New Blues and Soul News – 8/3/2018
New Blues Adds:
Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Downey To Lubbock (YepRoc): Veteran singer/songwriters Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore have joined forces to share music that they both love and to shine a light on the connections between their respective homelands – Lubbock, TX and Downey, CA. They wrote the title song together and selected several “oldies” that spoke to them in one way or another, including Will Shade’s “Stealin’, Stealin’”, John Stewart’s “July, You’re A Woman”, Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Buddy Brown’s Blues” and Woody Guthrie and Martin Hoffman’s “Deportee – Wreck At Los Gatos”. Their voices are not as strong as they used to be, but their road worn sound is still quite effective. Supporting musicians include Nick Forster (slide guitar, mandolin, acoustic guitar, lap steel), Don Heffington and Lisa Pankratz (drums), Van Dyke Parks (accordion), David J. Carpenter and Brad Fordham (bass), Jeff Turmes (tenor and bari sax), Skip Edwards (organ, piano), and Cindy Wasserman (harmony vocals). Click here to listen to the title song.
Shemekia Copeland – America’s Child (Alligator): Shemekia Copeland offers her ninth release and it is certainly one of her best, both in terms of performances and the messages it conveys. First of all, the topics cover respect for others and their differences, the diversity and division in the US, and self respect among others. Her backup players include Will Kimbrough (guitar, organ), Al Perkins (pedal steel), Kenny Sears (fiddle), Lex Price (bass), Pete Abbott (drums) with special guests JD Wilkes (harmonica), John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Mary Gauthier and Katie Pruit (backing vocals), Rhiannon Giddens (African banjo), and Steve Cropper (guitar). The themes are mostly uplifting and challenge each listener to respect others but to also demand respect for themselves. A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.
Bob Corritore & Friends – Don’t Let The Devil Ride (VizzTone): This disc is a collection of outstanding performances by Corritore on harmonica with a variety of guests recorded from 2014 through 2017. One of the tunes is a Corritore composition. He also does a great job on Little Walter’s “Tell Me Mama”. With the added exception of “Don’t Let The Devil Ride”, the remainder of the songs are less well known. The various players are Alabama Mike (vocals on 4 songs); Sugaray Rayford (2 vocals), Oscar Wilson (2 vocals), and Willie Buck, Bill Perry, George Bowman and Tail Dragger (vocals on one song each); Big Jon Atkinson (guitar 5 songs), Danny Michel (guitar 3 songs), Mojo Mark, Jimi “Primetime” Smith and Johnny Rapp (2 songs each), and one each by Junior Watson, Chris James, Rockin’ Johnny and Illinois Slim; piano from Henry Gray, Bob Welch (also guitar); bass by Troy Sandy, Kedor Roy, Patrick Renn and Bob Stroger, with drums by Marty Dotson, Brian fahey, Rene Beavers and Malachi Johnson. Hardcore Chicago Blues!!!! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Ben Harper & Charlie Musslewhite – No Mercy In This Land (Anti-): Ben Harper joins forces with Charlie Musslewhite for a second time with a cross between folk blues and current social commentary. The music is blues, often more current sounding but decidedly and thoughtfully blues. The instrumentation clearly focuses on the mood and the lyrics shine the light on the depth of the blues regardless of the era in which it was created. Songs like “No Mercy In This Land”, “The Bottle Wins Again” and “Nothing At All” are required listening, sharing frustration and loss. The players on this disc are Charlie Musselwhite (harmonica, vocals on “No Mercy In This Land”); Ben Harper (slide guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals, and piano on “Nothing At All”); Jason Mozersky (lead guitar); Jesse Ingalls (electric and upright bass; piano on “Found The One” & “When Love Is Not Enough”, and B-3 on “No Mercy In This Land”; and Jimmy Paxson (drums, percussion). I have found greater appreciation for this disc each time I listen to it. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Cyrille Neville – Endangered Species: The Essential Recordings (World Order Entertainment): “The baddest man in the neighborhood, the youngest brother in the first family of Crescent City musical royalty, is rejuvenated and unchained. After fifty years of sharing his musical gifts with the world, Cyril is 100% owner and controller of his music.” (http://www.louisianaredhotrecords.com/epk/2018/03/11/cyril-neville-endangered-species-the-essential-recordings/). This release is also a part of a five disc set, but is considered to be the most essential part of it. Unfortunately, this disc does not contain much information, so I can’t list who the other players are. It is suggested that Cyrille composed all of the songs. The flow is killer, as you might expect from any member of the famed family. Gaynielle Neville and Damien Neville also perform on this disc. There is a terrific range and flow, much as we have experienced from each previous release from the Nevilles. A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.
Billy Price – Reckoning (VizzTone): Billy Price first gained national recognition when he was singing for guitar great Roy Buchanan. After two releases, Price decided to lead his own band. This disc is his seventeenth. Time has passed and there is some notable road wear on his voice, but even so, he is still one of the best white soul singers any where. He has great command of the soul style where feeling can come from understatement as much as by powerhouse hollers. The band on this disc is solid enough to tell a green man something! The group includes Kid Andersen (guitar, organ, Coral sitar, backing vocals), Alex Peterson (drums, percussion), Jerry Jemmott (bass), Jim Pugh (keys), Johnny Bones (tenor sax, bari sax), Nancy Wright (tenor sax solo, 1 song), Konstantins Jemeljanovs (trumpet), Derrick D’Mar Martin and Martin Windstad (congas, 1 song each), and Courtney Knott, Lisa Leuschhner Andersen, Rusty Zinn, The Soul Revivers and Robby Yamilov backing vocals on various numbers. Many performances labelled as soul do have some of the trappings of the genre, but also lack the deep feeling and command of simplicity the genre demands. Billy Price IS a REAL soul singer! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Brigitte Purdy – Still I Rise (Self-produced): Vocalist Brigitte Purdy has been destined to sing from a very early age. Her father immersed her in the rich sounds of blues and gospel and he was a blues player himself. She has a full and commanding voice and a great deal of control. The soul and gospel style is her center but she also offers her own slice of gospel and country in the mix. She cowrote all of the sings on the disc with Dave Osti. The performances themselves are quite polished – a blend of the the above mentioned styles with a blues and pop polish. Backing musicians include Dave Osti (drums, bass, piano), Drake Shining (keys), Ayeasha Jones (backing vocals), Kenny Neal (harmonica), Mike Stromberg (backing guitar), Michael Fell (harmonica), and Donnell Spencer Jr (drums). Click here to listen to “Blues Angel” and “Lucille Don’t You Weep” from this disc.
Deb Ryder – Enjoy The Ride (VizzTone): This is Deb Ryder’s fourth release and it features 13 original songs and a power packed backup crew that assures that she has the best musical setting possible. Her singing ranges from a direct declarative style to a gospelized shout, while her somewhat raspy tone adds authority. Her backing musicians are a “who’s who” in blues and hard soul: Tony Braunagel (drums); Johnny Lee Schell (bass, guitar); Mike Finnegan (Hammond B3, piano, vocal); Bob Glaub, James Hutch Hutchison, Ric Ryder and Kenny Gradney (trading off on bass); Pieter van der Pluijm (harmonica); Mark Pender (trumpet, 1 song); and Joe Sublette (sax, 4 songs), with special guests Chris Cain (guitar 2 songs, vocal 1song); Debbie Davies (guitar, 2 songs); Kirk Fletcher (guitar, 1 song); Big Llou Johnson (vocal; 1 song); Coco Montoya (guitar, 2 songs); and several additional back-up singers! There is also a spoken word by Van G. Garrett on “Bring The Walls Down”! You know what’s coming next, so don’t hesitate to check this out ASAP! A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Boz Scaggs – Out Of The Blues (Concord): Boz Scaggs, veteran guitarist and singer/songwriter, offers a new release focused on some of the early influences on his playing and development as a musician. The list includes Jimmy McCracklin, Jimmy Reed, and “J.Walroth” as well his own compositions. J.Walroth was a mystery to me, but there is also a listing for Jack “Applejack” Walroth as playing harmonica, guitar, and percussion and co-writing with Scaggs. He is apparently from San Francisco and roughly the same age as Scaggs. Other guest musicians on the disc are Doyle Bramhall II (guitar), Charlie Sexton (guitar), Ricky Fataar (drums), Steve Freund (guitar), and Jim Keltner. The main band includes Jim Keltner (drums), Willie Weeks (bass), Jim Cox (keys), Ray Parker Jr (electric , acoustic guitars), Eric Crystal (tenor sax, all solos), Thomas Politzer (tenor sax), and Stephen “Doc” Kupka (bari sax). This is a truly excellent disc with some groovily smooth performances that revitalize the older songs and introduce new standards. Click here for an introduction to this disc by Scaggs.
New Soul News:
Ms. Jody – I’m Doin’ My Thang (Ecko): Ms Jody is back on the scene to showcase her style as perhaps the best soul performer in the club scene. She was inspired by Denise LaSalle to come back to music from her retirement from gospel singing. This disc is the best of this genre that I have heard in quite some time. It has a current sound, but she often brings the classic soul / gospel style to the center of her art. Even so, there are songs centered on disco style of the past decades. It’s telling that she composed five of the eleven songs on this disc. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.