New Blues News – 11/2/2015
Georgie Bonds – Hit It Hard (Roadhouse Redemption): Blues singer Georgie Bonds returns with his full band from the last disc and a somewhat more urban (but not slick) sound than on the previous disc. The band includes Georgie (lead vocals), Neil Taylor (guitar), Andy Haley (drums), Rick Prince (bass), Walter Runge (keys), and Buddy Cleveland (harmonica, vocals), plus a few guests (Dave Renz, tenor sax and Vanessa Collier, alto sax and vocals). All but three of the songs are band originals. Their blues are pretty straight without frills and they do like to shuffle! No samples from this disc available, but click here for a live performance from last summer.
The Knickerbocker All-Stars – Go Back Home To The Blues (JP Cadillac): so, Roomful Of Blues had a baby and they called it the Knickerbocker All-Stars! Several of the names have changed but the group members here are: Mark Teixiera (drums), Brad Hallen (bass), Al Copley (piano), Monster Mike Welch (guitar), Doug James (bari & tenor sax), Sax Gordon Beadle (tenor sax), Rich Lataille (alto & tenor sax), Doc Chanonhouse (trumpet), Al Basile (cornet), and Carl Querfurth (trombone), with singers Sugar Ray Norcia, Willie J Laws, Al Basile and the amazing Brian Templeton on vocals. Their recent live disc was well received, but this one is swinging, rocking, and powerful! You won’t likely find much “war horse” category, but you will find some hard swinging and strong bluesin’ big band music. Click here to sample the songs on this disc. I would strongly recommend catching “Go Back Home To The Blues” just so you can hear a little bit of Brian Templeton’s singing!
Laura Rain & The Caesars – Gold (LRC): Laura Rain is a strong soul singer fronting a rock’n’soul band led by guitarist and co-writer George Friend. The band is tight and plays with a controlled yet energetic fervor that demands attention. Oddly, I can’t find any listing of band members other than Friend. The rest of the band includes walking bass and a tight drummer, with the occasional and highly effective addition of a horn section (sax and trumpet comp) on a few numbers. Rain’s vocals are reminiscent of and clearly styled after Aretha in the late 70’s and 80’s. The vocal quaver and dominance of the upper register is the main connection. (For those of you with a deeper aural history, I hear hear a tone very similar to Esther Phillips.) The instrumental soundscape is more ROCK & soul given the dominance of the amped up guitar and rhythm section. The medium tempo and softer “Guilty Me” and “Raise Your Hand” create a nice shift, while keeping the backbeat front and center, at least until it’s ballad time. Soul/blues fans should check her out. Click here to songs from this disc.
Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames – Slip Into A Dream (Delmark): Chicago native Dave Weld started his blues career under the tutelage of Hound Dog Taylor and Brewer Phillips and then with Chico Chism, Lafayette Gilbert, Hubert Sumlin, Detroit Junior, and Eddie Shaw as part of Shaw’s band and eventually as a member of JB Hutto’s band. Wild has fronted his own band since 1988 and, as you might guess from the list above, he plays an “in your face” rockin’ blues. The Imperial Flames include Weld’s wife Monica Myhre (vocals), Harry Yaseen (piano), Graham Guest (keys), Dave Kaye (bass) and Jeff Taylor (drums, vocals). A few numbers have brass as well provided by Sax Gordon, Rajiv Halim, or Hank Ford (saxes), Parris Fleming or Kenny Anderson (trumpets), and Bryant Smith or Bill McFarland (trombone). Greg Guy adds guitar on one song and special guest Bobby Rush harmonica on two. This band does positively rock when the song calls for it and it calls for it quite a bit on this disc! Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
New Soul Adds:
O.B. Buchana – Mississippi Folks (Ecko): This is the sound of club music and hopes are high when it kicks off with “Ghetto Funk” followed by a medium tempo “Tasty Girl”. The super pop reggae-inflected “Tip It Up” at least keeps the party feeling going and skipping the next song which connects with second half of the disc (more in a minute), we get the title song, a “down South” post soul funk. The rest of the disc is for slow dance and grind or “prelude to hook-up” music. Buchana has a strong declarative voice, but is too often swimming in synth backing that, at least for my ears, emphasizes the weaknesses of songs with too much repetition and too much “ear candy”. Click here for the opening song on this disc.