New Blues News – 5/4/2016

New Blues News – 5/4/2016

Eric Bibb and North Country Fair – The Happiest Man In The World (Stony Plain): Singer/songwriter, guitarist, banjo player Eric Bibb returns with another folk / blues / Americana disc of mostly original material and the help of several friends, including Danny Thompson (bass), Olli Haavisto (dobro, guitar, pedal steel); Petri Hakala (mandolin, manual, fiddle, guitar); Janne Haavista (drums, percussion); Ulrika Ponten Bibb (basking vocals); Mary Murphy (Irish whistle); and, on the final cut, Michael Jerome Browne (slide and 12-string guitar) and Pepe Ahlquist (harmonica). The entire disc just flows from one song to the next with warmth and beauty. If you are a folk fan or enjoy flowing heartfelt songs, you will definitely want to check this out! To me, this is one of Bibb’s best. Click here for a sample and introduction to this disc.  

Big Harp George – Wash My Horse In Champagne (Blues Mountain): Big Harp George Bisharat is a solid harmonica blower, a good singer and, based upon the songs on this disc, a very good songwriter. Big George mostly plays acoustic chromatic harp, a relatively rare instrument in the blues world. Major players include Paul deLay, Rod Piazza, Mark Hummel, and the late William Clarke. Unlike most of them, however, George tends to play acoustically (not blowing directly through a mic). The resulting sound is different but still quite fine. His vocals are also rather unadorned but still solid. Musical support is provided by Chris Burns (keys, backing vocals), Raja Kawar (drums, backing vocals), and Kid Andersen (guitar, bass, backing vocals) and special guests Little Charlie Baty (guitar), J Hansen (percussion, backing vocals), Loralee Christensen (vocals), and occasional horns from Michael Peloquin (sax), and Mike Rinta (trombone), and Kedar Roy (bass). Solid throughout! Click here to sample songs on this disc.   

Albert Castiglia – Big Dog (Ruf): Born in NYC, grew up in Miami, and decided super-charged blues rock was his thing. He worked as Junior Wells’ lead guitarist for two years until Wells’ death in 1998. Since then he has led his own groups. This appears to be his 9th release as a leader, the 4th of Ruf Records. Castiglia has a big voice and a fiery guitar style. He composed six of the eleven tracks on this disc. The last tune, “Somehow”,  was co-written with Cyril Neville and “Don’t Let Them Fool Ya” with co-guitarist Mike Zito. Two covers include “Drowning At The Bottom” (Luther Allison) and “What I Like About Miami” (Various). The latter is as greasy and funky as it ought to be! In addition to Mike Zito, other musical support is provided by Scot Sutherland (bass), Rob Lee (drums), and Lewis Stephens (keys) with a guest appearance by Johnny Sansone (harmonica). This disc grew on me, so you might want to listen more than once! Click here to see a performance of the title song by Castiglia and friends.   

Terrie Odabi – My Blue Soul (Blue Soul): This lady has amazing pipes, great intensity, and seemingly has created a new shade of blues: very classy (in fact, the sound is waaaaaay uptown), full of gospel touches and enough shouts and power to blow away Superman and Wonder Woman at the same time, and an array of vocal and lyrical dynamics that covers all spots! The only cover here is “Ball and Chain” and with her voice you’d expect her to go after Janis Joplin, but Odabi opts for a style that honors Big Mama Thornton while using her own  uptown style and power to share the message. You don’t have to take my word for it. Try this: “Terrie Odabi is easily the most dynamic blues and soul woman to have emerged in the Bay Area since Etta James came out of San Francisco’s Fillmore District in the Fifties. Terrie has a powerful set of pipes, writes terrific tunes, leads a kicking band, and has onstage movements that perfectly match the rhythms of her material. Surely stardom awaits her.” – Lee Hildebrand, (contributor to the *San Francisco Chronicle*, *East Bay Express*, and Living Blues Magazine) Click here to listen to samples of songs on this disc.       

Will Porter – Tick Tock Tick (Gromofono): How in the world did this disc come into reality? Well, NOLA is famous for the unexpected and the fabulous! Second disc from singer/songwriter Will Porter and it is full of the greatest from New Orleans and elsewhere: Dr. John, Leo Nocentelli, Wardell Quezergue (producer, arranger), The Womack Brothers, Bettye Lavette, and Jimmy Haslip (bass). It’s somewhat laid-back and a great homage to the greats who backed Porter. Four of the eleven songs are Porter originals, but he makes everything here his own. If you’ve ever heard the Johnny Burnette Trio do “Tear It Up” from 1956, you’ll get the full dynamic NOLA difference in what the “Big Easy” means on this disc!  It’s a wide slice of styles and really nicely done. Click here to listen to songs on this disc.        


Professor Bebop


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