NEW BLUES REVIEWS – 1-31-2023
Blind Raccoon and Nola Blues – Collection 5 (Various)-Blind Raccoon put together another selection of stellar songs from their stable of artists. This is the 5th such collections and this one maybe the best to me. Some great artists like Teresa James (which we reviewed her CD a couple of weeks back) singing I’d Do It For You. Followed by Floyd Dixon featuring Kid Ramos with Time Brings about a Change, done in a Ray Charles kind of groove, really good. Dave Thomas with Wallace Coleman kill it with Repossession Blues, a funny lyric, straight up blues tune. Other notable tunes are Anthony Geraci’s piano blues tune Haven’t Seen My Baby, John Ginty’s Switch, a full B3 instrumental that will have you up on your chair!! David Lumsden’s Ode to Jimi (slow burn) is a great full band with screaming guitar instrumental and Anthony Big A Sherrod probably steals the show with Everybody Ain’t Your Friend. He is the real deal for sure. He is probably my favorite on this 2 CD compilation, I can’t find a link to this, but here is Big A doing Some Day, listen here. I give this a 7 in blues content and a 7 on music content.
Barbara Blue – From the Shoals (Big Blue Records)– Now this is some serious Blues and Music. What an amazing voice and incredible band to support this powerhouse. Barbara grew up in Pittsburg but now hails from Memphis where she and her band have regular gigs on Beale Street entertaining blues fans year round. She has quite the resume sharing the stage with the likes of Taj Mahal, Jeff Healey, Marcia Ball, Delbert McClinton, Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton, Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin, Tab Benoit, Fiona Boyes, Corey Harris, Sean Costello, The Nighthawks, just to name a few. Growing up in the church you can tell that is her roots for her vocal ability. This CD has quite a range of blues styles throughout, but I think my favorite is Nutthouse Blues, Listen here. I give this an 8 in blues content and a 9 on music content.
Johnny Riley – Change (Independent)– Although I can’t find much on the web about Johnny, I really like his vocals (reminds me of Lonnie Mack) and his guitar style is straight up Texas Blues. Most of his songs on this CD have some aspects of resonator with some powerful electric guitar licks. Most of his recordings and gigs are in Texas, so I am guessing he hails from down those parts (his website was corrupt so I couldn’t get any more information). I love the riff for Demons in My Mind on this album. I enjoyed his rendition of Son House’s John the Revelator, but I think my favorite is Change. It’s a very strong lyric song about social problems in our country. listen here. Overall, I think this is a solid blues album with some country blues mixed in with some great electric guitar. I give this an 8 in blues content and an 8 on music content.
Gayle Harrod – Temptation (Independent)– Gayle is a powerhouse singer that explored performing on stage at a later stage in life. Forty two years old, from Baltimore, Gayle has brought together some of the best musicians in the area for this newest recording. Gravely voice and amazing songwriting, she brings her A game to the recording studio. Temptation flirts with Soul, R & B, Pop and definitely Blues with lots of medium to fast tempo songs that will have you dancing away those blues. Great slide playing on the title track and almost a gospel feel with amazing backing vocals. Waiting in the Shadows is a slow ballad that really highlights Gayle’s voice and how in your face it is, even in low volumes. It plays off the guitar and harmonica so tastefully. The band even touches on a country feel in the tune The In Between. I believe my favorite is Baby We’re Through, listen here. I give this a 9 in blues content and an 8 on music content.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Trouble is… 25 (Provogue Records) – What hasn’t been said about this five-time Grammy Nominated guitarist. Kenny was like many young blues guitarists, in awe of the thunder of Stevie Ray Vaughan, out playing blues in rock form. Strong bass lines, great vocals and screaming guitar were the norm for this amazing musician. With over a dozen albums out and countless performances, Kenny has developed his craft to be more sophisticated and musical to the point that he is singing more and more of his songs. Without a doubt, Ledbetter Heights is my favorite album of his and helped fill the void of the loss of SRV in 1990. Kenny’s second album, Trouble Is, is what really brought him in the spotlight of not just Blues fans but crossed over into the rock and pop genre. This newest CD from the band is a reinterpretation of that 2nd album on the 25th anniversary of the original. The first Trouble Is used the SRV’s double trouble band for the recording, this anniversary issue brought everyone back in except for Tommy Shannon. Same songs, same order just a bit more gut in the guitar and depth in the music in whole. I think my favorite is King’s Highway, straight up blues rock tune. Listen here to the live recording and Listen here for the original version 25 years ago. I give this a 9 in blues content and a 10 on music content.
Not an album review, but these are the winning acts from the International Blues Challenge that finished up down in Memphis this past weekend. All of these acts deserve a listen to as they may be the next Kenny Wayne Shepherd level of entertainers.
COMPLETE LIST OF INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE’S 2023 WINNERS
Winner – Mathias Lattin (Houston Blues Society) Listen here
2nd Place Band – The Cinelli Brothers (UK Blues Federation) Listen Here
3rd Place Band – Dick Earl’s Electric Witness (Las Vegas Blues Society) Listen Here
GIBSON GUITAR AWARD (BEST BAND GUITARIST)
Matthias Lattin (Houston Blues Society)
MEMPHIS CIGAR BOX GUITAR AWARD (BEST SOLO/DUO GUITARIST)
Adam Karch (Montreal Blues Society)
LEE OSKAR HARMONICA AWARD (BEST HARMONICA PLAYER)
Brian Peters of Deuce ‘n a Quarter (Columbus Blues Alliance)
BEST SELF-PRODUCED CD
Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal for their album, Green Light..
Reviews done by Juke Jackson, don’t blame the station!!