Sunday, January 28, 2018

#317 : Hamilton Loomis - Basics


2017 – Ham-Bone Music

By Phillip Smith; Jan. 28, 2018


Listening to Hamilton Loomis always puts me in a fantastic mood.  His latest release, Basics, is no exception.  Ditching the double-entendres he’s been known for in the past, Loomis states he wants to get back to the basics on this album, taking on more direct and personal lyrics with more stripped down instrumentation and simpler melodies.  With that being said, this album is jam-packed with a truckload full of bluesy guitar riffs and rich funky grooves.  Joined in the studio by Armando Aussenac on drums, Fabian Hernandez on saxophone, and Sabrina LaField on bass, Loomis takes on just about everything else instrumentally on this thirteen track album: guitars, bass, harmonica, and keys. 

From the beginning, Loomis has me bouncing off the walls with the highly infectious rhythm on “Sugar Baby”.  LaField sings this with a lot of soul, as Loomis’ sweet guitar riffs are nicely topped with dabs of blues harmonica.  Loomis dedicated this track to Congenital Hyperinsulinism International, an organization whose purpose is researching and supporting families affected by this rare disease his three year old son was diagnosed with.  

The groove keeps going strong through “If I Would’ve” as Loomis reflects upon his past decisions with second thoughts.  “Candles and Wine” has a bit of Stevie Wonder influence.  Its rich R&B melody and Loomis’ silky smooth vocals stand out front.  The funk that pumps through “Cloudy Day” instantly puts a smile on my face.  It is counter-balanced by the pining lyrics of long-distance love.  Hernandez kicks it into high gear on sax.  I love every bit of it.  Welcome to the roadhouse when Chris Eger steps in with slide guitar on the monster blues-rocker “Ain’t What it Ain’t”.  It sounds great alongside Loomis’ wailing harmonica.

Loomis certainly achieved what he was trying to do with this album, bringing things back to the basics.  I like this new direction a lot.   

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In 2012, I reviewed Hamilton Loomis' DVD Live at the Hub for Blues Review Magazine's online presence BluesWax, which no longer existsIn 2015,  I archived the review on my blog.  You can read that review by clicking on the following link. 


        

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, January 27, 2018

#316 : Eric Gales / Craig Erickson live @ The Redstone Room 1-26-18


Eric Gales w/ opening act Craig Erickson
Live @ The Redstone Room
Jan 26, 2018
Davenport, Iowa
By Phillip Smith; Jan. 27, 2018


The Redstone Room in Davenport, Iowa was the place to be for guitar aficionados Friday, January 26thThe Craig Erickson Band, with John Hall on bass and Rob Haskell on drums, delivered a powerful six-song set before The Eric Gales Band took the stage.  The Eric Gales Band consists of Eric on guitar, Byron Carter on bass, his wife LaDonna on drums and percussion, and Nick Hayes on drums.  

For a perfect start, Erickson kicked the evening off with the wonderfully funky “Space Rooster” from the Cosmic Farm album.  He delivered one my favorites, “Mojo in Memphis” in powerhouse fashion and broke out a groovy new track, “Love Land”  which rolled right into a fantastic cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Baby”.  Singer Alicia Strong joined The Craig Erickson Band for the final two songs, “Mercy” from Sky Train Galaxy, and “Overtime” off the Roadhouse Stomp album, ending the set with a room full of smiles and cheers.


Eric Gales was in top form as he greeted a near-capacity crowd to a couple of killer tracks, “Change in Me (the Rebirth)” and a sweet cover of Freddy King’s “Boogie Man” both off his brand new record, Middle of the Road”.  I loved his searing instrumental take on “Don’t Fear the Reaper”.  I immensely enjoyed being swept away by the rolling blues on “Swamp”.  That’s such a terrific song.  Gales brought the evening to a close, dishing out an incredible performance with a “Voodoo Chile / Back in Black” medley. It was absolutely wonderful.

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all photos by Phillip Smith


Craig Erickson Band




















Eric Gales Band




























all photos by Phillip Smith

Saturday, January 20, 2018

#315 : Michelle Malone - Slings & Arrows


2018 –SBS Records
Release Date : March 02, 2018

By Phillip Smith; Jan 20, 2018

Three decades after recording her first album New Experience in 1988, Georgia songstress/guitarist Michelle Malone is releasing her fifteenth studio album, Slings & Arrows.  This bodacious record, smothered in southern rock and hard-edged blues, is loaded with lyrics so sharp, they cut to the bone.  I’m captivated right from the start.  With Malone on vocals, guitars, harmonica, and mandolin, her band consists of Doug Kees on electric guitar, bassist Robby Handley (Larkin Poe), drummer Christopher Burroughs, and percussionist Trish Land.  The album contains nine original songs and a fascinating cover of Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” which was performed as a duet with Shawn Mullins.          

I happily soak up the wonderful Sixties soul doused over “Sugar on My Tongue”.  Malone’s vocals are smooth as glass, and take on a Motown persona, while the band is holding court in a Memphis Stax fashion.  It sounds great.  The foot-stomping, hill country blues of “Beast’s Boogie” cradles me in its dancing hypnotic rhythm.  Malone tops this favorite with a big juicy scoop of harmonica and a delicious side of slide.  I love how “Civil War” begins so delicately and magnificently evolves into a full-fledge southern rock head-banger.  A feeling of melancholy washes over as Malone beautifully sings from the bottom of a broken heart in “The Flame”.  It’s an amazing song indeed.  In fact, the whole album is plumb terrific.



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.

           
           



Sunday, January 14, 2018

#314 : Bob Dorr and the Blue Band - “The Last Goodbye” Tour


Bob Dorr and the Blue Band - “The Last Goodbye” Tour
w/ opening act Duke Tumatoe
Live @ Riverside Casino & Resort Show Lounge
Jan 13, 2018
Riverside, Iowa
By Phillip Smith; Jan. 14, 2018


Saturday, January 13th, Bob Dorr and the Blue Band performed their “Last Goodbye” show at Riverside Casino.  Following a couple of terrific sets from the wonderful Duke Tumatoe, who captivated the crowd with “Give Me Back My Wig”, “You Don’t Drink Enough” and “Tie You Up”, Bob Door and the Blue Band tore through three exhilarating sets of music to the largest audience I have ever seen at the Show Lounge. 

Bob Dorr kicked the first set off with the swinging “Don’t Sting, Bite or Bug Me” which was followed by slough of sweet tunes of which included “3 AM Backdoor Baby” and “Bottle in the Kitchen”.  To commemorate Bob’s sixty-sixth birthday which fell on January 12, the band played “Happy Birthday Blues” before working their way down the set list to hammer out splendid covers of Sam and Dave’s “Soul Man”, and Van Morrison’s “Domino”.

The second set broke open with a fabulous jam on “Not Fade Away”.  Cathy Henry gave a captivating performance singing Etta James’s “Blues is My Business”. One of the biggest highlights for me was hearing “Elvis in Paraguay”.  It was fabulous.  Ralph Stephens joined in on washboard and Bob broke out the zydeco tie for a rousing jamboree on “They All Asked For You”, which melted quite nicely into a medley of “Iko Iko” and “Jambalya”.  The set closed out with a riveting delivery of “Mustang Sally”. It was an instant crowd pleaser.


Set number three included fun songs like “Drugs Drugs Drugs” and the high energy horn-heavy ska tune “Arc Welded”.  It was absolutely wonderful.  Also included in this final set was “Nadine”, which was immediately followed by “The Last Goodbye”.  The performance was outstanding.   Bob Dorr and the Blue Band kept the electricity going through the night, winding down with “Bobby’s Blues”, and landing on “Mojo and the Say So” for a grand ending.  For the encore, they returned to play “Any Ordinary Man”, which brought the show to its final close.  It was a magical evening indeed.

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all photos by Phillip Smith


Duke Tumatoe

Duke Tumatoe

Duke Tumatoe


Bob Dorr and the Blue Band

Bob Dorr

Jeff Petersen

Cathy Henry, Doug Norton

Jeff Petersen

Jeff Petersen

Bob Dorr

Doug Norton

Doug Norton

Bob, Cathy, Doug, Jeff

Bob, Cathy, Doug

Nolan Schroeder, Bob Dorr

Bob Dorr, Doug Norton

Jeff Petersen

John Rohlf

Bob Dorr

Jeff Petersen

Bob Dorr

Bob Dorr

Ralph Stephens



Ralph Stephens