Blues Review 3-28-23

GA-20 – Live in Loveland (Karma Chief) – GA-20 is one of the newest rock-blues bands around (formed 2017) but they have been getting some great reviews for their first two albums, Crackdown and GA-20 does Hound Dog Taylor. This Boston based Trio of two guitars and drums (Pat Faherty – vocals & guitar, Matthew Stubbs – guitar and Tim Carman – drums) can really put out a lot of sound for a 3 piece blues band. Matt Stubbs has toured for 14 years with the Charlie Musselwhite Band and has shared the stage with James Cotton and John Hammond to just name a few. They have been on the number #1 position Billboard Music Charts. They kind of remind me of a mix of Blues and Rockabilly and early 60’s Rock and Roll, but they are super talented musicians and play a great mix of vintage guitars getting them on the cover of Vintage Guitar Magazine! This new album was recorded live directly into 1/4″ reel to reel tape. Such a raw sound of originals and covers. They start out the album covering Harold Burrages’ “I Cry For You”, before jumping all over Little Walter’s obscure gem “My Baby’s Sweeter”. Pat Faherty’s voice is perfect for creating this real old school sound that GA-20 holds onto. Their originals are refreshing and snappy including “Double Gettin'” and “By My Lonesome”. Keep an eye on GA-20 (I am guessing this band name came from the famous tube amp put out by Gibson in the 60’s) they will be on the scene for a long time with this unforgettable sound and talent. I think my favorite from this album is “Lonely Soul”. Listen Here. This gets the 9 in blues content and a 9 on music content.

John Primer – Teardrops for Magic Slim (Blue House Record) – John Primer, 78 year old electric blues singer and guitarist who played behind Junior Wells in the house band at Theresa’s Lounge and as a member of the bands of Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters and Magic Slim before heading out on his own and making destiny of a full fledge Bluesman! The Two Time Grammy Nominated Musician has proved his place in Blues History and who would be better to put out a tribute album of Magic Slim’s favorite music to gig to. Although all of these songs were covers for Magic Slim except for one (Trouble Of My Own), these were the staples for Magic Slim setlists to wow his audiences. This CD, John starts off with a cover of one of the best blues writers JB Lenoir’s song “Mama Talk to Your Daughter” followed by Jimmy Dawkins’ “Luv Sumbody”. Great classics written by Willie Dixon, Milton Campbell and Elmore James are throughout this album that was recorded live at the famous Rosa’s Lounge. This is the real blues done by a real Bluesman, I think my favorite song on this CD is Elmore James cover “Look Over yonder Wall” Listen Here. I will give this a 10 in blues content and a 9 on music content.

Mike Zito & Albert Castiglia – Blood Brothers (Gulf Coast Records) – Mike Zito and Albert Castiglia are both amazing musicians and true guitar slingers. Mike Zito won the 2022 Blues Music Award for “Blues Rock Album;” and Albert Castiglia won the BMA for “Blues Rock Artist.” Both have had a very successful career but since they were both on the Gulf Coast Records it was only natural that they did an album together, Blood Brothers. With Joe Bonamassa producing this newest CD, it has the polished work of musical veterans. With a core group of Mike Zito -vocals/guitar, Albert Castiglia – vocals/guitar, Douglas Byrkit – Bass, Mathew Johnson – Drums, Ephraim Lowell – Drumss and Lewis Stephens – Piano/Organ, they also included another 11 musicians sprinkled from song to song to add the musical genius of this CD, Including Joe Bonamassa on guitar in ” A Thousand Heartaches”. Lots of great guitar rocking songs with wonderful leads as with the first 3 songs on the album. Then the duo comes up with a nice story telling blues song with “Fool Never Learns”. ” A Thousand Heartaches” is a country based song with wonderful vocals. “You’re Gonna Burn” is a slow blues song with blistering leads through out!! The CD has a nice variety of Blues and Country and even a singer/songwriter song “One Set Ahead of the Blues” at the end. Lots of great music, but I think my favorite is “Hill Country Jam” (although I was hoping for North Mississippi like tune), Listen Here. I will give this an 8 in blues content and a 9 on music content.

Clarence “Bluesman” Davis – Shake It For Me (Music Maker) – As with many of the Music Maker Foundation musician, Clarence Davis is the real deal that live the real Bluesman’s life. Starting life in very rural Alabama in the 40’s, Davis started playing guitar at the age of 12 years old. By 19 he was playing Juke Joints and started traveling. He is now 78 years old and still going strong. Typically plays electric guitar and sometimes misses licks and chords but that is what make’s it so real and often goes as a one man band with his percussive foot drums to keep time and fill out his sound. Clarence reminds me a lot of Snooks Eaglin or Jessie Fuller. Lots of great covers done by so many great bluesman from the past like Howlin’ Wolf’s “Shake It For Me” or Clarences cover of “Good Morning Little School Girl”. Just a legitimate old school Blues album done by the real deal. This sounds like it could have been released in the 50’s or the 60’s. Every song is a masterclass in country blues!! I think my favorite is the Mississippi Fred McDowell “Shake ‘Em On Down”, listen here. I will give this a 10 in blues content and a 10 on music content.

Various – Unbroken Melodies (Plut Records) – Ok, this is a very special local Soul album saved from the vaults. Many of these songs never saw the light of day and some only released in small batches. Lenis Guess was a musician and right in the middle of the Soul music in Virginia during the 60’s and 70’s. Lenis also had a music studio and that is were all these wonderful recordings came from. Saved and published by Plut Records and it is my first LP for review!! And it really needs to be listened to on a HiFi record player, I hope someone puts this to digital just for easy access!! This record comes with a nice pamphlet with lots of great photo’s of the bands from back in the day, definitely check that out!! Lenis and these bands from Norfolk and Portsmouth created the “Norfolk Sound”. Bands like Lenis Guess & The Royal Robins, Little Wirk & Eddie’s 25th Century Band, the Deltones LTD and the Symbolics. The Symbolics, orginally name the Jason Five, really sound like a rough Jackson 5. Check out “Home Ain’t Home” sounds just like Michael singing! It’s hard to find these recordings in their entirety yet, but here is a site that you can hear 15-20 seconds or so of each song, Listen Here. I will give this a 5 in blues content and a 10+ on music content just because it is local and a part of history.

Reviews done by Juke Jackson, so don’t blame the station!!!

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