New Blues News – 4/14/2015
New Blues Adds:
Slam Allen – Feel These Blues (American Showplace Music): Veteran blues singer / guitarist / songwriter Allen performs with his own band on this disc after eight years serving as guitarist and vocalist of the James Cotton Blues Band. Allen’s guitar covers many styles with ease and he has a solid and pleasant voice. The remainder of the band includes Jeff Anderson (b), John Ginty (keys) and Dan Fadel (d). The music is tight and often smooth including blues, soul and elements of rock. Allen wrote all but one song (“Purple Rain”) and everything seems to fit the blend, with Allen’s guitar as the highlight. Click here for a live sample. Note: This song is not on this disc.
Barbara Blue – Memphis Blue: Sweet, Strong, & Tight (self-produced): Blue is billed as the “Queen of the Beale Street Blues” and she may sound royal on the street, but on this disc her vocals are sadly ordinary. The songs themselves mostly have potential and the band is straight forward and provides solid support that sounds even better when the brass joins in. The guests, including Bobby Rush and Ronnie Earl on three tracks each, provide a real lift to those performances as well. In fact, one can imagine that this could be a fun live show, especially after a few trips to the bar. It seems mostly likely to be a souvenir disc (though she has recorded several others) and I would suggest previewing before playing or buying. Click here for a sample performance. Note: This song is not on this disc.
Eight O’Five Jive – Too Many Men (Red Rudy Too Tunes): Remember the New Swing revival from the ‘90s? Eight O’Five Jive certainly has one foot in that zone while the other is firmly placed in early 50’s R’n’B – but with an uptown jazzy feel to the all of the proceedings. The group includes Patrick Mosser (sax), Duane Spencer (d), Andy Scheinman (g), Lee Shropshire (vox), and Bill Bois (b). Shropshire sounds like 40’s thrushes Julia Lee, Mabel Scott, and Ella Mae Morse whose sensibilities were more related to swing and jazz than blues and the musicians play from the small group swing (not jivey) style as well. If you’re familiar with the originals, some style adjustment is necessary, but it’s absolutely worth it. The group doesn’t pump it up with the “rock sock”, but they do swing on their originals as well as on original songs associated with Ruth Brown, Big Maybelle or Big Jay McNeely. Click here for a live performance of a song on this disc.
Tomislav Goluban – Blow Junkie (Menart/Spona): 7th release from veteran blues harp player / singer / songwriter Goluban from Croatia and part of a growing community of blues musicians from around the world. The style on this disc is straight ahead blues or blues rock. Goluban is an accomplished harp player and his group (Lovro Sicel on guitar, Aleksandar Vesic on bass, and Nebojsa Buhin on drums) is a tight outfit. Don’t expect the flamboyant style many blues rock groups present however. These guys have plenty of chops, but don’t indulge in histrionics. Sicel’s slide guitar stands out particularly. Goluban sings in English and his accent takes a little getting used to, but this is a strong outing. Click here for a sample of a song from the disc.
Beth Hart – Better Than Home (Provogue): Highly produced blue country soul from singer/songwriter Hart. Hart has a full-bodied, stylized voice with a touch of southern accent and soul. I’m distantly reminded of the production approach used with Dusty Springfield, though Hart has a more expansive voice and the production itself reflects today’s high tech. Musical support comes from Larry Campbell (g), Zev Katz (b), Charlie Drayton (d), Rob Mathes (keys) and brass from Jeff Kievit, Aaron Heick, Andy Snitzer and Mike Davis and uncredited strings. The high production values mix with many of the songs so that a pop sound dominates. Click here for a performance of a song on this disc.
Nancy Wright – Putting Down Roots (Direct Hit): Saxophonist (composer/singer) Nancy Wright showcases her talents on this, her third cd as leader. She has years of studio and band credits working behind a long list of greats, including John Lee Hooker, Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, B.B. King and Joe Louis Walker among others and she is a terrific player. She is supported on this disc by Tony Lufrano (keys), Anthony Paule (g), Paul Olguin (b), and Paul Revelli (d), with Kid Andersen (g) guesting on several tracks. The instrumentals, like “Funkin’ It Up” and “Boogie For JL”, really steal the show but Wright does have a pleasant and effective voice. Truthfully, her singing is not as sensational as her playing. She is clearly in TOTAL command of her instrument, while her vocals sound a bit uncertain. The disc has variety and some great moments. Definitely worth a listen! Click here for a live performance of a song from this disc.