We've now been publishing Blues Bytes for 19 years. It
seems like only yesterday that the first issue came out --- wow! 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 2015. Enjoy!
1) The Texas Horns - Blues Gotta Holda Me (VizzTone
Horn stalwarts Kaz Kazanoff, John Mills and Al Gomez team up to
produce one of most exhilarating discs of the year.
2) Igor Prado - Way Down South (Delta Groove
It's the special guest stars, such as Kim Wilson, Mud Morganfield,
Junior Watson, Rod and Honey Piazza, and more, that make this disc by
Brazil native Prado stand out. Just good, basic blues well done.
3) Knickerbocker All-Stars - Go Back To The Blues (CD
This all-star ensemble from New England occupies the #2 spot on my top
ten list for the second straight year, this time with their second CD.
Their sound reminds me of recordings by the very early Roomful of Blues,
not surprising since many of those ex-ROB cats are here.
4) Henry Gray and Bob Corritore - Blues Won't Let Me Take
My Rest (Delta Groove Productions)
One of the few bluesmen left from his generation, Mr. Gray shows no
signs of slowing down even thought he's already celebrated his 90th
birthday. These recordings were made at various sessions over the past
20 years and include special guests like the late Nappy Brown, Tail
Dragger and Robert Jr. Lockwood.
5) Mighty Mike Schermer - Blues In Good Hands (VizzTone
The Blues certainly are in good hands when being delivered by this very
fine California guitarist!
6) Andy Santana - Watch Your Step! (Delta Groove
It's only appropriate that I put this disc right next to the one from
Mighty Mike Schermer since this pair of fine musicians once played
together in a vastly underrated band called The Soul Drivers.
7) Chris James & Patrick Rynn - Trouble Don't Last (VizzTone
The San Diego-based duo consistently put out a solid "old school" blues
Jimmy Burns - It Ain't Right (Delmark Records)
It's been way too long since Mr. Burns last cut an album, but this one
was certainly worth waiting for.
9) Tad Robinson - Day Into Night (Severn Records)
Robinson consistently rates as one of the better performers
combining blues and gritty soul into a nice package.
10) Cash Box Kings - Holding Court (Blind
This contemporary Chicago group merges a wide range of talented
musicians into another good collection of traditional Chicago and Delta
Note: As I went through all of the lists on this page I realized
just how many excellent recordings came out on the
followed closely by
Groove. Keep up the good work, folks!
(reviewer and freelance journalist from Canada)
following list is in no particular order and it represents several
styles of blues and soul.
Chris James and Patrick Ryn - Trouble Don't Last
(VizzTone Label Group)
Anthony Geraci and the Boston Blues All-Stars -
Fifty Shades of Blue (Delta Groove Productions)
Wee Willie Walker - If Nothing Ever Changes
Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King - Fat Man's Shine Parlor
Billy Price and Otis Clay - This Time For Real
(Bonedog / VizzTone)
The Texas Horns - Blues Gotta Holda Me (VizzTone
Andy T Nick Nixon Band - Numbers Man
(Blind Pig Records)
Harrison Kennedy - This Is From Here
Ronnie Earl - Father's Day (Stony Plain
Johnny Sansone - Lady on the Levee (CD
Mark E. Gallo
(reviewer from Michigan)
2015 Top Dozen
1. Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges: Hold On A Little Bit Longer (Armadillo
2. Chris O’Leary: Gonna Die Tryin’ (American Show Place)
3. Benny Turner: Journey (NOLA Blues)
4. Anthony Geraci and the Boston Blues All-Stars: Fifty Shades of Blue
5. Igor Prado: Way Down South (Delta Groove)
6. Jay Stollman: Room For One More (Number 7 Records)
7. Joakim Tinderholt and His Band (Big H)
8. Sugar Ray Rayford: Southside (NimoySue)
9. Blackburn: Brothers In This World (Electro-Fi)
10. Deb Callahan: Sweet Soul (Blue Pearl)
11. Wee Willie Walker: If Nothing Ever Changes (Little Village)
12. Gaye Adegbalola & The Wild Rutz: Is It Still Good To Ya? (Hot Toddy)
Kudos too to Nikki James (The Album), Laura Rain & The Caesars (Gold),
Eliza Neals (Breaking and Entering) and Kenny Parker
Clarke (reviewer from Mississippi)
Top Ten Releases for 2015 (in alphabetical order):
Bernard Allison – In The Mix (Jazzhaus) – A bit understated by
Allison’s usual standards, but the better for it, focusing more on
the songs and grooves……still plenty of great guitar though.
Bey Paule Band – Not Goin’ Away (Blue Dot) – This is
of soul/blues Heaven.
Jimmy Burns – It Ain’t Right (Delmark) – Burns returns to the
Delmark label with very satisfying results. His mix of urban blues
and soul with traditional Mississippi blues is second to none.
Eddie Cotton – One At A Time (DeChamp) – His best studio release to
date, it’s great to have Cotton recording on a regular basis.
Ghost Town Blues Band – Hard Road To Hoe (self-released) – If you’re
a blues fan at all, you must find this CD. Then, catch these guys
live. You can thank me later.
David Michael Miller – Same Soil (Food For The Soul) – This guy
should be better known. He’s a great vocalist and guitarist and
mixes blues, soul, and gospel as well as anybody currently
Andy Santana – Watch Your Step! (Delta Groove) – This is a great mix
of Texas, Chicago, and New Orleans that will have heads bobbing and
Sista Jean & CB – Requiem For A Heavyweight
(Freckled Bandit) – The
duo’s wonderful, heartfelt tribute to the blues/folk legend is a joy
from start to finish.
Leo “Bud” Welch – I Don’t Prefer No Blues (Big Legal Mess) – Welch’s
sophomore effort, devoted mostly to the blues, is a fine complement
to his raw and ragged gospel debut.
Webb Wilder – Mississippi Möderne (Ruf) – Wilder takes the best
things about Austin, Nashville, and Mississippi music and makes his
own potent mix that not only crosses musical boundaries, but erases
Deibler (Regular Blues Bytes reviewer now living in
2015 was definitely a good year for the Blues and a number of
artists released amazing records for all of us to enjoy. My top 10
in no particular order include:
Buddy Guy – Born to Play Guitar (RCA). Buddy is just
in a class of his own these days and producer Tom Hambridge
continues to record the best of what Buddy has to give us.
Otis Taylor – Hey Joe Opus Red Meat (Trance Blues
Festival). Brilliant record by Otis. Haunting vocals and complex
melodies all mesh together in one amazing effort. Well done, Otis!
Walter Trout – Battle Scars (Provogue). Walter is
definitely back and happy to be performing for all of us again. I’m
a huge fan of Walter’s and followed closely his efforts to regain
his health and get back onstage. “Gonna Live Again” is his anthem
these days and was nominated for song of the year.
Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars – Fifty Shades
of Blue (Delta Groove Productions). Anthony is an excellent
songwriter who surrounded himself with some of Boston’s best to
produce one of the great records of 2015. The title track is an
interesting discourse on romance and I loved Anthony’s tribute piece
to David Maxwell.
Sugaray Rayford – Southside (Nimoy Sue
Records). Sugaray surprised me with this one, but it just goes to
show how multi-dimensional he is as a performer with his amazing
band behind him. Definitely one of the most entertaining performers
in Blues today.
Bettye LaVette – Worthy (Cherry Red). Nominated for
Soul Blues Female Artist and Soul Blues album of the year. Another
great disc from one of my favorite artists.
Jackie Payne – I Saw the Blues (Blue Dot). Jackie
dealt with a variety of health issues this year and still gave us a
record that saw him nominated for two BMA’s. Loved what he recorded
Tommy Castro – Method to My Madness (Alligator
Records). I think this is the record Tommy envisioned making when he
brought Randy McDonald back into the band and formulated the
Painkillers. Rough and ready and always Tommy.
Karen Lovely – Ten Miles of Bad Road. Karen’s music
got me through some really tough times and this disc was released
toward the end of the year. Producer Tony Braunagel worked his magic
in the studio and coaxed a great record out of Karen.
Wee Willie Walker – If Nothing Ever Changes (Little
A forgotten soul singer in the Bay Area brought to us courtesy of
Rick Estrin and Kid Anderson. Kid worked his magic in the studio and
Wee Willie Walker is a name to look for in 2016.
There were a number of other records that easily could have made my
top 10 list and it was hard to get it down to 10. Kudos to Tad
Robinson, Albert Cummings, Mr. Sipp, Steve
Earle & the Dukes and Guy Davis for releasing their
outstanding discs as well