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  • LURRIE BELL, The Devil Ain't Got No Music, Aria B.G. Records, CD review
    a number of accolades in his career as a songwriter and music historian The other Dorsey composition on The Devil Search Me Lord is delivered as a traditional blues ballad with Bell on acoustic guitar backed by Mike Avery and James Teague s heavenly harmonies There are many magical moments on this CD including the opening Swing Low which is unlike any version I ve heard before the relaxed ensemble playing on Don t Let the Devil Ride along with Bill Sims Jr s hand claps and Joe Louis Walker s testifying on I ll Get to Heaven on My Own Another personal favorite is the sweet note bending and slide guitar on It s A Blessing with Joe Louis Walker on guitar backed by the economic and subtle but effective engine room of Ben Israel and Smith Covers of gospel inspired songs by James Taylor Lo And Behold and Tom Waits Way Down in the Hole are given the Lurrie treatment Bell has received exceptional recognition from the Chicago Reader Living Blues Magazine Blues Blast Magazine and Blues Foundation members have honored him with 11 Blues Music Award nominations Lurrie was one of six recipients in 2009 of an unrestricted grant from the prestigious 3Arts organization in 2009 and funding from that grant partially supported the production of The Devil Ain t Got No Music 3Arts supports Chicago s minority artists women artists and artists with disabilities to contribute to the arts and cultural diversity http 3arts org pages about Lurrie Bell will kick off the 2012 Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park in June and as part of the Chicago Blues A Living History Tour will play the Blues on the Fox Festival in Aurora on June 16 th In Aurora Lurrie will rejoin Living History bandmates Billy

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/lurrie-bell-cd/lurrie-bell-devil-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • PINETOP PERKINS, Heaven, Blind Pig Records,CD review
    instruments You become involved right from the start with the groove that he lays down Pinetop s style is full bodied as he uses every key from working the bass lines while playing a multitude of melodies seemingly all at once thereby providing incredible music that is full and vibrant Sometimes the music is a slow blues or a gut bucket or a boogie woogie You can even hear a polished Pinetop as he plays behind soul legend Otis Clay singing Since I Fell For You You don t even miss other instruments none are necessary Take for instance the second song a slow blues written by Pinetop 4 O Clock In The Morning it s just him singing and playing the piano He has plenty of trills and chords playing a beautiful melody and accents while the bass line is constant He appears to be playing fills and leads all together and yet tastefully Heaven is focused entirely on Perkins performance but the vocals are not cut short either The standard Sitting On Top of The World features the late Willie Big Eyes Smith singing His voice is warm with that slight touch of vibrato and has as much presence as Pinetop s Willie also passed away last year at age 75 This is believed to be his last recording as his vocals and Clay s were added to the tracks in more recent times All the vocals in this CD are mixed upfront to display each singer s enhancement to the songs Pinetop s singing brings variety as well Sometimes his voice is raspy and rough as in the first cut 44 Blues and then he s smooth and mellow in his original Ida B And smooth he was both on and off stage as he was known for being a ladies man who always dressed meticulously in great style with suits that had matching hats and shoes even at age 97 There are only four numbers that have a backup band such as on Just Keep On Drinking an up tempo song written by Perkins and Chicago blues harp player Lincoln Beauchamp Jr One of the treats on this CD is that Pinetop s piano intros are always beautiful and performed in a different style on each song His musical phrasing is impeccable from humorous and playful to a down and dirty grind and a moody slow blues Yet somehow the music never truly seems sad because his performance is overwhelmingly wonderful to listen to as he plays so many different types of melodic styles and chords at one time His ability to play almost the entire keyboard at once is uncanny He displays numerous styles of performing from accents like glissandos using the entire keyboard to rolled chords that he does so well in most of his songs as well as trills and walking bass lines His chords thunder at times or they become gentle and quiet only to come back up with renewed zest The

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/pinetop-cd/pinetop-heaven-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  •  Eddie C. Campbell, Spider Eating Preacher, Delmark, CD review
    has a gravitas and bearing that a younger man can only dream of His message is simple yet consequential With a few shakes of the strings Campbell commands attention with his lyrical and elegant story telling he looks into the soul of man To whit I have a soup bone And I m hungry I m gunna put this soup bone down And try me some collard greens In lesser hands the lyric would be comical with Eddie selling the song Soup Bone it s timeless and poignant The tracks on Spider Eating Preacher are for the most part straight blues with traditional instrumentation The production is sparse yet it s effective and hypnotic Campbell and company eschew the frills and trappings of modern recordings keeping the flavor economical and ambient It s hard to imagine Eddie doing it any other way the spirit of Chicago s historic West Side permeates every track The first track I Do is a playful shuffle with a penetrating pocket Campbell wastes no time demonstrating his effortless guitar style heavily adorned with reverb and dripping in emotion His rascally call and response on I Do alone is worth the price of admission The title track Spider Eating Preacher is a bit obtuse lyrically telling the tale of a web of blindness and a preacher s salvation When there are spiders all around webs a plenty and they re the Devil in disguise a spider eating preacher is a good friend indeed Standout tracks include I Don t Understand This Woman with its driving beat and message of marital mystery and Boomerang a toe tappin shuffle with some sneaky riffs Also of note is the instrumental Brownout a minor key workout with its soul infected tempestuous guitar lines The Purple Jazzmaster takes no prisoners Campbell

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/eddie-c-campbell-cd/eddie-campbell-spider-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • DOUGLAS WATSON R&B REVUE, Broken Hearted Man, CD review
    Raitt guested Watson worked for Reed in his Sparkplugs Band for nine years During that time he got to open for and perform with legends like B B King James Brown John Lee Hooker and Koko Taylor After Reed s death in 2004 Watson moved to London Ontario and later to Kitchener Ontario He met up with harp player Mississippi Pete Temple and they decided to form a band based on Chicago blues with a dash of R B and soul They teamed up with Chris Mr Sweetness Latta on guitar and Maciej Mr Magic Lukasiewicz on drums as the core of the band On Broken Hearted Man they are joined by John MacMurchy on sax Junior Reggan and John Lee on organ plus backup singers Michelle Rumball and Pat Temple The studio band provides excellent support for Watson s talent as a versatile vocalist and bass player Watson s rich baritone ranges from powerful and gritty to tender and emotional His bandmates skillfully follow Watson s emotions according to each song s mood For example on the cover of Latimore s ballad about a troubled romance Let s Straighten It Out Watson s sincere and poignant vocals are supported by a melancholy sax and guitar along with soothing backup harmonies Watson delivers Z Z Hill s classic Down Home Blues with joy and humor He sounds like a man who can t wait to party As the song winds down the singer improvises some lyrics and hums along with the harp player Watson s second original on the disc The Best Way I Can is driving Chicago West Side blues The rhythm section pulses the song accented by sax and harp while Watson belts it out For the old school R B mid tempo shuffle When You Got A

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/douglas-watson-cd/doug-watson-broken-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Curtis Salgado, Soul Shot, Alligator Records, CD review
    with Roomful of Blues After working with Albert Collins Salgado dubbed him the Master of the Telecaster a career enduring title Salgado also starred with Steve Miller and rocked with Santana for a summer before being benched with serious health issues in 2006 that had fans family and friends holding their breath and rallying for the remarkable recovery that thankfully resulted There is also the Belushi Connection Salgado and John Belushi became friends while Belushi was in Eugene filming Animal House Belushi was so taken by Salgado s super cool persona passionate powerful and soulful vocals and his epic harping that it inspired him to create the Blues Brothers the Blues Brothers Briefcase Full of Blues disc is dedicated to Salgado The Blues Brothers movement actually resuscitated the B lues bringing it to center stage and to the attention of mainstream America thanks to bluesman Salgado The Belushi link forged an indirect connection between Salgado and Chicago one that s been further solidified through Salgado s friendship with Chicago s Nick Moss and Kate Moss they performed together at Chicago s Blues Fest last year Of course the release of Soul Shot by Chicago s own Alligator Records now provides a tighter connection to Chicago blues fans hearts Salgado has a right to be proud of his latest exceptional offering Technically and solidly anchored Soul Shot was produced by funk and R B guitarist Marlon McClain and drummer Tony Braunagel with co production help from Salgado Backed by members of The Phantom Blues Band and guest cameos Soul Shot hits the bull s eye dead center The album featuring four stellar Salgado originals and seven ever so right covers that include songs by Bobby Womack George Clinton O V Wright The O Jays Otis Redding and Johnny Guitar Watson not only showcases Salgado s talent but also collectively conveys his confidence and maturity Soul Shot embraces and lifts like an old friend Warmly familiar it comforts and satisfies but it s exciting and exhilarating too And it s soulful and very sexy If Soul Shot was your first date you d want to see that person again Salgado is a legendary heart and soul entertainer He gives every ounce of himself at each show as if it s his last Soul Shot transcends physical space and brings his hard driving high energy and impassioned performance directly to you While it would be difficult to pick the award winning song each track can certainly be nominated at the very least for best supporting role on Salgado s masterpiece Special cover favorites include the lively makes you want to dance album opener What You Gonna Do Womack highlighting Mike Finnigan on organ and Joe Sublett on saxophone the rich full sound of Gettin to Know You Clinton that explodes with a funky beat horns back up singers and of course a smokin Salgado Ah turn around and back up into me Hot and the sensual riveting ballad Let Me Make Love to

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/curtis-salgado-cd/curtis-salgado-soul-shot-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Studebaker John, Old School Rockin', Delmark Records, CD review
    and down my spine I left there knowing what I wanted to do I had to play slide guitar he recalled Through the years he played with the likes of Buddy Guy Junior Wells James Cotton and Hound Dog Taylor himself After devoting much of his time as a sideman and session musician he struck out on his own releasing his own albums and writing his own songs Old School Rockin carries this on nicely The title of Grimaldi s sophomore release for Chicago s oldest existing blues label Delmark sums everything up about it musically Studebaker John throws down boogie laced blues with an unrelenting rock beat Joined by Bob Halaj on bass and Albert Joey DiMarco on drums Studebaker John takes us through fourteen original tunes that do not let up Early into the record on Fire Down Below he demonstrates his snappy guitar style through a dramatically appropriate solo while belting out lyrics such as You won t be laughing when Satan takes you from this place with a voice that possesses hints of John Hiatt and Stevie Ray Vaughan He closes the song with a remarkable multi note harp solo which truly ices the cake The

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/studebaker-john-cd/studebaker-john-old-school-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MUD MORGANFIELD, Son of the Seventh Son, CD review
    writes about timeless topics His words are not flowery they are just very real He writes about keeping your health finding a mate having an affair love lost and just plain old having the blues Mud s voice is powerful and has a clarity that is reminiscent of the days when concert halls didn t have microphones In those days you needed a voice that could belt out a tune to cut through the instruments and across the room Even with today s electric guitars Mud s voice has the gifted power to be heard without a mic He also has the ability to project different moods Mud s voice sounds matter of fact while his words are humorous in his song Loco Motor as he frankly states he s Gonna find me a Queen with long black hair and no underwear In another original the moody Midnight Lover you can feel the pain of lust and disdain as he belts out the lyrics with a little vibrato in his voice pleading midnight lover what kind of power do you have over me Mud also brought to the table two originals from fellow CD band mates Money Can t Buy Everything written by guitarist Billy Flynn as well as one by harp player Bob Corritore Go Ahead An d Blame Me The tite track Son of the Seventh Son was penned by John Grimaldi a k a Studebaker John With one foot in old school Mud sings his father s song You Can t Lose What You Ain t Never Had Bob Corritore produced the CD which was recorded in Chicago at Rax Trax Studios Bob s artistry created an album that not only spins an ambiance which reflects traditional Chicago blues but also keeps Mud Morganfield front and center

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/mud-morganfield-cd/mud-morganfield-seventh-son-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • JANIVA MAGNESS, Stronger For It, Alligator Records, CD review
    and melodic nuance on Stronger For It regardless of the composer Magness s own There It Is opens things up and it s a cathartic tour de force with its soulful rhythms and clever riffing which support the song s concept of I never thought I d want to hurt a man so much but there it is His loss is our gain Followed by her second composition I Won t Cry Magness establishes a tone of self reliance and spiritual fitness that s frankly inspirational To know her struggle is to know the depth of her strength Tom Waits Make It Rain finds Janiva confident and assertive one against the world Her final composition Whistlin In The Dark is optimistic and bright echoing the jangley style of Curtis Mayfield Shelby Lynne Grace Potter and Ike Turner all take turns having their compositions bought and paid for by Magness as she assumes complete ownership of I m Alive Ragged Company and Ike and Tina s You Got What You Wanted Matthew Sweet s Thought I Knew You with its expressive lyrics and subtle graceful pop ish melody allows Magness s vocal depth and control to be on full display her phrasing and meter a thing of beauty Not only does she have perfect pitch control she has a voice that s soothing and velvety on one hand street smart and blue on the other There is a quality to her vocals that are like a favorite comfort food Buddy and Julie Miller s Dirty Water swaggers with the energy of a Texas roadhouse on Saturday night and Paul Thorn s Things Left Undone could ve been an outtake from Bob Dylan s Time out of Mind with its poetry and elegant arrangement Stronger For It closes with Ray Wylie Hubbard

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/janiva-magness-cd/janiva-stronger-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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