I listened to The Hellhounds new CD - "Can't Take It With Ya." I have to admit that when I did so, I was a bit reluctant, because it is no secret that I am not a big fan of acoustic blues. I did however find the CD to be excellent. I actually caught myself snapping my fingers, tapping my feet and slapping my knees to several good cuts on the CD. These two fine young musicians MIKE HERMAN & JOHN GILLESPIE really have that "down home playin' on the front porch delta sound" down pat. My favorite cuts were the title cut "You Can't Take It With Ya", "Funny Paper Blues", "Bootlegger's Blues," "Lucky In Love" and "Broke Down Engine".
Also very impressive was the songwriting talent of MIKE & JOHN. Over half of the cuts on this CD are originals. I found it hard to believe that this was two young, white, suburban New Yorkers I was listening to. This CD has all the feeling, lyrics, and style that you'd expect to hear from some very old, seasoned, ex cotton pickin', black, delta bluesmen. Good luck Hellhounds.
I recently listened to the debut CD of BEAUTIFUL BOBBY BLACKMON entitled "I'M DIALIN' 911". Now, before I get into the actual review of this CD, I first need to address two things. #1 -- The opening sentence of this post is the last time I will refer to Mr. BOBBY BLACKMON as "beautiful"......using that adjective to describe other men is not my bag. From here on I'll just use BBB. #2 -- After seeing his picture on the CD, I can't help but wonder if it was STEVIE WONDER that gave him the name "beautiful" in the first place. OK, just joking there BBB. Now, on to the review.
After listening to the CD several times, each time I listened I came up with many different people that I felt may have influenced BBB. In my opinion, the CD was a lot of soul, a lot of R&B, and a little bit of blues, and although the musicians on the CD all sounded excellent, there seemed to be a huge emphasis on the very well done vocals and background vocals. Therefore, as I listened, names like LITTLE MILTON, BOBBY BLUE BLAND, BOBBY RUSH, IKE TURNER -- WITH THE IKETTES, and THE PIPS -- WITHOUT GLADYS KNIGHT all came to mind. There was one searing blues number, which of course was my favorite cut on the CD, and that was called "I'M HEADED FOR A BREAKDOWN".
BBB will be performing at the BAMBOO ROOM the first weekend in May, and if the names of those performers I mentioned in this review are the style you like to hear, then this should be an excellent show. I'm thinking that on stage, BBB may actually cut loose on the guitar as the CD teased that he is highly capable of. GOOD LUCK BBB.
Through my association with this wonderful website I was recently contacted by a British blues band called THE CAHONIES. They sent me a copy of their 6 song sampler CD and asked if I would mind giving it a listen and offer my valued opinion on their music. So, as requested, I gave the CD a listen, then another, then another until I had realized that I had enjoyed the CD so much I actually let it play for 5 or 6 consecutive plays. The songs were all covers, but nevertheless, they were all done quite well. It was a very good mix to show that the band is highly capable of playing several styles of blues. They chose selections which varied from a 'down home blues' song, to a 'swing blues' song, to a 'blues ballad,' to an over the edges 'rockish blues' song and to a 'foot tapping I want to get up and dance blues' song called "THE HOUSE IS ROCKIN" -- which was my personal favorite of the six.
By their own admission, THE CAHONIES confess that they "aren't top of the bill material" however they "would like to broaden their blues audience" and I hope that this review will help that to happen. So although they won't be getting nominated for any W. C. Handy Blues Awards anytime soon, I still feel that the 3 talented members of THE CAHONIES....ADRIAN TRELORE....JOHN (BOB) GALLACHER......and PHIL LISTER.....will do quite well for themselves. Good luck guys and thanks for the CD - I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to more music from the band.
I recently received 2 CD's in the mail from a band in the Netherlands called the FUSEBUSTERS. The first CD I listened to was called "RE-FUSED", and it took me all of 30 seconds into the first cut to know that I was going to like this CD. This, I thought, was quite a good first impression. The opening song, an original, was called "Late Night Dancing" and it was a soft, light, bluesy shuffle with excellent vocals, that immediately had me listening closer. As each song on "RE-FUSED" ended and the next began, my first impression kept getting reinforced, I was absolutely impressed with this band. RON DE BEUS on vocals and guitar, PETER VAN DER STELT also on guitar, FRANK VAN'T VEER on bass and PAUL HEYNE on drums are a talented bunch of musicians and songwriters as well. 9 of the 11 cuts on this CD are originals written by RON and PETER. I especially enjoyed "The Shape That I'm In", "Do This, Do That" and "Always Something". What I found quite interesting is that the only 2 covers on this recording were of RONNIE EARL and DARRELL NULISCH - Ronnie just happens to be my favorite guitarist and Darrell is my favorite vocalist - It is no wonder I loved this CD.
How do you improve a blues band that is already very good? Simple, right? Just add a piano or a sax. Well, the FUSEBUSTERS did just that on their next CD - "ON THE DOUBLE" - they brought in "OME" JAN DE LIGT as a special guest on tenor sax. The already good band just got better, and the second CD was also very impressive. On this CD, 6 out of the 10 cuts were originals with covers of RONNIE EARL, DUKE ROBILLARD and CHARLIE PARKER. The title cut "On The Double", "I Wish", "Thunderbird" and "I Wonder", were all cleverly written and very well performed. Also, the 2 DUKE ROBILLARD covers "Nothing Like You" and "Shufflin' With Some Barbecue" would have impressed Duke himself. RONNIE, DUKE and ROOMFUL OF BLUES were obviously a big influence on the FUSEBUSTERS, and that can't ever be a bad thing.
On both of these CD's, inside the linear notes was a disclaimer of sorts. It said "This is a pure analog recording with no overdubs, what you hear is what you get". Well, what I heard was one heck of a group of very talented musicians, singing and playing some real good blues. Good work guys and thank you for giving me the opportunity to hear your music.
How ironic that this years first CD to be reviewed will probably be a strong candidate for year end award consideration. That is how much I enjoyed Dan Reading's HAMBONE WAY. This excitingly unique and extremely interesting CD is positively pleasurable listening.
Dan's wonderful sense of humor and his real life's experiences obviously account for some interesting writing. Of the 12 tracks on the CD, all but one are originals. In addition to his quite talented song writing abilities, Dan is also responsible for about 90% of all the music on HAMBONE WAY. He plays all the drums and percussion, does most of the lead and rhythm guitar work, sings all of the vocals and plays bass and keyboard on several tracks. What little music not performed by Dan was provided by Gene Quade, Anton Flewelling, Ronnie Smith, Mike Stacey and Harlen Madison.
The musical versatility of this CD combined with Dan's story telling talent are several other reasons why it's highly enjoyable. HAMBONE WAY is a perfect blend of blues, jazz, soul and funk all done just right. Some of my favorite tracks were "SO WHAT"! (What's Love Anyway), a very slow and quite seductive blues cut, "CAUSED MY HEART TO STRAY," a real blazing blues cut and "BEER GOGGLES" where Dan confesses that his lady only looks good "when he has his beer goggles on?" Hmmmm.......what a small world.......could Dan and I have dated some of the same women?
Dan has told me that he is currently working on a new project and if it is anything like HAMBONE WAY, I am already looking forward to reviewing it.