Blues Bytes

January 1998

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Pick Hit

To commemorate a year of exciting new blues releases, this month we've selected our Top Ten List of new CDs, as well as including a few submitted by Blues Bytes readers. Thanks for your support of Blues Bytes over the past 12 months!

- Bill Mitchell

Bill Mitchell (main reviewer of Blues Bytes)

The Bone Shakers1. I didn't include the new album by The Bone Shakers, Book of Spells (Pointblank), as my pick hit in the May issue because it's not a straight blues disc. But I've listened to this one far more than any other CD in '97. It's straightahead, hard-drivin' R&B and funky soul, with the sweetest singer this side of Aaron Neville in Sweetpea Atkinson. The Bone Shakers were also the best "live" band I saw last year. (original review).

Luther Allison - Reckless2. It was a rough year for the blues world as we lost several wonderful artists. Sadly, Luther Allison was one of those. I share the consensus opinion of many Blues Bytes readers that Allison's Reckless album (Alligator) was one of 1997's best. (original review)

3. Gatemouth Brown showed the blues world that, even in his 70s, the man can still swing. Hop on his A-train and take a listen to Gate Swings (Verve). (original review)

4. The Blind Boys of Alabama take the blues to church better than any other vocal group. Their Holdin' On CD (House of Blues) is guaranteed to convert any atheist on the spot. If you've never seen this group in person, then make a New Year's Resolution to catch their live act sometime soon. (original review)

Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers5. California blues band deluxe Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers released their first studio album, Tough and Tender (Tone-Cool), in five years. It was worth the wait. There aren't too many blues bands on the circuit today that consistently put on as good of a show as these cats. (original review)

6. One of the most pleasing CDs to be released in '97 was the wonderful disc from 80-something pianist Jay McShann, Hootie's Jumpin' Blues (Stony Plain). (original review)

Coco Montoya - Just Let Go7. Coco Montoya has shot to the upper echelon of contemporary blues artists in the past several years. His third album for Blind Pig Records, Just Let Go, is still another fine one. (original review)

Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin8. Former Muddy Waters guitarist Bob Margolin is more than just another Muddy revivalist. His music incorporates deep Chicago blues, doo wop, Chuck Berry, and much more for a delightful blend of uptempo blues. Margolin's latest for Alligator Records, Up & In, was our Pick Hit for June. (original review)

9. New label Cannonball Records made a big splash this year with several excellent releases. One of the best was Blues Across America: The Dallas Scene, a collection of tunes by several current Dallas artists. (original review)

10. One of my favorite blues bands has always been The Holmes Brothers. Their last few albums weren't up to the same quality as their earlier efforts for Rounder, but the old magic came out on the delightful Promised Land (Rounder). (original review)

Reader Choices

Bob Corritore (host of "Those Lowdown Blues" on KJZZ, Mesa, AZ)

The Jelly  Roll Kings - Off Yonder Wall
Magic Slim - Scufflin'
Smokey Wilson - The Man From Mars
Various Artists - Blues Across America: Detroit
Jimmy Burns - Leavin' Here Walkin'
Long John Hunter - Swingin' From The Rafters
Kim Wilson - My Blues
Clara McDaniel - Unwanted Child
Big Bad Smitty - Cold Blood
Jay McShann - Hootie's Blues

Bill Jacobs

Hans Theessink - Crazy Moon
Sheila Wilcoxsin - Backwater Blues
Candye Kane - Diva La Grande
Jimmy Vivino - Do What Now?
Paul Rishell & Annie Raines - I Want You To Know
Corey Harris - Fish Ain't Bitin'
Ann Rabson - Music Makin' Mama
Marcia Ball - Let Me Play With Your Poodle
Pinetop Perkins - Born In The Delta
Junior Wells - Live at Buddy Guy's Legends

Graham Clarke (Decatur, MS)

Magic Slim - Scufflin'
Eddie Shaw - Can't Stop Now
U. P. Wilson - Whirlwind
Smokey Wilson - The Man From Mars
Luther Allison - Reckless
Long John Hunter - Hanging From The Rafters
Jelly Roll Kings - Off Yonder Wall
Nathan & The Zydeco Chas Chas - Live at the Rock & Bowl
Holmes Brothers - Promised Land
Bernard Allison - Keepin' the Blues Alive

Beef Stew (host of "Blues Playground" on WCCC in Hartford

Bernard Allison - Keepin' The Blues Alive
Luther Allison - Reckless
Eddy Clearwater - Mean Case Of The Blues
Sandra Hall - One Drop Will Do You
The Hornets - Ain't Done Yet
Eddie King - Another Cow's Dead
Kelly Joe Phelps - Roll Away The Stone
Duke Robillard - Danderous Place
Roomful Of Blues - Under One Roof
Smokey Wilson - The Man From Mars

Kevin "Bad Dog" Shenefield (Bad Dog Blues, Walla Walla, WA)

Jonny Lang - Lie To Me
Various Artists - Paint It, Blue (Rolling Stones tribute)
Luther Allison - Reckless
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble - Live At Carnegie Hall
Swamp Mama Johnson - Peach Fish Stew
Little Bill - Live At The Spar
Too Slim And The Taildraggers - Blues For EB
Robert Cray - Sweet Potato Pie
Bob Margolin - Up And In
Long John Hunter - Swingin' From The Rafters


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