New Blues & Gospel Adds – 10/21/2014

New Blues & Gospel Adds – 10/21/2014

New Blues:

Devon Allman – Ragged & Dirty (Ruf) : Greg’s son and much of the soundscape and voice is similar, but if you like Southern rock/blues even some, this is a great disc.  Allman plays guitar and sings with command. He also wrote five of the dozen songs on offer.  Musical support comes from Tom Hambridge (d), Giles Cory (g), Felton Crews (b), and Marty Sammon (keys).  The material is not ground-breaking like the earlier work of Derek Trucks, but there is strong playing by everyone throughout.   Though not on this disc click here for a live performance of original music.

Billy Boy Arnold – The Blues Soul Of Billy Boy Arnold (Stony Plain) : Here’s a great treat: 79 year old Billy Boy Arnold (Bo Diddley’s harp player in the 50’s as well as lead on several hits of his own) with backing by Duke Robillard and band (Bruce Bears – keys, Brad Hellan – bass, Mark Teixeira – drums, Rich Lataille and Mark Ealey – saxes, and Doug Woolverton – trumpet) and the fit is perfect!  Arnold’s voice is raspy and somewhat laid back, but very effective and his harp playing is the straightforward and “on target” style he has always had.  It is quite effective without being busy.  He contributed 3 songs (What’s On The Menu Mama, Dance For Me Baby, and Keep On Rubbing) and is right at home on songs by Mack Rice, Don Bryant, Joe Tex, BB King, even by Oscar Brown, Jr.  Robillard and band are dead on in support – inspired.  Here’s a live performance with Billy Boy and Duke Robillard (and Anson Funderburgh) from about a year ago.

Marcia Ball – The Tattooed Lady and The Alligator Man (Alligator) : Veteran Ball has been tickling the ivories in a N’awlins’-influenced, rockin’ boogie style since the late 70’s and she is still the life of the party and sounding great.  In fact, the experience edges in her voice add to her authenticity and the boogies are still her greatest forte.  She wrote or co-wrote all but one song (Hank Ballard’s He’s The One) and her band – Don Bennett (b), Damien Llanes (d), Michael Schermer (g), and Thad Scott (sax) – are tight and solid.  Guest spots by Terrance Simien (v, accordion), Delbert McClinton (harp), and Red Young (B-3) adds additional spice to this gumbo.  Click here for a live version of a song on this release (“Hot Springs”).

Ingrid Gerdes – High Priestess (self-produced): Gerdes’ music exists in a zone that incorporates a blend of soul, country, and pop with a touch of blues.  Her background includes study in opera, followed by a stint at Berklee College of Music.  This is her third release and she composed all of the material on this disc.  Themes are mostly about relationships and Gerdes’ commitment to making her own way as a woman in charge.  Her bio compares her to Dusty Springfield (think Dusty In Memphis) and that is an apt description.  Musical support is provided by Milt Reder (g, formerly with Barrence Whitfield and Susan Tedeschi), Duke Robillard’s rhythm section: Brad Hallen (b) and Mark Teixeira (d), and Aaron Lipp (organ, lap steel).  Click here for videos of Ingrid Gerdes, including the title song from this disc.

Rufus Thomas – Rufus Live! (Ecko):  There was no better way to experience Rufus Thomas than in live performance.  This particular performance was recorded in Atlanta in 1996 as part of the Olympic Cultural Olympiad, where he performed three times.  His recording career began at Sun, where he scored their first hit (Bear Cat – an answer to the original Hound Dog in 1953) only to do the same for STAX, his new label in 1960 (“Cause I Love You” billed with his daughter as Rufus and Carla).  He covers a lot of ground here: “Walking the Dog” to open, a blues (Big Fine Hunk of Woman), a soul interpretation, including a soul sermon guaranteed to move your spirit, of Merle Haggard’s Today I Started Loving You Again, then a classic blues shout (Somebody’s Got To Go) and 17 minutes  of The Funky Chicken!  If that’s not enough, you will just have to press start again, but advised that it never was nor will be easy to keep pace with the “World’s Oldest Teenager”.  The band is just right as well.  How crazy cool to have been there!  Well, this is as close as we can get, but that’s mighty fine!  A truly certified “Professor Bebop Wax – Devoid of Cracks”!  Click here for a live sample of an earlier performance.  Watch til the end for hot scatting.  Notice the lead saxman?

New Gospel Adds:

Family Of Praise – Just The Beginning (self-produced) :  Richmond’s Family of Praise is full of spirit, joy and fire!  This set starts with the modern soul sound of “Hold On”  with lots of call and response between leader Cheryl Maroney-Beaver and the remaining singers (alto Nicole Hines; alto/tenor Robinette Cross; and sopranos Belinda White-Johnson and Rene Banks) which is quickly followed by the earthier “Kingdom”.  At this point, the listener realizes that the instrumental support is provided by Jamarr “Maestro” on keys and Trevelle “Sherbert” Harris on percussion.  They reach a fever pitch on “God’s Got It” and the final song of the disc which is not only a terrific finale but truly deserves its title: “WELL DONE”!


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