New Blues News – 11/18/2016

New Blues News – 11/18/2016

Rory Block – Keepin’ Outta Trouble: A Tribute To Bukka White (Stony Plain): This is Block’s sixth disc honoring a Mississippi blues legend. One would think that White would a very difficult singer / guitarist to cover, but Block’s performance succeeds so terrifically because she doesn’t try to mimic his singing but instead concentrates on his timing. Combined with her command on the guitar, the disc is at once her own quite formidable work and an acknowledgment of White’s considerable mastery. This is an exceptional disc and a terrific tribute. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any samples from this disc. Click here to listen to an earlier performance by Rory Block.   

Cee Cee James – Stripped Down & Surrendered (FWG): Cee Cee James definitely has a bent for the blues. Her raspy voice and earnest style tell tales of hurt and sadness. Her back-up is provided by Rob “Slideboy” Andrews (guitar, bass), and Dave Maloney (drums), with guest shots by Kevin Sutton Andrews (guitar on two songs) and Jeffry Morgan and Terry Nelson (keyboards). There’s a gospel tinge to James’ vocals, but with the exception of the last song, the lyrics are firmly on the earthly pleasure and pain sides. The music is melodic and straight-forward and James’ vocal style may require some getting used to. Click here to listen to  some of the songs on this disc.   

Jack Mack & The Heart Attack Horns – Back To The Shack (SSR Freeroll): The mystery on this group is who exactly is Jack Mack? That being said, who cares? You won’t after you give it a listen. I didn’t either! The sound is blue SOUL and The Heart Attack Horns make the SOUL become SOUL! The band includes Mark Campbell (vocals), Andrew Kastner (guitar), Ed Berghoff (acoustic guitar), Tony Braunagel and Les Falconer (drums), Bruce Atkinson (bass), Carlos Murguia and Mike Finnigan (keys), Les Lovitt (trumpet), Bill Bergman (sax), Lee Thornburg (trumpet, trombone), and Niki J. Crawford, Kathy Merrick, Melanie Taylor and various band members (backing vocals). All but one song is an original and the outsider was written by Carolyn Franklin. Who’s Mark Campbell? Other than the singing voice of Marty McFly on “Johnny B. Goode” in “Back To The Future”, I have no clue, but he’s still got it! Great Vocals! Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.  

Mississippi Heat – Cab Driving Man (Delmark): “Founded in 1991, Pierre Lacocque and Mississippi Heat have become a repository of traditional Chicago electric blues with an evolving cast of members and guests. Little wonder that Pierre has often felt like a sideman in his own band that has included veteran Windy City blues performers such as John Primer, Carl Weathersby, Deitra Farr, Billy Flynn, Katherine Davis, Kenny Smith, Bob Stroger and Robert Covington. Truthfully though, it’s Pierre’s singular vision and devotion to his craft as harpist, songwriter, arranger and producer that has held this dynamic blues collective together all these years in a business that is notoriously fickle.” (Website) The current band line-up includes Pierre Lacocque (harp), Inetta Visor (vocals), Michael Dotson and Giles Corey (vocals, guitar), Brian Quinn (bass), Ricky Nelson (bass on one cut), Terrence Williams and Kenny Smith (trading off on drums), and Chris “Hambone” Cameron and Sumito Ariyo (keys). Dave Specter (guitar) and Sax Gordon (sax) are special guests. All but two of the sixteen songs are originals and there is a nice variety of sounds. Click here to listen to the disc.  Then wait! It’s slow, but it will start!

Matthew Skoller – Blues Immigrant (Tongue ’n Groove): Bluesman Matthew Skoller has made his considerable mark on the harmonica. He is also a strong old style singer and wrote or co-wrote eight of the eleven songs here. Earlier disc by Skoller were hard blues, but this disc has shifted to a somewhat lighter but truly swinging style. His vocal style is a straightforward declaration of the lyrics, but without the shout I’ve heard in the past. The musicianship is terrific throughout. Skoller’s harmonica is supple with a wonderful range of sound. The rest of the players are Johnny Iguana (keys), Giles Corey and Eddie Taylor Jr (guitars), Felton Crews (bass), Marc Wilson (drums) and Carlos Johnson (lead guitar on 2 songs), Mike Avery and Stevie Robinson (backing vocals, and Brian Ritchie (shakuhachi, one song). This is one fine disc. Click here to listen to samples of each song.   


Professor Bebop


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