Trudy Lynn has given us a strong new release, U Don't Know What Time It Is (Ruf), which settles into a satisfying Southern Soul groove after opening with a somewhat unusual version of the Bill Haley/Joe Turner classic "Shake Rattle And Roll." Ms. Lynn wrote five of the ten songs, all of which match her deep soulful voice, and builds a stong foundation for this excellent release. Two songs by the Malaco songwriting team of Sam Mosley and the late Bob Johnson and the excellent musicianship of Lucky Peterson on keyboards and Bernard Allison on guitar add to the quality. This release is much more enjoyable than many of the new releases that have made it to my CD player in recent months, and can be recommended to those fans of Trudy Lynn, and to those fans of just great soul singing. If this name is a new one to you, may I recommend the Ichiban release Retrospectives, which has her live killer version of "Dr. Feelgood," and also her Ichiban release 1st Lady Of Soul, which is a "best of" CD with an absolutely breathtaking version of "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby/I've Been Loving You Too Long" and one of her signature tracks "Trudy Sings The Blues." After checking out these two prior releases, along with this new one, you'll surely agree that Trudy Lynn is one of the top soul/blues singers performing today.
Ollie Hoskins AKA Ollie Nightingale started his career in gospel and had his first single released with the Dixie Nightingales way back in 1958. In the 60's they changed their name to Ollie & The Nightingales and had a fine gospel influenced soul album on Stax Records, which is still available today on CD and well worth the effort searching for. After several releases on local southern record labels, Ollie signed with Ecko Records in 1995 and had four CDs released before his untimely death in 1997. Although the sound had hardened in the 90's, the gospel influences were there on every release. The Best Of Ollie Nightingale compilation is well worth acquiring. It has a live 1993 recording of "Why I Sing The Blues," which was not available on the earlier releases, along with the best of his 1995-1997 output. Included is the classic "I'll Drink Your Bathwater Baby," the gospel tinged "If You're Lucky Enough To Have A Good Woman," and the wonderful duet with Barbara Carr, "God Blessed Our Love." This release will not only make you smile, but also cause you to lament that there will be no more coming from this underrated singer. Treat your friends and pick up a copy for them too. Highly recommended.
Charles Wilson's third release for Ecko Records, It Ain't The Size, and his sixth or seventh career wise, follows the same formula that has worked for him on all his recent releases. His albums always have their share of cheating songs, as witnessed by "Cheater's Paradise," "You Can't Cheat The Cheater" and "Outside Woman" on this current outing. The songs on this release sound exactly the same as the last, and it isn't long before boredom sets in. If variety is the spice of life, this one isn't too spicy. If forced to pick the outstanding track, I'd have to say it is John Ward's "Keep It A Secret," with it's spoken introduction at least breaking the monotony of the tracks surrounding it. Synthesised sound and drum programming don't help either. How about some slow blues next time out? The voice and the bloodlines are certainly there; Wilson is Little Milton's nephew. As you can tell, I was kind of dissapointed with this one and will withhold recommendation.
Artie "Blues Boy" White has been a favorite of mine since I heard his first LP on Ichiban Records back in 1988. I have eagerly awaited each subsequent release (five or six for Ichiban before signing with Waldoxy in 1994). Can We Get It Together (Waldoxy) is his third release for the label and is a worthy follow up to his acclaimed 1997 release Home Tonight. Can We Get It Together opens with the title track and it sets the mood with soulful vocals from the Bobby Bland/B.B.King school of smooth. There are a couple of songs penned by veteran Travis Haddix and several by the excellent songwriter Stanley Banks (the slow blues "One More Time" is a standout). Solid support from David Hood on bass, Clayton Ivey on keyboards and the incredible Muscle Shoal Horns, production and sound that will give pleasure to blues-a-holics and audiophiles alike, make this release one of my 1999 favorites. So enjoy, and don't forget to support these fine independent record companies, whose labors of love are so apparent.
--- Alan Shutro
Attention all fans of Louisiana music and culture! I've got a suggestion for your list to Santa this year. It's Allons en Louisiane (Rounder), an interactive CD ROM produced by Rounder mogul Scott Billington. One disc in this two-CD set which includes interviews with musicians, QuickTime videos showing the latest dance steps from local Cajun and Zydeco dance halls and a couple of cooking lessons, concert video, photographs, and a travel guide to South Louisiana's best music and eating establishments. The other disc is an audio CD, containing a nice selection of Cajun and Zydeco numbers from artists like Beausoleil, Geno Delafose, Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas, the late Beau Jocque, D.L. Menard, Li'l Brian & The Zydeco Travelers, and others. Not surprisingly, my favorite part was the cooking instructions from fiddler Al Berard (a delectable-looking crawfish etouffee that had both my appetite and cholesterol level shooting up just watching him cook it), and Geno's mom Joann Delafose (making a hearty sauce piquante). The entire package is well done, with my only complaint being a very selfish one --- I want more and more and more info! Definitely something that should be slipped in every "Back Door Cajun's" stocking this holiday season!
David Evans' High Water Records, a 1980's-era project sponsored by Memphis State University, delivered quite a few excellent downhome Memphis and Mississippi albums and 45s. HighTone Records, through their HMG division, has previously re-released many of the High Water albums over the last couple of years. Deep South Blues now issues eight sides which appeared only on 45s, as well as seven unissued cuts. This is great, raw blues, and should NOT be missed. Artists represented on this collection include Junior Kimbrough and the Soul Blues Boys, Hammie Nixon, R.L. Burnside and the Sound Machine, Waynell Jones, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Raymond and Lillie Hill, Ranie Burnette, Hezekiah and the House Rockers, and Uncle Ben and his Nephews. The real surprises here are the excellent raw cuts from Burnette, "Coal Black Mattie" and "Hungry Spell." Equally entertaining are the pair of numbers from Waynell Jones, who demonstrates crisp guitar playing with his rough-hewn vocals on "The Chicken Song," and gives a sparse yet energetic sound on "Jaybird Boogie." But everything on this CD is enjoyable, so pick it up while you can.
I recently had the good fortune to see the Music Makers organization's Winston Blues Revival tour, and, in my opinion, the star of the show was Georgia guitarist/singer Beverly "Guitar" Watkins. Her new album, part of the Music Makers series on Cello, is entitled Back In Business. While it's hard to capture the energy of Ms. Watkins' live performance on CD, this disc comes pretty darn close. She's a really dynamic performer on guitar, and a strong ball-sy singer. Ms. Watkins spent some time in the band of the legendary Atlanta bluesman Piano Red, and she pays tribute to the late piano player on the opening cut "Miz Dr. Feelgood" and Red's signature tune "Right String But The Wrong Yo-Yo." I really liked her vocals on the latter number. "Red Mama Blues" is a strong slow blues. A cool CD ... recommended.
The rest of the Music Makers roster is featured on Expressin' The Blues (Cello), a collection of raw country blues and gospel from 21 obscure Southern artists. Essie Mae Brooks delivers stunning a capella vocals on "Rain In Your Life." Capt. Luke turns in a hauntingly beautiful version of "Rainy Night In Georgia," demonstrating a soulful bass voice. North Carolina's Macavine Hayes plays guitar on a good raw country blues, "Let's Talk It Over." One of my favorites, both on this album and on the recent Blues Revival tour, is blind singer Cootie Stark, who sings his heart out on the uptempo blues "Metal Bottoms." If you;re a fan of Piedmont-style blues, then don't miss Robert "Wolfman" Belfour's "Black Mattie." The gospel side is well represented by Bishop Dready Manning, who blows a mean harmonica on the spirited "Gospel Train." These are just a few of the great songs on Expressin' The Blues. Don't let the fact that you haven't heard of any of these people stop you from adding this wonderful collection to your blues library.
Odetta is a well-known name in the history of folk blues, but this 50-year music veteran had not recorded a new album in 14 years ... until the recent Blues Everywhere I Go (MC Records). This CD is a fine comeback by the 68-year-old Odetta, who shows that she's still a fine, earthy vocalist. She's backed by several excellent musicians on this disc, most notably the guitar work of Jimmy Vivino and the piano playing of Seth Farber. The best cut is "Rich Man Blues," on which Vivino plays great Muddy Waters-style guitar. Both the guitar and piano blend well with Odetta's strong singing on the opening title cut. The uptempo "Unemployment Blues" begins with a walking bass line, leading into a rockin' band number on which everything comes together nicely. A real strong album ... welcome back, Odetta.
Just after receiving the reissue of Doug Sahm's 1980 album Hell of a Spell (Takoma/Fantasy), I learned that the Texas legend had died of a heart attack at the age of 58. Sahm was truly one of a kind, and everything he recorded was top-notch. Not everything on this disc is blues, but there's lots of great music here. Especially hot is the version of Guitar Slim's "The Things That I Used To Do," with good sax lines from Rocky Morales. "Nothin' But The Blues" is a pleasant Texas-style shuffle. Sahm always packed a lot of soul into his vocals, evident here on his version of Brook Benton's slow ballad "I'll Take Care Of You." Equally good is another Texas ballad, the original number "All The Way To Nothing." Doug Sahm .... what a great musician. We'll miss you, Doug.
--- Bill Mitchell
Rockin' & Boppin' In The Desert: Arizona Rockabilly, Vol. 1 (Bear Family Records) is a German import, and not the easiest item to locate at your local record store. It may well be necessary for you to mail order it. In any event, it's well worth the effort to "flat git it." Here are 30 prime examples of rip-snortin' rock & roll, Sonoran-style, from the period 1954-61. Any Sun studio purist who believes that there was never any rockabilly recorded outside of Memphis worth listening to needs to hear this. Admittedly, the cast of characters is pretty obscure, with the exception of a teenaged Wayne Newton, who, with his brother Jerry, recorded "Rascal's Boogie" as the Newton Rascals in '54. But that's no reflection on the music contained within the grooves, most of which is graced by the killer lead guitar work of local legend Al Casey, who even takes lead vocal honors on one cut. Local music historian John Dixon produced this collection and penned the extensive liner notes, which rightfully emphasize Casey's contributions. One of these days, Al Casey will get the recognition that is his due as one of the genre's finest guitarists, right up there with Scotty Moore, James Burton, Roy Buchanan and the rest. Meanwhile, there's even one hard-rockin' R&B cut by The Tads, Phoenix's premier doo woo harmony group, that went unreleased at the time. For more info on this and other reissues of Arizona rock & roll, you can write John at Ben Dover, Inc., P.O. Box 413, Tempe, AZ 85280-0413.
Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles, 1921-56 (Rhino) is a fantastic four-CD set which will certainly go a long way in affirming the City of the Angels as a birthplace of jazz, right up there (well, almost) with New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago and New York. And before any blues purists out there object to this review as being in the wrong publication, check this out: roughly 25-30% of hte set's 91 cuts qualify as prime grade R&B and jump blues. We're talkin' Johnny Otis, Jimmy Witherspoon, Big Joe Turner, Hadda Brooks, Charles Brown, Big Jay McNeeley, Roy Milton, Pee Wee Crayton, and T-Bone Walker, to name but a few, with many of the cuts never having been reissued before in any form. I won't even start naming all the jazz artists featured. Suffice it to say, if you're a serious jazz fan who can appreciate the development of this music, from Dixieland through swing and be-bop, you just gotta have it, that's all there is to it. And of course, it comes with a fat booklet containing complete discographical info and loads of great photos, with that attention to detail that has become Rhino's trademark. This item would definitely make a great holiday gift for either a jazz or blues fan.
--- Lee PooleUnfortunately, I cannot fully endorse B.B. Kings latest project, a tribute to the late Louis Jordan called, appropriately, Let the Good Times Roll (MCA Records). The problem is I'm not sure why I am not entirely enthusiastic. It can't be because of the roster on this album. Along with B.B., we have Dr. John on piano, the always solid Earl Palmer handling the drums, and a fantastic horn section of Hank Crawford, Fathead Newman and Marcus Belgrave. It can't be because of the songs: every one is a certified classic, from the title track to "Caldonia," from "Is You Is or Is You Ain't (My Baby)" to "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie." It can't be the production, which is sparkling, every player being showcased at his best. So what is the problem? Well, for one thing, the repertoire of Louis Jordan doesn't allow B.B. to stretch out much on the guitar, and the lack of down-in-the-alley dirty blues is evident. These songs are cute, and while Mr. King doesn't do them any disservice, they only show a small part of what he can do. As a tribute, this is a fine album. But listening to the zaniness and craziness of the originals makes the songs on this CD sound a little too... classic. Still, this is a recommended buy for two reasons. First of all, in order to fully appeciate B.B. King's contribution to the music of the 20th Century, it's important to know where he came from, and Louis Jordan was a major influence on the young Riley Ben King. Secondly, if you take these tunes as they are, without comparing them with the originals, they work extremely well, as full-band laid-back jazzy blues, kind of like what Ruth Brown has offered us in recent years.
While we're on the topic on not good-but-not-as-great-as-they-could-have-been albums, let's mention Supernatural by Robben Ford (Blue Thumb Records), not to be confused with this summer's release by Santana which had the exact same title. Here is a fantastically gifted guitarist, able to light the house on fire or to cool it with inventive jazzy licks. On this latest offering, Mr. Ford has chosen to do lots of 70's funk/soul-influenced songs, a style for which his voice appears somewhat limited. But he must have had his reasons, since on the Supernatural Tour, which stopped in my city (Montreal, Canada), these songs simply sounded great. Too bad that there are so many other songs that serve as filler, coming from somewhere in Adult Contemporary Land, part ballad, part jazz-blues. This CD may not be the place to start if you want to know who Robben Ford is, but fans will probably want to add it to their collection.
Did I mention Adult Contemporary? Eric Clapton has come up with a second compilation in four months, titled somewhat erroneously Clapton Chronicles: The Best of Eric Clapton (Reprise). This is a Greatest Hits package with an asterisk: the songs included here are his best from the 90's, not from his entire career. The other compilation, Blues (on Polydor), is what blues fans want; this disk caters to the pop market, but does include a couple of bluesy tunes.
Acoustic blues fans beware: Kenny Wayne Shepherd likes his blues electric and loud. On Live On (Giant Records), he roughly applies the same recipe that served him so well on Trouble Is...; even the musical guests, namely James Cotton and Double Trouble, are the same. There is one important newcomer, though, in Gov't Mule's guitarist Warren Haynes. His presence gives us an absolute masterpiece of riff-based head-banging blues-rock music, the song "Was," which is sure to play on most hard rock music radio stations. Purists will surely disapprove, some will even argue (and they might be right) that this is not blues. But if you were raised on rock and later came to the blues thanks to people like Stevie Ray Vaughan, like I did, then you will love this. If not, well I guess you could call this Devil's music...
How many of you know who Umpeylia Marsema Balinton is? You might know this lady of R&B and soul under her stage name, Sugar Pie DeSanto, for she cut a handful of successful sides for Checker in the 60's. Now 64, the diminutive San Franciscan, after a 20-year retirement, is active again since the mid 90's. Classic Sugar Pie (Jasman Records) is a 1997 set which was until now only available on vinyl. It features miss DeSanto and a seven-piece band (plus a gorgeous trio of backup singers) reworking songs she originally cut in the 60's, except for three newly-penned tunes. While it proves that miss DeSanto is still in fine form, her voice having lost none of her expressive powers, this CD is unfortunately impaired by deficient production. Still, it's great to learn that more is coming: a record of new material is due out any moment now.
And now, for something completely different... How about a group of seasoned musicians, all with more than 20 years of experience in other bands, living in the Eastern province of New Brunswick, home of French-speaking Acadians (who are closely related to Louisiana's Cajuns), doing everything from blues and rock & roll to zydeco and swamp pop, with some songs in French to boot? Glamour Puss second record, Blues du Jour, is more than just a curiosity, it's also great simple fun. And although it's odd to say, I'm going to say it anyway: great drumming! (The album is independently produced; you can get info at http://www.glamourpuss.ca)
One more album for which you can get info on the Web is Charlie Morris Bluer Than Thou (independent: http://bluespages.com/bluer/). Hailing from Florida, Mr. Morris has got a knack for writing witty lyrics, and I would like him to write a little more of them; his songs are generally rather short, with lengthy solo passages. The players are competent, though I'd personally prefer that the keys be (much) lower in the mix. Worth a listen.
--- Benoît Brière
Although this disc from Yank Rachell is labeled Yank Rachell it is a reissue of an album recorded in 1973 that was known as "The Blue Goose Album," which was originally recorded for Blue Goose Records (LP2010). This LP had been out of print for many years, and thanks to Rick Congress of Random Chance Records, it is now available on CD. The liner notes provide some history as well as a copy of the liner notes from the original issue. The goal of Blue Goose Records was to re-record Yanks early music since, like most musicians, his style had changed to follow what was viewed as modern. At the original recording session prior to the 1973 release Yank initially had trouble remembering his early material. It took a week to coax the original material out of him, including an original version of "Wadie Green" that he recorded with Sleepy John Estes in 1930 but had remained unissued. Yanks mandolin blues are distinctly original in style, and his guitar playing shows influence of mandolin style phrasing and picking patterns including a backwards thumb roll. "Matchbox Blues" is a melodic minor blues and "Shotgun Blues" has a "walking" feel to the tempo. "Sugar Farm Blues" is a different take on the Sugar Mama theme that is similar to Tampa Reds, yet distinctly different. There are eleven tracks on this reissue CD, and each one is classic Yank Rachell mandolin blues (even when he plays guitar). If you like country, Delta or urban acoustic blues, this CD will be a welcome addition to your collection.
--- Mike Simpson
It's been almost ten years since a landmark release entitled Harp Attack, featuring the talents of Junior Wells, James Cotton, Carey Bell and Billy Branch, made people look at a harp album a little differently. Well, hold on to your hats because SuperHarps (Telarc) is going to make folks do the same thing! Returning from Harp Attack is the grandmaster of all harmonica players, James Cotton, and the heir to the throne, Billy Branch. Joining these fantastic players are two equally impressive harpists, namely Charlie Musslewhite and 'Sweet' Sugar Ray Norcia, who is familiar to most people from his association with Roomful Of Blues. These four artists have joined forces to produce a collection of some of the hottest harp licks ever recorded. The supporting musicians on this disc are no slouches either. Fabulous Thunderbird alumni Kid Bangham handles guitar duties, and a finer rhythm section of David Maxwell and Anthony Geraci on piano, Michael "Mudcat" Ward on upright bass and Per Hanson on drums would be hard to find anywhere. Each artist is at the forefront of at least two tunes with one or more playing second solos or fills. The 11 tracks on this disc are mainly originals, a few of which have been recorded by the same artists that are playing them here, which I guess means they are doing a cover of their own pieces! Charlie Musslewhite's "Blues Why Do You Worry Me" receives an extended boogie woogie arrangement with Ray Norcia sitting in on second harp, and "If I Should Have Bad Luck" finds Musslewhite and Cotton trading off solos. "The Hucklebuck," a favorite piece of James Cotton, is covered once again (solely by Cotton) for five and a half minutes of pure harmonica ecstasy. "Mean Little Mama" and "Route 66" are two energetic bops that are quite danceable and feature Billy Branch on lead harp and vocals and Norcia playing seconds. Two of the absolute prizes on this album is a Tommy Dorsey composition that has Cotton and Branch burning the listeners ears off playing calls and responses on "T. D's Boogie Woogie." The other is the CD's closing piece "Harp To Harp," which is the only number with all four of these masters playing together. Produced by Randy Labbe and Telarc's commitment to pure digital mastering, the sound and production quality is second to none. So whether you are a harp fanatic (like I am!) or not, "Superharps" is a brilliantly constructed entertaining collection of four virtuosos of their instrument playing their hearts out. I can honestly say that this is one of the finest recordings I've had the pleasure of listening to this year.
The saying goes, 'the older the wine, the better it tastes'. If that saying holds true then These Blues Are All Mine (Vanguard) the latest release from Tab Benoit is very tasty indeed. Known for his down-home blend of Louisiana swamp blues and east Texas guitar sound, this album is Benoit's best to date. Often called the new kid from the old school, Benoit recorded this album in three days without a set list and no digital technology, resulting in a collection that captures the spontaneity, energy and emotion of his live performances. The 13 numbers that make up this very fine CD offer five originals from Benoit whose songwriting gets increasingly better with each subsequent release. "I'm Tired," the CD's opening cut, is an original shuffle highlighted by some fabulous B3 licks from Marc Adams, whose contributions to this album will make you take notice with every solo. Put your dancin' shoes on for "Crawfishin'" and "Bayou Boogie," two highly energetic stomps that just plain cook from start to finish, and are most representative of the type of live performances this artist is capable of. The covers chosen for this album are exceptional in both content and execution. Two Albert Collins pieces, "'Lights Are On, But Nobody's Home," and the instrumental favorite of so many blues guitarists, "Don't Lose Your Cool," steal the show in the covers department with hard edge guitar solos. Willie Dixon's "29 Ways" and "They Raided The Joint" are given very polished treatments. Hank Williams' "Jambalaya" is the standout among the covers and features Tab's hottest vocal performance on this CD. The supporting band of Marc Adams on keyboards, David Lee Watson on bass and Allyn Robinson on drums make for an exceptionally tight unit that gels on every track. Benoit's vocals and playing are the best he's turned in so far in his seven year recording career. If cutting an album in three days without a digital safety net produces results like this, then perhaps Mr. Benoit should continue in that vein. This one's a total winner. I highly recommend listening to this one until it gets old.
Eddie C. Campbell's latest CD Gonna Be Alright (Icehouse) is more than worth the five year wait since his last release. This CD is a high energy showcase for one of Chicago's unsung guitar giants. Campbell has always been one of those players that has gotten much critical acclaim but little notoriety. Playing his usual brand of Chicago west-side style guitar, Eddie is in top notch form on this album. His licks are sharp and defined while exploring a multitude of tones and expressions that make for a consistently intriguing listen. Campbell's vocal throughout this disc are powerful and crisp, his voice commanding and confident on every cut with vocals. Of the sixteen tracks here, ten are original works spotlighting Campbell's introspective songwriting. "Do What You Wanna Do" and "The Devils Walk," along with two instrumental numbers "The Bug" and "Five And A Half," are the highlights of the original pieces. Campbell's cover of Willie Dixon's "Shake For Me" features some growling vocals and a red hot guitar solo. Little Walter's "Everything Gonna Be Alright" is the hottest number on this CD and could quite possibly cause your player to smoke! Joining Eddie on rhythm guitar on all numbers and playing lead on "Loneliness And Me" is Elisha Blue. Piano man supreme Al Copley is on hand for about six numbers, as is the too little recorded Johnnie Mars. Hopefully it won't be another five years before one of the best kept secrets in the blues gives us another album as good as this one. Put it on your Christmas wish list.
--- Steve HinrichsenBaton Rouge bluesman Larry Garner is starting to get a lot of attention from the blues world for releasing four consistently fine CDs in the 1990s (the latest being Standing Room Only last year on Ruf Records). However, few people realize that in the gap between 1994s You Need To Live A Little (on Verve Records) and his last CD, Garner released Baton Rouge, also on Verve. Unfortunately, due to unknown reasons, it was never released in America. Fortunately, Evidence Records has solved that problem by reissuing Baton Rouge, so now we can see what we missed the first time around. This CD has more of a laid-back, down-home feel than his previous Verve release and the songs are all originals, including one instrumental. Garners ability to pen true-to-life, witty lyrics is fully intact here. Among the standout cuts are "Jook Joint Woman," "The Road of Life," the reggae-tinged "High On Music," "Airline Blues," and "Crazy World." He even sings the praises of his hometown in the closer "Go To Baton Rouge." Making a great CD even greater is the added presence of Larry McCray on second guitar. He also assists in the vocals on "Blues Pay My Way" and "Airline Blues." Garner stated in Living Blues that of all his CDs, this is his favorite, and its obvious he had a ball doing it. Evidence is releasing Baton Rouge as part of its budget series, so its almost like stealing to get this one.
--- Graham Clarke
Steve Arvey's latest output, Best From The Vault, is a mix of tracks laid down over the past 13 years - spanning from 1986 to 1998. The fact that some of the tracks are over 10 years old definitely does not detract from the enjoyment of this CD. There is a great mixture of styles, tempos and flavors. Kraig Kenning pops up on two tracks, one of which was included on the album Pass The Hat. The other was recorded at the same session, but unissued previously. These are covers of the Robert Johnson number "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day" (some fantastic harmonica from Scott Dirks on this one) and Willie Dixon's "Red Rooster" (credited on the CD cover to Chester Burnett). Both are the sort of tracks that you will listen to over and over again. There are also several tracks featuring the band Westside Heat; these are mostly the tracks recorded back in the 80s, and they are primarily penned by Steve Arvey and the band - some good original stuff here. I fell in love with track seven, "Want Ad Blues" - the old John Lee Hooker number. The guitar work sounds as though it carries a lot of Hound Dog Taylor influence, and it fits in perfectly.
Brickyard is a very accomplished blues band from Pajala, Sweden. Their latest CD, the follow up to the excellent Blues In Pajala, is a good mixture of different blues styles. EXIT: Bluesland opens with a really nice rocking blues, "Checked Out At 6," and moves through tradtional blues, jazzy blues and funky blues - a total of 13 tracks, all written by members of the band. For me, the CD is worth buying for track five alone --- "Blues All Around" is well written and well played with a great arrangement and some fantastic guitar work from Orjan Maki. This track is seven minutes of pure electric blues heaven. Having made the comment about track five, I think I'd also buy the CD for track eight alone! This track, "Out On The Road," has some great slide guitar work which runs alongside the strong piano work of Martin Larsson. Sweden isn't somewhere that blues fans naturally associate with the blues, but on the basis of listening to this band, I think we should all be taking some notice!
--- Terry Clear
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