"BIG HOUSE BLUES BAND" is similar to that of many small town local bands in that most of their members are usually successful professionals such as accountants, lawyers, chemists, bankers, restaurant employees, or members of the full-time workforce in general. Often, more than not, these individuals are 100% satisfied with the daily lives they lead, their places in the community and most importantly, their families. Inasmuch as they may be content with not being the next band to go platinum, that doesn't stop them from being a kick ass band. "LIVE! NO ROOM TO MOVE" will attest to that
The band consists of "BIG DADDY" HOUSEMAN on vocals, guitars and harmonica; JIMI RAY on drums and vocals; JANE BASSETT on vocal and percussion; NICK "THE HOUSE" HOUSEMAN on guitars and vocals; "TZER" TABACZKA on keyboards and vocals; JAY CARR on bass and vocals; GREG NIMITZ on alto sax; MARK MILLER on trombone; and JIM VAN BEMMEIEN on tenor sax.
Although "LIVE! NO ROOM TO MOVE" features all covers, the bands' use of horns, piano and background vocals, that were not on the originals, make them sound quite interesting. The disc opens with back to back B.B and T-Bone tracks - "PAYING THE COST TO BE THE BOSS" and "STORMY MONDAY". On the B.B cut, JANE does a great job on vocals and the horn section is right on the money. Also, for as many times as it's been done, I don't think T-Bone himself would be disappointed in this version of his classic. The guitar work is outstanding and the piano and sax solos, along with the background harmonies, make this one of the better versions this listener's heard.
Another hot one is Hookers "HUG AND SQUEEZE YOU". This one features some of the discs best rhythm. JIMI and JAY, on drums and bass, lead the fast pace that automatically leads to an all out jam with great guitar and sax leads.
Another of my particular favorites is "THE GOOD LIFE". With the band locked into a real tight groove, "TZER" tears it up with some great piano highlights, JIM blows the hell of the tenor sax and JANE belts it out on vocals.
More great vocals are sung by JANE on "GOTTA RIGHT TO BE WRONG". Backed by some awesome drum work by JIMI, she basically runs away with it on this beautiful ballad.
BIG DADDY lights it up on "I'VE GOT MY MOJO WORKING". His vocals and sharp harp work highlight this one - which, with all the vocal ad-libbing and background banter, makes it sound like the band is having a heck of a good time. I'm sure they were.
Other tracks on "LIVE! NO ROOM TO MOVE" are: "I'VE GOT PAPERS ON YOU", "WALKING BY MYSELF", "(I'VE GOT EVERYTHING YOU NEED) ALMOST", "IF YOU LOVE ME LIKE YOU SAY", "SMOKING GUN", "GIMME SOME LOVING" and "HEY BARTENDER".
You can check out BIG HOUSE BLUES BAND by dropping by www.bighousebluesband.com. Maybe while you're checking them out, you'll write them a check as well.....for a copy of "LIVE! NO ROOM TO MOVE". Tell them Blewzzman said you won't be disappointed.
It's a beautiful thing to be able to instantly recognize a beautiful thing. That's exactly what happened as I listened to "NEW SOUNDS FROM KANSAS CITY" by the NATIONAL DEBONAIRES. It was barely twenty-five seconds into the opening track when I had decided I was listening to a winner of a disc, and the next fifty-one minutes repeatedly validated that decision.
The NATIONAL DEBONAIRES are: STEVE GERARD on guitar; DAVE "ELMO" BAILEY on vocals; ANDY GRAFFITI on drums; PATRICK RECOB on bass; MIKE "SHINETOP JR" SEDOVIC on piano and organ; And their very special guests on "NEW SOUNDS FROM KANSAS CITY" include: LEE MCBEE on harmonica; DOUG "SARGE" RYNACK on piano; JIMI BOTT on drums; MIKE CLARK on sax.
"LET'S RUN", the opening track referred to earlier, starts out with a hot piano and guitar lead, by DAVE, backed by the rhythm section setting the pace that immediately had me snappin' and tappin' my fingers and feet. Then, ELMO started singing and what was already good, just got better.
The very same groove continues right into "MY BABY'S GONE", with MIKE adding some great sax highlights. Meanwhile, ELMO continues to blow me away on vocals. I think it may be due to the fact that his voice and style are so much reminiscent of the late "Barkin" Bill Smith, one of my all time favorites blues vocalists.
"CLEAR VIEW", is another of several STEVE GERARD originals. It's a smoker with that rockin' "Johnny B. Goode" thing happening on guitar and that wailin' "Great Balls of Fire" thing going on the piano. One of the discs best right here.
ANDY, PATRICK and MIKE are on fire on "WRAPPED AROUND HER FINGER". The pace they set on drums, bass and piano absolutely rips. This one will definitely delight the dancers.
One of ANDY'S originals, "ROCKING FOOL", has such a great, line in it. It goes like this... "I had a job pumping gas, I just had to quit it.... I tried to tell the boss, but he just didn't get it.... When the radio was rockin', I just had to stop... You can't check the oil when you're doin' the bop". Damn could I relate to that. In many a review, I've mentioned not being able to type due to excessive bopping. Some of the discs best guitar work can be heard on this one.
One of the more serious blues tracks is "AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN AGAIN", written by STEVE GERARD. This is the kind of stuff that gets my blues boat floatin'. ELMO'S super soulful vocals sent chills right through me. Damn, who is this guy and why have I not heard of him before? Also highlighting this one is some great blues guitar work by STEVE and lots of masterful mood setting organ by MIKE. Unquestionably this listeners favorite track.
The closing track, "THE HUSTLE IS ON", is the one that features all of the special guests with MIKE'S tenor sax being the highlight.
Other tracks on "NEW SOUNDS FROM KANSAS CITY" include: "MISSING MY BABY", "BETTE JANE'S SMILE", "SEND FOR ME", "HEAVY WEIGHT BABY", "STEADY DRIVER" and "I LIKE PRETTY WOMEN".
I know I recommend a lot of CD's to my readers, but this one's a must have. Check out the NATIONAL DEBONAIRES at www.nationaldebonaires.com and grab a copy. While you're there, tell the guys that Blewzzman's saying that if you want to win the 2007 BLEWZZY AWARD, "NEW SOUNDS FROM KANSAS CITY" is the disc ya gotta beat.
The minute I laid my eyes on MATT WALSH'S CD, "HARD LUCK", I started thinking about the Blues Music Awards. Now notice I said my eyes, not my ears - as of yet, I haven't heard a note of the music. However, my decision was already made that if there were ever a category for the "BLUES' BEST 'DO", this young man is not only getting my nomination, but he's a lock to win - pun intended. And by the way, that's envy speaking, not sarcasm.
On "HARD LUCK", MATT'S debut release, he also makes several other impressive first impressions. A visit to his website will tell you that MATT WALSH is known for his "Fifties style of Chicago Blues, with detours into Rockabilly, Swing and Roots Rock". What it doesn't tell you is how well he does it and that he does it with the feeling and confidence of a seasoned veteran.
Speaking of seasoned veterans, you should recognize a few of them giving him a hand here. Joining MATT WALSH - writer of all tracks - on electric, acoustic, slide and national steel guitars and vocals are: BOB MARGOLIN on guitar; JESSIE MAJOR, F J VENTRE & "WASABI" BOBBY KELLY on upright bass; KYLE COUCH on drums; MAX DRAKE on guitar and mandolin; MATT HILL on guitar and lap dobro; CHUCK COTTON on drums and vocals; RENE AARON on harmonica.
A fast paced rocker titled "LEAVING MY BABY" opens the disc with it's Producer, guest guitarist, and obvious strong MATT WALSH influencer, BOB MARGOLIN, leading the band on guitar. MATT'S vocals immediately make an impression on this one, and the rhythm of CHUCK and F J highlight the track.
Other than listening to the 3 or 4 slide guitar players who I consider to be the cream of the crop, I generally prefer to not even here it played. Hearing MATT on "WHY MY BABY AIN'T AROUND" just increased my favorite slide players to a complete handful. MATT shines on this Margolinesque track.
"BREAKING UP OVER YOU" is good old, down home, Piedmont style roots blues at it's best. This one features MATT perfectly pickin' an acoustic guitar and RENE masterfully blowing into a harp. Equally as interesting is "POINTLESS BLUES", a very laid back number featuring a vocal duet between MATT & Chuck. The track is highlighted by MAX DRAKE & MATT HILL on mandolin and lap dobro. Good stuff on these two.
Fans of good old straight up Chicago Blues will enjoy "HARD LUCK" & "20 MORE MILES". Both tracks feature great guitar licks - the first by BOB and the second by MATT. Both tracks are also highlighted by MATT belting out some good blues vocals.
Other tracks on "HARD LUCK" include: "ONE LOOK", "HARD TO FIND", "GOIN' OUT", "SIT AND WONDER" and "WOODY'S RAG".
As I opened this review, I made a humorous reference to the Blues Music Awards. However, I'm certainly not joking when I say that if "HARD LUCK" should catch a bit of "good luck" and fall into enough right hands, MATT WALSH may just get himself a "Best New Artist Debut" nod.
Check MATT out at www.mattwalshblues.com. While you're there, tell him Pete the Blewzzman is crazy about his disc.... and his 'do.
When does one of your favorite foods become not only one of your favorite things to eat, but one of your favorite things to listen to as well? When it's a talented band that plays a killer mix of Delta, Chicago, and Jumpin' Swing Blues, and they call themselves RED BEANS & RICE - that's when. Just as the dish contains all the right ingredients to make it a favorite of many, the bands' got just what it takes to do the same.
The personnel.....or ingredients, if you will.....that make up RED BEANS & RICE are: BISHOP MAYFIELD, lead vocals, djembe and handclaps; TAMAS MARIUS, tenor and alto saxes; GIL RUBIO, guitar, congas, organ, handclaps and vocals; TOM LAWSON, keyboards, accordion and vocals; JOE VALLAIRE, bass; JAMEY DE MARIA, drums & percussion; JON GORMAN, special guest vocalist.
On "HOT 'N SPICY", RED BEANS & RICE open the disc dishing out a tasty cover of a Taj Mahal favorite - "STRUT". Everything about this number impressed me - their adaptation and presentation is masterful. The vocals are splendid, the rhythm - with all it's got going on - is awesome, the guitar work is sharp and the organ and horns just blew me away. I'm sure it's happened before, but I can't recall the last time I was this impressed with my first listen to a new band.
Be prepared for body parts to start flailing when "SHE'S TOO YOUNG TO KNOW", comes on. Calling this one an all out swing-fest is a certain understatement. It's a fast and furious four minutes of hot horn blowing, finger lickin' guitar pickin', pounding piano playing, raucous rhythm and lots of great harmony and timely hand clapping. Another of this discs many highlights.
I had a problem with another of the discs originals, "GETTING OLD". You see, I was able to relate! Lyrics such as "aching in the morning and aching at night", "sitting down fast and getting up slow", "taking pills if I were able to read the label". Damn, this track reminded me too much of me ....... especially the part which claims "I'm too young to be this old". Great song with lots of hot guitar riffs.
Although I'm overwhelmed by his vocals on every track, some of BISHOP'S best work can be heard on "UNCHAIN MY HEART". His voice is just too incredible on this one. On top of that, the music is masterful. TOM and TAMUS get in some nice highlights on piano and sax and the rhythm section is sounding better than I've ever heard any rhythm section sound. Here I am five songs into the disc and I've already raved about four. I need to start skipping around or I'm gonna be here awhile.
For my thoughts on "BOTH SIDES OF THE FENCE", you could pretty much re-read what I said about "SHE'S TOO YOUNG". This one is a smoker with JAMEY at his absolute best on drums.
Fans of the Hammond Organ and Dr. John - and pretty much all the rest of you - are going to love "ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY". With the band doing a great job of backing him up, this one's all about TOM. On this Dr. John cover, TOM not only does an excellent job on the vocals, but he tears it up on the organ as well. Another of many great tracks.
About the only slow track on the disc happens to be the closing track - an original titled "I'M NOT GOING TO STAND IN YOUR WAY". This one closes out "HOT 'N SPICY" with some very soft and sultry sax work by TAMUS.
Other tracks on "HOT 'N SPICY" that were not mentioned - and only for the sake of space limitations are:"HANDA WANDA", "HOPIN' FOR THE BEST", "SHE CAUGHT THE KATY", "RED GUMBO", "VOODOO", and "CONGA SQUARE".
So my friends, the next time your stomach is telling you it wants something good to eat and your head is telling you it needs to hear some good music, just fix yourself a batch of "RED BEANS AND RICE" and satisfy both cravings.
Stop by www.redbeans.com and say hi to the best band from Monterey Bay. While you're there do these two things: Grab yourself some grub - a RED BEANS & RICE CD that is - and tell the band that the Blewzzman is talkin' bout a frontrunner in The BLEWZZY competition.