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  • GUY KING -- Livin' It, CD Review
    cut loose too G K kicks off the CD with a tribute to his late mentor Willie Kent s instrumental Countdown with its driving drums and mighty horn section powering the interplay between guitar and keyboard sounds very much like the kind of intro you d hear at a B B King show The band is so tight that in an instant it switches gears into the jazzy blues fusion number Think Go Out and Get It a self penned G K tune is in a similar groove with catchy lyrics memorable melody and upbeat rhythms The song reminds us to get off our behinds and just do it As a bandleader arranger and producer G K knows just the right amount of ingredients to blend into each musical recipe The horn section can go from Memphis soul to Texas swing the female backup singers give us a touch of the Rae lettes while the rhythm section simmers and grooves Of special note is keyboardist Ben Paterson who is at home on Chicago blues and jazz stages He and guitarist King play off each other weaving in and out of some lovely melodies The upbeat title track Livin It is a perfect example of the breezy jazzy Uptown blues style that suit him so well King s gentle mellifluous voice is best suited for this type of song rather than the solid blues tunes which call for a gruffer singer King is a crooner not a moaner On his cover of T Bone Walker s romantic ballad I m Still In Love With You his honeyed vocals and sincere delivery are simply dreamy It s the kind of song that melts the ladies hearts My Pretty Baby an original in the T Bone Walker style has a Stormy Monday tempo

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/guy-king-cd/guy-king-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Born In Arkansas, CD Review
    up other people It s not a new thing he briefly led his own band in the Fifties but was always being tapped to play drums for other people leading to his 19 year stint on that instrument with Muddy Waters But the last decade has seen him stepping out as singer and harmonica player and this is the latest in a series of solo discs The result is a nice straightforward set of vintage style Chicago blues Of special note is Barrelhouse Chuck who plays fine piano in that Otis Spann style but you should really watch out for his uncredited organ when it appears When Chuck s hands aren t on the organ Smith s chromatic harmonica fills that bill nicely giving things a nice spooky texture While this disc has the intensity of the 50s Chi town blues sound it still moves along like a laid back blowing session with no one in a rush to get to the point This suits Smith s laconic vocals well working out on a set of songs that he penned One distinct highlight is I m The Creeper somehow the vision of a creeper conjures something forbidding and lurching but

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/willie-bigeye-smith-cd/willie-big-eye-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Travis "Moonchild" Haddix CD Review
    also had new releases by Buddy Guy and B B King Those releases and their companies marketing budgets may have overshadowed and out muscled the smaller artists and labels Most of the ten original songs on the 40 minute disc are short and straight to the point On all of them Haddix commands his band like respected soul crooners Bobby Rush and Otis Clay Haddix describes the inspiration behind the title track I wrote that song about a town in the northern part of Finland When I was on tour there it stayed daylight mostly all the time The unleashed piano and harp captures you immediately on Word A Lie Here Haddix s growl like vocals sound like a friendly bear and the backing horns sound as large as a bruin The Moonchild s baritone voice sounds like what you would have created had you d been able to combine the vocal cords of Albert Collins with Louie Armstrong The most memorable horn arrangement appears on Who Could I Be Here Haddix croons but the repetitive and polished song lacks an element of improvisation Haddix funks up and jazzes up a traditional blues using jubilant horns that simply groovify Way

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/travis-moonchild-cd/travis-moonchild-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CD Review, Buddy Guy, Skin Deep
    The inspiration for the album title and song comes from a significant series of personal memoirs and observations on the ways in which underneath we re all the same This time Buddy Guy had the freedom to play what he wanted in the studio This is the first time I really had more control Guy says The success of the album can be attributed to the veteran studio musicians like Reese Wynans keyboards The greatest credit must be given to Tom Hambridge known for his work with Delbert McClinton Johnny Winter and Susan Tedeschi who produced the CD contributed all but two songs and performed on drums Guy s vocals are usually thunderous but they lack energy on the opening song Best Damn Fool He more than compensates for the deficiency by putting everything he has got into a scintillating guitar that vibrates its way into your blues bloodstream Lyin Like A Dog is a dirty blues with lots of jolting guitar notes Here Guy delivers a rant of bad love with the expressive energetic and expressive vocals we have come to expect This seven plus minute opus gives merit that Guy is still one of the best blues guitarists on the scene Show Me The Money is a rockin boogie that sounds highly produced especially the background vocals As the remaining real deal bluesmen fall victim to attrition Who s Gonna Fill Those Shoes describes a real predicament The song itself does not propose any answers to the question but rather it urges the listener to dictate the future of the blues Cleverly hope for the future is delivered on the track via pre teen guitar whiz Quinn Sullivan The contemporary rock song Too Many Tears is fueled by Derek Trucks slide guitar and Susan Tedeschi s vocals Every

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/buddy-guy-cd/buddy-guy-skindeep-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Kenny Neal, Let Life Flow, Blind Pig Records, blues CD review
    Alligator Records On Let Life Flow his first CD in three years multi instrumentalist Kenny Neal performs guitar bass harmonica and vocals He wrote five of the 11 songs on the CD Fourteen other musicians complement Neal s musical nuances including his son Kenny Jr and two of his regular band members Frederick Neal keyboards and Darnell Neal bass The title track of his Blind Pig debut contains a B B King sounding guitar set to a 60s soul groove that s completed with the presence of horns Here the commanding vocals are most distinctly the Kenny Neal we ve known from the past The song s message is a simple one but it practically takes a lifetime of living to figure it out and to come to terms with it It reveals although life is unpredictable it s all part of a remarkable journey and experience Recently Neal has weathered more personal tragedies than his health problems He lost four loved ones his father sister brother Ronnie and a former drummer within 11 months He sings about that on the touching Fly Away Blues Leave Me Alone is even more personal and relevant Here 50 year old Neal begs the blues to leave him alone while the horns blast out with 70s style Stevie Wonder funk The song is a typical Neal groove that s a musical gumbo from the bayou You ve Got To Hurt Before You Heal previously recorded by Bobby Bland is a ballad performed in the same style that resurrected the career of Joe Cocker in the late 80s early 90s We can relate to the song s touching lyrics because we ve all experienced them In structure and vocal delivery Starlight Diamond sounds as if it were written and performed by Jimmy Reed which

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/kenny-neal-cd/kenny-neal-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Blues CD Review: Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, Full Tilt
    songs here they collaborated on seven while Ed himself wrote four songs Lil Ed s records consistently come overloaded with energy On Full Tilt this is evident right from the opening notes of the hard and hot rockin first track Here Williams slides up and down his fretboard like a slithering snake It is one ass kickin and outlandish sounding song After that ferocious onslaught the listener can take a breath during the mid tempo Housekeeping Job Although its vocals tell a tale of destitution more emotion comes from the spirited guitar Don t Call Me is a hard blasting guitar driven old fashioned rock n roll song Here the guitar lets loose like a car accelerating from 0 to 60 miles per hour Listen to the lyrics and you ll think Williams was the innovator behind the Do Not Call list The Contours classic First I Look At The Purse is houserockin music that s performed in its purest and rawest forms Chicago blues slide guitar master Hound Dog Taylor the originator of Alligator s Genuine Houserockin Music is honored on a wild cover of Take Five Williams is equally proficient in delivering pleasurable ballads in addition to raucous rockers Check My Baby s Oil is a slow blues with clever and fun lyrics The song offers an automobile metaphor on the age old another mule been kickin in my stall scenario Life Got In The Way allows you to focus on the genius of Williams vast guitar skills which far too often go unnoticed Here Williams delivers the most heartfelt vocals on the album The song is about being in love with a woman that you can t have The protagonist is in love deep and the passion boils over during a stimulating guitar solo The minor key

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/lil-ed-cd/lil-ed-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CD Review: Liz Mandeville, Red Top, Earwig Records
    are a force of nature worthy of comparisons to blueswomen like Katrina or Rita of the hurricane variety Liz show on the Front Porch Stage at 2008 s Chicago Blues Festival was a bright spot of that event s 25 th Silver Anniversary and she showcased many cuts from Red Top including Illinois National Guard Blues a song which anyone with loved ones in the military can relate to My Red Top favorites include the sax drenched Guilty of Rockin All Night Red Top the opening title cut and Corner Bar Blues a paean to friends who might indulge a bit too much I m generally not a prude but I could have done without Spanky Butt still I m sure that it s a real late night crowd pleaser at Liz s live shows Liz has some world class friends helping her out on Red Top Eddie Shaw of the Wolf Gang sits in on sax as does Rodney Brown Twist Turner takes a turn on the drum kit and long time Albert Collins sideman Allen Batts sits in on keyboards This talented singer songwriter has spent many a Blue Monday as an artist in residence at Kingston Mines

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/liz-mandeville-cd/liz-mandeville-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CD Review: PAT SMILLIE, Down By The River
    and I try to catch him live whenever I can He s been a regular in the Voodoo Lounge at Red Fish on North State Street and the Harlem Avenue Lounge in Berwyn He took a well deserved break this Fall but I m pleased to report that Pat Smillie is back in action Down by the River is Pat s follow up to his excellent 2003 CD Letter to Hampton River is Pat s third release and it features a dozen soul drenched blues songs He s got many world class guests helping him out including the Chicago Playboys horn section led by Big James now signed to the Blind Pig label Ryan Hinshaw on fiddle the legendary Alice Stuart on lead and rhythm guitar and fellow Chicagoan and noted blues elder Corky Siegel on harmonica Along with Pat Smillie s band they have put out a radio ready CD of originals and covers I keep coming back to Snaggle Tooth Broke Down Chevy and Gonna Start a Rumor because each of these songs should land on a blues station near you Pat s covers of George Harrison s Isn t It A Pity and You Can t Lose What You Never Had by Muddy Waters are all infused with a deep sense of soul At his live shows Pat turns the Marshall Tucker Band s Can t You See into a simmering blues song and the covers on Down By the River get that same soul blues treatment as Pat effectively effectively translates that country rock chestnut and the title cut of a classic Neil Young dirge into soul blues numbers Check out sights and sounds from Pat on his web site www patsmillie com There are stories sound samples aplenty and pictures of Pat out on the

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