New Reviews for May

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New Reviews for May

Postby blueswriter » Mon May 16, 2005 12:47 am

With my schedule being rather full outside the blues universe at this time of year, I'm a bit behind on discs that have come in for review. Here are a couple of recent entries that landed a short time ago, and following is a list of what's coming up this week. As always, feel free to post your thoughts and opinions, including criticism and cat-calls. I appreciate the participation of all who read the reviews. Thanks and stay tuned...

Chris Beard
Live Wire
Northern Blues (2005) 0028

http://www.chrisbeard.org/images/live-w ... -cover.jpg

15 tracks, 74 minutes. Good. The background of Chris Beard is impressive enough having Joe Beard, a blues guitarist and singer with strong roots and recordings, as his dad. Early influences for Chris also included Matt "Guitar" Murphy and Buddy Guy, revered blues players who would stop at the family's Rochester, NY home whenever they were in the area and give the youngster lessons. Count Luther Allison as another important link in Chris' development as a blues guitarist, it was Allison who handed the youngster a guitar during a performance and commanded him to play. With that short list of figures helping lay a foundation for Chris, it's understandable that he chose guitar as his weapon of choice. Live Wire isn't all the title of his latest CD suggests though; the first half of the recording was put together from two performances at Chicago's Kingston Mines, and Blues At The Mall, a Grand Rapids venue, while the balance was recorded in a Rochester studio. Of the 'live' tracks, the first three, Born To Play The Blues, Ten Toes Up, and It's About Time all have a similarity in approach from a funk/blues standpoint and quickly wear out their welcome. Tribute To Luther Allison, a two part slow blues with storming guitar, is marred by an uneven editing job, and It's Over, another slow blues (in three parts this time - and 15 minutes long) loses steam when Beard breaks a string during a solo and sings about his problem. The true downfall here is part three - a pointless two-minute bass solo which ends abruptly leaving the listener wondering about production and editing. Another disappointment comes from the unfocused jazz noodling of Quinn Lawrence's saxophone - he may well be an accomplished musician - but his blues playing is vacant of sensitivity. Beard acquits himself far better on the studio cuts doing two numbers from Chris Cain, Street Of Broken Dreams and Who Can You Trust, three from the pen of Dennis Walker - Never Felt No Blues, Can't Walk Away and Lock My Dreams, as well as Luther Allison's A Change Must Come. Chris Beard is no stranger to blues and in the studio, he seems to have been more focused on songs with purpose and statement instead of the over-the-top guitar heroics which fall short in a number of the 'live' tracks. Live Wire has its shortcomings but it has its moments as well - and when they happen - they hit square.


Carey Bell
Harpslinger
JSP (2004) 5102

http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioA ... 523559.jpg

13 tracks, 63 minutes. Highly recommended. Blues surely has its share of top-shelf harp players but those who have a direct link to the great Chicago era are few and far between - Carey Bell stands as one of the few - and Harpslinger shows that when he's on there are few who can match his ability or creativity. An engaging singer with a voice as powerful as his thunderous harp chops, Bell can lean into a shuffle or lay on a slow blues heavy enough to make anyone forget the rest of the tin-sandwich toters making racket in blues these days. Originally recorded in 1988 (with four tracks coming from Lurrie Bell recorded in 1989), Carey gets potent support from Richard Studholme's guitar, Andy Pyle's bass, and the drumming of Jeff Nichols and rolls through a muscular set. There are no visible writer credits in the packaging but listeners should notice that What My Mama Told Me is a slight reworking of Poor Boy while Pretty Baby doesn't hide itself from being a cover of Riding In The Moonlight under another title, and Bell also hands in strong readings of Little Walter's Last Night in addition to two takes of Blues With A Feeling. Sweet Little Woman is a droning one-chord groove not far from Howlin' Wolf territory, and those familiar with Bell's previous outings will recognize It's So Easy To Love You, a slow blues laced with crippling chromatic harp, and 85% is a blistering instrumental tour-de-force of chromatic wizardry. Carey steps in with more solid playing behind his son Lurrie Bell in the closing four tracks and the younger Bell shows his Chicago blues roots with plenty of Magic Sam-infused guitar in two takes of I'm Your 44 and nods to Muddy Waters in Going Back To Louisiana, a slow blues based on Muddy's stirring Louisiana Blues with shades of Hip Linkchain thrown in for good measure. Carey Bell should be high on anyone's list of harp players, and his new SACD (surround sound) stands the test of time in its new form and sounds far better than the old vinyl release.

© 2005 by Craig Ruskey

The following discs will be close behind over the next few days...

Eddie Boyd
And His Blues Band Featuring Peter Green
Gottdiscs (2004) CD008

http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioA ... 534488.jpg


Walter Davis
Don't You Want To Go
Acrobat (2003) 204

http://cover6.cduniverse.com/PhantomArt/623501.jpg


Ryan Hartt & The Blue Hearts
Yeah Man!
Far Tone (2005) FT-H62

http://www.ryanhartt.com/YeahMan_Redesi ... _cover.jpg


Various Artists
Chicago Is Just That Way
JSP (2005) 7744
4 CD Box / 112 tracks / 315 minutes

http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioA ... 550439.jpg


Various Artists
Midnight At The Barrelhouse
JSP (2003) 7713
5 CD Box / 125 tracks / 358 minutes

http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioA ... 491614.jpg


Various Artists
Texas Down Home Blues 1948-1952
Fremeaux (2003) FA 5062
2 CD Set / 36 tracks / 105 minutes

http://www.venerablemusic.com/images/Co ... X_5062.jpg
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RE: New Reviews for May

Postby mikedev » Wed May 18, 2005 10:56 am

I want that Carey Bell album!!!!

Must get to amazon!

Craig

Is the Eddie Boyd a re-issue of the XXXX Rhodes album with Peter Green?

Mike
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RE: New Reviews for May

Postby blueswriter » Wed May 18, 2005 7:25 pm

Is the Eddie Boyd a re-issue of the XXXX Rhodes album with Peter Green?

Nope... 7936 South Rhodes was recorded in March of 1968 and featured Eddie with Fleetwood Mac (or a smaller version of the band as only Greeny, Mick, and McVie were on it). This one, also produced by Mike Vernon, was recorded a year earlier (March of 1967) and includes Greeny, John McVie, Aynsley Dunbar, John Mayall, Tony McPhee and a few others. 7936 South Rhodes was originally issued as a Blue Horizon LP - this was originally on a Decca LP. Hope that helps.
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RE: New Reviews for May

Postby mikedev » Fri May 20, 2005 11:18 am

Thanks Craig, now that's 2 more I need to get, if I can find a copy of 7936 Rhodes. I gave up a couple of years ago but will try again.

Mike
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RE: New Reviews for May

Postby blueswriter » Fri May 20, 2005 8:08 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON May-20-05 AT 04:09 PM (EST)]Thanks Craig, now that's 2 more I need to get, if I can find a copy of 7936 Rhodes. I gave up a couple of years ago but will try again.

Hi Mike...

BGO issued 7936 South Rhodes a handful of years ago. I'm not sure if it's still in print, but CD Universe lists it as available and an item that ships within 1-2 days. Chances are you can find it closer to home if you do a bit of snooping with your favorite shopping outlet.

http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.a ... =248536854
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