Saturday, November 28, 2020

#473 : Bob Corritore’s “From the Vaults” Series

 



  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore - Travelin’ the Dirt Road
  • The Kid Ramos / Bob Corritore – Phoenix Blues Sessions
  • Henry Gray & Bob Corritore Sessions - Vol: 2 Cold Chills

2020 – Vizztone  

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 28, 2020


I can’t express how excited I am about this new “From the Vaults” blues series from Bob Corritore on Vizztone.  The first three releases out of the gate pair the harmonica master with Dave Riley, Kid Ramos, and Henry Gray. 

Dave Riley & Bob Corritore’s 2007 album Travelin’ the Dirt Road consists not only of the original tracks, but has two additional previous unreleased songs as well.  Recorded over three sessions from 2005 to 2006, this album features Riley on guitar, Corritore on harmonica, Johnny Rapp on guitar, Matt Bishop on piano, Dave Riley Jr. on bass, and Tom Coulson on drums.   

The album nicely rolls the album in with “I’m Not Your Junkman”, a tune written by John Weston, Riley’s friend and former bandmate.  Warm vocals and a fascinating guitar performance capture my attention on “Let’s Have Some Fun Tonight”.  Corritore is such fabulous side-man.  His harp playing never takes a back seat, and in tracks like “My Baby’s Gone”, it completely makes the song.  This one sounds so great, especially with Bishop busting out his barrelhouse piano.  “Voodoo Woman, Voodoo Man” is a double dose of slow-brewed blues, and I love every bit of it.   

The Kid Ramos/Bob Corritore album Phoenix Blues Sessions is a collection of collaborations between the two from the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s.  Originally released as a fund raiser during Kid’s cancer scare in 2012, this re-release features three previously unreleased songs, and an alternate take on “Natural Ball”.  With Ramos on guitar and Corritore on harp, Chico Chism take the reigns on drums with Paul Thomas as the bassist and Johnny Rapp on guitar or mandolin.  Vocalists consists of Nappy Brown (1929 – 2008), Henry Gray, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame (1925 – 2014), Big Pete Pearson, and Dr. Fish.  Additional musicians consist of bassist Marrio Moreno and pianist Tom Mahon.

I love the twangy sound of Ramos’ guitar on “Come on In”.  This classic from Harum Scarums (Big Bill Broonzy, Mozelle Alderson, Thomas A. Dorsey) features Henry Gray on piano and vocals.  Corritore delightfully ushers Eddie Boyd’s “24 Hours” in on harp, with Dr. Fish delivering a timeless vocal performance.  I love the raw infectious groove on “No More Doggin’” with Chief Schabutti Guilliame commandeering the microphone.  This is absolutely fabulous.  Ramos’ slide guitar is captivating on Little Milton’s “Possum in My Tree”.  Featuring Big Pete Pearson on vocals and Mahon on piano, its such a terrific cover.             

Henry Gray & Bob Corritore’s Sessions Vol: 2 Cold Chills features recordings made between 1996 and 2016.  With Gray on piano and vocals, Corritore on harp, and guitarist Johnny Rapp on most of the songs, the list of musicians who are a part of this is rock solid.  A partial list of them include, Robert Lockwood Jr, (1915 – 2006) Bob Margolin, Eddie Taylor Jr. (1972 – 2019), Tail Dragger, Jimi “”Primetime” Smith, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame (1925 – 2014) , Illinois Slim, Johnny Burgin, Chris James, and Kirk Fletcher.   

Eddie Taylor Jr. brings his vocals and guitar prowess along with guitarist Illinois Slim for a wonderful cover of Jimmy Roger’s “Going Away Baby”.  This is what the blues is all about.  Corritore’s harp-playing is music for the soul.  “Steady Rollin’” Bob Margolin appears with guitar in hand on “Ain’t No Use”.  Gray’s piano performance is flawless and his vocal performance draws me right in.  Chubby Checker’s ‘The Twist’ is a big ball of fun, with Jimi “Primetime” Smith singing.  Bassist Troy Sandow and drummer Marty Dodson keep the party going on the rhythm section.  The Chief brings one of his own songs, “Javelina Jamboree” to the album in full-on shindig style.  Being from Arkansas, I’m more likely to refer to these gnarly beasts as a razorback.  Burgin tears it up on guitar while Gray pounds the hell out of the keys, and Corritore rips it up on harp.  It’s a good time for sure.  It’s so cool to hear the legendary Robert Lockwood Jr. play guitar on “Mother in Law Blues” too.                

This “From the Vaults” series is certainly one to keep your eyes on.  This is a must listen for serious blues fans.  These first three albums are an absolute treasure.  I honestly can’t wait to see what Corritore has in store next. 

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For more information about the artist, visit this website : bobcorritore.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 21, 2020

#472 : Billy Jones & Delta Blues Outlaws

 


2020 – Delta Blues Records

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 21, 2020


Hailing from North Little Rock, Arkansas, Billy Jones brings a boat-load of excellence and authenticity to his brand of blues.   As a child, wanting to be like B.B. King and Elmore James, he would sneak out and head to a dangerous juke joint nearby just to listen to the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin’ Wolf, and Bobby Blue Bland.  These influences, along with his guitar prowess and soulful vocals, make for a refreshing, attention-grabbing combination.  His new album Billy Jones & Delta Blues Outlaws boasts fifteen terrific songs totaling seventy minutes of musical brilliance.

Opening with “The One You Need”, Jones delivers a wonderful performance of slow, soul-blues.  Punched up with horns, and keys, the song shines bright.  From the first note, “Liar” bursts out the gate, I am gobsmacked.  Jones treats the listener with a ferocious bombardment of psychedelic blues guitar as he sings out a rhythmic serving of his poetic verse.  He’s such a badass on guitar, I enjoy hearing him tear it up on “Love Nobody Else” and “I’m Yo Freak”.  The funky Stax-influenced rhythm on “A Man and a Half” puts a big smile on my face.  This is definitely a feel-good song.   

Jones doles out a serious dose of delta blues on “Alligator Farm”.  It sounds great!  Accompanied with a side of organ, he brings it on a delightfully smooth downhome blues tune called “Biggest House in Town”.     

By all means, if you get a chance to check out the music of Billy Jones & Delta Blues Outlaws, give them a listen.  You won’t regret it all.

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Liar 



The One You Need


Saturday, November 14, 2020

#471 : Sonny Green - Found! One Soul Singer



2020 – Little Village Foundation

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 14, 2020


Sonny Green, a 77-year old soul singer based in the Los Angeles area, has been performing for over forty years.  He recorded eight 45’s in the Sixties and Seventies, however his latest recording Found! One Soul Singer is his first full length album, and it’s fantastic.  Recorded and produced by Kid Andersen, at his famed Greaseland Studios, the record features Andersen on guitar, Jim Pugh on B3, Chris Burns on piano, Endre Tarczy on bass, Ronnie Smith and D’mar on drums, Mariachi Mestizo on violin, and a stellar horn section comprised of Sax Gordon, Terry Hanck, Aaron Lington, Jeff Lewis, and Mike Rinta,  

As soon as the horns kick in, and Sonny’s smokey vocals roll out on “I’m So Tired”, I am all-in.  It’s certainly a rare treat to find music that stands out like this these days.  “If Walls Could Talk” is full of life and enriched with a funky rhythm and big band sound.  Andersen sweetens the song with his stylish guitar licks.  Sonny’s performance of Willie Nelson’s “Are You Sure” is dripping with pure emotion.  Settled in the blues and seasoned with funk, “Cupid Must Be Stupid” is fun and delightful.  Tarczy’s baseline is absolutely groovy, and I love Rinta’s trombone accompaniment.  I also dig the Seventies funky disco-vibe on “Back For a Taste of Your Love”.  Sonny’s vocal prowess shines as he peppers the song with high-pitched growls.  For bonus points, Alabama Mike makes a guest vocal appearance on “Trouble” to join Sonny in a slow, soul-blues duet.  Written by Alabama Mike, this is the first time the song had been recorded.  The blues absolutely pours out of Andersen’s guitar, and it sounds great.   

Found! One Soul Singer is a fabulous recording.  I’m so glad Little Village Foundation helped bring this album to fruition. 

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



Saturday, November 7, 2020

#470 : The Boxmasters - Light Rays



2020 – KeenTone Records

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 7, 2020

It’s always a delight to hear new music from The Boxmasters.  With Light Rays, the tenth release from J.D. Andrew and Bud Thornton, the band delivers a dozen fabulous brand-new songs.  Each of them, written and performed with a deep appreciation for the early years of rock and roll. 

Beginning as a song from Bud to his daughter, “Breath Easy” is a lovely and poppy, feel-good anthem dedicated to parenthood.  It is a great song to open with and segues quite nicely into “Satellite Guy”, which I absolutely adore.  “Satellite Guy” has a sort of REM meets Big Star vibe, filled with infectious guitar riffs.  The captivating beat sounds great with a fabulous dose of organ on the side.  Doused with the delectable twang of Andrew’s guitar, “Thirteen Days” becomes this heart-racing ballad about a looming deadline for love.  It’s such a terrific song.

There’s a definite air of ominousity about title-track “Light Rays”.  Innocently beginning with this stellar line, “Please keep the Beatles album that I gave you.  Just like me some night it might save you.”, this wonderfully dark crooner song, soon takes a delusional stalkery-like direction.  It’s one of my favorites.  “Drag” catches my attention quickly too, with its Blondie-esque intro.  It perfectly captures the inner feelings that surface when I’m around strangers in a formal setting.  I’m happy to meet them, but I’m also so very happy to leave.  Resurrecting the long-lost art of misfortunate love songs, Andrew and Bud bring us “Downey Girl”.  This tragic tale of a love lost in a helicopter crash, where lawnmower blades and ceiling fans spark haunted memories, is based on an actual event which happened in 1968.

Reminiscent of the variety of rock songs one would hear on AM radio in the Sixties, this record is a testament of the Boxmasters love for early rock.  Light Rays is such a splendid album, it truly shines. 

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 For more information about the artist, visit this website : theboxmasters.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.




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Saturday, October 31, 2020

#469 : Muddy Manninen - River Flows

 


2020 – Presence Records

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 31, 2020

It has been almost three years since former Wishbone Ash guitarist Muddy Manninen released his debut solo album, Long Player.  That was an outstanding recording.  His follow-up album River Flows is another quite impressive piece of work.  Self-produced, this ten-track album features Melanie Denard, Gregg Sutton, Kev Moore, Richard Johnson, and special guest Simon Kirke (Free/Bad Company) on drums.

“Make Believe” ushers the album in with a fabulous dose of rock and roll.  Denard’s melodic lead vocals, and Manninen’s infectious riffs, pull me in for the long-haul.  The cherry on top, is listening to Muddy’s solo.  He’s such a skilled guitarist, and it’s a joy to hear him play.  Waking a fine line between blues and southern rock, Muddy breaks out a tasty dose of greasy lap-steel slide on “Hey You”, with Kev Moore singing.  Moore also appears on “Daytona Beach”, which has a jazzy Steely Dan vibe.  And that’s a very good thing.  I love the funky instrumental “The Wedge”.  The synths accompaniment from Tomi Malm gives it a warm texture.  Preceding the beautiful instrumental close on title track “River Flows”, Muddy poignantly brings us a poetic ode to time, with “The River”, with Denard on vocals.  Her voice is absolutely divine.

River Flows captures the essence of Seventies album-rock, and it sounds so great. 

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For more information about the artist, visit this website : muddymanninen.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.

 


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Saturday, October 24, 2020

#468 : Kurt Allen - Whiskey, Women & Trouble

 


2020 – Self-Released

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 24, 2020

 

One listen is all it took for Whiskey, Women & Trouble, the new album from Kansas City-based blues-rocker Kurt Allen, to quickly garner my attention.  Produced by Allen and Larry Gann, the record features ten solid all-original tunes with Allen on guitar and lead vocals, Lester Estelle Jr. on drums, Craig Kew on bass, Beaux Lux on keys and sax, Pete Carroll on trumpet, and Trevor Turla on trombone.

I love the dirty groove running through “Graveyard Blues”.  It’s infectious as hell and sounds so good with Allen’s gravelly vocals and wonderfully swampy slide.  It’s such a wonderful tune to start things off with.  “Watch Yo Step” is terrific too.  This Texas-style blues tune about infidelity is nicely topped with horns, and delivered via Estelle’s unescapable beat.  The tempo is lowered for a dreamy heart-felt performance on “How Long”.  It’s quite a remarkable track, and beautifully showcases Allen’s vocal range as well as his guitar mastery.  Title-track “Whiskey, Women & Trouble” certainly lightens the mood with a dance-friendly track dedicated to vice.  It’s just so fun to hear Allen play with the brass accompaniment.  For a very unexpected treat, Allen breaks some George Clinton style funk with an homage to soul food in “Funkalicious”.  I absolutely love this track.  It’s pure Seventies-style funk with extra gravy. 

Delving into rock, blues, soul, and funk but never losing direction, Allen’s Whiskey, Woman & Trouble is as solid as an album can get.  I’m already looking forward to hearing his follow up record.    

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For more information about the artist, visit this website : www.kurtallenmusic.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, October 17, 2020

#467 : John Nemeth - Stronger Than Strong


 

2020 – Nola Blue

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 17, 2020


Stronger Than Strong, the tenth album from Memphis-based bluesman John Nemeth, totally captivates me with its soulful songs, funky grooves, and buttery beats.  Recorded at Electraphonic Recording Studios in Memphis, this feel-good album features Nemeth with his road band, The Blue Dreamers, which consists of guitarist Jon Hay, drummer Danny Banks, and bassist Matt Wilson.   

Nemeth and The Blue Dreamers kick things off in a delicious and greasy fashion with “Come and Take It”.  I love this kind of dirty blues.  “Fountain of a Man”, immersed in that wonderful Saturday night juke joint spirit, immediately follows.  With a terrific driving beat from Banks, searing guitar from Hay, and a harmonica performance from Nemeth that cuts to the bone, this song makes me smile from ear to ear.  Starting from its opening twang-filled notes, I am all-in on “Throw Me in the Water”.  Nemeth’s delivery reminds me so much of the great John Fogerty as he belts this one out with all the qualities of a timeless classic.  Nemeth’s “Bars” is performed as pure southern soul.  His keen observations and wit take on the various kinds of bars, whether found on windows, or found on street corners.  His cover of Junior Parker’s “Sometimes” is pert-near hypnotic.  I could soak in this groove all day long.  Then for a funky finish, the record closes up shop in a wonderful Memphis-style shindig with “Sweep the Shack”.  It’s an incredible party song with a huge Stax influence.  

Stronger than Strong is definitely an album to take note of.  It is brilliant from beginning to end.            

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For more information about the artist, visit this website : johnnemeth.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, October 10, 2020

#466 : Anthony Gomes - Containment Blues

 


2020 – Up 2 Zero

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 10, 2020

Following up to his award-winning 2019 album, Peace, Love, & Loud Guitars, Anthony Gomes has master-minded another great album, Containment Blues.  This Covid-19 era blues album carries forward that level of excitement which comes with each of Gomes’ albums.  His smokey vocals, and guitar prowess shine on each of the eleven all-original tracks.  The lineup on this record consists of bassist Jacob Mreen, drummers Chris Whited and Bobby Stone Jr., and keyboardist Gabriel Crespo, along with Hector Ruano on harmonica, Paul Tooley on banjo, Margarita Chernova on violin, and Carolina Teruel on cello.

I love the unbridled energy released on the opening song “Make a Good Man (Wanna Be Bad)”.  It’s rhythm, served on a big plate of raw Texas-style blues is reminiscent of classic-era ZZ Top.  Gomes’ delivery is indeed top form and segues quite nicely to another favorite “Hell and Half of Georgia”.  The groove on this one is fabulously dirty and infectious.  A message is sent to misogynists in true rocking fashion as Gomes sings “Stop Calling Women Hoes and Bitches”.    

Shifting into balladeer mode, Gomes wears his emotions on his sleeves in the beautiful “This Broken Heart of Mine”.  The slow-cooked blues of “No Kinda Love” sounds fantastic.  With Ruano accompanying on harp, this one is comfort-food for the blues fan.  Gomes takes an interesting philosophical approach in “Let Love Take Care of Love”, a song he co-wrote with Billy Falcon about letting go. 

I’ve been a fan of Anthony Gomes for a while now, and I’m so glad to hear these new tracks from him.  His unique style of blues-rock continues to impress me more with every album he records, and Containment Blues is no exception.    


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For more information about the artist, visit this website:  www.anthonygomes.com








Related PhillyCheeze reviews and articles :


#379 : Anthony Gomes Live at the Redstone Room - March 2, 2019 - 


#371 : Anthony Gomes - Peace, Love & Loud Guitars -




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, October 3, 2020

#465 : Micke & Lefty (feat Chef) - Let the Fire Lead

 


2020 – Hokahey Records

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 3, 2020 

It’s been ten years since Micke Björklöf, Lefty Leppänen, and Chef recorded their last album “Up the Wall”.  Their brand-new album Let the Fire Lead fabulously celebrates their twentieth anniversary of making music together.  For the past several years this Finnish trio has been involved with other noteworthy musical projects as well.   Björklöf and Leppänen have been busy with their band Blue StripLeppänen also had been involved with his trio Southpaw Steel ‘n’ Twang.  Chef has been playing with The Lumberjacks, a band he co-founded in 2007.  Björklöf noted “We had a wakeup call  last summer when we realized that almost ten years had passed since the last album release.  We felt this could be now or never, so we booked the studio right away.”.  The album was then recorded at their home base in Finland.     

On National resonator guitar, Lefty takes the lead vocals on “Small Town Baby”, a spectacular blues-rocker with a driving rhythm and the gusto of U2.  Micke takes the mic on title-track “Let the Fire Lead”, a lovely and delightful song with Lefty on resonator and mandolin.  “Gotta See My Church” is an amazing spiritual.  Sung with a big bowlful of passion, and played with a fiery finesse, its heart-pounding bass and drums sets an ominous undertone.  Whimsically advocating the minimalist lifestyle, they sing less is more in “No Stuff is Good Enuff”.  The chorus is really infectious, and sets its hooks in quickly.        

There’s a lot of energy poured into their cover of Willie Dixon’s “Tell That Woman”.  With Micke on lead vocals, dobro, and percussion, Lefty on resonator guitar, and Chef on upright bass, the song absolutely cooks.  Their voices harmonize quite nicely while serving up the country blues of Big Bill Broonzy in their performance of “Big Bill Blues”.  I really like their cover of Robert Johnson’s “I’m a Steady Rollin’ Man” too.  It is an absolute treat with guest lead vocalist Eero Raittinen.  Chef’s pounding bass-line adds a sense of intensity while Lefty rips it up on his National guitar.

Let the Fire Lead is an extraordinary album of blues and roots music delivered in a meticulous way and topped with wonderful three-part harmonies.  

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Related PhillyCheeze Reviews


Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip – After the Flood

https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2014/08/micke-bjorklof-blue-strip-after-flood.html

Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip – Ain’t Bad Yet

https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2015/11/micke-bjorklof-blue-strip-aint-bad-yet.html

Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip – Twentyfive Live at Blues Baltica

https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2018/08/348-micke-bjorklof-blue-strip.html

 

Southpaw Steel ‘n’ Twang – Hale’s Pleasure Railway

https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2014/09/southpaw-steel-n-twang-hales-pleasure.html

Southpaw Steel ‘n’ Twang – Stat(u)e of Mind

https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2016/01/southpaw-steel-n-twang-statue-of-mind.html

 


For more information about the artist, visit this website : mickeandlefty.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.



Sunday, September 27, 2020

#464 : Hanging Tree Guitars (Various Artists)

 


2020 – Music Maker Relief Foundation

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 26, 2020

The work of Freeman Vines, a North Carolina-based bluesman/artist/luthier, is the focus of a new book called Hanging Tree Guitars published by Bitter Southerner.  The title is a reference to a series of guitars in which Vines made using wood from a known lynching tree.  The guitars are fascinating and incredible pieces of art.  The book features tintype photos by Timothy Duffy, along with an essay by Lonnie Holley, and interviews with Vines.  Music Maker Relief Foundation, a non-profit organization which helps support impoverished musicians, has released a twelve-track album of various artists to serve as a companion piece to the book.  It truly is a splendid collection of blues and gospel music.

Leading this collection off is Rufus McKenzie’s “Slavery Time Blues”.  This is harmonica blues that cuts right to the bone as McKenzie creates a vivid visual relaying stories of his grandparents who were born as slaves.  Born in Perry Georgia, the same town as McKenzie, James Davis delivers his instrumental “Turning Point” in bare-bones fashion with just electric guitar and snare.  Its hypnotic rhythm embeds itself, like an earworm into my subconscious.  Guitar Gabriel sings of hard times in “Southland Blues” a striking song gently played on acoustic guitar with a lovely piano accompaniment.  Adolphus Bell gets my full attention on “Black Man’s Dream”, as he speaks of change, powerfully queueing up his meaningful words in a beautiful poetic cadence.  This one he makes sure to mention is dedicated to the late, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Hearing John Lee Zeigler on acoustic guitar play “John Henry” is intoxicating.  His unique style makes for an amazing listen.

The first half of the recording, being aligned with the Blues, leaves the remainder focused on Gospel.  The Glorifying Vines Sisters from Eastern North Carolina bring the house down with the vibrant and uplifting “Get Ready”.  It’s so different to hear “Glory Glory” played on steel guitar, but that is a good thing.  Elder Anderson Johnson absolutely tears it up on this traditional gospel song, and makes it his own.  When Johnny Ray Daniels digs in to “Somewhere to Lay My Head”, I truly want to stand up and dance.  It brings a joy to my heart.  One couldn’t pick a better song to bring this to a close than with “Amazing Grace”.  With a weathered voice and acoustic guitar, James ‘Guitar Slim’ Stephens (1915-1989) sweetly performs this 240-year-old song.  He takes it on with honor and gusto.                

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For more information about Hanging Tree Guitars, visit hangingtreeguitars.com .

For more information about Music Maker Relief Foundation, visit musicmaker.org .




Saturday, September 19, 2020

#463 : Andy Watts - Supergroove

 


2020 – Booga Music

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 19, 2020

 

Supergroove, the latest album from Israel’s Ambassador of the Blues Andy Watts is an impeccable record of big-band blues topped with the delectable sound of Watts’ smoking guitar.  With vocals rotated around a noteworthy guest list of singers such as Eliza Neals, and Joe Louis Walker, the band consists of Eyal Klein on keys, Ioram Linker on sax, Gregory Rivkin on trumpet, Tom Mochiach on bass, Moran Bar-On on trombone, Tom Bolig on drums, and Coastin Hank on harmonica.  Co-produced by multi-BMA winner and Grammy nominee Kenny Neal, Supergroove is nice mix of originals and covers, with a clean and polished sound.  

The funky instrumental “Supergroove” leads the recording off in a way which perfectly fits its name.  The sweet sound of horns backed with a B3 and a snappy back-beat make for great accompaniment to Watt’s Texas-blues stylings.  Linker’s baritone sax solo is a nice touch too.  I love Roy Young’s vocal stylings on their cover of Rick Estrin’s “Living Hand to Mouth”.  This is blues at its best with a luscious side of harp.  Young sounds great on the funky R&B cover of Gonzalez’s 1974 song “Pack it Up” too.  Grammy nominee Joe Louis Walker adds a silky-smooth touch to “Burning Deep”, a beautiful and soulful original.  It’s an absolute pleasure to hear the fabulous Detroit songstress Eliza Neals pour her magic on his 1995 song “Blues of the Month Club”.  I’d love to hear more collaborations between her and Watts.  High-energy blues-rocker “Don’t You Let Me Down” which was originally recorded in 1972 by the band Jericho, features the original singer Danny Shoshan.  This new version, rearranged for Watts’ larger band, sounds fantastic polished up with sounds of brass.  The album closes with a beautiful and delicate performance of Peter Green’s intoxicating instrumental “The Supernatural”.  Watts takes this song which first appeared on John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers’ A Hard Road album, and lifts it skyward in his own unique way.

Watts’ guitar mastery shines brightly on this album and he makes interesting choices music-wise.  Supergroove is a rock-solid album with rock-solid performances.  It’s definitely an album worthy of adding to your collection.   

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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.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases


Saturday, September 12, 2020

#462: Sir Rod & the Blues Doctors - Come Together

 


2020 – Adam Gussow and Roderick Patterson

 By Phillip Smith; Sep. 12, 2020

Sir Rod & the Blues Doctors is a collaboration between Adam Gussow, the master harp player of Satan & Adam, and Roderick Patterson aka Sir RodSir Rod a vocalist, dancer, and motivational speaker from the Atlanta-area also happens to be the nephew of Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee.  Magee is the other half of the incredible blues duo Satan & Adam.  After watching the highly-rated documentary Satan & Adam last year, Sir Rod contacted Gussow to suggest they join forces to record a few songs as a tribute.  One thing led to another, and they gave birth to this wonderful new blues album, Come TogetherSir Rod takes on lead vocals, as Gussow brings it on harp/percussion along with fellow blues doctor Alan Gross on guitar.

The album opens up with a blast of riveting original blues on title-track “Come Together”.  The harp is hot, and the vocals are delivered with soulful conviction.  This is a song of the times which bears a positive message.  “I Want You”, another original song, fills me with joy with every listen.  I can’t help but smile when I hear it.  Sir Rod shines as songwriter, and pianist on “So Mean”.  It’s a beautiful song filled will heart-stirring emotion.

Sir Rod & the Blues Doctors pay an honorable homage to Satan & Adam through a few songs.   “Sanctified Blues”, a delicious slice of delta blues, takes me back to sounds of Mississippi when I hear it.  Rod’s vocals remind me a lot of Chris Robinson’s on “Seventh Avenue”.  I absolutely love this song delivered in a Black Crowes-inspired fashion.  “Freedom for My People” is terrific as well.  A song of unity and freedom, it cuts through right through to the bone.

The covers they chose for the album are plumb great.  They absolutely cook on James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)”.  Then immediately following, they bring the blues back home on a fabulous rendition of Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster”.  For an album closer, they get down on Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say”.  Rod’s raspy growls, tossed in like little grenades, are fabulous. 

Come Together is a remarkable recording from beginning to end.  Blues fans will surely want to give this a listen.

 

 

 

* Note:  Just as I was writing this review, I sadly found out Sterling Magee, passed away on September 6th, at the age of 84 in Gulfport, due to complications from COVID-19.  Condolences to Roderick, Adam, and all of Sterling’s family and friends.

 

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