Friday, November 22, 2019

#418 : Mike Zito and Friends - Rock ‘n’ Roll : A Tribute to Chuck Berry




2019 – Ruf Records
By Phillip Smith; Nov. 22, 2019

This latest release from bluesman Mike Zito is a mighty stellar tribute to the legendary ‘Father of Rock and Roll’ Chuck Berry.  Being that both Zito and Berry are from St. Louis, Missouri, makes this a very personal project.  Zito, backed by his band, bassist Terry Dry, drummer Matthew Johnson, and pianist/organist Lewis Stephens incorporates a smashing guest list on this twenty track album, which includes some of my favorites: Joanna Conner, Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, Luther Dickenson, Sonny Landreth, Tinsley Ellis,Tommy Castro, Albert Castiglia, and Kid Anderson.

The album begins with one of the first songs I learned to play on organ, William C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues”.  This song which I hold close to my heart features Chuck Berry Jr.  It’s such a rocking version of the song, and ushers the album in quite nicely.  I love the cover of “Rock & Roll Music” with Joanna Connor.  She’s such a powerhouse of a guitarist, and brings a lot to the table on this one.  Walter Trout shines as he always does on “Johnny B Goode”.  Damn, this one rocks!  Robben Ford steps in to record a fantastic remake of  “You Never Can Tell”.  This one will always remind me of my favorite film, Pulp Fiction.  The legendary Eric Gales punches up another favorite “Back in the USA” with a huge dose of his ripping guitar-work.  I always appreciate what Luther Dickinson is involved in, and “Too Much Monkey Business” is no exception.  I love “No Particular Place to Go” with Jerimiah Johnson.  This one really resonates.  Sonny Landreth brings a certain smoothness to “Havana Moon”.  I could listen to this one all day long.  

Being a huge fan of Chuck Berry and Mike Zito, this album has such a hold on me.  It’s downright spectacular.


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









Track Listings


Disc: 1


  1. St - Louis Blues Charlie Berry III

  2. Rock N Roll Music - Joanna Connor

  3. Johnny B - Goode - Walter Trout

  4. Wee Wee Hours - Joe Bonamassa

  5. Memphis - Anders Osborne

  6. I Want to Be Your Driver Ryan Perry

  7. You Never Can Tell - Robben Ford

  8. Back in the USA - Eric Gales

  9. No Particular Place to Go - Jeremiah Johnson

  10. Too Much Monkey Business - Luther Dickinson

  11. Havana Moon - Sonny Landreth

  12. Promised Land - Tinsley Ellis

  13. Downbound Train - Alex Skolnick

  14. Maybelline - Richard Fortus

  15. School Days - Ally Venable

  16. Brown Eyed Handsome Man - Josh Smith/Kirk Fletcher

  17. Reeling and Rocking - Tommy Castro

  18. Let It Rock - Jimmy Vivino

  19. Thirty Days - Albert Castiglia

  20. My Ding a Ling - Kid Andersen


Saturday, November 16, 2019

#417 : Rebekah Meldrum - (self-titled)


Rebekah Meldrum

(self-titled)

2019 – Rebekah Meldrum

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 16, 2019

 

I’m very impressed with the debut self-titled release from Indiana-based singer-songwriter Rebekah Meldrum.  This preacher’s daughter grew up singing gospel, but got a penchant for the blues after hearing Koko Taylor at the young age of eight.  Guitarist Paul Holdman, her longtime collaborator, makes for a perfect fit, for together they weave a terrific album of earthy, delta-inspired blues.  The rest of the band is comprised of bassist David Murray, drummer Kevin Kouts, with P.J. Yinger on trumpet, and Richard Dole on saxophone. Tad Robinson and Patrick Long share duties on harmonica.

I love the opening track “Set Your Soul Free”. It is deliciously swampy to the core.  Holdman’s slide is fantastic and sounds great alongside Robinson’s attention-grabbing harp playing.  Meldrum’s vocals are fearless and sweet, as she delivers another fabulous serving of original blues with “Whiskey and Wine”.  This one is quite nice.  Holdman keeps his performance beautifully crisp, and Robinson shines as he rips it up on harmonica.  Meldrum surfs her smooth, velvety voice atop a funky rhythm on “Coat Tails”.  Holdman adds a funky nod to James Brown with his Jimmy Nolen-style chicken-scratch guitar licks.  I enjoy the song a lot.   

Meldrum closes this bodacious seven-track album with “I’m Here”, a song dedicated to friends and family lost to suicide.  The horns add a sense of a New Orleans second line.  It’s really a lovely song.  A portion of the profits from this track, are earmarked for donation to the Suicide Prevention Program.  This is really a terrific album, and I’d recommend it to any music fan. 

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






Saturday, November 9, 2019

#416 : Johnny Rawls - I Miss Otis Clay


2019 - Third Street Cigar Records   
By Phillip Smith; Nov. 9, 2019

It’s always a pleasure to hear new music from Johnny Rawls.  He is indeed one of the best soul-blues musicians around today.  I make a point to go hear him whenever he’s in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, performing at Checkers Tavern.  His new album, I Miss Otis Clay is downright spectacular.  I love it from start to finish.  This poignant homage to Rawls’ close friend and Blues Hall of Famer Otis Clay, is an instant favorite for me.  Recorded in Toledo, Ohio, the home of Third Street Cigar Records, the album features local blues musicians: guitarist Larry ‘Mr. Entertainment’ Gold, bassist Johnny ‘Hi-Fi’ Newmark, keyboardist ‘Cadillac’ Dan Magers, and drummer Scott Kretzer.  Also appearing on the record are The Toledo Horns comprised of Ric Wolkins on trumpet, and Mark Lemie on sax.

The hot buttery soul of “California Shaking Again’ leads off with a funky backbeat, infectious riffs, and sweet blasts of brass.  Rawls’ vocals are smooth and suave for this fantastic opening track.  Celebrating those contemporaries who have helped keep the art of The Blues alive, he pays an endearing tribute with “Give a Toast to the Blues”.  Guaranteed to set the mood for some good loving, Rawls’ soulful, romantic two-fer “Slow Roll It” and “Motion of the Ocean” are comfortably tucked in a cozy blanket of slow-groove.  

Title track, “I Miss Otis Clay”, brings a tear to my eye, as I listen to him sing about missing his friend.    In 2014, Rawls and Clay released the album Soul Brothers, which won the 2015 Blues Blast Award for Soul Album of the Year.  Clay sadly passed away from a heart attack in 2016.

The bar has once again been set for Soul-Blues.  I Miss Otis Clay, is my favorite Johnny Rawls album to date.        

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







Saturday, November 2, 2019

#415 : Hudspeth & Taylor - Folie a Deux




2019 – Hudspeth & Taylor
By Phillip Smith; Nov.2, 2019

Folie a deux, the title of the debut album from guitarist Brandon Hudspeth (Levee Town) and singer/percussionist Jaisson Taylor, is defined as “delusion or mental illness shared by two people in close association”.  In the case of Hudspeth & Taylor, it represents their passion for music.  The two have known each other for almost twenty years, although they never formally collaborated until 2015 when they began their journey playing as a blues duo in Kansas City.  I’ve been aware of Hudspeth since reviewing Levee Town’s album Pages of Paperwork in 2011 for BluesWax, and hold high regard for his work as a guitarist and songwriter.  Taylor’s singing and versatile percussional stylings are most impressive.       

The acoustic slide on “Big Fat Hairy Lie” sounds terrific with the gently rolling rhythm. I love the song “Low Down Dealer Man” and the instrumental showmanship Hudspeth unveils on guitar.  Taylor sets a wonderfully earnest tone for the song with his singing.  Their cover of the late Little Hatch’s “Rock With Me Baby” is a down-home delight.  The playful melody on “Candy Man” is quick to capture my attention, as Taylor sings about a nefarious crime and its consequences.  Hudspeth’s smokin’ slide guitar, and Taylor’s blues-soaked vocals bring the album to the close with “Daddy Baby”.  It’s a fantastic song, and sounds great.

Folie a Deux is a gem of an acoustic blues album.  I really hope to hear more from Hudspeth & Taylor.  

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