New Blues News – 8/17/2015

New Blues News – 8/17/2015

Chris “Bad News” Barnes & The Brethren of Blues Band – (Flaming Saddles): “Chris Barnes plays his blues by planting tongue firmly in cheek, and then biting that tongue with heaping sarcasm and wit. Add in a dash of topical social commentary alongside the funky grooves and thunderous rhythmic assault and you’ve got the foundations….” of this disc (Mark Uricheck). And that’s the PG warning! This isn’t the Rev. Billy C. Wirtz, but he’s working on it (through sensitivity training)!  Some tunes are parodies of earlier hits and the rest are just parodies. Like what? “Salt Sugar and Fat” = “Shake Rattle & Roll”;  “Hungry & Horny” = “Come On”; and “Westboro Baptist News” = “Ode to Billy Joe”; “Post Op Transgender”, “90 Proof Truth” and “CIA” are just based upon Barnes’ perspective. Who are the “Brethren”? Ann Klein (guitar), Felicia Collins (guitar), Bette Sussman (keys), Lee Nodel (bass), Rich Mercurio (drums), Lew Soleff (trumpet), and Lou Marini (sax). The final four cuts are live examples of mostly non-parody/double entendres (almost)! You can explore a biblical question by clicking this link.

Smokey Greenwell’s New Orleans Blues Jam – Live At The Old U.S. Mint (Self-produced): Singer/ harp player / saxman Greenwell is a former member of “War” and has nine previous CDs to his credit.  A longtime resident of NOLA, he decided it was time for a live slice from his New Orleans Blues Jam and two guests, Mark Pentone (guitar) and Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes (accordion/vox) who contribute three of their own compositions to the proceedings.  Together with the rest of the band – Pete Bradish (drums, vox), David Hyde (bass), and Jack Kolb (guitar) – we get a presentation of NOLA blues in all of its laid back and mild funk, groovy self. Click here to check this performance out.

Buddy Guy – Born To Play Guitar (RCA): One of the last of the great Chess bluesmen, Buddy Guy continues to play vibrant rocking blues even at 79! In addition to singing and playing guitar, Guy co-wrote five of the songs on this disc. There is lots of musical support here in the persons of Tom Hambridge (drums, composing), Glenn Worf (bass), Reese Wynans and Kevin McKendree (keys) and guests Billy Gibbons, Rob McMelley, Doyle Bramhall II and Bob Britt (revolving guitars), Kim Wilson (harp) and Van Morrison and Joss Stone (vox), but it is a testimony to Guy’s art that he stands tall even in this crowd! Guy is in good voice and plays some more classically styled Chicago blues as well some great blues rock.  In fact, this may be his best overall release in several years.  Click here to listen to the title song.

Mick Kolassa – Ghosts Of The Riverside Hotel (SwingSuit): This appears to be Kolassa’s second release and he has a number of guests who help create the variety of moods that he seeks. He wrote eight of the dozen songs on offer and to my ears his originals are more successful than his adaptations, which include Hank Williams’ “Ramblin’ Man”, Randy Newman’s “Mama Told Me Not To Come” and the super oldie “One Meatball”.  The guests include Victor Wainwright (piano), Brandon Santini and Eric Hughes (harmonica), and Watermelon Slim (dobro and harmonica). The base band includes Jeff Jensen (guitar), Bill Ruffino (bass) and Robinson Bridgeforth (drums) and they do a solid job. Click here to sample the disc.

Various Artists – If I Call You Mama: A Tribute To Bluesman Luke Jordan (Catawba): This disc is a tribute to Lynchburg’s great Piedmont bluesman Luke Jordan who recorded in 1927 and 1929 on Victor Records. His recordings included “Cocaine Blues”, “Church Bell Blues” and “Pick Poor Robin Clean”.  The Sedalia Blues Society facilitated this disc recorded by a number of Virginia musicians, including the Jon Spear Band and Eli Cook, to serve a dual cause – honoring and preserving Jordan’s legacy and raising money to support “Kid’s Haven” (supporting children suffering from a loss in the family) and the UVA Pediatric Kidney Research program. The performances are great, respecting the originals while allowing the artists to create their own interpretations.  Click here to listen to samples from this disc.


Professor Bebop


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