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  • RICK ESTRIN AND THE NIGHTCATS, One Wrong Turn, Alligator, CD review
    has proven historically that he is incapable of making a bad record so let s just get that out of the way this album kills just like all his stuff Rick surrounds himself with great players so the music always sounds great but what really makes his work jump is his skill as a songwriter Truly original songwriters are hard to find in roots music as many performers seem to be too much in the shadow of their influences unwilling to emerge Estrin is that rare artist who takes the sum of his influences and melds their styles into his own unique voice The music is not quite straight blues nor is it straight 50s style rock and roll but rather it is something that exists between the two styles From the greasy and groovy opening cut D O G to the hilarious I Met Her On The Blues Cruise to the funky Desperation Perspiration Estrin shows his skill at putting new wine into old bottles a trick he does better than most The current lineup of The Nightcats is of course stellar and does a superb job of making the tunes on One Wrong Turn come to life Norwegian guitar slinger Kid Andersen is in exceptionally fine form on these sessions and does quite a bit of style melding of his own He shows his skills at various blues and rock n roll styles here as well as busting out some serious surf chops on the instrumental The Legend Of Taco Cobbler He like Charlie Baty before him is a great foil and partner for Estrin and the two together are pretty much unstoppable Estrin is in the unique position these days of becoming an elder statesman in the scene while doing his best work to date at a

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/rick-estrin-nightcats-cd/rick-estrin-wrong-turn-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, Jump Start, CD review
    for music from local young talent to incorporate into a blues collection He reached out to the young hot slide player Lil Ed Williams I had no idea what he and the band were really capable of I just knew that their music reminded me of Hound Dog Taylor and J B Hutto two of my favorite musicians I never expected what happened Iglauer offered them a full album contract at their initial recording session This initial session also resulted in 30 songs cut in three hours twelve of those songs became the band s highly acclaimed debut album Roughhousin September 1986 Guitarist Mike Garrett joined the band in 1987 a year later Detroit s Kelly Littleton came on board as drummer and there s been no looking back In fact the Jump Start title could well imply the beginning of another quarter of a century of boogie woogying Their latest album features 13 original songs all either written or co written by Williams along with a terrific rendition of Hutto s If You Change Your Mind The album is rock solid strong and features Marty Sammon on organ and piano on five of its 14 tracks One can almost see Williams red sneakers keeping beat before shooting airborne in the opening track s feel good rocker If You Were Mine I d treat you so kind Williams playful and frolicking electric slide cameos in the fast paced Musical Mechanical Electrical Man and the guitar screaming fun continues with a solo by Garrett that backs up double entendre lyrics in Jump Right In I wanted to get in her swimming pool Ditto for the song No Fast Food why go out for hamburger when at home I eat prime steak The party continues to groove with medium paced favorites including

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/lil-ed-cd/lil-ed-jump-start-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Peter Karp & Sue Foley, Beyond The Crossroads, Blind Pig, CD Review
    and exposure this CD could easily launch these two up to national status on par with McClinton and Raitt Not to give too much emphasis in comparison but more for reference Karp and Foley have crossed that elusive threshold with this CD putting them on a completely new level in the music world Of course Peter Karp and Sue Foley are not newcomers Karp established himself on the national scene with his critically acclaimed Shadows and Cracks also on Blind Pig Records His writing has been compared to that of John Prine and John Hiatt and is impressively backed up by his ability as a musician Canadian Sue Foley began her professional career at the age of 16 and by the time she was 21 she was living in Austin Texas while recording for the legendary blues label Antone s Records She also was awarded Canada s impressive Juno award for her CD Love Coming Down What began as simple email and written correspondence by two lonely home sick musicians on the road has evolved into this fabulous collection of songs and performances we have here The chemistry and relationship that has evolved between these two artists is a rarity in the music business and a pure delight to witness For example the CD opens with We re Gonna Make It a fine piece co written by the two of them obviously for the times we live in Baby it s true time are tough We re deep in debt and there ain t enough A good job is so hard to find It seems we re standing at the end of the line This is blues material its finest but then the song goes on to proclaim that no matter what happens they re gonna make it And somehow

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/peter-karp-sue-foley/karp-foley-crossroads-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Nick and the Ovorols, Live at Kingston Mines, CD review
    It s great to hear Nick s take on Delta blues mainly because of this song s history and meaning A fun fact that the listener may not know is that this tune has been filling dance floors for more than 60 years and has been adapted to piano accordion acoustic and electric guitar The meaning goes as far back as the 1800s Such implications are to leave in a hurry leaving for good or to clean out and start over Dust My Broom flows into Part 2 of the medley Heed The Words I Say another Peraino original a slower jam on which Nick uses wah effects throughout his lead He makes sure to stop on the one chord so everyone is really listening to the words he is saying which shows how Nick likes to work the crowd The other guitarist in the band Carlos Showers flows throughout the tune by utilizing his wah pedal as well This is the only song Carlos solos in and he makes sure it is memorable It s Ecstasy When You Lay Next To Me steers away from the blues as it is a Barry White cover Nick demonstrates his jazzy rhythm again and shows a different tone in his singing perhaps in an effort to resemble White s distinctive bass voice During this song the listener may drift off into a different time and place the disco era There is a second part to this track Dreams originally by Greg Allman Nick creates a very soothing atmosphere for the crowd by not only playing his guitar but playing through his custom amplifier The tone that flows out of the amp is so crisp it can t help but be heard Allman Brothers fans will appreciate this groovin extended jam The song People Get Ready was originally written by Curtis Mayfield for the Impressions People get ready there s a train a comin you don t need no baggage you just get on board all you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin you don t need no ticket you just thank the Lord The listener may sit and analyze this song more in depth than the other tunes Maybe that is why it has been covered by artists like The Rolling Stones Bob Marley Rod Stewart with Jeff Beck and Aretha Franklin to name a few Nick seems to be moved just as much as these other artists and does a fine job putting his own twist on the song Nick shows vulnerability throughout this track by not only singing the heartfelt lyrics but by displaying pure emotion through his guitar He is a bold musician who takes risks T Bone Walker s Tbone Boogie is given a contemporary funky treatment by Nick and the band The listener may not be compelled to analyze this tune like the last but instead will just have fun listening and dancing to it The live track sends off the vibe that Nick feels

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/nick-ovorols-cd/nick-ovorols-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore, Longtime Friends in the Blues, Delta Groove Music, CD review
    a steamy juke A hypnotic one chord groove with its raw insistent rhythm grabs you by the hips Tail Dragger s growling guttural emotive voice comes from some tortured place deep in his soul wailing out over a thick layer of blues guitars keys and harp all laying down a fat groove that goes on and on to form a blues siren song Sugar Mama is a medium tempo lump de lump that gives the two guitarists a chance to show off their considerable skills trading fills with perfectly timed harp licks Henry Gray and Tail Dragger share vocal duties on this tune by trading choruses Here Henry Gray s delivery more in a Muddy Waters vocal style makes a nice counterpoint to Tail Dragger s Wolf like crooning adding a new dimension to the Chess style mix Birthday Blues is a pleasant up tempo shuffle It has a nice relaxed feel and Tail Dragger shows off his sense of humor with lyrics that gently chide How old how old are you You tell me you re sixteen they told me you were thirty two Bob delivers a nice rhythmic solo on blues harp She s Worryin Me is a slow blues filled with barrelhouse drama Fell on ma knees and I couldn t even pray She d hurt me so bad she drove my spirit away This song is so heartfelt you can t help but be moved by the raw emotion in Tail Dragger s voice This song is definitely getting played on my personal playlist and on my next few radio shows I can t wait to share this Cold Outdoors is a Jimmy Reed style shuffle one of my favorite grooves and Bob has that wonderful first position lazy drunk sounding harp to go with it Tail Dragger is spot on with his vocal delivery as Henry Gray fairly channels the spirit of Sunnyland Slim or possibly Otis Spann on his piano break I absolutely love this track So Ezee starts with an admonishment by Tail Dragger This is a message to the world Wake up and stop crackin jokes cause it s easy to be misled The band jumps off into a swinging little shuffle with a great groove Everybody got to use their head You got to use it in court use it when you vote use your head before you crack a joke warns Tail Dragger Bob Corritore shows his versatility compared to the previous Jimmy Reed style approach to throwing down some Carey Bell style harp attack just before someone either Chris James or Kirk Fletcher rocks the house with perfect guitar solos on two choruses Great swaths of dirty guitar kick off Through With You a slow drag that continues the troublesome woman theme Tail Dragger should try a different method of finding mates his luck with women is terrible if you are to believe his songs The music is dense and heavy with layers of guitars keys and harp all

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/tail-dragger-cd/taildrag-corritore-friends-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • RON SORIN & THE BLUE COAST BAND, Lake City, CD review
    powerful shuffle that follows Hang Tight is another tour de force with Tad Robinson s vocals dominant Tad s glorious voice is also well appointed on the stone gospel number Straight and Narrow a song that starts with minimal guitar and Robinson s vocal slowly grinding the tune to life but quickly shifting gears to an up tempo tent revival cum camp meeting song Piano from Sorin s former Big Shoulders band mate Ken Saydak lends the appropriate tinkle of authenticity Sorin s harp wends its way through these opening numbers more of a support instrument than a feature letting his talented friends flex their chops before he brings out his big guns on the lazy Chump Change an instrumental that shows Sorin s clean clear lines fine tone and choice phrasing as he trades licks with guitarist Wydra taking his time with the melody Gimme Dat Harp Boy is the one song on the disc that has Sorin matching chops with virtuoso vocalist Mark Skyer who is best known as a doorman for the venerable Chicago institution B L U E S on Halsted He has a deep growling blues voice that might be mistaken for Howlin Wolf but blues club patrons wouldn t guess that as Skyer is rarely heard outside the recording studio This track with Mark s vocal is a refreshing change that brings the whole disc to a higher level with his juicy phrasing and committed vocal attack Duke Ellington would ve loved the treatment of his Good Gal Blues a lovely instrumental just jazzy enough to provide counterpoint to the serious blues that surround it Here Sorin gives his harp free reign to play over the melody once again demonstrating his tasteful virtuosity as he cleanly maneuvers his way through this non traditional selection We re back in the 50s with Sorin original Hey Ken Saydak s heavy piano hand trades licks in the Sunnyland Slim tradition with Ron whose harp is wailing over the Tad Robinson vocal that intones Biblical passages and platitudes I ve Got No Strings is an exciting tour de force harp instrumental reminiscent of Chess recordings that married the rock n roll guitar of Chuck Berry with post war blues Ron Sorin s harp sings wails and demands attention a chorus of guitar from Mark Wydra adds the perfect rockin pitch before Sorin grabs the attention back building to a climax breaking it down then bringing the band back to a rousing close It s an instrumental that marries the finest qualities of several Chicago schools of music Northeaster another Sorin original is a tough blues romp up tempo and pleasant Sorin s Tell Me reminds me of a Motown classic I believe if Smokey Robinson heard this track he d want to cover it pronto It swings has a danceable groove and Tad Robinson gives it the perfect treatment complete with falsetto vocalize and a smile in his voice We are completely into quick shuffle swing mode with

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/ron-sorin-cd/ron-sorin-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • JOE LOUIS WALKER, Hellfire, Alligator Records, CD review
    roster of influential popular American artists both in the sacred and secular realms This past March Walker sang Ride All Night from Hellfire on Conan O Brien s late night TV show on TBS this song is one of three that remind me of the blues infused full tilt spirit of rock and roll abandon that weaved its way through the groundbreaking double LP from The Rolling Stones Exile On Main St Fortunately the Conan video is parked at Joe Louis Walker s website and his slide playing is particularly effective The other two songs that could have landed on my favorite Glimmer Twins LP are Too Drunk To Drive Drunk and Black Girls Drunk is a four minute rocking blues that opens with some high octane piano from Reese Wynans behind Joe s screaming guitar and high energy opening vocal attack The horn trio of Matt White on trumpet Roy Agee on trombone and Max Abrams on sax help me remember Bobby Keys signature horn parts that added tasty nuances behind the Stones music the song offers each player an opportunity to contribute a high energy solo Joe Louis ends Too Drunk with an appropriate reminder Remember everybody in the club drive safe on the way home The car you hit just might be mine Black Girls is another rocker that seems like it was plucked from the late 70s it s an homage to female vocalists in which JLW name drops Aretha Tina and Shemekia Wendy Moten s backing vocals on this song are right on think Merry Clayton or Chaka Khan with just the right amount of sass and attitude at the right time behind Joe Louis all over the fretboard antics There s a lot of raucous rock tinged blues on this CD but I keep

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/joe-louis-walker-cd/joe-louis-walker-hellfire-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Rockin' Johnny Band, Grim Reaper, Delmark, CD review
    from decades ago was a feeble attempt at saving a really weak song And this was the title track Track 2 track 3 and track 4 were all about the same nothing exciting About half way through track 5 I felt as if I was going to fall asleep at the wheel Where is the magic Where is the substance to all the hype I wondered Then I found it When track 6 Rollin Tumblin came on it was as if somebody flicked the switch It was all here The energy and feel had come alive Finally a worthy song blasted from the speakers This truly is a great song with an inspired performance by the band the guitarists and the vocals This is what I had been expecting all along since unwrapping the plastic from the CD case And it didn t stop there Rockin Johnny s original It s Expensive to be Broke features Chicagoans Kenny Anderson on trumpet Dudley Owens on tenor sax and Jerry DiMuzio on bari This solid arrangement and the addition of the horns accented Johnny s vocals perfectly Song after song all the way to the end of the CD the music made the ride truly enjoyable Davin s harp on the instrumental Brand New Boots along with Johnny s solo guitar makes this song a definite highlight of the CD The interplay between the sax and slide guitar on My Sweet Baby will get your toes tapping for sure and Johnny s guitar work on Fenton Robinson s Somebody Loan Me a Dime shows why he deserves the attention Getting to the last track a lively cover of Rockin Sidney s Party This Christmas I again initially wondered what were they thinking by ending the CD with a holiday song But this

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/rockin-johnny-cd/rockin-johnny-grim-reaper-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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