New Blues News – 9/11/2017
Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers – The Eastwest Sessions (Self-produced): Singer/sax player Mindi Abair unveils her latest cd which mixes soul, rock, pop and energy galore. Her history is meteoric. She has been nominated for Grammy awards twice in the last five years and was a featured musician on “American Idol” for two seasons, after which she released her first disc. The sound she seeks is tough, in-your-face gritty rocking soul. She has a large voice and clearly means business whether singing or playing the sax. As she began to tour, she contacted longtime friend Randy Jacobs (guitar, vocals) and he recruited his band, The Boneshakers, to make the backing large and rocking. That led to the current partnership. In addition to Jacobs, the band includes Sweet Pea Atkinson (vocals), Rodney Lee (keys), Derek Frank (bass, vocals), and Third Richardson (drums, vocals). This is their second release as a group and first recorded in studio. It’s a rocker and Abair is a force vocally and blasting the sax. Click here and scroll down to listen to “Pretty Good For A Girl” for some quality and equality rockin’ blues.
Gregg Allman – Southern Blood (Rounder): This is Gregg Allman’s final and farewell release. He clearly intended to make a last statement when his final diagnosis revealed that even after undergoing a liver transplant, cancer returned to the new liver and other areas of his body. He declined radiation so he could continue his life’s work by creating a farewell disc. Everything about this release was purposeful: recording at Fame Studios where he and his brother Duane made their first recordings as “Hour Glass” and Duane gained tremendous recognition backing up so many soul singers, including Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. Several songs were personal favorites or had special significance for Allman himself. The opening song, “My Only True Friend”, was collaboratively written by Allman and Scott Sharrard, guitarist and member of Allman’s band. Other members of the Allman Band on the disc are Steve Potts (drums), Ronald Johnson (bass), Peter Levin (keys, piano, vibes), Mark Quinones (percussion), Jay Collins and Art Edmaiston (saxes, flute), and Marc Franklin (trumpet, flugelhorn). Guest musicians are Greg Leisz (pedal steel, mandolin), Val McCallum (guitar), Jackson Browne (vocal), and Buddy Miller, Stephanie Brown and The McCrary Sisters (backing vocals). This disc is a fitting and completely amazing labor of love and bidding farewell. It is an essential point in rock history. A certified “Professor Bebop ‘Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here and scroll way down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Steve Howell & Jason Weinheimer – A Hundred Years From Today (Out Of The Past): Veteran folk blues singer/guitarist Steve Howell and and bassist/guitarist Jason Weinheimer present ten folk blues and old time songs, all but one of which were from the 20’s or 30’s. The outlier was written and performed in 1959 by Lightnin’ Hopkins and fits in just fine. The performance is pleasant and easy going. Songs include “Lulu’s Back In Town”, “Kansas City Blues”, “Limehouse Blues” and “Basin Street Blues” among others. Nice folk blues retrospective. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Johnny Rawls – Waiting For The Train (Catfood): Johnny Rawls has typically been classified as a blues performer, but his style has typically been way up town and soul inflected. He crosses over to the soul side in a big way this time out. He also has left his guitar in the case, leaving the guitar duties to Johnny McGhee. There are still a number of originals, mostly co-written by Rawls and bass man Bob Trenchard and there are four covers: Bobby Womack’s “I’m In Love”, Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”, Leo Graham’s “Turning Point” and Darryl Carter and Syl Johnson’s “We Did It”. The polish isn’t a new facet in Rawls’ music, but the sweet, popish influence is. It is a tight performance. Click here to listen to a sample of the title song.
Savoy Brown – Witchy Feeling (Ruf): Guitarist/singer Kim Simmonds was one of the original founders of the group Savoy Brown, originally known as the Savoy Brown Blues Band when formed in 1965. By 1969, the group jelled as a quintet with Simmonds sharing guitar duties with Dave Peverett and the introduction of singer Chris Youlden. Eventually, the group split up after some very popular years and Simmonds continued as a solo act. He has now returned to a trio format and re-claimed the name Savoy Brown. Simmonds is a solid guitarist with a less pyrotechnic rock style than other British guitarists. One might say he stayed closer to the blues base than many early blues rock bands. His voice shows the road wear, but not drastically. His guitar is still steadfastly BLUES rock as compared to the bluesROCK style that has been so much more dominant. His bandmates are Pat DeSalvo (bass) and Garnet Grimm (drums). Click here to listen to the disc.