Sunday, September 17, 2017

Brad Stivers - Took You Long Enough


2017 –VizzTone Label Group

By Phillip Smith; Sep 16, 2017


A finalist in the 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis and a staple in the Austin, Texas music scene, Brad Stivers’ debut album, “Took You Long Enough” is a wonderful blend of Sun Records, the Nashville Sound, and Southern R&B.  

The funky Jimmy Nolen-ish guitar riff draws me in to title track, “Took You Long Enough”.  Accented by Stivers’ smooth troubadour vocals, this is one killer track.  Stivers breaks out a tantalizing guitar solo on his mighty horn-infused cover of Ray Charles classic “You’re Just About to Lose Your Clown” which features outstanding performances by Mark Wilson on saxophone and Bukka Allen on B3.  Emily Gimble (ex-member of Asleep at the Wheel and granddaughter of Johnny Gimble from Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys) makes a guest appearance, lending her voice and piano mastery on a beautiful duet covering yet another amazing tune recorded by Ray Charles, “Here We Go Again”.

Being down and out never sounded so good as “Nickle and a Nail”, sung by the powerful and soulful voice of Malford Milligan. There’s a bit of a Robert Cray vibe which rings throughout this fabulous song.  A slow-burning ominous melody and Stivers’ delicious, twangy guitar delightfully provide the springboard for his heart-wrenching vocals in the brilliant original “Save Me”.  


I love his funky instrumental cover of James Brown’s “Cold Sweat”.  Bassist Bobby Perkins and drummer Nico Leophonte make for a tight-as-hell rhythm section while Stivers delivers a riveting performance to close out this spectacular recording.   

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For more information about Brad Stivers, visit his website ... www.bradstivers.com



Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.  




Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon store.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Savoy Brown - Witchy Feelin’


2017 –Ruf Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep 9, 2017


It’s been fifty years since the first Savoy Brown album, Shake Down, hit the streets in England, and Kim Simmonds shows no signs of slowing down.  The man is definitely on a roll right now.  Besides his brand new solo instrumental album Jazzin’ on the Blues, which is absolutely wonderful by the way, he has the all new off-the-hook Savoy Brown album Witchy Feelin’ out now too.  It is a smoldering hot eleven track plateful of electric guitar-blues.  Returning to the studio with Simmonds is bassist Pat DeSalvo and drummer Garnet Grimm, both of who have been playing in Savoy Brown since 2009

A strong impression is made when I hear the intoxicating Texas blues of “Why Did You Hoodoo Me”.  The driving rhythm and searing guitar seals the deal.  The hypnotic hook and swampy slide of “Livin’ on the Bayou” lures me in like the song of the sirens.  It’s beautifully played.  I then get a big smile on my face when he breaks out more bodacious slide singing about one of my favorite places, “Memphis Blues”.  Simmonds pumps a delightful dose of psychedelia into the amazing, “Thunder, Lightning and Rain”, making for an exquisite listen.  “Can’t Find Paradise”, the anthem of the album is rockin’ and contagious. It’s terrific.

Witchy Feelin’ certainly ranks up there among my favorites of the year.  

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Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.  





Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon store.

Kim Simmonds - Jazzin’ on the Blues


2017 –Panache Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep 9, 2017


The latest solo effort from Kim Simmonds (Savoy Brown) , Jazzin’ on the Blues, is wonderfully brilliant.  Featuring twelve amazing instrumental tracks of Simmonds killing it on acoustic guitar, bass guitar, and harmonica alongside percussionist Ron Keck, this record is destined to stand the test of time. 

Bursting out a Latin groove to kick things off, Simmonds masterfully plays “Dancing on a Memory” with a suave finesse. I absolutely adore this track.  Title track “Jazzin’ on the Blues” and “The Maze” are another couple of stellar originals which shine brightly.  Simmonds’ performance is absolutely flawless.  I also immensely enjoy Simmonds’ stunning covers of Bill Doggett’s “True Blue” and Smokey Robinson’s “Shop Around”.  They are both very nice indeed.  Like a beautiful Technicolor sunset at the end of the day, “Fascination” brings a lovely end to the album. 

Jazzin’ on the Blues is an album I can sit down and enjoy from beginning to end, plus a few more times round again.  It’s that good.



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Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.  




Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon store.




Monday, September 4, 2017

25th Annual Bowlful of Blues - Sep. 3, 2017


The Fred Maytag Bowl
Maytag Park
Newton, Iowa 
All photos by Phillip Smith; Sep 03, 2017


I don't think I could have picked a better place to spend the day before Labor Day, than being immersed in the blues at Maytag Park in Newton, Iowa.  This was my first visit to the Bowlful of Blues Festival, and I hope to attend many more times in the future.  Unfortunately, I missed the opening act, Juliana and a Soul Purpose, but I did arrive just in time to catch the spectacular ninety minute set from The Norman Jackson Band in its entirety.   Having just reviewed his recent album, It's the Drummers Fault,  I was most excited to see this band from Springfield, Missouri perform live.  (click here to check out that review).   







Keeping the momentum going between the main acts,  Iowa Blues Hall of Fame member, Rob Lumbard entertained the audience on acoustic guitar with a treasure-trove of songs. 

Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers took the stage for a captivating performance, bringing a small taste of Mardi Gras to the middle of Iowa.  Following them, the great Mato Nanji and Indigenous graced the stage and gobsmacked me with his guitar prowess.  (click here to check out my 2013 review for Otis Taylor's My World is Gone album, which features Mato Nanji).      Closing out the evening, was  New York's Jane Lee Hooker, who played an amazing set of blues-rock.  They were definitely a force to be reckoned with.



The Norman Jackson Band


Norman Jackson

Norman Jackson, Danny Williams,
and Rick Shortt

Norman Jackson

Rick Shortt

Norman Jackson

Danny Williams

Norman Jackson and Rick Shortt

Rick Shortt

Norman Jackson, Rick Shortt, and
Danny Williams

Norman Jackson

Rick Shortt

Norman Jackson and Rick Shortt

Rick Shortt

Rick Shortt

Norman Jackson and Rick Shortt

Norman Jackson, Ron Brown, and
Rick Shortt

Ron Brown, Norman Jackson, Rick Shortt, and
Danny Williams

Ron Brown

Ron Brown and Rick Shortt

Norman Jackson

   

Rob Lumbard


Rob Lumbard

Rob Lumbard

Rob Lumbard


Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers


Paul LaFleur and Dee Fleming

Paul LaFleur , Dee Fleming
and Dwayne Dopsie

Dwayne Dopsie

Dwayne Dopsie

Dwayne Dopsie

Dwayne Dopsie

Paul LaFleur and Dwayne Dopsie

Dee Fleming

Dwayne Dopsie, Dion Pierre, and Damon Sonnier

Michael Doherty

Michael Doherty

Damon Sonnier

Dee Fleming

Dwayne Dopsie



Mato Nanji and Indigenious

Mato Nanji



Douglas Platero

Bronson Begay


Mato Nanji

Mato Nanji


Douglas Platero

Mato Nanji

Mato Nanji

Mato Nanji

Mato Nanji

Mato Nanji

Mato Nanji

Mato Nanji

Douglas Platero

Bronson Begay

Mato Nanji and Douglas Platero

Mato Nanji



Jane Lee Hooker


Dana “Danger” Athens

Tracy Hightop

Dana “Danger” Athens

Tina "T-Bone" Gorin

Tracy Hightop

Melissa "Cool Whip" Houston

Hail Mary Z,  Dana “Danger” Athens, and
Tracy Hightop

Dana “Danger” Athens, Melissa "Cool Whip" Houston
and Tracy Hightop

Jane Lee Hooker

Dana “Danger” Athens and Tracy Hightop

Tina "T-Bone" Gorin and Dana “Danger” Athens

Tina "T-Bone Gorin

Melissa "Cool Whip" Houston

Tracy Hightop

Tracy Hightop and Hail Mary Z