New Blues News – 2/2/2016

New Blues News – 2/2/2016

Dennis Jones – Both Sides Of The Track (Blue Rock): This is Jones’ fifth release as a leader, having previously backed up bluesman Zac Harmon. Jones’ guitar style is most heavily influenced by Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Albert and BB King, though the Hendrix/Page strains are most obvious on this disc. The group is basically a trio featuring Dale Black (bass) and Raymond Johnson (drums) in support of Jones’ solid vocals and guitar. Other contributing musicians are Jimmy Z (sax, harmonica), Teddy Zigzag (B3), Michael Turner (drums) and Samuel Correa (bass). Song themes range from social/political commentary, philosophizing about life, to more standard fare about the ups and downs of love. Click here to sample songs on this disc.

Anni Piper – More Guitars Than Friends (Sugar Daddy): Piper is the singer/bassist of this club-style trio that includes Dave Kury (guitar) and Frank Hetzler (drums). Seven of the ten songs on offer are originals such as “Wonder Woman” and “Paper Bag” whose lyrics often rely upon plays on words. For example, “Wonder Woman” uses references to the super heroine while transforming the singer into “a wonder woman – I wonder what I saw in you?” The group is a tight combo that plays straightforward, uncomplicated, but effective instrumentals. Click here to listen to a sample song from this disc.

Johnny Rawls – Tiger In A Cage (Catfood): Veteran soul blues singer Johnny Rawls offers a new sample of his uptown and smooth sound with nine originals and three interesting covers. His band includes Johnny McGhee (guitar), Bob Trenchard (bass), Ricky Puga (drums), Dan Ferguson (keys), Andy Roman (alto, tenor sax), Mike Middleton (trumpet), Robert Claiborne (trombone) and Nick Flood (bari sax) with occasional strings and backup vocals by The Iveys. The majority of the material is about relationships. The sound is hightone and “easy” but that doesn’t mean without substance. The opening song, “Tiger In A Cage” is a strong social commentary on the legal and economic plight facing young black men. The addition of vocalist Eden Brent on “Southern Honey” is another highlight. Rawls also pays homage to Sam Cooke (“Having A Party”) and Jackie Wilson (“Your Love Is Lifting Me – Higher And Higher”). Fans of polished uptown soul blues will definitely find something to like on this disc. Click here, scroll down and click the listen link next to “Tiger In A Cage” to hear this terrific song. It takes a while to load, but it’s worth the wait!

The Record Company – Give It Back To You (Concord): This LA (Los Angeles)-based trio creates a hybrid of Mississippi Hill country blues and rock & roll. It is stripped down and, at times, pretty intense, but the rock & roll has the upper hand. Is that a problem? Not necessarily, unless you’re a purist. They remind me of JJ Grey and Mofro only edgier and without their soul/funk and while they do have their own sound and style, there’s a hint or more of early Rolling Stones in the performances. At the same time, there are polished sounds from time to time that remind you there’s a little pop in most rock & roll.  Who are they? Chris Vos (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Alex Stiff (bass, guitar, vocals), and Marc Cazorla (drums, piano, vocals). When they are “ON”, they are compelling and hot! If you like music with spare instrumentation and the directness a trio can offer, give them a listen.  Click here to listen to the opening cut on this disc.

Kelly Richey – Shakedown Soul (Sweet Lucy): Blue Rocker Kelly Richey has been in the business for 35 years and this is her 16th recording. Her press release describes this disc as “…an unprecedented mix of urban/indie in-your-face, raucous rock n roll (sic), blues, funky bass grooves, and synthesized electronica – complete withDJ scratching and drum loops….” On top of that, her guitar playing is raunchy and powerful enough to take out a row of amplifiers and her vocals are so intense they could certainly take out a few windows.  Her band consists of Rikk Manning on bass and Tobe “Tobotius” Donohue on drums and sequencing, scratching, and other effects, with an occasional visit by Lee Carroll on keys. The music is blue, but mostly it’s HARD ROCK with a tint, with the exception of the final song which is acoustic.  Click here to listen to a sample song from this disc.


Professor Bebop


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