New Blues & Soul News – 3/31/2015

New Blues and Soul News- 3/31/2015

New Blues Adds:

A.J. Ghent Band – Live At Terminal West (Blue Corn): Here’s a new hybrid: AJ Ghent plays his strapped-on “Fender-esque” 8-string steel guitar like a merger of Robert Randolph and Derek Trucks and sings like a soulful combination of JC Brooks with a streak of James Brown!  On top of that his wife MarLa and sister Tiffany sing background and the rest of the includes Seth Watters (b), Gary Paulo (sax/g) and Will Groth on drums. Ghent’s uncle and father both played steel (his uncle was a touring sacred steel player).  Did I mention this is a live recording?  If you buy the disc you also get a dvd of the show!  All of the songs are originals and there is enough cooking going on to broil you all the way through!  Time to party down?  Here’s you ticket!  A
CERTIFIED Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”!  Click here for a sample.  It’s ALL live!

Tad Robinson – Day Into Night (Severn): Soulful blue soul singer/harp player Robinson brings out his sixth headliner disc, featuring his smooth vocals on a disc that clearly reflects the lush soulful sounds typical of the releases on Severn. All but one of the songs are current (eight co-written by Robinson and band members) and the lush, sweet sounding Chicago-style soul is the main dish throughout.  “While You Were Gone” is an original but captures the mid-tempo Syl Johnson sound perfectly.  The band includes Johnny Moeller (g), Robb Stupka (d), Steve Gomes (b) and Kevin Anker (keys) with guest spots from Anson Funderburgh and Alex Schultz (guitars) and occasional brass support from Kenny Rittenhouse and Liesl Whitaker (trumpets), Bill Holmes (trombone) and Antonio Orta (sax).  This is the uptown sound so don’t expect any grits, but the gravy’s got no lumps!  Click here for an earlier sample of Robinson’s music. Note this song is not on this disc.

Toots Lorraine & The Traffic – Make It Easy (Self-produced): Here’s some uptown, swinging blues featuring vocalist Lorraine with support from The Traffic: Chad Mo (g), Lorenzo Farrell (keys), Mike Phillips (b), and June Core (d) and guests Aki Kumar (harp) and Chris “Kid” Andersen (g, b, vox, piano).  Lorraine has a full, clear voice and a sophisticated, though straight-forward style.  She can belt it or bring it on nice and smooth. Mo’s guitar has been influenced significantly influenced by T-Bone Walker, BB King, and Duke Robillard and the band’s overall style is West Coast jump, though there are also a couple slices of gospel.  Kudos to Kumar’s full-bodied harp playing as well. A really solid set!  Click here for a live version of the title song.

Randy Volin & The Hard Ones – Detroit Thang 2015 (Self-produced): Blues-infused rock band with the heavy in-your-face style Detroit associated with Mitch Ryder and Bob Seger, but with a direct blues influence than either of them.  Singer Volin (vox, g, b, B3) actually describes his music as blues and rock’n’roll and that spelling aptly describes the blend. He wrote or co-wrote all but one of the songs. The band membership shifts significantly from one song to the next perhaps depending upon the difference in style emphasis from blues to rock.  Click here for a live excerpt of a song on this disc.

New Soul Reissue Adds:

Various Artists – Goldwax Collection (Vivid Sound): This is volume 1 of an anthology of the soul recordings made by a lesser known Memphis recording studio that created some outstanding soul recordings between 1964 and 1970.  The artists on this disc include greats like James Carr (4 songs), Spencer Wiggins (4 songs),and The Ovations (3 songs) to lesser lights including Wee Willie Walker and Percy Milem, and relative unknowns such as The Lyrics, George & Greer, and Eddie Jefferson (no, not the vocalese pioneer).  The quality of the songs is consistently high with the style shifting from terrific classic soul to “northern” soul and even some vocal groups. Correction/ ADDITION: Goldwax was not a studio, just a label. Most of their recording was done at American Sound or other studios in Memphis (not Stax or Royal though). Thanks to the Rum Cove for this edification and clarification! Essential!  Click here for a classic song from this disc by James Carr.

Various Artists – Goldwax Collection 2 (Vivid Sound): Volume 2 of this Goldwax anthology.  There is some overlap in artists from the first volume, (The Lyrics, Percy Milem, Eddie Jefferson, and Wee Willie Walker), but the songs are different and this disc also includes soul giant O.V. Wright (2 songs), Gene “Bowlegs” Miller (1), Phillip & The Faithfuls, The Vel Tones, Timmy Thomas, and Barbara Perry.  Again, there is significant variety and level of recognition or success, but this disc is also a terrific collection.  Click here for a classic recording on this disc by O.V. Wright.




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