Blues Bytes

January 2001

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To wrap up our fourth full year of blues CD reviews, the Blues Bytes staff and readers are pleased to present our top ten lists for the year. Thanks for your support of Blues Bytes over the past 12 months!

- Bill Mitchell (Editor/Publisher of Blues Bytes)

Bill Mitchell
(editor of Blues Bytes)
My list this year is given in alphabetical order. As I've added more writers to the Blues Bytes staff in the past year, I don't get to hear as many of the new CDs as in the past. But these ten CDs jumped out as my personal favorites. One note --- if the new Roy Gaines CD had come to me before I prepared this list, I'm certain it would have been included, because I think that Roy Gaines is the greatest! See other lists for the inclusion of that CD.

Tommy Bankhead - Message to St. Louis (Fedora)
The Big Doo Wopper - All In The Joy (Delmark)
Norton Buffalo - King of the Highway (Blind Pig)
Guy Davis - Butt Naked Free (Red House)Carol Fran & Clarence Hollimon
Carol Fran & Clarence Hollimon - It's About Time (JSP)
The Love Dogs - New Tricks (Tone-Cool)
Geoff Muldaur - Password (Hightone)
Darrell Nulisch - I Like It That Way (Severn)
Paul Oscher & Steve Guyger - Living Legends-Deep In The Blues

Robert Ward - New Role Soul (Delmark)

Johnny Adams - There Is Always One More Time (Bullseye Blues & Jazz)
Cephas & Wiggins - From Richmond to Atlanta (Rounder)
Robert Nighthawk - Live On Maxwell Street 1964 (Bullseye Blues & Jazz)
The Pattersonaires - The Book of the Seven Seals (High Water/HMG)
Otis Rush - The Essential Otis Rush, Classic Cobra Recordings 1956-1958 (Fuel 2000)
Junior Wells - Calling All Blues (Fuel 2000)
Various Artists - Happy In The Service Of The Lord, Volumes 1 & 2 (High Water/HMG)

Benoit Briere
(Blues Bytes reviewer from Montreal)
Benoit Briere is not a very organized person. When he tries to find something on his desk, he usually needs a couple of hours, some outside assistance, and by the time he's found what he was looking for, he's forgotten why in the first place he was looking for it. So when time came to establish a top 10 list of the best blues recordings of the year 2000, the task proved daunting: he had no clear record of everything he's listened to during the year As far as he can remember, these are all worthwhile additions to anyone's blues discography. Enjoy!

Corey Harris and Henry Butler1) Corey Harris and Henry Butler : V-d menz (Alligator)
2) Larry Garner : Once Upon The Blues (Ruf)
3) Guy Davis : Butt Naked Free (Red House Records)
4) Dr. John : Duke Elegant (Warner)
5) Alvin Youngblood Hart : Start With The Soul (Rykodisc)
6) Bryan Lee : Crawfish Lady (Justin Time)
7) Peter Green with Nigel Watson Splinter Group : Hot Foot Powder (Snapper Music)
8) Jay McShann : What a Wonderful World (Groove Note)
9) Rob Lutes : Gravity (Zeb Productions)
10) North Mississippi All Stars : Shake Hands with Shorty (Tone-Cool)

Steve Hinrichsen
(Blues Bytes reviewer from Southern California)

Steve admits to having cheated by submitting a top 12 list,  as he couldn't decide which of three CDs to put in the number one slot and felt that all three deserved it. We'll forgive him .... this time.

Kid Ramos 1. a) Kid Ramos - West Coast House Party
b) King Ernest - Blues Got Soul
c) Paul Oscher & Steve Guyger - Living Legends-Deep In The Blues
2. Darrell Nulisch - I Like It That Way
3. Carl Weathersby - Come To Papa
4. Rick Holmstrom - Gonna Get Wild
5. Pinetop Perkins - Back On Top
6. Doug McLeod - Whose Truth, Whose Lies
7. Snooky Pryor & Mel Brown - Double Shot
8. Coco Montoya - Suspicion
9. Beau Jocque & The Zydeco Hi-Rollers - Give Him Cornbread, LIVE!
10. Mark Dufresne - There's A Song In There

Alan Shutro
(long-time Blues Bytes reviewer and soul afficianado from Phoenix)

Irma Thomas1. Irma Thomas - My Heart's In Memphis (Rounder)
2. Gwen McCrae - Still Rockin' (Phat Sound Records)
3. Shirley Brown - Holding My Own (Malaco)
4. Clay Hammond/Z.Z. Hill - Southern Soul Brothers (Kent (U.K.))
5. Mighty Sam - Papa True Love (Sundazed)
6. Marvin Sease - Hoochie Mama (BMG)
7. Johnnie Taylor - Gotta Get The Groove Back (Malaco)
8. Little Buster & Soul Brothers - Work Your Show (Fedora)
9. Mosely & Johnson - Juke Joint (Malaco)
10. Solomon Burke - Proud Mary (Sundazed)

Graham Clarke
(Blues Bytes reviewer from Mississippi)

Eddie Cotton - Live at the Alamo Theatre (Proteus Productions)
Corey Harris/Henry Butler - Vu Du Menz (Alligator)
Roy Gaines - New Frontier Lover (Severn)
Carl Weathersby - Come To Papa (Evidence)
Robert Ward - New Role Soul (Delmark)
Robert Lockwood, Jr. - Delta Crossroads (Telarc)
Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas - Let's Go (Rounder)
Trudy Lynn - U Don't Know What Time It Is (Ruf)
Johnny Jenkins - Handle With Care (Mean Old World)
Big Jack Johnson - Roots Stew (MC)

Otis Rush - The Essential Otis Rush, Classic Cobra Recordings 1956-1958 (Fuel 2000)
Various Artists - Living Country Blues (Evidence)
T-Bone Walker - T-Bone Blues: The Essential Recordings of T-Bone Walker (Indigo)
Scott Dunbar - From Lake Mary (Fat Possum)
Magic Slim & the Teardrops - Grand Slam (Rooster Blues)
Various Artists - And This Is Maxwell Street (Rooster Blues)

Joseph Sherman
(one of the newer Blues Bytes reviewers now living in New York, with an "almost top ten" list)

Mighty Mo Rodgers - Blues is My Wailing Wall
Chris Thomas King - Me, My Guitar, and the Blues
Keb' Mo' - The Door
Jeff Healy Band - Get Me Some
Larry Garner - Once Upon the Blues
Koko Taylor-  Royal Blue
BB King - Makin' Love Is Good For You
Indigenous - Circle

Mark Gallo
(new Blues Bytes reviewer from Michigan)

1. Alberta Adams: Say Baby Say (Cannonball) The Queen of the Blues in Motown outdid her long overdue debut of last year. At pushin'-80, she can blues a case of "divas" under the table. You want nuance, you want sass, you want a dame layin' down the deal? The Blues according to Miss Alberta Adams is, you'll pardon the cliche, the real deal. 

2. Big Jack Johnson: Roots Stew (M.C.) He's a ferocious guitarist, wonderful singer and first-rate songwriter who gives as much energy to the "serious" stuff as to the silly tunes. Mild mannered CD players will be eaten alive. 

3. Butler Twins: The Butler Twins Boogie -- Live At The Attic (Back Porch Blues) Guitar/harmonica playing twins are joined by members of past bands. This is what the JSP discs were trying to showcase. If there's such a thing as urban juke blues, no one does it better. 

4. John Primer: Knockin' At Your Door (Telarc) Great guitar work and vocals from a man who deserved to step up to the A-list a long time ago. When he sings "If John Primer can't get it, ain't nobody comin' out," you know you're in the presence of a Blues Man. 

5. Joe Weaver: Baby I Love You So (Black Magic) Like the Adams disc, this benefits from backing from Johnnie Bassett & The Blues Insurgents. Weaver was an R&B maestro in the '60s. At the turn of the century he's one of the best voices out there. 

6. Philadelphia Jerry Ricks: Many Miles Of Blues (Rooster) Shades of Mississippi John Hurt and Skip James abound. Gets my vote for best acoustic disc of the year, hands down.

7. B.B. King/Eric Clapton: Riding With the King (Reprise) "Commercial" means a disc sells. Everyone on this list would like to sell. Did Clapton help B.B. break the pop charts again, or did B.B. give Clapton blues props again? Either way, the combination is spectacular. 

8. Mark Selby: More Storm Comin' (Vanguard) Songwriter who has written for country and blues acts for years has a great set of his own. The opener, "Don't You Thrown That Mojo On Me," is my CD player's favorite cut of the year. 

9. Groove Hogs: No Small Feat (Blues Hog Records). The best indie release of the year, out of the Tower of Power/White Trash tradition. Greasy and punchy grooves. Any self-respecting feets won't fail for this one. Labels oughta be knockin' down the door. 

10. D.C. Bellamy: Water To Wine (Rooster) Another one of those great debuts by a guy who's been kicking around for years, mostly in R&B. Now the blues gets his attention, and the result is one of the most attention-deserving collections of 2000. 

Niles Frantz
(host of Comin' Home radio show on WBEZ in Chicago ---

(In alphabetical order by artist)
Alberta Adams - Say Baby Say (Cannonball)
R.L. Burnside - Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down (Fat Possum)
Eddie C Campbell - Hopes & Dreams (Rooster Blues)
Sue Foley - Love Comin' Down (Shanachie)
Larry Garner - Once Upon The Blues (Ruf)
Fruteland Jackson - I Claim Nothing but the Blues (Electro-Fi)
Willie King - I Am The Blues (Rural Members Association)
Willie King & The Liberators - Freedom Creek (Rooster Blues)
Bobby Rush - Hoochie Man (Waldoxy)
Super Chikan - What Ya See (Fat Possum)
Charles Walker - Leavin' This Town (Cannonball)

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