New Blues Reviews – 1/30/24

Altered Five Blues Band – Testifyin (Blind Pig Records)  “Altered Five smokes, smolders and burns like a swig of good whiskey. The hip Milwaukee quintet is known for its strong brew of tough, original blues and hard-hitting live shows. Blues Blast raves that barrel-chested front man Jeff Taylor possesses a “smooth, warm-toned voice as monumental and undeniable as Howlin’ Wolf with the finish and flourish of B.B. King.” Downbeat declares stealth guitarist Jeff Schroedl “reaches the high bar of mixed invention and fluidity.” Fueled by a rhythm section laying down the deepest grooves this side of the MGs, the five blues blasters hit the ground running 22 years ago and show no sign of easing up. Their seventh studio recording, Testifyin’, is set to be released on Blind Pig Records March 22, 2024″. Band consists of Jeff Taylor on Lead Vocals, Jeff Schroedl on Guitar, Mark Solveson on Bass, Steve Huebler on Keys and Allan Arber on Drums. Overall the CD is super solid Blues content, Jeff Taylor has “That” voice that is perfect! Only five songs on the CD, but they are all really great. “I’ve Got The Scars To Prove”, very slow blues that has some very tasty guitar licks from Jeff Schroedel. I think my favorite on this CD is “Don’t Tell Me I Can’t”, listen here. I will probably give this a 10 on Blues Content and a 10 on Music Content.

The Hitman Blues Band – Hey Can You Guys Play .. (Nerus Records)  “Russell ‘Hitman’ Alexander is a New York-based singer and guitarist whose albums are characterized by sharply observed originals. However, from time to time he has covered material from other artists, usually involving a distinctive makeover: “completely reworked, sometimes with new or additional lyrics, to make some old – and arguably overplayed – standards a completely new experience”, as Russell boldly declares. Nine of these tracks are taken from previous albums, from their 1999 debut to the present day. Russell handles guitar and vocals, his wife Joanna and Nancy Hampton add B/V’s, Kevin Bents, Kevin Rymer and Mike Katzman are on keys, Mike Porter bass, Guy LaFountaine drums (replaced on a track each by Ed ‘The Hat’ D’Alessio and Jay Sharkey); horns appear on half the tracks, Eric Altarac trumpet, Nick Clifford baritone sax, John Kelly tenor sax, Mikey Vitale alto sax.”. Russell’s voice is really inviting and fits the music that he writes and covers. although this album is the just the best hits of the band, they are also all covers from some of the Blues Greats. Such and energic Band, makes every tune their own and filled with very talented musicians. Such a cool rendition of Bob Dylan’s “These Times They Are A-Changin'”, John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” and “Good Morning Judge” are some of my favorites. I think my favorite on this CD is “Death Letter”, listen here to a live performance of this song. I will probably give this a 10 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content. Side

Orgone – Chimera (3Palm Records)  “Orgone is an American band from Los Angeles, California. The group’s sound draws from 1960s- and 1970s-era funk and soul. While several members of the band played together from the early 1990s, Orgone did not coalesce into a regular band until 1999. Many of their early gigs were as a backing band for hip-hop musicians.  After a 2001 debut release, the band added vocalist Fanny Franklin to do a cover of “Funky Nassau” by the Beginning of the End; she remained as a full-time member, although much of their music is instrumental.  The group released its second album The Killion Floor in 2007,  which featured “Funky Nassau” as well as covers of “Do Your Thing” by Isaac Hayes and “I Get Lifted” by Harry Wayne Casey of K.C. and the Sunshine Band.  In 2010 the band opened for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings on tour.  They have also performed at festivals like Bonnaroo and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival”. I really like this album and the band, lots of almost experimental music and lots of instrumentals and spacey music. “Basilisk” is a very cool instrumental with cool funky bass lines and would be a great song on a soundtrack. “Zum Zum” is kind of a Latin/Afro Pop tune that has a really catchy feel, great music in the background at the house. Definitely my my favorite on this CD is “Lies And Game”, listen here. I will probably give this a 5 on Blues Content just because it is not the Blues and a 10 on Music Content just for the fun music and interesting avenues that the CD takes.



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