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  • CD Review: Byther Smith, Blues on the Moon, Delmark Records
    First rate support is provided by Jimmy Burns regular band of Anthony Palmer rhythm guitar Greg McDaniel bass James Carter drums and Daryl Coutts keyboards Together the Smith originals naturally flow out of these guys Coutts roams the most but his breathtaking improvisations are a bit self fulfilling Easily the best song is Judge Of Honor It has a catchy wall of sound that s rich in time tested electric Chicago blues On it Smith s rusty and weathered vocals attest to years of living the real deal blues lifestyle Smith maintains a certain pride especially when singing the words to the title track I m so proud of America I ll play the blues standing on the moon However the song s repetitive rhythm is too monotonous Repetition will practically hypnotize you during Give Up My Life For You which reminds us Baby Jesus died He died for this world It s a slow paced gritty groove where the band comes together as a tight and cohesive unit It s simply one of the heaviest cuts on the recording Classic 50s style Chicago blues appears on If I Misused Someone Minor key Monticello is autobiographical in nature When Smith frantically sings Monticello so lonely you sense the anguish and torture produced from being left alone He strays from the usual arrangement of Don t Start Me Talkin however it features some of his best guitar work Delmark s core business is not cinematography so this DVD doesn t rate the same as a Live At Montreux DVD The club s shoebox layout was not an ideal setting to film a band There is no stage a pool table normally occupies the spot where the band set up and the lighting is poor The band has to cram into a

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/byther-smith-cd/byther-smith-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CD Review : Scott Ellison, Ice Storm
    shares with the listener a deep soulful blues experience that showcases his multi dimensional talents on this great CD Scott Ellison kicks off this CD with Steamin a classy little number that is so right for its name Classic walking bass lines and a punctuating beat set the scene with a wicked blues strut feel Steamin kicks in with a rock blues guitar style that is tough with texture and attitude Seasoned with the smart growl of a Hammond B 3 organ and topped with Ellison s dynamic vocals this song is hot Big Blues Car takes a ride with a fat funky groove and features a full horn section that is the backbone of this song The deeply expressive lead guitar melts over this tune with long sustained notes that bend with a soulful cry A funky rhythm guitar and bass line along with a Hammond organ and keyboard sampling adds stylistic attitude and variety Ellison s raspy vocals have an authoritative grip which is contrasted by the polished harmonized back up vocals of Bobbi Davis and Linda Jackson Ice Storm is the title track of this excellent CD which takes the listener into the style of jump blues

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/scott-ellison-cd/scott-ellison-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CD Review: Muddy Waters, All Night Long Live!, Varese Sarabande
    first saw Muddy Waters live in the 1970s I ve always appreciated post war Chicago blues from artists like Koko Taylor Elmore James Lonnie Brooks Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters All Night Long Live features Muddy Waters at three critical points in his career There are five cuts from May of 1964 including Baby Please Don t Go and Tiger in Your Tank with Otis Spann on piano and the engine room of Willie Big Eyes Smith on drums and Ransom Knowling on bass Three years later Spann s still on the keyboard but the band features Luther Johnson on bass Pee Wee Madison on guitar and George Smith on harp On drums it was either S P Leary or Francis Clay and this seven song snapshot includes I Feel Like Going Home and a great version of Long Distance Call The final four songs feature the Legendary Blues Band behind Muddy in the late 70s with Pinetop Perkins on keys Jerry Portnoy on harp Steady Rollin Bob Margolin and Luther Guitar Junior Johnson on guitars and Calvin Fuzz Jones and Willie Big Eyes Smith on bass and drums Bill Dahl s excellent liner notes recap Muddy s life from

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/muddy-waters-cd/muddy-waters-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • The Essential Magic Slim: CD Review
    Slim developed his style of blues He left Mississippi long ago but you ll never extract those roots The country is still in Slim s heart and soul Listen as it comes out in an urbanized electric manner on each of these rudimentary sounding songs Slim s stinging guitar notes and sandpaper like vocals are prominently featured on 15 gritty urban and electric blues songs The string slashing begins with Before You Accuse Me and it continues for a full hour How Many More Years another one of seven covers is given an ultra tough sound that is so heavy it appears angry Think is a scuffling song that accurately represents Slim s abrasive blues It has a basic rhythm and a cutting guitar solo that is extreme Scufflin is a boogieing shuffle with a guitar solo that sounds like it is being played by Hound Dog Taylor Slim moved to Chicago in the 60s and by 1972 he had replaced Taylor as the house band for a prominent South Side blues club Black Tornado is an instrumental lightening rod In general I m not a fan of anyone s take on Mustang Sally but Slim s version is enjoyable especially thanks to the confident vocal harmonies of John Primer The Teardrops Slim s longtime backing band were at their best when unheralded guitarist Primer was in the group Other notable members who appear on these recordings are Michael Dotson guitar Jake Dawson guitar Nick Holt bass and Allen Kirk drums Determined to remain true to his roots Slim puts a twist on the common tale of migrating north He tells about doing the exact opposite on Goin To Mississippi Please Don t Dog Me is a slow burner about a Miss Mistreater Don t be fooled to believe that

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/magic-slim/essential-magic-slim-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CD Review: Robin Rogers
    Me Right has the makings of a classic in our time Her rich and subtle mixture of blues soul R B and a touch of jazz blends well throughout this great new CD Together with her fellow musicians and her husband guitarist Tony Rogers the chemistry of blues talent is electrifying Treat Me Right will have the listener begging for more Robin s creative flow blends in fine unison with each song Her vocals caress each heartfelt song with a soulfully sweet yet powerfully expressive voice Ain t No Use opens with a traditional upright blues piano sound and builds with a sweet low organ and laid back horns The lead guitar and B3 organ will sway you away as Robin s dynamic and sultry pipes accentuate the mood of this song In Dark Love Robin captures the essence of a true blues artist as this song embraces her expressive and smoky vocals Topping off this great song is her laid back harmonica stylings that are first class Robin s most notable song on Treat Me Right is Color Blind Angel Written by Robin and her husband Tony Rogers Color Blind Angel is a deep and moving tribute about slain

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/robin-rogers-cd/robin-rogers-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Pinetop Perkins CD Review
    ties to the golden age of post World War II American blues Though he is idolized Perkins has a Blues Music Award named after him and recently received his own Mississippi Blues Trail Marker he remains humble This may be his greatest trait and it shines forth on this album Pinetop is joined by a dozen desirable musicians and a star studded guest list Despite them this recording comes across as being a bit disjointed It was recorded over two and a half years ago at numerous studios Perkins vocals and piano receive the greatest volume in the mix This and the fact some guests were absent from the studio has resulted in a loss of cohesion among the ten songs Many of them including the two originals Take It Easy Baby and Down In Mississippi are staples of Perkins live show The songs are mostly covers but Mr Perkins has earned the right to play them There is still plenty of vitality in his piano solos and although his voice has gathered rust over the years it is incredibly strong for his age He delivers the vocals very excitedly and his high pitched cries sound like a frail old man on Look On Yonders Wall Willie Kent s bass guitar rumbles like a freight train and Eric Sardinas acoustic slide guitar is reminiscent of Johnny Winter on Got My Mojo Working Too bad this was one of Kent s last recordings and Sardinas co lead vocals are less than desirable Also thumping on bass is Bob Stroger whose left hand plays notes in concert with Perkins dominate right hand You ll love the way Perkins and B B King customize the lyrics to Down In Mississippi where they sing about the tiny Mississippi towns where they were born You

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/pinetop-cd/pinetop-friends-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CD Review: Tail Dragger
    banter from the stage and sings Sitting Here Singing My Blues and Tend to Your Business my guests are pleased that the blues are very much alive at rooms like Vern s Friendly Lounge in the Lawndale neighborhood in the 1200 block of Pulaski I know that Lawndale and the area known as K Town have been through some pretty rough economic times over the years but the City of Chicago is trying to restore the neighborhood with an innovative effort called the Historic Chicago Greystone Initiative I don t know how many of Vern s neighbors will benefit from this restoration work but I do know that if Tail Dragger s sitting in at this legendary West Side room it ll be well worth the drive to experience this Chicago blues legend live I ve heard that Howlin Wolf himself bestowed the Tail Dragger moniker on James Yancy Jones for his habitual tardiness at gigs back in the day and that Tail Dragger was a guest of an Illinois prison after shooting Boston Blackie reportedly in self defense over Chicago Blues Festival pay in the 90 s I think that Tail Dragger s life story is certainly a recipe for a life in the blues The set from Vern s captured on CD and DVD a celebration of traditional Chicago blues with some of the area s finest and most respected blues elders Tail Dragger s got a world class Chicago blues band behind him on this CD Billy Branch sits in on harmonica Kevin Shanahan and West Side Guitar Hero Jimmy Dawkins share guitar work and the rhythm section boasts Kenny Beady Eyes Smith on drums and Bob Stroger on bass I can t think of a better introduction to Chicago blues than My Head Is Bald Live

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/tail-dragger-cd/taildrag-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Blues CD review, Roomful of Blues, Raisin' A Ruckus, Alligator Records
    without a negative impact on the band s exciting music This disc features a new bass player and a new drummer but the most obvious newcomer is singer Dave Howard who replaces Mark DuFresne Howard hails from Rhode Island the band s home state and his expressive voice contains a hint of Louis Armstrong Listen as Howard reveals a state of feeling disturbed on Black Night then uses his voice as the band s fourth horn on Talkin To You Eye To Eye The chosen covers are vintage blues and R B tunes You ll swear someone has just put on one of your parents records from the 1950s when you hear their nostalgic version of Big Mamou the R B hit by New Orleans artist Smiley Lewis The Crescent City connection continues on the often covered New Orleans and Eddie Bo s Every Dog Has Its Day which contains as much fun as a summer beach party Boogie Woogie Country Girl is loaded with exhausting boogie woogie piano The song s legendary writer Doc Pomus helped land the band their first record deal in the 70s Five band members prove they are capable of writing enticing songs that mesh perfectly with the band s extensive repertoire Each of the eight original songs is a flashback to the big band era e g In The Mood that influenced Roomful On Talkin To You Eye To Eye the three piece brass section trade licks like guitars do in guitar driven bands The infectious horn arrangement of Solid Jam will remain etched in your memory Horns as lively as a New Orleans street funeral procession appear on saxophonist Rich Lataille s instrumental title track The song which depicts Lataille s big band and jazz roots is one of the highlights of the

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