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New Review Shorts...

Postby blueswriter » Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:48 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-30-05 AT 06:00 PM (EST)]MEMPHIS SLIM
Paris Mississippi Blues
Sunnyside (2005) 3025

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2 CDs, 30 tracks, 115 minutes. Highly recommended. A nicely packaged 2-CD compilation of Slim's works from between 1962 and 1975 with a lengthy list of major names accompanying. With Roosevelt Sykes, Sonny Criss, Willie Dixon, Mickey "Guitar" Baker, Buddy Guy, Peter Green, Canned Heat, Freddy King, and others stepping in to offer support, Memphis Slim's booming voice is out front over two discs featuring Rock And Roll The House, Baby Please Come Home, Wish Me Well, Black Cat Cross My Trail, When Buddy Guy Comes To Town and many more. Although all of this material was originally issued on Barclay, Blue Star, America, Festival, Fontana or Polydor, this is a superb (near) two-hour set giving ample opportunity for listeners to catch a good cross-section of Memphis Slim, his rolling piano, and affable humor. Includes complete session details and well done liner notes from Sebastian Danchin. One minor gripe that has nothing to do with the music... in this day and age, there's absolutely no reason why a record label should; A: not have a web address, or B: not list a web address on their compact disc. When many smaller labels make use of the internet (perhaps much to their advantage), Universal Music in France seems to have no listing of this CD. Just make your way to a favorite local or online retail outlet as this should be easy to order.


SUNNYLAND SLIM
Long Tall Daddy
Arcola (2004) 1006

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17 tracks, 52 minutes. Highly recommended. Recorded nearly thirty years ago (May of 1976) in Seattle, Washington, blues piano's elder statesman (who was 70 at the time) laid down a terrific set of solo blues including many highlights. Earlier gems like Going Back To Memphis and The Devil Is A Busy Man get solid readings and he tears through Dust My Broom, Prison Bound Blues, The Dirty Dozens, Roll And Tumble Blues and plenty more with gusto. Big Time Sarah, Slim's 23-year old girlfriend at the time, appears on Long Tall Daddy and Got To See My Baby, and between tracks, Sunnyland discusses some of the songs and their origins. A truly worthwhile disc with lengthy and detailed liner notes by Bill Berry. http://arcolarecords.com/sunnycd.html for more info.


MEM SHANNON
I'm From Phunkville Northern Blues (2005) 0029
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13 tracks, 70 minutes. Excellent. With twelve of the thirteen cuts being Shannon originals, I'm From Phunkville stands out as a highly personal work for the artist and a musically rewarding set for the listener. Laced with smoldering grooves that run the gamut from straight blues (Sweet Potato) to New Orleans second-line funk (Swing Tiger Swing), Mem's voice makes definite impact on The Reason, Perfect World, Battle Ground, No Religion, and more. Phunkville, a ten-minute workout, offers plenty of room for keyboard and guitar. Shannon's playing has always been highly creative, and his acoustic work is shown to great effect on the captivating Lights Of Caracas (I Didn't Know). Although Mem Shannon wasn't known much at all prior to 1995, he's made serious headway in the past decade with standout recordings. In stores April 19th. In the meantime, check out http://www.northernblues.com/ for more.


KENNY "BLUES BOSS" WAYNE
Let It Loose
Electro-Fi (2005) 3388

13 tracks, 47 minutes. Excellent. If you're familiar with the Blues Boss, this is another winner that's bound to please. If you're not yet schooled in Wayne's approach, Let It Loose is a fine place to begin. He blazes through smoking boogie woogie (Blackberry Wine), touches on Louis Jordan-inspired humor (Joogie To The Boogie), mines the soul/R&B genre (Wishing Well), and plows through storming blues, from shuffles (I Never Will Forgive You and Mean Streak) to slow grinders (Don't Rush To Judge Me) and does it all exceptionally well. He also pays tribute to Amos Milburn on Blue and Lonesome, Let Me Go Home Whiskey and Bewildered. The small band behind him (varying sidemen) offers muscular support throughout. Available May 17th. Until then, look into http://www.electrofi.com/ for other fine releases.


© 2005 by Craig Ruskey
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