Blues Bytes

What's New

July 2007

an associate Order these featured CDs today:

Carolina Chocolate Drops

John Dee Holeman & The Waifs

The Twisters

Mississippi Mudsharks

Matt Schofield Trio

Matt Walsh

Dave Hole


Frank Goldwasser

Hamilton Loomis

Pinetop Perkins DVD

Jimmy Burns DVD
Jimmy Burns CD


Jimmy Duck HolmesJimmy “Duck” Holmes continues his single-handed resurrection of the fabled Bentonia country blues tradition with his second release for Broke & Hungry Records, Done Got Tired of Tryin’, as thrilling a set of country blues as you’ll hear this year. Holmes’ debut release, Back To Bentonia, was also the label’s first and was a pleasant surprise, making several Top Ten Best CD lists for 2006.

For his sophomore effort, Holmes shows that the Bentonia style is alive and well and still has much to offer listeners, writing several new compositions that hold up very well next to much-loved classics performed by purveyors Skip James and Jack Owens. “Pencil and Paper,” “Could’ve Been Married,” and “Wake Up Woman” are welcome additions to the Bentonia catalog of songs. Holmes adds a little twist to the style by integrating percussion on several tracks (provided by Lightnin’ Malcolm), which proves to be a refreshing ingredient, particularly on the instrumental workout “Blue Front Breakdown!”

Holmes also offers his own interpretation of several blues standards, including James’ “Cherry Ball,” Junior Parker’s “Train I Ride,” and the Delta classic, “Catfish Blues,” which features Bud Spires on harmonica. The latter two tracks show that Holmes is very capable of stretching beyond the limits of Bentonia blues.

Vocally, while Holmes doesn’t quite possess the upper register of James or Owens (reminiscent of Honeyboy Edwards at times), his deeper and huskier vocals distinguish him from his predecessors and enable to put his own distinctive stamp on the style. His guitar work is in the Bentonia tradition with the intricate fingerpicking, but he can also pick it up a notch quite well on the more upbeat tracks here.

It’s extraordinary that Jimmy “Duck” Holmes has revived this wonderful style and, with a few fine touches here and there, is revitalizing it in the process. Done Got Tired of Tryin’ is another exceptional effort, and will delight traditional country blues fans.

--- Graham Clarke

Carolina Chocolate DropsOne of the most surprising releases you’ll likely hear this year is by the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who are giving new life to a brand of music long believed to be an anachronism. Banjo and fiddle music, in the past mistakenly attributed only to white musicians in the Appalachian regions, was a longtime part of the Carolina Piedmont scene and largely played by black musicians in that region.

The music was close to extinction, limited to a few festivals in the Carolinas. It was at one of these festivals (the Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, NC) that the Carolina Chocolate Drops first came together. Under the tutelage of Joe Thompson, said to be one of the last of the African-American string band players, the trio has resurrected the old-time string band sound with their Music Maker release, Dona Got A Ramblin’ Mind.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops consist of Rhiannon Giddens (fiddle, banjo), Justin Robinson (fiddle), both Carolina natives, and Arizona native Dom Flemons (guitar, jug, harmonica, percussion, banjo). Amazingly, none of the three are over 30 years of age. In their enthusiastic and capable hands, this archaic music is reborn.

Consisting entirely of traditional tunes, this lively set will get you on your feet with dazzling numbers like “Starry Crown,” “Rickett’s Hornpipe,” “Ol’ Corn Likker,” “Little Sadie,” “Georgie Buck,” and a rousing version of “Dixie,” which takes the much maligned song back to its humble beginnings. Other highlights include Giddens’ hauntingly beautiful a capella version of “Little Margaret” and “Tom Dula,” a song that has been passed down in both black and white traditions (mostly remembered by the more sanitized Kingston Trio version from the '60’s). Some listeners will be surprised at how closely connected the two traditions actually are, as most of these songs can be traced back to both.

Best of all is the sheer passion that the trio pours into this music. It’s obvious that they are not merely interpreting this music for historical purposes. To them, this music is as alive and vital as it was a half century ago. Music fans of all genres will enjoy this release.

In addition, a portion of the money made from sales of Music Maker CDs goes toward the Music Maker Relief Foundation, organized by Music Maker founders Tim and Denise Duffy. The foundation provides aid for blues musicians living in extreme poverty and in need of shelter, food, and medical care, including musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina. This is a great opportunity to hear some fantastic music and give back to the musicians we enjoyed so much over the years.

--- Graham Clarke

John Dee HolemanJohn Dee Holeman is a North Carolina-based bluesman who learned to play guitar in the Piedmont style, but also blends in some Texas sensibilities (from the Lightnin’ Hopkins school) as well. He recorded a disc for Music Maker in 1999 (Bull Durham Blues) that was well-received, and has toured worldwide since then. The Waifs are an Australian folk rock band who supported Bob Dylan on one of his Australian tours. They impressed Dylan so much that they ended up supporting him on his 2003 North American tour as well.

During a recent stopover at Music Maker studios, the Waifs planned a rehearsal session. Music Maker founder Tim Duffy suggested inviting some of the label’s artists over to play some music. Holeman turned up, the group started playing, and Duffy started recording. Music Maker’s latest release, John Dee Holeman & The Waifs Band, is the result of the collaboration.

The 78-year-old Holeman specializes in nice and smooth back porch blues, whether it consists of covers of old traditional tunes like “John Henry,” “I’m A Pilgrim,” and “Give Me Back My Wig,” or remakes of more “modern” songs like Otis Spann’s “Country Gal,” which is stretched out into a wonderful seven-minute jam, a leisurely version of Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie,” and Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Mojo Hand.” His guitar work is first-rate as is his singing. It sort of makes you wonder how musicians this good slip through the cracks.

The Waifs provide sympathetic backing to Holeman. Josh Cunningham’s fretwork is excellent in support of Holeman and when he steps out front as well. Vikki Thorn adds harp on several tracks as well as vocals. Her sister, Donna Simpson, plays drums on one track (Dave McDonald plays on the remaining tracks), and Ben Franz rounds out the group on bass.

Acoustic blues fans will love this one and will find themselves listening to it over and over again. It’s a joy from start to finish.

--- Graham Clarke

The Twisters2005 was a year best forgotten by The Twisters. Recognized as Canada’s premier jump/blues band, the group suffered a devastating setback in October of 2005 when, while traveling to a gig, a semi-truck slammed into their vehicles, killing bass player James Taylor and seriously injuring drummer Matt Pease. After considering dissolution, the band was encouraged by the outpouring of support from their fans and the Canadian blues community and decided to carry on. After The Storm (NorthernBlues Music) is their first post-J. T. release.

The Twisters consist of Dave “Hurricane” Hoerl (harmonica and vocals), Brandon Isaak (guitar, dobro, banjo and vocals), Keith Picot (upright bass), and Pease on drums. These guys swing hard and sound very reminiscent of the jump blues bands of the 50’s. Hoerl blows some muscular harp and Isaak is an impressive guitarist. Both take a turn at vocals, and are equally effective. The rhythm section of Pease and Picot is rock solid. Adding keyboards to the album is special guest Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne.

Most impressive is the strong set of original songs the band brings to the table, 11 original tracks out of 12 (the lone cover being Sonny Boy Williamson II’s “Bye Bye Bird”). The catchy “I’m Your Man” opens the set. Other highlights include “She’s Krazy,” Hoerl’s autobiographical “Harp Player,” the T-Bone-esque “Button Up,” and the jazzy instrumental “Second Wind.” Isaak and Hoerl display some arresting harmony vocals on tracks like “When Your Memory Goes Away” and “Going, Goin’, Gone.”

After The Storm is a solid, inspiring set that shows the band is in excellent shape despite all their recent trials and tribulations. Jump blues fans will love it, but there’s plenty here for all blues fans to enjoy as well.

--- Graham Clarke

Mississippi MudsharksThe Mississippi Mudsharks developed a huge following in the 1990s among West Coast and European fans for their intense mix of blues, punk, rock, and roots. Releasing several popular CDs during the decade and touring incessantly, the band won the San Diego Music Award for Best Blues Band. Exhaustion and the ever-popular “creative differences” sent the members in different directions in 1999, but the members remained active (frontman Scottie “Mad Dog” Blinn formed the Tiki Torchers and eventually Mississippi Mud). Two years ago, Blinn regrouped with another original Mudshark, drummer Tom Essa and The Mississippi Mudsharks were reborn, and now have a new release on Double Barrel Records, Train Rolls On.

The Mudsharks have an aggressively gritty sound rooted as much in punk as it is in the blues. Blinn’s grungy guitar leads and fills, along with his blistering slide, is the key to their sound as are his vocals, which can best be described as a guttural snarl The rest of the Mudsharks consist of the rhythm section, drummer Essa and “Big” Mike Lars on bass, do yeoman’s work and keep things tight in the pocket.

Johnny Smokes also appears on pedal steel guitar on the country/punkabilly numbers “Devil’s Road” and on “Lakeside Redneck Shindig,” a high-speed stepper where you might lose your hat if you don’t hang on to it. Actually, the songwriting is consistently strong throughout Train Rolls On, whether it’s the hard rockers (“Train Rolls On,” “30 Weight Shuffle,” “Zombie Whip,” and “Down The Line”) or the slow burners (“Hangin’ Tree,” the mid-tempo numbers (“Throw It In The Hole,” “Can’t Put Down The Drink,” and “Slow Rollin’”).

Blinn likes to describe the band’s music as “Greasy, primitive, and raw.” If you like your blues rough and nasty and slightly chaotic, I can’t think of a better place to start than with the Mississippi Mudsharks.

--- Graham Clarke

Looking for something a little different and refreshing in your blues? The Matt Schofield Trio has what you need. Schofield, a 29-year-old British guitarist, fronts one of the funkiest organ trios you’ll find these days. Their new release, Ear To The Ground (Nugene Records), is a potent set of jazzy blues.

Self-taught as a guitarist, Schofield was drawn to the blues after seeing a video of B. B. King, Albert Collins, and Stevie Ray Vaughan as a teen, and he plays with SRV-like intensity. However, it was the music of Robben Ford that really inspired his musical direction, which takes Ford’s approach to a higher level. There are also healthy traces of jazz guitarists John Scofield and Larry Carlton present in his guitar work as well. Rounding out the trio is Jonny Henderson on Hammond C3 and Evan Jenkins on drums. Henderson also plays left-hand bass and his keyboards make an extraordinary disc even more exceptional.

Ear To The Ground consists of 11 tracks, nine originals book-ended by two choice covers (Freddie King’s “Pack It Up” and “When It All Comes Down,” from B. B. King’s association with the Crusaders). “Troublemaker” sounds like a lost track from Albert Collins’ ’80s recordings with Jimmy McGriff, Cold Snap, while “Once In A While” is a classic slow burner that is a highlight of the disc, and really gives Schofield a chance to stretch out.

The funky instrumental, “Room At The Back,” captures the vibe of the Meters at their best. “Someone” is probably the straight-ahead blues track on the disc, with fiery harmonica by “Big Pete” van der Pluym, while “Cookie Jar” is a clever take on infidelity. The title cut is a blues/rock number that grooves hard, and “Searchin’ (Give Me A Sign)” is another slow burner with a wonderful extended solo from Schofield.

Schofield is truly an original, mixing his blues with jazz, funk, and rock, as well as mixing in remarkable guitar chops and a great voice. There aren’t many trios playing the blues in this style right now, but if anyone decides to start, the Matt Schofield Trio has set the bar pretty much out of reach with this outstanding release.

--- Graham Clarke

Malkum Gibson and The Mighty Juke’s latest release, It’s Gonna Be Alright (Handlebar Productions), features a dozen of the tightest blues tracks you’re likely to hear this year played by a talented group of seasoned professionals who have been around the music for years.

Harmonica player Gibson is a longtime vet of the music scene, having recorded an album in the ’70s with Chris Kleeman, Just The Blues, which was produced by B. B. King, who was impressed when he heard them and took the youngsters under his wing. He was also a member of the ’80s band Stronghold. Most recently, he’s been a part of the music and dance company Rhythm & Shoes and has also embraced zydeco to the point that he learned to play accordion in his spare time (when he’s not playing with the Mighty Juke or with Kleeman as an acoustic duo). The Mighty Juke consists of Rob Cole (guitar), John Hack (bass), and Jake “The Snake” Shumaker (drums).

The 12 tracks on It’s Gonna Be Alright are a mix of five originals and seven covers. The covers are well selected and well done, including “Cross Eyed Cat,” with some smoking harp by Gibson, a slowed down, funked-up version of the Meters’ “Cissy Strut,” and a spirited take on “Crosscut Saw.” The originals are a solid group as well, the highlights being the energetic “Bowlegged Woman,” the jazzy, rhythmic “Just One Roll”, and the optimistic title track.

Gibson does an excellent job on harp and accordion, and his vocals are both playful and soulful. Cole’s a standout guitarist and his vocals (particularly on the up-tempo numbers) reminded me of Paul McCartney on a couple of tunes, particularly “Bowlegged Woman.” Hack is a rock on the bass and even takes the vocal on his own composition, “Victim of Fate.” Shumaker holds it all together on drums, and is the band’s secret weapon.

There’s nothing fancy here, just a well crafted set that will satisfy any blues fan. Go to and check this one out, as well as Gibson’s other numerous projects.

--- Graham Clarke

Matt WalshThe first piece of information that attracted me to Hard Luck, an independent release from young North Carolina via Kansas guitarist/singer, Matt Walsh, was a testimonial from former Muddy Waters guitarist Bob Margolin. Bob knows what he's talking about when it comes to the blues and he's always been very supportive of younger musicians, especially if they play the old school blues.

With his perfectly coifed hairstyle and long sideburns, Walsh looks more like a rockabilly cat than a bluesman. In fact, the novelty vocal group Sha Na Na was one of Walsh's very, very early influences, and he's got the hairstyle to match. But the groove he puts out on Hard Luck is, without a doubt, deep Chicago blues. What's most impressive is that each of the dozen songs on the CD were written by Walsh. If this guy rode a time machine back to the early 1950s, he could probably line up a gig as a house songwriter at Chess Records.

Walsh is not the greatest singer around but he's certainly competent, and his guitar playing shows great potential. He's got a very good feel for the material that he's doing. It's raw, primitive blues recorded appropriately to give it a raw, primitive sound. The music is infectious, especially the more you listen to it.

I hesitate to compare the sound on Hard Luck to the work of Margolin since Walsh has his own thing going on here, but it's a fair comparison for the purpose of setting an expectation level. In fact, Margolin appears as guest guitarist on two of the cuts, the uptempo shuffle "Leaving My Baby" and the title cut, "Hard Luck." He also helped with most of the CD's final mix.

Highlights on Hard Luck include the sparse "Breakin' Up Over You," with Walsh's acoustic guitar accompanied by Rene Aaron's fine harmonica playing. In addition, Walsh shows that he's got a slide and knows how to use it on the exciting "20 More Miles."

Walsh shows his versatility on two of the later cuts, doing more of a late night, T-Bone Walker style blues, "Sit and Wonder," with exquisite guitar playing. Very nice! The closing cut, "Woody's Rag," is a foot-tapping ragtime number, featuring guitar, upright bass and harmonica.

There's much more to like about this disc; there's not a weak but among the dozen songs on Hard Luck. For more info on Walsh, check out his site at or order the CD from CD Baby.

--- Bill Mitchell

Dave HoleIt’s been four years since Dave Hole has released a record and I was more than happy to see his new Blind Pig release, Rough Diamond, in the mail. This is his first studio release in six years and it was well worth the wait to hear more from this slide guitar master.

A rocky, funky backbeat introduces us to the first cut on the record, “Rough Diamond Child.” Everyone has a chance to shine in their lifetimes and that’s the theme of this cut, “you are a rough diamond in the mind…some day you will have a chance to shine!” Hole gets monster tone out of his slide guitar and you can’t help but appreciate his efforts. “No matter what they say…not matter what you do…I can’t stop loving you”, sings Dave on “Can’t Stop Loving You”. It’s interesting to hear his slide guitar in a song with a swing beat and he plays it effortlessly.

“Vintage Wine” opens up with a piercing slide solo by Dave. “our love’s an open door…but it could be much more…it could be so sublime…it could improve with time…just like fine, vintage wine!” The band is tight behind him and I appreciate the time they’ve obviously spent together and Hole’s slide work is impeccable. Everything slows way down for the ballad, “Yours For A Song.” The haunting, melodic tone of his guitar supports Dave’s passion for this woman. “So please be mine…and I’ll be yours…yours for a song.” Love has not been kind to Dave and he’s hoping this time he’s found a woman who truly loves and appreciates him. “Yours For A Song” is definitely one of my favorite cuts on this CD.

A fast backbeat by bassist Roy Daniel and drummer Ric Eastman sets an entirely different tone on “White Trash Girl.” Dave’s slide playing on “White Trash Girl” is just filthy and we know this woman is not a girl you take home to your parents. She’s definitely from the wrong neighborhood and the wrong side of the tracks. “Never been around the world…has no education…she’s my white trash girl!” The next cut on the CD, “Since I Met You Baby,” is a refreshing take on this Ivory Joe Hunter classic and provides a nice transition to another original tune by Dave, “I’ll Get To You.” “I’ll get to you…won’t be happy 'til I do…and then I’ll keep you satisfied…way down inside…I’ll get to you!” The keyboard work by Bob Patient provides a nice undercurrent to Dave’s slide and balances out his guitar nicely.

“Something inside of me…just won’t let me be…my baby’s gone and left me…and my heart’s in misery!” I find Dave’s take on this Elmore James tune, “Something’s Inside of Me,” refreshing and his song choices for his new record are proving to be very astute ones. He decides to tackle another master, Robert Johnson, with his version of “Rambling on My Mind.” Patient’s keyboards can be heard clearly in the background and compliment Dave’s slide work in a manner that would make Robert proud.

Hole’s choice of Buddy Holly’s song, “Think It Over,” is perhaps the song that confounds me the most. He does it justice, it just feels oddly out of place for some reason although Dave’s slide guitar brings it in line with his other song choices and from that perspective it works just fine. Dave and the band chose to close out what has been a great listen with another timeless classic, “I’m A King Bee,” by Slim Harpo. “Together we’re going to make honey…more than the world has ever seen…” I have no doubt that Dave is indeed “A King Bee.”

Rough Diamond has been a great record to listen to. Dave’s band is very tight and his slide work on this record has been impeccable. Great original songwriting, some astute choices of the classics and great playing by all involved highlight this new release by Dave Hole. I’m sure you can find it at fine retailers everywhere and to learn more about this great slide guitarist, check out his website at I have a feeling that Rough Diamond is another CD that will make my top ten list at the end of the year, and deservedly so.

--- Kyle Deibler

HarperHarper’s Down to the Rhythm was one of my top CDs for 2005 and I’ve anxiously awaited a new recording from him for awhile now. Fortunately, the wait is over; Day by Day is out now on Blind Pig Records and it’s a worthy follow-up to what was an outstanding debut CD.

“Do What Is Right” opens up with Al Hill providing the organ intro and manning the keyboards as well. Seems Harper has a friend who he’s defended to everyone only to find out they were right and he was wrong…”What you said was a lie…there’s no need for you to defend…I was wrong to defend…I thought you could be a friend.” We’re never really sure what the transgression is but Harper’s clear that this friendship is over and he’s moving on. A strong didgeridoo opening to “One Day” reminds me of what I like about Harper’s work, his ability to integrate uniquely native Australian instrumentation in a blues context. “One Day” implies that a friend of Harper’s has built a wall of cards around herself that ultimately is going to cost her Harper. The pain involved in loving her is not worth the effort to maintain this failing relationship.

“Sure There’s a Place” finds Harper searching for place to call home, somewhere and someone to call his very own. “Well I sure could use some help…can’t do this all alone…well I want to find a home…someplace I can call my own.” The road continues on and Harper has yet to really find a place to truly call his own. A friend in need would be wise to heed Harper’s advice in “Watch Your Back.” “Don’t sign the papers…you got to really take your time…just get yourself a lawyer…and everything’s going to work out fine.” Everything will get resolved as long as she takes the time to “watch your back.”

“Just What You’re Looking For” finds Harper back in the solutions business. Whatever’s wrong, he’s got a way to help you out. “We’re here to help…make no mistake…we’ll find you something…you need to take.” I’m not convinced that Harper’s way of escaping is the right thing to do. “I’ll Go Home” utilizes Harper’s didgeridoo to convey his sense of despair at a relationship that’s run its course. “I never…ever…thought that it would end this way…it doesn’t seem to make a difference…what we say.” The only logical thing to do at the end of this day is to pack up and go. Harper’s on his way.

Optimism abounds in the new love Harper’s found in “Feels Like Sunday Morning.” “Well I could stay forever and watch the sun go down…you make me feel just like my whole world had just begun…you make it feel like Sunday morning.” His new love is bringing him much happiness and Harper is content to stay with this woman awhile. “Get Out Of This Mess” finds Harper in trouble and we’re not sure why. His significant other can play an important role in resolving everything but so far has chosen not to. “Just keep playing the game…don’t you want to get out of this mess…we just got to get out of this mess!”

I love the sophisticated keyboard/guitar intro to “Face The Truth.” “Hold on…hold on…you know together we can make it through…” Harper’s willing to stand by his woman through whatever trouble they’re facing now. As long as she believes, it will all work out fine. The next cut, “I Must Be Dreaming,” is probably my favorite song on Harper’s new CD. We’ve all been in situations where we’re the last to know what our significant other is thinking…and sometimes we find out much too late. “I never thought that I would lose you…now I know you’ve made up your mind.” Harper’s woman has made the decision to leave and it’s left him in a fog of confusion as she moves on.

Another very strong cut is “You Can’t Hide.” The roar of the didgeridoo lends its power to Harper’s discourse that evidently the truth will catch up to everyone. “You can keep on laughing…hide behind your lies…one day they will find you…behind your fake disguise.” There really is nowhere to run and the truth will make itself known. Harper closes his CD with an instrumental, “The Comfort Zone.” I find that to be an apt description of this entire CD, the comfort zone.

Day By Day will indeed leave previous listeners of Harper’s music in a comfort zone, it surely did me. While there aren’t standout signature tunes like “Big Brown Land” and “Last Cup of Coffee” from his last record, Day By Day represents the reflections of an artist who is at home in his own skin. He’s examined the pitfalls and turns that life on the road has brought to him, lived through painful relationships and emerged with a sense of pride that keeps him moving forward. Harper’s definitely maturing as an artist and I’ll be curious to hear what his next record brings to the table.

--- Kyle Deibler

The crazy boys from Delta Highway just spent three days in North Carolina terrorizing my friend Michele while they worked hard in the studio, laying down tracks for a new album due out in the fall. I’ve probably never met a crazier, Jack Daniels-swilling bunch of bluesmen like Brandon, Justin, Slim and Carlton, but the fact remains that they are a very talented blues band and I would be remiss if I did not bring their current CD, Westbound Blues, to your attention.

“Westbound Blues” is the first cut and opens with a stirring Hill Country guitar line by Justin before Brandon brings his Mississippi saxophone into play. Brandon and Justin hail from North Carolina and “Westbound Blues” examines their journey to the Mecca of the Blues, Memphis. “When that train pulls into that station….around 6:45…you know I can’t wait to see my baby…and look her straight in the eye.” Brandon’s love resides in Memphis and he can’t wait to get to the Bluff City to see her. Slim lays down a strong bass line as Brandon confesses to her girl that “I Love You (But I Really Love the Blues).” “I said I work Lord, I work child…try to bring everything home to you…you know I love you baby, but I really love those blues!” It’s hard to please two mistresses and ultimately Brandon’s love for the music will win out over the love for his girl.

“Early In The Morning” is a song I’ve recently heard covered by Billy Gibson, but Delta Highway’s version slows down this traditional in a very appealing fashion. A tale of a young girl transitioning to womanhood, at 18 she’s hard to keep up with. “One drink of wine…way too many drinks of gin…you know that pretty young girl….she done got me in the shape I’m in!” Alone and despondent is the shape he’s in but you know he’s spent time with an angel. The tempo picks up on “Miss Annalise” in the guise of a shuffle. Turns out she’s been mean to Brandon. “I’m going to leave this city, Lord…got to leave this town…I’m going to leave this city, Lord…leave this old Memphis town…to find a place where Miss Annalise ain’t around!” Brandon’s solution is to hop the 219 heading south and go where the rail leads him. One thing for sure, “I ain’t ever coming back!”

Brandon’s situation has improved with “My Sugar Calls Me Honey.” “Said my sugar called me honey…I’m here to tell you that’s so sweet…and when she starts to loving people…things get sticky round me!” Definitely an improvement over Miss Annalise. Up next is an R.L. Burnside classic, “Jumper On The Line / Snake Drive.” “Won’t you let my baby ride…won’t you let my baby ride…love is a devil but it won’t get me!” The backbeat of Slim and Carlton keeps everything moving and Delta Highway pays great respect to R.L. with this version. He’d be proud to hear it.

“Done Told You Once” finds Brandon laying down the law to his woman who’s been mistreating him. “I done told you once, babe…you know I ain’t going to say it twice…well if you don’t quit mistreating me darling…you’re sure going to pay the price.” I’ve seen the shotgun that Brandon owns and moving on is a far better solution than being shot, that’s for sure. A stark guitar intro by Justin sets the mood on “My Weary Mind.” The melancholy harp of Brandon echoes the sentiment as he struggles to share his pain, “Ain’t going to lie baby…ain’t going to lie no more…give me your pillow baby….I want to rest my weary mind.” Its time to move on as Brandon finds that the pain of it all just isn’t worth trying to save the relationship.

“Cold As Ice” finds Brandon admitting he’s met his match. “I got me a woman, Lord, she’s sweet and nice…but when I make her mad…she’s as cold as ice.” And this time Brandon’s in the wrong, staying out late with all his friends. “Well…I love her with all my might…but she don’t know….there’s some things even I just can’t control…but you know…that’s just cold as ice”. Everything slows way down on the next cut, “All The Water In The Ocean”. Brandon’s harp again comes to the forefront as he sings about the pain his woman has caused by leaving him. “Said…all the water in the ocean, babe…honey you know can’t compare to the tears I’ve cried for you…I’ve been looking everywhere baby…honey, I’ve been looking all over Memphis, Tennessee for you!” Sadly enough, this is one good woman who’s gone for good.

Delta Highway closes out their CD with the final cut, “On The Highway,” celebrating life on the road. These guys are paying their dues, one club at a time, one fan at a time. “Said, I’m a highway man, people…please don’t block my road…I’m going to keep on driving, Lord….just as far as I can go!”

I’ve personally had the opportunity to watch Delta Highway tear it up at Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall before IBC, and I’ve shared a shot of Jack with them at the Rum Boogie during the Blues Music Awards. Brandon and Justin are wicked, wicked players and Slim and Carlton keep everything tight on the back end. Westbound Blues is an impressive debut album and I hear through the grapevine that the tracks laid down in Wilmington, North Carolina were smokin’…so there’s more great music from Delta Highway to look forward to. Check them out on their website, or their Myspace page, This is one hard working band that we’ll all be hearing from for a long time to come.

--- Kyle Deibler

The Myspace phenomenon is all around us, and one of its redeeming qualities is the way in which it allows musicians and blues societies alike the opportunity to have a web presence that otherwise might be beyond their reach. I’ve tried to create a one stop blues destination for our Phoenix Blues Society Myspace page and over the past year or so it’s served as an introduction to numerous artists from around the country who have become “friends” of PBS. One good friend is Kelly Dees of Tampa, Florida. Kelly is a champion of the organization, Saving Little Hearts, a group devoted to supporting children born with CHD (congenital heart defects) in part because her daughter, Hope, was born with multiple heart defects. It turns out that Hope’s mother is a talented blues singer as well, and she’s released a CD of all original tunes entitled Bettin’ Woman.

Harp work by T.C. Carr provides the introduction to “Jet Plane,” a song about shaking up life and making new choices. “Yea, I’m tired of the same day in and day out….got to find something new…and no one else can make it happen for me…I know that much is true.” Kelly’s solution is taking a jet plane to someplace new, experience a new adventure, and find a new story to tell. Her vocal is confident and her supporting band mates: Kevin Wilder on keyboards; Richy Kicklighter on guitars; Dale Horton on bass; Mike Conway on drums and Dean German on B3 let me know early that they are a tight group. “I Wanna Rock” finds Kelly in a party mood…”I wanna rock…I wanna roll…I wanna feel it way down deep inside my soul!” Kelly’s living in the moment and enjoying the party.

Up next, the title cut, “Bettin Woman,” finds Kelly convinced that her man will find a new love while she’s gone and then act like nothing happened when she returns. “Boy, I ain’t no fool…and I know you’re going to find it hard to believe…but I know just what to do…if I was a bettin’ lady…I’d first take out the trash…then I’d run to the bank…take out my funds and start spending all my cash!” Sounds like a sensible plan to me. A beautiful guitar intro by Kicklighter introduces us to the first ballad on Kelly’s record, “Blues on a Tuesday.” Hauntingly familiar, he carefully underscores Kelly’s sense of desperation. “No one really knows just what I’m feeling…no one really seems to care…sometimes I have to wonder…if anyone really knows…if I’m there…I’ve got these blues on a Tuesday!” “Blues on a Tuesday” is my favorite song on Kelly’s record and I truly appreciate the intricacy of Richy’s fret board work.

“Slow” features sax work by guest Gene Cannon as Kelly gives advice to her new man. “You know I like it like it is…every time we go to kiss…you know I like it like it is…come here baby…slow it down and do it just like this….take it nice and slow.” I love great sax and it’s good to hear some on Kelly’s record. “There’ll Be A Day” is the next ballad we hear and it points to the silver lining behind every cloud. “There’ll be a day you’re going to look back and smile….you’ll know all the sorrow and the hard times were worth all the while…you’ll feel that everything is as it should be.” There are times where a great broken heart leads us to the next great love, and “There’ll Be A Day” celebrates the truth in this.

A funky groove gets us moving in “On My Way.” “And there’s no way to travel but up from here…no place to take away all my fear…my future suddenly seems so very clear…and I’m on my way!” A song of optimism, “On My Way,” is a celebratory look at Kelly’s future and it appears to be bright. Another beautiful ballad, “I Will Be Happy,” features the delicate keyboard work of Kevin Wilder. The end of a relationship is always painful and it takes courage to move forward. “And I see the picture on the wall of the two of us….oh how we’ve changed…and I know that I’ll be happy…and this is the way it has to be…and darling I know it’s going to be such a sad scene to see…but you’ll be happier without me.” This is one good woman who never should have been set free.

“Blues Sister” chronicles Kelly’s travels as she explores her passion for the Blues. “My one concern was to hear and sing all things to do with the blues…and if you give me the chance…I’ll bring it all right here to you!” The objective here is longevity and Kelly is planning on being around for a long time to come. “I’m Alright” is Kelly’s anthem for today. “Things might could be better…but sure enough could be worse…I’m alright…and who knows…things might be looking up for me if I decide to make you mine.” Whether the relationship works or not is not important, Kelly has the confidence to handle the situation either way.

The final cut on Bettin’ Woman, “Rewarded," finds Kelly letting us know that she’s worth the effort to pursue. “No one said it was going to be easy….no said it wouldn’t be very hard…if you open up the door for me…you’ll be rewarded!” Patience and perseverance definitely has its rewards!

I find this record grows on me. At times Kelly’s voice has a definite edge that takes getting used to and then she softens everything up on her ballads to show you the full range of her vocals. So a patient listener will definitely be “rewarded.” This project was 2 ½ years in the making between writing and recording. It’s a record that Kelly should definitely be proud of. You can find out more about this blues woman from Tampa at --- she’s definitely worth the look.

--- Kyle Deibler

Hamilton LoomisI’ve got to admit it took awhile for me to wrap my senses around Hamilton Loomis’ latest release on Blind Pig Records, Ain’t Just Temporary. You definitely hear a number of Hamilton’s early influences like Albert Collins, Gatemouth Brown and Bo Diddley, who joins Hamilton on “You’ve Got to Wait” on the CD. I appreciated Hamilton’s contributions to Trudy Lynn’s latest record, I’m Still Here, and I’ve got to give him credit for thinking outside the box. The new CD is definitely part funk, part jazz with blues sensibilities and the result is a very interesting record.

One of the things that’s readily apparent from the get go is that Hamilton is a very talented musician who is capable of playing multiple instruments ranging from guitar, bass and keyboards to drums and harmonica. The first cut, “Best Worst Day,” features him on guitar, bass and keyboards. Vince Palumbo’s saxophone punctuates the misery that Hamilton’s girl is causing him, “she makes me crazy…she hurts my mind…but it feels so good…I come back every time.” She’s definitely got a hold on Hamilton and he’s going to have to figure out that the pain isn’t worth the good loving he’s been getting. “Legendary” finds Hamilton in a similar predicament. He’s found the girl of his dreams but we’re not clear that she’s going to stay. “Before you go…I got to know…are you going to give that legendary love to me?”

“We’re going around and around….up and down…getting back to where we started” aptly describes the conundrum facing Hamilton in “Where We Started.” This relationship is a roller coaster with no clearly defined end and the mixed signals he’s receiving aren’t making the picture any clearer. “I’m a slow lover…baby just give me a shout…and I’ll be your slow cooker…girl I’m going to make it hot!” Hamilton’s harp makes an appearance as he woos this girl by promising to be her “Slow Lover.” Scott Free handles lead guitar on “Slow Lover” and keeps things moving behind Hamilton’s harp work.

Things are definitely getting funky in “Good Enough” as Hamilton opens up with the B3 to appeal to his new woman. “I didn’t mean to offend…baby, baby, I hope its not the end…are you keeping the score…are you still wanting more…I’m not shifting the blame but is this good enough…good enough for me? “ Things are definitely rocky but there may still be hope for this relationship. Bo Diddley joins Hamilton on “You Got to Wait” and offers him some sage advice. “Look here…don’t push me…because when you do anything too fast…it don’t last, take your time baby.” It appears to be advice that Hamilton is listening to, “you can’t win me over in just one night…you got to take care cause I like to get it right….have some patience…you got to wait!” Perhaps this relationship will work as long as his woman approaches it in the same fashion that Hamilton is.

“My Pen” reflects Hamilton’s efforts to sit down to write a new song. For some reason inspiration just isn’t forthcoming, “running into complications….surely there’s nothing wrong with me…the problem’s clear to see…I think there’s something wrong with my pen!” Unfortunately that’s not the way it works, the brain has to click in before the pen can put it to paper. He’ll get it figured out. Things slow down for the first true ballad of the CD, “Love Again”. “No more sorrow…no more pain….cause you came back around baby…and taught me how to love again!” His work on the keyboards sparkles as Hamilton appreciates this new woman that’s come to him and the love that she’s taught him.

“I said I’m getter off being alone…I was wrong…but now I got you back in my life….I won’t let you out off my site…you won’t get away this time!” “Won’t Get Away” finds Hamilton facing his realities, this woman mattered….I screwed up…thank God I got her back! Hopefully he’ll treat her better now that she’s back. We’re treated to some more of Hamilton’s fine harmonica playing in the intro to “That Thang.” Despite all of his woman’s faults, Hamilton finds that he can’t let go, “she ain’t got much for looks…she burns everything she cooks…she ain’t real statuesque…she got not taste for dress…but that don’t mean a thing…cause she got that thang!” Seems our man has simple needs and this girl is good at the one thing that truly matters to him.

I’ve not heard a dog barking on a record in a long time but sure enough, we hear it now on “Bow Wow.” “Some say bow is man’s best friend…stick on by him through thick and thin…if that’s the case…call me your pup…because pleasing you…I can’t do enough.” Hamilton’s definitely lost control in this relationship and we’re very clear on who the master is in this situation.

Ain’t Just Temporary is definitely a different record than the majority of music I hear, and that’s not a bad thing. In the vein of Gatemouth, Hamilton is definitely one talented player. He displays a propensity for several different instruments and plays them all here with great precision. This is a record that requires several listens to really appreciate it. And for that reason it probably won’t appeal to everyone. But the boundaries of blues do need to be stretched, and I appreciate Hamilton’s view on how it should be done.

--- Kyle Deibler

Frank GoldwasserEurope has long been the saving grace for a number of blues artists and it’s not out of the ordinary to see a record released in Europe that never sees the light of day in the states. Fortunately for us, Randy Chortkoff of Delta Groove was inspired to pursue releasing Frank (aka. Paris Slim) Goldwasser’s record, Bluju, on his label. Randy originally produced Bluju and he was the one who arranged for its release on Crosscut Records. The new version is sequenced differently from the original and features a couple of bonus cuts that pay homage to Frank’s major blues influence, Hound Dog Taylor.

Anyone who has seen Frank play knows he’s a very talented guitarist. The opening riffs on “Feels Like Home” remind us of the fact that Frank knows his way around the frets of his guitar. “I wish I had a place that feels like home…I’m so tired of walking out in the cold.” Frank longs for a woman and place that feels like home. Life on the road has been a rough one and he needs a place to call his own. An inspired guitar intro leads us into the next cut, “Back Door Key.” “Don’t forget what you promised me….all I want from you baby is your back door key!” Frank sounds content to be the second man in this woman’s life and all will be fine as long as he has the key to the back door. Dave Woodrow’s inspired sax work and John Hanes on the drums help keep everything tight in the next song, Frank’s rendition of “Twelve Year Old Boy,” a classic by Elmore James. “I feel bad…I feel terrible…I’m just as sad a man can be…I let a boy twelve years old take my baby away from me!” Must be one hell of a twelve year old player to make this happen!

The next two songs pay their respects to Frank’s cats, Josephine and Melba. “Well, well, Josephine…you stay gone all through the night…you know it ain't right.” “Well, Well Josephine” echoes Frank’s sadness at having the woman in his life be unfaithful to him. Somehow she’s just not treating him right. “Melba’s Bump” is an impassioned instrumental that lets Frank and the band go where they want to. It’s an instrumental marked by a number of rhythm changes and Frank’s guitar leads the way throughout.

“I Can’t Stand It” finds Frank wallowing in the pain of being all alone, dealing with the fact that his woman has left him. “Come Monday morning…you’ll be gone…never even said goodbye!” She’s moved on and Frank’s pain will take time to heal. Next up is the Jimmy Reed classic, “I’m A Love You.” “Can’t get you out of my mind…I got to love you…got to love you baby….you know I’m a fool about you!” The harp work on this version is well done;evidently it’s Frank who is playing the Mississippi saxophone, although it’s not listed in the credits.

The congas add a nice touch to the next cut, “Homesick Blues.” “Feel bad this morning…can’t shake them if I tried…the homesick blues about to drive me wild.” “Homesick Blues” is followed by the distinctive guitar tones of Phillip Walker as he and Frank go toe to toe on the instrumental “Playing In The Park.” Phillip has recently come to the forefront with his own release on Delta Groove and both guitarists are inspired by the chance to record this cut together.

A very funky backbeat and some inspired slide work by Frank form the backbone of “Don’t Take My Baby Away.” An ode to a companion who Frank lost to cancer, “Don’t Take My Baby Away,” lets us know just how much Frank cared for her. “Called your name all through the day…called your name through all the night…I prayed to the heavens…and I began to cry.” Fortunately for us, the depression we feel at Frank’s loss is tempered by the instrumental, “Three Sisters.” “Three Sisters” evokes Frank’s memories of late nights in the Bay Area playing at clubs like the Cozy Den, the Deluxe Inn and Eli’s Mile High Club. The Three Sisters was the last club of the night, where all the players gathered to play after they’d finished their gigs for the night. J.J. Malone accompanies Frank on the piano and this instrumental features some of his most impassioned playing of the entire CD. It reminds me of the old days here in Phoenix, at a club called the Old Bombay Bicycle Club, when Francine Reed used to hit the stage. There aren’t many nights like that anymore, so it’s a treat when you can catch one.

The tempo picks back up on the next cut, “Petit A Petit.” Frank does this song in French and I’m left to the liner notes to understand that the song is about a man who realizes that his relationship has changed and its not what it used to be. The title cut, “Bluju,” follows and is an instrumental featuring Frank and Alex Schultz. The playing is impassioned and I can tell they enjoyed trading licks as they build to a crescendo in their playing that ends all too soon. “You don’t love me baby…and I know the reason why…well you take all my money…and you treat me like a child!” In this first of two cuts that pay tribute to Hound Dog Taylor, it’s easy to understand that this relationship has gone bad and it’s no mystery that “She’s Gone.” A loud whoop sets us off on the final cut, “55th Street Boogie,” and Frank and the boys just let it rip. A fitting end to what has been a great record, one can’t help but want to get up and dance to the “55th Street Boogie!”

This is definitely one record that was deserving of being re-released in the states, and I’m glad that Randy stirred his memory enough to put it out in front of us. I’ve seen Frank play live and he’s a very accomplished guitarist. A friend of mine who saw Frank play at the Delta Groove Revue in Memphis went so far to say on her Myspace page, “I’m in love with a new man!” Can’t argue with her choice in guitarists although she already has a really fine man in Pops, Amanda, you know you do.

--- Kyle Deibler

Red Beans and RiceHot ’n Spicy is the fourth CD release by Monterey Peninsula group Red Beans & Rice, currently receiving widespread critical acclaim within its California borders and also breaking onto the national festival circuit. They have utilized recent every-day life for inspiration into their music for this album.

Out of the 13 offerings, four are original. There are two by Taj Mahal, a hit cover, and three others we’ll also discuss.

“Strut” is a straight rock beat blues, with organ light in the mix. New lead vocalist Bishop Mayfield introduces his voice quite confidently singing about being led on, fueled by drink. Riffs give the tune its hook. Though the organ comes up considerably in dynamics, followed by pretty clean guitar, then tenor sax, the solos feel held back. A swinging and more lyrical line provides the head for “She’s too young,” not for what you think, but rather to know blues history! This one is sung by keyboardist Tom Lawson, here playing piano. There are good harmonies from backup voices.

By tack three we hear more of what Red Beans & Rice should taste like. Mardi Gras rhythms are punctuated by organ fill. There is call-and-response between the lead and backup vocals, the “Djembe” drum, played by Mayfield, is a welcome ingredient. Or is it Gil Rubio’s conga? The saxes are not overdubbed during short, repeated horn section passages, Tamas Marius plays two at once. The group is sounding more warmed-up. “Getting’ Old” is a clean shuffle full of examples, tied up in a succinct package.

The cover “Unchain My Heart” starts with slow, churchy piano and lead vocal over suspended time, giving way to the customary tempo. “Hopin’ For The Best” is the first slow tune of the set, featuring guest lead vocalist Jon German. It’s a commentary of the shape of things timeless, without resolve. This track achieves some soul.

We’re definitely under the influence of New Orleans, à la Smiley Lewis or one of the city’s piano masters, for “She Caught The Katy,” leaving us behind, but we’ll still be crazy about that hard-headed woman. She also wants “Both Sides Of The Fence,” jazzy at a bright tempo, but lacking in spark. Lead guitar solos are sparse on the CD but on this track a little more fluid, the tentativeness over the meter actually welcome. “Red Gumbo” is at a similar tempo but the rhythm is flavored with notable accordion and percussion. Is it washboard? Bring it up! This ain’t no “to-go” place. Tom Lawson is back on vocal. The funky Neville Brothers “Voodoo” casts a bit of a spell and finally the tenor sax is loosened up.

A Sonny Landreth entry (for whom the group has opened), “Conga Square,” uses percussion well to loosen the whole ensemble up more. Dr. John’s straight blues “(She’s) Only In It For The Money,” has Lawson imitating the Doctor’s vocals convincingly enough that lead vocalist Mayfield has to keep up. It is also organ-heavy. The closing track is a Tom Lawson original, rather Gospel and Randy Newman in feel.

If anything, the album comes across too clean perhaps due to controlled studio conditions and overall lack of inspiration, particularly on the first few tracks. Grade of B.

--- Tom Coulson

Jay GordonThe Shuttle Music label commits itself to “100% Blues Rock Boogie.” We are grateful for that “disclaimer” right on the package, as it is fairly accurate. Elsewhere in the graphics are photos of the musicians that further clarify attitudes: kick ass as well as conformity.

Jay Gordon is a guitarist, mainly slide, who wrote and sang all selections on the disc. Three people total are pictured inside the CD as The Penetrators, but three drummers share tracks. Gordon was born in North Carolina and after settling in Chicago as a teen met, and was influenced by, many of the late great blues men who were still active there. He has since been based out of LA.

The music is pretty over-the-top and raw. Vocals, all done by the leader are forced and raspy. He sings of blues and plays plenty of slide but there’s not a lot of seasoning or applied experience evident. It starts out slow and at first not straight rock, but it’s irritating. Same thing continues on track two, just in a different key at a different tempo. And by track three, well, it’s John Lee Hooker-type words, but sounding like a Bob Seger wanna-be singing while Ted Nugent attempts slide. Unless you’re drunk at a biker bar, it’s really not a comfortable place to be.

I didn’t want to stereotype earlier, but by the time you get to “Six String Outlaw,” it says everything. He’s ready to rock and even rap, too. One searches in vein for some lyrical meaning, to go only as deep as “We Got A Thing Goin’ On.” We’re only at track five, and there are 11 more to go?

Credit must go to the leader for enthusiasm and persistence, the album was not just thrown together. In fact, it’s his ninth. The group has spent time together and Gordon really wants to be a blues man when you read the liner notes. They bring up a “countless number of so-called blues bands…the same unimaginative repertoire…” and Gordon has done something about that. I disagree that “there is nothing predictable about his music” when three tracks say more than enough, but agree that “His playing does not sound like anyone else’s.” Being influenced by true blues artists does not make you one. This very album even states in print: “One has to live the blues to really be able to play the blues.” That sounds like something one of his influences probably would have said.

His final comment in the notes is: “My goal is to take it as far as I can.” Keep on taking it. Grade of D.

--- Tom Coulson

Jimmy Burns DVDI love the tiny north side Chicago club, Live at B.L.U.E.S, but it’s not the best place to film a performance. Patrons innocently get in the way of some of the views, yet this may make you feel as if you are among the crowd. Band members have to squish on to the miniature band stand. On Jimmy Burns' DVD, Live at B.L.U.E.S. (Delmark), Greg McDaniel (bass) wedges in between Sunnyland Slim’s old piano and the drum riser. Four cameramen get so close to the performers, you can see their finger placements on the frets. An overhead camera captures James Carter on drums. Recorded August 13, 2006, the live on stage footage is interspersed with bartenders making drinks, the club’s walls and the photos that adorn, outside shots of the club, and club’s backyard BBQ party.

With a gentle approach, Burns, who was born in Dublin, Mississippi and sings about the town in "Leaving Here Walking," is the least Chicago blues-sounding artist of the last remaining Chicago blues greats. Perhaps that’s because Burns feels he never left the Delta although he’s now been living in Chicago for 51 years.

There is nothing flashy here; it’s just great down home music. The 12 songs, including four which do not appear on his three previous Delmark releases, are consistently sharp. Some are more memorable than others. Second guitarist Tony Palmer rocks out during "Can’t Hold Out Much Longer." In general, Palmer tends to crank a bit too much. "Better Know What You’re Doing," a tribute to John Lee Hooker, is full of Johnny B. Moore pushes and pulls. The blues influence on blues/rock and hard rock can be heard on this rapidly repetitive rumble. Jesse Fortune’s extremely frail vocals do not restrict him from belting out the lyrics of "Three O’Clock Blues." Dressed in a light brown shirt and sporting a straw hat, Burns’ smooth and soulful vocals match his majestic guitar style throughout the 75-minute DVD.

The video and audio are both crystal clear. As an added bonus, there is an audio commentary which reveals a lot about Burns and his music, e.g., he has two children and creates his own bottlenecks, which he uses to play slide guitar. Disturbingly some of the songs on the commentary have un-synchronized audio and video. Also available is a 68-minute CD (with two less songs).

--- Tim Holek

Pinetop Perkins DVD94-year-old acclaimed pianist Pinetop Perkins has made a living playing blues since 1926 when he was 13. Through enticing narration by Chuck Dodson and more than 15 artist interviews on Born In The Honey: The Pinetop Perkins Story (Vizztone) – interspersed with live performance clips – you are taken on an entertaining 60-minute overview of Pinetop’s life and his musical achievements. You also learn the significance of the Mississippi River port towns and the great migration. Plenty is revealed about this preacher’s son who was born Willie Perkins on the Honey Island Plantation in Belzoni, Mississippi, in 1913. For example, as depicted in a hilarious drive thru scene, his restaurant of choice is McDonald’s. You also experience Perkins surviving a series of hardships including abandonment, plantation life, a near music career ending incident, hearing impairment, and alcoholism.

Throughout the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, Perkins mainly performed with Sonny Boy Williamson II and Earl Hooker. In 1960, he moved to Chicago. Pinetop is best known as Muddy Waters’ piano player. He held that position from 1969 through 1980, and continued as a sideman until going solo several years later.

Though he is idolized, he remains humble and down to earth. This may be his greatest trait. “He doesn’t know the impact he has had on the world,” states Kim Wilson. Before the DVD finishes, you’ll conclude Pinetop – a former moonshiner – is a southern gentleman who is a real sweetheart and is proud of his Mississippi roots. He is to be cherished for all that has done for American music.

Pinetop Perkins On The 88’s: Live In Chicago is the accompanying bonus live CD. Its songs still encompass his live repertoire to this day. The 49-minute CD was recorded in 2001 just prior to his 88th birthday, whereas the DVD contains recent footage. The credits do not indicate what venue the recordings come from, but they do reflect an all-star Chicago blues band was used as support. Perkins’ trademark boogie and rumbling piano is prominent on the swinging "Down In Mississippi." He does not possess a powerful voice. In fact, it is very frail on "Grinder Man Blues," yet it sounds and feels like home. With a dominate right hand, he tickles the upper register. This is mandatory material for blues fans.

--- Tim Holek


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