New Blues – Soul – Gospel News – 10/15/2019
Al Basile – B’s Hot House (Sweetspot): “Al Basile grew up in a park in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He graduated from Phillips Academy in 1966, and in 1970 he was the first to receive a Master’s Degree from the Brown University Writing Program. He began his musical career as a cornet player with Roomful of Blues in 1973, and has worked with the Duke Robillard Band as a songwriter and recording member since 1990…. He has fifteen solo blues and roots CDs out under his own name.” (http://albasile.com/) Basile sings and plays cornet throughout this disc and is accompanied by Duke Robillard (guitar), Mark Teixeira (drums), Brad Hallen (bass), Bruce Bears (keys), Doug James (tenor sax) and Jeff “Doc” Chanonhouse (trumpet). The band is sharp and songs are good, but the roadway on Basile’s voice is not as strong as it used to be. Click here to listen to the opener, “So-Called Storyteller”.
Fillmore Slim – Son Of The Seven Sisters (Self-produced): Fillmore Slim is back with some backing by his younger friends from a while ago like Kid Andersen (bass, guitar), Rick Estrin (harp, vocal) and Jim Pugh (piano, keys) with guests Billy Price, Bob Welsh (guitar) and many other backups. This is certainly one of the best produced releases Slim has had and he is funky as he wants to be. He does a straight up blues – Little Walter’s “Last Night”. Most of the songs are Slim’s however. This uptown/down home combination is a solid blues thing and it’s a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks!” Click here to check out the title song.
Samantha Fish – Kill Or Be Kind (Rounder): Singer/songwriter/guitarist Samantha Fish offers her six release on Rounder and she’s ready to rock! “That was my mission on this album: To really set these songs up so that they have a life of their own,” says Samantha Fish about Kill or Be Kind, her sixth solo album and her debut on Rounder Records. “Strong messages from the heart – that’s what I really set out for.” Indeed, what comes across immediately on hearing the album is the extraordinary level of songcraft on its eleven tracks, the way these songs are so smartly put together to deliver a potent emotional impact.
“Anyone who has ever heard Fish’s previous albums knows that she has earned a place in the top rank of contemporary blues guitarists and that her voice can wring the soul out of a ballad and belt out a rocker with roof-shaking force. And, rest reassured, those virtues are fully in evidence on Kill or Be Kind. But each of the songs on the album does far more than simply provide a setting for Fish’s pyrotechnics. They tell captivating stories, set up by verses that deftly set the scene, choruses that lift with real feeling, and hooks that later rise up in your thoughts, even when you’re not aware that you’re thinking of music at all. It’s the kind of songwriting that emerges when raw talent is leavened by experience and aspiration, and when a committed artist genuinely has something to say. Those qualities make “Kill or Be Kind” a genuine artistic breakthrough for Fish.” (https://www.samanthafish.com/about/) This is a terrific all around release. Click here to listen to the title song.
Myles Goodwyn – Friends Of The Blues (Linus): “Myles Goodwyn, singer, guitarist, writer, producer and leader of the multi-Platinum selling rock band April Wine….Myles Goodwyn’s passion for the blues began in 60`s when he started listening to a American blues artists like BB King, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters along with Taj Mahal and many others. All the blues songs he wrote were not going to appear on an April Wine album, he kept saving them for the blues album he knew he was going to make, but only got recently got around to recording them. MYLES GOODWYN AND FRIENDS OF THE BLUES is the result of these sessions.” (https://mylesgoodwyn.com/about/myles-goodwyn-friends-of-the-blues/) Goodwyn sings plays guitar and keys throughout and he is accompanied by a shifting set of players including drummers Jr Smith, Scott Ferguson, Mike Carrol and Blair MacKay; bass players Bruce Dixon and Richard Pallus and singers Reeny Smith and Lisa MacDonald. Featured players include Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne (piano) and a host of guitarists, keys players and others. Click here to listen to the opening song.
Beth Hart – War On My Mind (Provogue): “Beth Hart is as real as it gets. In a music industry full of glossy production and airbrushed photo shoots, this is one artist who throws down her cards, shares her darkest secrets and invites you to join her for the ride. With “War In My Mind”, this Grammy-nominated talent has never served herself up so raw on a record, one that embraces her merits and flaws, channels her bittersweet headspace and spins gold from her demons. The sleeve shot of Beth pounding a piano below her own personal stormcloud is a fitting representation of new material that hits like a force of nature. Having followed the fascinating career of Beth Hart for a quarter-century, we’ve learned not to rule anything out – so long as it’s real. And now, with War In My Mind, this songwriter has made a record that bares her soul, wears her heart on her sleeve, and makes no apology for it.” (Editorial review – Amazon) Supporting musicians include Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Tim Pierce (guitar), Jamie Muhoberac (B3, synths), Chris Chaney (bass) and Rob Cavallo (guitars). Her full voice and expression are always worth checking out. A truly strong set which offers varied and, at times, difficult themes and some wonderful performances. A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Tracks”. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Junior Watson – Nothin’ To It But To Do It (Little Village Foundation): Junior Watson (guitar, vocal) has joined forces with the Little Village Foundation to create a solid blues collection of not-so-well-known songs mostly played in a somewhat laid back but right on the spot fashion. The musicians include Sax Gordon (sax), Jim Pugh (piano, organ), Kedar Roy (bass), Andrew Guterman (drums), Lisa Leuschner Andersen and Alabama Mike (guest vocals) and Gary Smith (harmonica). Watson’s vita: “A founding member of The Mighty Flyers he stayed with the band for ten years. He then left to join Canned Heat for ten years. He then toured for a while with LA-based harmonica player/vocalist Lynwood Slim. All along the way he has backed up and recorded with the who’s-who of the blues. His list of musical endeavors include backing up and recording with Big Mama Thorton, George Smith, Jimmy Rogers, Shakey Jake, Luther Tucker, Charlie Musselwhite, Kim Wilson, William Clark and many more.” (https://rckblscntrzz.blogspot.com/2019/10/junior-watson-nothin-to-it-but-to-do-it_10.html). The set list includes several blues and soul songs but not such well known songs. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this release.
Wentus Blues Band w/ Duke Robillard – Too Much Mustard! (Ramasound): Duke Robillard first met this band in 1987 while he was on tour in Scandinavia. He was impressed with their enthusiasm and talent. They contacted not long back and invited him to come back and play with them. This disc is one of the results of the invitation. Robillard produced this disc and also added his guitar playing to the set. The members of the band are Robban Hagnas (bass), Niko Riippa (guitar), Pekka Grohn (piano, Hammond organ), Juho Kinaret (vocals, percussion) and Daniel Hjerppe (drums, percussion). Eight of the songs are originals by the group, two are Robillard compositions and one is co-written By Robillard and Hagnas and there are covers of Tom Waits’ “2:19”, Robert Johnson’s “Judgement”, J.Miller’s “I Hear You Knockin’” and Chuck Willis’ “Feel So Bad”. Click here to listen to a song from this disc featuring both Duke Robillard and The Wentus Blues Band.
Black Pumas – Black Pumas (ATO/Coleman): “Black Pumas is led by the creative partnership between Grammy Award-winning guitarist / producer Adrian Quesada and 27-year-old songwriter Eric Burton. Burton is a relative newcomer who arrived in Austin in 2015 after busking his way across the country from Los Angeles, while Quesada has a storied reputation for playing in bands like Grupo Fantasma and Brownout while also producing acclaimed projects like 2018’s ‘Look At My Soul: The Latin Shade Of Texas Soul.’ After the two connected via friends in the Austin scene, they began to collaborate on a new sound that transmutes soul into something idiosyncratically modern. Reminiscent of Ghostface Killah and Motown in equal measure, this original sound ensured that Black Pumas’ weekly residency at C-Boys quickly became “the hottest party in town” (Austin-American Statesman). They sound somewhat like a close neighbor of the Black Keys or Dan Auerbach with a somewhat softer side a sweet dose of soul. A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to the opening song – “Black Moon Rising”.
The Sensational Barnes Brothers – Nobody’s Fault But My Own (Bible & Tire): “Can gospel music be topical? Can it be faithful, modern and commercial at the same time? The answer can be found in the first album of The Sensational Barnes Brothers.” With the family legacy well present (father was the renowned gospel singer Calvin “Duke” Barnes and his mother a Raelette by Ray Charles)…” the pedigree is already in place. (https://www.blues21.com/blues21-the-sensational-barnes-brot) Chris and Courtney Barnes (vocals); Calvin Barnes II (organ); Billie Thompson and Liz Brasher (vocals); Jimbo Mathus (organ); Will Sexton (guitar); George Sluppick (drums, percussion); Kell Kellum (pedal steel); Mark Stuart (bass); Jim Spake and Art Edmaiston (horns) and Calvin “Duke” Barnes (lead vocal on “Let It Be Good”). Clearly, a connecting point between gospel and soul music. Click here and scroll down to the center box to listen to six songs on this disc.
Elizabeth King & The Gospel Souls – The D-Vine Spirituals Recordings: “Going through your trials, I guarantee you, trouble gonna come and you need something. Music soothe your mind. You still be in pain but you can sleep,” says ELIZABETH KING of the power of gospel music, during a conversation upstairs at producer Bruce Watson’s Delta-Sonic Studio in her hometown of Memphis, TN. This first reissue from the D-Vine Spirituals Recordings (Memphis circa late ’60s / early ’70s) showcases King, who has an incredible ability to simmer and then raise the heat.” (https://midheaven.com/item/the-dvine-spiritual-recordings-by-king-elizabeth-the-gospel-souls) “The first reissue from the D-Vine Spirituals Recordings (Memphis circa late ’60s / early ’70s) showcases King, who has an incredible ability to simmer and then raise the heat. The gospel hit from King’s pen, ‘I Heard the Voice’ is only the tip of the iceberg. Witness her intensity on ‘Jesus Is My Captain’, with a wah-wah guitar grooving, which also drives the funky ‘Wait on the Lord’. ‘Down Here Waiting’ is the very definition of a Memphis backbeat. ‘I Found Him’ finds her singing, “I found him to be my hellhound chaser. I found him to be my midnight rider.” The traditional ‘I’ll Fly Away’ is done here a la Chuck Berry’s ‘Maybellene’, fast and joyful.” (https://www.strangerthanparadiserecords.com/elizabeth-king-and-the-gospel-souls-the-d-vine-spi.html) Click here to listen to songs on this disc.