Intriguing, is probably the best word to describe the effect that "TURNING THE WORM" had on me. Generally, non traditional styles of blues such as this simply don't excite me. Yet, something about this disc has me uncharacteristically impressed.
"TURNING THE WORM" consists of nine CARL SLACK originals that combine a perfect blend of folk, country, southern rock and blues. Mastering those styles not only shows a musicians versatility, but it opens up a lot of doors - possibly providing a bit of job security as well. Be it a 'Coffee House', a 'Juke Joint' or a 'Honky Tonk' - put CARL SLACK on the stage and a good time will be had by all. None were given, but if I had to guess as to who some of CARL'S inspirations were, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Jimmy Buffet and Delbert McClinton are just a few of the names that would come to my mind.
Joining CARL SLACK on vocals, acoustic, electric and slide guitars, harmonica and percussion are: MIKE LOVELADY on drums; DAVE ROMERO on bass and background vocals; CHAD LITTLE on guitar and background vocals; JARVIS HOLLOWAY on fiddle.
On "PONYBOY", the opening track, it took me hearing him sing all of the first sentence to fall in love with this young man's voice. Then I heard his harp playing and immediately knew the rest of this disc was going to be an absolute treat. And indeed it was.
"ANOTHER HOMESICK TUNE" features great fiddlin' by Jarvis. This southern rock blues track would feel right at home on just about any Allman brothers disc.
"STONE'S THROW FROM MEXICO" features some of the best rhythm the disc has to offer.
"DANCE ACROSS TEXAS" is top notch country blues. As with all of CARL'S songs, it tells a true and interesting story. Once again, JARVIS'S fiddle along with CARL'S singing highlight this one.
On "TURNING THE WORM", I found it a bit difficult to get into too much detail about any one particular song and believe it or not, I mean that from a positive point of view. Reason being is that if you're looking for three minute harp solos, songs that are full of blazing guitar licks and drummers beating their brains out, you just won't find it here. What you will find on this disc, is five very talented musicians, working as one, to sound as good as they possibly can - and easily achieving that goal.
My gut feeling tells me that on this project, CARL SLACK may have actually gone through a bit of a learning experience. What I mean by that is, as good as "TURNING THE WORM" is, I'm thinking we've got a lot more yet to hear from him.
Check CARL out at www.carlslack.com and - you know the drill, tell him the Blewzzman sent ya.
Anyone out there remember a singer - and I use the term loosely - by the name of Bobby Pickett? Here's a hint - the bands name was Bobby "Boris" Pickett & the Crypt Kicker Five. Well back in 1962, and every Halloween since then, he had a hit with a song called "THE MONSTER MASH" - the dance that irked Dracula for replacing his "Transylvania Twist".
Well, they're still dancing in Transylvania, but A G WEINBERGER - "The Transylvanian Bluesman" now has them doing the boogie-woogie to the blues. Apparently, over the last few years, the blues have taken Romania by storm. After listening to "NASHVILLE CALLING", my bets on A G having a lot to do with that.
During his twenty plus years as a musician, singer, song writer, radio host and producer, A G has certainly been involved in his share of musical projects. On his latest effort, "NASHVILLE CALLING" , A G WEINBERGER, on vocals and lead and rhythm guitars is joined by: PAT BUCHANAN on guitars; TONY HARRELL on Hamond B3 and Piano; TOMMY MCDONALD on bass; GLEN WORF on upright bass; TOM HAMBRIDGE on drums; DARREN MOTAMEDY on alto and tenor sax; RAY BALDWIN on trumpet and flugelhorn; JACQUIE WARD and MARGO WILLIAMS on background vocals. All twelve very well written tracks are a mix of A G WEINGERGER and TOM ( two time Grammy Nominee) HAMBRIDGE originals. Now lets listen to some of them................
The opening track is an all out jam that quickly gives you an earful of all the talented musicians on the disc. It's a fast paced number called "YOUR GOOD MAN'S GONE" that features everyone. The rhythm is awesome, the horns are hot and in addition to outstanding vocals. A G smokes on guitar. At under three minutes, the track left me wanting a lot more. But, that's Ok, because there certainly is lots more.
"BREAK THE MAN" is a completely opposite track. It's a slow soulful ballad which establishes A G's versatility. Not only can he sing 'em rough and from the gut while wailing on guitar, but he can be soft and soulful while finessing his way around his instrument as well.
Whenever he wants to fill the dance floor, "DON'T KILL THE MELODY IN ME" has got to be A G's go to song. This is one of those oh so slow and sexy kinda songs. TONY'S Hammond playing and A G's soft jazzy guitar are a hit together.
"NOT NO MORE" features A G a la Elvis. It's good ol' rockin' gospel blues that don't get any better than this. The background vocals are masterful and TOM is kickin' it on the drums.
"THE PAIN OF LOSING YOU" is perhaps the most down and dirty blues track on "NASHVILLE CALLING." Saying that is also saying it's unquestionably one of this listener's favorite tracks as well. The guitar work, the vocals and the emotion with which they're delivered astounded me. I'm sure this one will give many replay buttons a workout.
If everything I listen to is as good as "NASHVILLE CALLING" - my first review of 2007 - I'm going to be one happy writer. Check out A G WEINBERGER at www.agweinberger.com and tell Attila that you heard his music's been Blewzz Approved.
BAR PROMOTIONS obtained their moniker by simply borrowing some of the alphabet from the product they promote - B A R - BLUES AND ROOTS. Australian Blues And Roots to be exact. From the way I see it they seem to be a PR firm that puts out promotional discs containing a track from a bunch of down under blues bands. This particular disc "BLUES AND ROOTS" VOL 3 is a compilation of fourteen original tracks by thirteen different Australian bands/artists.
In order of appearance, the songs and the performers are:
"THE BEST PART OF MIDNIGHT"..............THE OTHERS
"VOODOO KIND"..........................................ANDY COWAN
"YOU CAN'T CHANGE"................................SMOKESTACK LIGHTNIN'
"WATCH ME WORK IT"...............................ANDREA MARR
"EVERY HOUR EVERY DAY"........................BLUESTONE
"SEEKER".....................................................MEN IN BLUES
"SWEET BABY JANE"...................................BLACK AND BLUES
"DOWNSTREAM BLUES".............................CRAIG SINCLAIR
"PRAYIN' FOR RAIN"....................................JACMAC
"THE SURRENDER OF JOHNNY VANE".....THE OTHERS
"HAMMER THESE TONGS".........................PUGSLEY BUZZARD
"WALK A MILE"............................................BLUE SHADDY
With all due respect to all of the wonderful musicians and good music on this disc, since the names of individual band members were not listed, I'm unable to give everyone their fair share of mention. Additionally, time and space do not allow for a synopsis of all fourteen tracks so I'll just go where my ears lead me.
The opening track is a song by THE OTHERS, off of their "THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT" CD, called "THE BEST PART OF MIDNIGHT". If you like growling, raunchy vocals and rough blues featuring amazing slide and lots of scorching guitar riffs then this ones for you.
"SMOKESTACK LIGHTNIN" slows things down a bit with a beautiful, mellow and very bluesy track called "YOU CAN'T CHANGE", off of their "FIRIN' RANGE" CD. The guitar pickin' on this one is stunning. I swear these old ears of mine heard a bit of classical and flamenco in there somewhere and yet it all sounded so delightfully bluesy.
ANDREA MARR livens things up with a dose of soulful blues on a track called "WATCH ME WORK IT", off of her disc with the same title. The well written lyrics are a serious match for her shoot from the hip singing style. What you hear is what you get with this gal. The high level of confidence she projects is clearly heard in her vocals.
Acoustic blues is outstandingly represented on "HOLLY", a track off of the same titled disc by RICHIE PAVLEDIS. This one features a perfectly produced blend of finely sung vocals, excellent guitar pickin' and just the right amount accompanying harmonica and very tight bass. At 2:39, this gem is all too short.
PUGLSEY BUZZARD serves up some hot, hard driving blues on "HAMMER THESE TONGS", off of his same titled CD. This one features a smokin' rhythm section, great trumpet and sax highlights and a lot of down home blues piano . Once again however, just as I was rockin' and PUGSLEY was peaking, this short track came to a disappointing end.
Closing out "BLUES AND ROOTS" VOL 3 is "WALK A MILE". This is a relentless, high energy track off of a disc by the same title from BLUE SHADY. This one's fueled by high octane harmonica and guitar injectors powered by a turbo charged rhythm section.
Unquestionably, "BLUES AND ROOTS" VOL 3 did it's job. While introducing me to over a dozen bands/artists that I'd never heard of, it teased me just enough to want to go out and hear more from each of them. Nice Job! Please keep me in mind for VOL 4.
For more information on B A R - the music and the company - check out www.bluesandrootspromotions.com
"BLUESMAN" is dedicated to the memory of RICK JEFFERY (1950 - 2003), one of the many great Nova Scotia Bluesmen - www.bytor.com/rj/bluzhome.htm. 100% of the profits from "BLUESMAN" will be donated to the NOVA SCOTIA LUNG ASSOCIATION.
"BLUESMAN" features EILEEN JOYCE, vocals, and the sounds of many great Nova Scotia Blues Musicians: BILL HARVEY on piano; SCOTT FERGUSON on drums; GARRETT MASON on guitar; DANNY SUTHERLAND on bass; JOE MURPHY on harmonica; GEORGE ANTONIAK on guitar; BRUCE TIMMINS on guitar; PAUL VIENNEAU on bass; KENNY MACKAY on saxophone; DUTCH MASON on vocals; JOHN CAMPBLEJOHNN on vocals, guitar and bass; JOE BUTCHER on bass; CHARLIE A'COURT on guitar and vocals; NICOLE QUELLETTE and MELANIE DONNELLY on back up vocals; MORROW SCOTT on bass; GARY POTTS on drums; CARTER CHAPLIN on guitar; And the late RICK JEFFERY on harp and vocals.
The title track, "BLUESMAN" an original by EILEEN & BILL is not only a tribute to RICK but a tribute to every traveling Bluesman. It's all about a blues man on the road, he touches peoples souls, he sings about their troubles, he makes them all happy but he can't pay the bills. He's got no money and no car and nothing else besides his guitar. Sad, but more often than not, very true. Lot's of good vocals, guitar, bass and harp by EILEEN, GARRETT, DANNY & JOE.
"THINK", a Jimmy McCracklin cover, is a very soulful track sung by EILEEN & JOE and features lots of great harp by JOE as well. After listening to this track, I've adopted a new found respect for the term "think about it". It's about two people wanting to leave their lovers for each other. The only problem is they're both worried about what would happen if they're both wrong. What's that they say about the grass?
"WHY DO YOU LOOK SO GOOD?", another EILEEN and BILL original will have you shaking in your seats. It's a hot little number that rocks. Everyone gets into a very nice groove behind the pianos lead. It's three and a half minutes left me thirsting for more. It should be mandatory that songs like this be at least 8 minutes long.
"Since "CHOCOLATE BLUES" (BILL) use no lyrics, I'll just keep mine to a very basic minimum................. Piano (BILL) / Sax (KENNY) / Excellent!
"DUTCHIE'S BLUES" (EILEEN & BILL) is a soft and sultry, down and dirty duet by EILEEN & DUTCH. GARRETT'S guitar work is excellent with some fine background piano and harp by BILL & JOE
"ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH?" (EILEEN & JOHN) is another well sung duet by the co writers. The track features great slide guitar work by John.
"LIKE A FOOL" (CARTEN CHAPLIN) features soulful vocals and top notch harmonica work by the discs dedicatee - the late RICK JEFFERY. The rhythm section of MORROW & GARY provide a fine dose of funk and CARTER'S hot on the guitar. Fittingly, one of the best tracks on the disc.
To pick up a copy of "BLUESMAN" and at the same time be making a donation to the NOVA SCOTIA LUNG ASSOCIATION, just click here...http://cdbaby.com/cd/eileenjoyce2.... and to find out more about the organization, you can visit their website at http://www.ns.lung.ca/
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