Over the years, certain surnames have become synonymous with certain products. When you hear the name Speilberg, you think of great movies; When you hear the name Versace you think of fashionable clothing; And when you hear the name Chanel, you think of pleasant fragrances. Well, it's not going to take much longer before you hear the name Taylor and you think of great blues. Think about that. There was Hound Dog Taylor, Johnny Taylor, Eddie Taylor, Melvin Taylor, Little Johnny Taylor and Koko Taylor - all synonymous with great blues. Well you can now add LARRY TAYLOR to that list of great blues men and women who share his surname.
LARRY TAYLOR'S CD. "THEY WERE IN THIS HOUSE", is a tribute to and symbolic of his earlier days as a young boy. Being the stepson of legendary guitarist Eddie Taylor, Larry virtually grew up around the blues. Regular visitors to his house were Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed and Elmore James. Now that's what I call having company. It's those legends that LARRY obviously was referring to when he titled this CD "THEY WERE IN THIS HOUSE". It's also those legends that he pays his respect to by doing several of their covers.
Since those earlier years, LARRY has spent the next 30 or so years continuing to hang around with legends. He's drummed and sang with Luther Allison, Buddy Guy, Willie Dixon, Albert King, Carey and Lurie Bell, Big Walter Horton, John Lee Hooker Robert Lockwood Jr, Jimmy Rogers, Memphis Slim, Sunnyland Slim and a slew of others, including his late step father Eddie Taylor. Nice resume'.
Being used to playing with the best, when it was time to assemble his own band - the LARRY TAYLOR BLUES AND SOUL BAND - he sought out some of the best players in the Chicago area. Joining LARRY, who does all of the vocals and plays drums on several tracks, on "THEY WERE IN THIS HOUSE" are: WILLIE DAVIS on guitar and background vocals; MICHAEL "SLEEPY" RILEY on bass; WEST SIDE WES on drums; OSEE ANDERSON on bass and arrangements; ROOSEVELT "MAD HATTER" PURIFOY on piano, organ and arrangements; RONNIE G on sax and arrangements; and BARRELHOUSE BONNI, who co-produced the CD with LARRY, on vocals and piano.
This is one of those CD's that is so good, so loaded with the real deal blues and so well done that it is so hard to only pick out a few tracks to mention. However, I'll try.
The opening number "JODY GOT YOUR GIRL AND GONE" is basically an eight minute blues jam with very smooth and soulful vocals. The rhythm section is tight and in sync and the guitar and saxophone add just the right highlights. It only took a few minutes of this first track to make me realize I was in for a treat. Curiously though, this song is actually the first two tracks. About halfway through it ends and starts again. I'm assuming airplay consideration may have had something to do with that.
The next track is one of several of LARRY'S originals and it's titled "BLUES, HARD LUCK AND TROUBLE". Hmmmm, any guess as to what this one may be about? On this one, the band was still into that same tight groove with ROOSEVELT shining on piano and LARRY still blowing me away with his vocals.
"IF I HURT YOUR FEELINGS", the first of two Howlin' Wolf covers is one of the best tracks on the CD. It's a real slow, very bluesy number with all the right stuff, including more excellent piano, a great guitar solo and the ever present soft, sultry sax in the background all done behind perfect vocalization.
"TELL ME BABY" is another one of those split track songs that breaks in the middle and starts again. This one is nine minute version of everyone in the band at their best. On this one Wolf's influence on LARRY is quite evident. At this point this CD has me wondering why I didn't see it on this years W C Handy Awards Ballot?
It was a special thrill for me to see that one of the tracks that appeared on this CD was one of my personal favorite blue songs, "LAST $2". Oddly enough the best version I had ever heard of this cover song, until now, was by a local Ft. Lauderdale band. LARRY and THE BLUES AND SOUL BAND did it perfectly.
As "THEY WERE IN THIS HOUSE" came to a close with a song by some one who was in LARRY'S house, Elmore James, I found myself thinking that I had just listened to one hell of a blues CD. It sounded like this band has been playing together forever and, for the good of the blues world, I hope they do.
Visit Larry Taylor on the Web at: www.larrytaylorbluesandsoul.com/
You do the math! Just a kid you say? That's right, but one heck of a talented kid with what looks like a great future in the music world - and all of us blues fans are hoping it's in blues music. With all of the older legends dying off and today's great blues men getting old, it's essential that youngsters like JIMMY BOWSKILL exist. That's a another story though, now it's time to tell you about this CD.
Amazingly, only in his early teens, JIMMY BOWSKILL just released his second CD titled "SOAP BARS & DOG EARS". Even more amazing than that is that nine of the fourteen tracks are originals. Gee, I'd like to grow up and be like this kid someday.
Complimenting his singing, guitar playing and songwriting, is JIMMY'S ability to recognize other talent. The JIMMY BOWSKILL BAND consists of several veterans of the Canadian blues and music scene. His bass player, ALEC FRASER has produced many great blues men; Sam Myers, Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Paul Oscher, Snooky Pryor and Fruitland Jackson are just a few of the giants that have recorded at his Liquid Toronto Recording Studio. And between them, harmonica player JEROME GODBOO, and drummer AL CROSS, have recorded with close to 100 different bands and musicians during their very busy careers.
On the original opening track "LINK INTO YOUR CHAIN" and the John Lee Hooker cover "HUG YOU", which immediately follows it, JIMMY BOWSKILL quickly establishes himself as singer and player. For an adolescent, he has an unusually natural blues voice and his delivery is equal to the style of a seasoned veteran. His confidence in himself is quite evident. Also, on these two tracks, Jimmy and Al really connect well.
"BAILEBORO" is a softly played and softly sung number with a nostalgic flare. On this one Jimmy sounds like a young Wayne Newton and displays a knack for laying down some very nice scat. I absolutely loved this track.
Jimmy's versatile enough to even give a Gospel style song a try. His soulful singing on "GRINNIN' IN YOUR FACE", with just the use of a bass drum, lots of in sync hand clapping and some well done background vocals, is absolutely outstanding.
Some of this young mans best singing can be heard on a track called "WHY". His range is absolutely amazing. Had someone played this track for me and told me I was listening to a 13 year old, I'd call them a liar. Once again, Jimmy left me dumbfounded.
"SAD SONG, HAPPY TUNE", yet another original, once again shows more of Jimmy's versatility as a performer and his credentials as a songwriter. It's an acoustic track done with an uncanny sense of experience, which he is way to young to have. The song sums up my answer to people when they say to me "aren't blues songs depressing?" Saying they are sad songs with happy tunes is the perfect answer.
I'd like to wish this young man continued success and personally thank him for the effort he is making to carry on the style of music that is my passion and my therapy - the blues.
Purchase Jimmy Bowskill's "Soap Bars & Dog Ears" directly from us: Click To Purchase
Visit Jimmy Bowskill on the Web at: www.jimmybowskill.com/
Take the wide range, flexible, vocal capabilities of ELLA FITZGERALD; Add to that, DINAH WASHINGTON'S vocal style that was at home in all kinds of music, be it R&B, Jazz, Blues or Pop; Put in some of ROSEMARY CLOONEY'S excellent lyric interpretations; Throw in lots of SARAH VAUGHN'S sassiness; Now, place on all of this DINAH SHORE'S glowing smile and you've just created Miss EILEEN JOYCE.
Now I know I just mentioned some of, or should I say most of the legendary female vocalists of modern music, but when I listened to "NO MORE BLUE TEARS", these are the influences I recognized. However, I do want to stress that I, of course, was a very young listener when I heard those ladies.
Joining EILEEN JOYCE on vocals, are an absolutely magnificent orchestra consisting of: BILL HARVEY, piano; DAN SUTHERLAND, bass; SCOTT FERGUSON, drums; SHAN ARSENAULT, guitar; KIM DUNN, organ; RICK WAYCHESKO, trumpet and flugelhorn horn; BRIAN COUGHLIN, saxophone; KRISANNE CROWELL, background vocals; with special guests WOODY WOODS on piano, CHARLIE A'COURT on guitar and vocals and JERI BROWN as the Production Consultant.
Of the twelve very well performed original tracks on "NO MORE BLUE TEARS" these are just a few of my personal favorites:
The title track, "NO MORE BLUE TEARS", is highlighted by some great muffled trumpet playing by Rick and some fine piano work by Bill.
"WITHOUT YOU", may very well be the best track on the CD. It once again features Rick and Bill at their usual best, but on this one Scott the drummer completely caused me to have to stop typing. I found my hands and feet had minds of their own as they followed every beat of his. Eileen is absolutely tremendous on this one. The replay button got a lot of activity as this track kept coming to an end and an end and an end........
"WOMAN IN LOVE" is all about Eileen's vocals and Woody on the piano. It's tracks like this that inspired my opening paragraph. It's a slow, soft, sultry number that gives the listener a chance to experience Eileen's vast talent.
"ONE WAY TICKET" spunk's things up with some funk and gives the whole band a chance to jam. Eileen's vocal range once again impresses and Krisanne adds a nice touch with some smooth background vocals and harmonizing.
"I'M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU" was the perfect song to close out the CD with. It starts out slow but progressively peaks while featuring all the instruments. There's lots of horn work with some nice sax solos by Brian, and Shan closes it all out with some stunning guitar work.
Once again, our neighbors to the north - and from where I am sitting, way north - have done it again. Last year, many of the reviews I did were from some very fine Canadian bands and it looks like I've just discovered another one.
Visit The Eileen Joyce Band on the Web at: www.eileenjoyceband.com/