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  • THE CASH BOX KINGS, Cuttin' Heads: Live at the Cuda Cafe
    the tired song list that many of the bands that also ply these styles tend to stick to On the group s recent live album Cuttin Heads Live At The Cuda Café the CBKs are explosive entertaining and clearly deep into their blues The band Joe Nosek on harp and vocals Travis Koopman on guitar and vocals Chris C B Boeger on upright bass Kenny Beedy Eyes Smith on drums and Oscar Wilson on vocals throws down a hot show on what the liner notes say was a very cold night and puts those of us not fortunate enough to have been there right in the front row The songs on Cuttin Heads include both originals and covers and are straight up bare knuckle Chicago blues done with the vibe and feel of the originators of the style The music has the liveliness and energy that only roots music genius can provide and it is easy to see just what the Kings growing reputation is based on Highlights include Honey Bee Iodine In My Coffee and the absolutely rollicking She Wants To Sell My Monkey Each band member shines as part of the group sound and on their own when

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/cash-box-kings-cd/cash-box-kings-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Tinsley Ellis, Speak No Evil, CD review
    with the rollicking Sunlight of Love Its aggressive and exhilarating guitar lines serve notice that this is not just another blues record Speak No Evil is all about loud riff heavy blues rock Utilizing a generous pallet of vintage guitar tones Ellis applies it in thick liberal doses creating a complex and textured sonic painting in the process Slip and Fall The Other Side The Night Is Easy and Loving For Today are terrific up tempo rockers with heavy riffs that come at you like sharks in a feeding frenzy The solo breaks are always melodic yet aggressive explosive and controlled No notes are wasted and none are needed as every chord and guitar figure seem perfectly balanced to serve the song Two standout tracks are The Night is Easy and Amanda Both songs are immersed in big analog guitar tones and are densely packed with passionate riffs sharp as a razor s edge The aural landscape is controlled and explosive orchestral in its impact The sonic craftsmanship evident here is very impressive Throughout the recording the snare of Jeff Burch and the bass of The Evil One erupt like perfectly placed M 80 s laying down a tracker beam of voodoo groove to which Tinsley applies the electric sonic sauce There are a couple quieter turns as well It Takes What it Takes floats above the beautifully conceived twin guitar lines that belies Ellis s southern fried roots and Cold Love Hot Night with its minor key changes and memorable chorus would be the A side of a hit 45 in a bygone era While this is clearly an appealing recording for fans of superior string stretching the vocal ability demonstrated by Ellis is notable as well His smoky expressive style can be delicate and rough There is a

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/tinsley-ellis-cd/tinsley-ellis-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Quintus McCormick Blues Band - CD Review
    his bachelor s degree in music from Chicago s Columbia College Since that time Quintus has toured the world playing guitar for the likes of A C Reed James Cotton Lefty Dizz and Otis Clay Buddy Guy and James Cotton encouraged Quintus to form his own band in the mid nineties and they have been a mainstay on the Chicago scene ever since His debut album is much deserved and well overdue Quintus came to the studio chock full of great original songs which he recorded over a span of only two days back in November 2008 Delmark Records general manager and producer Steve Wagner has stated that this is the most exciting recording he has worked on in a long time and I m confident you ll agree when you listen to the CD Quintus Chicago blues connections are apparent by the band backing him on this album including long standing Chicago soul blues keyboard man Roosevelt Mad Hatter Purifoy Lovely JR Fuller on bass Jeremiah Thomas on drums and the famous Chicago Horns featuring Kenny Anderson on trumpet Hank Ford on tenor sax and Willie Henderson on baritone sax In addition Ted Reynolds supplies great harp work throughout the album and Quintus is backed by the wonderful voices of Roberta Thomas Gwenyth Hayes and Jamie Holesha on many songs What s most impressive is that this CD contains 60 minutes of fine music and 14 of the 15 songs are Quintus originals The album kicks off with the melodic title track Hey Jodie a song he wrote about a back door man with Deborah Hamill Holmes then careens through a wide variety of catchy soul blues shuffles like Fifty Fifty and Get That Money barn burning scorching guitar blues like What Goes Around Comes Around and Plano Texas

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/quintus-cd/quintus-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Dave Riley and Bob Corritore, Lucky to be Living CD review
    framework both in its duo format and its improvisational attack Lucky to Be Living is the duo s sophomore CD a follow up to 2007 s Travelin The Dirt Road Dave Riley and Bob Corritore s Lucky to Be Living CD pays tribute to a number of Mississippi musicians including the recently deceased Jelly Roll King Sam Carr John Weston and Fred James The CD s musicianship is stellar including some fine guest piano by one of the few remaining elders of ivory Henry Gray This collection pays special tribute to Frank Frost Carr s bandmate in the best Mississippi juke joint band ever the Jelly Roll Kings which included guitarist Big Jack Johnson in the trio Lucky To Be Living covers four of Frost s songs and a lot of this CD conveys the spirit of fun and improvisation of the Kings whose original LP launched the Earwig label The four Frost tunes that appear here even include Jelly Roll King with some adjusted lyrics by Riley When keyboard harp player Frost died in 1999 drummer Carr teamed up with Riley to form the Delta Jukes with harp blower John Weston However the Frost songs here unfortunately don t have the rhythmic intensity that Frost s records always offered which means that the tracks can start to sound a little repetitive if you re not a big fan of more traditional sounds Corritore s harp playing is impeccable throughout although those same traditionalists might note that his Chicago style is a little big on the country blues tunes This isn t surprising as Corritore who produced the CD cut his blues teeth in Chicago s roughest blues clubs on the South and West Sides He s no country boy This seems to be the paradox of paying tribute in

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/riley-corritore-cd/riley-corritore-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • RICK ESTRIN AND THE NIGHTCATS, Twisted: CD Review
    other pursuits and Estrin has stepped even farther out front than he has been in the past The group is now Rick Estrin and the Nightcats and they seem to be picking up where the old band left off with their first Alligator Records release Twisted The disc is a fine showing for Estrin and his crew slightly different than the old days but still retaining the flavor and vibe that has made him a household word in the blues community The most noteable change to the band in the new Estrin era is the man standing where Little Charlie once stood Norwegian import Chris Kid Andersen Not only is Andersen the guitarist on board he also co produced the album with Estrin and does an excellent job in both respects While trying to replace Little Charlie is sort of like trying to replace Michael Jordan Andersen is a fine player in his own right and while not as overtly jazz influenced as Little Charlie could sometimes be he is a great choice for this gig and really makes it his own Like any record involving Rick Estrin the real stars of the show are Estrin s original songs and lyrics Estrin has always been one the most unique and prolific songwriters working in American roots music and he does not disappoint here This is the ability that has always put Estrin head and shoulders above most modern blues artists and it really is the best thing that he does Whether writing on his own or co writing with Kid Andersen and the rest of the band Estrin can stick a tune in a listener s ear and make it stay there as well as anyone who has ever written a blues song Tunes like Big Time A Ton Of

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/rick-estrin-nightcats-cd/rick-estrin-nightcats-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CD Review, TOMMY CASTRO, Hard Believer, Alligator Records
    the mix like silk the versatile duo s fine work is featured prominently on Hard Believer Rather than being a distraction they are instead perfectly integrated into the arrangements providing balance and counterpoint that easily could ve been overwhelming in less able hands and ears The next song It Is What It Is an up tempo number with slashing interplay between Castro and his band will shake the boogie out of even the most reserved listener A solid confident rocker It Is What It Is was co written by Tommy s close friend the late Stephen Bruton and the song captures Bruton s assertive and stylish signature sound beautifully The CD s title song Hard Believer brings a slow soulful vibe to the party while mining a mellow Memphis sound that Castro revisits throughout the CD The tasteful and almost effortless integration of the horns contributes mightily to the listening experience on Hard Believer and Monkey s Paradise finds Castro and the band hitting full stride pumping out an energetic number that s equal parts Johnnie Taylor and Robert Palmer Urbane and sophisticated Monkey s Paradise rollicks and swings with the infectious keyboards of Tony Stead the bouncing bass and drum lines of Scot Sutherland and Ronnie Smith providing the octane It s an absorbing and captivating track one that helps establish Castro as an artist at the pinnacle of his craft On Ninety Nine and One Half he revisits Wilson Pickett s 1966 chestnut locking into the original s deep funky soul rhythms effortlessly Castro s emotive vocal reading fondly telegraphs Pickett while his fiery guitar shows him to be a facile string stretcher evoking early Jimi Hendrix and Steve Cropper in one tune No small feat on that Next on the platter is Back up Plan with a clever lyric and easy beat that s familiar and true blue Co writing credit on this one goes to Rick Estrin widely regarded as the top Blues composer of his generation Next Castro takes on Bob Dylan s proselytizing epic Gotta Serve Somebody giving it a forward bouncing backbeat with Crossan s and Poole s horns massaging the mix comfortably Trimmin Fat is a sarcastic rocker with a Texas roadhouse arrangement a la Delbert McClinton that satisfies like an ice cold Lone Star on a hot day In between the lyrical angst of unemployment Castro and the band lay it out with a groove that s impossible to sit still to Fat is quite irresistible and greasy featuring rhythm guitarist John Porter on some of the finest slide guitar this side of Ry Cooder Make It Back To Memphis is a finger popping Blues Rock number that will shake the most hardened Beale Street denizens to their soul MIBTM seems like a natural encore song one that will have audiences singing along like it s a weekend May The band s well done covers of Victims of the Darkness penned by Allen Toussaint and The Righteous Brothers My Babe are

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/tommy-castro-cd/tommy-castro-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Big James & The Chicago Playboys
    Upon his death in 1993 the Playboys did just that The band went on to back up Buddy Guy and Otis Rush touring the world and performing in very high profile venues Collectively the band recorded four CDs on the Jamot label between1998 and 2007 on which Big James emerged as the primary songwriter A number of awards Living Blues Magazine Prix Blues in Paris and nominations from the Blues Foundation in Memphis followed Right Here Right Now marks The Playboys debut on major blues label Blind Pig Records which will hopefully bring them much deserved wider recognition There is a lot more to this groovin band than just impeccable horn arrangements and precision playing James contributes eight originals and the band stamps its identity on the three well chosen cover songs The title track has lyrics that Big James could have ripped from Chicago s newspaper headlines His socially conscious message pleads with us to be concerned and take a stand against violence and other problems that plague our world The Playboys horns serve as the Greek chorus lifting the listener up to joyous musical heights as James beckons us to rise above the madness On The Grind displays a similar message with James advice for these trying times These blues is all I got he declares as he urges us to stay on the straight and narrow noses to the grindstone avoiding the vices of the street The original tune features a well placed rap by James nephew Derrick D Mose Moseberry James is a serious minded artist expressing his concerns and worries in verse while his musical buddies power the message home with emotionally expressive and often danceable music On the slow sad blues of Expect The Best James tells us to remain positive but to be prepared for the worst Worry is a magnificent horn driven Albert Collins style blues tune in which James recites a litany of things he worries about It s only the solace of blues that don t cause him to fret Another serious subject that James addresses is love This horn y dude reveals his quest for love on two beggin songs On A Little Attention he only wants a teeny weeny bit of your love and he ll even play a fabulous tromobone solo for you James is down on his knees sincerely pleading on Help Somebody Please on this passionate cover of an O Jays song Unconditional love is the subject of A Mama Like Mine in which James sings the praises of his dear mother You ve got to love a Playboy who loves him mom and writes a song for her As a vocalist James is a top notch soul man Love To See You Smile is bouncy Southern soul a Bobby Blue Bland cover on which Big James big voice soars with elation over his lady s sunny disposition The Tyrone Davis cover Without You In My Life features punchy Memphis Horns style arrangements accenting James

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/big-james-cd/big-james-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Eddie C. Campbell, Tear This World Up, CD Review
    but the overall feel is consistent which you d expect from a veteran From the boogie of Makin Popcorn to the jump blues of Big World to the West Side Soul of Easy Baby to the shuffle of Tie Your Time Up this CD hops along very easily and entertains you like a nightclub set I like the fact that the tracks flow together very tightly there s no real space between the songs Humorous standouts are Makin Popcorn Big World and Voodoo Eddie s sense of comedy and timing are very good to the point where you know this guy is a total card Performance and arrangement standouts are Easy Baby the Magic Sam tribute and Care has a unique 60s style Stax like arrangement But the track that really blew me away beyond all others was Eddie s take of Gershwin s Summertime Eddie s arrangement of this song really brings it up to a level as distinct as the Janice Joplin version When Tom Marker WXRT 93 1 FM Chicago played the cut on his Blues Breaker s show I immediately had to have this CD Production credits go to the two of Chicago s top Blues preservationists Dick Shurman and Bob Koester Dick a good friend of Eddie C s produced the record with Bob K supervising Steve Wagner and Eric Butkus on the controls Having Shurman and Koester behind your Blues record is like having Don Was or T Bone Burnett produce your pop record Eddie C Campbell handles vocals and guitar and his supporting cast includes Dario Golliday on bass Marty Binder on drums Mojo Mark Cihlar on harmonica Marty Sammon on piano and organ Chuck Parrish on trumpet Sam Burkhardt on tenor saxophone and Juli Wood on baritone saxophone The last song called

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/eddie-c-campbell-cd/eddie-campbell-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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