This is my very first review of the new year and from the looks of the way the CD's are piling up, these chubby little fingers of mine are going to be getting a lot of exercise in 2005. I just hope that the rest of the material I receive is as good as "ROADHOUSE RHYTHM" by MIKE GULDIN & ROLLIN' AND TUMBLIN'. That would make this a real nice blues year.
The 'Tumblers' as the band members are referred to consist of: MIKE GULDIN on lead vocals, acoustic and rhythm guitars; C J CLARK on bass; TIM HOOPER on piano; ALAN HOWE on lead guitar; KARL FRICK on Hammond B-3; and BILLY WEAR on drums. This particular project also included a slew of special guests: TERRY TOWSEN, trumpet; DON WISE, tenor sax; JAMES PENNEBAKER, tremolo and slide guitars; RON BURNS, lead guitar; SHAWN APPLEBY, Dobro Resonator Guitar; DENISE NEJAMME, background vocals; TOMMY CASTRO, lead guitar; and my very dear friend, the lovely Miss E G KIGHT on lead vocal.
On "ROADHOUSE RHYTHM", about fifty percent of the thirteen tracks are MIKE GULDIN originals, however one hundred percent of the tracks are very well done, good ole Memphis, New Orleans and Delta blues.
"MEMPHIS WOMEN AND CHICKEN" is a hot and funky Delta blues number. MIKE, with his tailor made blues voice, kind of a mix of Leon Russell and Dr. John, is really sharp. The horns are hot, the piano is perfect and the guitar work is excellent. DENISE'S background vocals add a nice touch to this one. As Mike describes starting from the bottom with the legs, then the thighs and saving the plumpest part for last you have to wonder is he talking about the chicken or the women?
"THE COST OF GOIN' BROKE", one of MIKE'S originals, has some very humorous lyrics. On this one MIKE sings of losing all his possessions, unscrupulous lawyers and the women his wife now calls honey. Definite topics for a blues song, I'd say. TERRY'S trumpet work gives this one a nice taste of Dixie.
"I WANNA LOVE YOU", is one of several tracks that feature C J on lead vocals. This one is a very nice slow, soulful mix of soft jazz and light blues. If slow, sexy, swaying and squeezing dancing is your style, this is the song you'd want to do it to.
The title track "ROADHOUSE RHYTHM" describes the song perfectly. This is an ideal blend of several styles of blues. On this one everyone's on the mark. DENISE sharing the vocals made this one quite enjoyable.
"SOUTHERN WOMAN AND A NAWTHERN MAN" is an acoustic duet written and performed by MIKE and E G KIGHT and featuring SHAWN on Dobro. This is acoustic, country blues at it's best. The contrasting vocal styles seem to blend very nicely on this one. My only problem with this track was it's short length. It only lasted less than four minutes and I could have easily listened to at least ten more. Hopefully these two wonderful vocal talents will collaborate more some time soon and hopefully I'll get to write about it.
Although here at www.mary4music.com, we have yet to pick the winner of the 2004 BLEWZZY award, and the 2005 winner is still 13 months away from being decided, come this time next year "ROADHOUSE RHYTHM" will be on my mind.
Being a resident of Florida's Space Coast puts STEVE THORPE in a close enough proximity to me where I have, on several occasions, had the pleasure of seeing him live. And what excellent shows they have been. Having toured the country with such national headliners as Gregg Allman, Big Bill Morganfield, Spencer Davis and his mentor -Smokey Wilson - makes STEVE THORPE one of Central Florida's real deal blues men.
Speaking of the real deal blues, that's exactly what "TROUBLE" is. The CD contains twelve tracks (six originals), of real deal blues. Joining STEVE THORPE on lead vocals and guitar are: His son, NATHAN THORPE with DAVID PASTIORUS, DAVID JAXON, BUZZY MEEKINS and SHARON DENTON on bass; KENNY CLARKE on piano and organ; DERIK SEXTON on drums; JIM ESSERY and WARREN KOCUR on harmonica; JEROME JOHNSON on organ; TOM BAYES and DON REESE on drums. Lots of very good musicians putting out lots of very good blues.
The CD opens with a real nice shuffle called "I DON'T LOVE YOU BABY", one of STEVE'S originals. It's a great song about 'reverse psychology' in which he is so in love he doesn't want to admit so he can't ever get hurt. STEVE'S natural blues voice provides great vocals on this and every track on the CD. The guitar work, also as on every track, is absolutely outstanding.
The band does a great version of "MEET ME WITH YOUR BLACK DRAWERS ON", in which the whole band slips into a nice groove from beginning to end. There's some great organ playing by KENNY on this one.
The title track, "TROUBLE", is a nicely done acoustic track. It features a duet of STEVE on slide guitar and JIM on harmonica. It's got all of the down home style of a Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee recording.
"STAY AWAY FROM THE GYM", is another original by STEVE. This is straight up Chicago Blues. On this one, he wonders why, after so much time at the gym, when his girlfriend should now have muscles on her eyes she's still got those flabby thighs. STEVE on guitar and WARREN on harmonica, shine on this one.
"DRIVIN' WITH MY BABY" is a real hard drivin' number. It features STEVE on slide guitar and has the rhythm section of BUZZY and DON peaking. This is a hot one.
Other tracks on "TROUBLE" are "SOMEDAY AFTER A WHILE, (YOU'LL BE SORRY)", "I CAN'T BE SATISFIED", "LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL", "SHOE", "SHE'S 19 YEARS OLD", "LONELY IN THE MIDDLE OF LOVE" and "MEAN OLD WORLD".