Best of 2020 – Professor Bebop (Blues & Soul)

Professor Bebop is heard Tuesday morning from 9 til noon (eastern).

Professor Bebop’s 2020 CERTIFiED Blues & Soul – WAX DEVOID OF CRACKS

Rory Block –  Prove It On Me (Stony Plain): Rory Block is back reminding us just how amazing she is as a performer and how much and how long women have enriched the musical landscape. The songs on this disc include Ma Rainey’s “Prove It On Me”, Memphis Minnie’s “In My Girlish Days”, Merline Johnson Then Yas Yas Girl’s “Milk Man”, Arizona Dranes’ “I Shall Wear A Crown”, Helen Humes’ “He May Be Your Man”, Rosetta Howard’s “If You’re A Viper” and “Eagles”, a new song from Rory Block herself. These are outstanding performances played by one of the great singers and performers anywhere. This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks!Click here to listen to a song on this disc.

Andrew Alli – Hard Workin’ Man (EllerSoul): “Ellersoul Records is proud and very excited to announce Andrew Alli’s upcoming debut release, ‘Hard Workin’ Man’. Andrew’s first recordings were two tracks on Ellersoul Records acclaimed harmonica compilation record, ‘Blues For Big Walter’, featuring top players from around the country. Andrews debut record was recorded at Jon Atkinson’s ‘Bigtone Studio’. Jon is a very talented musician, singer/songwriter, producer and a superb analog recording engineer….he CD features 9 original songs and 3 classic covers from Little Walter, Big Walter and George Smith. Andrew Alli a Richmond, VA native began his music career after being inspired by a busker playing harmonica on the street.” (https://bluesmusicstore.com/andrew-alli-hard-workin-man/) This man is a solid player and singer who will assure you that the vintage blues styles are live and very well! The players include Jon Atkinson (guitar, bass), Carl Sonny Leyland (piano), Danny Michel (guitar) with Devin Neel and Buddy Honeycutt trading off on drums! Eight of the twelve songs are originals! A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”!    Click here to listen to a song from this release.

Various Artists – John Primer & Bob Corritore – The Gypsy Woman Told Me (VizzTone): “Blues harmonica ace BOB CORRITORE teams up with frequent musical partner, acclaimed blues guitarist/vocalist (formerly with Muddy Waters, Magic Slim and Junior Wells) JOHN PRIMER for THE GYPSY WOMAN TOLD ME, the follow up to the highly successful recent VizzTone releases by Bob Corritore and Friends, DON’T LET THE DEVIL RIDE and DO THE HIP SHAKE, BABY! Here is that rare album that’s fully connected to the core of Chicago Blues. Both John Primer and Bob Corritore are experienced veterans of the genre, fluent in its sacred, expressive vocabulary. With a team of A-list players, Primer and Corritore fulfill and expand their branded presentation of Chicago blues on THE GYPSY WOMAN TOLD ME, their third collaborative effort. Produced by Bob Corritore, Clarke Rigsby, and Kid Andersen. With Billy Flynn, Jimi ‘Primetime’ Smith, Kid Andersen, Bob Welsh, Ben Levin, Kedar Roy, Troy Sandow, Mike Hightower, June Core, and Brian Fahey.” (https://bluesmusicstore.com/bob-corritore-the-gypsy-woman-told-me/) This is a truly solid disc with fantastic material and performances. Two of the songs are Primer originals, “Little Bitty Woman” and”Walked So Long” and the rest range from songs songs like Chuck Willis’ “Keep A-Driving” and Muddy Waters’ “The Gypsy Woman Told Me” to JJ Cale’s “I Got The Same Old Blues”. Absolutely a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Click here to listen to songs on this release.

Ruthie Foster Big Band – Live At The Paramount (Blue Corn Music): Ruthie Foster offers a live concert from her home town (Austin) and she reaches out with an offering of styles and songs that demonstrates her greatest strengths: straight-forward singing focused on the lyrics and blending her soulful and churchy style with a wide selection of songs. In this set, she opens with “Brand New Day”, then acknowledges her connection to William Bell on “Might Not Be Right” (co-written with William Bell), and continues broadening the songbook including “Ring Of Fire”, “Stone Love”, and “The Ghetto”, until she closes out with “Fly Me To The Moon” and “Mack The Knife”. This is a wonderful concert from beginning to end. This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to watch “Phenomenal Woman” from the video of this performance.

Gerald McClendon – Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now (Delta Roots): “Gerald, known in Chicago as the “Soulkeeper.” One of the most reminiscent and versatile soul, R&B, singer/songwriter/performer in the recording industry. Gerald McClendon has graced the stage to sellout crowds to practically all the major entertainment venues throughout the Midwest area. In addition, his unique performance has allowed him to captivate audiences internationally in locations such as Asia and Sidney, Australia. If you love R&B Soul music, you’ll truly fall in love with Gerald McClendon and his extraordinary style of performing R&B standards such as classic soul music and sounds of Motown, Stax and Atlantic records.” (http://www.geraldmcclendon.com/bio/) I have to add that McClendon sounds like Sam Cooke more than anyone and that is mighty fine. This is the TRUTH! Gerald McClendon is the “Soulkeeper” for sure!  A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to get a taste for yourself!

Don Bryant – You Make Me Feel (Fat Possum): “If you turn your ears a certain way, You Make Me Feel (June 19, Fat Possum) by soul great Don Bryant can be heard as a love letter to his wife of 50 years, Ann Peebles. That killer horn riff that kicks off the album? Think of it as a fanfare preceding the reading of a royal decree; or maybe it’s a funky version of a wedding march. Written by Bryant and producer Scott Bomar, “Your Love Is to Blame” has the chorus of a good blues song: “Nothing in my life is the same/Your love is to blame.” But here, “blame” gets a halo. “I tried to turn this one around,” Don says with a slight grin. Then he explains, “Your love is to blame because we are together!” (https://donbryant.bandcamp.com/album/you-make-me-feel) Don Bryant is singing with authority and style throughout this set and the musicians match his style perfectly. This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.

Eli Cook – All Night Thing (C.R.8): “Eli Cook draws a line between blues-rock-grunge on new music: and it’s wicked. “I want this record to sound like John Fogerty and Billy Gibbons forced Scott Weiland to listen to Chuck Berry and Bill Haley records for a week and then had a jam session. It’s meant to be a call back to the earliest era of blues-based rock ‘n’ roll, yet undeniably influenced by the latter gods of Southern songwriting. And as always, the grunge giants that embody extreme attitude and energy because it has to have the swagger to the nines and make people move compulsively.”– Eli Cook, 2020 (https://missjillpr.com/eli-cook-hits-like-a-haymaker-with-all-night-thing/) His performances are raucous and raw but his control and fire are a special blend. Cook is a special musician who has mastered his style to teach those who haven’t experienced the hard rockin’ blues that really is the blues. Fine and intense electric blues. Mission accomplished Eli! Chuck is surely smiling. This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to the title song.

Anders Osborne – Buddha & The Blues (Back On Dumaine): “Between the potency of his richly detailed songwriting, his intensely emotional, soulful vocals and his piercing, expert guitar work, New Orleans’ Anders Osborne is a true musical treasure. He is among the most original and visionary musicians writing and performing today. Guitar Player calls him “the poet laureate of Louisiana’s fertile roots music scene.” New Orleans’ Gambit Weekly has honored Osborne as the Entertainer Of The Year. OffBeat named him the Crescent City’s Best Guitarist for the third year in a row, and the Best Songwriter for the second straight year. Osborne also won Song Of The Year for his composition, Louisiana Gold.” (https://www.andersosborne.com/about) “This is a rock & roll, singer/songwriter’s outing, one that acknowledges the influence of the Laurel Canyon scene of the ’70s and early ’80s. Osborne cut it in California with a stellar cast of session players including keyboardist Benmont Tench, guitarist Waddy Wachtel, bassist Bob Glaub, backing vocalist Windy Wagner, and drummer/producer Chad Cromwell. Strummed acoustics and slapped snares introduce opener “Alone.” Osborne delivers a lyric that expresses openness toward and acceptance of life’s wildness and contradictions. Jangling electric guitars and a Jerry Lee Lewis-styled pumping upright piano add force, and the tune becomes an anthem to joy. “Fields of Honey” borrows a lick from Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” in the intro with fingerpicked acoustics on a jazzy folk tip as Osborne delves deeper into his present tense, expressing concerns about self-centeredness, honesty, relationships, continued sobriety, and above all, gratitude. “Running” is a straight-up roots rocker fueled by ringing electric and slide guitars, soaring backing vocals from Wagner, and Osborne delivering truths as profound as any he’s expressed on earlier records.”  https://www.allmusic.com/album/buddha-and-the-blues-mw0003268203 This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Without Cracks”! Check it OUT! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Kat Riggins – Cry Out (Gulf Coast): “Inspired by the variety and abundance of music in her parents’ collection, it makes sense that her own music is peppered with hints of R&B, soul, country, gospel, hip-hop, and rock-n-roll. Make no mistake; however, Kat Riggins is undeniably a BLUES WOMAN! She travels the world with the sole mission of keeping the blues alive…. What is a “Blues Revival” anyway? According to Kat, it is a musical revolution that aims to awaken the masses and introduce them to the sincerity behind blues music. “It’s about the raw emotion in every note”, exclaims Kat Riggins as she attempts to describe her love of the genre…. She has been vocally compared to Koko Taylor, Etta James and Tina Turner to name a few. While obviously influenced by those icons, Mrs. Riggins has a voice and delivery all her own.” (https://www.katriggins.com/bio) This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Now click here and scroll down until you see a listing for “Cry Out” one song from this disc and listen to that song!

Fiona Boyes – Blues In My Heart (Blue Empress/Reference Recordings): Fiona Boyes is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her first solo recording and it is joyous affair from beginning to end! She is (was) accompanied by Kaz Dalla Rosa (harmonica), Paula Dowse (drums, percussion) and Gina Woods (piano) and she was in fine form from beginning to end! The program includes eleven original songs and five great covers including “Mean World” (Rev. Gary Davis), “Mercy” (J.B. Lenoir) and “Canned Heat” (Tommy Johnson). Absolutely terrific! This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to the songs on this release.

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters – Beyond The Blue Door (Stony Plain): “Ronnie Earl is a four-time Blues Music Award winner as “Guitar Player of the Year,” and was the hit of the most-recent Blues Music Awards show in Memphis with his show-stopping live performance of the Junior Wells classic, “In the Wee Hours.” Ronnie Earl believes in the power of music to heal the mind and spirit, and that’s quickly evident in the 15 tracks on his new disc. Special guests on the album include David Bromberg, acoustic guitar and vocals; Kim Wilson, harmonica and vocals; and Greg Piccolo, tenor sax. The core group of Broadcasters – Ronnie Earl (guitar); Dave Limina (Hammond B3 and piano); Diane Blue (vocals); Paul Kochanski (bass) and Forrest Padgett (drums)…. They are also joined by Anthony Geraci (piano); Peter Ward (guitar); Mario Perrett (tenor sax); Scott Shetler (baritone sax), Larry Luisgnan (guitar); Michael Rush (bass) and Scott MacDougal (guitar)…. This is a band album – a community of souls with some guests, new directions and some good old down home blues with Kim Wilson, David Bromberg and Greg Piccolo,” Ronnie Earl says about the new disc.” (http://www.ronnieearl.com/beyondthebluedoor.html)  Overall the music is more subdued than in the past. It has a religious tone with the blues and rock side more subdued but still evident in the playing. The road wear is somewhat evident but the passion is still at the heart. Click here to listen to an introduction to this disc.

Jack Hadley – Daybreak In Alabama: The Langston Hughes Project (Boulder County Arts Alliance): “Jack Hadley was born in the Philippines to a Filipino mother and an African-American father. His father was in the military and the family was accustomed to moving from place to place. When they returned to America he spent his childhood in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. His mother bought him an acoustic guitar at the age of twelve because she wanted to keep him busy. The family moved to Denver, Colorado, where he learned to play music by ear, playing music by everyone from Hendrix to Dylan, unaware that he was learning the foundation of American music – the blues. Jack played in a number of bands, sharpening his guitar skills and discovering his vocal talent along the way. He began performing as a solo artist and played countless shows as a hired gun. In 2005 Jack decided to focus on writing and performing his original blues-based material with his own trio, The Jack Hadley Band. That same year he was playing at a local club when he was approached by blues veteran Otis Taylor who happened to be in the audience. For the next 18 months Jack was Taylor’s lead guitarist, playing at festivals and shows all over the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. He appears on Otis Taylor’s 2007 Telarc release “Definition Of A Circle” playing lead guitar and lap steel. Notable musicians on this recording include ex-Thin Lizzy axeman Gary Moore and blues harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite…. (https://electricguitarblues.blogspot.com/2020/09/jack-hadley-daybreak-in-alabama.html) This release offers somewhat more traditional performances but is reminiscent of that style a degree. Hadley (lead & rhythm guitar, tenor guitar, vocals) is accompanied by Bill Rich (bass), Bill Larson (drums) and Rich Gibbins (jazz guitar). It’s a fascinating set and it is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to the opening song on this release.

Leyla McCalla – Vari-Colored Songs (a tribute to langston hughes) – (Smithsonian Folkways): “Leyla McCalla’s Vari-Colored Songs is a celebration of the complexity of Black culture and identity, and a tribute to the legacy of poet and thinker Langston Hughes. A songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, McCalla sets Hughes’ poems to her own spare yet profound compositions. She juxtaposes these with arrangements of folk songs from Haiti, the first independent Black nation and the homeland of her parents, tapping into the nuances of Black experience. McCalla’s music elegantly weaves Haitian influences together with American folk music, just as Hughes incorporated Black vernacular into his remarkable poetry, and the way the Haitian Kreyòl is a beacon for the survival of African identity through the brutal legacy of colonialism. This is music of reclamation, imbued with a quiet power that grapples with the immense weight of history. Vari-Colored Songs had a limited release in 2013, with the New York Times proclaiming that “[McCalla’s] magnificently transparent music holds tidings of family, memory, solitude and the inexorability of time: weighty thoughts handled with the lightest touch imaginable.” The recording is being brought to a wider audience by Smithsonian Folkways at a time when the history McCalla explores is more relevant than ever. As she states in the album’s liner notes, “The wisdom and truth that Langston Hughes continues to provide us through his prolific output inspires us to celebrate the assumedly mundane and stigmatized parts of our society. The future has always been uncertain, and it has always been up to us to push for the changes that we want to see in the world.” (https://leylamccalla.com/) This collection is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to “Song for a Dark Girl” from this release.

Sonny Green – Found! One Soul Singer (Little Village Foundation): “Robert “Sonny” Green was born in Monroe Louisiana in October, 1941. At the age of eighteen the vocalist was hired by saxophonist Big Jay McNeely who had a 1959 hit single “There is Something On Your Mind” sung by Little Sonny Warner. As Warner’s replacement Green was dubbed “Sonny” to make people think he was the original. Later, while on tour with Tyrone Davis, Green relocated to Texas, and then to Los Angeles.        In the late 1960’s and early 70’s Green recorded eight singles (a total of fifteen sides) for various labels, mostly those owned by producer Matt Hill. Hill’s biggest star was his brother Arzel, better known as Z.Z. Hill, but Green scored with 1969’s “It’s A Game”; 1971’s “If You Want Me To Keep On Loving You”; 1972’s “Don’t Write A Check With Your Mouth”, and 1974’s “I’m Just Your Man”. Throughout the years Green continued to perform. In 2014 Green shared a bill with his childhood friend and classmate Mighty Sam McClain as they were both featured performers at the 17th Blues Masters at The Crossroads concert presented by Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas. This is Green’s debut solo album produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by guitarist Kid Anderson at his Greaseland Studio. Rounding out the band are Jim Pugh, Hammond B-3; Chris Burns, piano and clavinet; Endre Tarczy, bass; and Ronnie Smith or “D’Mar” Martin, drums. The violins are played by Mariachi Mestizo. The horn section includes Mike Rinta, trombone; Mike Lewis, trumpet; and Aaron Lington, saxophones. Also guesting are saxophone soloists Terry Hanck and Gordon Beadle. Green… has been called “the greatest R n’ B talent you’ve never heard of”…! (https://www.makingascene.org/sonny-green-found-one-soul-singer/) This IS a certified Professor Bebop  “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to an original release of “If You Want Me To Keep On Loving You” performed by Green in 1969.

Dave Alvin – From An Old Guitar: Rare And Unreleased Recordings (Yep Roc): “This 16 song collection features studio performances that Dave Alvin recorded over the years for his own albums or for tribute albums but mainly they’re just things he did for the pure kicks of playing music he loves with musicians he loves and admires. The songs range from some originals to interpretations of compositions by dear friends like Peter David Case, Chris Smither and the late Bill Morrissey to tunes written by heroes like Willie Dixon, Bob Dylan, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Earl Hooker and Marty Robbins. The music ranges from acoustic blues and ballads to electric barroom blues, folk/rock and even a little country/rock. There are contributions from dearly departed comrades like Chris Gaffney, Amy Farris and Bobby Lloyd Hicks as well as from old Blasters pals like Gene Taylor along with various members of The Guilty Men/Women/Ones plus help from brilliant accompanists like Greg Leisz, Cindy Cashdollar, Bob Glaub, Don Heffington, Danny Ott, Skip Edwards, Rick Shea, Chris G Miller, Wyman Reese, Dale Spalding and David J. Carpenter.” (https://yeproc.11spot.com/dave-alvin-from-an-old-guitar-rare-and-unreleased-recordings.html) Nice variety and so great to hear Alvin’s warm vocals. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Charlie Pastorfield – Charlottesville (Self-produced): “Charlottesville legend Charlie Pastorfield shares a few tunes off Charlottesville, a 2-disc set of songs Pastorfield as recorded between 1979 and 2018 by The Skip Castro Band, The Believers, Mark Roebuck and Noonday Ruin, The Gladstones, and Mama Tried, plus songs from his solo records and a couple of covers. The package includes a 12-page booklet with photos, stories, and recording details.” (https://www.wtju.net/pastorfield/) This set offers a terrific set regulars and more difficult to find rock and blues from one of the musical kings of Charlottesville and far beyond and it is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here for a dip in your hip and then grab this treasure!

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