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.

 


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.    

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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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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 5, 2020

#461 : Peter Parcek - Mississippi Suitcase


 

2020 – Peter Parcek Lightning Records

 By Phillip Smith; Sep. 5, 2020

Boston-based blues guitarist Peter Parcek has hit a homerun with his third and latest album, Mississippi Suitcase.  I can certainly see why he was compared to the great Eric Clapton, by living-legend Buddy Guy.  This new eleven-track album is fully loaded with fabulous songs played with a fine-tuned finesse.  Backing Parcek in the studio is Tim Carman on drums, Tom West on keyboards, and Marc Hickox on electric bass,        

Parcek starts the album off with “The World is Upside Down”, an original down-and-dirty blues tune fitting for the times today.  Slathered in that North Mississippi hill country blues, this attention-grabber is loaded with wonderfully swampy slide guitar.  It nicely slides right into a captivating cover of Sleepy John Estes’ “Everybody Oughta Make a Change”.  It’s such a rush to hear Parcek sink his guitar pick into this one.  He takes a slightly psychedelic turn, breaking into Peter Green’s “The Supernatural” which first appeared on John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers’ A Hard Road album.  It’s a beautiful instrumental.  Luther Dickinson and Mickey Raphael make a guest appearance on an exuberant take on Cousin Joe’s “Life’s a One Way Ticket”.   It’s so cool to hear Parcek go toe-to-toe with Dickinson while Raphael is ripping it up on harp. 

Two unexpected but very notable covers on this album include an intoxicating instrumental of The Beatles’ “Elenor Rigby” and a killer rendering of Lou Reed’s “Waiting For the Man”.  Parcek definitely makes them both his own.  I love them both. 

Hearing the way Parcek pours himself into his performances on this album, is a big part of the allure of why I adore this album.  Mississippi Suitcase is such a splendid recording.

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