Blues Bytes

What's New

January 2012

an associate Order these featured CDs today:

John "Broadway" Tucker

Red Beans and Rice

Andy Poxon

Levee Town

Debbie Bond

Stacy Jones Band

Boy Wells

Dave Keller

Isaiah B Brunt

Sean Costello

Little G Weevil


John Broadway TuckerI don’t hear a lot of good soul music anymore, so the listen to John “Broadway” Tucker’s newest release from SLV Management, Somebody New, was a treat. A Mississippi native, John honed his vocal talents for the USO overseas, and after a final stint in Vietnam he settled into the Bay Area and you can still find him there today.

John opens with a nice version of “(I’d Rather Be) Blind, Crippled and Crazy,” before moving on to an original by his keyboard player and producer, Luca Fredericksen, called “I Wished I’d Saved for These Days.” Nothing lasts forever and John is lamenting the fact that when the going was good, he didn’t save for the future. “…Now things have changed, I think I finally see…I used to make ends meet, then times got lean…I used to go for broke…now I know what that means…Wished I’d saved….I wished I’d save for these days!”

The groove slows down as John segues into “When the Waters Rise.” “There’s a flood rolling in…we got to get out of the way…I need someone on my side…when the waters around…begin to rise!” John is calling for support from his woman before things start to get too tough. Next up is a tune that John wrote, “Somebody New.” John’s had enough hurt from his woman and has made up his mind to move on. “Although I had begged you please…to set my heart at ease…why must you treat me way?...Woman, it just ain’t no use…going to find somebody new.”

Excellent covers of Howlin' Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talkin” and Jimmy Reed’s “Aint That Lovin You, Baby” lead us to another Fredericksen original, “Southern Soul.” I hear Luca’s organ in the background as John tells us, “She’s getting on the dance floor…everyone join in…ooh, you ought to see her grin…my feet are heavy…I got lead in my shoes…I don’t mind digging…these Rhythm & Blues…she has that Southern Soul swing…and if I get lucky I’ll sing…that girl is the real thing.” Here’s hoping it works out for John.

Two more covers, “Breakin’ Up Somebody’s Home” and “Who’s Makin’ Love,” lead us to a keyboard and horn-driven “Hard Headed Blues” by Luca. And here John sings, “my momma told me…kid, don’t ever wear two left shoes…don’t ever join a bar band…you’ll just end up singing the blues…maybe it’s just another lesson…another lesson…I ain’t learned.” Not listening to his momma sent John down a different path and all of these lessons contributed to his “Hard Headed Blues.”

The final cut on Somebody New is an instrumental written by tenor saxophonist Roger Eddy called “Gospel.” Roger’s lead is very sweet and the band falls in right behind him on a very nice ending to what has been a fun disc to listen to.

John “Broadway” Tucker has a Facebook page and a music store on Amazon, so his CDs are readily available. And my notes tell me he still performs every other Saturday at the Saloon in San Francisco. I’m sure he’s not a well-kept secret in the Bay Area based on what I’ve heard, and that’s a good thing.

--- Kyle Deibler

Red Beans and RiceBy its own proclamation, Monterey based Red Beans & Rice has “consistently blended original compositions and lesser-known classics into an up-tempo danceable gumbo of New Orleans-influenced, Blues-inspired Party Music suitable for dancing or just listening.” Their latest release is called New Recipe (SLV Management). Let’s see what they’ve got cooking this time.

The party starts with the tune, “365 Days,” and finds lead singer Jon Gorman telling us about the latest woman in his life and what a pain in the rear she is to the point that “365 days from now…you’ll be gone one year.” Enough is enough and down the road she goes. Our next cut, “Sweet Sweet Baby,” has a swing feel to it as Jon talks about the good in his life, “I’ve got a sweet, sweet baby…she loves me all the time…she says ‘I don’t care what you do…as long as you are mine’.” Sounds like a keeper to me.

Bandleader and guitarist Gil Rubio is the primary songwriter on the disc and he’s penned a gem with “We Need to Help Each Other.” “We need to help each other…look for the good inside…maybe love one another…no sense of pride…we need to help each other…with what we do and say….maybe we get along that way…maybe someday.” I really like this tune and Gorman absolutely nails the vocals on this one.

Some keyboard funk from John Tindel provides the intro for “Pack It Up.” Here we find Jon lost in a relationship without a clue, “I’m going to pack it up…I’m going to give it up…I’m going to put you right out of my mind!” Sometimes relationships just don’t make sense and Jon’s reached the breaking point with this one. Our next cut, “Man Needs His Lovin’,” gives saxophonist Tamas Marius a chance to shine. “That’s why a man, girl…needs your lovin' all the time…cause if I don’t get my lovin’…don’t get my lovin’…it’s really going to blow my mind!” Another relationship gone south with Jon feeling neglected in the loving department.

Things slow down some on our next Rubio original, “Choose a Side.” Here we find Jon pondering the fate of his fellow man and society’s inability at times to help those in need. “Did our God really choose a side…or did my country just decide…we don’t need or want to hear Him anymore…we just need Him to endorse our war!” Interesting commentary on the human condition.

Next up is an excellent cover of “I’m Gonna Move.” “I knew in order to be a man…I had to pull up my roots once again…and move on in this land…I’m gonna move away from here.” “Don’t Come Back” is covered as well before the band moves on to the Howlin' Wolf tune, “Who’s Been Talkin.” Jon Gorman plays harp and provides some nice fills on this Wolf tune. “Who’s been talking…telling everything I do…well, you’re my baby…I hate to lose…well, good bye baby…hate to see you go…you know that I love you…and I’m the causin’ of it all.”

“That Train” is the next tune on the disc and Jon’s lamenting the loss of his baby. “I know she has the key…I’m waiting by the door…but that train don’t stop here anymore!” Gil Rubio’s guitar lead brings us to the next track, “I’ll Go Crazy.” “If you leave me…I’ll go crazy…cause I love ya…love ya…girl…I love you too much.” Jon’s about to lose his mind over his girl leaving him and there’s just not much that can be done.

Red Beans & Rice closes out their disc with “Sweet Joline,” a tune about a girl from Louisiana. “She’s the queen of the gator dance, a two-stepping mama, the belle of the ball…and every boy would like his chance…everybody knows when she comes slowly…all across the floor…when she winks her eye…and shoots a smile…all the boys in the place go wild.” Yes, they do.

Red Beans & Rice has definitely serviced up some spicy gumbo with their disc, New Recipe. The band is tight, Jon Gorman’s vocals are spot on and you can tell that the band is a very well-oiled machine, thanks to their leader, Gil Rubio. The band’s website is and you can grab a copy of their new disc there. Enjoy.

--- Kyle Deibler

Gaby JogeixHermosa Beach (Hotsak Records) is the long awaited follow up to Gaby Jogeix’s 2006 Steel The Blues, and it’s been worth the wait!

The album starts off with “Didn’t It Rain” with a beautiful slide guitar intro riff. The guitar and vocals are supported by handclaps to great effect – what a great start to the album!

On “Shake, Shake” the rest of the band are in evidence, and they are really tight. The horn section is driven along by the bass and drums to support the vocals – not pure blues, but a real foot tapping song with excellent guitar work. Frederick Neal’s song, “Ain’t No Stopping,” gets the tempo up a bit higher and the backing horns put me in mind of some very good '70s Atlantic Soul before the band slows down for “Messiah” and then a bit slower still for “Sometimes.” This is a lovely ballad about a lost love, with good lyrics and backing. A little flavour of Bob Seger maybe.

“Getting Dizzy” gets funky, the horn section putting down some more Atlantic Soul type backing, and it leads into “Jesus Gonna Be Here,” another slow ballad. Lovely understated guitar work with vocals that reminded me of Chris Rea at his best.

Track eight, “Down At Marinette’s,” is a fast paced boogie shuffle blues instrumental – the sort of thing that you could dance all night to in a juke joint somewhere. The guitar work on this track is probably the best on the CD, and it really shows what this guy can do – a whole CD of this stuff would be fantastic, although maybe a little breathtaking! It's my favourite track on the album, bar none. I put the CD player on repeat for this track and listened to it 10 times over!!

“Boom Da Boom” is back to medium paced funky soul-blues, lots of horns behind Gaby’s vocals – just enough to get your breath back after the last track.

A huge favourite of mine comes next, a track covered by everyone from Hound Dog Taylor (who wrote it) to Stevie Ray Vaughan, to Luther Allison – a very good version of “Give Me Back My Wig,” and a close second to “Down At Marinette’s” for my favourite.

Then it’s time for the closing track, “Voodoo You,” with the horn section working hard again. Gaby Jogeix talks his way through an intro before bursting into the song proper and working his guitar to the full. I’d love to hear this guy do a whole album of songs like track one, eight and ten!

Hermosa Beach is a fitting follow up to Steel The Blues, but personally I’d love to hear more stripped down blues from this excellent musician.

--- Terry Clear

LR PhoenixThe Hollow Log of Capt Richard Wolfe is another great self-produced volume from Finland based bluesman L.R.Phoenix, and it’s a solid WOW!
It follows the two CDs recorded with Mo’Hell – Wrecked and Jumper On The Line – both of them absolutely excellent, and it takes this guy’s music to a new level.

L.R.Phoenix is originally from England, but lives now in Finland. This album was recorded in Tartu, Estonia in August 2011, but it has only just reached me. It’s a great shame as I would have definitely put this in my top 10 list for 2011 if I’d had it.

The CD opens with “Hollow Log,” a simple stripped down blues with acoustic guitar and a little percussion. To my ear, there’s a Mississippi hill country influence to this and it’s a great way to open the CD.

“Bedroom” follows up with the addition of harmonica, electric guitar, upright bass and drums. This track lifts the tempo up to a boogie shuffle level – a slight flavour of “Canned Heat” maybe – before slowing way down with solo Phoenix on slide guitar and vocals on the Blind Willie Johnson “Crying.”

The old Skip James (amongst others) “Jack Of Diamonds” sees some more musicians joining in – six string banjo, dobro, percussion and drums. This track has a lovely driving beat to it – a real foot-tapper! Then, just when you thought that you had the measure of this album – Wham! Phoenix hits you right between the eyes with “Morning train” – country flavoured blues with harmonica, jew’s harp, upright bass, dobro and bass drum really pushing the envelope – I thought that the previous track was a foot-tapper, but this one has your whole body moving!

Things slow down nicely with “Cypress Grove,” featuring Andres Roots helping out on dobro and percussion, and the tempo stays fairly slow for “Down South” before lifting just a little on “Po Boy” with Hanno Maadra playing the viola behind the guitar and vocals of Phoenix.

Track nine, “Hobo,” features Phoenix backed by some haunting harmonica from Indrek Tiisel and bowed bass courtesy of Peeter Piik – no, these aren’t spelling mistakes, that’s the way they spell their names in Finland!

The album carries on with “Streets Of Lohan,” which sees the six string banjo make a return, and then “The Devil,” “Death” (an interesting take on the old song “Death Letter”), and “Heaven” wrap up this excellent CD in good style.

Looks like L.R.Phoenix has pulled another really good album out of the bag!

---Terry Clear

Andy PoxonDon’t be deceived by Andy Poxon’s age (16), his Opie Cunningham-like boyish looks, or the fiery red Shuggie Otis/Phil Guy-like mountainous afro……the young dude can bring it on guitar. He offers a maddening variety of influences (blues, rockabilly, pop, country, jazz, rock, etc…..). All of these influences are on display for Poxon’s debut release, Red Roots (EllerSoul Records), as well as an amazingly advanced knack with songwriting, and a strong voice that belies his youth.

The Poxon Band is a trio, consisting of Poxon (guitars, vocals), Russ Wasson (bass), and Mike O’Donnell (drums). Like their leader, the rhythm section moves seamlessly from style to style, providing excellent support and plenty of room for Poxon out front. Poxon wrote all 13 tracks on the disc and they range from the rockabilly swing of the dazzling opener, “Hottest Thing In Town” to the funky “No Love,” where he displays a solid grip on matters of the heart that people many years older should come to grips with (“No love is better than bad love”).

“Quitters Never Lose” has an irresistible melodic and lyrical hook that will either leave you singing along or bobbing your head. “I’ll Sing The Blues” is a crunching power-packed blues/rocker that will knock you for a loop. Poxon also knows his way around a ballad, too, with keepers like “When,” and “Raining In” and “Is There Anything I Can Do” is a slow, simmering blues guitar work out.

Also lending a hand are backup vocalist Carol Anne Drescher, guitarist Zach Sweeney, and keyboardist Ray Tilkens, who helps kick things up a notch on the closer, “C’mon Pretty Baby.”

Andy Poxon seems to have a bright future with his triple threat talent on guitar, vocals, and as a songwriter. Red Roots is a very impressive debut. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

--- Graham Clarke

Levee TownLevee Town has long been one of the hardest working bands in the blues. Since 2002, they have attracted many fans with their live shows and appearances at various festival. They have appeared twice in the IBCs, making the finals in 2007 and the semi-finals in 2010, and they have released three previously well-received albums. Their latest release, Pages of Paperwork, continues their hot streak as they expand upon their unique interpretation of the blues, updating the sounds of traditional blues.

The new release features 14 original tracks, which cover a variety of styles. The title track opens the disc, and it’s a tight slow Chicago blues track with some fine harp work from Jimmie Meade and guitar from Brandon Hudspeth. The rocker, “Lowdown” follows, then a masterful slow boogie, “Hurt But Strong.” “Song She Sang” is straight-up rockabilly with some fine guitar work from Meade, and “Funny Money” and “Four Leaf Clover” lean toward the R&B/pop side with some nice harmony vocals mixed in. “Show Them Whatcha Got” has that great swampy Magic Sam boogie rhythm.

“Angel on my Shoulder” is another rugged boogie track, and “I’m Gonna Leave” is a funky Chicago shuffle punctuated by Meade’s harmonica and harp mike vocal. “It’s Been So Long” features Hudspeth playing some inspired slide guitar. “The Ring” is a Hill Country stomper with more searing slide mixed in. “So Many Pages” is a cleverly written rocker, using a book as metaphor for a relationship. “Don’t Wanna Wait” is a solid rock and roll track and foreshadows the country blues-flavored “When You Comin’ Home.” Hudspeth, Meade, and bass player Jacque Garoutte all take their turns at lead vocals and also team up for solid harmonies with drummer Jan Faircloth.

Pages of Paperwork offers a solid set of original blues rooted firmly in the traditional blues sound, but also mixed with traces of rock, country, and even a little bit of pop.

--- Graham Clarke

Debbie BondDebbie Bond is co-founder of the Alabama Blues Project, which promotes and helps preserve the state’s blues heritage. The educational non-profit presents programs for many Alabama schools promoting great Alabama blues artists. Bond’s primary focus, however, is as a performer. She worked with Johnny Shines through the ’80s and early ’90s, and has also worked with Jerry “Boogie” McCain, James Peterson, Eddie Kirkland, Sam Lay, Little Jimmy Reed, and Willie King (appearing on his last two albums).

Hearts Are Wild (Blues Root), her second release as bandleader, focuses on the blues from the soul side. Bond co-wrote 10 of the 12 tracks with keyboard/harmonica player Rick Asherson. The original compositions range from the pulsating opener, “Dead Zone Blues,” “My Time,” a humorous jab at modern technology and communication, the funky “Drama Mama,” “Still Missing You,” a melancholy slow blues, and the soulful ballad, “Falling.” Cover tunes include Shannon and Adam Wright’s R&B boogie, “You’re The Kind of Trouble,” and a faithful take on Aretha Franklin’s “Baby, I Love You.”

Bond handles the vocals and guitars (both lead and rhythm) and Asherson does keyboards, harmonica, and background vocals. The rest of the band consists of James “Mr. B.” Brown (bass, rhythm and lead guitars, background vocals), Dave Crenshaw (drums, percussion), Brad Guin (sax), Chad Fisher (trombone), Rob Alley (trumpet), and Brice Miller (trumpet).

Hearts Are Wild is a feel-good collection of soul/blues with a rhythm and feel that’s sometimes reminiscent of New Orleans at times. Bond is a fine guitarist and a passionate singer who deserves more recognition. Hopefully, this release will be a good start for her.

--- Graham Clarke

Stacy JonesStacy Jones has been playing music since she started playing piano at the age of four. By the time she finished high school, she had also picked up guitar and harmonica. She was singing Hank Williams songs in her dad’s band when she was eight years old. She’s been active on the Seattle blues scene since her teens and formed The Stacy Jones Band with Rick J. Bowen (drums), her father Tom (bass) and Jeff Menteer (guitar) several years ago, winning Best Female Vocalist and Best New Band awards from the Washington Blues Society in 2009.

The band’s fourth release, No Need To Spell It Out (Critical Sun Recordings), is a strong mix of blues/rock tunes, all written by various members of the band. Ms. Jones has a powerful, expressive vocal style, is equally skilled on guitar and keyboards, and can flat blow the back off a harmonica. Highlight tracks include the rocking opener, “No Matter What,” “Glory Bound,” which features some fine slide work from Menteer, the funky “Heavy Water,” where Jones gets to show off her harmonica skills, and “You Belong To Me,” where she takes a soulful turn on the keyboards. Guitarist Menteer really shines throughout the disc, but he really takes the cake on “Cry a Love Song,” an eight-minute rocker.

No Need To Spell It Out is a marvelous set of robust blues/rock tunes presented by a rising star on the blues scene, the talented and charsmatic Stacy Jones. Blues fans would do well to keep an eye (and ear) out for her, for it sounds like she’s just getting started and still has a lot left to say.

--- Graham Clarke

Boy WellsBoy Wells (a.k.a. Mark Schultz) has been playing professionally since the late ’70s, getting his start playing country music in the Maryland/Virginia area, opening for acts like Maybelle Carter, Billy Joe Shaver, and the Osbourne Brothers. He struck up a friendship with legendary guitarist Danny Gatton in his late teens, and Gatton became a mentor. In the early ’80s, he moved toward blues and southern rock before turning to the rock scene in the late ’80s, and ended up with a stint in Southern Legend, an Allman Brothers tribute band. Since ’06, Wells has been living in the Austin, Texas area, playing clubs and writing and recording, the culmination of which is his new release, Blue Skies Calling (Marcel Marsupial Records).

Blue Skies Calling is a wonderful and exciting journey through the various genres that comprise the American Roots genre of music. Wells sings, plays lead, slide, and acoustic guitar, and gets able assistance from a group of seasoned musicians, including former Gatton bassist John Previti, drummer Bruce Crump (Molly Hatchet), violin and mandolin player Rickie Simpkins (Emmylou Harris), drummer Andy Hamburger, sax player Bill Watson, keyboardist Brian Simms, harmonica player Jimi Lee, Brad Clements on trumpet, and Becky Taylor on banjo.

The disc ventures into blues (“Love in Vain,” “World Weary and Blue,” “Devil’s Backbone Blues,” and “Broke Down”), rock (the title track, “Bring It Back,” “Mon Angel”), country (“Traveler”), bluegrass (“Tin Winter”), and jazz (“Tova” and “Mr. Coluzzi”), all areas where Wells has spent previous years making music, and shows how closely these styles of music are linked.

Wells is an immensely talented guitarist, just like his mentor was, and his warm vocals are a treat as well. Also included in this release is an hour-long CD-ROM featuring a guitar lesson given to Wells by Gatton, dating back to the late '70’s.

Blue Skies Calling is a great listen, regardless of whether your interests lie in blues or southern rock. Boy Wells is a good enough guitarist that any music lover will find a lot to enjoy here.

--- Graham Clarke

Dave KellerOne of the best soul recordings of 2011 came from a New England singer/guitarist named Dave Keller, who reached out to producer Bob Perry, who has previously worked with Wu-Tang Clan, Brian McKnight, and Foxy Brown, among others. It was Perry’s work with the Brooklyn soul group, The Revelations featuring Tre’ Williams, which got Keller’s attention. That was the sound that Keller wanted for his next release.

Keller got what he wanted. Where I’m Coming From… (Tastee-Tone Music) is a first-rate set of soul covers, hand-picked by the singer and producer, and none of which were of the often-heard, mostly overdone Motown/“Mustang Sally” variety. Most, however, will be familiar to veteran fans of soul….lesser-known (but not lesser quality) tunes previously recorded by Bobby Womack (“More Than I Can Stand”), Syl Johnson (“Steppin’ Out”), O.V. Wright (“Are You Going Where I’m Coming From”), and Percy Sledge (“That’s The Way I Want To Live My Life”).

There are also tunes by Clarence Carter (“Too Weak To Fight”), Otis Clay (“You’ve Hurt Me For The Last Time”), James Carr (“Pouring Water On A Drowning Man”), and Arthur Alexander (“If It’s Really Got To Be This Way),” plus more obscure tunes from David and Jimmy Ruffin (“The Things We Have To Do,” a duet done “Sam & Dave” style with Tre’ Williams), J. J. Barnes (“Baby Please Come Back Home”), and the Patterson Twins (“If I Ever Get You Back”).

Though he’s as formidable a guitarist as he is a vocalist, the guitar mostly stays in the background for this new release, and Keller sounds fantastic on these songs, nearly as good as the original singers. The Revelations, all seasoned musicians, give the recording even more authenticity, giving the recording a late ’60s Stax session feel.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in soul music, based on recent re-issues of classic recordings as well as recent recordings from older and newer artists, both black and white. With nearly 20 years of experience performing and recording blues and soul, Dave Keller is poised to be one of the purveyors of this resurgence. This is a must-have for longtime soul fans and a great starting point for newcomers.

--- Graham Clarke

Isaiah B BruntIsaiah B. Brunt is a native of New Zealand who came from a family of musicians and was inspired to play acoustic guitar after seeing Jimi Hendrix on the BBC playing “Hear My Train a Coming” on acoustic twelve-string. After spending time as an audio engineer and playing music on the side (even recording with Keanu Reeves’ band, Dog Star), Brunt returned to playing his own music full time in 2006, focusing on the blues. He was the Sydney Blues Society’s representative in the 2011 IBC and attracted a lot of attention….enough to be featured on the front page of the Memphis Daily News.

Upon returning from Memphis, Brunt began recording his 1st EP, self-titled, which captures the sound and mood of early traditional blues eerily well. Playing guitar and harmonica unaccompanied on five of the six tracks, Brunt manages to sound both ancient and modern at the same time. I could hear songs like “Pathway Home” or “Great Ocean Blues” (about the 2009 tsunami that struck American Samoa) easily being from 70 or 80 years ago.

Based on those tracks, it’s obvious that Brunt is also a gifted composer. He proves it further on tracks like “Shadowy Place,” which was written about a close friend who suffers from bi-polar disorder, and “Ain’t No Rolling Stone,” a tribute to his mother, and “Whispers in My Head,” dedicated to his wife.

Brunt became an Australian citizen in 1995 and he brings a bit of that heritage to the closing track, “Where Is Your Man,” where he plays harmonica in collaboration with Sean Choolbura, who plays the Didgeridoo, an Australian wind instrument.

The only issue I have with this CD is that it’s not long enough. I would love to hear more from Isaiah B. Brunt as soon as possible. After you hear this EP, you probably will, too.

--- Graham Clarke

Sean CostelloSean Costello seemed destined for greater things, winning the Beale Street Blues Society’s talent contest at 14 and joining fellow contestant Susan Tedeschi’s band soon afterward as her lead guitarist, where he wowed the blues fans and critics alike with his fret work on Tedeschi’s breakthrough album, Just Won’t Burn. He also released five solo albums, all critically acclaimed, before passing away tragically from an accidental drug overdose, one day before his 29th birthday in 2008.

Since his death, Landslide Records, where Costello released two albums during his lifetime, has done their best to spread the word about this extraordinary talent. Their first set featured some studio and live tracks, along with a few rarities. The latest set, At His Best: Live, captures 16 live recordings from multiple locales, and presents a pretty complete account of Costello’s incredible talent as a guitarist. Though sound quality varies from venue to venue, it’s pretty easy for newcomers to hear what the fuss was all about.

Costello rips through a choice set of covers, ranging from Freddy King’s “San-Ho-Zay,” a blistering take on Lloyd Glenn’s “Blue Shadows Falling,” a swinging version of T-Bone Walker’s “T-Bone Boogie” that’s guaranteed to get your toes to tapping, Magic Sam’s “All Your Love,” and a pair from Johnny “Guitar” Watson (a phenomenal take on “Motor Head Baby” and “I Get A Feeling.” Other highlights include Michael Bloomfield’s “You’re Killing My Love,” with Costello unleashing a guitar solo that sounds just like it sprang from Otis Rush’s guitar.

Listening to Costello’s albums, one would observe that he enjoyed a great R&B song as much as he did the blues. R&B is well-represented here as well with a funky interpretation of Bobby Womack’s “Check It Out,” Tyrone Davis’ “Can I Change My Mind,” and Johnnie Taylor’s “Doing My Own Thing.” Earl Hooker’s “The Hucklebuck” also gets a sparkling treatment, and so does Robert Ward’s “Peace of Mind.”

Lending outstanding support on these tracks are Matt Wauchope (keyboards), Paul Linden (keyboards, harmonica), Melvin Zachary (bass), Aaron Trubic (bass), Terence Prather (drums), and Ray Hangen (drums). Costello toured pretty much non-stop and it’s easy to see he and the band were at their best in front of an audience.

Landslide is doing the blues world a wonderful service by making sure that these great recordings see the light of day. This is a superlative set of blues and soul from a rising star who left us way too soon.

--- Graham Clarke

Little G WeevilGeorgia-based blues artist Little G Weevil's second album for Apic Records, The Teaser, is a strong collection of a dozen original blues cuts. Weevil plays lead guitar and sings on all cuts, and is complimented by the equally integral harmonica work of Maurice Nazzaro.

The Teaser opens frantically with the up-tempo rockin' blues of "Real Men Don't Dance," on which the guitar and harmonica do a call and response throughout the song. There's also a strong piano solo around the tune's midpoint by Bob Page. Weevil isn't a real strong singer, but he's good enough and his voice especially suits the harder edged numbers like this one.

"Big City Life" allows the band to get a little funky on this mid-tempo number which features strong guitar playing from Weevil and some nice organ accompaniment by Page.

One of my favorites is the aptly-named "Back Porch," featuring only Weevil on guitar on a John Lee Hooker-style blues. I especially like the bass line he adds with his left hand.

By the fifth cut, "Highway 78," Weevil's voice starts to grow on me. It's a little smoother on this urgent, up-tempo boogie number. Nazzaro checks in here with a nice harp solo. The mood then changes as the band launches into a very nice slow blues, "Apple Picker," with more good blues guitar from Weevil.

I'm now liking Weevil's vocal work much better on the eighth cut, the driving blues shuffle "8.47," which also gives him a chance to throw in some killer guitar licks. Weevil gets downright defiant as he itemizes everything that he's not going to do, presumably on the job, anymore. He even makes his guitar sound angry.

Nazzaro returns for the instrumental lead on the frantic 'Mojo Working' sound of "Liquor Store." His harmonica sound carries just the right amount of noise and distortion. The band slows it down again for the jazzy, smoky "She Used To Call Me Sugar," given the right mood through John McKnight's subtle use of brushes on the drums and Page's piano playing.

Weevil slaps on a slide for the final cut, "Which Way Shall I Go," for a deep sound that could easily be imagined coming decades ago by someone like Rev. Gary Davis.

The Teaser won't likely end up on your list of 'desert island' discs, but it's worth checking out for this blues cat on the rise. Check out Weevil's website, but be forewarned --- the site immediately starts blasting out music as soon as it's launched, one of my pet peeves about sites that I come upon in a quiet office environment.

--- Bill Mitchell


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