Showing posts with label Sugaray Rayford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sugaray Rayford. Show all posts

Saturday, December 22, 2018

#367 : Sugaray Rayford - Somebody Save Me

2018 – Forty Below Records
Release Date : Mar. 1, 2019

By Phillip Smith; Dec. 22, 2018

My first exposure to Caron “Sugaray” Rayford was through listening to the Double Dynamite record from the Mannish Boys.  Rayford sang lead on nine of the twenty-six tracks on that double album.  Take a listen to any of his music, and it will become so very evident why he was nominated for four Blues Music Awards in 2018.  Written and produced by Forty Below Records founder Eric Corne, Somebody Save Me, the latest from Sugaray Rayford is bathed in the goodness of Sixties soul.  Rayford’s suave and powerful voice is accented quite nicely on this new recording with interesting hooks and a tight-knit band.  It’s much akin to the music of Charles Bradley, which I simply adore. The backbone of the band on this album consists of Rick Holmstrom on guitar, Matt Tecu on drums, Taras Prodaniuk on bass, and Sasha Smith on keys/organ.

The album begins with “The Revelator”, a hypnotic track with an Isaac Hayes delivery that magically beckons me like a porch light to a moth.  The bassline from Prodaniuk was quick to embed itself deep within my subconscious.  “Time to Get Moving” is a blues-soaked adrenalin jolt.  Its heightened pace is fortified with a groovy guitar twang from Holmstrom and topped with a juicy harp performance from Corne.  One listen to “You and I” and the music of Memphis’ Stax Records immediately comes to mind.  There’s certainly a call-back to the Memphis Horns with the sweet sounds of brass from Mark Pender on trumpet, Ron Dziubla on sax, and Richard A Rosenberg on trombone.  Swampy and dangerous, there’s an obvious Howlin’ Wolf vibe radiating off “I’d Kill For You, Honey”.  “Angels and Devils” keeps the atmosphere ominous, and unpredictable.  If ever there was a need for a blues-centric James Bond theme, this song would be on the top of the list.  Sugaray takes it nice and slow like Teddy Pendergrass on title track, “Somebody Save Me”.  His smooth, buttery vocals delicately dance atop a backing of violin and cello.  This definitely sets the mood for a slow dance.  

Sugaray is the real deal and Somebody Save Me is an amazing listen. 


For more information about the artist, visit this website :

You can help support the PhillyCheeze site by using my special link to purchase this album on Apple Music.

Clicking on the link below to purchase this terrific album from Amazon helps support the PhillyCheeze blog and website.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

#323 : Mick Kolassa - Double Standards

2017 – Swing Suit Records

By Phillip Smith; March 10, 2018

One can feel the heart and soul poured into the latest release from “Michissippi” Mick Kolassa.  Double Standards, a wonderful thirteen track album, celebrates some of the greatest blues songs to have been recorded.  Backing Kolassa in the studio is guitarist Jeff Jensen, bassist Bill Ruffino, drummer James Cunningham, and organist Chris Stephenson.   For this venture, Kolassa also enlists the participation of several notable musicians, who today are busy carving their own unique path to present the Blues.  These artists are Tullie Brae, Erica Brown, Annika Chambers, Heather Crosse, Tas Cru, Gracie Curran, David Dunavent, Alice Hasan, Eric Hughes, Colin John, Jeremy Powell, Patti Parks, Sugaray Rayford, and Victor Wainwright.

A big gracious nod goes out to the legendary bluesman Willie Dixon.  Performing as a duet with Kolassa, Erica Brown holds back nothing as she pours her soulful vocals into the classic “Spoonful”.  I love Jenson’s guitar performance and Stephenson’s organ arrangement on this track.  The lovely Heather Crosse joins in on “I Just Want to Make Love To You”.  Memphis’ Eric Hughes lays a heaping helping of luscious harmonica on this track.  It sounds great.  The dynamic duo of Kolassa and Sugaray Rayford double the ante on “300 Pounds of Heavenly Joy”, originally recorded by Howlin Wolf, to bring a grand total of “600 Pounds of Heavenly Joy” to the table.  Fortified with the guitar prowess of both Colin John, and Mike Kolassa, this track is a big bowlful of fun.

Victor Wainwright splendidly takes the vocal reins on Tampa Red’s 1928 hokum “It’s Tight Like That”, with Hughes icing the song with harmonica and Alice Hasan accompanying on violin.  Tas Cru lends his definitive voice to the Jimmy Cox penned standard, “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”.  This timeless classic is beautifully accompanied by Hason on violin and Jeremy Powell on piano.  Eric Hughes gives a smooth performance Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key to the Highway”.  It’s very nice indeed. 

Double Standards comes to a joyful conclusion in a full-fledged jamboree.  Each singer takes a turn on “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”, spinning their own off-the-cuff lyrics.  It’s a great track to close the album with, as the energy of the whole collective is funneled into this closing song. 



All Proceeds from Mick Kolassa’s albums will go to support two of these important programs: The HART Fund and Generation Blues.

THE HART FUND (Handy Artists Relief Trust) is for Blues musicians and their families in financial need due to a broad range of health concerns. The Fund provides for acute, chronic and preventive medical and dental care as well as funeral and burial expenses. 

GENERATION BLUES provides scholarship to artists under the age of 21 to study at reputable camps, seminars and workshop programs such as Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival, Augusta Heritage Center and Fernando Jones’ Columbia College Blues Camp.

Also reviewed on Phillycheeze’s Rock & Blues Reviews

Victor Wainwright and the WildRootsBoom Town

Tas Cru - Simmered & Stewed

Heather Crosse - Groovin’ at the Crosse Roads

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.