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  • FLOYD McDANIEL with DAVE SPECTER
    guitar work it s hard to tell who s playing what part The rhythm section Mike McCurdy on bass and Mark Fornek on drums play exactly what s required of the song with no showboating or hot dogging here This is a tasty understated exercise in how it should be done Periodically the group is joined by Tad Robinson whose blues harp is the icing on this sweet offering The disc opens with an instrumental verse and then a nice relaxed version of Saint Louis Blues Even though a lot of these songs are old chestnuts nothing about them seems stale or dated They are more like putting on your favorite jacket the one that makes you look and feel good Nothing is hurried here and every note is played for a reason They follow it up with the song Floyd says he hopes will be a classic title track West Side Baby Floyd croons I love my West Side Woman more than all the gold in the world There s one thing I know lord she s mine mine mine she s my girl Dave Specter adds a melodic guitar solo that gets a nice response from the crowd For the next track Floyd reminds the audience that although it is indeed a Mean Old World when things get tough think of the fellas before us they handled it we can too Then he slips into the coolest rhumba beat you ve ever heard Floyd hollers I drink to keep from worrying and I smile to keep from crying That s to keep the public from knowing what old Floyd got on his mind Tad Robinson steps in to blow his harp adding enough Little Walter inspired 1 st position piping to put your hair in a conch Track 4 is an easy swinging version of Route 66 the arrangement is attributed to Floyd s school buddy Nat King Cole featuring another Tad Robinson solo Tad s approach both melodic and chordal bounces through the changes leading directly to a deliciously rhythmic guitar solo by Floyd T Bone Walker would dance to this stuff They change gears for the moody Evenin with Floyd taking the tune down in the alley to really get his blues on Gene Ammons is the author and inspiration for Red Top a wonderful jazzy swing version of the classic instrumental In the middle of Red Top Floyd tells the crowd that this may sound jazzy but jazz came from the blues and demonstrates by singing a few verses of Everyday I Have the Blues over the Red Top changes Backwater Blues is the blues at its best a lament about a lost home and a lost love With a nice interchange between the guitars it ambles over the changes tipping its hat to the West Coast swing blues that epitomizes both Floyd and Dave s styles Tad Robinson punctuates the two guitarists putting in his two cents with a 1 st position chorus that

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/floyd-mcdaniel-cd/floyd-mcdaniel-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • REVEREND RAVEN & THE CHAIN SMOKIN' ALTAR BOYS CD REVIEW
    Miramar Theater as the Reverend states with a minimum of overdubs in two different sessions with two of my favorite line ups Madison Slim contributes his harmonica proficiency and lead vocal talents to some of the better tracks here She s Murder Sonny Boy Williamson s Like Wolf and the title track The Reverend has assembled a fine line up of players including saxophonist Big Al Groth who plays on the majority of the songs He s an exceptional musician but on a few of these tracks Madison Slim s harp would have been more gratifying particularly on the two tracks penned by Gerry Hundt Stomping and Shouting and Walking To Chicago Hundt a former member of Nick Moss the Fliptops who are known for playing straight ahead Chicago blues most likely envisioned the tunes with the accompaniment of the Mississippi saxophone Drummer Bobby Lee Sellers Jr contributes lead vocals to two songs most remarkably on Bricks in My Pillow where his voice is evocative of a young B B King It is also one of the tunes where Groth s powerful sax really works well in the whole scheme This brings us to the Reverend himself whose guitar deftness both slide and otherwise is unquestionable As the sole guitarist on the album he provides some very tasty licks on all the aforementioned songs as well as an excellent version of Hound Dog Taylor s The Woman I Love in which he also handles the lead vocals His three original songs on the album where he again sings lead Looking For Love You Didn t Even Say Goodbye and I Can Do You Right just don t contain the same high level of excitement as the other numbers Perhaps the Reverend is most comfortable when he can step back from

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/rev-raven-cd/rev-raven-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • EDDIE & VAAN SHAW, CD review, Naked
    electric embellishments According to the liner notes by noted blues writer Don Wilcock who sat in on the sessions the CD was recorded in three days and produced by Eddie s manager and label head Paul Benjamin The studio is the living room in a small house trailer down the twisting mud tracks that pass for a road on the outskirts of picturesque Rockland Maine No gimmicks no knobs no plugs but plenty of self generated electricity Unlike most acoustic blues albums this is pointedly not an attempt to recreate the prewar blues sound Instead this is just Eddie and Vaan doing what they normally do only this time without electricity While it is uncommon to hear a sax in a stripped down situation such as this the elder Shaw acquits himself well Eddie s loose harmonica playing makes a few appearances as well but he s at his best on the sax Two songs I ve Heard and Voices Crying feature the voice and lyrics of Vaan Shaw Voices Crying in particular has a social consciousness bent that leans in Bob Dylan territory The other original selections feature the simultaneous wit and wisdom we re used to hearing on

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/shaw-eddie-vaan-cd/eddie-vaan-shaw-cd-page_1.html (2016-02-16)
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  • ANDERS OSBORNE CD review
    Neil Young Bad Company and other artists of the early 70s infiltrate Osborne s music Call On Me with its lush harmonies is a gentle acoustic ballad about longing that is clearly an homage to Jackson Browne In fact Osborne name checks Browne on the tender tune that displays his nimble finger picking on guitar Acapulco opens with a slide guitar played in George Harrison s style and moves into a Jackson Brown ish melody and harmony on the chorus On Got Your Heart you can hear the bass line of Steve Miller s Space Cowboy Osborne s melodious emotive guitar work on the chorus of the snappy Meet Me in New Mexico is straight from Gerry Rafferty s 70s love song Right Down The Line And Love Is Taking Its Toll with its thumping beat and rip roaring distorted guitar sounds like Bad Company meets Neil Young While Osborne is clearly channeling the 70s he isn t being entirely derivative rather he uses these influences as a jumping off point to create highly charged emotional music with lyrics that are very personal and confessional a catharsis if you will A case in point is the desperation of Darkness At The Bottom Osborne s guitar explodes defiantly spitting out notes as the band burns behind him getting hotter with each passage the rhythm section grows more frenetic as the guitarist s despair intensifies Like Lowell George s Whiskey and Bad Cocaine Osborne s biographical song about hitting bottom chugs along like a runaway train that can t be stopped until the engine burns out On the Road To Charlie Parker shares a similarly self destructive theme in which Osborne compares his living on the edge behavior to the doomed jazz legend The song opens with a Deep Purple ish organ

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/anders-osborne-cd/anders-osborne-patchwork-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  •  James Cotton, Giant, Alligator Records
    but the drums and bass give it an upbeat feel Cotton plays the introduction and then strategically places single notes and harmonies throughout the song His solo has some vibrato and sounds almost human in its vocal like inflections This is quite an impressive piece Sad Sad Day a cover written by Muddy Waters features one of Chicago s own guitarist Tom Holland who sings on this cut His skill on slide featured in this song brings a tone that grips you And Cotton s solo at first plays like he is crying the harp master then counters with gentle melodies and trills then he shifts gears into emotional expression via the harp that fits this song so well Find Yourself Another Fool is an upbeat tune where Cotton displays his talent by reaching from one extreme to another His solo is full bodied and then hits single notes octaves and the distinctive high piercing notes that show his diversity and skill with his harp Dubbed Mr Superharp Cotton s own history comes in full circle with Alligator Records Celebrating his 66 th year as a musician his accomplishments include a litany of musical awards stemming from 1981 to present 30 solo albums a Grammy Award and four Grammy nominations one of which was for his Alligator CD High Compression in 84 Now he has returned to Alligator to create this remarkable CD Giant Cotton s life is also filled with giant accomplishments At the tender age of nine he was mentored by the legendary Sonny Boy Williamson who was impressed with the young boy s talent Cotton would play his harp for tips outside the juke joints while Sonny Boy played inside At 17 Cotton hosted a radio show on KWEM while gigging with his own band in Memphis

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/james-cotton-cd/james-cotton-giant-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Chris James & Patrick Rynn, Gonna Boogie Anyway, Earwig
    his youth The duo puts their upbeat touch to Ellis McDaniel s Dearest Darling featuring Rynn s bouncing Bo beats and James shimmering echo effect guitar playing They play classic Chicago blues on Little Girl another Diddley cover highlighted by Bob Corritore s tasteful harp solos Jimmy Reed s standard Can t Stand To See You Go is accented by Stone s piercing high notes on harp On Robert Lockwood Jr s Black Spider Blues which features only the duo minus the band in a sparse musical setting James displays his versatility with his easy going country blues picking style The arrangements and playing on these classic songs are tasteful and exciting but it s the eight clever originals that really make James Rynn s sophomore CD shine Like the duo s debut Stop And Think About It this second effort features songs with catchy hooks and clever memorable lyrics such as the opening track Money Don t Like Me I like money money don t like me gonna get you one day money just you wait and see The lyric inspired by James witty grandmother echoes a universal theme The dynamic shuffle kicks off with James classic Chicago blues guitar riff and rides on the horn sounds of sax players Jonny Viau and Allen Ortiz The ensemble style number includes the tinkling ivories of David Maxwell and Sam Lay s famous beats James strong vocals are even more upfront on Boogie his deep smooth voice contains just the right measure of grit emotion and masculine swagger that the blues requires The CD s 12 tracks feature even more of his skilled versatile guitar work this time out as the styles of blues vary and they aren t all classic Chicago ensemble tunes The title track Gonna Boogie Anyway also

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/chris-james-pat-rynn-cd/james-rynn-boogie-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Robin Rogers
    hard ass kiss off to a bad lover in Baby Bye Bye Rogers takes control of the material She praises the virtues of keeping a long term relationship in the rollicking Second Time Around and laments the personal temptations that ruin such relationships in I Know I Done Wrong Keeping pace is the tight band with Kerry Brooks on acoustic and electric bass Jim Brock drums and percussion he also produced the album Mark Stallings piano and organ Jon Thornton trumpet and Tim Gordon sax Rogers revs up the pathos with a Big Maybelle song Ocean of Tears but makes its plea for salvation convincing not cloying The haunting country infused Don t Walk Away Run written by Chuck Glass is an antidote to songs that praise a woman for standing by their man no matter what Here Robin gives us the truth no love is worth sticking with an abusive partner A jaunty cover of Irma Thomas Hittin on Nothin with its funky keyboard action is balanced by a more languid take on the Little Willie John classic Need Your Love So Bad spiced up with a mean guitar solo by Bob Margolin But it s the Robin and Tony Rogers songs that drive arrows into your heart You Don t Know is a poignant description of daily despair a kind of blues tribute to depression that becomes depression for depression s sake Why do you think something s wrong with me when I just want to be alone she says in a lyric many of us have shouted to well meaning friends If there s any fault to the album is that Rogers keeps the dial ratcheted up to 100 with every cut like a band that just can t quite settle into a slow song to let

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/robin-rogers-cd/robin-rogers-back-in-the-fire-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • BUDDY GUY, CD Review, Living Proof
    over the years and established him as one of the most prominent and respected guitarists to date One of the factors that contribute to Guy s greatness is his exciting live performances He tours regularly including his usual month long residency at his club Legends every January In addition to being a staple at the last two Crossroads Guitar Festivals at Toyota Park his appearance with the Rolling Stones as they tore through Champagne And Reefer in Martin Scorsese s concert film of the band Shine A Light was definitely the highlight of the show At age 74 Guy could easily rest on his many laurels yet he does not which is the other main factor that supports his celebrated status the steady release of new material Since joining Silvertone Records Guy has laid down some of his finest work Perfect examples being Damn Right I ve Got The Blues in 1991 followed by Feels Like Rain and the 2001 masterpiece Sweet Tea which could easily rank in the top five albums released that year of any genre He now returns with Living Proof and again proves he has no intention of letting up Joined by a tight set of players including drummer producer Tom Hambridge guitarist David Grissom and ex Stevie Ray Vaughan keyboardist Reese Wynans Guy romps through a dozen tunes almost half of which he co wrote further showcasing his musical relevance It s hard to believe Buddy Guy is as old as he is while listening to his highly distinctive voice as he recounts his own past on Thank Me Someday and growling through Let The Door Knob Hit Ya Equally impressive is his brilliance on the guitar which has not diminished over the years as evidenced on Key Don t Fit which comes over as

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/buddy-guy-cd/buddy-guy-living-proof-page.html (2016-02-16)
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