And Even More...

Your chance to write big-time blues reviews. Only two rules: First, if you're connected to the band or artist, go to Shameless Promotion; Second, don't write a book -- keep it relatively short and simple, no 1,000+ word epics.

Oh .. and make it fun.

And Even More...

Postby b dub » Wed Dec 22, 2004 7:13 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Dec-22-04 AT 02:15 PM (EST)]RICKY ALLEN
Jefferson 12657 (2001) ... nsmall.gif

8 tracks, 41 minutes. Recommended. Although relatively short as far as 'live' recordings go (not to mention late arriving in the mail), Ricky Allen had no problem proving beyond any shadow of doubt that his vocal abilities lost nothing following his years as a somewhat minor (although powerful) performer on the Chicago Blues scene. While the small band (guitar, keyboards, sax, bass, and drums) is a bit stiff at times, Allen's vocals retain that same depth and conviction that made Cut You A-Loose and Ouch! the standouts they were in his heyday. He recaptures the magic of both here (and superbly) as well as tackling the Junior Wells nugget, Little By Little with good results. Also present are fine versions of Everyday I Have The Blues, Stormy Monday, Help Me Mama, You Were My Teacher, and I Can't Stand No Signifying. Although the sound isn't quite as crisp as far as today's standards, it's still highly worthwhile.

In The House (Live At Lucerne)
Crosscut 11081 (2004)

13 tracks, 54 minutes. Highly recommended. Although the band name isn't a familiar one to the world of blues, Frank Goldwasser (guitar and vocals), R.J. Mischo (harmonica and vocals), and Richard Innes (drums) have managed to forge solid reputations with their many years of playing and recording. This smoldering set was tracked in November of 2003 at the prestigious Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland and finds the trio rattling through Willie Dixon's Bloody Tears, Earl Hooker's Going Down The Line, and the Willie Nix gem, Just Can't Stay (although credited to Don Nix), and a handful of strong originals. Alex Schultz and Billy Flynn sit in as guests and the outcome of the entire CD is crashing and distorted blues that recalls the early days of the Post-war scene in Chicago and Memphis. Rough, unpolished, and greasy - just how blues should be when it's at its best - and it shows here!

Blues To The Bone
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12 tracks, 48 minutes. Excellent. Although Etta's voice has lost quite a bit of the power it was once capable of, this new disc serves well in showing that she can still cut through a band and make worthwhile recordings. This one's a bonus for the blues-afflicted with storming versions of Hush Hush, Lil' Red Rooster, Smokestack Lightning, You Shook Me, Driving Wheel, and a rippling Don't Start Me To Talkin' that sounds just about as good from her as it did when Sonny Boy Williamson II cut it in 1955. Dust My Broom, The Sky Is Crying, That's Alright, Crawlin' Kingsnake, and Honey Don't Tear My Clothes are also potent, but the opener, Got My Mojo Working isn't the romper it should be, and seems a bit out of sorts when balanced against each of the other solid tracks. Bobby Murray's guitar and John "Juke" Logan's harp are wonderfully supportive throughout.

That Represent Man
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17 tracks, 62 minutes. Essential. It's this sort of recording that manages to keep the blues flame burning brightly for those who see our music suffering through a current low period. It's doubtful that a better hand-picked band could be chosen seeing as this one has Finis Tasby's vocals, the twin guitars of Kirk Fletcher and Frank Goldwasser, Leon Blue's piano, and a rhythm section of Ronnie James Weber and June Core. Add to that appearances by Paul Oscher, Roy Gaines, Johnny Dyer, Mickey Champion, and Randy Chortkoff and you've got the makings of an incredible hour-long blues extravaganza. Blues And Trouble, You're Sweet, I'm A Lover Not A Fighter, Come On Rock Little Girl, Temperature, Partin' Time, I Feel So Bad and You Been Goofin' (plus nine more) make this a late entry for one of 2004's high points.

Hill Country Revue
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14 tracks, 78 minutes. Good. Recorded 'live' at the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, TN, in June of 2004, this is less of a Hill Country Blues outing and more of an ongoing rock jam using somewhat similar grooves (although it's hard to tell at times). While R.L. Burnside and Othar Turner's Rising Star Fife & Drum band (minus Othar, of course) appear, it's almost as if they don't. What they contribute is pretty much lost in the endless jams, gizmo-ized guitar, and other things that play less a part in Hill Country Blues than Luther Dickinson and his cronies would have you believe. Chris Robinson appears as do members of R.L. Burnside's family, as well as Luther and Jim Dickinson, and although it's probably great for those who love jam bands, it's not quite the Hill Country Revue the title or the lineup would lead you to think it is. Tracks include Shake 'Em On Down, Po Black Maddie, Jumper On The Line, Down In Mississippi, Snake Drive, and Goin' Down South and while almost 80 minutes long, it's relatively low on real blues content. ... 154&sfid=2

In The House (Live At Lucerne)
Crosscut 11078 (2004)

10 tracks, 57 minutes. Recommended. After years with the Sons Of Blues, Carl Weathersby has made his name a known and reliable on the blues circuit as a potent performer and one to be reckoned with. While he has an eye on the traditional blues he was so influenced by, he's also strong enough to stand out delivering soulful burners, as evidenced by the powerful Leap Of Faith and What's Going On/Love Lead Us Home. Weathersby's strong nod to Albert King's guitar style is heard to great effect on If That Ain't The Blues, Angel Of Mercy, Can't You See What You're Doing To Me, and the smoking instrumental, Night Stomp. Otis Clay and Billy Branch make a guest appearance on Hobo Blues while Branch offers more riveting harp on Keep Your Hands Off My Baby. As an added bonus, there are some informative and well-written liner notes from Dick Shurman.

Crucial Live! Blues
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13 tracks, 61 minutes. Excellent. Compiled from thirteen different titles in the Alligator catalog, there's nothing here of the previously unissued sort, but it's sure makes for some great listening - and it's even better considering the budget-line pricing. Luther Allison (Cherry Red Wine), Hound Dog Taylor (Dust My Broom), Albert Collins (Tired Man), Koko Taylor (Going Back To Iuka), Lonnie Brooks (Born With The Blues), James Cotton (Born In Chicago), and Son Seals (Call My Job) have all recorded memorable 'live' outings for the label, and there's plenty more from Dave Hole (Short Fuse Blues), Delbert McClinton (Going Back To Louisiana), Lonnie Mack (Riding The Blinds), Elvin Bishop (My Dog), Saffire (Dump That Chump), and Little Charlie & The Nightcats (Eyes Like A Cat).

Sacred Steel Instrumentals
Arhoolie 515 (2004) ... 531451.jpg

14 tracks, 57 minutes. Essential. Arhoolie is thankfully continuing with their Sacred Steel series of recordings, and while this is a recent entry, it's just as mesmerizing as the previous examples. The steel guitar has an infectious quality to it as it's capable (in the right hands) of reaching heights a standard guitar can't quite match. Add to that the sacred, or religious, nature of these recordings ('live' and studio) and you're in for a treat. Sonny Treadway's Jesus Will Fix It For You, Willie Eason's When The Saints Go Marching In, Lamar Nelson's If I Couldn't Say A Word, Glenn Lee's Call Him By His Name, and The Campbell Brothers' End Of My Journey are more than enough to make it worth its weight in gold, but Robert Randolph, Aubrey Ghent, Lonnie Bennett, Rayfield Holloman, and Dante Harmon's contributions make it more of a true goldmine - and not just for Sunday mornings before church! Brilliant.

© 2004 by Craig Ruskey
b dub
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RE: And Even More...

Postby doc williamson » Thu Dec 23, 2004 4:28 pm

Walter Tore first turned me on to "Sacred Steel." I now have three CDs and a DVD of this great music. Robert Randolf is getting so much attention now and that is good. But, there are so many more great unheard artists in this genre. Three of my favorites are Aubrey Ghent, Sonny Treadway and the Campbell Brothers.

Thanks for the review BW.
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doc williamson
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RE: And Even More...

Postby blueswriter » Fri Dec 24, 2004 3:33 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Dec-23-04 AT 10:44 PM (EST)]Three of my favorites are Aubrey Ghent, Sonny Treadway and the
Campbell Brothers. Thanks for the review BW.

You're welcome Doc. I myself love all the Sacred Steel recordings I have. I'm glad to be back posting reviews. There will be lots more coming following the holidays. And while on that subject, I wish everyone here on the Big Road a wonderful Christmas and a safe and happy 2005.
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