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  • SHIRLEY JOHNSON - Blues Attack CD Review
    late great Queen of the Blues Koko Taylor Shirley also possesses a dynamic range that roars and then purrs like a sultry kitten on the softer sides of this CD If your travels bring you to Chicago I d highly recommend one of Shirley s sets at Blue Chicago or any festival she might highlight On Blues Attack she offers up 14 solid cuts with some road tested musicians that are keeping the blues very much alive in Chicagoland My favorite songs feature the horn section of Kenny Anderson Hank Ford and Willie Henderson on numbers like Blues Attack and 634 5789 and I m Going to Find Me a Lover If you don t recognize Hank or Willie s names check out their work with Bill McFarland and the Chicago Horns Along with Laurence Fields on tenor sax they put quite a punch in these songs That phone number originally dialed by Steve Cropper and Eddie Floyd for the likes of Wilson Pickett rings loudly as a tribute to the Memphis sound with some talented backup vocals courtesy of Roberta Thomas Danielle Smith and Billy D Richard You Shouldn t Have Been There recalls a moment when the ex in question decidedly shouldn t have Shirley delivers her rebuke with slow and sultry aplomb The set s closer You Just Using Me written by labelmate Quintus McCormick is a real treat I m confident we ll hear more from this bluesman as time goes on Editor s note McCormick is releasing a CD on Delmark due out September 22 2009 I really enjoyed Blues Attack from start to finish I especially enjoyed it for the way Shirley opened the door for her musicians to strut their considerable stuff just like Muddy Waters did for his bandmates back in the

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/shirley-johnson-cd/shirley-johnson-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CHICAGO BLUES HARMONICA PROJECT -- More Rare Gems
    D Each player presented here is deeply rooted in Chicago blues and is deserving of wider acclaim which we all know is hard to achieve especially in the greater blues world As one might expect in this sort of project the sounds here are pretty traditional and old school The backing band consists of stellar players known for their prowess in classic Chicago blues styles Rick Kreher and Illinois Slim on guitars Mark Max Brumbach on piano bassist E G McDaniel and drummer Twist Turner The recording seems to be an effort to document and preserve a playing style that many fear is being lost to the sands of time and to the modern musical marketplace More Rare Gems surely it does a good job in that respect It does have a bit of a museum piece vibe to it at times and no new ground is broken rather the CD is a good glimpse into the sounds made by players who still continue to live out the old ways of the blues and keep those traditions alive The songs are what make this set interesting and there are a few winners to mention Reginald Cooper who may be new to many blues fans gets things started with Shade Tree Mechanic in fine style Harmonica Hinds and Charlie Love both well known in Chicago deliver fine performances with Love turning in an especially strong effort on The 12 Year Old Boy which gives the impression that Love may need to school a certain young man who seems to be his rival in the romance department Gangster Of Love which features Jeff Taylor on vocals and Russ Green on harp is also a lot of fun and is probably the strongest tune on the album This is not the record for

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/chgo-blues-harp-cd/blues-harp-rare-gems-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Nick Moss & the Fliptops: Live at Chan's - Combo Platter No. 2
    at Ballydoyle in June as she sat in with Armando Cortez the Chicago Blues Angels life just plain got in the way Well I m finally pleased to shout loudly about the follow up to 2007 s Live at Chan s Vol 1 which garnered Blues Music Award nominations in the Album of the Year and Traditional Album of the Year categories Nick and his Flip Tops returned last summer to Chan s in Rhode Island to record 10 songs and over 79 minutes of live blues and the results on Live at Chan s Combo Platter No 2 are blues magic Gerry The Trouble Shooter Hundt does a nice job on mandolin on Whiskey Makes Me Mean and his classic harp stylings are second to none on I Got All Kinds of Love and Lonesome Bedroom Blues Lurrie Bell sits in with Nick and they trade guitar leads on Don t You Lie To Me Five Long Years and I m Ready The latter is one of my favorite songs from Willie Dixon s blues canon and Lurrie leads it off with some nuanced and hopeful vocals he and provides some searing guitar solos alongside Nick s combustible leads Lurrie likewise leads off Five Long Years with impassioned vocals followed up with expert note bending on his fire engine red Gibson guitar If you like both contemporary and traditional blues wrapped up in a tidy single package order Live at Chan s Combo Platter No 2 You ll not only see what Blues Foundation nominators and voters have seen in Nick Moss and the Flip Tops you ll experience one of the most traditional bands updating classic blues lines masterfully and respectfully with an eye to the future of the blues Craig Ruskey s liner notes shine a light

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/nick-moss-cd/nick-moss-chans-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Billy Flynn, Blues Drive - CD Review
    Kim Wilson from the Fabulous Thunderbirds Billy s humble vocal style is a perfect match for the bouncing shuffles Hearts on Fire and I m Hooked and Wilson s deep emotional reading of Flynn s Big Money Problems is as heartfelt and memorable as any blues from any era Flynn not only lends his obvious guitar talents to this production but also blows harmonica with such a natural melodic style that it belies his status as a guitar player Adding to the dimension and aural richness of this collection is the tasteful use of the electric sitar This reviewer never thought it possible to write that particular combination of words tasteful electric sitar but by golly Flynn s gone and done it Substituting the sitar s twangy resonances for conventional distortion laden electric guitar lead lines Billy forces the listener to concentrate on the mood melody and impact of the song rather than focusing on self evident guitar techniques A highlight of disc one is certainly Flynn s interpretation of Johnny Fuller s First Stage of the Blues Employing a wah wah guitar sound that would make Earl Hooker take notice Flynn leads the band with Kim Wilson s vocals out front through a masterful workout of this seminal side For a backing band Billy was able to finally record with his long time road warriors from the Deitra Farr band drummer Ricky Nelson keyboardist Roosevelt Purifoy and bassist Felton Crews Their familiarity and intimate dynamic is a joy to spend time with Their ability to cover any modern or archaic style with ease from West Side boogies smooth cocktail club romantic ballads to back porch acoustic rags yields a listening experience that is a virtual sonic museum of blues genres Disc two retains the same band minus the cameos

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/billy-flynn-cd/billy-flynn-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO -- CD review
    Buckwheat s most recent releases Like many of his past CDs there are a fair amount of cover songs The beats and rhythms of the 11 songs including five new originals are catchy and memorable The music begins like race horses stampeding from the starting gate with Memphis Minnie s When The Levee Breaks It s a roots rockin ass kickin version that contains a different arrangement from the Led Zeppelin hit from the 70s The song is about the Mississippi River flood of 1927 but is still fitting given the recent hurricanes that have devastated Louisiana Here Buckwheat lays off the accordion in favour of the organ which was his first instrument Meanwhile the melodic and harmonious slide guitar of guest Sonny Landreth casts off anything that resembles a burden The lovely Bruce Springsteen ballad Back In Your Arms contains a reggae beat and a sound that s pretty and heartfelt thanks to Buckwheat s masterful accordion skills Warren Haynes injects southern rock slide guitar into the title track which is based on a gospel melody and was originally recorded by his band Gov t Mule Captain Beefheart s Too Much Time features a prominent bass line which is combined with R B style backing vocals and rap like lead vocals Buckwheat takes us to the Mardi Gras with the appropriately titled Throw Me Something Mister Like the upbeat zydeco songs from his past CDs you simply can t sit still something in your subconscious forces you to get up and dance Elements of zydeco music a rubboard an accordion flourish on the relaxed The Wrong Side which was written by JJ Grey He contributes piano on the song whose lyrics reflect Buckwheat s pensive side The funky and danceable Let Your Yeah Be Yeah by Jimmy Cliff is

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/buckwheat-zydeco/buckwheat-zydeco-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • DAMON FOWLER- Sugar Shack CD Review
    has Nick Lowe written all over it and you can just picture the guys in the VFW hall dancin with the young chickies the gals 60 and under There a few somber tracks on this CD like I Hope It s Gonna Rain and James the latter song is a stand out track The fact that these particular songs are surrounded by his more humorous songs makes them all the more dramatic Fowler provides a sincere delivery to his songs that makes the listener very accepting of him Nothing is overplayed even when the leads go off the track in a good way e g I Hope It s Gonna Rain I was impressed with the minimal instrumentation on the album that reinforces some solid songwriting and showcases his guitar playing Damon plays a variety of guitars and guitar styles on the album electric slide straight ahead distorted blues dobro and acoustic There s a variety to the tracks but also a consistent sound throughout The project is well produced by Scott Cable a former sideman of Carey Bell who has also produced Kenny Neal among others for Blind Pig The clean straight ahead capture of this album is perfect

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/damon-fowler-cd/damon-fowler-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Blues CD review: ZORA YOUNG, Sunnyland, Airway
    with help from Barrelhouse Chuck playing full ten fingered keyboards in the Sunnyland style And the lineup of musicians is no joke besides Chuck there s also Bob Stroger bass Kenny Smith drums Steve Freund guitar Sam Burckhardt tenor sax and the killer guitar fills of Hubert Sumlin And of course there s Young herself belting it out in that updated Bessie Smith style that many of the Chicago female blues singers are fond of While this album is a rocking good time there is also a subtle jazz influence running through the set with three Zora less instrumentals including Blues For Hubert which features no guitar but does have Burckhardt s sax playing a minor key groove straight out of a crime noir flick As for that title well it s Blues FOR Hubert not Blues WITH Hubert While Young commands the spotlight Sumlin manages to get in a couple of vocal licks himself including You Said You Were Leaving as well as Looka Here Baby which has Young and Sumlin teaming up alone and acoustic Well not entirely acoustic Sumlin s axe is still plugged in but you get the drift It s just two voices supported by

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/zora-young-cd/zora-young-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Chicago Blues: A Living History, CD Review
    breathtaking and will have you flipping through the liner notes to find out Who was that player Disc 1 1940 1955 successfully evokes the bygone era depicted in the booklet s vintage B W photos of Chicago juke joints Recorded in analog with attention to retro mic ing styles the production crew took great care to combine old and new technologies resulting in old style music that is fresh sounding Billy Branch John Primer Lurrie Bell and bandmates were encouraged to put their own spin on these tunes rather than mimic the signature sound of the original blues titans The exception is Billy Boy Arnold a vast repository of blues from back in the day right up to the present Born in 1935 and still remarkably youthful Arnold dominates Disc 1 with his easygoing vocals and seminal blues harp stylings that influenced Brits like the Animals and Yardbirds A harp player since the age of 12 he was taught by John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson Arnold kicks off the disc with his mentor s 1940 gem My Little Machine The expressive harpman wraps his pleasant smooth voice around Tampa Red s She s Love Crazy Big Bill Broonzy s Nightwatchman Blues and Memphis Slim USA Arnold covers his own self on I Wish You Would from 1955 Piano players ruled the blues during the era before electric guitars Keyboardist Johnny Iguana dominates the ivories on both discs with his vast knowledge of historical styles The skilled Iguana man plays solo on Big Maceo Merriweather s thunderous boogie woogie instrumental Chicago Breakdown attacking the keys with such fury as to make one wonder if he might have grown an extra set of hands No wonder Junior Wells plucked Iguana from his Philly home to play in his band Disc 2 1955 to Present follows the blues as it grows into the modern era By the 50s and onward electric guitars dominated the music and innovators such as B B King Elmore James Earl Hooker Magic Sam Otis Rush John Lee Hooker and Buddy Guy became heroes to future generations of string benders and sliders Chicago guitarists John Primer Lurrie Bell Carlos Johnson and Wisconsin s Billy Flynn cover these guitar gods with creativity panache and passion The versatile Flynn who was tapped to play on the soundtrack of Cadillac Records provides much of the heavy lifting playing everything from slippery slide guitar on Elmore James I Believe to nimble fingered soloing on B B King s Three O Clock Blues and Magic Sam s Out of Bad Luck Flynn totally hooks it on the1965 instrumental Hookin It showing how far ahead of his time Earl Hooker was with his single string slide and echo effects Primer s haunting slide playing on Muddy s 1948 slow blues Feel Like Going Home is simply spine tingling The former bandmate to Waters Willie Dixon and Magic Slim leads a rollicking cover of Muddy s upbeat Sugar Sweet from 55 and howls away on the

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