Saturday, September 29, 2018

#354 : The Bennett Brothers - Not Made For Hire



2018 – American Showplace Music

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 29, 2018

New York musicians, guitarist Jimmy Bennett and bassist Peter Bennett first came to my awareness as the backbone of Alexis P. Suter Band.  Their presence on blues-rock albums from Bruce Katz, John Ginty, and Marcus Randolph captured my attention even more.  This summer, the Bennett Brothers released their debut album, Not Made For Hire, a powerful blues-rock album filled with a fistful of electric guitar and lots of groove. Drummer Lee Falco and keyboardist John Ginty bring their mojo to the band as well, forming a tight-knit outfit of musicians.

A searing blast of Texas-style electric blues greets the listener in “Junkyard Dog”.  Falco holds nothing back on drums as he drives this revving fully-loaded beast with ripping guitar from Jimmy.  The B3 sounds of Ginty is sweet icing on this cake.  The Bennett Brothers give an intoxicating performance in a wonderful, riveting way in “I Just Don’t Want the Blues Today”.  This one also features the lovely vocals of Linda Pino backing them up.  She definitely adds a layer of heartfelt emotion to the song.  The rocking contagious riffs in “What’d I Do” have a fabulous way to burrowing right inside to my core, and I love every bit of it.  The album ends in a tremendous way when the needle drops on “I Got a Woman”.  The guitar/organ intro generates a wave of excitement and captivates my attention.  Within ten seconds, the groove is set with a the funky rhythm and rides the spiraling B3 organ delightfully to its cosmic end.   

Not Made For Hire is the real deal.  This is what Blues-Rock is all about.

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Links to other PhillyCheeze Rock & Blues Reviews featuring the Bennett Brothers :

Marcus Randolph My Peeples Peeple - Transplant

John Ginty - No Filter

John Ginty - Bad News Travels Live CD/DVD

Bruce Katz Band - Homecoming

The Alexis P Suter Band - Love the Way You Roll




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.



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Saturday, September 22, 2018

#353 : Amanda Fish - Free



2018 – Vizztone

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 22, 2018

Free, the latest album from Amanda Fish has a sense of earnest purity in both the writing and presentation.  The music, delivered with the swagger of an outlaw poet, is a heart-stopping head-turner.  Amanda not only holds court as vocalist on this terrific blues-rock record, but she also plays bass (all tracks), acoustic guitar, electric and 12-string guitar, mandolin and piano.  This artist is extremely talented to say the least.  Drummer Glen James backs her on all the tracks.   Also appearing on this disc, are guitarists Dave Hayes, Ken Valdez, Coyote Bill and Lois Nadal, Chris Hazelton on keys, and vocalist Sara Morgan.  Special guests include Alastair Greene, “Steady Rollin’” Bob Margolin, Tyler Morris, and Richard Rosenblatt    


One of the most amazing songs I’ve heard this year is the blues ballad “Anymore”.  Fish’s vocals are heartfelt and soulful.  Hayes’ contagious guitar riff, and Hazelton’s funky keys sign, seal and deliver this wonderful track.  I love the swampy southern twang of “The Ballad of Lonesome Cowboy Bill”.  Like an old Marshall Tucker record, this one sets up shop with a tale to tell and a fistful of fiery guitar licks.  Fish’s powerhouse vocals are nicely framed by Margolin and Morris.  Alastair Greene kicks the door in and takes no prisoners with a dynamite guitar performance on “Going Down”.  This is one bad-ass house-rockin’ song.  The infectious driving rhythm on “Not Again” charges along like a freight train on a mission.  Rosenblatt sweetly accompanies on harp, and Hays on guitar.  “You Could Be” is beautifully played.  It’s got such a robust sound rooted in the wonderful instrumentation of Fish on guitar and piano, Hazelton on organ, and Coyote Bill on guitar.   

Amanda Fish grabs my full attention with Free.  It is one hell of a spectacular listen.  That’s for sure.

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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.     



Saturday, September 15, 2018

#352 : RC and the MoonPie Band - All This



2018 – HoundSounds

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 15, 2018


All This, the brand new disc from RC and the MoonPie Band brings a smile to my face with every listen.  The MoonPie Band, from Green Swamp, North Carolina is fronted by Robert “RC” Christian, and consists of guitarist Robert Marlowe, drummer T Bone Betourney, bassist Mike Logiovino, and backing vocalist Russell Pleasants.  Chock-full   of funky soulful blues, All This is a delectable slice of southern Americana served with authenticity.

Title track, “All This” gets the party started with a sweet funky rhythm carved out by Logiovino and Betourney.  Marlowe’s guitar is smoking hot as he rips it up on this one.  Keyboardist extraordinaire Bruce Katz takes the helm of a 1920 Steinway baby grand as guest pianist on “5-10-15 Hours”.  RC’s vocals are suave on this fabulous cover of Ruth Brown’s 1952 hit.  Katz brings back again for a rollicking high-energy homage to one of the best bluesmen in the biz, “The Buddy Guy Up”.    

I love the jazz-soaked cover of Oscar Brown’s “Somebody Buy Me a Drink”.  Rich Moncure’s trombone accompaniment is the icing on the cake for this track.  One can’t help but be pulled in to the intoxicating blues of “Leave Me To Be”, a captivating 9 bar blues song from Christian and Marlowe.  The driving bassline sidles up quite nicely to Greg Moyers’ polyrhythmic beats.  It’s a treat to hear “Steady Rollin” Bob Margolin step in with Telecaster guitar in hand for “Big Ass Jug O’ Wine”.  Now that’s the Blues!  

Guitarist Gary Pope aka “the Pope of Shallotte” joins RC and the MoonPie Band to wonderfully bring this gem of an album to a soulful groovy close with their spectacular cover of Calvin Arnold’s 1968 “Funky Way”.   All This is one cool-as-hell album.  It is indeed “all that”.

    
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Saturday, September 8, 2018

#351 : Matty T Wall - Sidewinder



2018 – HipsterDumpster Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 8, 2018


Matty T Wall, the Australia-based bluesman who wowed me over two years ago with his Blue Skies album has scored again with Sidewinder. Loaded with nine original songs and four covers, this record showcases Wall’s songwriting, guitar mastery, and vocal chops.  This trifecta of skills is what makes this artist a force to be reckoned with.  Appearing with Wall on this recording, is drummer Ric Whittle, bassist Stephen Walker, organist Gordon Cant, backing vocalist Deli Rowe, Steve Searle on horns, and Jonas Petersen on strings.    

“Slideride”, a bodacious instrumental with a heavy dose of electric slide heavy guitar, surely awakens the soul.  The momentum of the opening track is further extended by the driving riff which fuels rocking title track “Sidewinder”.  Wall captures lightning in a bottle with a fierce performance on “Sophia’s Strut”, a mind-melting blues-rich instrumental.  Clocking in at just less than two minutes, I wish this jaw-dropper could have been a little longer.    

Wall beautifully takes on Sam Cook’s “Change is Gonna Come”.  His soulfully smooth vocals sound great, and his guitar sounds terrific as it lands in the pocket Walker and Whittle construct with the rhythm section.  The strings and organ accompaniment on this one is the icing on the cake. When he hits the Don Nix-penned tune “Going Down”, I have to crank up the volume.  This tremendous song, recorded in 1971 by Freddy King sounds great as Walls scorching guitar licks burn the house down.  
Matty T Wall’s brand of blues, impressively fresh and exciting, continues to push in a forward direction with Sidewinder.  It’s a terrific listen.  That’s for sure.
        


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Click the link below to read the PhillyCheeze review of : Matty T Wall - Blue Skies 





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.




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Monday, September 3, 2018

#350 : Geoff Achison - Sovereign Town



2018 – Landslide Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 3, 2018


Sovereign Town, the latest release from Melbourne, Australia recording artist Geoff Achison is exquisite and timeless.  Achison, who was awarded the Albert King Award at the International Blues Challenge in 1995, centers the landscape of this new album during Australian gold rush of 1850.  Recording at Pilgrimage Studio in the historic mining town of Ballarat, Victoria weaves another layer of authenticity and connection into the music.  Joining Achison on this album is Andrew Fry on stand-up bass, drummer Dave Clark, organist Liam Kealy and backing vocalist John McNamara. 

A hint of impending doom lurks as the opening bassline kicks “Skeleton Kiss” off the diving board with an ominous and catchy delivery.  Achison’s melodic, raspy vocals remind me of Mark Knopfler’s on this track.  It truly is a great song to lead the album with.  Achison sings of a man’s journey to find his golden fortune which ends with little more than bad luck and empty pockets in title-track “Sovereign Town”.   The delicate melody and lyrical cadence is very Dylan-esque and draws my attention quite swiftly.  

A beautiful new life is given to Ben Harper’s 1994 forlorn tale of lost love “Walk Away”.   Achison, taking a more rustic approach, fills the song with a ton of heart and soul.  “Misha Bella”, a smooth jazz instrumental showcases Achison’s guitar prowess and sounds so good.  “Small Time Crime” is another catchy-as-hell song.  Achison’s funky guitar riffs have an uncanny way to burying themselves right into my subconscious.  A magnitude of empathy washes over with each listen of “World of Blue”.  It is brilliantly written, and passionately performed.  The way he makes his guitar wail is breathtaking.  
I love this album from start to finish.  Give Sovereign Town a listen.  You won’t regret it.

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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.