New Blues News – 2/16/2021
Alabama Slim – The Parlor (Cornelius Chapel): “The story of a bluesman getting discovered late in life is one that has repeated itself a handful of times over the last few decades. There is a sadness to this story in the fact that talented musicians can toil away most of their life without having their music ever heard and appreciated by anyone outside of their immediate community. But there is also a triumph, a redemption of sorts that comes from this music finally reaching grateful listeners around the world. While visiting bluesman Little Freddie King in New Orleans, Music Maker Relief Foundation founder and president Tim Duffy met his cousin Alabama Slim, born Milton Frazier in Vance, Alabama on March 29, 1939. King and Slim often played together, with King’s scorching guitar backing Slim’s deep and smooth vocals that bring to mind the cool, flowing singing of John Lee Hooker…. In the summer of 2019, Slim and King – along with drummer Ardie Dean – finally found their way into the New Orleans studio called the Parlor. Over a span of four hours, the three musicians managed to cut an entire album, a remarkably fast time for any band let alone a group of blues elder statesmen…. The album is proof that there is no age limit to making damn fine blues, and that Alabama Slim is a force to be reckoned with.” (https://glidemagazine.com/253648/alabama-slim-talks-new-album-the-parlor-loving-the-blues-and-more-interview/) If you like the performances of John Lee Hooker, you will absolutely want to check this set out! The players are Alabama Slin (vocal, guitar), Ardie Dean (drums), Jimbo Mathus (piano, organ), and Matt Patton (bass) Little Freddie King (guitar on one song). This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on thus disc.
John Lee Hooker – Live At Montreux 1983 (Mercury Studios): “The John Lee Hooker Estate does the world’s blues fans a solid by releasing the posthumous double-live set John Lee Hooker Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990. The album drops November 6th, 2020 thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment and will be available as a 2-LP set, digital video, and digital audio. The record captures Hooker at his boogie-king best in two distinct performances at the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival in 1983 and 1990, rocking the joint with the help of The Coast To Coast Blues Band and guest appearances by the late guitarist Luther Allison and Grammy-winning harmonica star Sugar Blue. Located in Switzerland, the Montreux Jazz Festival is one of the world’s biggest and longest-running jazz festivals and hearing this lineup of blues royalty heating up its stage is a musical indulgence of the highest order. Live performance from John Lee Hooker at his absolute best! The backing band is identified as the Coast To Coast Blues Band, but individual players are but listed. They are right in the pocket throughout the set. I regret being able to include more information, but the performance is terrific! Click here to listen to “Little Girl Go Back To School”.
Nalani Rothrock – The Rock House Sessions (Jolani Music Group): Nalani Rothrock offers a new disc featuring three songs composed with guitarist Joshua Lamkin in a country pop style. Rothrock has a smooth and powerful style and Lamkin and the backing musicians, Kevin McKendree (keys), Steve Mackey (bass) and Kenneth Blevins (drums) back her perfectly. Nicole Boggs and Jonell Mosser provide backup singing. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Ally Venable – Heart Of Fire (Ruf): This is guitar slinger Ally Venable’s fourth release and she can rock with the best! She is a solid vocalist and she wrote or co-wrote all but two songs – Perry Bradford’s “Hateful Blues” and Bill Withers’ “Use Me”. Her guest players are Devon Allman and Kenny Wayne Shepherd and she pays homage to Stevie Ray Vaughan with her terrific guitar. The remaining musicians are Elijah Owings (drums) and Bobby Wallace (bass) with guest Rick Steff adding keys on one song. Click here to listen to “Bring On The Pain” with terrific exchanges between Venable and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
Ghalia Volt – One Woman Band (Ruf): “Never underestimate the power of a woman with her back to the wall. In March 2020, as Covid blew across the planet, the shutters came down on live venues and recording studios, and the music scene fell suddenly silent, Ghalia Volt faced the same dilemma as every other artist. What now? The answer was One Woman Band. Volt composed all but two of the songs and covered two older blues – Tampa Red’s “It Hurts Me Too” and Ike Turner’s “Just One More Time”. Volt sings and plays with intensity that is infectious! Click here to listen to a song on this disc.