New Blues Review 11/7/23
Henri Herbert – Blues Piano Grooves (HH Records)
Henri Herbert is a pianist, songwriter, bandleader and recording artist whose music encompasses Boogie Woogie, Blues and Rock n Roll. Born in Harfleur in France, he grew up in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, and studied the blues and boogie piano from a young age. He tours all over the world, and has been referred to as among the best and most sought after of all the contemporary Blues and Boogie-woogie Pianists. As well as performing as a soloist, he has worked with Bryan Adams, Isabella Summers, Jim Sclavunos and Slim Jim Phantom. From 2011 he was the keyboardist of UK band The Jim Jones Revue until the band ended in 2014. As a member of The Jim Jones Revue, he appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman (CBS-TV) on 7 September 2011. Herbert is notable because of the extremely high number of online plays attained by his original compositions. In 2013, a video of Herbert performing his original composition “Henri’s Boogie”, was uploaded to Youtube and has since gone viral with over 27 million plays. Another video of his original composition “Gettin On Down”, has been played over 50 million times. If your into piano and Blues, this might be your cup of tea!! I love his interpretations of some of the Blues Standards like “Summertime” to a Piano Barrel progression. “Boogie Chillen” is also a pleasant surprise to my ears and probably the most unexpected is Son House’s “Grinning in Your Face”. Plus there is not much singing on this one, so you guitar players this is a cool backing track to play music over. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this album, but I think my favorite on this CD is Big Bill Broonzy’s tune “I Feel So Good”, listen here. I will probably give this an 9 on Blues Content and a 10 on Music Content.
Walter Wolfman Washington – I Feel So At Home Here (Tipitina’s Records) Washington was born in New Orleans, and whilst still in his teens, he was invited to play in Lee Dorsey’s band. In the mid-1960s, Washington formed the All Fools Band, and played at clubs in New Orleans. In the 1970s, he joined Johnny Adams’ band. He played with Adams for 20 years, both performing live and also appearing on his records. During this time he continued to work as a solo artist, and in the late 1970s formed his own band, the Roadmasters, and toured Europe with them. Washington released his first solo album Rainin’ In My Life in 1981 from a small local label Hep’ Me. He landed a contract with Rounder Records in 1985, and he released three albums with that label. After the Rounder days, he also released an album, Sada, on Point Blank Records. Washington started to play regularly with two New Orleans musicians, the organist Joe Krown and the drummer Russell Batiste, Jr., working as a trio at the Maple Leaf Bar. Washington appears in performance footage in the 2005 documentary film Make It Funky!, which presents a history of New Orleans music and its influence on rhythm and blues, rock and roll, funk and jazz. In the film, he performs “Barefootin'” with the house band. In 2008, he released Doin’ the Funky Thing, his first album in many years. Live at the Maple Leaf, a live recording by Krown, Washington, Batiste was also released in the same year. Washington died of cancer in New Orleans, on December 22, 2022, two days after his 79th birthday. This newest CD was finished just before his death and will be released Nov. 10th and really shows where Walter’s head was. His voice is as good as ever and his soothing guitar licks are my favorite. I think my favorite on this CD is title tune “I Feel So At Home Here”, listen here. I will probably give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 10 on Music Content.
D. Scott Riggs – These Hard Times Will Come To Pass (Pure Panhandle Music) D. Scott Riggs is a Gulf Coast based songwriter/musician that plays Panhandle Blues, a rich gumbo of Pre-War Delta, Piedmont, and Country Blues, with doses of Jazz, Gospel, Hokum, Cajun, and Jug music thrown in for flavor.
Riggs has toured the Great South for multiple years, bringing his original Panhandle music to the meek and thirsty. Riggs guitar playing is fairly simple with his resonator guitar but it fits so well with his raspy, well traveled voice. The only negative is that many of songs sound very similar since he is playing the same guitar and similar styles of music but in a few he brings out the slide and the sound changes a bit like the tune “Here Come The Conductor”. Some of the tunes lean on the Gospely feel like “You’re Going to Need Him on Your Side”, but again I think his voice is the star of this album. All the songs were written by Riggs and not so flashy, his guitar playing is great for his style. I think my favorite on this CD is “Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin”, listen here. I will probably give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
Peter Veteska & Blues Train – Full Tilt (Blue Heart) Peter Veteska and Blues Train was formed in 2013 and is led by New York Blues Hall-of-Famer Peter Veteska on guitar and vocals; B3 legend Jeff Levine on keyboards; and drummer Alex D’Agnese – the only original member and instrumental in creating the Blues Train sound with his high energy drum style. Bassist Coo Moe Jhee has played and recorded on the last three albums; he has since taken a hiatus from the music scene and bassman extraordinaire Chuck Hearne (Leslie West’s Mountain ) has seamlessly stepped in. The band is also occasionally joined by vocal powerhouse Jen Barnes. Well known throughout the mid-Atlantic region, the band has also performed at events and festivals from Maine to Florida. Now this album will get you dancing, very cool sound Peter gets from his band. He is also joined by Mikey Junior for a couple of tunes like “Go Fine Another Man” and “1 After 909”. Peter sings well but Jen Barnes is the vocal star on this album. Even though Peter took 25 years off from playing, his guitar skills are top notch as shows in “Slow Down You Crazy Fool”. I think my favorite on this CD is “Take Back What You Own”, listen here. I will probably give this a 10 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
Sunnysiders – 27 Stitches (Dancing Bear) Sunnysiders started as a duo by the singer, guitar, ukulele and harmonica player Boris Hrepić ‘Hrepa’ and the singer and percussion player Antonija Vrgoč ‘Rola’. In 2010 they won the 2nd Croatian Blues Challenge and in 2011 played in the semifinals of the 27th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, USA. Following Memphis, as a full band, they recorded four albums: nominated for Porin Award License to Blues (2011), 10 kartolina s daleke obale (2016), awarded by Fender Mega Music Click Play (2017) and The Bridges (2020.) The Bridges reached position 117 at Roots Music Report’s Top 200 Contemporary Blues Albums for the year 2020 and received more than 40 great reviews from blues and rock magazines and portals from all over the world. Single You’re Not That Good For Me To Cry reached many radio Top charts and passed to semifinal of 2020 International Songwriting Competition in Nashville. Third album single Tiny Soul reached position 41 at Roots Music Report Contemporary Song Chart. I really like this band, there sound is different and that is what makes them so enjoyable. First tune “Shake and Shiver” almost has a Talking Heads kind of feel and then overdriven guitar makes it so fun. There songs are so mixed up through the progression of the tune and I love that, “Soup” starts off with this great distorted guitar riff and your getting ready for a song in your face but when the lyrics starts it the song takes a turn for Sesame Street. Then things change to weird Folkie tune “Love You At All” with incredible lyrics. I think my favorite on this CD is not a Blues tune but is still good “Love Remote”, listen here. I will probably give this a 6 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.