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. 

---

          

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.

 


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 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.    

---


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.            

---

 

 

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.    


---


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.  

---



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.