The 17th year of Blues Bytes is in the books. 17 years?
That's almost as old as the internet itself. As with every previous year, we use the
January Pick Hit to feature the reviewers' Top Ten Lists for the past
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
Thanks to all of you for your support!
- Bill Mitchell (Editor/Publisher of Blues Bytes)
Mitchell (editor of Blues Bytes)
Here's my list of ten favorite CDs from 2013. Enjoy!
1) 4 Jacks - Deal With It (Ellersoul Records)
Any band that consists of both Big Joe Maher and Anson Funderburgh just
has to be good!
2) John Primer / Bob Corritore - Knockin' Around The Blues (Delta
Primer has always been one of the more underrated bluesmen on the
Chicago scene, and this fine disc is just another example of why he's
one of the best.
3) Johnny Rawls - Remembering O.V. (Catfood Records)
Every Johnny Rawls CD is pretty much a guaranteed top ten, with this one
having the added bonus of featuring songs from his musical mentor, O.V.
4) Homemade Jamz Blues Band - Mississippi Hill Country (CD
This family band from Mississippi breathes new life into the blues scene
with every new disc, and this one is their best yet.
5) Nicole Hart & Anni Piper - Split Second (Blues Left Records)
It was a brilliant idea to pair Ms. Hart with the native Australian
Piper, with Split Second seldom leaving my CD player in the past
6) Barrelhouse Chuck & Kim Wilson's Blues All-Stars - Driftin'
From Town To Town (The Sirens Records)
I just saw this basic ensemble in concert recently, and of course it was
one of the best shows of the show. Not surprising considering the array
of talent here.
7) Pete Anderson - Birds Above Guitarland (Little Dog Records)
Guitarist extraordinaire Anderson continues to produce quality music
with every CD.
Cash Box Kings - Black Toppin' (Blind Pig Records)
Solid Chicago blues from four fine Windy City musicians.
9) James Cotton - Cotton Mouth Man (Alligator Records)
Veteran blues harmonica ace is joined by a host of special guests.
10) Gina Sicilia - It Wasn't Real (Swing Nation Records)
An artist who has shown great improvement since the beginning of her
career. "Walkin' Shoes" is one of the best songs of the year, and it
really isn't even a Blues.
11) Ruff Kutt Blues Band - That's Where The Blues Begins
(Ruff Kutt Records)
Finis Tasby, Zac Harmon and Anson Funderburgh team up with James Goode's
band to make an album too good to be left off the Top Ten (or Top
(reviewer and freelance journalist from Canada)
T - Nick Nixon Band - Drink Drank Drunk
Billy Boy Arnold/Charlie Musselwhite/Mark Hummel/Sugar Ray
Norcia/James Harman - Remembering Little Walter
Chris James and Patrick Ryn - Barrelhouse Stomp
Shawn Holt and the Teardrops - Daddy Told Me
Toronzo Cannon - John The Conquer Root
Barrelhouse Chuck and Kim Wilson's Blues All-Stars - Driftin'
From Town To Town
James Cotton - Cotton Mouth Man
Roomful of Blues - 45 Live
Frank Bey and Anthony Paule Band - Soul For Your Blues
Harrison Kennedy - Soulscape
Clarke (reviewer from Mississippi)
2013 was a fantastic year for new releases, and for me, it was
really difficult to settle on just ten favorites, but here are mine.
Johnny Rawls – Remembering O.V. (Catfood): The student
pays tribute to the teacher. He learned his lessons well.
David Egan – David Egan (Rhonda Sue): Egan is one of the
best songwriters currently practicing, and nobody interprets his songs
better than he does.
Chris Antonik – Better For You: Outstanding sophomore
release for this rising star.
4 Jacks – Deal With It (EllerSoul): One of several great
recordings with Anson Funderburgh’s impeccable guitar work, this was one
of the year’s most pleasant surprises. This is one of many great
EllerSoul releases this year.
Lurrie Bell – Blues In My Soul (Delmark): Bell does
old-school Chicago blues, breathing new life into a well-chosen set of
Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King – Road Dog’s Life (Delta
Groove): Another stellar set of roadhouse blues from this underrated
Toronzo Cannon – John the Conquer Root (Delmark): As
exciting and dynamic a blues album as you will hear this year, and maybe
Buddy Guy – Rhythm & Blues (Silvertone/RCA): The Guy/Tom
Hambridge collaboration continues to pay dividends for both, but their
best may still be ahead of them.
Frank Bey & the Anthony Paule Band – Soul for Your Blues
(Blue Dot): A great singer finds a great band and magic ensues. Check
out their live recording from earlier this year, too.
Cyril Neville – Magic Honey (Ruf Records): Fellow Royal
Southern Brothers Devon Allman and Mike Zito also recorded solo gems
this year, but Neville’s release is hard to top with its blues/R&B/funk
Deibler (Regular Blues Bytes reviewer now living in
This past year saw a lot of very good releases and a great deal of
diversity which is great for this music genre we all know and
appreciate. In no particular order, here is my top 10 for the year.
1. Otis Clay – Truth Is
A wonderful record by Otis who is the premier soul singer in our
universe today. He told me last May at the BMA’s that his new record
was going to be a good one and it is!
2. Buddy Guy – Rhythm & Blues
Buddy continues to be Buddy and he’s at a point in his career where
it’s great to see him have the flexibility to record projects such
as this. Kudos to Tom Hambridge for continually bringing out the
best in Buddy.
3. James Cotton – Cotton Mouth Man
A wonderful recording that shows Cotton is still at the top of
his game blowing harp like nobody’s business.
4. Shaun Murphy – Ask for the Moon
Outstanding record from Shaun that features some brilliant original
songwriting from Bekka Bramlett. Caught my ear from the minute I
pushed “play” and never let me go.
5. Walter Trout – Luther’s Blues
A project Walter has long wanted to get off the ground and an
amazing tribute to Luther Allison. Definitely got my blues/rock fix
6. Trampled Under Foot – Badlands
The record I always thought TUF was capable of and glad to see it
make the light of day. Nick, Kris and Danielle show the future of
the blues is in great hands!
7. Cash Box Kings – Black Toppin’
Brilliant record from the Cash Box Kings and a real treat for my
8. Nikki Hill – Here’s Nikki Hill
Fantastic debut for this artist from North Carolina! A force to be
reckoned with, Nikki Hill’s star is fast rising and far reaching.
9. Brandon Santini – This Time Another Year
Wonderfully mature record from my friend in the Bluff City. This
disc definitely shows that the faith we all had in Brandon in the
early years was truly justified!
10. Lou Pride – Ain’t No More Love in this House
Final record from this soul blues legend. Shows his artistry and
mastery of his craft. A fitting legacy for Lou.
Honorable Mention: Dave Keller – Soul Changes.
Kevin Selfe – Long Walk Home. Cassie McKenzie Taylor
– Out of My Mind. Hadden Sayers – Rolling Soul.
Kara Grainger – Shiver and Sigh.