Blues Bytes

Pick Hit

January 2011

an associate


We've just completed the 14th full year of Blues Bytes ---- wow, what a great run so far! As usual, we use the January Pick Hit to feature the reviewers' Top Ten Lists for the past year.

We couldn't do Blues Bytes without our team of dedicated reviewers, who year after year submit the wonderful reviews found on the pages of this site for one primary reason --- they love the blues! If you read a review that you like, send us an email and we'll forward your compliments on to that reviewer.

Thanks to all of you for your support!

- Bill Mitchell (Editor/Publisher of Blues Bytes)


Bill Mitchell (editor of Blues Bytes)

The Nighthawks - Last Train To Bluesville (Rip Bang)
I've been listening to the Nighthawks for 35 years, but this all-acoustic album presents the D.C.-based band in a new light. Well done, 'hawks!

The Mannish Boys - Shake For Me (Delta Groove)
It's always a treat when Delta Groove founder Randy Chortkoff gathers the best musicians and multiple special guests for these Mannish Boys sessions. This is the fifth album and their best yet. You'll be hooked after the first few notes of the opening cut, "Too Tired."

Tad Robinson - Back In Style (Severn)
He's one of the best at what he does, which is combining gritty Chicago blues with a classic soul sound. Back In Style is a valuable addition to the Tad Robinson catalog.

Mitch Kashmar & The Pontiax - 100 Miles To Go (Delta Groove)
100 Miles To Go
could really be classified as a re-issue and not a new CD, if not for the fact that the old Pontiax re-grouped to record a couple of new songs to add to this collection of recordings from the late '80s.

The Holmes Brothers - Feed My Soul (Alligator)
Every recording by these cats should be cherished, and Feed My Soul is no exception. The Holmes Brothers have a knack for taking well-worn covers of classic tunes and making it their own, like on Johnny Ace's "Pledging My Love."

Kirk Fletcher - My Turn (Eclecto Groove)
He's better known as a supporting player in various L.A.-based blues bands, but his solo releases show that he's perfectly capable of taking a lead role. My Turn is a diverse set of blues and other musical genres that will never grow old.

Bob Corritore - Harmonica Blues (Delta Groove)
Phoenix blues impresario Corritore brings a lot of great acts to his club, the Rhythm Room. While they're in town he often plans time to take these blues legends into the studio. The result of these efforts is Harmonica Blues, featuring priceless recordings by Koko Taylor, the late Nappy Brown, Carol Fran, Henry Gray, Pinetop Perkins, Little Milton, and many more.

Rick Holmstrom, John "Juke" Logan, Stephen Hodges - Twist-O-Lettz (Mocombo)
If I didn't know better, I'd say that this recording by these Los Angeles area blues players was recorded for Excello Records back in the 1950s. It's got that same swampy, rootsy blues vibe made famous by the seminal Louisiana label. But this one's brand-new, recorded at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. It's raw ... it's feral ... it's wild ... it's unrestrained ... it's great!

Nick Curran - Reform School Girl (Eclecto Groove)
Speaking of raw, unrefined and raucous, this one takes home the trophy. He's always straddled the line between roots rock and blues, and Reform School Girl is no exception except that this one turns up the volume even louder.

The Sojourners - The Sojourners (Black Hen Music)
It would be short-sighted just call the music from The Sojourners "gospel," as this Vancouver-based vocal group incorporates elements of doo wop, soul and blues into their sound. Leader Marcus Mosely and friends can harmonize with the best of them, even tackling a Los Lobos song, "The Neighborhood." Yeah, that makes it extra cool.

Tom Principato - A Part Of Me (Powerhouse)
A Part Of Me was actually not released until January 2011. I reviewed it in 2010 and am likely to forget to include it on the 2011 list, so I'll add it as the 11th favorite on this year's Top Ten ..... just in case! A Part Of Me is a musically diverse album with a nice collection of special guests, but it's Principato's exquisite guitar work that highlights this fine disc.


Terry Clear (reviewer from Spain)

Phoenix & Mo'Hell - Jumper On The Line
Tim Lothar & Peter Nande - Two For The Road
The Mannish Boys - Shake For Me
Charlie Musselwhite - The Well
Rocky Jackson - Testify
Chris James & Patrick Rynn - Gonna Boogie Anyway
The Nighthawks - Last Train to Bluesville
Tim Woods - The Blues Sessions
Buddy Guy - Living Proof
Various Artists - Louisiana Swamp Stomp
David GeraldHell & Back


Tim Holek (reviewer from Canada)

Eugene Hideaway BridgesLive in San Antonio (Armadillo)
Chris James & Patrick RynnGonna Boogie Anyway (Earwig)
The Holmes BrothersFeed My Soul (Alligator)
John NemethName The Day! (Blind Pig)
Bernard AllisonThe Otherside (CC Entertainment)
Various – Jimmy Dawkins Presents The Leric Story (Delmark)
Luther AllisonSongs From The Road (Ruf)
Arthur AdamsStomp The Floor (Delta Groove)
Mississippi HeatLet’s Live It Up! (Delmark)
Mannish BoysShake For Me (Delta Groove)

--- Tim Holek
Freelance Journalist (
Great Lakes Blues Society Media Relations Coordinator (


Graham Clarke (reviewer from Mississippi)

(In no particular order)

Magic Slim & the TeardropsRaising The Bar (Blind Pig)
A Top Ten List without Magic Slim is like apple pie without ice cream. He just keeps getting better and better.

Bob CorritoreHarmonica Blues (Delta Groove)
A fascinating retrospective teaming Corritore with a veritable Hall of Fame roster of blues legends.

Eden Brent Ain’t Got No Troubles (Yellow Dog)
Eden Brent traveled down the Mississippi River and did the impossible….she recorded an album that’s even better than Mississippi Number One.

Various Artists – Louisiana Swamp Stomp (Honeybee Entertainment)
Great set of Louisiana blues, put together to benefit a great cause (brain and spinal cord injuries) with some familiar names (Larry Garner, Percy Sledge, Carol Fran, Henry Gray) and some not-so-familiar (Omar Coleman, Charlene Howard) in fine form.

Tad RobinsonBack In Style (Severn)
An incredible set of soul music, just like they used to do it in Memphis forty-plus years ago.

The Sojourners and Jim ByrnesEverywhere West (Black Hen Music)
The Sojourners sing old-time gospel with a touch of Curtis Mayfield soul and bluesy instrumentation. Byrnes’ latest mixes unique interpretations of some old classics with some fine new compositions.

Super ChikanChikadelic (Bluestown Records)
Everybody needs a little Super Chikan in their collection and this release ranks with his best work.

Travis “Moonchild” Haddix
If I’m One, You’re One Too
(Benevolent Blues) – A strong set of urban blues by one of the underappreciated veterans on the scene.

Claude HayDeep Fried Satisfied (Ingot Rock)
Call it Muddy Waters meets P-Funk and you’re on the right track. Probably the most-played disc I had this year.

Lynwood Slim and the Igor Prado Band
Brazilian Kicks
(Delta Groove) – Lynwood Slim never disappoints and this collaboration with Prago and his wonderful band is West Coast blues at its best.

Honorable Mention: Joe PittsTen Shades of Blue (Kijam Records), Son Jack Jr. & Michael WildeWalk The Talk, Buddy GuyLiving Proof (Silvertone), Tim Lothar & Peter NandeTwo for the Road (Straight Shooter); Larry Garner with the Norman Beaker BandLive at the Tivoli, Johnny Moeller BlooGaLoo (Severn), The Mannish BoysShake For Me (Delta Groove), Chris James & Patrick RynnGonna Boogie Anyway (Earwig), Cee Cee James Seriously Raw (FWG), Vincent Hayes Project Reclamation (North 61), Chris Antonik - Chris Antonik.


Mark E. Gallo (reviewer from Michigan)

1. Downchild - I Need a Hat; (Linus 09)
2. Cashbox Kings - I-94 Blues (Blue Bella)
3. Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters - Spread the Love (Stony Plain)
4. Shaun Murphy - The Trouble With Lovin (Serenity Hill

5. Moreland & Arbuckle - Flood (Telarc)
6. Robin RogersBack In the Fire (Blind Pig)
7. Lynwood Slim & the Igor Prado Band - Brazillian Kicks (Delta Groove)
8. Jean Shy & Friends - Blow Top Blues (King Edward)
9. Karen Lovely - Still The Rain (Pretty Pear)
10. Cathy Lemons & Johnny Ace - Lemonace (Vizztone)


Kyle Deibler (President of the Phoenix Blues Society and regular Blues Bytes reviewer)

1. Buddy GuyLiving Proof. A gem from Buddy. Kudos to Tom Hambridge for coaxing this record out of Buddy. “Stay Around A Little Longer”, the duet with B.B. King, is priceless.

2. Eden BrentAin’t Got No Troubles. Recorded in New Orleans, producer Colin Linden works his magic with Eden. Her strongest disc to date, earning Eden three more Blues Music Award nominations, including record of the year.

3. Eric BibbBooker’s Guitar. Just a great, great disc from Eric. One of the acoustic highlights of the year.

4. Janiva MagnessThe Devil is an Angel Too. Very soulful disc from Janiva that earner her four BMA nominations. The Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year category is one of the toughest in recent memory and Janiva definitely holds her own.

5. Ronnie EarlSpread the Love. Classic Ronnie Earl and a great disc from one of my favorite guitar players. I’m definitely going to have to head back East to catch one of Ronnie’s shows since he doesn’t tour anymore.

6. Reba Russell 8. Reba’s best work to date and it earned her a BMA nomination for the Koko Taylor Traditional Female Artist of the Year. Reba wowed the crowd at the Biscuit and is definitely hitting her stride as an artist.

7. Walter TroutCommon Ground. I was the first in line at the Fargo Blues Festival after Walter’s stellar performance to pick up this disc. Earned Walter a BMA nomination for Blues Rock Album of the Year and deservedly so.

8. Karen LovelyStill the Rain. I watched Karen’s band take second place at the IBC after Grady Champion literally took the Orpheum by storm. Tremendous disc for this very talented lady from Ashland, Oregon. Garnered three BMAs for Karen and the audience in Memphis will be in for a treat when she performs there in May.

9. John NemethName the Day. John’s best work to date and very indicative of his growth as a writer and performer. There is more where this came from and John is definitely on the rise.

10. Robin RobertsBack in the Fire. The Blues world said goodbye to Robin on December 17th and I miss her. She was a great friend to me last summer and was very hopeful of the prospects for this record and how it would be received. She left behind a great disc and is definitely missed.



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