variety There was room to lay down several rollicking instrumentals showcasing Miller s mouth organ Primer and Specter paid tribute to a long gone and too often overlooked Chicago guitar great on Lawhorn Special Five Miller originals run the

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/al-miller-cd/al-miller-cd-review-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • LINDA VALORI, Days Like This, LeART World Music, CD review
    help create a truly wonderful recording it should succeed in making a lasting and powerful first impression on American audiences In a recent article Valori was quoted as saying It wasn t me who chose to sing the blues the blues chose me After numerous spins I can t help but draw comparisons to the soaring soulful vocals of a younger Etta or Aretha Yes she s that good The CD opens with an up tempo horn driven version of Van Morrison s Days Like This You ll love the treatment they give this song and the outstanding vocal performance While standing on its own as an opening tune the title track then easily propels you into the equally dynamic Pain as a second track But it s when we get to track 3 I Idolize You by Ike Turner that Valori s blues vocals really start to shine This funky blues tune with that unmistakable Chicago vibe really allows her the perfect platform to vocally make a profound impact Another Chicago blues veteran Mike Wheeler adds the decisive musical statement with his searing guitar solo to round out this tune Later in the CD Valori and team do justice to a version of Janis Joplin s Move Over I ve heard numerous vocalists attempt this song but this version is fresh funky and crisp and fits in nicely Days Like This is an absolute pleasure to listen to I would say the shining moment has to be I Smell Trouble an often covered Don Robey tune This is arranged and performed as a low down Chicago blues tune to the T I could imagine any one of Chicago s talented singers belting this out and Valori s performance sounds as if she has been playing this circuit for decades

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/linda-valori-cd/linda-valori-days-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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