New Blues Review – 5-23-23
Lady J Huston – Groove Me Baby (Earwig) – Lady or Joyce Huston got an early start in show business as her mother was a famous song writer and blues/jazz performer in St. Louis. Lady J got her first break as trumpet player for the famous pianist Johnnie Johnson. Her next gig was an amazing run as the main trumpet player for Albert King’s band in 1981, she was just 18 years old. The Lady can sing too as is demonstrated in this release “Groove Me Baby”, her first full length album in which she co-wrote 9 out of the 12 songs. If you like that old time, big band blues of St. Louis, this will be a big hit for you. Such an authentic Blues voice and you can tell she has had a long career in her musical choices on this CD. Joyce seems to go back and forth between St. Louis Jazzy Blues (as in “Your Call”) and Soul music (as in “Tearing Us Apart”) but her musical talents are many, some great trumpet playing and vocals are just ok to my ear. I think my favorite is her rendition of “Born Under a Bad Sign”, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 7 for Blues and a 7 for music content.
Dudley Taft – Guitar Kingdom (Big Woody Music) – Dudley is a true guitar slinger. He is a Cincinatti based musician and has released his 9th album, Guitar Kingdom. Berkley Music educated, he now lives in Peter Frampton’s old house with the studio where this CD was recorded. Great guitar riffs for every song but it is hard to pin this as a Blues album. He definitely can play guitar. He reminds me of a Chris Duarte type guitarist but his songs seem to be over complicated. His original, “Oil and Water” starts off as a slow blues then goes into a ballad. Dudley spent many years in the Grunge Scene in Seattle and you can hear that throughout his music but particularly in his original “Get Stoned”. I think it’s my favorite. It starts out with some blues licks on guitar then goes into a weird ballad, but I like weird. Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 3 for Blues and a 6 for music content.
Jimmie Bratcher – Far Enough (Ain’t Skeert Tunes) – Jimmie Bratcher is a singer, songwriter, storyteller, guitarist, cookbook writer, preacher and author. His newest CD, “Far Enough” is Jimmie’s 13th album. He wrote all 11 songs. I really like his voice and his lyrics are excellent, much of which talks about his life and people that he has run into. Jimmie Bratcher – on guitars and vocals – is joined by: Eric Stark – his co-producer and writing partner – on keys, lap steel, Irish whistle, background vocals and strings & horn arrangements; Craig Kew on bass; Brandon Draper on drums and percussion; Aaron Mayfield on organ; Charity Von Mozafari and Charmelle Cofield on vocals; Rod Lincoln on drums; Micah Burdick on acoustic guitar; Judah Earl on strings, and the horn section of: Bob Harvey and Steve Molloy on trumpet; Mark Cohick on baritone sax; Brett Jackson on tenor sax; and last but certainly not least, Sherri Bratcher on encouragement. Jimmie has incorporated a wide variety of song styles on this CD. Great horn section everywhere! His original, “Memphis Slim” is a great storytelling song, kind of in the style of Dr. John. Great guitar work! “Chains” is a Gospel Piano song that really showcases Jimmie’s voice. I think my favorite is “Don’t Bring That Evil Around Here”, a swampy slide guitar song that I couldn’t find on line so here is the title song, “Far Enough” Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 7 for Blues and a 7 for music content.
JW Jones – Everything Now (Solid Blues) – JW Jones is a Canadian guitarist, song writer and guardian of Blues Roots music. He has won numerous awards including Best Band and Best Guitarist at the International Blues Competition in Memphis and he is a frequent Billboard Top 10 Blues Artist, during a career that has thus far taken him to 23 countries on four continents. This newest CD, “Everything Now” is his 12th release and it is packed with his best songwriting to date and filled with some amazing musicians sitting in to help his cause including Jimmie Vaughan, The Texas Horns, Rob McNelley, Stanton Moore and Gordie Johnson of Canadian roots monsters, Big Sugar, among others. Jones’ Voice is smooth and colorful and his clean guitar sound shows why Jimmie Vaughan is his guitar hero. The first two songs, “Everything Now” and “Keeping Me Up” are a bit on the poppy side but do have some great lyrics. Guitar solo on “Papa’s In The Pen” is so good but very short. Actually all the songs on this CD are very short, most being sub 4 mins and two being sub 3 mins. “Take Your Time” is a jumpy shuffle featuring Jimmie Vaughn on guitar, again very short lead but so recognizable Jimmie. There is some good music here, not real hard core blues but good music. I think my favorite is “It’s Not Raining In LA”. I couldn’t find any link to this so here is a live performance with Kingfish, Listen Here. I think I will give this one an 8 for Blues and an 8 for music content.
Pat McDougall – In the Key of Sorry (MouseTrap Music) – Pat is a Keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter out of Portland where he has two bands that he regularly plays with; Runaway Train and Tall Static. He also writes music for commercials and film scores. I think his real strength is his songwriting. His lyrics are well thought out, funny, tongue in cheek sometimes, but enjoyable. As with JW Jones CD, Pat has filled this with some very veteran musicians to help his cause on this Album including Kid Andersen (In the Key of Sorry), Alan Hager (Don’t Ask a Boy to Do a Man’s Job), Kara Grainger (Hot Soup and Ice Cream), Lisa Mann (How You Gonna), Doug Rowell (Always Wanted To), Lloyd Jones (Love Won’t Let Me Down), Ben Rice (Actions Speak Louder Than Words and I’m That Guy), Kivett Bednar and Jerry Jemmott (Holding Back the Tears), Kevin Selfe, Jimi Bott, Lisa Mann (Which Way the Cold Wind Blows). “I Think I Need Another Lover” is a comical tale including the lyrics; “you said some things about my Mother, I think I need another Lover”, That’s Gold!! There are some good songs here with some great lyrics and moments of musical greatness. I would call it easy listening Blues. I think my favorite is “Well-Acquainted With The Blues”, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 7 for Blues and an 8 for music content.