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Here in our offices in the Midwest we are suffering from the lack of sunshine and warmth in the middle of winter. But as we are shivering and hoping for an early spring, a huge number of Blues fans are gathering in Florida for the start of the 2011 Caribbean Blues Cruise.
This years cruise features performances by Taj Mahal, Denise LaSalle, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joan Osborne & The Holmes Brothers, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Tommy Castro, Michael Burks, Bob Margolin, Eden Brent and many more well known Blues performers.
These lucky Blues fans will be soaking up the sunshine, visiting tropical islands and partying down with some of the best Blues talent on the planet! The cruise leaves on Saturday January 22 and is again sold out this year.
Blues Blast Magazine has noted photographer Marilyn Stringer and British Blues writer John Mitchell covering all the fun on the voyage for you. Tough duty but someone has to do it!
Look for their complete review and bunches of photographs in an upcoming issue soon. STAY TUNED!
In This Issue
We have six Blues music reviews this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD from Tip Of The Top. Ian McKenzie reviews a new CD by The Johnny Max Band. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD by Bob Dorr & The Blue Band. Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony reviews a new CD by Retro Deluxe. John Mitchell reviews a new CD by Tas Cru. Sheralyn Graise reviews an new CD from Johnny Moeller. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Featured Blues Review 1 of 6
Tip of the Top - Rock Tonight
Delta King Records
13 songs; 48:12 minutes; Splendid
Styles: Traditional Ensemble Blues; 1950s Rock and Roll
Tip of the Top is on their way to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, February 1-5. Last November, this band won the Bay Area IBC Qualifying Finals (sponsored by the Golden Gate Blues Society) by topping other finalist Bay Area talent: Wendy Dewitt, Twice as Good, and J.C. Smith.
Good luck to them because navigating the IBC and their judges is trickier than finding a book in Braille in a nudist colony library. However, Tip of the Top’s chances for success are good because, for starters, the quartet is a real band and has the chops, as proven in their great sophomore release, “Rock Tonight.”
Fellow Blues Blast reviewer Mark Thompson told readers in his review of their debut CD “Depot Street Blues” back on February 25, 2010, “Tip of the Top shows that even oft-covered blues tunes can gain new life when the band listens to each other and plays as an ensemble, eschewing endless solos and screaming guitars.”
The IBC scoring criteria categories include: Blues Content, Vocals, Talent, Originality, and Stage Presence.
1. Blues Content: Everyone has his or her own interpretation of what is and is not Blues. “Rock Tonight” is a solid mix of Blues and 1950s inspired Rockin’ Ryhthm so refreshing in its content that even a Blues purist couldn’t quibble. This category should be no problem for the band. I advise opening their set with “Barstool Boogie,” which is an up-tempo original shuffle that should immediately win smiles and fans.
2. Vocals Skills. Sharing lead vocals are John Lawton and Aki Kumar, both with well above average pipes as proven on songs like Lawton’s “She’s Sweet,” with intricate guitar-harmonica interplay, and Kumar’s impassioned “Time Will Tell.”
3. Talent: The act's instrumental skills. All four have years of experience that clearly shows: John Lawton – smoking hollow body electric guitar, Aki Kumar – fat toned diatonic and chromatic harps, and a kicking rhythm section of Frank DeRose – electric bass and Carlos Velasco – snare drum and cymbals. All of these veterans have solid credentials from previous bands and jams.
4. Originality: Original work is encouraged. Cover tunes are allowed, but playing the recorded rendition lick by lick is discouraged. “Rock Tonight” has eight originals songs and five covers. The originals are strong, like “She Told Me” and “Steve’s Shuffle” (who’s Steve?), and the covers of Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter, and Sonny Rhodes are nicely interpreted in the band’s own style. This is another category that should be no problem.
5. Stage Presence: The IBC is no longer considered an “amateur” competition. Most contestants know that they are not simply playing music, but putting on a show. I have never seen Tip of the Top live, but I have seen their videos showing impressive energy. They could not have won the Bay Area IBC Finals by standing like statues dressed in blue jeans and t-shirts.
Formed only in early 2009, Tip of the Top has grown to become one of the hottest Blues bands in the San Francisco Bay Area. Quickly following their successful debut effort, Tip of the Top's “Rock Tonight” continues to deliver their classic, groove-driven sound that more Blues fans are coming to love – maybe even IBC judges.
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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Mississippi Valley Blues SOciety - Davenport, IA
The MVBS entry into the 2010 Iowa Blues Challenge came away with a win last May. And now the Quad-Cities’ own Steady Rollin’ Blues Band is heading to Memphis Feb. 2 to represent the state of Iowa in the International Blues Challenge.
Memphis is an expensive city, so to help defray costs, the band is hosting a show at Rascals—1414 15th St. Moline IL—on Friday January 28, from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Admission is only $3.00, and there will be raffles, with all proceeds going to the Steady Rollin’ Blues Band. Come on out on January 28 and wish them well!
The Phoenix Blues Society - Phoenix, AZ
The Phoenix Blues Society is pleased to announce that Memphiswest Music is producing a fundraising concert on its behalf. The event, “Ladies’ Night Out – Women of the Blues”, will be held on Saturday, January 22nd at the Tempe Center for the Arts (TCA). TCA is located at 700 West Rio Salado, Tempe, AZ 85281. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. and the show will start promptly at 7:00 p.m.
Headlining the show will be muli-Grammy award nominee and international recording artist Dorothy Moore. Dorothy burst onto the scene with the chart-topping Misty Blue. Joining Dorothy on the card is Chicago’s Nora Jean Bruso. The “Hit” of this year’s Chicago Blues Festival, Nora Jean brings one of the strongest female voices in Blues today to the TCA stage.
Rounding out the performer’s list is Karen Lovely from Ashland, Oregon. Karen’s band took 2nd place at last February’s International Blues Challenge and her new record, Still The Rain, garnered Karen three Blues Music Award nominations.
Tickets are available through the Tempe Center for the Arts Box Office. Their phone number is: 480-350-2822. Other event information can be found at www.memphiswestmusic.com and at www.phoenixblues.org. For other info and questions contact Phoenix Blues Society President Kyle Deibler at email@example.com. He can also be reached at 602.770.5936
The Grafton Blues Association - Grafton, WI
The Grafton Blues Association & the Cedarburg Cultural Center will present Tinsley Ellis on Thursday March 24 at the Cedarburg Cultural Center. Doors open at 6pm show starts at 7pm. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Tickets are $14 in advance for GBA and CCC members, $15 in advance for non-members and $17 at the door for everyone. For more info visit - www.graftonblues.org
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
The Great Northern Blues Society - Wausau, WI
The Great Northern Blues Society in Wausau, WI will be hosting their annual fundraising event “Blues Café’”, on Saturday 3/26/11 at the Rothschild Pavilion. (Near Wausau, WI)
Performing will be Jumpship Blues Band, 12 Year Old Tallan Noble Latz, Red White & Blues Band, Young British Blues Diva Joanne Shaw Taylor, and Atlanta Based Blues Guitar Flamethrower Tinsley Ellis. The Fun Starts at 1:00PM. $13 in advance, $18 at the door. Bulk ticket rates also available. For more info see www.gnbs.org
Blues Blowtorch Society - Bloomington, IL
The Blues Blowtorch society present Blues Blast Music Award winners Mississippi Heat for their monthly 1st Friday Blues event at The Castle Theatre at 209 East Washington Street in Bloomington, Illinois on February 4th, 2011. The show starts at 7:00pm. Admission is $10 for the general public and only $6 for BBS members. BBS members MUST present their membership card to receive the discount.
For more information call 309-820-0352 or visit www.bluesblowtorch.org.
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 at www.daytonbluessociety.com.
Windy City Blues Society - Chicago, IL
The Windy City Blues Society presents 2 fundraising events featuring the 2011 WCBS Chicago Blues Challenge winners. These fundraisers will be held to help defray costs for these artists trip to compete at the IBC in Memphis this February.
January 22, 2011 - Jamiah On Fire and the Red Machine, winners of the WCBS Chicago Blues Challenge Youth Division perforn at 2:00pm at La Rosas Bar & Pizza, 6817 S. Indianapolis Blvd, Hammond, IN.
January 28, 2011 - Rob Blaine’s Big Otis Blues, winners of the WCBS Chicago Blues Challenge Band Division perform at 9:30pm at B.L.U.E.S., 2519 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL
For more information about the WCBS please visit http://www.windycityblues.org or the WCBS Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter Sites
West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV
The West Virginia Blues Society presents the Charlie West Blues Fest May 20 & 21, 2011 in 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
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 26th - Matthew Curry, February 9th - Gina Sicilia www.rivercityblues.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
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.
For more information contact Steve Wells at 304-295-4323 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bjfm.org.
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. 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 6
Johnny Max Band - It’s a Long Road
Poor Soul Records
Sometimes Canada is portrayed as a rather boring country, filled with hard and taciturn men, lumberjacks and loggers (“Nobody but a logger stirs his coffee with his thumb” as the old folk song has it), as well as wolves and fugitive Americans. That, of course, is more that just a tad unfair. No country, save one that is filled with vibrant, adventurous and talented people, could possibly have the blues scene that exists in contemporary Canada; a hotbed of blues music, with a mass of talented musicians the likes of Sue Foley, Matt Andersen, Jimmy Bowskill, Monkey Junk and the late Jeff Healey (to mention only a few – the list could be at least twice as long). Right up there with the top guys is The Johnny Max Band.
Johnny is a nominee for Entertainer of the Year in the 2011 Maple Blues Awards taking place at Koerner Hall on January 17th in Toronto and two of the band members are also nominated (Vince Maccarone dms and Johnny Johnson, horn).
Here, with the rest of the band (Wayne Deadder - bass, guitar, bg vocals, John Findlay - guitar, bg vocals, Jesse O'Brien - piano, wurlitzer, organ) Max produces a stormin’ set with powerful vocal parts, filled out with a BIG horn section and some excellent musicianship. Jesse O’Brian gives us some super keyboard licks on the opener ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’, while the horn section comes to the fore on ‘Heading Back To You’. “Too Many Fish” is a driving stomping blues with super lyrics.
There is a nice variation in the songs chosen and the sequencing shows them off to a Tee. I repeat again, the horn section is terrific!
This CD, one of my top picks for 2010, is perfect for any and all of you who enjoy riff driven, funky, gumbo flavoured r&b, with more than a hint of boogie-woogie and it comes strongly recommended..
Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South (www.bluesinthesouth.com) a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see www.myspace.com/ianmckenzieuk) and has a web cast regular blues radio show on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central).
Featured Blues Review 3 of 6
Bob Dorr & the Blue Band - Blue Moon Honeymoon
Hot Fudge Music
This live recording captures the musical celebration of a huge night in the life of Bob Dorr, vocalist and leader of the Blue Band. Not only does the party start on last year’s New Year’s Eve but it also serves as his retirement party and his wedding reception. Dorr has received acclaim throughout his career as a musician and also as broadcaster on Iowa Public radio. He has been inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Association Hall of Fame as well as the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame. The Blue Band has been around for twenty-nine years, based out of eastern Iowa.
Dorr handles most of the vocals and contributes some fine solo harp on “Train Time Harmonica Intro”. The band for the evening consists of current and past Blue Band members plus several other prominent Iowa blues musicians. Joe Price is one of the special guests, raising the energy level on “The Suitcase Boogie” as he trades licks on his slide guitar with Al Naylor’s trumpet. Paul Rottenberg adds some sweet guitar work on “The Walkin’ Blues (Walk Right In, Walk Right Out)” and Duke Dewey joins in on drums on a run-through of “S.A.N.T.A”. The song combines the music from “Gloria” with new lyrics from Dan Hicks for a special holiday song. Dewey’s history stretches all the way back to the original Woodstock, where he played as a member of Country Joe & the Fish.
Throughout, the members of the Blue Band show why they are one of Iowa’s favorite musical aggregations. The veteran rhythm section of Steve Hayes on drums and Mark Linda are rock-solid at any tempo. Guitarist Jeff Petersen plays with fire and delivers concise solos. The horn section of Naylor and Heath Alan on sax is a cornerstone of the band, enlivening every song with their musical punch. Sam Salomone fills any remaining space in the arrangements with the rich tones from his Hammond B3 organ.
Alan rocks the house with his tenor solo on “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-dee-o-dee” and Petersen follows with his own tasty solo. Dorr opens the proceedings with a rousing vocal on “Any Ordinary Man” with Hayes pushing the band hard. They tear through “Not Fade Away” with Dorr’s gruff vocal cushioned by Petersen’s slide guitar picking. “At Last” is a certainly an appropriate song for a wedding and someone treated Dorr and his bride to a touching, heartfelt rendition. The singer is never identified but could be Heath Alan. Everybody gets a chance to shine on “New Orleans”, with the horns leading the way to another strong harp solo from Dorr.
The disc lists twenty-four tracks but eleven of them cover various introductions and the traditional New Year’s countdown. Dorr’s singing on a cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine” doesn’t quite hit the mark but the band’s work recues the track. And what better way to end the evening, the band finishing with a flourish on a spirited version of “I Knew the Bride”. Bob and Carolyn Dorr will certainly treasure this document of a memorable evening in their life together, as will all of their family and friends who were part of the celebration. Long-time fans of the Blue Band will also enjoy musical merry-making contained this latest release by a band that shows no signs of slowing down as they approach their 30th anniversary.
Featured Blues Review 4 of 6
Retro Deluxe - Watermelon Tea
Retro Deluxe for this effort consists of Bobby Joe Owens on lead vocals and the amazing young guitarist Zach Sweeney abetted by The Squirrel Nut Zippers’ Jimbo Mathis as producer and rudimentary drummer and Jimbo’s partner in crime Justin Showah on electric and standup bass. This is the first time out for this configuration that deals in a raw and spare sound as they deliver all original songs that take from various blues styles. You’ll swear that you’ve heard some of these tunes before as the band has absorbed without mimicking. Zach props up the proceedings with his endless trick- bag of licks providing rhythm and lead. Blues, rockabilly-blues, Chuck Berry riffs and grunge pop up to pepper the tunes while Bobby Joe’s swagger and hint of an Elvis and George Thorogood vibe keep things real. Grammy/Emmy Award winner Billy Earheart(Amazing Rhythm Aces, Hank Williams Jr.) underscores with his piano and organ on about half the tracks. The only other extra is backing vocals.
The title track would fit into the soundtrack of a hokey Elvis movie. I can see it now-“The King” swiveling his hips as he exhorts the virtues of his Ruby Mae’s watermelon tea making skills as scantily glad bimbos cavort around “His Swivel-Ness”.
“A Woman Like That” is George Thorogood territory, but with better guitar skills. Bobby Joe’s voice goes in-and-out of Thorogood mode on the clever “Hoochie Coochie Back Door Man”. Distorted guitar goes hand-in-hand with Owens’ down-in-the-gutter berating of an untrue lover in the aptly named “You’re Lyin’”. “The Mother Nature Song” is old-school guitar blues at its best as the writer unfolds a litany of travails the old girl has imposed on our hero. “One Tooth Tessie” is a gut-bucket blues ode to his girlfriends ability to “work that one tooth right”. Acoustic guitar, harmonica and standup bass give the song the necessary atmosphere. The pitfalls of family life are described in “Too Much Drama”, again regaled with Zach’s driving and catchy string work. Chuck Berry and the spirit of Johnnie Johnson are called up on another Thorogood-ish workout via “Rockin’ The Blues Tonight.” Zach brings out his T-Bone Walker arsenal to the front on “Beer and Whiskey, Wine and Cigarettes”, a song that sounds like it’s a jump-blues standard. “Heavenly Band” is a “dead-blues guy” tune that REALLY swings and works without sounding corny. A John Lee Hooker groove-meets-jump blues, sang thru the harp mic is the draw of “Rough, Tumble, Roll”, not to mention the ever-ready Skinny Fats.
I’ll admit this one took a while to grow on me, but once the growing is done, you’re left with a dose of hard-edged blues reality. The slight flaw of the monotonous drone of “Clarksdale, Mississippi”(guess the number of times the title is repeated and you win a “kewpie doll”) aside, there is a heapin’ helpin’ of modern blues to found here. Jimbo’s production values elevate the tag-team effort of Bobby Joe and Zach. If there is any justice in the world Zach will eventually join the ranks of blues guitar masters such as Duke Robillard, Anson Funderburg and Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin. So don’t touch that dial….pick this one up and anxiously await to see what these guys cook-up next.
Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony is from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at http://bluesdog61.multiply.com
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Featured Blues Review 5 of 6
Tas Cru – Jus’ Desserts
Crustee Tees Records 2010
11 tracks, 47.31 minutes.
Tas Cru (whose name means ‘peeled potato’ in Québécois) is based in upstate NY and his CDs (of which this is his fourth) always have amusing titles. He has performed at many of the best known clubs and festivals, including Rum Boogie Café on Beale Street, Ground Zero in Clarksdale and the Kalamazoohttp://www.illinoisblues.com/http://www.illinoisblues.com/ Blues Festival. He performs in a variety of formats, from solo acoustic to an eight piece band. On this CD he plays acoustic and electric guitars and harp and is accompanied by Andy Hearn on drums, Mike Lawrence on bass, Chip Lamson (also the producer) on keyboards and Meaghan Janovsky joins Chip on backing vocals. Slide and lead guitar is added on five tracks by Jeremy Walz, accordion on one track by Sue Grimm. All songs are original, one written in collaboration with Chip Lamson. The CD was recorded in Canton NY.
This was my first exposure to Tas’ music, so I approached the CD with an open mind. Tas’ voice is clear and the backing is quite gentle so the songs are placed centre stage. I enjoyed the opener “Just Let It Happen” which is a recipe for reducing stress by following the advice of the title. “Glad To Be Alive” is a shuffle with a lyric about the talents of a loved one: “She can’t cook a lick, she never learned to sew but what when it comes to loving, my oh my what that woman knows! I’m here to testify, my baby got that special something, make me glad to be alive”. Tas plays some tasty guitar here, the solo having some jazzy tones to it.
“The Real Deal” is about the blues and its continuing presence, despite occasional attempts to alter its essence. “Time And Time” is the longest track, running to over six and a half minutes. It’s a stately ballad with subtle backing from the ensemble, especially the organ and guitar, the solo on acoustic guitar being particularly well played. Next up is “’Dat Maybe”, a real change of pace, an almost hillbilly rhythm, a harp-led tune expressing the frustration of the guy whose girl is hesitant about commitment: “Don’t say you will when you know you won’t; don’t give me dat maybe when your heart says no”.
“My GPS Mama” is a slide –driven song with some nice piano. “My GPS Mama would love to tell me where to go. If I don’t follow her direction, right away she lets me know” sings Tas’ in a comic song about back seat drivers (but which could well be interpreted in a different sense)! Another good play on words occurs in the next title “Eau De ‘Nother Man” which is an almost spoken vocal, the story tells us about how the guy, returning from buying a new perfume for his girl, finds her wearing the scent of a rival who has just fled out the back door!
Slide guitar, harp and quickfire drums lead us through “Kinda Mess” which is faded out to let in “Swing Doctor” which meets the expectations of the title in terms of rhythm, led by the piano. This doctor is likely to prescribe this type of music to cure your ills!
Title song “Jus’ Dessert” is a slow, moody piece which opens with subtle slide aided by accordion. The food theme goes throughout the song, clearly a prime example of Tas’ reputation as “the master of the triple entendre”. “She folded up the menu, said we’ll take that to go. I knew where she was heading, right back out the door. I said if you don’t mind, baby, I’m thinking about jus’ dessert.” “The Lucky Ones” closes the album with a solo acoustic song about redemption through getting a second chance at love.
Overall an enjoyable album in which the songs range across humorous and serious themes and the accompaniment is always at the service of the material. Definitely worth a listen.
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 6 of 6
Johnny Moeller - BlooGaLoo
Austin Texas based artist Johnny Moeller has been a session musician and sideman for a number of years. With Severn Records he has backed the likes of Lou Pride, Tad Robinson, and Darrell Nulisch in the studio and as a part of the Severn Soul Revue. His most visual stint has been as a member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds with his brother Jay since 2007. By working with established bandleaders he feels he has learned to be a better front man.
BlooGaLoo is Moeller’s third CD. The Return Of The Funky Worm was released in 1996 and Johnny Blues Aggregation was released in 2001. BlooGaLoo is long overdue. This CD features friends Kim Wilson, Louann Barton, and Shawn Pittman. Kim Wilson provides vocals and or harp on two numbers. Louann Barton provides vocals for two tracks. Shawn Pittman, another Texas guitarist, actually provides vocal on one track. Moeller sings on the rest.
The tracks are a mixture of Moeller originals and classic blues covers. The disc opens with the Moeller penned title song, “BlooGaLoo.” “BlooGaLoo” reminds me of the late 60s, straight off Shindig! or, better yet, Hullabaloo. (Oh, I get it!) That’s for those of you old enough to remember. Speaking of memories, that brings me to the second track. It’s also a Moeller penned tune titled “I’m Movin’ On Up.” What immediately came to mind was “…to the eastside, to a dee-luxe apartment in the sky.” But it sounds nothing like the Oren Waters-Ja’net Dubois theme song to The Jeffersons TV show. This version is not very New York like. Instead it is very Texas like. The sixth track, “Theme From The One Armed Swordsman” has a smooth organ that provides the cool factor.
My favorite is “Raise Your Hands.” It’s my kind of music. I actually prefer Moeller’s originals over the cover songs.
Johnny Moeller is not your cookie cutter Texas guitar slinger. BlooGaLoo attests to that. This CD is a mixture of Texas shuffles, Memphis garage band, barrelhouse and 60s rock. That said, this release still manages to be a cohesive mix.
Reviewer Sheralyn Graise graduated from the University of Akron a while back. A former Social Services professional, she is now pursuing other interests such as music history, writing, and photography. She has been a member of the Blues Foundation since 2001.
We Need Your Help!
Many readers know who Blues Blast Music Award nominee Sean Costello is and the impact that he and his music have had. Sean and 2 millions other Americans suffer from bipolar disorder disease. The link between bipolar disorder and creative genius is certainly evident, but little progress has been made in understanding this link. In the wake of Sean's passing, his parents, close friends, and supporters formed the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research in hopes of furthering the work currently being done as well as providing support, guidance, and information to those currently suffering from this illness.
The Fund is currently undertaking a project, aptly titled "The Mojo Project," which seeks to implement an interactive website and sleep monitoring tool. It will both allow musicians suffering from Bipolar Disorder to monitor their sleep with accessible treatment and intervention should problems arise while providing a means by which the link between BPD and sleeplessness can be further studied.
The The Mojo Project is in the running for $50,000 in funding from Pepsi. Of nearly 1200 ideas, Pepsi awards the $50k to only the top ten projects. The Mojo Project is currently 43rd. Rank is determined by votes and ANYONE can vote for FREE, but only until the end of January. We need your votes, once a day, every day until January 31st. You can vote using your email address, Facebook account, and you can text your vote using your cell phone. It doesn't cost you anything and takes less than a minute. And you can do all three in one day - they count as 3 votes.
This is where you vote using your email (it has a comprehensive description of the Mojo Project):
This is the Facebook application:
To text using your cell phone: Text "103310" to to 73774
Blues Blast Magazine is asking all its readers to help with this effort. Thanks for your help! Please vote today and everyday till January 31st.
Live Blues Calendar
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Performance dates were submitted by Musicians, Club Owners, Blues Societies and Blues festivals.
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