New Blues Review – 5-16-23
Gaye Adegbalola – Satisfied (Vizztone/Hot Toddy) – Gaye Adegbalola has certainly had a very active life with her start as a Science Teacher here in Virginia where she won Teacher of the Year for the whole state, to her very successful band Saffire – The Uppity Blues Woman (1984 – 2009) where she was the founding member. Gaye also has had success as a solo artist, mentor for other musical women and activist for women, people of color and LGBTQ issues and now has her own record label, Hot Toddy. Her newest CD is full of selections from past solo recordings that help best show her growth, song writing and musical talent. Two musicians that have stayed fairly constant with Gaye are Roddy Barnes on piano and Jeff Covert on electric guitar and can be heard throughout this anthology of Gaye’s songs. Whimsical songs are Gaye’s specialty as shown with the first song on this album, “Big Ovaries, Baby” and the second “Look at the Forehead, Maury”. Most of the songs on this CD are fairly straight ahead blues that you might have heard back in the 20s and 30s with updated lyrics such as the piano tune “Tippin’ On The Down Low” which sounds like a Bessie Smith song from the day. Gaye wrote all the songs on this CD as she did throughout her amazing career. So many good old time blues stuff here, but I think my favorite is the spiritual “Let Go, Let God, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 9 for Blues and a 9 for music content.
Michael Jerome Browne – Gettin’ Together (Borealis Records/Stoney Plain) – Michael Jerome Browne is a Canadian Journey Man of acoustic blues and Three-time Canadian Folk Music Award winner (Traditional Singer, 2015; Solo Artist, 2012 & 2008), Recipient of the Blues With A Feeling Award at the 2020 Maple Blues Awards (with 35 nominations since 1999), five-time Juno Award Nominee in both the Roots/Traditional and Blues categories, Kerrville (Texas) New Folk Finalist — Michael Jerome Browne is a multi-instrumentalist, a songwriter, and a living encyclopedia of American Roots music. Having received a nod to his talents from many professional musicians like John Sebastian and Eric Bibb, his newest CD is filled with many of the tunes he learned to play early on his life. His celebration of the Blues you can say. Songs from greats such as Mississippi John Hurt and Booker White are covered on this album. Michael starts off with a great rendition of John Hurt’s “Monday Morning Blues” with sounds so authentic as does his version of Booker White’s “Shake ’em On Down” which has Eric Bibb on 9 string guitar! “Coffee Blues”, another John Hurt song has John Sebastian on Harmonica as well as Mary Flower on guitar and vocals. Some great music here if you like the acoustic blues of our past with a little update. I think my favorite on this one is Brownie McGhee and Ruth McGhee’s “Living With The Blues” with John Sebastian on Harmonica, Happy Traum on Lead Guitar and John McColgan on Washboard, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 9 for Blues and a 9 for music content.
Bob Corritore & Friends – High Rise Blues (VizzTone) – Ok, this is going to be a Gem of an album. Bob Corritore is one of the best harmonica players in current era of Blues Music. He is originally from Chicago where he learned to play harmonica after hearing Muddy Water’s Band on the radio. Bob started playing in the Windy City on stage in 1979 but soon relocated in Phoenix Arizona where he continued his Harmonica Blues playing throughout the West Coast and was joined by the amazing Louisiana Red where they played as a duo and or band for about a year until Red relocated. Corritore opened The Rhythm Room music venue in Phoenix in 1991. It has served as his home base ever since. He and his house band, the Rhythm Room All-Stars, have backed dozens of high-profile blues musicians, both at the club and in recording sessions, with a roster that includes Bo Diddley, Pinetop Perkins, Ike Turner, Nappy Brown, Eddy Clearwater and many others. Bob had made a big name for himself and was able to play and record with some of the greats. This newest CD has previous unreleased recordings of Bob with the greats of the Blues, all recorded over a 30 year span (1992 – 2022). The CD starts off with Jimmy Rogers version of “Last Time” followed by one of my favorites “Buddy Buddy Friends” with Magic Slim. Hard to beat the tune “Twenty-Nine Ways with Koko Taylor on vocals, amazing stuff. So much historical blues on this one CD, hard to pick a favorite but I think my favorite is the last song on the CD, “Caught In The Act” with Lil’ Ed on guitar and vocals. Unfortunately I could not find that one on YouTube, but here is the first song “Last Time” with Jimmy Rogers, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 10+ for Blues and a 10+ for music content.
Grainne Duffy – Dirt Woman Blues (Blue Heart) – Grainne Duffy is three-time Blues Matters magazine Writers’ Poll winner (Best Female Vocalist, 2014, 2015; Best Solo Artist, 2015), and was also named Best Modern Roots Artist in the 2021 Independent Blues Awards. An international touring artist, Duffy has also performed on BBC and other TV. Her sound is an individualized mix of blues, rock, roots music, and soul blended with Duffy’s own Irish/Celtic style. This is Duffy’s 5th album and is no disappointment with her gravely vocals and serious guitar playing backed with an all-star lot of musicians including blues-rock guitarist Marc Ford, best known as a former member of The Black Crowes, and her husband Paul Sherry who also plays guitar on the album. Together they enlisted Gary Clark Jr’s Austin, TX rhythm section to round out the top-tier sound. JJ Johnson (drums, percussion-Black Crowes, Gary Clark Jr, Tedeschi Trucks Band), Elijah Ford (bass, keys Gary Clark Jr), along with Grammy-winning producer Chris Goldsmith, Jimmy Hoyson, Sam Goldsmith, John Ginty (keyboards) and Peter Levin. Definitely Blues/Rock genre with a much more developed sound than her previous releases. All of the songs were written by Grainne. The first song on this CD is a great rocking tune with slide guitar licks throughout. Title song, Dirt Woman Blues has a Ballad feel with cool tremolo effects on her voice that really makes this song a bit different than anything else out there. I think my favorite on this one is “Rise Above” but here is the title song, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 7 for Blues and a 7 for music content.
Lil’ Jimmy Reed – Back To Baton Rouge (NOLA Blues) – Well, not related to Jimmy Reed, but the story goes that Lil’ Jimmy used to play all of Jimmy Reed’s songs when he first started playing out. One night Jimmy Reed was suppose to be playing a Church Auditorium and was too drunk to play, so they called up Lil’ Jimmy to fill in and the name Lil’ Jimmy Reed stuck. Although the two never crossed paths respect was always there. Lil’ Jimmy played at a young age out at every night club until he decided to enlist and spend the next 20 years serving in the army for our nation. Now in his 80s, Lil’ Jimmy has 37 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, 14 great-great-grandchildren and 7 great-great-great-grandchildren. He plays most every day and when he is not touring, he makes regular rounds to a dozen nursing homes in the neighborhood. This newest CD is filled with either Jimmy Reed covers or original songs that sound like Jimmy Reed. You have to respect a man that has given all his life, and continues to give. His music is pretty good and fun to listen to around the house although not at the level of the real Reed. His version of ” Down In Virginia” is probably the best on this CD but “Cincinnati’s The Place To Be” sounds like a recording from the 50’s Blues Joints from Chicago. I think my favorite on this one is “They Call Me Lil’ Jimmy” , Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 9 for Blues and a 7 for music content.