New Blues Review 6-21-23

Duke Robillard – Six Strings Of Steel (MC Records)- Duke Robillard has been a legend of Blues Guitar with a Jazzy side to his melodies. With the help of Marty Ballou on Bass, Mark Teixeira on Drums, Chris Cote on Vocals, Doug James on Sax and Bruce Bears on Keys, Duke has created another masterpiece of music on his newest CD, Six Strings Of Steel. From his time with Room Full of Blues and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Duke has created his own Genre of the Blues. This record represents all his influences including swing, blues and rock. You’ll hear Link Wray’s (just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) “Rumble”, Dylan’s “Watching The River Flow”, a ska version of Fats Domino’s “I’m Going To Be A Wheel Someday,” and of course several Duke knockout originals! This is such a great album and a tribute to some of the great songs done the way only Duke can do them, snappy and very entertaining. “Shame, Shame, Shame” is a Smiley Lewis tune with a great New Orleans feel. “Lima Beans” is another favorite tune written by Eddie Ware and is witty in it’s lyrics. A lot of great stuff here that I could write about but I think my favorite is Duke’s cover of “Rumble” by Link Wray. I couldn’t find any of these on line, so here is Duke and one of my favorites Sue Foley, Listen Here. I will give this a 9 on Blues Content but a 10+ on Music Content.

Arlen Roth and Jerry Jemmott – Super Soul Sessions (Blue Heart Records) – Arlen Roth, Master of the Telecaster, comes together with Jerry Jemmott, The Groovemaster to create a one of a kind tribute to the great soul songs that we have grown up with. Co-produced by Roth and Alex Salzman, session artists include Bruce Katz (organ, piano), Tom Gage (rhythm guitar) and Chris Parker (drums), with special guest vocalist appearances from Joe Louis Walker and Mukamuri. This is a special album with some of the best musicians in the world with Arlen on Guitars, Jerry on Bass, Chris Parker on Drums, Alex Salzman on Keys, Tom Gage on Rhythm Guitar and Bruce Katz on Organ on Piano. I think for me, the highlights are the songs that Joe Louis Walker sings on. I have always been a big fan of his vocals and guitar playing. He does a killer version of “The Thrill is Gone” and his singing and guitar on the Sam Cooke song “Shake” is perfect. There are some nice instrumentals on this album also, like “Dancing in the Streets” and the “Weight”. I think my favorite is “The Thrill Is Gone”, Listen Here. I will give this an 8 for Blues but I will give it a 10 for Music Content. Enjoy!!

Nigel Mack – Back In Style (Blues Attack Records)- Nigel is a Canadian Guitarist, Vocalist and Harmonica player labeled the Triple Threat who has had a great beginning to his Blues Career. Amongst his many highlights he has won ‘Semi-Finalist’ – 2019 International Songwriting Contest, #1 Canadian Blues CD – Galaxy Satellite Radio, ‘Little Walter Foundation’ – 2018 Honoree, ‘Best Self-Produced CD’- Windy City Blues Society, Chicago IL, ‘Best Guitarist’ Nominee – Maple Blues Awards and ‘Best Blues/R&B Album’ Nominee – West Coast Music Awards. I really like Nigel’s slide guitar playing like on his redo of “Highway 69” and some of his resonator playing. His Harmonica playing is super heavy and soulful as can be heard on “Traveling’ Heavy”. Some of his original tunes are a little too complicated and fragmented like in “Back In Style”. I think my favorite is “Highway 69”, Listen Here. I am going to give this a 7 in Blues Content and an 8 in Music Content.

Paul Boddy and the Sidewinder Blues Band – Nosy Neighbors (Slide Records)- The Sidewinders are based out of North of Philly but the members are from both coasts and tend to lean towards Texas and Chicago Blues. The core members of the band include founder Paul Boddy on lead vocal and guitars. Organ and piano are delivered ardently by Glenn “The Wizard” Hale. Foundational density is laid down by bass-man Chuck Hearne, and the skins are relentlessly finessed by Dave Hollingsworth. The Slide guitar kind of lays the foundation down for the band. Decent singing but the band is pretty tight and keeps you up on your dancing shoes. Their version of “Hurts Me Too” is a nice change up from most bands interpretation. “Milk & Cookies” is a fast tempo story with great piano solos. Overall not a bad recording, but I think my favorite is “Hurts Me Too”, listen here. I will probably give this a 7 on Blues Content and a 6 on Music Content.

Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones – Groovin’ At Groove Now (Endless Blues Records)- Doug Deming, guitarist and singer from Detroit and now a Gulf Coast FL resident, has come out with this great live album recorded in Basel, Switzerland. Doug has spent much of his years touring and recording with top blues artists, including Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson, legendary Louisiana swamp bluesman Lazy Lester, Texas’ Gary Primich, Chicago greats Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones and A.C. Reed, as well as Detroit’s own Queen of the Blues, Alberta Adams. With Doug on Vocals and Guitar, Andrew Gorman on Bass, Zack Pomerleau on Drums and Harmonica, Sax Gordon on Sax (of course), Terry Hanck on Sax and Bill Heid on Keys, the band has created a great Blues/Big Band/Jazz live album that is worth listening to. With most of the songs written by Doug, the band tends to work other masters of work into their music like “Put It Down” which has little leads from other songs. “Oh Baby” a Willie Dixon and Little Walter song is one of my favorites on this CD. Beautiful harp work. Lots of great stuff here. I am sure you will find something that speaks to you. I think my favorite is “No Sense”, Listen Here. I will give this an 8 for Blues Content and maybe an 8 for Music Content.

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