New Blues & Soul News – 1/10/2018
New Blues Adds:
Ghalia & Mama’s Boys – Let The Demons Out (Ruf): Belgian singer/guitarist/composer Ghalia Vauthier has been making visits to the US since 2016 when she broadened her singer/songwriting to include the blues. She was quickly “adopted” by the musicians and populace of Clarksdale, MS and in New Orleans by a harmonica led blues band called Johnny Mastro & Mama’s Boys. This is the next iteration of the group. Ghalia sings like a rockabilly star who just got released from a time machine. The band, Johnny Mastro (harmonica, vocals), Smokehouse Brown (guitar, backing vocals), Dean Zucchero (bass, backing vocals) and Rob Lee (drums) are the ideal match. Is it blues? Yes. Is it rockabilly? Yes and a great combination of the two. The one real cover is Rudolph Toombs’ “I’m Shakin’”. The rest are as good as it gets. They close with an original called the “Hiccup Boogie”! Johnny Burnette is smiling a LARGE smile! Click here and listen to “Press That Trigger”, “Hey Little Baby” and “4 AM Fried Chicken” all of which are on this disc.
Lex Grey & The Urban Pioneers – Usual Suspects (Self-produced): Lex Grey, sometimes referred to as the Madam of the Blues, sings like a combination of blues and rock shouter and burlesque singer. She approaches all styles whether blues, rock, or country rock with the same brazen attitude. She’s definitely a tease: check out “Chow Down” for a chuckle and the strongest example of her art. Her band includes Vic Mix (guitar,), Kiai Updike (bass, piano, organ, flute, violin, sequencing), Tim Farrell or Per Bergquist (bass), Brian Dewan (organ, accordion, piano), Walter Tates Jr (sax), John Holland, Michael Ragaini or Matt Messenger (drums), Chris Pasin (trumpet), Ed Was (upright bass), Kenny Siegal (lap steel), Foggy Otis (ukulele) and Richard Serrano Sr (harmonica). Most of the songs were written by Grey on her own or in combination with members of the band. Be sure to get your grit together before listening. I am unable to find a sample from this disc as it has not been “officially” released yet, but click here to catch a live performance.
The Love Light Orchestra w/ John Nemeth – Live From Bar DKDC in Memphis, TN! (Blue Barrel): This Love Light Orchestra recording was the idea of guitarist Joe Restivo. There have have numerous covers of songs originated or recorded in Memphis, but mostly around the products from Sun, Stax or Hi records. Restivo suggested covering the songs of Bobby Bland, B.B. King and Junior Parker, many of which were backed by larger bands. Restivo gathered the players: Marc Franklin, Scott Thompson, Jason Yasinsky (trumpets); Art Edmaiston (tenor sax); Kirk Smothers (bari sax); Gerald Stephens (piano); Tim Goodman (bass); Earl Lowe (drums) and vocalist John Nemeth and started to work. There are mostly covers of great songs like BB King’s “Bad Breaks”, Deadric Malone aka Don Robey’s “I’ve Been Wrong So Long” and “Sometimes” and other songs associated with the great Duke Records stars, with the addition of a few originals in a similar style, including one each by Restivo and Nemeth. It’s all capped off with Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send Me Someone To Love” and Al Green’s “Love and Happiness”. These are high tone performances done for night clubs and honoring the high style side of Memphis. The uptown blues. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Curtis Salgado & Alan Hager – Rough Cut (Alligator): This disc is primarily a duo performance by Curtis Salgado (vocals, harmonica, piano on one song) and Alan Hager (mostly steel string guitar, vocal on one song) with the addition of one vocal by Larhonda Steele, Jim Pugh on piano on one song, Keith Brush (bass on 3 songs) and drums by Russ Kleiner (two songs), Jimi Bott (drums on one) and Brian Foxworth (drums on one), and lastly Carlton Jackson adding percussion on one. Seven of the songs are old blues songs like “Depot Blues” (Son House) and “I Want You By My Side” (Big Bill Broonzy) or new versions of Muddy’s “I Can’t Be Satisfied” and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Too Young To Die”. The remaining six are originals composed by Salgado (2), or Hager (1), or by both together (3). It’s a mostly acoustic and warm duo set that is as infectious as it can be. The performance is slightly raw vocally with terrific instrumental performances. This review may sound like the disc is just another remake of lots of old stuff, but rest assured that the union of Hager’s steel strings and Salgado’s vocals and harp playing are quite wonderful. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
New Soul Adds:
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Soul Of A Woman (Daptone): These are the last recordings by soul shouter and serenader Sharon Jones, who passed away about a year ago from pancreatic cancer. Her voice was losing its power in terms of volume, but every note she sings is a testament to her talent. There’s not much of that wild scream that she used so well, but the mellower vocals with support from Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan-Lowe are as sweet and solid as can be. The same could be said for the contributions of Kevin Keys. The Dap-Kings are as a set of great stars as ever. The disc is a beautiful tribute to Sharon Jones and a beautiful gift to her fans. Click here for a sampler of the songs on this disc.