Saturday, July 20, 2019

#401 : Eliza Neals - Sweet or Mean


2019 – E-H Records LLC

By Phillip Smith; July 20, 2019

It has been over two years since I fell head-over-heels for Eliza Neals’ 10,000 Feet Below album.  But, after hearing her latest EP Sweet or Mean, I find the wait has been worth it.  This time around, Neals teamed up with New York bluesman Ted Horowitz aka Popa Chubby.   Horowitz not only plays guitar on this release, but also takes on the role of producer/arranger.  Comprising the remainder of the band is Dave Keyes on B3/piano/Wurlitzer, Chris Gambaro-Vega on bass, and John Medeiros Jr. on drums.  

This six-track release opens and closes with two smokin’ variations of “Pawn Shop Blues”, a ripping original tune, written by Neals.  Her fearless delivery stands tall as Popa Chubby lays down a searing slab of blues on electric guitar.  Saxophonist Ian Hendrickson and trumpeter Michael Leonhart appear on one version, while “Pawn Shop Blues (roadhouse)” features barrelhouse piano from Keyes.  Vega and Medeiros create a captivating groove on “Blackish Gray”, which swiftly pulls me into its orbit.  Songs like this encourage me to put Neals at the top of my list of favorites.  There is certainly a positive chemistry between her and Ted when it comes to playing the blues.  Eliza sings her autobiographical power-anthem “Bitten by the Blues” with a soulful, rock-star delivery.  The hook is very infectious and sounds great with Popa Chubby’s tantalizing guitar licks.  I love the delta-flavored acoustic “Knock Knock Knocking” too.  It’s raw and fabulous.

Sweet or Mean is a terrific six-track EP.  It’s definitely worth checking out, if you dig the blues.      

---




For more information about the artist, visit the website.. www.elizaneals.com   

PhillyCheeze Rock & Blues Review for Eliza Neals - 10,000 Feet Below https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2017/04/eliza-neals-10000-feet-below.html


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.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.









Friday, July 12, 2019

#400 : Ruf Records - 25 Years Anniversary




2019 - Ruf Records  
by Phillip Smith; July 12, 2019

To commemorate the 400th PhillyCheeze’s Rock & Blues Review, I want to shine some light on the special 25 Years Anniversary disc from Ruf Records.  This is one hell of a collection.  This edition contains both a 14 track CD, and a 12 video, 62-minute DVD .  The CD features a ton of music from Ruf’s most recent releases, while the DVD delightfully spans their entire era, going back to the Luther Allison days.  

After seeing Ruf’s Blues Caravan last year in 2018, I was happy to see the disc containing songs by Ally Venerable, Mike Zito, and Bernard Allison who all shared the stage at the 2nd annual Czech Village Blues festival, here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa last August.  Ally rips it up on guitar and belts out the title track to her latest album, “Texas Honey”.  Zito’s song is also the title track for his latest, “First Class Life”.  I love the slide guitar on this one.  The swampy, funky goodness of Bernard’s “Backdoor Man” is so enjoyable.  Vanja Sky, who played on the European legs of the caravan, gives us the smokin’ blues in “Hard Working Woman”.   

Ruf also includes the sultry “Chills and Fever” from the wonderful Samantha Fish, and  Ina Forsman’s exquisitely danceable ’ “Get Mine”.  For the classic blues-head, there is “Low Down“ from The B.B. King Blues Band, and hardcore soul music fans will surely dig “Deep in my Soul” from Big Daddy Wilson.  Also nice to hear, is my favorite Savoy Brown song from the past few years, “Why Did You Hoodoo Me”.  It definitely cuts to the bone.    

The DVD begins with a spectacular performance of Denmark’s Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado fabulously performing “If You Wanna Leave”.  It’s so cool to see Mike Zito, Devon Allman and Cyril Neville jam together on “Moonlight Over the Mississippi”.  Oli Brown’s driving blues-rock anthem “Here I Am” is captivating.  From the 2019 Blues Caravan, there’s a terrific video of Katarina Pejak, Ina Forsman and Ally Venable covering the classic Stevie Ray Vaughan song “If the House is Rocking”, and they sound great.  For a wonderful song to close with, Luther Allison soulfully sings “Living in The House of Blues”.

Ruf Records 25 Years Anniversary should be in the collection of every blues fan.  It is a powerhouse of a retrospective.      

---


For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.rufrecords.de  


Associated PhillyCheeze Reviews include:




Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.



Thursday, July 4, 2019

#399 : Tony Holiday - Porch Sessions




2019 – Vizztone
By Phillip Smith; July 4, 2019

It’s the Fourth of July, and today I’ll be spinning Porch Sessions from Memphis blues-man Tony Holiday.  I love the concept for this record.  In the spirit of classic blues field recordings, Holiday visited and jammed with a ton of big names in the business, right on their front porch.  With Holiday on harmonica, he is joined by guitarist Landon Stone, and bassist Kid Anderson on all tracks.  Guests include Charlie Musselwhite, James Harman, John Nemeth, John Primer, Bob Corritore, Aki Kumar, Rockin’ Johnny Burgin, Kid Ramos, Mitch Kashmar, Jake Friel, Ronnie Shellist, and more.

The raw stand-out blues guitar of two-time Grammy nominated John Primer joined with both Holiday and Bob Corritore on harp, makes for an amazing listen on “They Call Me John Primer”.   It’s always a treat to hear Musselwhite.  He lets loose on “That’s Alright” as Kumar takes on the vocals to this six-and-a-half-minute blues jam.  And for an extra blast of cool, Burgin appears on guitar.  I dig the cover of Little Sonny’s “Woman Named Trouble” with Nemeth on harp and vocals, Matthew Wilson on guitar and Danny Banks on drums.  It has such a funky groove.  Harman and Ramos sound so great together as they break out a briefcase full of blues on “Goin’ to Court”.  “Hip To It” is a delightful harp blues instrumental.  It’s a rare treat to hear three harp players at once as Holiday, Shellist, and Kashmar interestingly play off each other’s performance.  

Hearing the musical collaborations recorded on this album, is like staring blues right in the eye.  With the Porch Sessions, Holiday reiterates exactly what the Blues is all about. 

 ---


For more information about the artist, visit this website.. https://tonyholidaymusic.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.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.