New Blues & Soul News – 3/12/2018
The Bush League – James RiVAh (Self-produced): Based in Richmond, VA, The Bush League took a trip to Ardent Studio in Memphis just to make sure the voodoo was working on the right side. It’s blues rock and ten of the twelve songs are originals, but it never hurts to align with the best forces and, based upon the lyrics, the dark side is definitely just outside the door. Band members are JohnJason Cecil (vocals), Brad Moss (lead, rhythm guitar); Royce Folks (bass); and Wynton Davis (drums) and they have additional players adding more sounds on various songs: Trenton Ayers (guitar), Jeremy Powell (keys, trumpet), Suavo Jones (trombone), and Paul Biasca (sax), and Ari Morris (synthesizer), and Vince Johnson (harmonica). The group is charged and will certainly inspire their audience to dance and feel the music. Click here to listen to the opening song on this disc.
Sue Foley – The Ice Queen (Stony Plain): Veteran blues singer/songwriter/guitarist Sue Foley offers her 15th release and it may well be her best ever. She wrote nine of the songs and co-wrote one with organist Mike Flanigin who plays on half of the songs on this multi-styled release. In fact, there is a terrific amount of variety on the disc: three acoustic songs, including Foley’s original Latin styled “The Dance”; “Death Of A Dream” with acoustic guitar, drums and bass; a remake of AP Carter’s “Cannonball Blues”; a fully electric remake George Brooks’ “Send Me To The ‘Lectric Chair”; and a full slate of original blues. Special guests include Charlie Sexton (guitar, vocals), Chris Layton (drums), Jimmie Vaughan (vocal, guitar), and Billy Gibbons (vocal, guitar, harmonica). Two songs also include horns. Foley may be the ice queen, but she can and does burn up some fine blues as well. A certified “Professor Bebop Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Peter Karp – Blue Flame (Rose Cottage): Multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter Peter Karp has been performing for the last 15 or so years. He has released nine discs of his own blues oriented compositions. “Blue Flame” features all original songs that show off his singing and musicianship, (especially guitar, but he also plays harmonica and various keyboards). He has several guests participating on this release, including guitarists Mick Taylor, Todd Wolfe, and Paul Carbonara; harp players Kim Wilson and Dennis Gruenling; and keyboard players Jim Ehinger, Albert Weisman, and Dave Keyes. Daniel Pagdon plays bass and Paul “Hernandez” Unsworth and Dae Bennett on drums. John Zarra adds mandolin and Joanie Coleman backing vocals. Karp is very polished and writes some especially nice lyrics that show off his sense of humor. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Michael Landau – Rock Bottom (Provogue): Michael Landau is a veteran guitarist who began his career in Boz Scaggs’ band. He has done a significant amount of studio work as a performer, engineer, and producer and, in addition to guitar, sings and plays bass, sitar, mandolin and synthesizer. He has released six discs as a leader as well. The sound on this disc is somewhat laid back and distant sounding on many of these cuts, but he can kick up some dust as well. The overall sound is rather distant sounding blues rock with an intriguing and mystic tone. Backing musicians are Alan Hertz, Shannon Forrest and Gary Novak (alternating on drums), Teddy Landau and Jimmy Johnson on bass, Larry Goldings (organ), Jeff Babko (mellotron), David Frazee and Arnold McCuller (vocals), and Luis Conte (percussion). This is an intriguing sound. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Laurie Jane & The 45s – Midnight Jubilee (Down In The Alley): Singer Laurie Jane Duggins fronts the Louisville 45s’ performances of a blue rock & roll band that has roots in in the 50s – 60s with a touch of country. Most of the songs are originals, though they cover a few blues oldies like “Howlin’ For My Darlin’”. The band features Cort Duggins (guitar, lap steel, piano), Jason Embry (bass) and Scott Dugdale (percussion). Generally, the sound is pretty laid back and countrified, but the tempo gets revved up now and then. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Long Tall Deb & Colin John – Dragonfly (Self-produced): Long Tall Deb is a singer and Colin John plays a variety of guitars, some bass and piano. The duo composed all of the songs on this disc which is rooted in that haunting western strand of music mixed with some mild elements of psychedelia. There’s a dab of blues, but it’s not the central feature. The duo is also backed up on drums (Jimmy Castoe, James Cunningham, Jo El trading places from song to song); bass (Melvin Powe, Bill Ruffino, Cliff Starbuck); and organ (Nate Hofman and Chris Stephenson) and with guests Michael Hill (slide guitar) and Jeff Jensen (rhythm guitar). It does have some very good moments. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Mike Mettalia & Midnight Shift – Crescent Moon (Cabernet): Mike Mettallia (harmonica, vocals) and Midnight Shift – Mike McMillan (guitar, backing vocals), Paul Pluta (bass, vocals) and Tim Smith (drums, backing vocals) reach back to the emergence of rock’n’roll, the actual blending of blues, country, swing and jump. Their sound is really authentic – mostly basic down to the foundation. They also get some help from Jimmy Cavallo (sax, vocals), Rayburn Anthony (vocal, rhythm guitar), and Sandy Pluta (dobro, backing vocal). Almost everything is original, with Mettalia composing the largest share. So sit back, open your ears, and maybe even cut a rug. Enjoy the sound of basic and straight ahead sound of old rhythm music. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Mud Morganfield – They Call Me Mud (Severn): This new disc from Mud Morganfield showcases his constantly growing writing skills both in terms of its variety and style. Always respectful of his father’s amazing catalogue, he includes “Howling Wolf” and “Can’t Get No Grindin’”, but the remaining ten songs are originals. He takes all lead vocals and plays bass on three. The roster of players is truly terrific: Billy Flynn, Mike Wheeler and Rick Kreher share guitar duties, Studebaker John and Billy Branch provide the harmonica duties, and the sound is completed by Sumito Ariyo Ariyoshi (piano), E.G. McDaniel (bass), Melvin “Pookie Stix” Carlisle (drums), Lashunda Williams (vocals), Anne Harris (violin) and Phil Perkins (trumpet) and Michael Jackson (sax) add horns on half of the songs. This is certainly one of Mud’s best. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Nick Moss – The High Cost Of Low Living (Alligator): Nick Moss (guitar, vocals) began his blues career as a bass player for Jimmy Dawkins and the Legendary Blues Band. He shifted from bass to lead guitar at the suggestion of Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Moss eventually formed his own band, Nick Moss & The Flip Tops and has been a lead singer/guitarist/songwriter since. This is his first release for Alligator. He wrote eight of the songs on this disc. The band includes Dennis Gruenling (harmonica, vocals) who contributed two songs himself, Taylor Streiff (piano), Nick Fane (bass), Patrick Seals (drums), Eric Spaulding (tenor sax) and Jack Sanford (bari sax) with special guests Jim Pugh (organ, piano) and Kid Andersen (guitar) on a couple of songs each. There’s a good variety of sounds, but the disc is a BLUES disc in the finest CHICAGO tradition. There’s only one more thing to say: A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
New Soul Releases
O.B. Buchana – Parking Lot Love Affair (Ecko): O.B. Buchana delivers a new batch of “disco” styled dance songs such as “Jam On With Me”, “Teach Me How To Swing” and “The Mule” mixed with a selection for those making a different scene, like “Parking Lot Love Affair” and “Goody Goody Good Stuff”. The hustle is on! Click here to “Learn How To Swing”!