Number three for Ms. Jody on Ecko Records,
and with each release she gets stronger. Never
Take A Day Off (Ecko) is her latest. I am told
she has built up quite a following on the Southern
soul chitlin' circuit. Her sound is somewhat
reminiscent of Peggy Scott-Adams, and with Scott's
recording career in limbo, who better to fill her
shoes than Ms. Jody.
that every new Southern CD starts off with a dance
tune, and this release's "It's The Weekend" is no
exception. The second track, "Energizer Bunny," has
Ms. Jody lamenting that her man "goes on and on and
on." Not a problem there, Ms. Jody. Remember the
timeless Bobby McFerrin words "don't worry be
slower "Lonely Housewife" tones down the pace a bit,
and is her first attempt at a straight blues number.
My favorite track, "I Might Be Your Part Time Lover
But I Won't Be Your Full Time Fool," has all the
hooks and cheating lines that make for repeated
airplays. It also might set the record for this
year's longest song title. This release closes with
a lovely ballad, "I'm So Thankful," that really
gives her a chance to show off her voice.
synthesized sound is still there, so either love it
or hate it. Their stance is "if it's not broken,
don't fix it," and being one of the most successful
labels on the Southern soul market, bodes well for
hard to believe this is Ecko's 98th release. It
seems like only yesterday we were enjoying Ollie
Nightingale's 1995 release I'll Drink Your
Bathwater Baby (Ecko #1001). Thank you, Ecko,
for all these years of great music and for touching
so many lives the way you do.
I knew I
was going to like Man Up (CDS Records) for
two reasons; one, because I've always been a Stan
Mosley fan, and two, because he's with a company
that understands what it takes to make a quality
release. Most of the tracks now feature real
musicians and it is my understanding that future
releases from this company will aim for the real
stuff all the time.
a year ago (March 2007) I
reviewed Stan's Steppin" Out CD and said his
music was sophisticated Southern soul. I'll stick by
that earlier description, but must add that his
sound has also evolved to the "that's a hit" party
blues sound. With the opening "I Came To Party," you
knew this release was heading in a slightly
different direction. You can hear the happiness and
vigor in the way this release presents itself. The
great arrangements and superior songwriting are
quite apparent from start to finish.
slowie "Mr. DJ" is a killer track all the way. A
memorable tune you'll come back to again and again.
There's the catchy "Backbone," with it's references
to Clarence Carter's "Strokin'" and Theodis'
mega hit "Stand Up In It." On "Backbone" he tells us
he ain't no Theodis, no candy licker Marvin Sease,
but says he just gonna do what he does best, "put my
backbone in it." "I'm Startin' 2 Stop (Thinking
About You)" is a midtempo track with that
unforgettable title hook. "You And Me" harkens back
to the sophisticated southern soul tag. One listen
and you'll know exactly what I mean.
summation, this is a superior release loaded with
potential hits, featuring Stan's gritty, soulful,
voice in the forefront and reminding us once again
what a great singer he really is. Continuing as an
heir to the Johnnie Taylor throne, this release take
him one step closer. I'll anxiously await his next
release, but until that time, this is the perfect CD
for those upcoming hot summer days. Thanks to Dylann
DeAnna, Floyd Hamberlin Jr. and the folks at CDS
Records for knowing how to do it right.
Columbus, Ohio based Sean Carney released his
first CD, Provisions, back in 1998, and it
was then re-released in 2007 as Provisions – A
Second Helping – the CD featured the final
recording of R&B legend Christine Kittrell.
and drummer Eric Blume formed Nite Owl Records in
2006, primarily for the release of their
self-produced CD Life Of Ease, and then went
touring in Canada, where the audience response was
enormous. During 2007 the band played events all
over, including Colorado, Oregon, New York,
Pennsylvania and back in Canada.
refelects the popularity of the band and also gives
an insight into why they are so popular. It opens
with the title track, a very laid back jazz/blues
fusion and goes on to give a total of 16 tracks, the
majority of which are Sean Carney originals.
“Why Do You Lie,” gets bluesier and ups the tempo
quite a bit – a Carney original, this track shows
that he knows what the blues business is about. From
there, the tempo and style changes throughout the
album, giving a good taste of how versatile this
bunch of musicians can be. From jazz to blues and
back again, this band has it covered – the addition
of guests like Teeny Tucker (daughter of Tommy
Tucker, who brought us “Hi Heel Sneakers), Willie
Pooch, Joe Weaver and others.
includes a lovely version of Louis Jordan’s
“Outskirts Of Town,” Pee Wee Crayton’s “When It
Rains It Pours,” T-Bone Walker’s “I Know Your Wig Is
Gone,” and songs by Lowell Fulson. But for me, the
highlights of the album are a pair of Sean Carney
written tracks, “I’ve Got A Gypsy Woman” and
“Pennies & Teardops.” The first is a slow moody
track, full of atmosphere, and the second a medium
tempo blues, but both top class material – both
written and executed perfectly.
three tracks on the album are live recordings – "Bad
Side Baby" and "Why Do You Lie" were both recorded
in Denver, Colorado, and "Take Your Shoes Off"
was recorded in Florida – they just go to prove that
this band is as good live as it is in the studio.
Joe Moss Band is a Chicago-based band that is kept busy
playing venues such as Buddy Guy’s Legends & The
House Of Blues. Listening to this CD you can
understand why they are kept so busy!
Joe Moss has had a good grounding in the blues,
touring Spain in 1992 with Buddy Scott and playing as
sideman with Zora Young, Billy Branch, Magic Slim,
A.C.Reed & others.
His self-titled debut CD came out in 1997, and it
was followed up in 2003 by Monster Love. His
third album on 212 Records, Maricela's Smile (named for Joe Moss’ daughter) draws on
the other two and grows up nicely. This CD was
recorded in Chicago back in 2006, but has only just
been released (March 18th) and it contains 11
original tracks out of a total of 13.
The two cover versions are the old Free number, “Fire
& Water” (Paul Rodgers & Andy Fraser), and “Big Leg
Woman” (Johnnie Temple), and they are both
excellent, especially the latter, which is my favourite track from the album.
The CD opens with the funky “Suburban Glory,” which
gives a good insight into just how good Joe Moss is
on guitar, before moving on to “Green Eyes” which is
the sort of track I can’t listen to and keep still –
Greg Sefner on keyboards and Chuck Desormeaux on sax
give this track a real strong flavour. The vocals
put me in mind a little bit of Boz Skaggs.
There’s a good mix of tempos
and styles in this album,
from the slow and moody title track, “Maricela’s
Smile,” to the upbeat “You Made me So Happy” and “Big
Leg Woman,” and from the funky “Suburban Glory” to
the heavy blues-rock version of “Fire & Water.”
album has just about something for everyone.
I’m sure Joe Moss is going to feature in a lot of
people’s CD collections from now on.
Despite the name of the
Mighty Lester Band, there actually is not
anyone called Lester. The band began life in late
2000 as a trio that included current
guitarist/bandleader Lenny Terenzi and drummer Rick
Cassidy. The band quickly expanded to seven pieces,
but then went back to the original trio before
adding a horn section and a new keyboard player.
The new line-up won the Triangle Blues Society 2001
blues competition, and the first CD arrived in 2002.
Since then, there have been some changes to the
line-up and some more awards picked up – arriving at
the band that features on the CD We Are Mighty
album totals 12 tracks, ten of which are
written by band members – the remaining two are a
cover of the Ray Charles classic “Greenbacks” (co
written by Ray Charles & Renald Richard), and “Let’s
Call It A Day,” the Henry Glover track that Ike
Turner and Billy Gayles recorded back in the 1950s.
The tracks are a mix of soul, blues
and jazz, and
sometimes a fusion of all three! They all have the
big band sound that you might expect from a band
with a strong horn section.
For me, the best track on the CD is “Last Week’s
Blues,” a number written by guitarist Lenny Terenzi,
but the cover of “Let’s Call It A Day” comes a very
close second, showcasing some lovely moody vocals by
I’m sure that we will be hearing a lot more of this
band in the future – keep your ears open.
on the Blues Train (Blues Boulevard) is my first
experience of the Pete Scheips Band, yet when
I look up their details I find that they’ve played
with so many big names: B.B. King, John Mayall & the
Blues Breakers, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Kim
Wilson, Johnny Winter, Coco Montoya, Charlie
Musselwhite, Marcia Ball, Buddy Guy, Phil Guy, Bo
Diddley, Luther Allison, James Cotton, Matt 'Guitar'
Murphy, Lonnie Brooks, Jeff Healey, Debbie Davies,
and so many others.
have that sort of profile and reputation, why have
they been invisible to me up to now?
has just been released (March 2008) under a
different name in Europe by Belgium-based Music
Avenue as Coming Up Blue. All ten of the
tracks on the CD have been written by either Pete
Scheips, Stephen Miller (guitar and vocals), or a
combination of the two guys, and it’s plain they
understand the blues and have absorbed a lot of
listen it’s easy to understand why they have opened
for and played with so many big names – this is a
very competent band!
opens with “Back On The Train,” which immediately
put me in mind of the Allman Brothers, with a mix of
Bruce Hornsby (quite logical, really, as Allman
Brother drummer Jaimoe plays on the album!). Track
two, “Time Will Tell,” is bluesier, a nicely laid
back rhythm and some moody slide guitar work, and it
leads into the Clapton-esque “Blue Guitar.”
throughout the CD is fairly laid back, and
personally I’d love to hear this band get down and
dirty, but what they do is good and I’m really
looking forward to hearing more from them. Favourite
track? The acoustic “Coming Up Blue” (track 7).
Originally born Morris Holt in Torrence,
Mississippi, Magic Slim has been described as
“the greatest living proponent of the intense,
electrified, Mississippi-to-Chicago blues style.”
This statement seems to hold more truth as
contemporary blues (as played by others) dwarfs into
rock ‘n’ roll and the blues greats pass away. Slim
has recorded for many labels during his lengthy
career. The bulk of his aggressive recordings have
been on Wolf and Blind Pig.
music on The Essential Magic Slim (Blind Pig)
– culled from Slim’s six previous Blind Pig releases
– is raw and rough, which is just like the Chicago
clubs where Slim developed his style of blues. He
left Mississippi long ago but you’ll never extract
those roots. The country is still in Slim’s heart
and soul. Listen as it comes out in an urbanized
electric manner on each of these rudimentary
stinging guitar notes and sandpaper-like vocals
prominently feature on 15 gritty, urban, and
electric blues songs. The string slashing begins
with "Before You Accuse Me" and it continues for a
full hour. "How Many More Years" – another one of
seven covers – is given an ultra-tough sound that is
so heavy, it appears angry. "Think" is a scuffling
song that accurately represents Slim’s abrasive
blues. It has a basic rhythm and a cutting guitar
solo that is extreme.
is a boogieing shuffle with a guitar solo that
sounds like it is being played by Hound Dog Taylor.
Slim moved to Chicago in the ’60s, and by 1972 he
had replaced Taylor as the house band for a
prominent South Side blues club. "Black Tornado" is
an instrumental lightening rod. In general, I’m not
a fan of anyone’s take on "Mustang Sally," but
Slim’s version is enjoyable especially thanks to the
confident vocal harmonies of John Primer. The
Teardrops – Slim’s longtime backing band – were at
their best when unheralded guitarist Primer was in
the group. Other notable members who appear on these
recordings are Michael Dotson (guitar), Jake Dawson
(guitar), Nick Holt (bass), and Allen Kirk (drums).
Determined to remain true to his roots, Slim puts a
twist on the common tale of migrating north. He
tells about doing the exact opposite on "Goin’ To
Mississippi." "Please Don’t Dog Me" is a slow burner
about a Miss Mistreater. Don’t be fooled to believe
that Slim is just a mad guitar slasher. "Crazy
Woman" – a slow, minor key blues – is a masterpiece
where Slim displays emotive vocals and guitar
playing. The song contains downhome lyrics with
humorous analogies like, “I got a crazy woman/She
got a mind like a goose/I think I’m gonna buy me a
tool box/I believe that woman got some screws
vocals are indeed rough and they are not always
comprehendible. That’s alright because its Slim’s
vibrato guitar and distinct Chicago blues that
people want to hear. As with any Slim disc, there is
not a lot of diversity in the songs or their
rhythms. Still, the music on this disc is the type
of pure blues you can listen to for hours. No wonder
he is one of Blind Pig’s most popular artists.
Basile was originally a writer of poetry and
fiction, and was the first to earn a master’s degree
from Brown University’s Creative Writing program. A
chance meeting with Duke Robillard in the late ’60s
changed his career path, and he ended up becoming
the first trumpet player hired for Robillard’s
legendary Roomful of Blues band. He was fortunate to
play with many blues and jazz greats, like Eddie
“Cleanhead” Vinson and Big Joe Turner, during his
tenure with the band, but he left the group in 1975
to teach, sing, and write songs. He reunited with
Robillard in the late ’80s, and has played and
written many songs for Robillard’s albums since
then, while also managing to carve out a nice solo
The Tinge (Sweetspot Records) is Basile’s sixth solo
release, and not unlike an early Roomful of Blues or
solo Robillard album it effortlessly moves from blues
to jazz to swing. There are a few familiar faces
present that could account for those similarities,
namely Mr. Robillard himself, and former Roomful
mates Rich Lataille (the only original member still
in the band) and Doug James.
The songs, all Basile originals, range from “While
We’re Dancing,” which has more than a touch of
Satchmo present, “Too Slow,” done in the “Cleanhead”
style, and “Just Wait And See,” a soulful jazz tune
that gives Robillard room to stretch out. “Airlift
My Heart” benefits from a clever lyric, as does “Not
The Wrong Woman.” “Give Me The Rainbow” would be a
nice fit on a Sinatra or Tony Bennett album.
“Daddy’s Got A Problem” sounds like a lost Percy
Mayfield track and Robillard provides some tasty
Basile has a smooth, mellow voice and plays cornet
on all the tracks. The band, in addition to
Robillard, Lataille, and James, included Bruce Katz
on keyboards, Mark Teixeira on drums and Marty
Ballou on bass. They provide wonderful support in
all the various settings. Robillard produced the
disc and Lataille and James arranged the horns.
Basile’s liner notes also provide helpful insight
behind the making of each song.
The Tinge is a superlative release that will
certainly please fans of blues, swing, and jazz.
amazing Honeyboy Edwards recently turned 92 years
young and shows no signs of slowing down. Just a
couple of weeks ago, he performed with Koko Taylor
and Pinetop Perkins at the Grammy Awards (sadly, it
was during the pre-broadcast portion) where he also
took home a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album
for his participation in the Last of the Delta
Bluesmen project. He also played himself in the
recent movie, “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.” He’s
still a powerfully intense performer, and his latest
release for Earwig, Roamin’ and Ramblin’, serves as
solid testimony to his still potent gifts.
Producer and longtime friend and associate Michael
Frank’s intent was to recreate the duo and small
group performances of the ’30s and ’40s. During that
time, Edwards played with several of the future
Delta harmonica playing greats, like Big Walter
Horton and Little Walter Jacobs. Frank recruited a
stellar trio of harmonica players, Bobby Rush, Billy
Branch, and Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones, for two sessions
recorded last year. These sessions find Edwards in
nice form both vocally and on guitar, and he works
very well with his partners, which also include Paul
Kaye on guitar, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith on drums,
and Rick Sherry on washboard.
There are some enjoyable spoken-word tracks where
Edwards and Rush reminisce about 1950s Chicago and
Little Walter. Edwards has always enthralled
listeners with his near photographic memory of
events, names, and dates and it’s obvious he and
Rush had a great time. It would have been great to
hear more of their discussions.
There are also some previously unreleased songs from
the mid ’70s, some solo and others featuring Frank,
Sugar Blue and Big Walter on harmonica. These tracks
show that Edwards hasn’t lost very much over the
past 30 years. There’s also a 1942 song, “Army
Blues,” from his 1942 Library of Congress recordings.
Few people may realize it today, but even though
Edwards had been around the Chicago scene since the
’50s, he was almost criminally under recorded until
he met Michael Frank in the early ’70s and they
formed the Honeyboy Edwards Blues Band and also
played local clubs as a duo. The exposure turned
Edwards’ fortunes around and he was able to record
for several labels during that time. Frank
eventually became Edwards’ manager and, when he
formed Earwig around 1980, he recruited Edwards to
appear on his second release for the label, the
marvelously ragged and intimate Old Friends (with Sunnyland Slim, Floyd Jones, Big Walter Horton, and
Kansas City Red), and later released two other
releases of Honeyboy solo.
Honeyboy Edwards is a national treasure.
Ramblin' is filled with wonderful performances that
make you think he can go on forever, and it sounds
like that's just what he's planning to do.
Anthony Gomes has been making a lot of noise on the
blues scene after moving to Chicago to learn his
trade in the mid '90s. Since moving to Nashville
several years ago, he's released four albums that
have captured his diverse talents as a singer,
guitarist, and songwriter. He manages to mix blues,
rock, soul, and even the occasional venture into
funk and jazz into his performances, and has built a
large and loyal fan base. Gomes' latest release on Ruf Records, simply titled
Live, will show
unfamiliar listeners just what all the fuss is
Recorded in Seattle at the Triple Door in February
of 2007, Live captures Gomes and his band (Biscuit
Miller on bass, Todd Hamric on keyboards, and Denis
Palatin on drums) in peak form on 11 powerful
songs. Standout tracks include "Bluebird," a
favorite from the band's 2006 release, Music Is The
Medicine, "When The Right Woman Does You Wrong,"
which sounds like Chicago blues on steroids and
features Gomes' best vocal and sizzling guitar, and
the soulful "Won't Let You Down," long a favorite on
tour, but on CD for the first time.
Gomes also tackles Led Zeppelin successfully on the
rock classic "Heartbreaker," but his own
compositions are first-rate, as always, like "Music
Is The Medicine" and "War On War," which is a
musical message the whole world should take to
heart. The scorching "Testify" closes out the disc,
and leaves his audience yelling for more, something
you might be doing as well.
Anthony Gomes has a bright future, and not just in
the blues field. He's got the talent and chops to
succeed wherever his muse takes him. Live is a
thrilling, dynamic release that will please blues
and blues/rock fans equally.
Principato Band plays an entertaining brand of blues
that incorporates elements of funk, jazz, rock, and
even reggae. It's a mix that Principato has been
honing since his days with the celebrated band
Powerhouse in the 1970s. He's also performed with
other acts like Geoff Muldaur, Billy Price, Johnny
Adams, Sunnyland Slim, Big Mama Thornton, and the
Assassins (which also featured Jimmy Thackery).
Since the mid '80s, he's embarked on a solo career
that has spanned 11 releases, including a pair of
CDs with the late guitar legend Danny Gatton.
Principato's latest release, on his Powerhouse
label, is Raising The Roof! True to form, there's
plenty of Principato's marvelous
fretwork and plenty of rock-solid support from the
band (John Perry – bass, backing vocals, Joe Wells –
drums, and Josh Howell – percussion). Also featured
is DC-area keyboardist Tommy Lepson, who also
contributes vocals, plus a horn section that appears
on a couple of tracks.
There are nine tracks on the disc, six of which are
originals, ranging from the hard-swinging “Lock And
Key” to the aptly titled “Too Damn Funky,” to the
reggae-flavored “In The Middle of The Night.” There
are also a pair of tough instrumentals, “Bo Bo’s
Groove,” which sounds like a long-lost Santana track
(thanks, in part, to Lepson’s B3 wizardry), and “Mi
Solea,” a more pensive, soulful run. The hilarious
“They Called For ‘Stormy Monday’ (But ‘Mustang
Sally’ Is Just As Bad)” closes out the disc.
Cover tunes include a splendid take on J. J. Cale’s
“Lies,” a funked-up version of Louis Jordan’s “Fish
Fry,” and Jimmy Smith’s “8 Counts For Rita,” which
allows for more terrific interplay between
Principato and Lepson.
All in all, it adds up to another masterful release
for Tom Principato.