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© 2011 Blues Blast Magazine
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Hey Blues Fans,
It's a new year and we are excited to be able to begin another year of covering this great American art form called the Blues! We brought you more than 260 CD and DVD reviews last year plus photo essays, interviews, live show reviews and much more. While we don't make New Year's resolutions, we do promise to continue bringing you Blues information that you can use.
On our website we continue to offer one of the best FREE promotional/informational tools in the Blues business with our Blues Shows page located HERE. Be sure to post shows in your area to share with others.
We also have a large archive of youtube Blues Videos for your enjoyment locatedHERE. If you haven't had a chance please visit us at www.TheBluesBlast.com and watch us grow again this year.
Last year saw several new forays into doing Blues stories and interviews and we plan to continue that trend this year. Also look for a new website, myspace and facebook pages coming this new year. Stay tuned!
Hillton "Hill" Hines - 1931 to 2011
We lost a good friend and Blues buddy this week. Since this editor first became actively involved in the Blues I have been fortunate to be friends with one of the kindest, most loyal Blues fans, Hill Hines. He passed away at home this week. He was 79.
He was a longtime member of the River City Blues Society and a real hard core Blues fan. He was always at major Blues events so you may recognize this Blues fans face. If you met him you know he had nothing but kind things to say about everyone. If you are a Blues artist he was likely in line to buy one of your CDs. He supported the Blues and Blues artists.
We had the good fortune to spend time at festivals, shows and other Blues events with our good friend. He was at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis every year for the last 5 years. We often sat with him during the finals of the IBC discussing the performances of the finalists.
We attended the second Crossroads Guitar Festival with him and sat with him at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival many times. He was always at The Simply The Blues Festival, The Illinois Blues Festival, The Chicago Blues Festival, Nothin' But the Blues Festival and many others.
It just wont be the same this season at these great Blues events without him. Our thoughts are with his wife Barbra and his Blues companion and son Randy.
The memorial service for Hill this evening was our first service where all the music played was appropriately jazz and Blues tunes. It is amazing how someone's kindness and friendship can move you so much. We miss you Hill!
In This Issue
We have five Blues music reviews this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD from JP Blues. John Mitchell reviews a new CD by Lynwood Slim and the Igor Prado Band and a new CD by The Snowy White Blues Project . Steve Jones reviews a new CD by The Latvian Blues Band. Zeke reviews a new CD by The Delta Generators. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
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Featured Blues Review 1 of 5
JP Blues - I Will Not Go Quietly
Midnight Circus Records
12 songs; 54:55 minutes; Splendid
Styles: Contemporary Blues-Rock; Blues
Assistant Producer for hire! - Hire me to select the song order for your next CD. For the second reviewed CD in a row, I disagree with the placement of the first song. Seriously, though, what do I know about it?
I just feel the first song is critical to getting a listener to hear more of the CD’s songs. I can be completely wrong, but I think there are overly busy radio programmers and reviewers who listen to a first song and make instant value judgements (sort of like first impressions when meeting a new person). That approach may be totally unfair, but, programmers and reviewers receiving hundereds of albums per year do get CD and sensory overload.
The first song, “As the Crow Flies,” on 21 year old John “JP Blues” Pagano’s second album screams, “This is a Rock CD without a Blue note on it.” That is clearly not the case, but if one never moves past the first song, he would never know. “NEXT!”
From Long Island NY, JP started playing guitar at eight. Recognized as a prodigy by legendary bluesman Sam "Bluzman" Taylor, Pagano was schooled on the Blues and life. By eleven, JP played throughout the country with Taylor, even playing large festivals and opening for major artists.
With experience under his belt, JP began to lay the foundation for the JP Blues band together with industry veteran Drummer Pat Atkins and an amazing young bassist John Young. The first project was competing in the Long Island Blues Society Blues Challenge. Winning hands down, they represented Long Island in the Blues Foundations “International Blues Challenge” in Memphis TN.
Following his debut, “Die Happy,” Pagano features five originals on “I Will Not Go Quietly,” a song by studio mate and harper Frank Latorre, and covers of Sam Taylor, Tampa Red, Tony Joe White, Henley/Kortchmar, and Eric Clapton. Joining Atkins and Young, nine studio guests appear including Albert Castiglia playing slide guitar on one song.
As muscular as the bare-arms-and-shoulders photos on the CD, the opener (“As the Crow Flies”) blasts off with JP singing over soaring Rock guitar chords reminiscent of REO Speedwagon. While not extraordinary, JP’s vocals are impressive throughout the album and especially on the title track “I Will Not Go Quietly” which takes the hard rock edge further.
“Poor Little Rich Girl” settles into a Funky outing with wah guitar and organ. Pagano sings about some female types he has undoubtedly encountered in “Lawn Guyland” NY.
Not until track seven, Tampa Red’s “Love Her with a Feeling,” do we reach any traditional Blues, a burning slow number with Albert Castiglia on stellar slide. While that one is my favorite, I also enjoyed Eric Clapton’s “Old Love” with great instrumentation and added background vocals by Georgia’s Caroline Aiken.
Both “At a Cost” and “Liar” open with great guitar hooks exemplary of JP's searing, soulful guitar throughout. I also enjoyed “In the City” for its emphasis on melody and rhythm and tasty harp work courtesy of Frank Latorre. Surprising acoustic guitar is found on the final track.
This infusion of hard Rock and traditional Blues is an interesting mixture, but no new ground is being broken here. However, a young Pagano and crew can be proud of their product, the soul in their music, and their efforts to soldier on while all around turn to Rap.
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
Blues Society News
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Dayton Blues Society - Dayton, OH
The Dayton Blues Society presents the 3rd Annual “Winter Blues Showcase” on January 22nd at Gilly’s Nightclub in downtown Dayton. The show will highlight the DBS Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Winners Gary Applegate & Sal Barbera along with DBS Blues Challenge Band Winner Ellie Lee & Blues Fury. The Headliner this year will be that hot Chicago traditional blues band Mississippi Heat (www.mississippiheat.net). Show starts at 9pm – tickets are $15 for DBS members / $20 for non-members and can be purchased atwww.daytonbluessociety.com.
Colorado Blues Society - Boulder, CO
On Feb 13, 2011 please join CBS for an afternoon of Blues and Heart Awareness at Jazz at Jacks in the Denver Pavillions (500 16th Street Suite 320 Denver, Colorado 303-433-1000) . National recording Blues star, Deanna Bogart is headlining the event. Deanna, the 'Girl in the Band', is a multi talented award-winning pianist, writer, songstress and saxophone player, who has performed with the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise Revue in addition to fronting her own outstanding band. Joining Deanna on the marquee are three extremely talented Colorado Blues bands: Papa Juke, the Delta Sonics, and Eef & She Grooves.
In addition to a fabulous Blues lineup, the afternoon will present valuable information on cardiovascular disease and strokes. There will be an AHA informational booths and Heart Check America will provide free heart scans to emphasize the importance of heart health awareness and early detection. There will also be silent auctions and raffles with some pretty amazing prizes.
The funds raised will be presented to AHA and will go towards public health education, early detection, research and community service. Tickets are $20. www.coblues.com
River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL
The River City Blues Society presents Blues shows during the winter season. 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. Shows currently scheduled are: January 12th - Billy King, January 19th - Grady Champion, January 26th - Matthew Curry, February 9th - Gina Siciliawww.rivercityblues.com
West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV
The West Virginia Blues Society presents the Charlie West Blues Fest May 20 & 21, 2011in Haddad Riverfront Park, Charleston, WV Here is the lineup: Friday May 20 - Sit Down Baby, Izzy & Chris, Mojo Theory, Lil Bryan & The Travelers, Davina & the Vagabonds and Joe Louis Walker. Sat. May 21- IBC Band Winner, Slim Fatz, Trampled Under Foot, Sean Carney, Kristine Jackson, Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King and Ana Popovich. The Charlie West Blues Fest is produced by the West Virginia Blues Society, Inc.www.wvbluessociety.org and www.charliewestbluesfest.com
Cincy Blues Society - Cincinnati, OH
The Cincy Blues Society celebrates its hottest Winter Blues Fest line up yet! On January 28 and 29, 2011 The Southgate House in Newport, KY, will be rocking with 25 of the best local blues bands.
At 6:00 pm on each evening, the Fest will be kicked off with special performances by Cincy Blues Society's Blues in the Schools (BITS) Band. The full line up includes: B. Hatfield Band, Bad Men on a Mission, Balderdash, The Blue Birds, The Blues Merchants, Blues Therapy Rx, Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project, The Electric Souls, G. Miles & The Hitmen, The Gear Shifts, John Redell & Company, The Juice, Kayneevol, Leo Clarke Band, Miss Lissa & Company, The Mudpies, Ralph & the Rhythm Hounds, Richie & The Students, Sonny's All Blues Band, Tempted Souls Band, Them Bones, Thomas Long & Blue Sacrifice, and Voodoo Puppet. This line-up may be subject to change.
Advance tickets will be available for purchase on January 1 online -- a link to the new ticket vendor will be on the CincyBlues.org website -- for $15 (plus a $2.75 service fee per ticket) On each day of the show, tickets will be $20 at the door. A full list of performers and scheduled times is available on Cincy Blues Fest's website: http://cincyblues.org
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA
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. Special Show at The Alamo Sunday January 9 - RJ Mischo, Jan 10 - Cabin Fever, Jan 17 - The Groove Daddies, Jan 25 - Texas Groove, Feb 7 - Eddie Snow Tribute w/ Bill Evans, Feb 14 - Dave Lumsden Blues Band, Feb 21 - Kilborn Alley, Feb 28 - Bruce Katz. icbluesclub.org
Featured Blues Review 2 of 5
Lynwood Slim and the Igor Prado Band -Brazilian Kicks
13 tracks, 53.20 minutes
Lynwood Slim has been active on his own and other Delta Groove artists’ recordings (The Mannish Boys, for instance) for a few years now and this latest CD sees him paired with a Brazilian band for a fine collection of jump blues. Lynwood was asked to produce the band in Sao Paulo, but when he arrived discovered that they also wanted him to sing! The resulting album is a genuine collaboration between the American and the young Brazilian band who easily demonstrate their mastery of their instruments and the style of music they are seeking to capture. Frankly, without knowing who the players are one would immediately think of West Coast USA rather than Brazil.
The Igor Prado band consists of Igor on guitar, brother Yuri on drums, Rodrigo Mantovani on acoustic bass, Donny Nichilo on piano and Denilson Martins on all manner of saxes. Lynwood Slim plays harp (and flute on one track) as well as singing. The band are all young, from 20 – 24, but play like veterans. They have backed a number of well-known visiting bluesmen, including Eddie C Campbell, Phil Guy, RJ Mischo, Mud Morganfield, Rick Estrin, Mark Hummel and Mitch Kashmar. The material is a mixture of covers and originals. Lynwood contributes three tracks, one in collaboration with Igor Prado who also provides two solo original tunes. Covers come from a wide variety of sources: Little Walter, Junior Wells/Buddy Guy, Dave Bartholomew, to name a few.
The album opens strongly with Junior Wells’ and Buddy Guy’s “Shake It Baby” which has almost a James Brown feel to it! Lynwood plays flute in the coda, against some good sax playing. “Is It True?” is the Dave Bartholomew tune and chugs away nicely with strong guitar playing and an excellent piano solo on the outro. “Bloodshot Eyes” is a classic jump blues tune, covered by many over the years but originally written by (and a Western Swing hit for) Hank Penny in the 1950s. The sax takes a good solo before a plucked guitar solo from Igor. “My Hat’s On The Side Of My Head” is a 30s song written by Tin Pan Alley composer Harry Woods and completes an opening quartet of material written outside the band.
Next up is the first Igor Prado original, an instrumental entitled “Blue Bop”. This is a fast-paced, jazzy number that would not have been out of place in a jump band of the 40s or 50s, even down to a frenetic sax solo. Having taken a short break during that number, Lynwood returns to the microphone for a cover of Little Walter’s “Little Girl”, taken at a relaxed pace and affording plenty of opportunity for Lynwood to stretch out on harp. “I Sat And Cried”, written by Jimmy “T99” Nelson, is a relaxed toe tapper, again very much a 50’s sound, with the sax underpinning the chorus attractively. “Maybe Someday” opens with the sort of tune and instrumentation that makes you think it is a ballad from the great days of jazz bands. It is, however, a Lynwood original (under his real name Richard Duran) and the sort of performance that will appeal to lovers of artists like Sugar Ray Norcia at his most laid back.
“Show Me The Way” is another Lynwood original and, for me, one of the strongest tunes on the album, with Lynwood’s harp and vocals leading the band on a mid tempo number that makes you snap your fingers along with the beat. “Bill’s Change” is another Igor Prado instrumental, again venturing on to the jazzy side of things. Very nice ensemble playing here, the sax sitting well beneath the plucked guitar before coming ‘out front’ to solo on tenor. The guitar and sax then exchange choruses to the close.
“The Comeback”, written by CL Frazier, is probably best known from Roomful Of Blues’ version but the band do a really good job on the song. Lynwood’s vocal is relaxed but conveys the song very well and one has to pay tribute to sax player Denilson Martins who gives the song a far bigger sound than one might expect from a small band. “The Way You Do” is a song by Jimmy Nolen which also reminds me of Roomful (though I am not sure that they have covered it). The final track is a stomping harp-driven instrumental entitled “Going To Mona Lisa’s” where it sounds like a good time was had by all! Emphatic drums, foot-tapping bass and strong harp work are the main features here which is a little surprising as it is the sole collaboration between Lynwood and Igor but the guitar is not really featured at all.
This is an enjoyable CD, strongly recommended to those who enjoy a touch of jazz/big band feel in their blues.
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!
Featured Blues Review 3 of 5
The Latvian Blues Band - Unreal
Latvia is a Baltic State sandwiched between Estonia to the North and Lithuania to the South. The Russian Federation sits to its’ East and Belarus to their Southeast. Independent since 1991, it is the third poorest country in the European Union. It is a tiny and poor country so given their predicament why not also be a hot bed for the blues? The blues got exported to England and Western Europe in the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s. The Stones, Beatles and others reintroduced American crowds to the blues in some of their early work. The fall of the Soviet Union allowed the delayed introduction of the blues to the former Warsaw Pact and satellite states, but it has taken hold and is represented so very well by this band that I’ve had the pleasure to review.
The Latvian Blues Band is four young men who musically are quite exceptional. Janis Bukovskis on vocals and guitar, Roland Saulietis on drums, Reinus Ozolins on bass and Rihards Berzins on piano and organ make up the band. Produced by Duke Robillard (he is featured on two tracks), the sound is very funky and tight. They have an excellent groove that they maintain that gets you out of your seat and listening. 9 original songs and 4 others are featured here. I don’t usually cover every track but this is ground breaking stuff and warrants the deep dive into their music.
They whet your appetite with a funky and horn-filled cover of Willie Dixon’s “Evil”. Bukovskis vocals are well done here and throughout- he’s a pleasure to listen to. The four-piece horn section featured here and on three other tracks is superb. All Latvian friends of theirs, they and the band really supply a great groove to get down with. Robillard’s guitar solo is, of course, impeccable as is Janis Kalnins on guitar here. I was sold on these guys with the first track alone with its’ jumping jive; a great and different take on this immortal Willie Dixon song!
As they get into their own groove, these four young gents really sound outstanding. H.R Byrd’s “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand” is the second offering and it is another well done piece that sounds especially good with both Bukovskis’ vocals and dobro solo. The next four cuts are originals and if you closed your eyes you could be in a Chicago blues club. Bukovskis opens with a really nice guitar solo on “Confused”. “Feel Like Cryin” takes the tempo way down with some nice jazzy interplay between Bukovskis’ guitar and Berzins’ piano. “Unreal” gives us Bukovskis showing us his slide and “Wake Up” goes more into a jazzy ethereal blues sound. Nice variety here and Bukovskis vocals are solid, solid, solid!
Janis Kalnins reprises his guitar work from track one with a great solo on “Let the Door Hit You”. He and the band boogie through this cut very well. The horn section returns on the original cut “Nut Shuffle”; they provide the lead into the song and Bukiovskis takes the helm with more solid vocals. Artis Locmelis and Zintis Zvarts are on sax, Uldis Ziedins is on trombone and Sandris Skeranskis is on trumpet and they are an outstanding and quite together quartet. They also help close the CD on the last two tracks, “Lost” and “Are You Ready”. The former is an upbeat and brassy funk song while the latter is pure blues. Kalnins is on guitar again here in the final cut and he picks his way from the South to the North Side of Chicago. Bukovskis vocals are authentic and consistent. Classy stuff once again and the horn section is again superb.
The prior four tracks are the band with little other help. “Live Your Own Life” is nice funky blues number where Robillard returns to help out. “5 Minutes Too Late” is a soft, toned down ballad with Bukovskis on bass and vocals, Saulietis on drums and Kalnins on guitar. A big departure from the tracks with the horn section, it seems even sedate compared to other tracks. A soulful guitar solo and beautiful vocals really make this ballad a great number to listen to. “Take That” returns to the funky groove and bigger vocal sound. Lastly, “No More Doggin” is a slow, traditional blues with the slide featured once again. This is all really great stuff.
The world is a big place. The blues can live anywhere, as evidence here in this truly fine album. The CD was cut in Latvia and mixed in Rhode Island- it sounds great. The engineering is well done throughout. I was really pleased to get this one to review. There are no holes here; 14 really fine tracks done with feeling and great musicality. Go and listen to these guys on You Tube. Every blues fan who does will want to buy this CD ASAP. The blues are truly as alive in Eastern Europe as they are here at home!
Featured Blues Review 4 of 5
Delta Generators - Hard River To Row
“Someday I’ll write a song so strong it will ease my pain” is a lyric from The Delta Generators excellent sophomore CD Hard River To Row. The DG’s offer up 14 short and sweet original tunes that start smart and end quickly. Just the way they should. The DG’s Rock Blues, Soul, R&B and Funk on their new CD. Craig Rawding has range and style on vocals. He plays a mean harp and is a prolific writer of cool tunes with great lyrics. Charlie O’Neal seamlessly smokes on Guitar. He could easily blow your face off, but stays with the groove (mostly). Rick O’Neal is beyond solid on Bass and “entertaining” live. Jeff Armstrong is impressive with his phenomenal Drumming. He employs a hard driving style, with plenty of effects, tastefully on time.
The title track jumps off with crisp drums and harp. Craig proves that he is a male vocalist with range. “Once you reach the ocean where do you go”? Cowbell starts the Funky, Heavy Stomp of “Too Many Cooks”. Charlie fires off some frenetic fret work in the middle and Jeff is “tart” on skins. “Field and Plow” marches off like a DG’s style Bo Diddley. Tasty harp lurks underneath and Jeff is really hitting with conviction. Rick thumps solid bass on the Funky Blues “Canebrake”. “There’s a party in the Canebrake…pass it on”. Craig is soulful, and in key, on the whimsical ballad “Someday”. John Cooke adds organ here and on some other cuts. “Give me some” Rocks the DG’s way! Rick does a “call and response” and it Really Rock’s in the middle! The musicians blend together in a rockin’ DG stew.
The Band like “Let The Boy Down Easy” has background vocals and organ. Craig channels his gospel range here. #8 (Don’t Uncork The Bottle) Uncorks the DG’s at their Rockin’ best! This is what you’ll experience at a live DG’s show. Tasty playing, Hard Thumping and Ass Kicking! You might break a sweat just listening. “Love You Tight” is smooth 4/4 story telling with Rick leading the way. Everyone joins in the refrain and a nice country riff is surrounded by harp. The poignant “Hardly Working” has a Booker T beat with John Cooke on Organ. There is melodic interplay between Craig’s vocals and Charlie’s guitar. “I’m hardly workin’ and I wish I was workin’ hard”. “Follow You Down” is a quick Van Morrison style ditty that’s easy to take. “Reverends Daughter” strolls with a Sugar Ray Norcia flair. A kind of T-Bone strut mixed with DGs Boston tough. “Coming Home” is the crescendo of the album. Coming home to a DG’s style rockin’ blues! “Hard River Blues” sounds like it’s recorded through the harp mike. Jeff’s drumming is primitive and cool. There is a retro cool, artsy riff with Charlie on slide and vintage harp.
This self produced CD is a tasty Delta stew with a Boston swagger. It was engineered and mixed by Brad McCarthy at Stillpoint Sound. Get out and see the Delta Generators live, they bring “It”! Buy this CD. You will not be disappointed. Bravo!!
EDITORS NOTE: This CD is one of the # finalists in the Blues Foundations 2011 Best Self Produced CD competition.
Reviewer Zeke is a published columnist and reviewer. He is a tireless promoter/supporter of Blues in CT. and beyond.
Featured Blues Review 5 of 5
Snowy White Blues Project – In Our Time – Live
CBH Records (Distributed by Cadiz Music) 2010
15 tracks, 73.21 minutes
Snowy White may not be a name that is well known to readers of Blues Blast, but you will recognise the nemaes of some of the people he has played with: Peter Green, Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd and Roger Waters. His discography is very extensive and he has even had a chart single – “Bird Of Paradise” which was reprised by KLM airline for a promotional advertisement in the 1990’s. However, he has not had a North American release for over 10 years until this CD. Snowy is in fact touring the USA in late 2010 with Roger Waters performing “The Wall” live.
This live CD was recorded in Holland in early 2010 and revisits most of the studio album released in 2009 by the same band – Snowy White and Matt Taylor on guitar and vocals, Roy Martin on drums. Snowy wrote five of the tracks, Ruud and Matt two each and there are six covers, including Ledbelly, Peter Green, Skip James and Sonny Terry/Brownie McGee.
The sound is good for a live recording. Some of the material is, however, undistinguished. “Red Wine Blues” for example takes its title from the author feeling sad while drinking…red wine – not the most original lyric. The playing is fine though the addition of some keyboards would have made for a fuller sound. On occasions the two guitarists go for a duel guitar approach which reminds one of the Allman Brothers. Unfortunately one of the tracks where this is tried is Freddie King’s “Woman Across The River” and the result does not compare favourably against Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes on the “Hittin’ The Note” release.
“Simple” is a serious song about fighting poverty and is well sung by Ruud with good guitar work from both players. The longest tune is the title track, written by Matt Taylor, which clocks in at over 8 minutes. It is a classic slow blues with composer Matt Taylor featured on a long solo which is a little discordant for my taste, followed by some dual guitar playing that leads us into Snowy’s solo.
“Rolling With My Baby” works well, an upbeat song with twin guitar again featured, but this time to better effect. It’s a catchy song which is a good contrast with some of the more sombre material on the CD.
The two Peter Green covers are rather disappointing. Perhaps it is because “Long Grey Mare” is so frequently covered by bands (at least here in the UK!) that I found this version pedestrian. The vocals were not strong enough to convey the sexual analogy of the lyric and the band seemed to be struggling to get the rhythm right. “World Keep On Turning” is the concert encore and rather a strange choice, as it is one of those slow, moody pieces that Peter Green wrote so well in his prime with Fleetwood Mac, whereas most bands keep a good rocker back for the encore.
There is an acoustic interlude at tracks 10/11 of Skip James’ “I’m So Glad”, famously covered by Cream, and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee’s “Walk On”. Resonator slide guitar features on “I’m So Glad”, underpinning the familiar refrain. “Walk On” starts well but suffers from one of the downsides of a live recording – audience participation! The attempt to get the audience to sing along might be fine in the concert hall but falls flat when listening at home.
Overall, a patchy album, with some good moments but also some low points. Perhaps a shorter, more edited version might have worked better. Given the competition, it is hard to see this CD breaking into the US market, particularly if the band is not touring to promote it there.
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!
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