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  • THE BLUESMASTERS, Volume 2, In Memory of our Dear Friends Pinetop Perkins & Hubert Sumlin, Direct Music Distribution, CD review
    performance on the Don Nix tune Same Old Blues Ric Ulsky s lush organ chords surround Taylor s emotionally charged singing She doesn t fare as well on Talk to Me Baby as her attempts to sound like a tough blues mama come up short but she recovers to give Willie Dixon s I Just Wanna Make Love To You a sensual reading Taylor makes a valiant effort on Robert Johnson s 32 20 Blues but is undermined by a rocked out arrangement that features British blues legend Aynsley Dunbar on drums and Doug Lynn who blows a lot of harp without really adding anything to the cut Taylor and Gales tackle Studebaker John s Fine Cadillac with Gales shimmering guitar licks underscoring the dynamic vocal duet while Taylor and drummer Larry Thompson provide a pounding rhythm for Gales final guitar melting solo Thomas gets paired with Taylor on I d Rather Drink Muddy Water with Rusty Anderson added on guitar Taylor exercises restraint and develops some sense of intimacy while Thomas turns in a blustery performance that builds to an unhinged screaming conclusion It is hard to believe that this is the same vocalist who hit the charts with Fooled Around Fell in Love as a member of the Elvin Bishop Band Hazel Miller regularly performs as a member of Big Head Todd the Monsters She unleashes her powerful voice over the slinky organ drenched rhythm the band lays down on Tangoray exhibiting a gritty spirit missing from much of the disc Lynn and his harp make a solid contribution on the track as well as Miller s other track a heavy handed rendition of Big Boss Man that finds the singer succumbing to the temptation to shout her blues away It isn t until the ninth track that

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/bluesmasters-cd/bluesmasters-vol-2-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • DENTED TRUCKS, Blue Sun, Turtle Records, CD review
    is back in the studio working on its sophomore effort So we ll just provide a general overview of what Dented Trucks is all about Like other notable young blues family bands Mississippi s Homemade Jamz and Trampled Under Foot from Kansas City come to mind Dented Trucks has the kind of musical telepathy that only siblings share Their sound is a cross between Stevie Ray Vaughan s tough Texas shuffles and Chicago s rough down in the alley West Side blues propelled by Dianne s skillful and effective lead guitar It s a musical blend that really works Eight of the ten songs on Blue Sun are originals co written by all three band members The opening track So Excited is an upbeat instrumental by Stevie Ray Vaughan which the band performs admirably well Dianne s biggest influence on guitar Stevie Ray is evident throughout her guitar solos this disc Track 6 is another SRV cover the lesser known Boot Hill which is given a fine Texas flair by the band Lyrically the trio doesn t tackle any heavy subjects on its originals there s no Born Under A Bad Sign here Diane s vocals are laid back unaffected and charmingly girlish not exactly what you d expect from a blues woman Then again she is a guitar slinger and a darn good one at that What stands out about the trio and their music is their ability to get into a groove and ride it taking the listener along for the trip I ve not seen them live but I would guess that live performances are their forte Musically Dented Trucks is all about Dianne s leads and solos she is versatile and nimble and her playing ranges from lyrical and melodic to stinging and fiery with some

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/dented-trucks-cd/dented-trucks-blue-sun-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • LINSEY ALEXANDER, Been There Done That, Delmark Records, CD review
    know just what Linsey Alexander is all about Joining Alexander on this recording we have Roosevelt Purifoy on piano and organ Greg McDaniel on bass James Wilson on drums and Billy Branch blowing harp on three tunes Add the horns of Ryan Nyther trumpet and Bryan Fritz sax plus Mike Wheeler and Fabrizio Breezy Rodio adding rhythm and solo guitar and we have a great nine piece band for this CD This whole recording was basically recorded as is with just a few guitar over dubs Alexander either wrote or co wrote with Sharon Pomaville 11 of the 12 tunes Right from the start with a blues shuffle Raffle Ticket I know that I am in for a real treat of Chicago blues Billy Branch walks us into the tune with some of his awesome harp playing as Hoochie Man Alexander takes over with his powerful blues vocals Behind all of this fine stuff is Purifoy pounding the ivories as James Wilson and Greg McDaniel keep the blues train running down the track Linsey also showcases his guitar style with a couple of solos This is really a great tune to open with on the CD Been There Done That takes us to that smooth place of rhythm blues and features Purifoy on organ and the horns of Nyther and Fritz Here Linsey give us the chance to just kick back and take in his voice and lyrics In the same mode he takes on the Willie Kent tune Looks Like It s Going To Rain This is a swell tribute to his now departed long time friend Alexander showcases his Willie Kent style vocals and some Albert King sounding guitar work on this track Also standing out here is Purifoy on keys and the tasteful horns in the background

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/linsey-alexander-cd/linsey-alexander-been-there-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Mississippi Heat, Delta Bound, Delmark, CD review
    by some outstanding special guests and returning band members from years past this is a 14 song example of the best that the blues has to offer The blues is all about personality and soul and Delta Bound delivers in both of these categories it s the kind of recording that pulls the listener into its world from the very first note Everyone on the disc is a heavy hitter and gets behind Lacocque s original songs in a big way Especially tasty are the women giving voice to these tunes Inetta Visor and Deitra Farr Visor is the current voice of the band and has sung on the last number of MH releases she is a fine and passionate singer who breathes life into her lyrics with a seemingly offhand abandon Deitra Farr was an early member of the Heat and returns to the fold here to sing three cuts that showcase her warm and smooth style Farr is now an established solo artist and band leader in her own right but steps right back into the MH sound like she never left The album also features Grammy nominated and Grammy winning contributors including drummer Kenny Smith guitarist Billy Flynn keyboardist Johnny Iguana producer Michael Freeman and zydeco star Chubby Carrier Guitarist and Albert King alumni Carl Weathersby also lends his considerable talents to a couple of tracks The songs on Delta Bound are mostly Lacocque s originals and are excellent slices of blues flavor and feeling that demonstrate his command of both his instrument and his idiom Standouts include Granny Mae Look A Here Baby and The Blues Matrix a modern day blues if there ever was one the tracks are uniformly good and the album is free from dead spots The band covers The Animals on Don

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/mississippi-heat/miss-heat-delta-bound-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • EDDIE SHAW & THE 757 ALLSTARS, Still Riding High, Stringtown Records, CD review
    and revive the blues in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia telephone area code 757 In that realm this recording has already been a success by enhancing the live music scene and promoting blues to a younger generation in the Hampton Roads area The CD has been released on a small local independent label but hopefully the disc will find its way soon to i Tunes Amazon or CD baby so a wider audience can enjoy this great project Of the 12 tracks on this CD 11 were written by Eddie Shaw This is The Eddie Shaw that Muddy Waters brought to Chicago when he was in his early 20s the same Eddie Shaw that played with Howlin Wolf His reputation easily precedes him Eddie turned 75 in 2012 and like many of his compatriots that are still around and playing he shows no signs of easing up on his 60 years of making great music The first track Sack Full of Blues swings this CD into high gear right from the start and it never stops after that Eddie s unmistakable vocals are featured on What Comes First Black Eyed Peas Fatback and as a duet with singer Jackie Scott who produced the disc on the bonus track I Want a Pretty Woman But it s Eddie s years of musical experience profound production musical sensibilities and soaring sax tones that really make this recording something special Paris in the Fall and Rock This House stand out as two of the better tracks that feature Eddie s well known saxophone And while most of the performers on this CD are not known on a national level you can tell they are consummate pros by the sound of the recording The 757 Allstars deserve much credit for their talent and

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/shaw-eddie-757-allstars-cd/eddie-shaw-757-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • SUGAR BLUE, Raw Sugar Blue Live, Beeble Music, CD review
    Bob Dylan and Victoria Spivey He relocated to France where he met the Rolling Stones who immortalized Blue s signature riff on their Some Girls album hit Miss You Prior to returning to the States he recorded his Crossroads and From Paris to Chicago albums Then he sweetened up his harpestry in Chicago by playing with blues greats Big Walter Horton Carey Bell Junior Wells and James Cotton In 1985 Blue received a Grammy Award for his solo performance of Another Man Done Gone recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Fest for friend and mentor Willie Dixon s Blue Explosion album Dubbed the Jimi Hendrix of the harmonica and a founder of harp technology Blue has played appeared and recorded with an extensive list of music legends from various musical genres Raw Sugar Blue Live with Blue s distinctive harp wizardry sensual voice and über tight band consisting of Rico McFarland on guitar Damiano Della Torre on keyboards Ilaria Lantieri Blue on bass and James Knowles on drums delivers the authentic Sugar Blues show While most of the songs many written or co written by Blue have appeared on earlier Blue albums and are comfortably familiar to established fans Raw throughout remains fresh exciting and infused with the raw energy of a live performance by a high caliber band The fast paced opener Red Hot Mama I want a red hot mama and another cold bottle of beer I m burning up I m burning up stays funky and wraps up with a raging harp finale that makes the guy in the back stop talking and hooks him into the rest of the show A quick transition into Muddy Water s One More Mile keeps the groove going strong with McFarland and Blue blasting through an extra couple miles of extended play A playful Blue with his grit on sings and harps soulfully through one of the best renditions of Willie Dixon s Hoochie Coochie Man The band takes its time over 14 minutes jamming and shuffling highlighting sweet licks by Blue McFarland and Della Torre This sets the pace for the mid tempo jazzy Cotton Tree Blue s tribute to James Cotton The music sways gets edgy and sways again with the hook When you re having trouble and more pain than you can bear like the blues I ll always be there Walking Alone continues the laid back jazzy tempo with Blue s velvety voice So alone more than I ve ever known when I lost you I know I lost the best walking into the unknown high harp notes and some funky keyboarding The first CD ends with an uptempo jazzy instrumental Swing Chicken that conveys Oh don t you go anywhere there s more Blue charisma shining through opens the second strong set with We re going to do a song for you here me and my little 365 that s the big one girls The wailing big harp opening to slow blues Another Man Done

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/sugar-blue-cd/sugar-blue-raw-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MAGIC SLIM & THE TEARDROPS, Bad Boy, Blind Pig Records, CD review
    to guitar Magic Slim got his blues handle much later on here in Chicago from the one and only Magic Sam They played together for years and then Sam told him to keep the name adding the Slim to give him a fresh start He earned his reputation as a powerful guitar slinger back in the 70 s playing South and West Side clubs Slim turns 75 this year but you d never know it from listening His singing and playing is as hard driving as ever Magic Slim is one of just a few players left who can directly channel the Mississippi blues sound into his music that raw gutsy guitar sound that emanates from greats like Son House Charlie Patton RL Burnside John Lee Hooker and so many others who brought their sound north to Chicago from the Delta Slim sounds like he s playing slide guitar but he s just using his extra large fingers No matter what guitar he plays it ends up looking smaller once he picks it up But man can he ever get the BIG sound out of it Bad Boy really doesn t break very much new ground but it is the real Chicago blues played the way they re supposed to be played no less but sometimes a whole lot more Covering big blues hits like the headline tune Bad Boy by the late great Eddie Taylor Slim shows off his signature style of sliding and bending notes wringing out emotions to match his vocals Denise LaSalle s Someone Else Is Stepping In is normally sung from the female point of view but Slim turns the tables and gets his own new way of wearing his hair on this version Bassist Andre Howard provides a funny high pitched backing vocal too These cover tunes are faithful to the original artists but in the hands of Magic Slim The Teardrops they take on a new life of their own too The oft overlooked Chicago blues treasure Detroit Junior penned and played I Got Money and Slim and the band deliver a nice take on the tune with a hard driving shuffle Champagne And Reefer may not be the first Muddy Waters song you think of but when you hear Slim sing it it brings back Muddy s voice and a flood of memories Plus BJ pops his snare until you think it should holler Ouch Slim s original tune Gambling Blues gets a sizzlin hot upbeat arrangement too from a band that plays hard in order to keep up with their leader s hard driving delivery The Mississippi blues sound is thick in Slim s version of the J B Lenoir tune How Much More Long and the band really backs up the breaks giving him plenty of room to solo Slim s solos have an element that many guitar players are often missing phrasing Instead of playing just a seemingly endless stream of notes he takes his time and makes the

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/magic-slim-badboy-cd/magic-slim-badboy-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Michael "Iron Man" Burks, Show of Strength, Alligator Records, CD review
    reveal a bigger picture of a man and his music Count On You kicks off the CD with power and grace revealing a band as tight and disciplined as a military unit It s the weary lament of a man who sings I can always count on you to let me down It s a standard blues theme in a fresh setting with the guitar adding a response to Michael s impassioned vocal call Take a Chance On Me Baby is a lovely soul ballad reminiscent of Johnny Guitar Watson s classic I Want to Ta Ta You Baby that could have easily been covered by Etta James or Solomon Burke had either of them lived to hear it So far this is my favorite track on a disc that continues to envelope my heart Storm Warning steps up the tempo and urgency telling the heart break story in terms of gulf storms and the preparations needed to weather them I really like the group participation in Can You Read Between the Lines in which the band helps count off the telltale signs of a woman who s getting ready to cheat The band is egging Michael on telling it all like Louis Jordan s band does on his seminal Brother Beware Burks is pretty much right on the money with each of his things to watch out for at the end of the love This one should get the attention of all the men in the house Cross Eyed Woman has a heavy rock groove making me think of Blind Faith Hendrix and the Allman Brothers although it doesn t sound like any one of those groups they have certainly been an influence The dark and humid atmosphere is supported by Wayne Sharp s wide cushion of organ the bombastic drumming of Chuck Loudon and the slide attack employed by Michael for this track Chicago harp traditionalist Scott Dirks moans and wails on Little Juke Joint and coupled with Wayne Sharp s honky tonk piano styling they add a new texture to the song If other tracks on the disc flirt with classic rock this track anchors it securely in the blues a la Albert King s Annie Mae s Café Little Juke Joint is one of the five songs on Sho w Of Strength written by Burks and his otherwise uncredited writing partner the ubiquitous Sumner The thing I love about Michael s song writing is how atmospheric he is His is not the narrative story telling of Chuck Berry or the moodiness of John Lee Hooker yet these elements are there Rather it is a very visual quality to what he s saying that puts you in the heart of the story being told like sitting inside a painting 24 Hour Blues is slow minor blues at its finest complete with crying guitar and fat organ patches Constant throughout the whole package Chuck Popcorn Loudon s steady back beat resounds like a heart beating the one constant

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/michael-burks-cd/michael-burks-strength-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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