New Blues News – 10/9/2019
Toronzo Cannon and The Chicago Way – The Preacher, The Politician or The Pimp (Alligator): Singer / guitarist Toronzo Cannon breaks out the door right from the beginning of this disc with a strong notice that this IS a BLUES disc! He’s backed up by Roosevelt Purifoy (piano, organ), Marvin Little (bass) and Melvin “Pooky Styx” Carlisle (drums) with a few guests including Nora Jean (vocal on one song), Billy Branch (harmonica on one song), Joanna Connor (slide guitar one song) and Joe Clark (trumpet), Mark Hiebert (bari sax) and Chris Shuttleworth (trombone) on one song. This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc. Scroll way down.
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – Contemporary (Alligator): Rick Estrin (harmonica, lead vocals) has really pulled enough fun and wisdom together that makes it hard to believe these are the blues just because this disc is as far on the up side as it can get! Estrin wrote or co-wrote nine of the twelve songs on this release in his finest style. His back-up players are Lorenzo Farrell who also wrote one of the songs and plays organ and piano, Kid Andersen (guitar, bass, percussion, moog, synth, drum machine, and singing backup) and Derrick D’Mar Martin (drums and a bit of rap) with guests Alex Pettersen (drums), Quantae Johnson (bass, backing vocal), Lisa Leuschner (backing vocal), Jim Pugh (organ on 1 song) and the Sons of Soul Revivers (background vocals on 2 songs). Just grimace, grin and shake your head! Killer harmonica and guitar! This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to check out a song from this disc.
Bruce Katz – Solo Ride (American Showplace Music): Bruce Katz takes a solo ride that would surely cause many a pianist to start all over again. Katz has taught, backed up numerous musicians on records and live gigs and created a major reputation for his chops. Ten original songs that reflect his versatility and chops. Click here to listen to the opening song on this disc.
Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Brighter Days (Provogue): Robert Randolph returns with his blazing steel guitar, eight original compositions and a new take on Pops Staples’ “Simple Man” and Homer Banks and Raymond Jackson’s “I’m Living Off The Love You Give”. The vocal backing is terrific and a slightly more controlled Randolph doesn’t quite live up to his live playing, but this is a solid set. Marcus Randolph (drums), Dave Cobb (guitar), Danyel Morgan (bass) and Philip Towns (keys) hold down the center and there is a terrific round robin of top rank, soulful singing. Click here for advice that can burn the house down.
Jon Spear – Dusty Streets (Self-produced): Jon Spear shifts from blues to country with a folk center. The main example is “Cremation Of Sam McGee” a poem by Robert W. Service. Spear seems quite at home throughout and everything flows right along. Backing musicians include Jennifer Dodge (vocal – 1 song), Jay Jessup (pedal steel 1 song), Matty Metcalfe (piano, 1 song), Dara James (harmonica, dobro), John Stubblefield (drums), Andy Burdetsky (bass) and one song welcomes the “Surreal Banditos Bluegrass Band. It clearly seems a good time was had by all! Click here to listen to the opening song.