New Blues News – 8/18/2016

New Blues News – 8/18/2016

Gonzalo Bergara – Zalo’s Blues (Self-produced): Gonzalo Bergara has one of those guitar styles that clearly explains why people often refer to their guitars as their axes. He really swings as well. Charlie Baty, (formerly of Little Charlie & The Nightcats), adds in his liner notes that prior to Bergara’s transformation as a blues guitarist, he was was blowing the gypsy jazz crowds away! His vocals have an edge similar to his blues guitar style, though not as flashy. Bergara is supported by Mariano D’Andrea (bass) and Maximiliano Bergara (drums) on all but one song on which they are replaced byVince Bilbro and Michael Partlow. Did I mention that Bergara wrote all but one of the songs, as well? Blues and blues rock fans are going to want to check this disc out. Click here for a sample song.  … or click here to listen to samples of all of the songs on this disc. 

David “Honeyboy” Edwards – I’m Gonna Tell You Somethin’ That I Know (Pro Sho Bidness): David “Honeyboy” Edwards was the last of the original traveling Delta blues singers / musicians. This live performance was recorded a year before he passed away in 2011. Edwards was 95 and in poor health at the time, but he certainly gave it his best. He does play guitar and sing and has backup provided by Jeff Dale (guitar) with Michael Frank (harmonica) on the early songs and later were joined by the South Woodlawners (Darryl Lieberstein – bass; Geoff Mohan – harmonica; and Chuck Pardee – drums). The musical support was respectful and Honeyboy clearly had a good time, though far past his prime. This audio and video set is a tribute to the last of the first generation of traveling Delta bluesmen and can mostly be appreciated in that light. Click here to listen to one or more songs from this disc.

Smoky Greenwell – South Louisiana Blues (Greenwell): Smoky Greenwell (harmonica, vocals, songwriter) has been living and performing in NOLA since 1981. This particular project involved only musicians with a deep connection to south Louisiana. Greenwell’s harmonica is truly his forte and his voice has vintage Big Easy written all over it – the lack of urgency has virtually nothing to do with the music’s importance. Supporting musicians include  Jack Kolb (guitar), David Hyde (bass), Doug Belote, Willie Pankar and Pete Bradish (sharing drums), Joe Krown (piano, B 3), Johnny Neal (piano), and Lynn Drury and Dana Abbott (backing vocals). Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Doug MacLeod – Live In Europe (Under The Radar): This new disc is a live recording from 2006 while MacLeod was performing in Holland. MacLeod felt at the time that his vocals were not strong enough for a release, but he was persuaded to listen to it again with emphasis on the guitar. I’d add that the stories are quite valuable and entertaining as well. Blues fans, especially folk blues fans, check this out. You’ll be glad you did. Click here and scroll down to select “Bad Magic”, “Long Time Road” and “Masters Plan”, each of which are on this disc.

Jj Thames – Raw Sugar (DeChamp): Formerly “JJ” Thames (pronounced “Timms”) has had several significant roadblocks to overcome in her quest to become an accomplished soul blues singer. She’s the mother of three children, one of whom died in 2006 from a rare strain of lymphoma at age two. She’s been a subway singer in NYC when she needed extra income. Her luck did change, however, when family and friends helped her move back down to Mississippi where she had begun her professional career. She was signed with DeChamp Records and where her first recording and album was produced by Grady Champion and Carole DeAngelis. That disc, “Tell You What I Know”, was released to early critical acclaim in the spring of 2014. Now she’s recording at the Malaco Recording Studio with Grady Champion and producer/guitarist Eddie Cotton Jr (another promising blues star) and,with enough exposure, this disc should absolutely be her breakout recording. Thames sings in a variety of styles from gospel to soul to blues to pop and she is in full command. The opening song is gospel and features Joe Seamons (guitar, vocals) and Ben Hunter (mandolin, vocals), while the back-up for the remainder of the disc includes Cotton, Darryl Sanford (keys, flute), John “Lanky” Blackmon (drums, sequencing), Anthony Daniels (bass), Kimble Funchess (trumpet), Jessie Primer III (tenor, bari sax), and Robert Lamkin (trombone). A “Certified Professor Bebop Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Unfortunately, the new disc will not be officially released until August 26, so I am unable to find any samples from it. Click here to listen to the title song from her previous disc.

Professor Bebop


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