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  • Kenny Neal, Hooked on Your Love, CD review
    and continually toured with him on bass It was in fact Guy that recommended Neal focus more exclusively on the guitar which led him to temporarily relocate to Toronto where he formed the Neal Brothers Band In 1988 he signed with Alligator Records releasing several solo works and building up a strong reputation for himself as well as playing with artists such as B B King Bonnie Raitt John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters In 2005 Neal was forced to cease not only performing but also recording due to health problems Now he has released Hooked On Your Love following the 2008 comeback effort on Blind Pig Let Life Flow The largely Neal composed Hooked On Your Love reflects his smooth voice and strong guitar playing B B King s influence shines through nicely on the title track with some outstanding background vocals from Alfreda McCrary Lee Ann McCrary and Regina McCrary They also contribute beautifully to the gospel inspired Bitter With The Sweet Neal s Louisiana roots are most apparent on the funk driven Down In The Swamp and on Voodoo Mama which features copious horns to which Neal adds a stinging slide guitar solo The record does have

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/kenny-neal-cd/kenny-neal-hooked-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  •  Jimmy Dawkins, The Leric Story, Delmark, CD review
    diversity of styles and variety of artists found on The Leric Story is comparable to an evening s pub crawl through Chicago s storied urban landscape circa 1984 A bevy of blues stalwarts some no longer living accompany Dawkins and his artists on the tracks Willie Kent Chico Banks Johnny B Moore Lafayette Leake Eddie Burks and Michael Coleman Little Johnny Christian s New Life and Luv Sumbody sic kick it off and are terrific examples of Blues ensemble playing decidedly uptown in style the latter being a lesson in superb soul grooves This is the sound that s derivative of nothing it really stands as a definition of the idiom West Side stalwart Tail Dragger is represented with two sides from 1982 that pulsate and stomp so effectively that you can almost the smell the smoke and whiskey of Lee s Unleaded Blues when So Ezee and My Head Is Bald fills the air Dawkins himself steps up as guitarist on Queen Sylvia s I Know I Ain t Number One and Too Bad Baby The performances are raw and unadulterated by modern processing with Dawkins stabbing guitar suitably effected with 1980s phase shifter and Sylvia s contralto upfront and powerfully visceral The next stop on the tour is a trio of Vance Kelly tunes recorded prior to his ascendancy to the role of A C Reed s main guitarist These previously unissued sides resonate with dark corners at the bar well worn vinyl booths and cigarette smoke It s smooth and sexy stuff Dawkins again takes control of the band in Nora Jean s Untrue Love and Oh My Love Nora Jean s swagger and sensuality are well documented here One can imagine many nights with lovers dancing cheek to cheek while Oh My Love is spinning on

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/jimmy-dawkins-cd/dawkins-leric-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • DAVE SPECTER, Spectified, CD review
    after decades with Delmark Records His tenure with Delmark was productive yielding eight records with a variety of vocalists abetting Specter s formidable guitar skills Specter is a rare commodity in the music world a musician as respected in the Jazz fraternity as the Blues and this pedigree is fully evident from the first notes on Spectified The opening track Stick to the Hip with its clever riffs and graceful embellishments is the definition of instrumental swagger Specter weaves the catchy guitar figure into the tune like a fine tapestry his urbane style and uptown sophistication on full display With nothing more than a dab of reverb and a big Gibson hollowbody Specter is able to create a pallet of guitar tones that range from red hot to cool blue The aural impact is immediately evident its rawness and rich texture are emotive and powerful Specter s arrangements are first class always serving the song first and then the soloist So often a blues instrumental exists as a vehicle for a soloist to blow through the changes in a display of prowess on Spectified the individual song s melodic architecture is always manifest with the guitar solos reinforcing the melody effortlessly Some individual standouts include the deep blues Alley Walk and the hypnotically romantic Azulado Rumba Tonic features playful Earl Hookerish interplay with Los Lobos Dave Hidalgo on accordion and John Kattke on keyboards For Spectified Dave surrounded himself with a cast of Chicago s finest including longtime bandmate Harlan Terson on bass and Greg Wyser Pratte on drums Brother John Kattke provides his signature virtuosity on piano and Hammond B3 while Pete Benson plays organ on three tracks The Bo Weevil Brass Mike Cichowicz trumpet Dez Desormeaux sax and Johnny Janowiak trombone lay down velvety smooth horns behind Specter

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/dave-specter-cd/spectified-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  •  Harper, Stand Together, CD review
    culture and music Harper eventually learned to play the didgeridoo a huge wind instrument which is quite difficult to master He artfully employs the unusual haunting sounds of the didge which can mimic everything from from a flock of geese to a jet engine to a tanpura an Indian drone instrument that accompanies the sitar to enhance his current musical vision The title track Stand Together with its pounding drums thundering bass and droning trance like didge is clearly sung from the point of view of the Aborigine and is reminiscent of songs by Midnight Oil which covered the same topic I can t believe you don t understand we re all united with the dust and sand Harper sings in the tribal third person The opening track I Never Want is dominated by didgeridoo drones and thumping bass drums that echo the primal past Harper s bouncy harmonica riffs accent the pleasant song about a satisfied man who enjoys the simple things in life like a sunset Harper strays from the outback and takes us to church on the uncomplicated but outstanding song Take These Arms with its uplifting gospel influenced piano and heartfelt message of true friendship This song displays his voice s soaring range and emotional impact more than any other tune on the CD The only thing missing is a gospel choir to harmonize with Harper Now here s a song that fans of the Holmes Brothers would enjoy Love Peace Freedom is set to a hip shakin groove along the lines of Sly and the Family Stone or War Get out the love beads peace signs and wear flowers in your hair as Harper takes you to the love in Love love love love love equals peace equals freedom Right on brother Not all of

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/harper-cd/harper-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • RICK SIMCOX & THE TONE QUESTERS, Treat You Baby, blues CD review
    feel That s the blues Aside from the fact that on this CD Rick shows he is an accomplished guitarist and songwriter he also surrounded himself with two of the most important things to make a great CD experienced well known musicians and quality recording and mastering with skilled engineers He then put the icing on the cake with an attractive CD package It s simple yet eye catching Rick s band the ToneQuesters includes some of Chicago s most important performers and side men on this CD Recording artist and producer Dave Specter plays guitar on two tracks Ironic Twist and Piece of Work lending his distinctive precision and sound Guitarist Felix Reyes Felix The Cats plays on six cuts This CD also features three Chicago drummers who have a rich history backing well known artists both live and in the studio Kenny Smith son of Willie Big Eyes Smith Marty Binder and Merle Perkins Merle Perkins The Percolators Some songs were recorded at Delmark Records with Steve Wagner engineering Other songs were recorded live by Mike Menke Clearly these engineers are craftsmen as the sound quality which is the most important element in any CD is impeccable The

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/rick-simcox-cd/rick-simcox-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE, CD Review, The Well
    to roam and ramble The title track sounds like it could have come from the Delta Hardware recording sessions but the song evolved naturally during the sessions for The Well It s a rockin number with a sound that is a throwback to the 50s The song reveals the inspiration which provided Musselwhite the courage to be brave and face his alcohol addiction In December 2005 Musselwhite s mother was murdered in her Memphis home Sad and Beautiful World comes from the things he wanted to say after that tragic event The highly emotional song mixes a very sweet melody with tragic lyrics The harp shares the anguish of the lyrics With special guest and longtime friend Mavis Staples Charlie sings the tragic yet uplifting words Blues heal what s been torn apart Let the river heal my heart Hoodoo Queen sounds mysterious and spooky It reveals the harp blower s fascination with Marie Laveau the Hoodoo Queen of New Orleans Like a good novel this song takes some time three minutes in particular to develop Cook County Blues features Southern country styled fast finger guitar picking which is ironic given the song is about being arrested in the Northern city of Chicago With a full and big sounding guitar rich harp and thumping upright bass Dig The Pain demonstrates the sound of West Coast jump swing music You also hear that sound which combines 50s Chicago blues with post War Texas blues on the instrumental Sonny Payne Special Just You Just Blues contains one of those ultra catchy grooves that naturally gets imbedded in your memory Musselwhite has created such grooves time again throughout his almost 50 year career most recently on Church Is Out from Delta Hardware This song isn t as rocking as Church but the potent

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/charlie-musselwhite/c.musselwhite-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • ROB STONE, Back Around Here, Earwig, blues CD review
    performer Rice Miller Sonny Boy 2 For example the title track takes a swingin shuffle rhythm and loads it up with If you tell me to go I m going to hear you loud and clear And you ll never never never See me back around here It s obvious from the next verse however that this is perhaps an empty threat Now I said pretty please I m down on bended knee Can t believe I ve sunk this low This is as far as I ll go That s the kind of lyrical irony that made Sonny Boy famous and it s backed by impeccable drumming by Hayes and a ripping guitar by James It s a danceable sing along with punchy sax that sounds fresh but familiar Varying rhythms and tempos make this a CD that doesn t require use of the skip button and on harmonica Stone slips pretty easily from wail to heavy tone throughout Chicago All Night for example takes the underutilized blues rhumba as its template and fills it with a tribute to a variety of late night Chicago hangouts including the latest of late nights breakfast on Maxwell Street and it features some nifty compact soloing from sax man Rodney Brown Stone s a husky vocalist and he phrases naturally both on vocals and harp without copping mannerisms that feel grafted onto the song Indeed the instrumental rave up Dragon Killers is reminiscent of Big Walter s heavy tone without copying his phrasing and it s that Zen approach to playing that makes this a fun and endearing outing These songs have the authenticity that comes from an intuitive understanding of blues rather than the academic understanding that is the unfortunate approach of a lot of purists today A piano boogie featuring

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/rob-stone-cd/rob-stone-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • BOB CORRITORE
    Bob Corritore legendary but the style of blues throughout the CD is steeped in the tradition for which Bob is known Corritore s musicianship is impeccable as he consistently performs as a part of the whole allowing each featured recording artist and instrument to shine His timing and creativity is the epitome of how a blues harp should be played He harmonizes and plays along vocal lines yet remains a gentleman to his guest artists thanks to each song s arrangement Many times he is in the background as an integral part of the band so as not to play over the singer or instrument featured He then steps up with precision on his solos varying his styles which are never boring and never the same Playing Hohner harmonicas exclusively Corritore demonstrates the many sounds and moods of this instrument From shuffles to Gospel influenced loops where the music repeats itself Bob expertly plays the fills or harmonizes His harmonica is full bodied with a bluesy distortion as in 1815 W Roosevelt with Eddie Shaw Bob is also melodic on the first track What Kind of Man is This with the late Koko Taylor In Tell Me About It with Louisiana Red Bob performs with precision as a counterpoint to the guitar with easy fills in between the lyrics and then gives a raw solo adding to the gritty mix of the song On Tin Pan Alley Bob s harp is soulful with a gentle vibrato complementary to the piano and guitar What makes this CD stand out is not only Bob s talent and style but how this was mixed Bob s producing skills have been honed over the years his credits include producing 1999 s the All Star Blues Sessions in 2001 the Rhythm Room Anthology 2008 s

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/bob-corritore-friends-cd/bob-corritore-friends-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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