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© 2010 Blues Blast Magazine
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Hey Blues Fans,
Sad news!The 20th annual Pocono Blues Festival, held at Big Boulder, PA scheduled for July 29th, 30th, and 31st, 2011, has been cancelled by its sponsors. Peak Resorts is cutting back on all of its off-season events because of poor economic conditions.
A press release from the company states, "due to the current economic landscape, Peak Resorts felt the need to restructure the current operation and focus on the primary business of winter sports." While the resort is said to have been reluctant to cancel the popular festival, the company said that they "will not sacrifice the quality and integrity of the events by cutting corners as drastically as would be required." This is bad news for the Blues fans on the east coast and across the country.
There is some good new for Blues fans in Pennsylvania. We spoke today with the promoters of the Briggs Farm Blues Festival in Nescopeck, PA. The 14th annual Briggs Farm Blues Festival is happening as planned on July 9 & 10th, 2010.
Information on their Holiday Special Discount pricing for advanced tickets from now through January 1, 2011 and their Early Bird Discount available from January 2, 2011 through May 8, 2011 is available now. CLICK HERE
Their lineup will be announced soon. Stay Tuned!
We made it out to hear The Kilborn Alley Blues Band last week. They played most of the first set as a quartet without a harp player. They performed several new songs which have yet to be recorded. Based on what we heard, you are going to like the next Kilborn album! Below are photos of Andy Duncanson, Ed O'Hara, Chris Breen and Josh Stimmel.
In This Issue
Our featured Blues video this week is from an episode of the PBS show "History Detectives" about Blues legend Josh White. We think you may learn a bit about this great artist. We did!
We have five Blues music reviews this week! Mark Thompson reviews a new CD from The Homemade Jamz Blues Band. John Mitchell reviews a new CD by Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin' Altar Boys. Steve Jones reviews a new CD to benefit Northern Louisiana Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Foundation called Louisiana Swamp Stomp. George "Blues Fin Tuna" Fish reviews a new CD by Piano Red. James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new DVD from Ana Popovic. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
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Featured Blues Video
This video clip is from the PBS show "History Detectives" and features quite a bit of information on legendary Bluesman Josh White.
This episode focuses on a guitar that Guild built for Josh in 1965 and provides history and context on the life of Josh White. Great background on this famous artists and his role in the culture of the 1960's folk music boom.
Featured Blues Review 1 of 5
The Homemade Jamz Blues Band- The Game
It’s confession time.
I have a strong bias against all of the attention heaped on young blues musicians. There are plenty of them – and most play their instruments quite well. And more than a few of them can deliver a quality vocal.
My sticking points start with the media attention that is quick to praise a musician more for the novelty of their age than musical ability, at the expense of truly talented players that have been out there on the road for decades. And has a pre-teen or teenager acquired enough life experiences to really “understand” the blues, to move beyond youthful angst to expressing the depth of human emotions. Have these youngsters really paid their dues ??
Another confession – I had not taken the time to listen to either of the first two releases by the Homemade Jamz Blues Band. I reluctantly agreed to review their new release, not expecting much even though the band has received many enthusiastic write-ups.
Well, the HJBB has set the record straight and made a believer out of me. The three members of the group are siblings – Ryan Perry (18 years old ) on guitar and vocals, Kyle (16) on bass and Taya (12) on drums. Their father, Renaud, helps out on harmonica and tambourine. The family has a real nice cottage industry going as they put this disc out themselves and Renaud wrote all of the songs for this project. Dad also built the double-neck guitar and six string bass his sons play, utilizing automotive mufflers for the bodies. Collectively, they bring an enthusiasm to the music that can be hard to find these days – and deliver exceptional performances that put to rest any questions of age.
Ryan opens the disc with a mournful cry that leads into “Washing Clothes”, a jubilant tribute to a woman who “..shakes like a Buick on a gravel road.” Listen to the rousing rendition of “Burned Down the House”. Over a taut beat and his dad's harp, Ryan lays down an emotionally-charged vocal about his girlfriend exacting vengeance after finding out about his infidelity, sounding like it just happened to him yesterday. “I'm the Man” finds Ryan stating his claim as the lover supreme over a grinding rhythm. Renaud makes great use of sports analogies in the lyrics to “the Game”, with Ryan's smoky voice shouting out as he heads toward the endzone before unleashing a frenzied guitar solo.
On “Gotta Bad Bad Feeling”, Ryan's guitar tone and playing will bring to mind Jimi Hendrix. And his urgent vocal is a perfect fit for this slow blues track. The band ups the tempo on “Duck Hill Stomp”, combining the boogie beat with a Mississippi hill country stomp with Ryan's guitar playing off his father's harp. Ryan switches to slide on “Nothings Changed for the Po”, his biting guitar riffs accenting the updating of the classic blues theme. The band settles into a strong groove on “Blues Train” while taking listeners on a musical journey through the state of Mississippi.
Kyle and Taya are a rock-solid rhythm section throughout the disc, injecting a propulsive energy into every track. Ryan is a star in the making. His vocals are consistently delivered with the appropriate emotional edge and his guitar work is quite impressive as well. Already veterans after just a few years together, they tear through their father's songs with skill that belies their age. This is a band – and a recording – that everyone needs to hear. They certainly changed my way of thinking!!
Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL.
Blues Society News
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Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL
Crossroads Blues Society is proud to sponsor a benefit for the Lance Corporal Alec Catherwood Memorial Scholarship Fund on Saturday, January 15, 2011. The benefit will be at the American Legion hall in Byron, IL and will run from 7 to 11 PM. JB Ritchie and the Power Blues band will play their rocking style of hot Chicago blues.
The evening will also feature silent auctions, ticket raffles and a 50-50 raffle. The suggested donation to attend is $10 per person. All proceeds from the door and event go to the Alec Catherwood Memorial Scholarship Fund. Alec was killed in action in Afghanistan on October 14, 2010 and the scholarship fund was set up in his honor. To donate items for the silent auction and raffles or for more information call Steve Jones at 779-537-4006.
The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society - Marietta, Ohio
The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society will host the 19th Annual River City Ohio Blues Competition on February 18 & 19, 2011, at the historic Lafayette Hotel in Marietta. Blues Bands and Solo/Duo blues acts will compete for cash prizes and BJFMS sponsorship to the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN, in early 2012.
First place will receive $1,200 in cash and BJFMS sponsorship to the IBC. Second place wins $600 and third place wins $300. No geographic restrictions apply. Any serious blues musician is invited to apply. Winning this preliminary competition gets your ticket punched to Memphis, and offers valuable exposure to record labels, A&R representatives, blues industry professionals and festival promoters capable of providing real career advancement.
Complete information, format, Application & Rules are available online at www. bjfm.org. Deadline for application submission is January 8, 2011. For more information contact Steve Wells at 304-295-4323 or email email@example.com
Blues Blowtorch Society - Bloomington, IL
In case you haven't heard...we've moved our December 17th 3rd Friday Blues event to The Castle Theatre at 209 East Washington Street in Bloomington, Illinois 309-820-0352. BBS Presents Blues with RCBS Blues Challenge Winners Matthew Curry & the Blues Fury at 7 PM.
Please be aware that The Castle Theater charges a cover. This event is $5, but with your BBS membership card discount it is only $2! However, you MUST have your BBS membership card to purchase the discount tickets at the door. If you can't find your card, email Frank Black firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to send you a new one, but hurry mail is running slow.
Grafton Blues Society - Grafton. WI
The Grafton Blues Association is holding it's next membership meeting on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at the Bridge Inn (1216 Bridge Street) in Grafton, WI. The meeting starts at 7 pm and there will be appetizers and a possible guest appearance by Santa. Member band Highway 414 will host the open blues jam as part of the meeting. For more information on the Grafton Blues Association visit: www.graftonblues.org
Windy City Blues Society - Chicago, IL
Please join the Windy City Blues Society (WCBS) at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted (2519 N. Halsted, Chicago) on Sunday, December 12 at 9:30 pm for a fundraiser to support Rob Blaine’s Big Otis Blues, the winners of the Band Competition of the 2010 Chicago Blues Challenge (CBC). This band is headed to Memphis to compete in the 2011 International Blues Challenge in February. Proceeds from these fundraising events along with funds raised at all the CBC events will enable the WCBS to send these performers to Memphis.
For those wishing to help us send our artists to Memphis but are unable to attend one of our fundraisers, please send checks to the address below payable to the Windy City Blues Society with the words “Memphis or Bust!” in the subject line.
Windy City Blues Society
Chicago Blues Challenge
PO Box 7389
Chicago, IL 60680-7389
Colorado Blues Society - Boulder, CO
Sunday November 28th The Colorado Blues Society and Boulder Outlook are presenting Otis Taylor’s Trans Blues Certified Jam Work Shop. Join Otis for a rare opportunity to learn his unique perspective on music. Otis has played with a virtual who’s who of Blues stars over the years and has won numerous Blues Foundation awards. The workshop runs from 1PM to 5PM with a Live one hour jam with Otis and the Students at 6PM. Followed by an open Blues Jam hosted by Lionel Young.
The workshop is open to all ages and all levels. It’s for musicians, singers, writers and educators, even poets. All instruments welcome, acoustic and electric (bring your amp if electric). The cost is $40 per student. To reserve your spot call the Boulder Outlook at 303-443-3322. 800 28th Street, Boulder, CO. There is no specific level or age, kids are particularly welcome, as are teachers. The Colorado Blues Society will be providing four scholarships for hardship cases. www.coblues.com
Also The Colorado Blues Society is holding their 1st Annual Holiday Party & Benefit December 11, 2010. Headlining the show will be 2009 IBC winners, JP Soars and the Red Hots. Opening the event will be young guitar wizard Taylor Marvin, the Colorado Blues Society two-time Youth Showcase performer at the IBCs in 2010 and 2011.
Show starts at 6PM. Tickets are $10 and on sale at the Boulder Outlook. In addition to seeing a great show this is for a great cause. We are collecting for the Emergency Family Assistance Association ( E.F.A.A), so please bring your donations to help. EFAA can use canned goods (chili, tuna and peanut butter are hot items, but all are welcome) and also these families can use toiletries like—shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and lotion. Tis the season for giving so bring as many items as you like! Plus, all money, after expenses will go to E.F.A.A
River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL
The River City Blues Society presents Blues guitarist Chris Beard December 19th, 2010. The shows start at 7:00pm at Good Fellas Pizza and Pub, 1414 N 8TH St Pekin, IL. Admission for all shows is $4 or $3 for RCBS members.
Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA
The Mississippi Valley Blues Society invites you to a holiday party Friday December 10 at The Muddy Waters, 1708 State Street, Bettendorf. John Resch and the Detroit Blues will providing music. Their sound is reminiscent of Chicago electric blues from the ‘50s and ‘60s. John Resch and the Detroit Blues were voted Best Band in the Quad Cities in 2001, won the Iowa Blues Challenge in 2002, released a well-reviewed CD in 2004 and have played numerous festivals and venues around the Midwest.
Doors open at 7pm with food being served at 7:30; the music starts at 9:00. Admission is $10, $5 for MVBS members. www.mvbs.org PH 563-322-5837, MWF 11:30 - 1:30, 2:00 - 5:30
ALSO Join MVBS in Memphis for the IBC in February! The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge [IBC] will take place in Memphis February 2-5, 2011, and the Quad-Cities’ Steady Rollin’ Blues Band will be there to represent the state of Iowa. We are trying to organize a contingent to go down together for this event.
If you are interested in being part of a party bus traveling to Memphis in the early hours of Wednesday February 2 and returning on Sunday February 6, please contact Lonnie Britt. You can e-mail him at email@example.com or call him at 309-737-5087.
We have also reserved a block of rooms through Linda Kibak, the travel agent for Big City Rhythm & Blues magazine. Unless you are a member of the Blues Foundation, rooms at the host hotel, the Doubletree on Union Avenue, are already sold out. Linda has reserved us a block of 25 rooms for February 2-5 at the Benchmark, right across the street from the Doubletree on Union Avenue, about 3 blocks from Beale Street. The rooms are $114 per night, both kings and doubles, smoking and non-smoking.
To reserve your room, please contact Linda by e-mail before January 12 at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com . You will need to tell her what kind of room you want (king or double, smoking or non) and give her your credit card number to guarantee the room. www.mvbs.org PH 563-322-5837, MWF 11:30 - 1:30, 2:00 - 5:30
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $3 cover. December 13 - Studebaker John & the Hawks, Dec 20 - Brooke Thomas and The Blue Suns, Dec 27 - The Sally Weisenburg Blues Trio. icbluesclub.org
The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL
2010 Friends of the Blues shows - Tuesday, December 14, Shawn Pittman (Texas Blues trio), 7 p.m., Kankakee Valley Boat Club, 1600 Cobb Boulevard, Kankakee IL 60901. (815) 936-1699.
|2007 Blewzzy Award Best CD Winner & Blues Blast Magazine Best Song Nominee Release Second CD|
|Steve Gerard & The National Debonaires |
Words Are Like Bullets
|Order at www.blueedgerecords.com plus CD Baby and iTunes|
Featured Blues Review 2 of 5
Reverend Raven And The Smokin’ Altar Boys – Shake Your Boogie
13 tracks; 62.04 minutes
The Reverend spent 15 years serving in the Navy where one of his duties was to counsel sailors who found themselves in hot water. His charges gave him the nickname Reverend and it stuck. The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys sounds like it was a natural addition, especially once you hear the hot blues these guys serve up!
The band began in 1996 and this is their fourth CD. They are a very hard working band whose gig list is already pretty full right through 2011. They are based in Wisconsin, but tour extensively, with Florida, Canada and the Virgin Islands on their gig list for next year.
The music on this CD is excellent, well played and recorded, with variety but most importantly a fair degree of excitement. The core of the band is Reverend Raven on guitar and vocals, PT Pedersen on bass, Bobby Lee Sellers on drums (and vocals on two cuts) and Big Al Groth on sax. Madison Slim provides harp and vocals on four tracks, where an alternative rhythm section of Andre Maritato on bass and Spencer Panosh on drums sit in and the sax is absent. Piano and organ are provided by either Mickey Larson or Danny Moore on most tracks. Reverend Raven wrote three of the songs, with the sole instrumental being from the pen of the bass player. Gerry Hundt, former member of Nick Moss’ Fliptops is the author of two tracks and covers come from Hound Dog Taylor, Slim Harpo, Little Milton, St Louis Jimmy Oden, Robert Nighthawk and Sonny Boy Williamson. The album was recorded live on stage in Milwaukee, but from the absence of any crowd noise I assume that it was ‘live’ without an audience.
The CD starts off with a strong quartet of songs, two being Reverend Raven originals. Opener “Looking For Love” features Big Al’s sax over a riff not far away from “Checking Up On My Baby”. The Rev’s vocals are clear and well suited to this mid-paced swinger where his lady is encouraged to “put it on a train, put it on a truck, put it on a plane, put it on a bus, first stop Chicago, I need your love”. Second track is Gerry Hundt’s “Stomping And Shouting”, a slide driven tune with powerhouse drumming and classic piano supporting The Rev’s Elmore style playing. Once again, the sax break is right on the money.
Next up is the second Reverend original “You Didn’t Even Say Goodbye” which features some nice sax/guitar ensemble playing and excellent solos from both lead players. Little Milton’s “Just Count The Days” is a slow blues with drummer Bobby Lee Sellers singing, lovely rolling piano from Mickey Larson and a sax solo that builds from a slow, sinuous beginning to a real storming climax.
There is a different feel to the material recorded with Madison Slim. Track 5 is an energetic take on St Louis Jimmy’s “She’s Murder”, with fast paced drumming pushing the beat along. The harp playing is strong here and Madsion Slim’s voice is a little less smooth than The Reverend’s. All these features make it an excellent choice to spread the four tunes recoded with that ensemble through the album as it affords more variety.
Next up is the second track sung by Bobby Lee Sellers, Robert Nighthawk’s “Bricks In My Pillow”, the stop/start rhythm on the drums is assisted by piano and that provides a good cushion for an exuberant guitar break. Track 7 “Like Wolf”, again performed by the alternate group with Madison Slim, is by SBW and the low down harp intro sets the tone for a classic Chicago sound. Hound Dog Taylor’s “The Woman I Love” follows, naturally with plenty of slide but also the sax soaring out of the mix to blend with the guitar, overall making for an exciting ride along the longest track on the CD.
After that we need a change of pace and it is provided by the final original “I Can Do You Right”, a slow blues with a melancholy tale of love gone cold. An elegant and emotional sax solo sonically locates us in the same sad place as the lyric. Instrumental tune “PT’s Home Cooking” follows, offering solo opportunities for everyone which are keenly taken on a tune that is almost rock n’ roll.
The alternate band reappears on a take of Slim Harpo’s “Mailbox Blues” which features The Reverend’s guitar strongly, even including a bit of the “chicken scratch” rhythm. “Walking To Chicago” is the final cut of the main band and the second from the pen of Gerry Hundt. A strong guitar solo and the final appearance of Big Al’s sax make this an enjoyable track. The last track is again from the alternate band, a fast paced romp through Big Joe Williams’ “Shake Your Boogie” which provides the title of the CD. Some nice piano features here, as well as strong harp and guitar.
Overall I really enjoyed this CD and recommend it highly. I see that Reverend Raven And The Smokin’ Altar Boys are playing at the pre-cruise party for the January Blues Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, so I very much look forward to the opportunity of seeing them live. I do not expect to be disappointed!
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He recently attended the Blues Blast Awards in Chicago and had a great time! Back in the USA for the January 2011 Blues Cruise!
|I Got The Blues... All Because Of You is an eclectic mix of female blues classics and of originals written by G'Jai. This CD will make you reminisce of a time when women reigned supreme in the Blues world.|
|I Got The Blues All Because Of You|
|Available at |
|With some blues classics like "Chirping The Blues", and a link to the present with originals like "Little Lady From Detroit". "You can't look to the future without embracing your past!"|
Featured Blues Review 3 of 5
Louisiana Swamp Stomp
The newly founded Northern Louisiana Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Foundation is dedicated to raise awareness of brain and spinal cord injuries and to help the funding of neurological research in Louisiana. Louisiana is significantly deficient in this research because of little available funding. Organized by Paul McCarthy, Ph.D., Buddy Flett was his inspiration for creating the Foundation. Flett was afflicted with encephalitis and, after many months of treatment and rehab, has returned to the music he loves to play. Flett was treated at LSU Health Sciences-Shreveport and was instrumental in bringing Louisiana's blues and cajun musicians out for this great cause. He also appears on the CD with a mean rendition of “Livin’ Ain’t Easy”.
The CD was produced by Honeybee Entertainment and features 15 superb tracks by a veritable “Who’s Who” of musical greats and some exceptional local favorites like Carol Fran, Lil Buck Senegal and Dwayne Dopsie whose creole blues and zydeco are upbeat and just a joy to listen to. Larry Garner, who along with Fran, is a surviving stroke victim, offers up some deep guitar blues on “It’s Killing Me” with Stanley Buckwheat Dural Jr assisting him. They also rollick on “Ms. Boss” to close the set.
Chicago greats also help out for the cause. Omar Coleman opens the set with the classics “Scratch My Back” and later offers up “Mojo Hand”; the vocals and harp are sublimely greased up and just a load of fun. Henry Gray (originally from Kenner, LA) offers up some of his classic vocals and piano work on “Times Are Getting Hard” and “How Could You Do It” and is as youthful in his approach as he was when he worked with Howlin’ Wolf in the ‘50’s.
Charlene Howard’s “Send Me Someone to Love” tender and soulful. Little Freddie King offers up a down home version of “Can’t Do Nothing Babe”. The highlights of the CD may be Percy Sledge with “First You Cry” and “Swamp Stomp” by Sonny Landreth. Percy just drips with his charm and sweet voice is in great form; Landreth just wails away on the CD’s hottest track, a classical cajun instrumental.
McCarthy and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith co-produced this great album. While it was intended as a fundraiser, it is also a marvelous set of tunes crafted by a talented batch of musicians with a deep appreciation for the cause and the music they make. Any blues and cajun music fan would be proud to own this and would enjoy listening to the fantastic assortment of fine artists giving their all. This one’s a no brainer-no play on words or insult intended; it helps a great cause and you’ll get many hours of enjoyment with this one!.
Featured Blues Review 4 of 5
Piano Red - The Lost Atlanta Tapes
Total time: 60:52
Blues piano legend Piano Red was the younger brother by 17 years of another blues piano legend, Speckled Red. Born William Lee “Willie” Perryman in 1911, Piano Red had a musical career that lasted half a century, and which extended from playing for rent parties and fish fries as a teenager to travelling with Blind Willie McTell, playing in the barrelhouses during the Depression years, becoming a vital force in rock ‘n’ roll, and finally being recognized as the artist he was at the end. He played the blues festivals in Europe and the U.S.; had as avid fans blues-rockers Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and Bill Wyman; was the subject of a song written by Badfinger’s Pete Ham; performed at the inauguration of German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt; recorded two blues classics in 1951 which both went gold; and was even lucky enough to have fairly steady work from the 1950s on, hosting his own radio show on Atlanta’s WOAK from 1953-1967, touring the South as Dr. Feelgood and the Interns in the 1960s, and performing regular gigs at Atlanta’s Muhlenbrink’s Saloon and, later, at the Excelsior Mill. It was at the Excelsior Mill where The Lost Atlanta Tapes was recorded as a live show on October 11, 1984, when Red was 73 years old. Or young (at least vocally, and as a piano player), which is what this exciting, joy-to-listen-to CD certainly demonstrates.
This just-over-an-hour live recording can justifiably claim to be an historical event, capturing as it does not only 18 tracks of scintillating blues performed by one of its major piano artists and vocalists, but also a slice of blues music history in the wide-ranging repertoire of material handled—from such very early blues classics as “St. Louis Blues” (track 13), “C.C. Rider” (track 5) and Leadbelly’s folk staple, “Cotton Fields,” (track 8) through Piano Red’s three (yes, three!) distinctive signature songs from the 1950s and 1960s: “Rockin’ with Red” (his first gold record, track 17), “The Right String (But the Wrong Yo Yo) (his follow-up hit to “Rockin’ with Red,” and also a gold record in 1951; track 10), and the ending track, “Dr. Feelgood” (Red’s radio show gave him a second moniker, Dr. Feelgood, under which he recorded an LP, with this song issued as a smashing rock ‘n’ roll single which I heard as a teenager in Illinois in 1962).
Of the 18 tracks on The Lost Atlanta Tapes, seven are previously unreleased. Nine of the tracks are Piano Red originals: in addition to the three signature songs given above, on the CD are also opening tracks 1 and 2, “She’s Mine” and ‘My Baby’s Gone;” track 4, “Let’s Get It On; “Baby, Please Don’t Go, “track 6 (quite different from the Big Joe Williams classic); “Let’s Have a Good Time Tonight,” track 12; and “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Lowdown Dog No More,” track 14. Piano Red introduces “My Baby’s Gone” with the comment, “I used to live the blues years ago, an’ that’s when I learned to play ‘em,” most apt commentary on the essence of the blues, even when exuberantly played and sung, as they are on The Lost Atlanta Tapes. For always underneath the exuberance, the dialectic of rocking music combined with poignant lyrics, is the reality of Black life that’s expressed in Sonny Boy Williamson I’s line, “Laughin’ just to keep from cryin’,” and which Piano Red notes matter-of-factly as “I used to live the blues….” For The Lost Atlanta Tapes is a happy album, a felicitous and entertaining performance; yet, at bottom, the blues is always more than entertainment, even when it entertains.
Accompanying Piano Red here are James Jackson, drums, and George Miller, stand-up bass, who also sing and shout, both individually and together, in call-and-response chorus and exclamations on several of the songs. Just this minimal accompaniment is all that’s needed, for Piano Red’s strong left hand driving the rhythm, and his right hand filling the spaces with elegant playing of the higher notes, do everything else. Already in the 1930s Red was playing in a rocking, rhythmic, danceable style that made him a natural when the first stirrings of rock ‘n’ roll came along in the mid- to-late-1940s. Indeed, what’s quite noticeable about Piano Red’s playing here on The Lost Atlanta Tapes is his ability to combine older stride, boogie and jump styles with more modern R&B sounds, which is precisely what ranks him among the rock ‘n’ roll pioneers. His vocals partake of modern sounds too, with frequent gospel-like shouts and exclamations, and he spreads an infectious excitement throughout in both his vocals and in his stage patter. Piano Red was known as a showman as well as a great musician; that comes through beautifully on this CD, even though we can’t see him. We know we are at a great show, just by listening.
There are many shades and colors in the music here, with the slower, sadder numbers comfortably rubbing shoulders with up-tempo rockers. There’s even numbers here that could be said to be unvarnished rock ‘n’ roll, such as track 7, “Shake, That’s All Right,” where the left hand drives a churning rock riff throughout, and Red sings and plays the high notes in a style that’s reminiscent of a slightly subdued Jerry Lee Lewis. Indeed, tracks 7-10, “Shake, That’s All Right,” “Cotton Fields,” “Corrina, Corrina” (track 9), and “The Right String (But the Wrong Yo Yo)” can be seen as a rock ‘n’ roll mini-set. Red renders Roosevelt Sykes’s “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone,” track 16, as one minute and 16 seconds of incandescent piano-and-vocal-driven energy.
Slowing the tempo down are two pop ballads that Piano Red has adapted to the blues, track 3’s “That’s My Desire” and track 15’s “Pay It No Mind.” There’s also Robert Lockwood Jr.’s “Blues and Trouble” (track 11), a sad and moody song played with a dialectical exuberance as if to say I’m laughin’ just to keep from cryin’. Thus can The Lost Atlanta Tapes be justly considered a one-CD crash course in the meaning of the blues.
David Fulmer’s excellent accompanying notes are six pages of vital information, and are interspersed with a photo of Piano Red in his later years, a music trade publication excerpt on his success in 1951, and a picture of him with his R&B band, the Interns, from the 1960s. The note jacket cover reproduces a neo-primitive painting by Al Simpson, “Piano Red Rockin’ the Blues.” These notes and graphics thus round out another excellent CD from the justly-noted Southern roots small label, Landslide Records.
Reviewer George "Blues Fin Tuna" Fish hails from Indianapolis, Indiana. He wrote the liner notes for Yank Rachell’s Delmark album, Chicago Style and has written a regular music column for several years.
Featured Blues Review 5 of 5
Ana Popovic Band - An Evening at Trasimeno Lake DVD
14 Songs - 1 hour 12:33 minutes; Bonus material - over 30 minutes of 2 Solo Acoustic Tracks and a Full Interview
Rating: Library Quality
Styles: Modern Electric Blues-Rock; Blues; Jazz; Acoustic ballads
Inspired by Fantasy sports leagues, I invited my friend and Blues fan, Holden McGroine, to create his fantasy Blues artist. Here is what he created:
1. A brown-eyed girl, young and gorgeous like a runway fashion model.
2. Skilled enough to play an electric guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix.
3. A wonderful singer with edge and power who writes her own songs.
4. Friendly with a warm personality and an exotic accent when speaking.
I had to tell him, “Holden, that is no fantasy; you have perfectly described Serbian born, International Blues-Rock star Ana Popovic!” To prove the point, I loaned him my two DVDs of Ana, the just released in the USA “Ana Popovic Band: An Evening at Trasimeno Lake” and 2005’s “Ana” on the Ruf label.
Ever since the collapse of Eastern European communism allowed Popovic to emerge from her Belgrade, Serbia (then Yugoslavia) home, Popovic has gained fans and critical acclaim worldwide. Her first CD was recorded in 1999 and was so good it inspired the Ruf label to release her major label debut “Hush” in 2001. Since then, Ana has released four more CDs and two DVDs.
Filmed at a historic Medieval castle in Castiglione Del Lago, Perugia, Italy during her “Blind for Love” (CD) tour, the concert features an eight piece band performing to a 5000+ audience. A crack crew using six cameras captured the energy and passion of not only Popovic, but also the entire band, especially her long time bassist, music director, and stage performer Ronald Jonker. Additionally, one sees memorable views of the lake and the “Rocca Medievale” castle completed in 1247. Overall, the DVD pairs an incredible performance with a remarkably beautiful location to create a winning masterpiece combination.
As a master show-person, Ana knows how to pace a show and entertain her audience. Some songs are stripped down while others are the full eight piece band. The songs range from slide guitar Blues (“How’d You Learn to Shake It Like That”) to Rock (“Recall the Days”) to a Jazzy acoustic “Doubt Everyone But Me” to a breathy, beautiful “Blind for Love.”
As much as I enjoyed the music, both the night concert and the two solo, acoustic numbers done during an afternoon at various locations around the castle, I thoroughly appreciated the 7:16 minute interview. The interview confirmed her “real person” warmth, her love for her infant son Luuk, her long range plans, and it revealed insights like her workout regimen to keep in such great tour-ready shape.
Fans of Ana Popovic have probably already pre-ordered their copy, and new comers will find no better introduction and personal music library entry than this DVD. Ana is no fantasy; she’s the real deal!.
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL. To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE
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