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June 2018

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Order these featured CDs today:

Long Tall Deb and Colin John

Victor Wainwright

The Claudettes

Marshall Lawrence

Myles Goodwyn

Eric Corne

Laurie Jane and the 45s

Gus Spenos

Katy Guillen and the Girls

Tommy Dardar

Wentus Blues Band

Brigitte Purdy

Allman Goldflies Band

Victoria Ginty

Memphis Minnie


Long Tall DebLong Tall Deb and Colin John enjoyed a lot of attention with their first release, the 2015 EP Streets of Mumbai, and their full-length follow-up, Dragonfly (VizzTone) is bound to do the same. In recent years the duo has traveled and performed not only in America, but also Europe, India, and Nepal. This release incorporates blues, Americana, rock n’ roll, jazz, surf, pop, and world music into an interesting and diverse set. The majority of tunes were written by the duo, with one Townes Van Zandt cover included.

“On The Way Down” opens the disc, first as a moody two-minute intro with John playing lap steel, then tearing into a scorching blues rocker. The title track has a spooky surf guitar/spaghetti western feel, but you’ll be humming along pretty quickly. I could see this one showing up on a movie soundtrack somewhere. Van Zandt’s “Lungs” is next, a reflective piece with John and Deb sharing lead vocals, and Deb does a fabulous job on the irresistible soul burner “I’ll Be The One.”

For “Remember Why (It’s Good He’s Gone),” John starts out on baby sitar and then moves to baritone guitar with fascinating results. This track really stands out with its creativity, and it’s a lot of fun. “Pull The Pin” is another keeper, with great measured guitar work from John and a soulful vocal from Deb. “Trouble” is another track that would be radio-ready in a perfect world --- catchy lyrics and a powerful vocal from Deb, while John is joined by Michael Hill, who plays slide guitar on this track.

The jazzy slow burner “Horizontal Lightning” combines Spanish influences with surf guitar, if you can imagine. If not, just listen and it will all make sense. “Lights That Shine” is a poignant tribute from Deb to her late father and touches on the Americana and roots genres, while the closing track is a dreamy instrumental reprise of the title track, “Dragonfly, Slight Return.”

While not everything on Dragonfly is blues, it’s all exceptional music that’s rooted in the blues. I, for one, will be looking forward to more music from Long Tall Deb and Colin John, and encourage listeners to give this excellent disc a spin.

--- Graham Clarke

Victor WainwrightAward-winning keyboard monster Victor Wainwright picked up yet another award a couple of weeks ago, the 2018 BMA Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year, his second in a row after taking home a pair of BMAs in 2016 for B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and Band of the Year. Wainwright recently assembled a new band, The Train (Billy Dean – drums/percussion, Terrence Grayson - bass, and Pat Harrington – drums), and they join forces for their powerhouse self-titled release (Ruf Records), guaranteed to leave a mark on many listeners’ year-end Top Ten lists this year.

Wainwright wrote or co-wrote all 12 songs and co-produced the set with Dave Gross. The dozen songs mix tempos deftly, starting with the rowdy rollicking horn-driven opener, “Healing,” the title track, “Train,” which absolutely dares you to sit still while listening, and the hard-charging “Boogie Depression” all taking care of things on the uptempo side, thank you very much.

Wainwright also includes a nice set of tunes that mix funk and roots with “Wiltshire Grave,” the soulful “Money,” and “Dull Your Shine,” a sure fit in the Dr. John or Leon Russell songbooks but it’s a Wainwright original.

“Thank You Lucille” was written by Wainwright shortly after B.B. King’s death and is a sweet tribute to the blues legend’s guitar, complete with stellar guitar work from Monster Mike Welch that the King would surely approve of. “Everything I Need” is a slower tempo love song with a smooth vocal turn from Wainwright, and the fiery “Righteous” has a gospel feel with scorching lead guitar from Josh Roberts.

“I’ll Start Tomorrow” is a clever track that many listeners can probably relate to, putting off doing what our doctors tell us to do to get healthy. On the lengthy, mostly instrumental jam, “Sunshine,” Wainwright and the band venture into Allmanesque territory for a fun workout, and then close with the very smooth and mellow ballad, “That’s Love To Me.” Both tracks feature some dynamic guitar work from Harrington.

It’s a pretty safe bet to say that blues fans will be seeing Wainwright and hearing his name called a few times at the next round of BMAs because his keyboard skills are still marvelous. Victor Wainwright and The Train will certainly be a contender for Blues Album of the Year, no question about it.

--- Graham Clarke

The ClaudettesThe Claudettes have undergone a few changes since their 2015 release, No Hotel. Piano master Johnny Iguana continues his pile-driving presence on the keyboards, but drummer Michael Caskey has departed, being replaced by a drummer (Matthew Torre) and a guitar/bass player (Zach Verdoorn). On their previous release, The Claudettes enlisted a vocalist (Yana) on about half the tracks, but this time around they’ve found singer Berit Ulseth, who appears on all of the tracks with Verdoorn appearing on a few as well. This edition of the band has been touring for about two years, and judging from their latest release, Dance Scandal at the Gymnasium (Yellow Dog Records), they’re now firing on all cylinders.

Ulseth’s vocals are arresting, often taking on a haunting or even a playful, sultry quality. On the opener, “Don’t Stay With Me,” Ulseth takes the latter approach, powered by Iguana’s storming piano riff is complimented by Verdoorn’s slide guitar fills. Her vocals take on a haunting edge on “November,” and she positively nails the gorgeous jazzy ballad “Pull Closer To Me.” “Give It All Up For Good” is a social commentary decrying our overdependence on social media and the consequences, and the rocking “Naked On The Internet” (a duet by Verdoorn and Ulseth) continues on that theme, regarding the public’s desire for style (or sleaze) over actual substance.

The title track is mostly instrumental with a few breathy asides included and it’s a monster, starting out on a jazz-flavored intro and building slowly, steadily, furiously into an all-out romper before slowing down again at the conclusion. Itt’s almost like being on a carnival ride. The retro-pop melody of “Bill Played Saxophone” belies the politically-charged lyrical content, unusually aimed at both sides of the political spectrum for their antics when not in the seat of power, while “Death and Traffic” laments the overabundance of bad news and tragedy reported on the news today.

“Total Misfit” looks at the possible advantages (and disadvantages) of being the “square peg in a round hole,” while “Taco Night Material” is a twisted take on falling into the sometimes mundane routines of marriage. The chilling closer, “Utterly Absurd,” is actually about the state of the world today with the easy access to information taking the place of good old-fashioned research and “book-learning” that was such a part of education for the older generations but are fast becoming a thing of the past.

Iguana penned all of the songs on the album and they’re a very unique, diverse, and thought-provoking set. His thunderous piano work is as powerful as on the previous albums from the band, and the new rhythm section is spot on. Ms. Ulseth’s vocals are a definite plus and add a lot to the band’s sound. To me, Dance Scandal at the Gymnasium is the best, most-realized album from The Claudettes to date. But the bar was set pretty high to begin with.

--- Graham Clarke

Marshall LawrenceCanadian bluesman Marshall Lawrence gives a nod to the blues/rock formula with his latest release, Feeling Fine, with the master guitarist turning in ten original tunes of energetic rocking blues. His previous releases have touched on blues, rock, funk, and punk, and they all come into play on this release. Lawrence attacks everything he does with boundless enthusiasm, and this new release is no exception to the rule.

The title track kicks off the disc, mixing funk and rock with irresistible pop-like harmony vocals. From what I know of Lawrence, the lyrics could more or less serve as his mission statement for life. The incendiary rocker “Dancing With A Hurricane” is next and is a fantastic tribute to ’80s era rock, and the manic “Ida Mae” is a good old countrified Southern rocker that should have fans dancing in the aisles. “What Am I Doing Here” starts off with a guitar-fueled bang, but quickly transforms to a splendid slow blues, and “Blues Still Got Me” is a nice blues rocker.

Lawrence pulls out the slide for the scorcher “Going Down To Memphis,” and slows things down for the blues-flavored ballad “Help Me Find My Way Home,” which is about as laidback as this album gets. The fiery midtempo “Mean Hearted Woman” ups the intensity immediately afterward. The Latin-flavored “Keep On Walking” has a solid groove and features Lawrence on slide again, and the funky “Dirty Dishes” closes the album out in powerful fashion.

It’s pretty clear from the opening notes of this disc that Marshall Lawrence is Feeling Fine, and so will listeners after they give this excellent album a spin.

--- Graham Clarke

Myles GoodwynYou might not know who Myles Goodwyn is, but just between you and me (sorry) you’ve probably heard of the band he co-founded in the late ’60s, April Wine. Goodwyn served as lead vocalist, guitarist, and main songwriter for the highly successful Canadian band from its beginnings to the early ’80s when he left for a solo career. He returned to lead the band in the early ’90s, but his first love has been the blues since the ’60s, when he started listening to B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters.

Over the years Goodwyn wrote blues songs, but saved them for his own future blues album. That album has finally arrived in the form of Myles Goodwyn and Friends of the Blues (Linus Entertainment), which includes 11 Goodwyn-penned songs and musical accompaniment from such “friends of the blues” as guitarists Jack de Keyser, Amos Garrett, Garret Mason, Frank Marino, David Wilcox, Rick Derringer, Steve Segal, and Shaun Verreault and keyboardists Bill Stevenson and Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne.

Goodwyn proves to be an excellent songwriter in a blues vein. The swinging, horn-driven opener “I Hate To See You Go (But I Love To Watch You Walk Away)” certainly gets the album off on the right foot, joined by Verreault who shines on slide guitar. Amos Garrett adds guitar to the supremely soulful ballad “It’ll Take Some Time To Get Used To” (assisted by Emily Lamarche in the vocal department), and the Blues Boss and Segal have a ball on the country-styled blues “Tell Me Where I’ve Been (So I Don’t Go There Anymore).” The humorous “Ain’t Gonna Bathe In The Kitchen Anymore” is a “When My Ship Comes Sailing In” romp, and Marino’s guitar and Wayne’s piano break are highlights on the hilarious “I’ll Hate You (Till Death Do Us Part).”

Garret Mason guests on guitar on the rocking shuffle “Good Man In A Bad Place,” and Segal (on slide guitar) teams with Marino for some superb guitar fireworks on “Brand New Cardboard Belt.” Goodwyn sings the heck out of the reflective slow blues “Weeping Willow Tree Blues,” backed by Wilcox’s acoustic guitar, and Derringer teams with Goodwyn on the fiery shuffle “Last Time I’ll Ever Sing The Blues.” De Keyser adds guitar to the slow burner “Nobody Lies (About Having The Blues),” and for the closer, the easygoing “You Never Got The Best of Me,” Goodwyn is joined by Segal and Garrett on guitar and Dewey Reeds on harmonica.

The album’s lone cover is a very cool reading of Jesse Winchester’s “Isn’t That So,” set to a smooth rhumba beat with backing vocals from Sonja Ball.

This is a wonderful release with outstanding songs, great guitar work, and it gives off a very relaxed, fun vibe. Hopefully, we’ll hear more blues from Myles Goodwyn very soon.

--- Graham Clarke

Eric CorneEric Corne is the founder and president of Forty Below Records. He’s also a producer/engineer with several blues albums to his credit, including Walter Trout’s recent album, We’re All In This Together, and several recordings with Forty Below artist John Mayall including remastering Mayall’s recently discovered 1967 live recordings with the pre-Fleetwood Mac incarnation of the Bluesbreakers (Peter Green, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood). He’s also written songs for Trout, Sam Morrow, and Karen Lovely.

Corne is a recording artist in his own right, having recently released Happy Songs for the Apocalypse (Forty Below Records), a 12-track, thought-provoking look at the state of the world. The album combines blues, roots, country, and folk influences and a wide variety of instrumentation: Corne plays guitar, bass, harmonica, percussion, and ukulele and there’s also pedal-steel guitar, Theremin, accordion, and keyboards galore. The production work gives the album a lush quality, but retaining an earthy feel as well.

“Mad World,” the opening track, reminds me of mid-period Beatles, touching on folk and rock, with Eamon Ryland’s pedal steel really standing out. Trout makes an appearance on the stomping blues rocker “Ridin’ With Lady Luck,” his fretwork complementing Corne’s fiery harmonica playing. Ryland’s slide guitar on the rollicking “Locomotion” reminds me a lot of Sonny Rhodes lap steel guitar and the horn section adds a fun twist to this pop-flavored track, while “The Gilded Age” is a gentle acoustic cautionary tale. “Short Wave Preachers” finds Corne calling out modern-day politicians for their indifference.

“Pull String To Inflate” is a hard-charging rocker, while “History Repeats” lands on the country side of the aisle, as does “The Distance You Run,” while “Forbidden Town” leans more toward the roots/alt-country side. Corne tackles this wide variety of musical styles with nary a hitch.

The aching and forlorn “Ashen Heart” will tug at your heartstrings, and “Trail Full of Tears” matches horns with a somber rhythmic backdrop to chilling effect. The closer, “Sing, Little Darlin’, Sing,” features Corne solo on ukulele.

Happy Songs for the Apocalypse offers a sometimes muted, sometimes upbeat, sometimes admonitory look at the world today. The wide variety of musical styles is a big selling point and Corne’s versatility as a singer and performer make this album one that deserves to be heard.

--- Graham Clarke

Laurie JaneBased in Louisville, Kentucky, Laurie Jane and The 45s’ brand of blues mixes old school blues with healthy doses of rockabilly and soul with a dash of country and R&B. Laurie Jane Duggins’ vocals have the right mix of restraint and sincerity, complementing husband Cort Duggins’ versatile guitar work and the tight rhythm work from Jason Embry (upright bass) and Scott Dugdale (drums). Their recent release, Midnight Jubilee (Down In The Alley Records), is a fine display of the band’s handiwork, with eight superb originals and three well-chosen covers.

The opening track, “Wait So Long,” is a country-flavored rockabilly raver with excellent slide guitar from Cort Duggins, and “Lucky Boy” is a solid midtempo track with a soulful edge. The title track is a blues ballad with a bit of a pop sheen, and “Howlin’ For My Darlin’” is a swinging rockabilly reworking of the Howlin’ Wolf classic. “Fine By Me” is a tale of a lover scorned, featuring Cort Duggins on piano, and “Down The Road” has a retro rock vibe.

Laurie Jane does a masterful job on the slow burner “It’s Been A Long Time,” as this song really allows her to show her formidable vocal strength. Nice solo from her husband on this one, too. The countrified ballad “Couldn’t Cry Alone” is another great vehicle for the singer, and the midtempo “Got Me Where You Want Me” is a sharp urban-styled blues. The rock-edged “What’s A Girl To Do” is another keeper, and the closer, “Not With You,” revisits the upbeat rockabilly of the opening track.

Midnight Jubilee is a very entertaining release. Laurie Jane Duggins’ is an impressive vocalist with her understated approach to singing, and the 45s are a superlative backing unit. Blues fans certainly won’t go wrong with this fine album.

--- Graham Clarke

Gus SpenosGus Spenos, Indianapolis’ #1 sax man/neurologist, has returned with another superlative set of big band jump blues and R&B. It’s Lovin’ I Guarantee offers a baker’s dozen selections of swinging tunes, four originals penned by Spenos plus nine classic tunes from the heyday of the genre that will keep feet tapping and booties shaking. Spenos is joined by an outstanding band that includes trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and drummer Cecil Brooks III, along with a sparkling horn section with four saxes, two trombones, and two trumpets.

Spenos put a fresh spin on familiar tunes like T.N.T. Tribble’s “She Walked Right In,” Eddie Boyd’s “Hush Baby Don’t You Cry,” and Jimmy Rushing’s “Fool’s Blues,” showcasing Gordon on trombone and Collin DeJoseph on keys. DeJoseph also shines on Buddy Johnson’s “Lil’ Dog” and mans the B3 for a groovy take on Bobby Elvin’s “Blind Boy.” “I’m Gone,” from Billy Brooks, rocks hard with a primo solo from Spenos and guitarist Brad Williams, and the band sticks the groove on Titus Turner’s “Have Mercy Baby.”

Spenos’ original tunes are a perfect fit with the classic covers. They include the sharp title track, the clever “Every Tic’s Got A Toc,” the slow burner “Livin’ Is A Crime,” and the rollicking closer, “Got Myself A Diamond.” His vocals are warm, confident, and have a cool hip quality to them that add to the fun listening, and man, can the cat blow the sax!!

It all adds up to another winner for Gus Spenos. It’s Lovin’ I Guarantee will satisfy any fan of big band jump blues and rocking R&B.

--- Graham Clarke

Katy GuillenRemember What You Knew Before (VizzTone), the latest release from the Kansas City-based roots rockers Katy Guillen & The Girls, is a lively set of 11 original tunes that touch on blues, folk, country and rock in equal doses. Guillen, who’s been playing guitar since age 8 and has been a part of the K.C. blues scene since she was 14, put the trio together in 2012 after being invited to open for the blues supergroup Royal Southern Brotherhood.

Guillen, who wrote all 11 songs on the disc, is a masterful guitarist and powerful vocalist, and she enjoys a nice chemistry with bandmates Stephanie Williams (drums) and Claire Adams (bass). Several of these tunes were on the band’s previous releases, but have different arrangements and more of an intimate, downhome instrumental setting. The Latin-flavored “Gabriela” and “Quiver,” the folksy rocker “Stalling on Dreams,” and “If You Were Gone” are from the band’s self-titled 2014 debut.

The midtempo blues rocker “Humbucker,” a bluesy “The Load,” and the tasty roots rocker “Can’t Live Here Anymore” come from Heavy Days, the band’s 2016 release. The new songs include “Slingshot,” a jaunty country-pop track that mixes haunting vocals with acoustic, electric, and resonator guitars, “Waiting Till The Day,” a lovely ballad, the jaunty “Biwi,” which mixes country and Americana, and “Funny Place,” a gentle folk piece.

A highly enjoyable mix of blues, roots, and Americana, Remember What You Knew Before should be recommended listening for fans of all three genres. Katy Guillen & The Girls definitely deserve to be heard by a much larger audience.

--- Graham Clarke

Big Daddy GumboTommy Dardar was a music legend in Houston. Dubbed “Big Daddy Gumbo,” he played alongside a host of music legends over his half-century music career. He released Fool for Love in 1999, a release that brought a lot of attention to what was then one of music’s best kept secrets, but work on a follow-up, which began in 2001, was suspended due to financial and health issues. Sadly, Dardar passed away in July of 2017 before it was completed, but his friend Tony Braunagel, who produced Fool for Love, was able to pick up the pieces and complete the album, now titled Big Daddy Gumbo, in his memory.

The nine tracks were initially recorded in 2001 with Braunagel (drums), Hutch Hutchinson (bass), Jon Cleary (piano), and Johnny Lee Schell (guitar), but Braunagel brought in a host of Dardar’s friends to help complete the project: keyboardists Mike Finnigan and Barry Seelen, saxophonist Joe Sublett, percussionist Jimmy Rose, and backing vocalists Tommie Lee Bradley, Teresa James, Terry Wilson, and Larry Fulcher.

Schell’s raucous “It’s Good To Be King” kicks off the disc and he adds tasty Elmore James slide guitar to the mix. Dardar wrote the good-timing “Headed Down To Houma,” a funky slice of Gulf Coast R&B that segues nicely into Schell’s Chicago blues shuffle “Baby I Can Tell,” with Dardar emulating the Windy City greats on harmonica. Cleary penned a pair of tunes that run back-to-back, the fabulous “C’mon Second Line” and “Let’s Both Go Back To New Orleans,” an old school Crescent City slow burner that recalls the days when Dave Bartholomew ruled the music charts.

“Dangerous Woman” is a menacing mid-tempo with spirited backing vocals from James, Bradley, & Co., and smoking harmonica from Dardar, while “In My Mind,” penned by Dardar, would be a Swamp Pop masterpiece in a better world just for Dardar’s masterful vocal performance. Wilson’s boogie rocker “Shake A Leg” should get listeners doing just that, and the title track closes out the festivities, a loving tribute to Big Daddy Gumbo himself from the band and backing vocalists.

Unfortunately, this is the last recorded work of Tommy Dardar, his own songs clocking in at under 30 minutes. But it’s a well-spent 30 minutes and Tony Braunagel deserves a medal of some kind for getting Big Daddy Gumbo out there for us blues fans to enjoy. Anybody who digs the Gulf Coast and New Orleans R&B sounds will love getting this.

--- Graham Clarke

Wentus Blues BandThe Wentus Blues Band has been around since 1986, establishing themselves as one of the hardest working blues bands in Scandinavia. Hailing from Kokkola in Central Finland, this group (Niko Riippa – guitar, Robban Hagnäs – bass, Juno Kinaret – vocals, Pekka Gröhn – keyboards, Daniel Hjerppe – drums) has done numerous tours through Europe, either backing legendary blues artists at festivals or on their own solo tours, playing 150 gigs a year. They’re one of the big reasons for the burgeoning blues scene in Scandinavia.'

Throwback (Ramasound Records) is their latest release, which finds the band paying tribute to some of their heroes and mentors over the years by playing some of their favorite songs from those artists. The band packs 15 excellent cover tunes on the disc from artists like Carey Bell (“Wrapped Up In Love” and “Hard Working Woman”), Eddie Kirkland (“Rainbow” and “Done Somebody Wrong”), Phil Guy (“Fixin’ To Die” and “Last of the Blues Singers”), Louisiana Red (“Thirty Dirty Women” and “Red’s Dream”).

The band also acknowledges Canned Heat with “Future Blues” and “Time Was,” Eric Bibb with the reflective “Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down,” and the late Rock Bottom (“Frog Leg Man”). They also recognize some European blues talent with a pair of tunes from the much-missed Sven Zetterberg (“Let Me Get Over It” and “I Think You Need A Shrink”) and Norwegian blues man Hungry John (“Feel So Young”).

From the opening chords it’s obvious that the band has been playing together for a long time, and it’s also pretty clear that they’ve enjoyed playing these songs over the years. Kinaret is an excellent and charismatic frontman, and the band’s musicianship is top notch with Riippa laying down some fine guitar work, Gröhn doing a masterful job on the keyboards and Hagnäs and Hjerppe rock solid on rhythm.

After listening, it’s also obvious that blues fans will enjoy Throwback as much as the band enjoyed putting it together. This is a great set of traditional blues by a band who knows their way around the block for sure.

--- Graham Clarke

Brigitte PurdyI have the national Women in Blues to thank for introducing me to Brigitte Rios Purdy. Brigitte was selected to perform in the WIB’s annual IBC showcase two years ago. She was the first artist that year to contact me with her staging and back-line information, and her performance that year was impressive. As I’ve gotten to know Brigitte and learn her story, I’m even more impressed with her love and devotion to her craft. Brigitte is definitely one motivated artist and I have deep respect for that.

Brigitte’s musical background began at an early age when her mother took her to an audition for the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Brigitte aced the audition at 12-years-old and was one of the youngest students ever accepted into the program. In her early 20s Brigitte worked with vocal coach Maureen Bailey, who worked with many of the Motown artists including Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. With her soulful vocal chops intact, Brigitte did session work on a couple of recordings for The Who and sang background vocals for Paul Rodgers on his Jimi Hendrix – Muddy Waters tour.

Along the way Brigitte took time out from her career to have and raise three phenomenal children before venturing back in the music scene by hitting the various blues jams in LA five years ago. Performing in the jams introduced her to Drake Shining, her music director, and Dave Osti, her producer and co-writer for the songs on Brigitte’s new release, Still I Rise. Dave is a well-crafted writer and Brigitte relied heavily on his expertise for this record. By collaborating together, Osti and Purdy have produced a wonderful record with a diverse palette of songs that that will grab your attention and keep you engaged until the very end of the record. Let’s throw it in the CD player and give it a spin.

The record opens with the upbeat tune, “HooDoo,” and the rise of Brigitte’s dress above her knee has attracted the attention of a suitor who is trying to work his magic on her. Kenny Neal blows a mean harp on this song for Brigitte and it sets the stage for her to reject the suitor in question. Brigitte’s not impressed, “why don’t you give it a rest….I put you to the test…now I’m holding on to my rosary…I see the Hoodoo that you do!” Next up is the beautiful ballad “Be the Light,” a tune that Brigitte wrote with a mother’s love as a legacy for her children. “Hold on tight … don’t let darkness in … don’t let anything…drive you to a life of sin … have a little mercy …. show a little grace … brothers and sisters, we’re all living in the same place … can’t you see it’s more than a hopeful recipe … you’ve got to be the light you want to see.” Dave Osti’s fretwork shares its hopeful tone in the background and this is truly a wonderful gift from Brigitte to her children.

We segue to “My Home is in My Heart” and Brigitte is very clear about her territory. “My home is in my heart … don’t take no lien out on my home … if you fall apart … don’t try to turn me on my own … my home is in my heart …. on’t try to take a lease out on my home.” “My Kinda Blues” completely changes tempo and mood with a swing tempo while Brigitte tells us all about what it takes to win her affections. “Don’t get me wrong … I’m an old school fan … if you want to be my old man … my blues … I like a whole lotta blues … if you want my love … you’d better like my kind of blues.!” Michael Fell lends his harp magic to this tune and it’s definitely part of the old school vibe this song creates for the listener.

Up next is “Last Time,” a beautiful ballad about that moment in time when a woman comes to the realization that the relationship she’s in has come to an end and she has to make the decision to leave it and move on. “If you could know … just what I’m thinking … if you could see us through my eyes … ain’t just the late nights … ain’t just the sneaking … it’s not the way …. you never say goodbye. If that’s the way you want me treated … if that’s the way you keep me tied. Then it’s the last time … you’ll have me in the morning … baby, it’s the last time … you’ll make me cry.” The last vestiges of hope for this relationship have faded away and the decision’s been made to honor her truth, to move on and live accordingly. Drake’s organ fills lend it’s emotional texture to go with Dave’s fretwork and this is a beautifully written well-crafted song from Brigitte and Dave.

I love Brigitte’s attitude in “Get it Understood.” Hounded by a suitor with less than good intentions, Brigitte’s very clear on her response. “Don’t call me baby … you ain’t my man … don’t call me baby … better understand … you ain’t my man … you think you sound like a gentleman … but all you want is a one night stand … no fine woman going to fall in your hand … you keep coming back … I’ll be damned.”
Next up is a different take on this situation on “If I Could.” Here we find Brigitte tempted by whether she’s true to her vows and her loving man at home. Easily a song that could cross-over into another genre, Brigitte show’s a different side of her repertoire here. “Something in your eyes … tells me you’re good … but I got a sweet old man … and he loves me. I would if I could.”

“Lucille Don’t You Weep” is Brigitte’s collaboration with Drake Shining, a tribute to the passing of B.B. King written from the viewpoint of his beloved guitar. “Lucille ... don’t you weep no more … wrap your arms around me … fingers up and down my neck … make me feel like a real, live women … a Gibson girl at heart … Lucille, don’t you weep no more.” B.B. was such a presence in our blues world and none mourn his passing more than his beloved Lucille. Brigitte’s friend Ayeasha Jones lends her vocals to the mix on this wonderful song.

Another ballad, “Blues Angel,” follows, paying homage to those individuals who come into our lives at the most opportune times when we’re facing our darkest hours. “Like a Blues Angel … rescue me tonight … walking along the water … barefoot across the sand … stumbled across a treasure … in the heart of a gentle man … and he dried my eyes of sorrow … swept the ashes from my day … and a thousand blue tomorrows … in the waves they washed away … like a blues angel … escue me tonight.”

Brigitte closes with the anthemic “Still I Rise,” opening with an amazing keyboard solo from Drake. “I saw the terror in their eyes … I heard the distant voices cry … I felt the heartbeats … everywhere … start to die … still I rise.” Despite all of the negative happenings in the world we still persevere. We still strive to make it a better world andto rise above all that exists. It’s a fitting close to what has been a wonderful journey.

Brigitte and her producer, Dave Osti, have crafted a record that truly shows all sides of who she is as a performer with great success. The record is being released on the Dirtshack label and you can learn more about Still I Rise at http://www.dirtshackrecords.com or www.brigittepurdy.net. Brigitte’s definitely an artist on the rise, and this record is an amazing next step in her journey as a gifted blues woman.

--- Kyle Deibler

Allman Goldflies BandThe name Allman Goldflies Band may set the imagination to wondering what that moniker really means, but it's actually quite simple. The Allman part comes from lead singer / guitarist Gary Allman, a cousin of legendary rockers Gregg and Duane Allman, while Goldflies is actually the last name of bassist / music director David "Rook" Goldflies who was part of the rhythm section in later incarnations of the Allman Brothers Band. See, that turned out to be quite simple. Their mix of Southern rock and blues is nicely presented on ten original cuts on the self-released album Second Chance.

Allman is a competent vocalist, a bit raspy but suited to the material and getting stronger as the album progresses. His vocals are nicely complemented by lead guitarist Luther Wamble on the ballad "Standing In The Georgia Rain." One thing this album has is plenty of guitar, not surprising considering the Allman Brothers influence, and we get to hear dueling axes on the feelgood "Southern's All I Even Want To Be."

The quality on Second Chance picks up considerably on the last three cuts, starting with Goldflies' funky original "Can't Turn Back Now" on which he steps up to the mic and shows that he's also a pretty decent singer while he extols the virtues of being out on the road. Wamble's guitar again gets to shine on the slow, soulful ballad "You Gave Me Love," with Allman's evocative vocals among his best work on the album.

The boys take it to church for the closing song, "When Jesus Calls," and without a doubt it's the strongest number here. A full gospel choir sounds the album that you've got to be ready when Jesus calls before nice gospel piano leads into Allman's vocals. The choir comes in at times to reinforce the message and we also get a nice guitar solo midway through the tune.

These cats play live around Florida and other parts of the southeast. Check out their schedule and more info on their website. Worth checking out if you're in the neighborhood.

--- Bill Mitchell

Victoria GintyAnother quality self-released album from Florida is Unfinished Business from sassy, soulful blues singer Victoria Ginty, who usually appears around the South with her band Ladyhawke. Ginty is a fine singer and the backing band on these Buffalo, N.Y. sessions is pretty hot, especially when the horns get to blowing and guitarist Grace Lougen throws out fiery licks.

Opening the disc is the title cut, an up-tempo blues shuffle on which Ginty shows off her pipes with the advice that there's plenty of unfinished business to take care of. The horn section helps carry the show here. That prepares us for the next cut, the backwoods gospel-influenced "Take Me Down" that is an excellent vehicle for Ginty's powerful vocals. There's sparse accompaniment for the first couple of minutes before the full band comes in and makes it more of a funky number. It's one of the best cuts I've heard in a while.

Ginty shows that she's perfectly capable of shouting out the blues on "You Don't Love Me No More," a number that also features some hot guitar chords and a mid-song sax solo, before showing a softer sensitive side with pleading, breathy vocals in the slow, jazzy late night blues "Every Night, Every Day." Subtlety at its best. Continuing the shift in styles throughout the album is the funky "Give It Up," with Ginty demanding that her man do just that. "Water" is another fine tune in the late night, jazzy genre, with very nice muted trumpet accompaniment and a tasteful guitar solo.

A strong drum beat provides the lead-in to the up-tempo shuffle "Do Me Right" that also contains a little flavor of a John Lee Hooker boogie number with more urgent, demanding vocals from Ginty. Ending this disc is nice slow blues, "The Blues Found Me," with more tasty blues guitar from Lougen. A nice finish to a surprisingly good album from this relative unknown performer. I think we're going to hear a lot more from Victoria Ginty in the future.

--- Bill Mitchell

Memphis MinnieWolf Records continues its quest to release vintage recordings by just about every seminal blues artist, with their latest documenting early recordings by the very influential Memphis Minnie on Killer Diller Blues - Her Best 24 Songs. Not all of her classics are here, but enough from these sessions covering the years from 1929 to 1953 to give the listener a good representation of her music. Sound quality varies, especially with the older recordings having some surface noise, but overall it's a quite listenable album. By being a tough, kick-ass woman thriving in a man's business, Memphis Minnie paved the way for just about every female artist who followed her.

Among the classics here are "Bumble Bee," "New Bumble Bee," "Me And My Chauffeur Blues," "My Butcher Man," "In My Girlish Days," "Killer Diller Blues," and more. Many of Minnie's songs fit nicely in the double-entendre category, so listen carefully to the words to get the message she was trying to convey. In other words, she was a tough woman who was looking for some love.

At least one album of Memphis Minnie's music belongs in any complete blues collection. There are more extensive ones available, but if you don't already have a Memphis Minnie anthology, this one will fit the bill.

--- Bill Mitchell



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