Ask most kids entering their teens what they want to be when they grow up, and I'm sure the choices would be similar to that of when I was a kid. C'mon, doesn't every kid that age want to be a cop, a fireman or an astronaut? How about a baseball, basketball or football player? Maybe even a rock or movie star? Of course they do! And of all the kids that may have picked anything besides what's on that list, I'm sure there wouldn't be any picking "blues legend". Unless of course that kids name was SEAN COSTELLO.
Before he was fourteen, SEAN decided he was ready for a career in a business where success rarely comes any sooner than the age of 60 - and that's even rushing it. Yet, still shy of 30, he has positioned himself very nicely in the line of work he's chosen. Considering the company he's kept by having shared the stage with the likes of B. B. KING, BUDDY GUY, JAMES COTTON & PINETOP PERKINS - all blues legends themselves, SEAN seems to have made the right decision.
SEAN COSTELLO'S latest CD, his first for DELTA GROOVE MUSIC, is "WE CAN GET TOGETHER". The disc containing ten originals and one cover features: SEAN on lead guitar, vocals and background vocals; AARON TUBIC on bass, percussion and background vocals; PAUL CAMPANELLA, JR on drums, percussion and background vocals; RICH IANNUCCI on organ and accordion; OLIVER WOOD on rhythm guitar, lead guitar and background vocals; NEAL WACHOUPE on keyboards; ADAM MEWHERTER on sousaphone; DONNIE MC CORMICK on chicken coupe* and background vocals; JOHN LIEBERMAN on harmonica; RAY HANGEN on drums; CHRIS UHLER on congas; DAVE ROTH on background vocals.
Wasting absolutely no time, SEAN gets right down to the nitty gritty on (we can get together) "ANYTIME YOU WANT", the opening - and as the lyrics indicate - the title track. With AARON, PAUL & RICH providing him with strong rhythm backup, SEAN gets rough and tough on vocals and guitar. Great start!
Right from the start, SEAN, AARON & PAUL lock into a great groove and never leave it on "SAME OLD GAME". This one features absolutely great guitar work and it's one of those three and a half minute tracks that should have been at least three times as long.
"HOW IN THE DEVIL" might have you thinking SEAN made a deal with one - sure sounds like it. This smoker only features the three of them, but SEAN, AARON and RAY nail it. Hot stuff!
"HAVE YOU NO SHAME" is a ballad highlighted by SEAN'S gruff and gutsy vocals and phenomenal blues guitar licks. Outstanding rhythm from AARON, RAY & RICH, and harmonic background vocals by DONNIE, make this one of the discs best.
Vocally and instrumentally, SEAN is at discs best on "GOING HOME". The spirituality of the track is accented by great organ work by RICH and a strong support performance by the NORTHSIDE MEN'S CHOIR (the collective name for all the background singers). As I tend to do with great tracks, this one was replayed many times.
Other tracks on "WE CAN GET TOGETHER" are" "CANT LET GO", "TOLD ME A LIE", "HARD LUCK WOMEN", "ALL THIS TIME", "FEEL LIKE I AIN'T GOT A HOME" and "LITTLE BIRDS".
Check SEAN out at www.seancostello.com and be sure to tell him Pete the Blewzzman sent ya.
For more information contact Chip Schutzman (Miles High Productions) @ firstname.lastname@example.org
* Don't go searching musical products websites trying to figure out what a chicken coop is. It's really a chicken coop. Search DONNIE MC CORMICK at You Tube, as I had to, to see for yourself.
Just like a chameleon, a hard working bar band often needs to make changes in order to adapt to it's environment. In both situations, survival is the goal. Unfortunately, more often than not, the bands I am referring to are blues bands and the bars they play in are usually full of patrons who are there to shoot pool, play darts, get lucky and get very drunk - not necessarily in that order. Most of the joint's patrons would be there whether the band played rock, country, blues or a DJ was hosting karaoke. These are the same patrons who loudly and boisterously scream out "FREE BIRD" or "MUSTANG SALLY" whether the band is a rock band, a country band, a blues band or it's a DJ hosting karaoke.
STONEY AND THE HOUSE ROCKERS know exactly what I'm talking about, they've been there and done that - on a very regular basis - and I've been in the audience enough times to be qualified to make these statements. This is why I had no clue what to expect when the band sent me this disc. Would I once again have to listen to another local band doing their versions of the overdone requests they get from the fans of "FREE BIRD" & "MUSTANG SALLY"? Happily not!
On "CRUISIN' FOR A BLUESIN", STONEY AND THE HOUSE ROCKERS debut CD, the band not only steps it up a few notches, but they seem to shine while doing it. The fourteen very well done originals highlight the talent that STONEY on lead vocals and harmonica, TONY FLOWE on guitars and vocals, MARK DOCHERTY on keyboards and vocals, ANDRE FOLLOT on bass and vocals and TOMMY JOHNSON on drums, percussion and vocals, all possess.
The title track describes something that I'm constantly doin' and that's "CRUZIN' FOR A BLUESIN". This one features the band in a soft but very tight groove backing up STONEY'S smooth vocals and sharp harpin'. TONY & MARK get in some nice guitar and piano highlights as well.
"TWO TIMIN' WOMAN" is a smoker that will even get the wallflowers movin' & grovin', and ANDRE & TOMMY would be the reasons for that. This one features some of the discs best rhythm, making it impossible to be still. Of course STONEY gets his share of hot harp blowin' in there as well.
We all know that compared to listening to the blues, "TV DON'T CUT IT". Well, that's not STONEY'S reasoning for the title, but I like my analogy. This one features excellent vocals and good blues harp by STONEY, yet the band is in a very smooth and jazzy jam behind them. What a nice blend on this very well done track.
"ONE STEP AT A TIME" will have you thinking you're listening to STONEY MARLEY AND THE JAMAICAN JUKES. The band gets big kudos for the great Reggae sound they've perfected on this one. The guitar work and percussion by TONY, ANDRE and TOMMY highlight this one. The magic these guys are working extends right into the next track, a superb instrumental titled "TRIBUTE TO TOOTS". Unquestionably, musically two of the discs best.
Pardon the pun, but "ICEMAN" is such a cool track. Once again, the band locks into a soft and way smooth groove, this time highlighted by the ever so lightly touching of the piano keys by MARK, while STONEY sings his heart out on the vocals. Add to that some of STONEY'S best harp work and this one's the real deal.
There is no questioning STONEY'S sincerity as he says "THANK YOU" to the Lord. This is obviously the Gospel according to STONEY. In spite of the guys sounding great behind him, this one's all about him and his Savior. The feeling he's putting out and the spirituality of his lyrics sent chills through this sinners body. STONEY, thank you for this song and this whole disc.
Alluding back to how I opened this review, allow me to now say that although I've seen this band perform 30 - 40 times before, I'll now look at them with a whole new found respect. And the next time some very drunken, dart throwing, pool shooting, hoping to get lucky patron at one of their live gigs scream out for "FREEBIRD", I'll smile and think about "CRUISIN' FOR A BLUESIN". Good job guys.
You can visit Stoney and the House Rockers on the Web at: www.myspace.com/stoneyandthehouserockers
And the hits just keep on coming. The quality of music that has been sent to www.Mary4Music.com since the beginning of this year has been absolutely stellar. Therefore, it was just a matter of time before we'd be hearing from our first Blues Music Nominee, and that time is here. Having said that, let me now congratulate and wish the best of luck to TERESA JAMES, nominee for 2008 "Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year".
Regardless of that outcome, TERESA'S new disc "THE BOTTOM LINE" already makes her a winner. Of course, she didn't do it alone - she had lots of help from THE RHYTHM TRAMPS - of which there are a bunch. Collectively, TERESA JAMES & THE RHYTHM TRAMPS are: TERESA JAMES on vocals and piano; TERRY WILSON on bass, rhythm guitar and background vocals; JERRY PETERSON & LEE THORNBURG on horns and horn arrangements; HERMAN MATTHEWS on drums; DEBRA DOBKIN on percussion; BILLY WATTS on lead guitar and background vocals. Additional "guest tramps" used on this project are: TONY BRAUNAGEL & GARY FERGUSON on drums; KENNY BALL on harmonica; MIKE FINNEGAN & JOHN "RABBIT" BUNDRICK on B3 organ; MARTY GREBB on piano; RED YOUNG on piano and organ; TERRY TOWNSEN on horn and horn arrangements.
On "THE BOTTOM LINE", twelve of the thirteen tracks are band originals - most of which are written or co-written by TERRY WILSON. Although the disc never really strays far from the blues, there's no question in my mind that many tracks will appeal to a broader range of listeners. Let's go listen.
If you've never heard TERESA sing before, "ALL TIME LOW", the opening track, will make you an immediate fan. Her vocals highlight this, as well as all of the other tracks. And as you can well imagine, with the many talented keyboard players listed above, so will the piano, organ and B3. MARTY and RED get the credit, along with JERRY and LEE on the horns for making this funky track work.
As TERESA begs "(PLEASE) PUT THE SQUEEZE ON ME", she does it in such a soulful and sultry way it made me wish it was me she was asking. BILLY & MARTY providing great blues licks on guitar and piano make this steamy ballad even hotter.
"DON'T MAKE A HABIT OF IT" could easily be a hit on any of the charts. It's the perfect song for airplay - just the right length with a country, pop, soul and R&B sound all wrapped up in one and a good sing-a-long chorus. Great rhythm by TONY, TERRY and the horn section featured on this one.
When TERESA sings about the band becoming "THE NEXT BIG THANG", she just may be on to something. This disc, and a big win at the BMA'S in May may just make this track a reality. This smoker features strong rhythm - this time from GARY on the drums, TERRY on bass and DEBRA on percussion with JERRY & LEE blowing flames through the horns and TERESA burning up the keys. Another of the discs best.
As you might expect from it's title, "I DO MY DRINKING ON THE WEEKENDS" rocks. The only cover on the disc is this three minute jam that closes it out. This is obviously what "going out in a flurry" means. It features everyone on it tearing it up at their best.
Other tracks on "THE BOTTOM LINE" are: "IF MOMMA DON'T DIG IT", "WHET MY APPETITE", "EIEIO", "THE BOTTOM LINE", "HOW AM I GONNA STOP LOVING YOU?", "IN THE PINK", "I CALL YOUR BLUFF" and a track that although the notes on the disc must have been erroneously omitted, I know was meant to be dedicated to this writer....."I KNOW HANDSOME WHEN I SEE IT"..... thanks TERESA!
Now here's whatcha gotta do folks. First, go to www.teresajames.com, and grab yourself a copy of "THE BOTTOM LINE". Then once you decide, as I know you will, that you like it as much as the Blewzzman does, ya gotta go to www.blues.org and cast your votes....for you know who, of course. And last but not least, remember to tell Teresa who sent you.
Over the years I've made no secret of my very narrow minded views when it comes to the blues. Yes, I do understand that interpretation deviates, but on the other hand, the more it does the less I usually like it. Therefore, you can just imagine what went through my mind when I saw the name ZEN BLUES QUARTET. Taking into consideration the definition of the word "Zen", and knowing that it's also a slang street name for lysergic acid diethylamide - more commonly referred to as LSD - I couldn't help but wonder what kind of far out interpretation I was about to hear. Then the first track, "WHAT A LIFE", began to play and all my fears were immediately dispersed. This was going to be a good trip after all.
The ZEN BLUES QUARTET consists of: MIKE FINNIGAN on the B3 Organ, Keyboards and Vocals; JOHN MARCH on Guitar; TIM SCOTT on Bass and Vocals; and STEVE FERRONE on Drums. Special guests on "AGAIN AND YET AGAIN" include: BILL CHURCHVILLE, Trumpet and Horn Arrangements; REV. DAVE BORUFF, Alto and Tenor Saxophones; ED WYNN, Tenor and Baritone Saxophones - collectively known as the L. A. HORNS; CARMEN GRILLO, Background Vocals; CURTIS SALGADO, Harmonica; and MARTY GREBB, Rhodes Piano.
"AGAIN AND YET AGAIN" consists of several band originals mixed in with an interesting blend of covers that you might not necessarily hear from a blues band. The result is an outstanding merge of blues, soul, funk and R&B. Let me tell you a bit about a few of my personal favorites.
The disc opens with one of the originals, "WHAT A LIFE", which had me saying "what a song!" Of course, several listens to this one were required. During the first few, focusing on what I needed to say and typing while snapping my fingers were quite difficult. This one features everyone. The L.A. Horns are hot, ditto for Tim and Steve on rhythm, the vocals and vocal harmony are prominent and MIKE'S just destroying the keyboards. Possibly the best cut on the disc.
Another band original is "I`VE HAD HARDER TIMES FROM BETTER WOMEN THAN YOU". Listening to these lyrics has me thinking that if this dude has had harder times than this, his choice of women needs to be questioned. The feeding off of each other that JOHN and CURTIS get into on guitar and harp, along with great horn work led by fierce trumpet playing from BILL, highlight this one.
"SAME OLD BLUES" is an absolutely splendid version of the song that was written by Don Nix, performed by many and made popular by Freddie King. This Ray Charles sounding number is all about the vocals and the keyboards - especially the piano.
The bands connections to Tower of Power and the Average White Band are very evident on "POWERFUL STUFF". This is rhythm and blues precisely the way it's supposed to be done. It's this type of stuff that every music student should be made to listen to. The only way to properly compliment this track is to say it is a perfectly written, perfectly sung and perfectly performed song.....THIS is powerful stuff!
"SECRETS BEST KEPT" is an instrumental that by rearranging the words in the title may very well describe the ZEN BLUES QUARTET - the blues' "best kept secret". "AGAIN AND YET AGAIN" should change that. This track, backed up by the rhythm section in a tight jam, features some of JOHN'S best guitar work.
It took getting all the way to the closing, and title track, to finally hear what I would call "Zen" music. No further explanation necessary.
It's only five weeks and three reviews into the new year, but if the type of stuff I've been listening to thus far is any indication of what's yet to come, then bring it on.
Please check out the ZEN BLUES REVIEW by clicking onto www.zenbluesmusic.com. While you're there, in addition to buying the disc, read the bands bios - you'll be quite impressed. And don't forget to let them know that Blewzzman's the reason you stopped by.
As I listened to "WALKING UNDERWATER", by DAVE WALKER, I found myself thinking that what I was listening to was such good stuff and I couldn't believe that I had never heard of this artist before. Wondering why, I just had to find out if there were more of his music that I might be able to get my hands on. As it turned out, having done stints with Savoy Brown, Black Sabbath and Fleetwood Mac, and having recorded several dozen discs, I've probably heard DAVE more times than I could imagine.
On DAVE WALKERS newest release - "WALKING UNDERWATER" - DAVE, on vocals, guitar and writer of most tracks, is joined by: ROBERT BRITTEN on piano, organ and guitars; MIKE GILLAN on drums; CRAIG HALL on bass; SHEAMUS CONLEY on lead guitar; JIM LEWIS on lead and slide guitar.
On the opening track, "LITTLE SUSIE & MR. TIGHT", it just took the opening guitar chord by JIM for me to decide I was going to like this disc. Then, DAVE started singing and my decision was reaffirmed. He's got one of those very articulate, attention commanding, yet melodic voices, that were made for singing.
For reasons I'm finding difficult to explain, this is one of the more interesting discs I've listened to in many a year. The conviction with which some of the songs are sung brought back memories of the way RICHARD HARRIS presented "MACARTHUR PARK", and the chills I'd get from hearing PROCOL HARUM do "A WHITER SHADE OF PALE". Meanwhile, instrumentally, MIKE OLDFIELD'S "TUBULAR BELLS" occasionally came to mind.
I can see I've got my work cut out here. Choosing just a few tracks to comment on is going to be a challenge. "I CAN MAKE IT ON MY OWN", the next track, is a good place to start. Nothing fancy here and nothing fancy needed.....just five minutes of DAVE intriguing me with his vocals, while JIM works his magic on guitar with the rhythm section getting my fingers snappin' and my foot tappin'. Great stuff!
Phenomenal would be the word I'd pick, if only given one, to describe the title track - "WALKING UNDERWATER". This is one of the songs I had in mind when I made my earlier references. With this year's Blues Music Awards still several months away, I've already got one of my nominations for the following years "Song of the Year". ROBERT on piano, SHEAMUS on guitar, MIKE on drums and DAVE on vocals are astounding.
"BLACK STEEL BLUES" takes it up a few notches. This one's three and a half minutes of smoke caused by wailing guitar (SHEAMUS), thunderous rhythm (JIM & CRAIG) and fierce piano and organ (ROBERT). And yes, DAVE had something to do with it as well. This one easily reached 7-8 replays.
At just under three minutes, "RABBITS FOOT CHARM" is an all too short - but oh so very sweet shuffle. With a smooth, soft rhythm going on behind them, DAVE on vocals and ROBERT on piano run with this one. Once again, the replay button came into play.
"CRAZY BABY", "WEEP NO MORE", "BLUES FROM THE BOTTOM", "GIRL TROUBLE" and "HARD HEADED WOMAN" make up the rest of the tracks - which if I had the space, I could sit here and talk about all night long - on "WALKING UNDERWATER".
I can't see how, but if I haven't made myself perfectly clear yet, let me just come right out and say it - ya gotta get this disc. I've just got done picking the winner of the 2007 BLEWZZY AWARD - which will be announced soon - and here I am, three weeks into `08 and thinking "WALKING UNDERWATER" may very well be this year's disc to beat.
Check DAVE out at www.aboutdavewalker.com/. From there, you know the drill.....You tell him the Blewzzman sent ya and you're here to buy the disc.
What a great way to start off the new year. After having our most successful and productive year ever at www.Mary4Music.com, and having reviewed and helped to promote forty five CD'S, it stands to reason that we should start off 2008 - our 10 year anniversary - with something special and exciting, like working with the kin of Blues Royalty. I'm talking about ALEX DIXON, the grand son of WILLIE DIXON, the late blues legend who had no problem telling the world "I am the blues".
On their debut CD, "THE VINTAGE ROOM", members of THE BLUES EXPERIENCE include: CASH MC CALL - with well over 30 years experience, much of it with WILLIE, on vocals and guitar; ALEX DIXON on piano; STEVE BELL - son of another late legend, CAREY BELL, on harp; BILL "YOUNG BLOOD" LEARNED and KATY J on rhythm guitars; BRADY WILLIS on bass; VINNIE THREATS on drums; JOHN RISTROM on guitar; DYLAN COOPER on upright bass.
On "THE VINTAGE ROOM", listeners shouldn't expect to experience any attempts to reinvent the blues, any attempts to reinterpret the blues or any attempts to redefine the blues....and thank God for that. What you can expect is a sincere and very successful attempt to carry on the tradition of the blues in the way that WILLIE DIXON, and many of his legendary associates, meant it to be.
"THE VINTAGE ROOM" offers eleven tracks of which ten are DIXON penned - seven by ALEX and three by WILLIE. The opening track of "HELLUVA TIME" is an ALEX original that is very reminiscent of "WANG DANG DOODLE". It's an invitation, by name, to many past and present blues legends, to come to a party where instead of "wang-dang-doodling, they'll be having a "hell-uva-time". CASH is stellar on vocals and STEVE is very impressive on harp. Good opening track.
Classic WILLIE D is up next. THE BLUES EXPERIENCE did such an admirable rendition of "I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU", I'm thinking the originator of this one would feel proud of these guys.
Maybe it's just me, but another track reminding me of something gramps did is "SLICE OF THAT PIE". I could swear I hear some of "SPOONFUL" in here somewhere. This track is the first to give you a good taste of ALEX on piano. Great rhythm by BRADY and VINNIE, and more hot harp by STEVE also highlight this one.
"MAKE A FOOL OF ME" is one of several smokers on the disc. STEVE leads the jam on this one with ALEX, BRADY and VINNIE once again unrelenting on rhythm. Of course, CASH gets his licks in as well.
What kind of a tribute to WILLIE DIXON, which indeed this disc is, would it be without "I'M READY"? Well, the THE BLUES EXPERIENCE certainly agree and they certainly were ready to hit this one. The track is very short but oh so well done. CAREY - who obviously was a strong influence on his son - would be real proud of STEVE BELL on this one.
Other tracks on "THE VINTAGE ROOM " include: "GYPSY WOMAN", "CATCH ME BEFORE YOU GO", "MAMA", "BRING IT ON HOME" and a vocal and instrumental version of "ONE TOUCH".
If you're a fan of WILLIE DIXON, you'll want to grab a copy of "THE VINTAGE ROOM". Additionally, you'll want to keep your eyes and ears open for future work, be it performing or producing, by ALEX DIXON. The whole purpose of him and his wife MELISSA, forming DIXON LANDING MUSIC is to "reach out to the little known or undisclosed musician/artist and to bring back the Chicago Blues feel that his grandfather helped create." AMEN! It doesn't need to be reinvented, reinterpreted or redefined...... it just needs to be kept alive.
To learn more about THE BLUES EXPERIENCE, and the company's mission in general, shuffle on over to www.dixonlandingmusic.com and tell them you came to see what the Blewzzman's fussin' about.