New Blues News – 9/23/2015

New Blues News – 9/23/2015

Jimmy Burns – It Ain’t Right (Delmark): Jimmy Burns plays guitar and harmonica, but is mostly recognized as a singer.  In fact, he began by singing gospel and that shows up as a central feature of his soul and soul blues performances on this disc. He sings in a straight-forward manner with few frills, but his warm tone communicates a lot. He is supported by Anthony Palmer (guitar), Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi (piano), Greg McDaniel (bass), and Bryant “T” Parker (drums) in a variety of styles including Percy Mayfield’s “Long As You Are Mine”, Goree Carter’s “Rock Awhile”, Ben E King’s “Stand By Me”, the traditional “Wade In The Water”, The Five Royales’ “Crazy Crazy Crazy”, Little Walter’s “It Ain’t Right” and a couple of more recent tunes from Billy Flynn and he seems right at home on all of them. It’s may not be fiery, but it is effective.  Click here to listen to a song from this disc.

Deb Callahan – Sweet Soul (Blue Pearl): Full-voiced Callahan has been around for a few years and her confident soul blues style certainly shines through on this disc. Callahan wrote or co-wrote eight of the thirteen songs here and she is supported by a tight and solid studio band, including drummer / producer Tony Braunagel, Allen James (guitar) Reggie McBride (bass), Mike Finnigan (keys, vox), Jimmy Powers (harmonica), and guest spots by Johnny Lee Schell (slide guitar, background vox), and Teresa James (vox) among others. The covers, especially “Sweet Feeling” (composed by Candi Staton, Clarence Carter, et. al.) and Tom Waits’ “Way Down In The Hole” are well chosen, too. This is a polished, rockin’ and soulful disc.  Click here for an overview of this disc and some samples.

Guy Davis – Kokomo Kidd (M.C.): Folk blues singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist (guitar, banjo, harmonica, keyboards, percussion) Guy Davis composes and performs in a number of styles, including Piedmont blues, rag, folk, contemporary, Delta blues, even Chicago blues. His supporting musicians pop in and out during this disc, adding to that variety of the set. Joining Davis are Professor Louie (keys), John Platania (slide, electric guitar), Mark Murphy (bass, cello), Gary Burke (drums), Chris James (mandolin, guitar), background vocalists David Helper, Miss Marie Spinosa, Audrey Martells and Zhana Roiya, and special guests Charlie Musselwhite and Fabrizio Poggi (harmonica on one song each), and Ben Jaffe (tuba). I personally find his uptempo performances the most compelling, but there are many excellent performances on this disc. Click here for a typical blues performance by Guy Davis. Note: This song / performance is not on the above disc.

John Mayall – Find A Way To Care (Forty Below): Almost 50 years into his blues recording career, this disc features John Mayall’s touring band: Rocky Athas (guitar), Greg Rzab (bass), and Jay Davenport (drums) all led by Mayall with a special focus on his keyboard playing and singing as strongly as he ever has during his career. Mayall also adds additional guitar and harmonica in spots and wrote five of the titles. Horns, provided by Ron Dziubla (sax), Richard A Rosenberg (trombone), and Mark Pender (trumpet), add a fuller sound on some tracks as well. Covers range from Percy Mayfield’s “The River’s Invitation” and Charles Brown’s “Drifting Blues” to Muddy’s “Long Distance Call” and Lonnie Brooks’ “I Want All My Money Back”. The delivery is  direct and the performance by Mayall and the band is strong throughout.  Click here to sample the songs on this disc. Scroll down to find links.

Danielle Nicole – Wolf Den (Concord): Born into a musical family, it seems that Danielle Nicole was destined to be a singer / musician as she played with her father’s band until his health required him to stop. In 1999, she formed Fresh Brew, which became one of the most successful blues-based bands in the Kansas City area. They even represented the city in the International Blues Challenge. Next, she formed Trampled Under Foot with her brothers. The band’s several self-produced recordings were well received and eventually led to the release of “Badlands” on Telarc in 2013. This release is her first full length disc as a solo act and features an all-star band: Anders Osborne (guitar), Mike “Shinetop” Sedovic (keys), Stanton Moore (drums) and a couple of guest appearances by Luther Dickinson. Danielle Nicole handles bass and all vocals. She also wrote or co-wrote all but two of the songs on the disc – a cover of “I Feel Like Breakin’ Up Somebody’s Home” and one Anders Osborne (“It Ain’t You”).  She’s got a strong voice (somewhat reminiscent of the tough side of Susan Tedeschi) and knows how to use it, her bass is solid and she’s in good company. Blues, soul and a touch of funk. What else might you need?   Click here to listen to a song from this disc. 


Professor Bebop


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