New Blues News – 3/2/2018
Bernard Allison – Let It Go (Ruf): Bernard Allison (guitar, vocal, B-3) is back with a new collection of songs and styles mostly in the blues rock vein, but unlike many blues rock releases, the sonic level is quite varied between some slamming pieces and some rather laid back but solidly blue numbers. Styles shift as well from solid rocking blues to smooth club style to blue pop like Brook Benton’s 1960 hit “Kiddio” to an acoustic closing original song. Ten of the twelve songs on the disc are originals. Backing musicians are John T. McGhee (rhythm guitar), George Made (bass), Mario Dawson (drums, percussion, backing vocal) and a guest sax from Jose Ned James on “Kiddeo”. I listened to this disc several times and have found that it grew on me with each repeated listen. There is a lot of fine craft here but it is often not what we hear as “standard” blues or blues rock these days. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Homesick James – The Sensational Recordings: Shake Your Money Maker (Wolf): These recordings were mostly made in Austria in late 1979 and 1980 from live performances. The final five were recorded in July, 1975 in Chicago. The first four are solo with an electric guitar (1980), followed by eight on which James is accompanied by Snooky Pryor (harmonica) and Hans Dujmit (guitar) and a drummer added on one song, with James closing out on acoustic guitar and vocal on the last four songs. This is the real, hard cut blues the likes of which were classified as the electric Chicago blues or classic electric blues. The performances are without frills but have plenty of power. This release is an essential performance! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Vance Kelly – How Can I Miss You, When You Won’t Leave (Wolf): This is soul blues singer / songwriter Vance Kelly’s fifth release since 1994 and his second in the 2000’s. He composed all of the songs and is the lead singer on all vocals. He also plays guitar. His back-up group includes Ethel Reed (vocals), Stan Mixons (bass), Gary Salomon and Charles Kimble (saxes), John Walls (keyboards), Johnny Cotton (trombone) and De Shun Burns (drums, bass). Kelly has a full voice which suits his soul songs very well. There is a fair amount of variety in the material and most of it seems to encourage dancing. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Laurie Morvan – Gravity (Self-produced): Singer/songwriter/guitarist Laurie Morvan offers her sixth release. It features a dozen original blues songs and a terrific crew of musicians backing her up: Bob Glaub (bass), Tony Braunagel (drums, percussion), Mike Finnigan and Jim Pugh trading off on keyboards and Barry Goldberg sits in on piano on one song as well. Morvan has grit and a slightly raspy voice and talky style that may require a bit of getting used to, but she plays guitar with fire and authority. Overall it’s a unique style, but it does draw the listener in. Instrumentally, the disc is killer from beginning to end. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Danielle Nicole – Cry No More (Concord): This is bass player/vocalist/songwriter Danielle Nicole’s third release and she is in great form. She wrote nine of the twelve songs on the disc and she lights them up with her large and expressive voice. Nicole is a bombastic singer, but she is not a screamer. Her style sweeps the listener into the passion and perspective of each song. She also carries both electric and acoustic songs with command and she is a solid bass player. The backing players add quite a lot as well. The list is substantial: Johnny Lee Schell, Nick Schnebeler, Walter Trout, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Monster Mike Welch, Brandon Miller and Luther Dickinson share guitar duties; Mike Sedovic, Mike Finnigan, and Kelly Finnigan cover the organ; and Tony Braunagel commands the drums. Maxanne Lewis and Kudison Kai add background vocals to a few songs. Even with all these great players around, Nicole is clearly the main star here. Nothing else needs to be said here, except this is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Click here to listen to the title song and then go get this disc!