New Blues News – 9/13/2016

New Blues News – 9/13/2016

The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Strong Like That (Severn): Kim Wilson and the Fabulous Thunderbirds are currently among the most senior and active blues bands in the US or wherever else they travel. This outing is a bit laid back and very soulful. The tone is set from the opening cover of the Temptations’ “(I Know) I’m Losing You”. This is a smooth and laid back funky gem. In addition to Wilson’s vocals and harp, the Thunderbirds include Johnny Moeller (guitar), Kevin Anker (keys), Steve Gomes (bass) and Robb Stupka (drums) and guests Anson Funderburgh (guitar), Roosevelt Collier (steel guitar), Wes Watkins (drums) and Sara Mia, Christal Rheams and Caleb Green (backing vocals). Wilson wrote two songs, Gomes the title tune, and the rest are soulful gems selected by the group. It is quite infectious. Real smooth and groovy. A Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Click here to listen to the opening track.

Brian Langlinais – Right Hand Road (Patoutville): Singer / songwriter / guitarist Brian Langlinais has a nice blues-based NOLA sound in much of his work on this disc. He has a solid, somewhat talky singing voice and he truly seems to be having a good time, whether folksy or electric. There are a number of supporting musicians on the disc, including Patterson Barrett (keys, mandolin, backing vocals); Bryan Brigand and Lynn Williams (drums); Tony Dangle, D.L. Duncan and James Pennebaker (guitar, resonator, lap steel, backing vocals); Ron Eoff (bass); and an occasional horn section. The disc has that wonderful laid back and groovy sound that makes you feel good. Click here and look to the bottom of the screen to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.

Kenny Neal – Bloodline (Cleopatra Blues): Louisiana bluesman Kenny Neal released his first LP in 1987 and has been going strong since then. He sings and plays guitar and harmonica and wrote the vast majority of the songs on this disc. His voice has picked up a raspy quality which adds a nice “seen the hard times” quality to his singing and his playing is as solid as ever. The supporting players include Tom Cambridge (drums, backing vocals), Bob Britt (guitar), Tommy MacDonald and Noel Neal (bass), Lucky Peterson, Kevin McKendree, and John Lancaster (keys), Steve Dawson (Weissenborn guitar), seven members of the Neal family (backing vocals), Quentin Ware (trumpet), Billy Huber (trombone), and Tyler Summers and Dana Robbins (saxes). To my ears, this is one of the best recordings he has made. Click here to listen to Neal’s tribute to BB King (the final song on the disc).

New Orleans Suspects – Kaleidoscoped (Self-produced): The New Orleans Suspects came together as a pickup band in 2009 and have continued to grow ever since. Band members include Jake Eckert (guitar, vocal, formerly with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band), “Mean” Willie Green (drums and formerly with the Neville Brothers from 1980’s on), C.R. Gruver (keys, vocal formerly with Leo Nocentelli), Reggie Scanlan (bass and formerly with the Radiators), and Jeff Watkins (sax, vocal, formerly with James Brown). Then there are the guest musicians: Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett (formerly Little Feat), Lee Thornburg and Ian Smith (trumpet), Paulie Cerra (tenor sax), “Big Chief” Juan Pardo and “Big Ike” Kinchen (vocals, percussion). It’s not all funky, but the best of it is. Click here and click on the songs with color tabs to listen to the songs on this disc.

Vaneese Thomas – The Long Journey Home (Segue): Vaneese Thomas is the daughter of Rufus Thomas and sister of Carla and Marvell Thomas. Her voice is tougher, bluesier and somewhat more gospelized than Carla’s. She has been a back-up singer most of her career, working with Aretha Franklin, Sting, and Stevie Wonder. Thomas wrote or co-wrote all but one of the songs on offer here and they are quite fine. The sound is up-to-date, sophisticated and polished but has grit. There is a large group of supporting musicians, adding variety to the overall performance. Musicians include Joe Bonadio (drums, percussion), Paul Adamy (bass), Paul Mariconda (piano/organ), Al Orlo, Tash Neal, and Wayne Warnecke (guitars), Peter Calo (dobro, banjo), Tash Neal (dobro), Rob Paparozzi (harmonica), Katie Jacoby (violin), Cliff Lyons, Ed Palermo, and Paul Mariconda (saxes), Bryan Davis and Warnecke (trumpet), Barbara Cifelli (bari sax) and numerous back-up singers. Absolutely first class soul blues! I regret I can’t find a sample from this disc. Click here for a live performance.


Professor Bebop


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