New Blues & Soul News – 8/2/2016
New Blues Adds:
Grady Champion – One Of A Kind (Malaco): Grady Champion continues his climb to royalty in southern countrified, electrified, and sometimes even synthesized soul blues. Champion follows in the footsteps of Bobby Rush, both in terms of styles and themes. Partying, personal presentation (how hot can you dance or be), basically in the adult vein. Champion wrote or co-wrote all but one song here, several with guitarist Eddie Cotton who plays on all songs. The remainder of the band includes Carroll McLaughlin (keys), Sam Scott (drums) and Myron Bennett and Ken Smith (alternating on bass), and The Jackson Horns (Kimble Funchess, trumpet; Jesse Primer III, tenor sax; Sydney Ford II, bari sax; and Robert Lampkin, trombone). Champion sings and blows his harmonica when he wants to remind us of his bluesier side. Guest guitarists include Mr. Sipp, Theodis Ealey, and Elvin Bishop. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Willie J Laws Band – Cornbread Moan (Self-produced): Texan Willie J Laws is a veteran blues singer/guitarist/songwriter who has his feet firmly standing on the foundation of THE blues Texas-style. The music itself has a rough cut, countrified feel to it, perhaps roadhouse style. Six of the ten songs were composed or co-written by Laws. The covers come from blues or bluesy writers. Supporting musicians include Malcolm Stuckey (bass), Osi Brathwaite, David Fuller, and Ephraim Lowell (alternating on drums), and Bruce Mattson (keys). If you like a more unpolished sound, you might find this disc to be to your liking. Click here to listen to samples from this disc.
Rose City Kings – A Love So Strong (Self-produced): Rose City Kings are a band that could offer a good time to lots of people. They’re reminiscent of the upper echelon of club bands that cover blues and rock & roll and even a touch of the island sound. In this case, however, they play original material. The band is a tight outfit and includes leader Dan Berkery (vocals, guitar, composer of all but two songs), Steve Kerin (piano, Fender Rhodes, accordion), David Lipkind (harmonica), Jimi Bott (drums), Greg Hyatt (bass), and occasional add-ons Tim Shaughnessy (bass), Joe McCarthy (trumpet), John Moak (trombone), Leon Cotter (sax), and Brooke Russell (vocal). Vocals by Katy Oberg, who wrote “Working Girl Blues”, are especially noteworthy. After a series of blues-based songs, the band shifts to a light dance number and shows off their “beach” and Latin chops. “Love Karate Chop” covers the remaining ground and the main message is “let’s have some fun.” Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
David Vest – Devastatin’ Rhythm (Self-produced): New release from David Vest singer/songwriter/pianist/blues devotee along with his band, The Willing Victims, which includes Teddy Leonard (guitar), Mike Fitzpatrick (drums) and special guests Pat Carey (sax) and Howard Moore (trumpet). All but two songs are originals except for “West Coast Saturday Night” and “Lost Highway”. There is a nice spread of originals, such as the topical “Stop This Madness” and “We’re All Sharecroppers Now” (commentary about exploitation of blue collar workers), and “The Blues Live On” (a tribute to deceased blues greats and the power of the blues to survive). Click here for an introduction and samples from this disc.
New Soul Adds:
Ms Jody – I Got The Feeling (Ecko): Ms Jody is back calling everyone onto the blues dance floor because “There’s A Party Goin’ On”, so “Come On” and do the “Zydeco Rodeo”. The beat is steady and the lyrics repetitive, but that doesn’t really matter. The point is dancing and making the scene. Lyrically, the best songs here are the most soulful: “It’s Too Late To Do Right Now”, I’m Tired Of Being A Secret”, and the solid blues, “You Got To Leave Me Baby”. Click here to listen to the title song from this disc.