Saturday, August 29, 2020

#460 : Kat Riggins - Cry Out

 


2020 – Gulf Coast Records

By Phillip Smith; Aug. 29, 2020

 

It’s been almost four years since being smitten by the music of Kat Riggins, with her 2016 album Blues Revival.  That album was so incredible.  Her brand-new album, Cry Out is yet another musical masterpiece.  Recorded on Mike Zito’s label Gulf Coast Records, the album has a big Zito presence.  Each of the original thirteen tracks were written by Riggins and composed by Zito, with the only exception being a short thirty-five second interlude of “Hand in the Hand”.  Backing Riggins on the album is drummer Brian Zielie, bassist Doug Byrkit, featuring Zito on guitar.  

“Son of a Gun” kicks the record off with a big meaty bassline, locked and loaded with a driving rhythm.  It’s a southern rocker infused with Seventies-style stanky funk, and packed with soul.  A fitting song for the times, title-track “Cry Out” is steeped in blues, and topped with a big slice of juicy harp.  “Catching Up” captivates me with Riggins’ smooth, powerful vocals which ride atop a tide of infectious riffs and thunderous beats.  Her no-holds-barred delivery on “Can’t You See Me Now” is nicely punched up with blasts of brass and hot guitar licks.  Kat sings the blues with abundant intensity in “Burn it All Down”, as she goes all-in for a final showdown in a shaky relationship. “The Storm” ominously wraps the album up in a harrowing and blues-soaked manner.  Riggins’ gives a dynamic performance as Zito takes his guitar out for a lush and psychedelic walk. 

Kat Riggins is definitely among the top of my list when it comes to favorite blues singers today.  As a songwriter, her mastery of writing blues songs is quite noteworthy.  Cry Out is an excellent album in all regards.                   

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

 

PhillyCheeze’s Sep.16, 2016 review of Kat Riggins’ Blues Revival

https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2016/09/kat-riggins-blues-revival.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.


Sunday, August 23, 2020

#459 : Bette Smith - The Good The Bad The Bette

 

2020 – Ruf Records

Release Date : Sep. 25, 2020

By Phillip Smith; Aug. 23, 2020

 

Three years have passed since Bette Smith released her debut album Jetliner.  The Good The Bad The Bette, her follow-up album, is an exquisite explosion of gritty, soulful, and funky music.  Recorded at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Mississippi, the record was produced by Matt Patton (Drive-By Truckers), and Bronson Tew.  With Patton on bass guitar, and Tew on drums, Smith enlists a small army of guitarists comprised of Luther Dickinson, Jimbo Mathus, Craig Pratt, Jody Nelson, Bronson Tew, Matt Patton, Curtis J. Brewer, and John Mcleod.   

A bodacious cover of Lonnie Sheilds’ “Fistful of Dollars” struts in with a glamourous, spaghetti-western disco fashion.  The rhythm is downright funky and sophisticatedly accompanied with strings and horns.  “Whistle Stop”, an original from Smith is extremely bluesy and soulful.  Based on a dream she had shortly before her mother passed, this is a song commemorating her last goodbye.  Featuring Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers ), “I’m a Sinner” invokes the sounds of sixties surf rock and absolutely cooks.  Smith’s vocals are fearless and from the gut, reminiscent of power-house soul singers Aretha Franklin, and Sharon Jones.  Luther Dickinson makes a guest appearance to pour some sweet southern soul into “Signs and Wonders”, setting the stage for an uplifting cosmic spiritual.  Smith serves up a big bowl of Muscle Shoals-style southern rock, with a delightful cover of The Dexateens’ “Pine Belt Blues”.  The band is tight as hell, and Smith’s vocals are rich and superb.  More Muscle Shoals-inspired music follows with a fabulous cover of the late, great Eddie Hinton’s “Everybody Needs Love”, featuring Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers.     

The Good The Bad The Bette is beautiful and flawless.  Don’t let this record pass you by.

             

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For more information about the artist, visit this website : https://www.bettesmith.com/


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, August 16, 2020

#458 : Fantastic Negrito - Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?

 

2020 – Cooking Vinyls

 

By Phillip Smith; Aug. 15, 2020

 

Like George Clinton and Prince, Fantastic Negrito (Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz) is a creative force to be reckoned with.  His lyrics are timely, reflective, and meaningful.  His music is funky, soulful and tapped into the blues ever so gently.  His voice is definitely one which needs to be heard.  As the writer, producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist, Fantastic Negrito has delivered a masterpiece in his latest album Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?   

 

With a delicious Stevie Wonder-infused groove, the album kicks in with “Chocolate Samurai”.  This being the closest thing to a title track, Xavier sings “Have you lost your mind yet?  Get free tonight!”  The song is fantastic.  Following is “I’m So Happy I Could Cry”, featuring the Tarriona Tank’ Ball of Tank and the Bangas on vocals.  Enduring days without electricity due to a derecho which pummeled Iowa earlier in the week, this song imbedded in my brain, was the only music I had to listen to for days.  I’m so happy my sub-conscious picked this one to keep me going.  The world is going mad and “What have we become?” is the sociological question asked in the ambiently hazy ballad “How Long?”.  I’m reminded of Frank Zappa in the way Fantastic Negrito magically creates a complex array of melodies and genres, fusing jazz, blues, and funk to produce amazing music.  “King Frustration” is an excellent example. There’s so much happening in this song, it opens up a bit more with each and every listen.  I feel thankful and happy when listening to Xavier sing about his compadres in “These are my Friends”.  

 

I absolutely love this album!  Have You Lost Your Mind Yet is a record you must listen to.       

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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, August 8, 2020

#457 : Mark May Band - Deep Dark Demon

 

2020 – Gulf Coast Records

By Phillip Smith; August 8, 2020

 

Deep Dark Demon, the seventh release from Mark May Band is a power-packed album of blues-rock featuring interesting original songs, soulful vocals and fierce guitar performances.  May, who cut his teeth in the Houston, Texas area playing biker bars and blues clubs for over twenty years, was also a member of Dickey Bett’s band for a while.  Killing it on lead vocals and lead guitar, he secures the front-man role of the band, which is also comprised of Billy Wells on vocals and rhythm guitar, Darrell Lacy on bass guitar, Brandon Jackson on drums for seven tracks, Geronimo Calderon on drums for four tracks, Barry Seelen on B3 for seven tracks, Shawn Allen on B3 for four tracks, and Al Pagliuso on percussion.  

The record rolls in a with “Harvey’s Dirty Side”, which boasts a heavy Allman Brothers meets Lenny Kravitz vibe.  Seelen’s beefy B3 riffs add a serious backup to May’s tantalizing guitar licks and mesmerizing style.  The relaxed pace on “BBQ and Blues” sets a perfect mood for a backyard cook-out abundantly stocked with coolers of ice-cold beer.  May bestows a Santana-esque flavor in”Back”.  This Latin-infused blues-rocker is an amazing listen.  May’s guitar prowess shines brightly on this masterpiece.

With Deep Dark Demon being recorded on Mike Zito’s Gulf Coast Records label, it’s a pleasure to hear Zito himself ripping it up on the title-track.  This slow-cooked number definitely brings the blues back home in style.  I love the dual lead guitar intro on “My Last Ride”.  May’s reflective lyrics and a driving rhythm are tremendous bookends for his stunning guitar-play.  The icing on the cake, “Invisible Man” brings the album to a fabulous close with a big bodacious bowl of eighties-style funk.  Although May’s soulful and debonair voice takes the front seat, I absolutely dig his use of the talk box on this track. 

Deep Dark Demon, satisfies on many levels.  It’s a terrific album through and through.       

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For more information about the artist, visit this website : markmay.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, August 1, 2020

#456 : BillyLee Janey - 20 Dollar Tip


2020 – BillyLee Janey

By Phillip Smith; Aug. 1, 2020

 

It’s always exciting to hear new material from Iowa Blues Hall of Fame member BillyLee Janey (Truth and Janey).  Janey’s bravado is a force to be reckoned with and his brand of electric blues is hard to beat.  For his latest album, 20 Dollar Tip, Janey returns to the studio with Dan ‘DJ’ Johnson on bass, Eric Douglas on drums, and Tom ‘T-Bone’ Giblin (Lonnie Brooks, The Dynatones, Mighty Joe Young) on Hammond B3 to produce an engaging, well-crafted record.   His son Bryce Janey mixed and mastered the record, and also appears on backing vocals.

Title-track “20 Dollar Tip” takes off in a dazzling fury with a wonderful display of searing guitar licks.  Flexing its muscles with a hard-driving rhythm and serious B3 back-up, it’s a great song to kick things off with.  Janey infuses a tasty bit of funk in his infectious tribute to delta blues in “Way Down in a Mississippi Town”.  This is definitely one of my favorites.  If there were a category for Best Soul Blues Song of the Year, “Love’s Gonna Stop That Train” would definitely be a contender.  The song is absolutely fabulous.  In “Stepping Out with the Blues”, Janey’s performance drips with Chicago-style authenticity, and sounds like perfection.  This nine-track album comes to a rollicking close with “Shake My Soul”, making for one hell of a blues jam. 

20 Dollar Tip is a splendid listen from start to finish, and highly recommended. 

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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.