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  • CD Review: Michael Burks-Iron Man
    stars as in the past Dubbed from Burks nickname which was earned from his lengthy live sets formidable guitar playing and ability to drive hundreds of miles non stop Iron Man is one of those CDs which is ideal for testing the potency of your sound system One minute into the first track a ripping guitar solo lets you know what s in store for the next hour Seven of the album s 12 songs were written or co written by Burks Common themes include wasted dreams bad relationships and shedding tears On No More Crying Burks sings I cried so many tears I have no tears at all Jimmy Johnson s Ashes In My Ashtray is given an interesting reading because Burks plaintive vocals are so different from Johnson s comforting vocals Best of all you can figure out the lyrics because the former mechanical technician for Lockheed Martin sings them clearly The song s hurt and betrayal burns from the smoldering fretboard just as it did on the original version Burks wild slide guitar and ardent vocals sound very similar to Luther Allison on Strange Feeling Quiet Little Town is rhythmic radio rock and it contains a memorable riff Fire And Water originally made popular by the band Free and later covered by Wilson Pickett contains another radio friendly rock steady groove The pop rock jam Salty Tears is infused with southern soul Southern rock flourishes on Don t Waste My Time and Hard Come Easy Go Burks projects as much vocal fervor as possible on the former and then finishes the kill with a torrential guitar exhibition The latter possesses a raw Tinsley Ellis edge and a blues rock riff It was written specifically for Burks by label mate Ellis Whether you have experienced the anguish of

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/michael-burks-cd/m-burks-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Ladies Sing the Blues: Marcia Ball, Janiva Magness, CD review
    to play with fire and raw meat on the grill You can practically smell the charcoal as Ball belts out the joys of tater salad beans and slaw Watermelon Time with its boogie woogie piano riffs and lyrics about the fruit as sweet as candy sugar on the vine will make your mouth water Ball slows it down for the haunting but somewhat creepy Miracle in Knoxville which is a new twist on the death before dishonor conundrum The miracle concerns a preacher who asks God to strike him down before he succumbs to temptation and God rather too quickly obliges him Ball s duet with gritty voiced Mac Rebennack a k a Dr John brings out the gentle longing of a lover who can t let go in I ll Never Be Free and showcases Ball s skill on the ivories even as the lyrics and arrangements lurch toward the schmaltzy And in the zydeco inflected Married Life Ball reflects on the pleasures of wedded bliss a twist on the blues lessons of love Indeed Peace Love BBQ gives a fresh twist to many blues staples including our longing for love home and mighty fine cooking In looking at What Love Will Do in her new CD Janiva Magness finds there s very little that we WON T do for love Magness looks at all aspects of that emotion that drives so much of human life the highs the lows the bitter and the sweet It s a triumph of sophisticated style and rambunctious energy In the liner notes it s clear why Magness takes love so personally She lost both parents to suicide by the time she was 16 sending her to a series of foster homes and often the streets As a teenage mother she gave up

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/marcia-janiva-cds/marcia-janiva-cd-page1.html (2016-02-16)
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  • HONEYBOY EDWARDS: Roamin' and Ramblin' CD review
    and Ramblin There s also a couple of mid 70s recordings with Sugar Blue and Walter Horton plus song catcher Alan Lomax s field recordings from the Delta on behalf of the Library of Congress in 1942 Roamin and Ramblin is a real treat for fans of acoustic Delta blues In addition to more than a dozen great songs recorded last year Bobby Rush and Honeyboy reminisce about Little Water riding the rails and playing blues shuffles I wish producer Frank would ve added more of these conversations among friends I ve listened to Honeyboy tell stories at the Chicago Blues Festival and at his pre Grammy party at the Blue Shoe Project near Dallas Each time I regret I didn t bring my recorder I like the ensemble backed Apron Strings She Worries Me All the Time and How Long as they feature Honeyboy with Kenny Beedy Eyes Smith on drums and Paul Kaye on guitar with Bobby Rush on either harmonica or guitar and or Johnny Yard Dog Jones on harmonica Each time they complement each other and there s no hint of over playing each session is like a jam session in Honeyboy s living room It

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/honey-boy-cd/honeyboy-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CD Review: Johnny Drummer, Rockin' in the Juke Joint, Earwig Music
    Michigan Avenue Drummer s 2006 Earwig release Rockin In the Juke Joint brings back many pleasant memories from that show Rockin in the Juke Joint is an exceptional CD of post war Chicago blues and the title cut You re Breaking Me Down Working With Your Mojo and Have Your Fun are my favorites on this CD Johnny is a regular at Lee s Unleaded Blues on Chicago s far South Side also the title of one of his other two Earwig CDs and his electronic keyboard complements the spot on lead guitar work of Al Guitar Short nicely I ve never seen a six foot portable electronic keyboard played like a guitar before checking out Johnny Drummer but in his capable hands it more than works Thanks in part to tutelage from Junior Wells early in his career and Johnny s own mastery of the Mississippi saxophone Johnny plays some pretty mean harp parts on this CD too On Rockin in the Juke Joint Johnny s got a full band that includes Diane Madison Theresa Davis and Kay Reed on background vocals on several cuts and this CD offers a full rich big band sound that s a solid

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/johnny-drummer-cd/johnny-drummer-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CD Review
    s Raw is Mississippi blues stripped down to its bare essentials as is Oscher s Down in the Delta Unlike those two blues giants however Fruteland hasn t picked up the hardware as a performer However the Blues Foundation recognized Fruteland s work in blues education with a Keeping the Blues Alive award in 1997 and he also received an Ethnic Heritage Award from the Illinois Arts Council that same year This year Fruteland was honored with two Blues Music Award nominations Best Acoustic Artist and Best Acoustic Album for Tell Me What You Say Tell Me What You Say includes Fruteland s gift as a storyteller as he introduces A Gambler s View and My Grandfather s Blues He Came Up the Hard Way Fruteland s web site includes Blues in the Schools curricula song snippets and additional background from this Chicago area bluesman based in Northern Indiana This year Fruteland s been a regular at Buddy Guy s Legends international blues festivals and Junior s Sports Bar I look forward to learning more about his work with Blues in the Schools programs at www fruteland com My favorites on Tell Me What You Say include It s All

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/fruteland-cd/fruteland-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • BILLY BOY ARNOLD CD Review
    remarkable band perform over the weekend this CD was recorded in Toronto in 2007 I was on cloud nine for the entire time they were performing as it was some of the finest traditional blues that I ve heard in a long time Needless to say my expectations for this album were extremely high John Lee Williamson the original Sonny Boy transformed the blues and was a tremendous influence on Arnold This album is Arnold s way of celebrating the music of Williamson and it was released on the 60 th anniversary of Sonny Boy s untimely passing What a great concept for an album The vast majority of the repertoire is songs written by Williamson such as Good Morning Little School Girl and Half A Pint but there are also three originals by Arnold Vocally Billy Boy doesn t attempt to imitate Sonny Boy but he does emulate Williamson s harp tone and undulated phrasing especially on New Jail House Blues How he can play like someone from another generation is astounding The 17 songs start to sound similar and at 71 minutes the CD is too long in duration to listen to in one sitting So this loyal

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/billyboy-cd/billy-boy-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Dave Specter, Live in Chicago CD
    Terson bass and Marty Binder drums are so supportive they could aid a blind man to win a dance contest Specter is an improvisational guitar player His groovy instrumentals such as Boss Funk Riverside Ride are not your standard 12 bar blues Specter s music is more complex than that His guitar playing isn t as exciting as usual on Texas Top due to his emulating too many Texas blues masters Is What It Is stands out as a classy instrumental that pairs blues and jazz as perfectly as peanut butter and jam Tad Robinson is a great white soul crooner who has been performing with Dave since the early 90s Here Specter s band and Robinson perform the sweet country soul ballad How I Got To Memphis live for the first time They also play songs from Specter s Blueplicity album which featured Robinson on vocals Jimmy Johnson is one of the all time unique vocalists and guitarists in blues He is practically 80 years old and yet he sounds as vibrant as he did on his classic album Johnson s Whacks On the bluesy Out On The Road Specter holds his smooth notes much longer while Johnson lacerates his sharp notes quickly Johnson sings an octave higher than most men but that s part of what makes his voice so likeable Vocalist Sharon Lewis got her start at Lee s Unleaded Blues on the South Side On In Too Deep she is driven by Binder s galloping beat Specter s bouncy guitar and Kattke s fingers which dance all over the keyboard The powerful singer contributed two of her original songs to the mix What has the DVD got over the CD It offers a chance to see the ageless Jimmy Johnson three bonus tracks and a very

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/dave-specter-cd/dave-specter-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CD Review, Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater
    Clearwater s established sound Baker Brooks also contributes guitar percussion bass background vocals two original songs as well as three co written songs Best of all the differing styles traditional versus contemporary of these bluesmen complement each other instead of colliding with each other The CD contains blues soul and gospel The sonic innovation of Billy Branch s harp in the opening number A Good Leavin Alone makes it known that this is a loud proud and bold Chicago blues record Here while blazing a trail on his fret board Clearwater growls the lyrics out like a bear Throughout the duration of the disc his vocals are far more tame and weary Gotta Move On is a soulful ballad that is emotional and sensitive whereas Too Old To Get Married is the exact opposite The latter is a fun rock and blues boogie that features Lonnie Brooks on guitar and vocals Clearwater s Indian heritage is heard in the heavy beat of the ultra contemporary They Call Me The Chief Eddy who has been in Chicago since 1950 doesn t need to lean on the strength of cover songs because his own songs are strong enough Yet Clearwater and Branch have a blast literally trading solos on Muddy Waters Walking Through The Park which is made to sound very contemporary Rock A Blues Baby was almost left off the album It combines pop and hip hop beats with heavy metal power chording and sounds unlike anything else on the disc The best songs were written by all the contributing songwriters Ronnie s hot rockin guitar rips on the captivating Hypnotized The gospel sounding Do Unto Others about treating others with respect was written by Clearwater s publicist Karen Leipziger Guest vocalists Jimmy Johnson and Otis Clay make the track superb

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