And Still 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.

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And Still More...

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

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Dec-22-04 AT 02:55 PM (EST)]LOWELL FULSON
Classic Cuts - 1946 To 1953
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4 CDs, 113, tracks, 313 minutes. Highly recommended. It could be time to trade in a lot of the other vintage Lowell Fulson recordings on your shelves to make room for this incredible 4-CD boxed set. Covering the years 1946 to 1953, laced with 113 tracks, and great sound, this is prime Lowell Fulson from the Big Town, Down Beat, Swingtime, and Trilon labels and the set includes eight alternate titles. Lowell's guitar work could often be absolutely devastating, as shown here to great effect on Guitar Shuffle, Jukebox Shuffle, Cash Box Boogie, Market Street Blues, and more. Joining Fulson are some stellar names including Lloyd Glenn and Billy Hadnott (who also aided T-Bone Walker - another West Coast guitar wonder), as well as Eldridge McCarty's piano, Que Martyn's tenor sax, Earl Brown's alto, and Lowell's brother Martin Fulson on second guitar for sixteen tracks. From jumping small-band romps to stripped-down Texas grit with just twin guitars, there's a wealth of great music here. The sonics on this massive set are hands above what many will have of Lowell Fulson on various labels, including some releases on Night Train (which sound like they were tweaked by an engineer with severe hearing loss). There are no deficiencies at all here; no dropout, no hiss, no pops or clicks, and at almost five hours of listening time, it's simply the finest document of Fulson's earlier years before he went on to Aladdin, Checker, Kent, and further. In a recording career that went on for decades, Lowell Fulson stands as a stellar figure with a pen who managed a number of definitive classics, and guitar work that can rattle your bones to the core. With complete session information and detailed liner notes by Neil Slaven, this is absolutely stunning material, and well worth the relatively small investment.

Mark Hummel & The Blues Survivors
Blowin' My Horn
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13 tracks, 76 minutes. Recommended. Mark Hummel is no stranger to those whose interests are directed at straight-ahead blues, and it's about time he's offered a complete 'live' CD to his growing catalog of recordings. Compiled from two shows in Ontario, Canada, in September of 2003, Hummel and his cohorts roar through a smoldering set that includes jump, rock 'n' roll, stripped-down Excello grinders, and rocking blues, sure to please both harp and guitar fans easily. Frank Frost's My Back Scratcher, Eddie Bo's I'm Wise, Peter Green's Before The Beginning, and James Cotton's The Creeper are solid and worthwhile covers, but Hummel shows his skills as an aware songwriter by adding an handful of originals; Bombshell Baby, Gotta Make A Change, Lost A Good Man, and Everything show his pen use to great effect. Hummel's band, The Blues Survivors are Charles Wheal on guitar, Steve Wolf on bass, and Marty Dodson on drums, along with Mel Brown's keyboard prowess on half the disc, lay an incrediblly solid foundation and deserve high praise for their workmanlike efforts. Wheal's guitar work, especially on Everything, is beyond reproach, and as much as this is Mark Hummel's disc, he offers plenty of room for his sidekicks to step forward and shine. A truly superb recording from beginning to end displaying one of today's finest blues harp players hard at work.

The Tablerockers
Shake Your Junk
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12 tracks, 68 minutes. Excellent. The Tablerockers might not be a completely familiar name to blues aficionados across the US (or beyond), but if your tastes run toward high-powered blues with more than a gallon of rock guitar in the fuel tank for added punch, this CD will satisfy. Comprised of Baby Jason Davis on guitar and vocals, Larry Boehmer on bass, and David Watson nailing down the drums, this trio shoots from the hip and rolls through a pair of funky covers of Think and I'm Ready before kicking up the horsepower with a smoldering version of Jimmy Reed's Big Boss Man. Little Walter's Temperature is slowed to a crawl oozing power and passion, and while Baby Jason's guitar work might recall Jimmy Page and other rock heroes at times, he avoids many of the excesses that can sometimes drag a power trio into boredom. Otis Rush's All Your Love gets a heady treatment and proves Jason's guitar schooling comes from where it should, and even though B.B. King's Thrill Is Gone is a done-to-death warhorse, these guys handle it with enough originality to add freshness to it. Magic Sam's She Belongs To Me and Wolf's Shake For Me are potent and powerful, but the true sleeper might be Ball And A Biscuit, a slow grinder peppered with gritty guitar and hoarse vocals. While many blues/rock power trios fall into an abyss between ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Tablerockers steer clear of that territory and it serves them well on this hot and sweaty disc recorded 'live' at George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Nicely done.

Paul Rishell & Annie Raines
Goin' Home
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13 tracks, 51 minutes. Very good. The New England-based duo of Paul Rishell & Annie Raines serve up another solid disc heaped with interesting song choices, deft guitar work, tasteful harp, and more. Rishell's voice may be an acquired taste for some and he's not as convincing a singer on covers by Charley Patton (I'm Goin' Home/Some Of These Days), Washington Phillips (I Had A Good Mother And Father), Charley Jordan (Hunkie Tunkie Blues), Blind Lemon Jefferson (Black Horse Blues), or William Moore (Ragtime Millionaire), but there's little doubt he knows guitar inside and out. Raines steps front and center on Ma Rainey's Black Eye Blues with a sincere and heartfelt vocal, and throughout, she offers her talents playing harp, piano, mandolin, and more. The closer, Magic Sam's Lookin' Good gets great treatment as the pair romps for seven-and-a-half minutes through an all-instrumental 'live' highlight.

Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings
LIVE! At The Sierra Nevada Brewery Big Room
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12 tracks, 62 minutes. Very good. If you've never seen Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings come through your neck of the woods, you'll get pretty close by picking up this new 'live' (and enhanced) release from the West Coast's resident slide guitar wizard. Although almost everything here has been issued on previous recordings, they get a boost from the 'live' setting and a hearty crowd, who definitely play a role with their infectious attitude. Rogers covers Big Joe Williams (Mellow Apples), Robert Johnson (Terraplane Blues), Willie Dixon/Howlin' Wolf (Built For Comfort), and Elmore James (Shake Your Moneymaker), and steps out with some crafty originals as well; Ever Since I Lost You, Gertie Ruth, Vida's Place, Duck Walk, and more. Stripped to a basic trio format (with some special guests including Norton Buffalo), Rogers' guitar playing is creative and careening while retaining the deep blues influence from masters he's emulated and covered throughout his lengthy career. For searing slide guitar adventures that traverse the stratosphere, LIVE! At The Sierra Nevada Brewery Big Room should please blues and rock 'n' roll fans alike.

Various Artists
More American Folk Blues Festival 1963-65 - Lost Blues Tapes
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2 CDs, 32 tracks, 109 minutes. Essential. The first question should be how this material ever managed to get lost, but that's far less important than the music, which is what we'll focus on. While previously issued as two separate discs, the repackaged 2-CD set offers more bang for the buck and plenty of high points throughout. Disc one was recorded 'live' in October of 1963 and features Memphis Slim, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Otis Spann, Lonnie Johnson, Victoria Spivey, and Big Joe Williams. Slim's pairing of Blues Everywhere and John Henry are split between a solo performance and one with a band while Muddy offers two solo cuts, Captain, Captain and a wonderful Catfish Blues, and two (In The City - a slowed-down version of Blow Wind Blow and I Feel Like Cryin' which is My Home Is In The Delta) where he's joined by the "house" band consisting of Spann, Willie Dixon, Matt Murphy, and Bill Stepney. Perhaps a bit reserved for Muddy, but considering his previous difficulties pleasing European audiences, it's to be expected. Sonny Boy's Your Love For Me Is True and Don't Misuse Me are full band tracks while I'm Gettin' Tired is stripped to just his harp and effective singing. Spann's Going Down Slow is superb and Lonnie's two (Careless Love/C.C. Rider) show his excellent guitar skills while he backs Spivey for T.B. Blues. Big Joe hands in three glorious tracks (Big Roll Blues/Back In The Bottom/Baby Please Don't Go) with his nine-string guitar to close the first CD. Disc two is made up of studio recordings made between 1963 and 1965 and features the efforts of John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, Big Walter Horton, Willie Dixon, J.B. Lenoir, Fred McDowell, Roosevelt Sykes, Sleepy John Estes and others. Hooker's two takes of Della Mae are fine, Big Mama hands in her perennial favorite Hound Dog, and Muddy does another version of Captain Captain while Sonny Boy handles I Got To Cut Out. Horton's Blues Harp Shuffle is amazingly fine with the band (Buddy Guy, Jimmie Lee Robinson, and Fred Below) pushing Big Walter with power and finesse, and Dixon offers Strong Brain and Big Legged Woman with his own guitar. Nothing on either of these two discs are throwaways, but Farewell Baby from Doctor Ross (the one-man band) is startling and shattering while Lenoir's If I Get Lucky is equally brilliant. Lost Blues Tapes or not, this material is a page out of history and we're indeed fortunate that everything here has been issued for our listening pleasure.

© 2004 by Craig Ruskey
b dub
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

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