If I were cruising a record rack in a store, I'd have bought "Radio", the new CD by BLUEBONE, from just looking at the cover of the CD. Not because it was fancy, colorful or flamboyant - quite the contrary. It was just a picture of an old-fashioned radio - one I am old enough to recognize as having had - with the word Radio written across the cloth speaker cover and it had the words "listen with frequency" along side of it. It impressed me because it was simple, yet clever. I figured if the writing on the thirteen original tracks was this clever, the CD had to be good.
BLUEBONE, a veteran band of four well-versed musicians with more than 120 years of musical experience between them, consists of JAY BETHEL on guitars, keyboards and vocals, DAN MCPHEETERS on guitars and vocals, VAN BURRIS on bass, and FRANK ARANEO on drums. On "RADIO", STEVE SMITH on bass and ERNIE TRIONFO on pedal steel and slide guitars appear as special guests.
Because I couldn't have said it any better, I'll use a quote from the bands website to describe their style of music. "They play a variety of guitar driven, contemporary blues and blues rock that is artful and inspired. Their sound is tight, emotional, and often hard-hitting." Touche`, that's what I call hitting the nail right on the head. Now, let me tell you a bit about that music.
The title track "RADIO" is a wonderfully clever song. It's all about a jilted lover who finds solace in listening to the radio. The drift is it's fun listening to the radio while it wasn't fun listening to her. The music has a real nice Island beat and the steel guitar by ERNIE makes this one sweet.
If you like your blues with a dose of funk, then "YOU GOT ME COMIN" is the track. The rhythm section of FRANK and VAN light this one up big time while JAY fans the flames with the organ. This is a smoker. I dare you to try and stand still.
The guitar playing on "WANDERIN' WOMAN" absolutely blew me away. It was so reminiscent of one of the hardest blues guitarists to copy and one of the best blues guitarist of all time - Mr. Albert Collins. Very impressive playing by Jay on this one. And it didn't stop there. On the very next track, "NO GOOD REASON", the bluesiest track on the CD, Jay does it again. This one is all about him. The blistering blues licks and the hard sung vocals made this one my highlight.
If you ever had an ear for "POPSICLE TOES", by Michael Franks, you'll absolutely love "EDDIE". It's a very nice, very soft shuffle, blending bits of rock, blues and jazz. Put this one on after a tough day, pour yourself a Grand Marnier`, sit back in your recliner and you'll be thanking the Blewzzman for this advice.
Considering that this CD is not straight up in your face Chicago Blues, the way this narrow minded blues fan likes it, I've got to admit that "RADIO" was quite an enjoyable listening experience. Thanks guys - for broadening my horizons, and for writing a song about me - "DUMB AND EASY"
You can visit Bluebone on the Web at: www.bluebone.net
Over the years I have written many CD reviews. Some were for magazines, some were for websites such as this one and others were at the requests of artists. However, this review is going to be different. This will be the first review I have ever written simply because I wanted to write it. "EXPRESSIONS OF A BLUES MAN" by TOM "BLUESMAN" HUNTER may very well be one of the best CD's that I have listened to in the last decade and I want people to know this. For a blues enthusiast to not ever know of or hear about this record would be unfair - to the fan and the artist.
The CD has twelve tracks, all TOM HUNTER originals, with each track better than the last. The outstanding musicians responsible for this wonderful record are: TOM "BLUES MAN" HUNTER, vocals, lead and rhythm guitars; LEROY SCOTT, drums; HAROLD ANDRUS, bass guitar; PAUL BOONE, harmonica; BRADFORD ANDERSON, piano, keyboards; GLEN JOSEPH, saxophone. All of whom I believe are local Texas area blues musicians.
Right about here in my reviews is where I'd pick out a few tracks and refer to them as the highlights of the recording. However, that's not going to happen. For something to be a highlight, it has to be a step above what it is being compared to. "EXPRESSIONS OF A BLUES MAN" is a succession of highlights by the best blues musicians I have never heard of. What a discovery!
TOM'S vocals are mesmerizing, you can't help but to pay close attention and as one track ends you just can't wait for the next to start. He makes you thirst for more. PAUL is one of the best 'harmonic' harmonica players I have ever heard. His presence is constant, outstanding and enjoyable yet he never feels the need to blow his brains out. GLEN'S ability to make his sax sound like a complete horn section is uncanny while BRADFORD goes from making his synthesizer sound like a string section to tearing up some serious boogie woogie on piano. LEROY & HAROLD keep it all tight and together this is one hell of a blues band.
Do yourself a favor and take the Blewzzman's advice on this one - get yourself a copy of "EXPRESSIONS OF A BLUES MAN". If you are any kind of a blues fan you'll be emailing me to thank me for the recommendation
The basis of anything powerful, successful and full of strength is a good foundation with strong supports. Without these characteristics, endurance and longevity would be unachievable. Already having the good foundation established by playing with Jimmy Dawkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Big Bill Morganfield and the legendary Jimmy Rogers, NICK MOSS has just added the fourth cornerstone which will support the greatness he is destined to achieve in the blues world.
"SADIE MAE", NICK MOSS'S newest and fourth CD is sure to receive the same critical acclaim that his previous three releases have. With the last two having received W C Handy Award nominations, "SADIE MAE" might just have NICK hoping that the third time will indeed be a charm.
The CD's title, by the way, is a tribute to KATE & NICK MOSS'S first child - SADIE MAE MOSS. Born exactly a year ago, she is named after a Hound Dog Taylor song. NICK'S producing didn't stop there. On "SADIE MAE", twelve of the tracks are NICK MOSS originals and he is the CD's mixer and producer as well. On top of that, the product was recorded in NICK'S brand new studio - in his home - with just the working members of his band which consist of: GERRY HUNDT on harmonica, rhythm guitar and lead guitar; BOB WELSH on piano and organ; DAVE WOOD on bass: VICTOR SPANN on drum; And of course NICK MOSS on lead vocals, lead guitar, harmonica and rhythm guitar.
The opening and title track, "SADIE MAE", contains all of the fatherly emotions you'd expect from a song written by a proud dad in honor of his first child. Nevertheless, this is blues at it's rawest. With the band in a nice tight groove, NICK tears it up. This one is all about the blues guitar.
"I NEVER FORGET" as well as several other tracks on this CD, show me some of the effects Anson Funderburgh may have had on NICK MOSS while working together on NICK'S last CD. The FLIP TOPS seem to be so comfortable together and in a constant groove very similar to the one the Rockets are constantly in.
Another hot number of this CD is "CHECK MY PULSE". This one may very well be about the new born baby girl also. On it NICK sings about a pretty little angel being introduced to him late one evening. NICK'S vocals and some great keyboard work by BOB highlight this track and make it one of the best on the CD.
"RIDIN' AT THE RANCH" and "THE COLDCUT STOMP", two instrumentals, clearly show why there was absolutely no need for any so called "guest stars" on this production. This ensemble is already a cast of stars. On both of these tracks BOB, DAVE & VICTOR take over and the rhythm section, along with the piano, absolutely tear it up.
"CRAZY WOMAN BLUES", is one of the few covers and also one of the few ballads on this production. It's highlighted by some very soulful harmonica playing by GERRY and lots of wonderful, soft piano work by BOB.
As usual with NICK MOSS CD's, "SADIE MAE" gives you lots of blues music for your dollar. There are sixteen tracks on this one and not a bad one in the bunch. In the last five years, NICK MOSS has received W C Handy Award nominations in all of the odd years ('01/'03) while skipping the even ones. This 2005 release should keep that numerical sequence in tact.
You can visit Nick Moss & The Fliptops on the web at: www.nickmoss.com/