New Blues Adds – 12/9/2014

New Blues News – 12/9/2014

Donald Ray Jackson – These Blues: The Best of Donald Ray Johnson (Mar Vista): This is a career survey of the music of drummer/singer Jackson, a long-time blues and soul performer who was a member of “ A Taste of Honey”,  the first Grammy-winning black group. He also worked frequently with bluesman Phillip Walker, whose stylistic influence is striking (Jackson covers “Working Girl Blues” on this disc).  Jackson is most effective on mid tempo shuffles that allow him to swing and showcase his mellow vocals.  He wrote nine of the thirteen songs on this disc.  The sound is rather mellow, but does carry a nice groove. For those not familiar with the Phillip Walker sound, note that the most effective covers on this disc are “Ain’t No Fun To Me” (Al Green) and “Last Two Dollars” (a hit for Johnny Taylor).  If you like the “after hours” blues sound with more than a shade of the soulful,laid back, uptown sound, check this disc out.  Sly and beamy, if you catch my drift.  Click here for a live performance from earlier this year.

Willie May – Shaken Tree Blues (self-produced): Fifteenth release from blues guitarist-bassist-singer-song-writer May, featuring a wide variety of original blues or blues-related styles.   Willie’s voice shows its mileage, but is still effective and many of the songs would go over especially well live.  Whether electric or acoustic, there is an engaging good time feel (even if it’s a poor unlucky “me” number).  There are several “guest” musicians dropping in for different songs, adding to this set’s variety.

No Refund Band – Current State Of Blue (self-produced): Do you like that uptown, soulful, jazzy, sometimes funky as you want to be blues?  Well, you pay your dues and this IS the No Refund Band, but have no fear!  These guys are hip for sure and there’s no country to be found here. Fans of the old Roomful of Blues or Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters will definitely find a reason to pin your ears on this sound.  Featuring Ricky Jackson (vox, lead guitar), founder Mike Crownover (guitar), Rik Robertson (bass, box), Jim Brady (horns, vox), and Anthony Terry (sax) and a short list of guests (they’re bound to settle on one drummer sometime!), the sound is smooth and hip. A big tip of my top to this disc!  You pay your money And remember this is the No Refund Band, but the only “re” you’re going to want is “…play”!  Nine of twelve are originals and that is great news for the future.  You absolutely SHOULD check this out if the style sounds interesting.  Click here for a live performance from October of this year.

Rob Paparozzi & The Ed Palermo Big Band- Electric Butter – A Big Band Tribute to Paul Butterfield and Michael Bloomfield (self-produced):  A well-deserved, well-crafted and heart-warming tribute to Butterfield, Bloomfield and their great bands of the 60’s and early 70s: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and The Electric Flag.  The arrangements include essential aspects of the original recordings and styles of these great artists, while also avoiding being strict copies.  Paparozzi’s harp tone and style is an amazing labor of love and the blend of “old friends” Mark Naftalin (keys), Harvey Brooks (b), Steve Cropper (g) with the big band makes this performance all the more special. They wisely avoid remakes of “Born In Chicago” and “East West” and if you don’t know / have the originals in your personal collection, fix that immediately!  Click here for a sample and video about this recording.



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