Showing posts with label American Showplace Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American Showplace Music. Show all posts

Saturday, October 19, 2019

#413 : Biscuit Miller and the Mix - Chicken Grease



2019 – American Showplace Music
By Phillip Smith; Oct. 19, 2019

Chicken Grease, the latest release from Biscuit Miller and the Mix is absolutely fabulous.  Miller, who took home the Blues Music Award for Bass Player of the Year in 2012 and 2017, fronts a tight band steeped in Chicago blues.  Their music is smothered in grease and fortified with funk.  The Mix consists of Doctor Love on drums, Bobby B. Wilson on guitar, Alex ‘Southside’ Smith on guitar, and John Ginty on Hammond B3, Vintage Vibe electric piano, and percussion.  

The funky groove of “Here Kitty Kitty” pulls me right in with its playful energy.  This one always puts a grin on my face.  “Two Legged Dog” keeps the funk flowing with a righteously contagious riff, and killer beat.  With lap-steel in hand, Marcus Randolph makes a couple of outstanding appearances: the first on “609”, and the second on title-track “Chicken Grease”.  Both are superb tracks, and Randolph sounds amazing.    

Biscuit’s smooth-as-silk vocals are front and center as he suavely slows it down with the soulful “Watching You”.  “Get Ready”, a song of peace and love, sweetly brings the album to a close with brilliant keys and a hot buttery baseline.

Chicken Grease is a must hear for blues and soul music aficionados.  It’s such an enjoyable listen from beginning to end.         

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For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.biscuitmiller.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 17, 2018

#363 : Sean Chambers - Welcome to My Blues



2018 –American Showplace Music
Release Date: October 19, 2018

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 17, 2018

Florida bluesman Sean Chambers knocks another out of the park with his seventh album, Welcome to My Blues.  Produced by Ben Elliot and including John Ginty on B3 and keys, bassist Todd Cook, and drummer Moe Watson, this record features eleven tracks plumb full of fine-crafted electric blues.      

Chambers greets the listener with infectious SRV-like riffs and searing hot licks on title-track “Welcome to My Blues”.  It’s magnificently performed.  “Black Eyed Suzie”, another Chambers original, is soaked in the swampy southern goodness of slide guitar.  Paired with the keyboard mastery from Ginty, it invokes the sounds of the Allman Brothers.  I can’t help but fall for his cover of Luther Allison’s “Cherry Red Wine”.  That is such a heavy tune, and Chambers pours every bit of himself into the song.  His vocals are heart-felt and his guitar playing is amazing.

With guest guitarist Jimmy Bennett (The Bennett Brothers) on slide and backing vocals, “One More Night to Ride” is funky and cool as hell. There’s a bit of a Black Oak Arkansas vibe in this ode to outlaws and motorcycles. The T-Bone Walker cover “All Night Long” is soulful and handled with care. Cook’s funky smooth bass line and Watson’s stellar beats usher the song to its destined greatness as it naturally builds into a glorious jam. 

Welcome to My Blues is what blues-guitar albums are supposed to sound like. It’s one of this year’s best.           


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To check out the PhillyCheeze review of Sean Chambers – Trouble and Whiskey ;


For more information about Sean Chambers, visit his website: http://www.seanchambers.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.   



Saturday, September 29, 2018

#354 : The Bennett Brothers - Not Made For Hire



2018 – American Showplace Music

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 29, 2018

New York musicians, guitarist Jimmy Bennett and bassist Peter Bennett first came to my awareness as the backbone of Alexis P. Suter Band.  Their presence on blues-rock albums from Bruce Katz, John Ginty, and Marcus Randolph captured my attention even more.  This summer, the Bennett Brothers released their debut album, Not Made For Hire, a powerful blues-rock album filled with a fistful of electric guitar and lots of groove. Drummer Lee Falco and keyboardist John Ginty bring their mojo to the band as well, forming a tight-knit outfit of musicians.

A searing blast of Texas-style electric blues greets the listener in “Junkyard Dog”.  Falco holds nothing back on drums as he drives this revving fully-loaded beast with ripping guitar from Jimmy.  The B3 sounds of Ginty is sweet icing on this cake.  The Bennett Brothers give an intoxicating performance in a wonderful, riveting way in “I Just Don’t Want the Blues Today”.  This one also features the lovely vocals of Linda Pino backing them up.  She definitely adds a layer of heartfelt emotion to the song.  The rocking contagious riffs in “What’d I Do” have a fabulous way to burrowing right inside to my core, and I love every bit of it.  The album ends in a tremendous way when the needle drops on “I Got a Woman”.  The guitar/organ intro generates a wave of excitement and captivates my attention.  Within ten seconds, the groove is set with a the funky rhythm and rides the spiraling B3 organ delightfully to its cosmic end.   

Not Made For Hire is the real deal.  This is what Blues-Rock is all about.

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Links to other PhillyCheeze Rock & Blues Reviews featuring the Bennett Brothers :

Marcus Randolph My Peeples Peeple - Transplant

John Ginty - No Filter

John Ginty - Bad News Travels Live CD/DVD

Bruce Katz Band - Homecoming

The Alexis P Suter Band - Love the Way You Roll




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.     




Saturday, October 7, 2017

Marcus Randolph My Peeples Peeple - Transplant


2017 –American Showplace Music
Release Date : Oct 20, 2017

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 7, 2017

Transplant, the debut release from Marcus Randolph My Peeples Peeple, is quite the captivating and funky listen.  Randolph (founding member of the Robert Randolph and the Family Band) holds court on drums and vocals, along with both steel and acoustic guitars.  Joining Randolph on this recording is drummer Dwayne “Duce” Snelling Jr, John Ginty on B3 organ and piano, bassists Michael Randolph Jr, and Walton “A.J.” Mims, guitarists Will “B.J.” Nelson, Jimmy Bennett, and Joey Williams, and backing vocalist Shawn “The Bishup” Herbert.    

A chill hypnotic beat and a ripping guitar riff usher the album in on title track, “Transplant”, a song of gratitude to Randolph’s wife who unselfishly gave him another chance at life by donating one of her kidneys to him in 2011.  I love the swampy steel guitar on “Sucka” and how it is immersed in a funky Isaac Hayes-era Stax-friendly jam.

I can’t help but break a smile on “Lift Me Up”.  Starting with a simple beat and an acoustic guitar, this fabulous song grows to a much grander version of itself.  Another point of light is “In My Heart”, superbly performed and sung with the conviction of Stevie WonderRandolph slathers extra helpings of tasty steel guitar on “63 Hog Drive”, an outstanding jammin’ blues instrumental.  When joined by the rest of the band, it turns into one hell of a jamboree.  


Transplant comes to a smooth R&B finish with “Diggin’ Me a Hole” featuring guest artist Brian Harris aka Wonder on vocals.  Eleven tracks of fresh and funky all-original music grace the album, making for a magnificent record.

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Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon store.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sean Chambers - Trouble & Whiskey


2017 – American Showplace Music  
By Phillip Smith; Apr 15, 2017


From 1998 to 2003, Sean Chambers toured as lead guitarist and band leader for the legendary bluesman Hubert Sumlin. During that time, Chambers was named by Guitarist Magazine as “One of the Top 50 blues guitarists of the last century”.  His sixth release, Trouble & Whisky is fully-loaded with raw electrified blues.  Backing Chambers is drummer Kris Schnebelen(Trampled Under Foot) , bassist Todd Cook, and Michael Hensley on B3 and piano.

Right out of the gate, the driving rhythm and searing blues in “I Need Your Lovin” sets the tone for the whole album.  Chambers’ slide guitar on “Bottle Keeps Staring at Me” gets so red hot, it scorches.  The infectious hook sets in and does not let go.  With Schnebelen nailing down a thunderous performance on drums, Chambers takes on Rory Gallagher’s “Bullfrog Blues” with unbridled force.  I love the way Chambers’ guitar wails with emotion in his rendition of s B.B. King’s “Be Careful with a Fool”.  It’s plumb terrific. Special guest, John Ginty, one of my favorite keyboardists today, lays down some groovy keys on his B3 in the soulful jamboree of “Travelin’ North”.  It melts like butter with Cook’s funky bassline.  The song soars skyward as Chambers takes control of this wonderful instrumental.

Trouble & Whiskey is about as good as it gets.  It is indeed a powerful album.





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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.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Chris O’Leary - Gonna Die Tryin’


2015 – American Showplace Music
By Phillip Smith; Jan 16, 2016

Gonna Die Tryin’, the fourth album from singer/song-writer/blues harpist extraordinaire, Chris O’Leary digs its claws in deep and pulls the listener right in.  O’Leary delivers eleven tracks of original smokin’ hot blues with the help of his band, guitarist Chris Vitarello, tenor saxophonist Andy Stahl, baritone saxophonist Chris Difrancesco, bassist Matt Raymond, and drummer Jay Devlin.

One of the things I admire about O’Leary is the fact that he seems to puts as much thought into his lyrics as he does his music.  When his music takes that slight turn to the dark side, and he just lets loose on that voice of his, I’m immediately reminded of music fave, Tom Waits.  I love Vitarello’s tangy blues riffs and Bruce Katz’s barrelhouse piano on the lead track, “Can’t Help Yourself”.  O’Leary’s badass gravelly vocals and stellar harp playing lead the way on title track “Gonna Die Tryin’”, a killer track with a hell of a lot of soul.  Vitarello’s suave and tasty guitar licks are greeted by Katz’s groovy keyboard finesse on this one.  I dig the horns and funky rhythm on “Hook Line and Sinker”.  This tune seemingly pays homage to that sweet Memphis soul music which came out of Stax Records in the Sixties. The track is very nice indeed.     


I’m pretty much knocked out by this album.  It’s surely one of my favorite releases this year.   




Saturday, October 17, 2015

Todd Wolfe Band - Long Road Back


2015 – American Showplace Music
By Phillip Smith; Oct. 17, 2015

The Todd Wolfe Band seems to just get better and better.  Wolfe surrounds himself with some of the most talented musicians around: drummer Roger Voss, bassist Justine Gardner, and the master of the B3, John Ginty.  Since Wolfe’s last album was released in 2013, his band has spent over 200 nights on the road touring the world.  It was during these travels; the band wrote and developed material for his ninth album, Long Road Back.  It’s an intelligent mix of mind-bending Rock and Blues.  

Title track “Long Road Back” is pure Southern Rock with an Allman Brothers/Govt Mule vibe.  I’d love to hear this one with an extended jam.  “Poison” has all the qualities of a hit song.  Wolfe lets loose some really nice bluesy guitar licks while Ginty’s luscious B3 attacks and Gardner’s funky bassline slide nicely into place. This is just a fantastic piece. “Fire Me Up” has a nice homey groove, and seemingly calls back to his days working with Sheryl Crow.  Wolfe throws a little Southern seasoning into “Annalee” which hums down the track like a freight train tearing cross-country.  I love the slide guitar screams he injects into the song.

Wolfe breathes a phenomenal new life into Stephen Still’s “Black Queen”.  This rockin’ jewel, slathered in a heavy dose of Seventies psychedelia, is such a delightful listen.  They also give a stellar performance, taking on Cream’s “Outside Woman Blues”.  
   
Voss bangs out a cool as hell tribal beat which leads in to the witchy “Hoodoo River”.  Sporting infectious grooves saturated in trance blues, this is a splendid song to chill to.  Ginty plays the hell out of this one, and Wolfe’s guitar playing is simply amazing.   “Gone” is another track that blows me away.  It’s fuzzier, funkier, and contagious as hell.

There is so much going on in the music in this album, I hear something new and interesting each time I hear it.  Needless to say, Long Road Back is a fabulous album and indeed a terrific listen.  







Saturday, September 19, 2015

John Ginty- No Filter


2015 –American Showplace Music
By Phillip Smith; Sep 19, 2015


Not only is John Ginty an amazing keyboardist, he surrounds himself with amazing talent and continues to release the most outstanding music I’ve heard.  Ginty returns to Showplace Studios in Dover, NJ with guitarist Mike Buckman, bass player Paul Kuzik, and drummers, Dan Fadel and Andrei Koribanics to record his latest masterpiece of all original songs, No Filter.

The album begins and ends with the funky and very soulful “Fredo”, taking its name from the character Frederico "Fredo" Corleone from Mario Puzo’s Godfather.  The first time we hear the song, it is an instrumental, but when we hear the remix at the end, it takes on a whole new personality.  The one and only Redman throws down rhymes of his own mastery infusing a hip-hop vibe into this wonderful track about backstabbers and losers.   

“Old Shoes”, featuring the magnificent contralto voice of Alexis P. Suter and swampy guitar from Jimmy Bennett, is wonderfully bluesy.  Suter belts this song out with attitude and conviction.  Cara Kelly takes the mic on the colossal R&B track “Battlegrounds”.  Ginty tosses everything he’s got into his performance, bombarding the soul on every level.  While on the topic of ‘soul’, Ginty commandeers the bus and drives us to his chapel for a “Rock ‘n Roll Sunday”.  I love the sound of the B3 on this poppy and spirited track sung by Paul Gerdts.  Now this is my kind of church music.  Amen!






Saturday, April 4, 2015

Slam Allen - Feel These Blues


2015 – American Showplace Music
By Phillip Smith; April 4, 2015


Step inside, Slam Allen’s latest album, Feel These Blues, and allow yourself to soak up all the soulful house-rockin’ goodness you can.  Don’t worry about being greedy, there’s plenty for everyone.  Listening to the blues being performed at the level Allen plays is such a joy.  Having worked his way up through the ranks by being lead guitarist and lead singer for James Cotton for nine years, Allen’s years of experience is felt in every song.  With a band composed of bassist Jeff Anderson, drummer Dan Fadel, and organist/pianist extraordinaire John Ginty, Allen delivers eleven delightful original tracks, and a surprising cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain”.

Allen jump-starts things with title track “Feel These Blues”, a high-energy boogie with fantastic, bluesy guitar licks.  It’s a perfect song to set the album in motion with.  Keeping the blues bus a rolling is “All Because of You”.  This stand-out track, topped with Ginty’s B3 is slathered with Allen’s soulful guitar and vocals.  There’s an undeniable Memphis Stax influence on “Can’t Break Away From That Girl”.  Allen seeming channels Otis Redding, while throwing in little Steve Cropper-ish licks on guitar.  I love the funky, feel-good groove built around Anderson’s bassline.  All this, along with a little church added via Ginty on organ, makes the track a bona fide favorite.  For a feel-good song which exudes positive energy, nothing beats “That’s Where You Are”.  From the opening bassline to the closing organ outro, this luscious track puts a smile on my face every time.   

Slam Allen keeps the writing real and the performances fresh. Feel the Blues is “Top-Shelf” blues at its best.









Saturday, January 24, 2015

John Ginty - Bad News Travels Live CD/DVD


2014 – American Showplace Music 
By Phillip Smith; Jan 24, 2015


John Ginty’s latest album, Bad News Travels Live, is an electrified bowl of funky blues., New Jersey B-3 master Ginty recorded this twelve track, two disc album this past June, in front of a small audience, at Showplace Studios, in Dover NJ.  His band is composed of guitarist Mike Buckman, bass player Paul Kuzik, and drummers, Dan Fadel and Andrei Koribanics.  Joining Ginty was a superstar cast of guest musicians consisting of Albert Castiglia, Todd Wolfe, Chris Jacobs, Alexis P. Suter, and Jimmy Bennett.   

Saturated with a suitcase full of soul, Ginty’s playing reminds me so much of Booker T Jones.  Dripping of Sixties-era Memphis soul music, “Switch” emits a wave of encompassing good vibrations. “Arrivals” follows suit and continues the vibe.  

Tempos and moods both change when “Black Cat” comes around.  This slow-cooked blues tune, turns into a furious dueling jam between Albert Castiglia’s nitro-fueled guitar licks and Ginty’s ‘too hot to handle’ B-3 sounds.  Castiglia appears again for the Allman Brothers flavored tune, “Damage Control”.  Also lending a hand on that track is guitarist Chris Jacobs and singer Alexis P. Suter, who wonderfully belts out the lyrics with her amazingly deep trademark voice.  Suter also sings on the soulful R&B song, “Seven and the Spirit”.  I like the way it playfully closes out with a homage to both Otis Redding and The Blues Brothers, giving us a little taste of “I Can’t Turn You Loose”.     

“Rock Ridge” embodies the spirit of the late Frank Zappa, with its unique chord progressions and fascinating tempo changes.  A flawless guitar performance from Todd Wolfe and an awe-inspiring display of Ginty’s musical chops, make this a favorite.

I like how the entire cast is gathered together for the finale, “Trinity”.  This jam lasts nearly nine minutes in length, and leaves the listener uplifted, much the same way one would expect to feel exiting an old-time gospel tent revival.  It certainly leaves me with a smile on my face.  Bad News Travels Live is definitely one of the better live recordings I've heard in a while.