- Janiva Magness appears Friday at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix. New photo page of Janiva's 1980s Phoenix years! Janiva Magness stops in Phoenix, Arizona this Friday, January 14th, for a night at the Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85014. Janiva Magness has become an internationally acclaimed blues singer who is at the top level of the contemporary blues world. She currently is signed to Alligator records and has won numerous Blues Music Awards including "B.B. King Entertainer of the Year" in 2009 and Best Contemporary Female Blues artist in 2008 and 2009. She is currently up for 4 2011 BMAs (to find out more about the BMAs click here). We have recently posted some photos of Janiva Magness from the 1980s when she lived and performed in Phoenix, Arizona. Janiva and Bob Corritore collaborated on a number of musical projects during that early period in her career. To see these photos, click here.
- Two new European Lazy Lester releases! Swamp blues harmonica legend Lazy Lester will have two CDs released on European labels this year. Producer Mike Vernon reports that the Cambaya label from Spain has released Lazy Lester / One More Once, a live CD which finds Lester backed by British blues combo West Weston's Bluesonics. You can see the cover of One More Once on the Cambaya Records Myspace (click here to see). Producer/harmonicist Jostein Forsberg reports that his Bluestown label, based in Norway, has a forthcoming studio CD by Lazy Lester that will likely be called You Better Listen. This CD features backing by Spoonful Of Blues who are Lazy Lester's regular accompaniment when doing Scandinavian gigs. Jostein and guitarist Morten Omlid share the production credit for You Better Listen. Lazy Lester's Louisiana sounds are so rich and untamed, and his live performances so satisfying, that you can see why he has such a peak of interest in the European blues market.
- Whistlin' Alex Moore on YouTube! Please enjoy this short clip of Texas blues piano master Whistlin' Alex Moore, living up to his name on a delightful boogie. Click here to see.
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Friday, January 14, 2011
- RIP Ray Galloway, October 6, 1941 - January 9, 2011. This sad new comes in from Jerry Pillow. Helena based blues promoter Ray Galloway passed away on January 9th of a heart attack. He was 69. Ray was instrumental in helping create and run the King Biscuit Blues Festival & Sonny Boy Blues Society for the last 25 years. He was well known to the many visitors of the festival for his warm hospitality and his down to business demeanor as a stage manager. He will be greatly missed by all of those that knew him. To see Ray's photo and an obit, click here. To read a beautiful article about Ray in American Blues News, click here.
"Producer, record label owner, and musical pioneer Bobby Robinson passed away on Friday, January 7, 2011 after a lengthy illness; Robinson was 93 years old. A musical institution in New York's Harlem community, Robinson was 125th Street's first African-American business owner, opening his legendary Bobby's Happy House record store in 1946 and running it until it closed in 2008 when the building was demolished to make way for new development.
Robinson is best-known to music fans as the visionary producer and label owner whose Fire, Fury, Enjoy, and Red Robin record labels produced a flurry of recordings during the 1950s and '60s that would shape and influence blues, R&B, early rock 'n' roll, and soul music for a generation to follow. Robinson's Fury imprint scored a #1 national hit in 1959 with Wilbert Harrison's R&B romp "Kansas City," and through the years Robinson produced and/or released essential recordings by artists as diverse as blues guitarist Elmore James, R&B shouter Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Lee Dorsey, King Curtis, and many others.
Always with his eye on the next big thing, Robinson was also one of the early pioneers in rap music, discovering young talent and producing early recordings by trailblazing artists like Grandmaster Flash, Doug E. Fresh, Spoonie Gee, and Kool Moe Dee during the late-1970s and early 1980s. An old-school record man with a talent for discovering artists, and coaxing their best performances in the studio, it's unlikely that we'll see another music entrepreneur like Bobby Robinson again.
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© 2011 Blues Blast Magazine
Latest news, photos, reviews, links & MUCH MORE in this issue! Scroll or Page Down!
Hey Blues Fans,
2010 was another great year for the Blues. This week Blues Blast Magazine staff reviewer and DJ, James "Skyy Dobro" Walker sends us his picks for best songs and best CD's of 2010. His list comes ONLY from 2010 CDs that crossed HIS desk. To see the complete lists and James' full notes on how he compiled the list, CLICK HERE!
Here are the top 10 in both categories:
Skyy Dobro’s Top 60 Songs For 2010
See the other 50 top songs on our website - CLICK HERE
1. Reba Russell Band “Almost a Memory”
2. Teeny Tucker “Ain’t that the Blues”
3. Shawn Pittman “Change of Heart”
4. Bruce “Bruiser” Rummenie w/ Neal Robinson “Tip Top Tap”
5. Robin Rogers “Hittin’ On Nothin’”
6. The Informants “Salvation”
7. Little Joe McLerran “Believe I’ll Make a Change”
8. Eric Bibb “Tell Riley”
9. Kilborn Alley Blues Band “You Can Have the Tail”
10. The Hollywood Fats Band (Live) “Nit Wit” (from Hollywood Blue Flames “Deep in America”)
Skyy Dobro’s Top 30 CDs For 2010
See the other 20 top CDs on our website - CLICK HERE
1. Eric Bibb - Booker’s Guitar
2. Reba Russell Band - Eight
3. Teeny Tucker - Keep the Blues Alive
4. Julie Black - You Just Might Win
5. Kilborn Alley Blues Band - Better Off Now
6. Vincent Hayes Project - Reclamation
7. Julius Pittman & The Revival - Bucket List
8. Robin Rogers - Back in the Fire
9. Little Joe McLerran - Believe I’ll Make a Change
10. Charles “Big Daddy” Stallings - Blues Party
In This Issue
We have five Blues music reviews this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD from Dr. Duke Tumatoe. John Mitchell reviews a new CD by The JT Blues Band and a new CD by Biscuit Miller. Steve Jones reviews a new CD by Chrissie O’Dell & One Hot Mess. Gary “Wingman” Weeks reviews a new CD by Chris Duarte Group. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
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.
Featured Blues Review 1 of 5
Dr. Duke Tumatoe - I Just Want to Be Rich
10 songs; 43:34 minutes; Library Quality
Styles: Tumatoe Style; Rhythm and Roll, Rock and Roll, Guitar Blues
When I first met D’Arcy “Shuffle Shoes” Ballinger, co-host of the Friends of the Blues Radio Show, we discovered a mutual fanatical love and respect for Dr. Duke Tumatoe. Living in the Midwest has afforded us multiple opportunities over the last 40-plus years to see and meet this Chicago native and Indiana resident.
“Dr. Duke has humor and a wit that won’t quit,” said Ballinger. “He is a national treasure -- located in the Midwest. He has affected so many people in his life. Our friend Doug has patterned a lot of his life, stories, and sayings from Duke. In Jamaica as a tourist, I do my Dr. Duke impersonation by throwing my arms out like I am flying and saying, ‘The man of tomorrow here today,’ and they just love it!” That line can be heard in the opening track, “Bionic Tumatoe.”
Defying labels, Tumatoe’s music should just be called “Duke Tumatoe Music” – a genre of its own. For having a reputation for funny songs (e.g. “It’s Christmas (Let’s Have Sex),” he is damn serious when it comes to music and guitar playing. Not afraid to show his uniqueness, he has capitalized on it whereas others hide their quirks.
The man who always wears read Converse tennis shoes with shirt and tie when performing is also an astute business man. This CD, his 15th (or so), is his debut on Electro Glide Records and his and his band’s first completely family-friendly one. “It's the first album I've ever done that I can actually play for children and not worry about it,” the 63-year-old performer said in an interview posted on his website. “There's plenty of mischief and everything in it, but nothing profane or too blue for everyone's ears.”
In the opener, Dr. Duke takes on the role of psuedo-superhero in the rocking and Theremin infused “Bionic Tumatoe.” He sings, “...I was illum-nified [sic] by a cosmic ray.... don’t use my powers to fight crime or save the world, but I just might use them on a very pretty girl. ... I’ve been transillumnamalgamatemogrified by a cosmic ray!”
“I Just Want to Be Rich” is the best dance inducing, ear-worm song of the last ten years. It’s up tempo drum rhythm (Joseph Maddox) and pulsing bass line (Bill Ritter) are joined by Don Holmes’ piano and Dr. Duke’s driving guitar in a prime example of, simply, “Duke Tumatoe Music.” Guaranteed, you’ll wake up the next day unwarily singing, “I just want to be rich; I don’t want to work!” Further, your brain may be repeating lines like, “I want to go to restaurants and act really rude. I want to talk loud with a mouth full of food. ...in my car I’ll have a hot-tub installed; I’ll hire a hairdresser even though I’m bald.”
By track 7, Duke plays killer, solo acoustic slide guitar on “Barbeque” and pays homage to a late friend and BBQ purveyor on 38th street. (“Because of Duke and this song, I’m going today for some BBQ,” reported Shuffle Shoes.)
“One Good One Left” refers to one good punch left in the old man who is ready to protect his young college bound daughter with all those “...hound dogs out there hanging around.”
“The reason we go to live music shows is to lose troubles of the day. Dr. Duke Tumatoe realizes that more than others, and you walk away feeling better. He puts a different twist to it and takes you one step father away from hum-drum,” said Shuffle Shoes. Next best to a live Dr. Duke performance, is this wonderful new CD!
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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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 $5 for the general public and only $2 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 3 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 15, 2011- Donna Herula/John Jochem, winners of the WCBS Chicago Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Division perform at 8:30pm at C. J. Arthur’s, 1168 Wilmette Ave, Wilmette, IL
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, 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
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
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.
For more information contact Steve Wells at 304-295-4323 or email email@example.com 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 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
The JT Blues Band – 21st Century Blues
Self Release 2010
11 tracks, 46.42 minutes.
The JT in The JT Blues Band refers to Joe Territo who is the guitarist and main composer of the material on the CD. The other players are Joe Scrivo on bass, Rick Baker on drums and Rick McDonald who handles the lead vocals. The band is from Buffalo NY and has been around since 2004 but this appears to be their first main release.
The artwork for the CD cover is excellent, with a silhouette image of an old bluesman playing an enlarged IPOD, thereby cleverly representing the title of the album. It is also to the band’s credit that they have gone for all original songs. However, the songs are not particularly original and the quality of the CD is not really 21st Century, the sound sometimes suffering from the guitar being too strong in the mix. For instance, in “Buffalo Is Still My Home” all that I can hear is the guitar riff, both in the rhythm beneath the vocals and the solo sections. It is repetitious in the extreme and the vocal is mixed down low, so there is no escaping the guitar.
“Send Me Your Love” is a slow blues and the longest track on the CD, clocking in at over 7 minutes. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this track more than many on the album as there is less emphasis on rhythm playing from the guitar. “Run Right Into The Blues” is an upbeat tune with a catchy chorus which revisits some of the icons of the blues – “I saw a Red House yonder, I swear the sky was crying; passed right by the crossroads, I saw Mr Johnson flying” – is quite a clever lyric, one of the best songs on the album.
I would have liked to be more positive about this release but at a time when so many self-releases are brilliantly recorded this CD was a disappointment, with a rather dull sound and the balance issues of guitar and vocals already mentioned. Perhaps on a future project the addition of some keyboards would avoid the over-reliance on rather ‘samey’ guitar riffs.
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
Chrissie O’Dell & One Hot Mess - If I Had a Dime
Dime Time Productions
If I told you that before I listened to this CD that I knew who Chrissie O’Dell was I’d be lying to you. As it turns out, she is one of the Long Island Blues Society’s entries into the upcoming IBC for best self-produced CD, and she made it past the first cut of 22 from the original 55 entries. She’s got a controlled, yet powerful voice and her vocals are really deep and dark but quite appealing.
The backing band is John Bendy on Guitar, Bassist Craig Costa, “Papa” John Mole on Drums, Bill Quinn on the Hammond Organ, and added vocals by Libby Cabello & Nancy Bahnsen. They are an excellent group of musicians, but the front person for this band is what really makes the CD special. Bendy’s guitar work is very solid and clean, Quinn’s organ work adds a nice depth to the CD, and the backline and backup folks are more than up to the task. But as I said, O’Dell is the real deal!
From the opening title track to “Forecast Calls for a Change” that closes the set, we get to see what this band has to offer, and they do have a lot! Her vocals lead the charge, with soul and heart and pain and joy all wrapped up into one dynamically presented package. She wrote 9 of the 10 tracks and they are above average songs that are fun to both listen and dance to. Slow and dirty blues like “Simple Kinda Women” and “I Miss You” are delivered with guttural and visceral passion. She switches it up on other slow tracks like “Sleep All Day” where the softer side of Chrissie emerges. But when she turns up the heat on songs like “You Lied to Me” and “Cut You Lose” she’s smoking hot. She gives us a little funk, too, on “Hot Potato”. A nice variety of stuff that is all done up so very well!
This is a very strong first effort for this artist who has done her time in the NY area music scene. Her CD is really good and deserves the national recognition it’s getting and going to continue to get. She, Bendy and the rest of the band offer up some outstanding and authentic sounding blues with a nice, fresh sound! Check this lady and her band out- you won’t be sorry for doing so!
Featured Blues Review 4 of 5
Chris Duarte Group - Infinite Energy
Blues Bureau International
Infinite Energy is the latest release to come from the Chris Duarte Group on the Blues Bureau label.
Like his previous outings, "Infinite Energy" is the full package from the Chris Duarte we know and love. Music that is a mixture of Lone Star riffs and Hendrix/Vaughan single note attacks that send the dials into the red zone.
Only sometimes you get the impression Chris wants to step beyond those parameters. Of course tracks like "City Life Blues" grow on you with its tasteful jamming. But it's not all bombast threatening to split your skull. Though it flexes a Vaughan muscle, "Cross My Heart" shows a degree of musical restraint that is still maintained in the mid-tempoed rocker of "Waiting On You" that rides on cruise control.
You'll only think somethings wrong with Chris if he doesn't acknowledge Hendrix. Opening track "Ridin" comes with chording a la Axis Bold As Love. And "Voodoo Chile" hoodoo is unearthed in "Sundown Blues" which sounds like an outtake from Electric Ladyland.
And you really appreciate Duarte when he aspires to be John McLaughlin meeting Eric Johnson on the space blues- jazz of "Cold Cold Day." Believe it or not, the sound seems to soften a few notches in "My Heart Don't Want To Let You Go" until Duarte turns up the heat with impassioned soloing lifted from the Stevie Ray tablatures.
Then it's back to the Hendrix cocoon with the menacing brew of "Killin Time" and the beautiful psychedelic wave in "Hamra St." By the time you get to the track "Purple Gloaming," the steam subsides until "Me All Me" clobbers you with a Hendrix mallet.
Despite Chris dipping into his standard bag of tricks, you feel he is on the cusp of wanting to take his music to the next stage. He might be closer to his goal then we all realize.
Reviewer by Gary “Wingman” Weeks.
Featured Blues Review 5 of 5
Biscuit Miller – Blues With A Smile
Blue Bass 2010
12 tracks, 52.44 minutes.
Dave “Biscuit” Miller is a bass player and singer originally from Chicago, now living in Indianapolis. He spent ten years with Lonnie Brooks and also worked with Anthony Gomes before setting out on his own. I believe that this is his second solo CD and this one is all his own work as he wrote all the tunes and produced the album.
Biscuit’s touring band is called The Mix and there is a real mix of material here. I had expected a lot of funk and there is some here, but the CD is far more varied than that label might suggest. Biscuit has also drawn on friends from the blues world to assist, so we have performances from a wide variety of guests, including Billy Branch on harp, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Shawn Kellerman on guitar and Andrew “Blaze” Thomas on drums. The regular ‘Mix’ is Biscuit’s cousin Ivan Daddy I Wallace on guitar, Bobby Wilson, also on guitar, Deryl Coutts on keyboards and Dr Love on drums.
The CD opens with “Belly Up Some Blues” which features Billy Branch who introduces the tune on harp. An insistent riff underpins the song, with Biscuit telling us how he is ready for a night out with the blues before Shawn Kellerman lays down a dramatic guitar solo with plenty of wah-wah pedal. The toe-tapping tune is an excellent opener to the album and is followed by another good one in “Sleeping In The Dog House”, a variant on the old story of the guy whose girl has locked him out because he is having a fling with someone else. A real foot stomper with strong piano and an excellent high tempo guitar solo by Ivan Daddy I Wallace.
“Butter My Biscuits” is more what one might expect from an artist usually described as ‘funky’. This one even has a credit to a “Funk Box” played by the amazingly named One Tooth Johnson! There are two guitarists here but I am unsure who plays the exuberant solo. “Walk With You Babe” is an uptempo shuffle featuring Shawn Kellerman’s guitar on a song that is no more than the sort of love song that we all know and love, yet it appeals on all fronts, vocal, piano, drums and guitar all excel.
Then it’s back to the funk with “Black Eyed Peas And Cornbread”. The song essentially celebrates southern cooking whilst making passing reference to a host of well known suspects in the blues world – Highway 49, Mississippi, Big Legged Women, etc. Proof positive that Biscuit has a fine voice is ably demonstrated on the ballad “Blow A Kiss” where the gentle accompaniment gives centre stage to his voice and a lovely plucked acoustic guitar solo enhances the quality of the track – a contender for my favourite cut on the CD. At the other extreme “Boneheads” opens with a guitar riff that is almost heavy metal! This track has the lot, a guitar solo by RBB, a wild sax solo (Jay Moynihan), a bass solo by additional bassist Joseph Veloz and a rap by Supa Dave.
“Willie D” is a bluesier tune with Shawn Kellerman back in harness alongside Bobby Wilson on rhythm guitar, a song which recalls ex-boxer Willie in affectionate terms. “Never Seen It Coming” is probably the closest the band gets to doing a slow blues on the album, a classic tale of the breakdown of a relationship, even down to the inevitable ‘back door man’! “Call Him Doctor Love” might be a tribute to the band’s drummer, but if it is he is apparently the producer of a love potion called No 69!. It’s an uptempo tune with great piano and another fine guitar solo.
“Summer Time Blues” is another ballad graced by some nice sax playing by Jay Moynihan, a love song despite the title. The album closer is “Sing For The People” where Biscuit hands over bass duties to Joseph Veloz and concentrates on the vocals in front of a choir consisting of no less than eight vocalists which generates a real gospel feel to the song. Special mention must go to guest drummer Andrew Blaze Thomas and pianist Deryl Coutts as they propel the tune along. Biscuit takes us all to church on this one, even quoting The Lord’s Prayer towards the end. Shawn Kellerman also seems to feel the hot gospel moment as he solos passionately over the choir as the tune comes to an end.
Funk is not one of my personal tastes, but this CD delivers a lot more than just that dimension, with soul, blues, gospel and rock all to the fore. I suspect that we will all hear a lot more about Biscuit Miller And The Mix as this CD gets deservedly heard by a wide audience.
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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And speaking of my birthday, the annual "It's My Party And I'll Play What I Want To" radio show happens on Backtracks this Saturday night, 7-10pm on your favorite Iowa Public Radio station (or via streamed audio at www.iowapublicradio.org) It was really fun putting the show together. It's all from the original vinyl and comes complete with stories about playing in my Jr. High School band Tortoise & The Hair and seeing The Association play the Dubuque Blues live at the RKO theatre in downtown Davenport and other personal stories, most of which are true...
And speaking of birthdays (practice, practice, practice) we have been requested by two, soon to be 50 year old, patrons of the 503 Nightclub in Iowa Falls to play at THERE birthday party at the 503, Saturday Jan. 22. We play 9-mid. It's open to the public. How can you turn down the possibility of birthday CAKE, two weeks in a row?...
Probably the best birthday present I could have gotten came in the form of an invitation to return to the Iowa State Fair in August! We play the AE/TV8 stage on the final Fri/Sat Aug. 19 and 20. We also added a return to the Park Farm Winery Grape Stomp over Labor Day weekend and the annual riverboat cruise in Dubuque is scheduled for Fri. June 3. We've still got lots of open weekend dates in the summer and would love to add your local festival, party, or nightclub to the 30th anniversary tour. Need more info? Start here: http://www.theblueband.com/contactBob.htm
This is the greatest weekend for professional football in the entire season. Four playoff games involving the best eight teams on the planet. And, now that #4 is no longer playing, I can go back to being a Packer Backer. I grew up a fan of the Pack, dating back to the days of Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Jerry Kramer, Boyd Dowler, Max McGhee, Forrest Gregg, Willie Davis, Willie Wood, Zeke Bratkowski (I had to throw that one in, just for REAL longtime Packer fans) I was pissed at The Packers for not showing more respect to OLD #4, so I've been boycotting the green and gold. It REALLY pained me to root for The Purple. The world will be right again rooting for The Packers against the Falcons on Saturday night!...
Please join with me in sending condolences and best wishes to Dennis MacRunnel (our stage/road manager) and family. Dennis' dad passed away on Thursday...
It's late, I've still got to practice blowing out all those candles that'll be on the CAKE tomorrow (somebody better stand ready with the fire extinguisher) See yas on the Blue Highway, rub yer washboard tie to the tune of the Happy Birthday Blues, wear your Bob's 28th Birthday T-shirt to The Hub (I like the one that says Help! I'm 28 and I Can't Grow Up!) and always know that we love you. Bob Dorr & The Blue Band
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
John 'blueshammer' Hammer
Blue Monday Monthly Magazine
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