While I'm sitting here listening to "Jerry's Blues", and reading the attached band information, what I'm hearing isn't quite jelling with what I'm reading. My ears are telling me I'm listening to one hell of a top notch blues band, yet their credentials include the likes of playing at the local Elk's Club and American Legion Post. I get all that.....trust me, I do. And as a member of the American Legion, I appreciate it as well. However, I'm baffled that I'm not seeing places like the Chenango Blues Festival, the New York State Blues Festival, the Mohawk Blues Festival and other top notch venues and clubs on their resume'. C'mon New York, wake up and smell the coffee........better yet, wake up and hear the blues - "Jerry's Blues".
The Bravuras consist of John "J. Bones" Puccio on Lead Vocals, John P. "Huff"ord Sr. on Guitar, Harmonica & Vocals, Felix Mayer on Guitar, George Mort on Bass and Mike Donaghue on Drums. Featured guest on keyboards include John Valby on Piano and Bob Volkman on Organ. They bill themselves as a "traditional old school blues band featuring powerful vocals and guitar", and that's exactly what I'm hearing. The disc consists of thirteen tracks with several band originals.
The band immediately starts living up to their billing on the opening track, "Crawlin' Kingsnake". It opens with a great guitar lead followed by equally great, slow and soulful vocals, with the rhythm guys settled in a nice groove behind it all. Excellent first impression.
It's obvious that J. Bones has, and most likely on more than one occasion, woken up with bullfrogs on his mind. His gritty interpretation of "Bullfrog Blues" will attest to that. This one's highlighted by some awesome drum and harp work by Mike and Huff.
"I've Got A Mind" is another straight up blues smoker. The sobering lyrics are magnified by J. Bones solemn vocal style and they're brought to life by the fierce guitar leads. Meanwhile, it's all held together by Bob's steady and prominent organ.
"I Can Tell" that this band knows how to get funky when it wants to. Just one listen to this fast, furious and funk filled track and you'll be able to tell as well. Of course this one is all about George and his bass and Mike and his kit.
Although just about every blues band has claimed to have the "Key To The Highway", I must admit I've never quite heard the song done this way. The Bravuras slowed it down some, countrified it a bit, added some paddle wheel boat style of piano and created a beautiful sound. Nice job guys.
"Dogs On Me" is definitely for the movers and the shakers. This smoker has to fill the dance floor at live shows. It's also a reason that the minds behind The Bravuras might want to think about making John a permanent fixture in the band. He totally tears it up on piano and runs away with this one.
The disc closes out with one of it's best, "Jerry's Blues", the title track. One of my many reasons for liking this one so much is that the vocals, which J. Bones nails, are sung in the style of one of my all time favorite vocalists - the very soulful Darrell Nulisch. It also features some of the disc's best guitar and rhythm work, with Mike working the cymbals with absolute precision. The mournful lyrics on this original track are an obvious, and worthy, tribute to a departed and deeply missed friend - Jerry.
Make the band happy, and yourself as well, by grabbing a copy of "Jerry's Blues". You can contact them at www.myspace.com/thebravuras. Please make sure you tell them that Blewzzman, a fellow Nu Yawker, sends his regards.
It's been twenty years since Jeff Dale's had anything to do with the music scene. Coincidently....or not, it's also been twenty years since he's done anything at all. It seems that his disappearance, in 1988, still remains a mystery today. From the looks of the photo inside the discs jacket, my guess is that he - to use a phrase from 'The Godfather' - "went to the mattresses"....capiche? However, all that matters now is he's back....man is he back!
Similar to where most of the blues in his home city of Chicago come from, Jeff's blues also come from the south side....the south side of his soul. Hence, the disc, "Blues From The South Side of My Soul", featuring eleven Jeff Dale originals of which most are serious Chicago style blues with some not so serious lyrics.
The South Woodlawners are made up of: Jeff Dale on Guitars & Vocals; Rich "Darth" Hyland on Guitar, Organ & Percussion; Clark "Sparky" Pardee and Robert Von Goeben on Drums; Geoff "Jeff" Mohan and Jeff Stone on Harmonica; Mark "20 Mill" Brown and Derek Phillips on Piano; Georgic Avenesian, Lightnin' Dan Sonenfeld and Ron Hagadone on Guitar; Ken "Stormy" Monday on Bluesoon (a blues bassoon); Anitra Castleberry on Background Vocals; Jim Jedeikin on Saxophone; Peter Kashmer on Bass; Lee Loughnane on Trumpet.
Quite simply, the title track, "Blues From The South Side of My Soul", is an ass kicker. Jeff Dales vocals are rough, tough and gruff and his guitar leads are ferocious. Geoff's amazing yet eerie sounding harp leads sound like they're leading you down some dark alley where you'll get even more of an ass kickin' - from the rhythm section.
If you're lookin' for the hottest southern lovin' you need to get some "Alabama Lovin'". That's where Jeff knows a hottie "who's body is a temple for five days a week, but on the weekend it becomes a fun house ride". Every father's nightmare! This whole track, highlighted by the fierce horn section and sharp background vocals, is like a fun house ride.
If "You Don't Know Nothin' About Chicago", maybe you need to give this track a listen. That's when you'll find out what really makes this famous city tick. You'll also hear some great harp from Jeff Stone, great lead guitar from Dan Sonenfeld and absolutely beautiful background vocals from Anitra.
I don't think I've heard of a better reason for using reverse psychology than the way it's used on this track. It's Jeff's way of explaining why a pretty, young lady may not find him, the old man that he is, too appealing.... she's just not ready for a "Grown Ass Man". Good thinking Jeff. On this one, the smoking guitar leads are courtesy of Rich.
It's been a real long time since I've had to use any pick up lines, but even if I had to, I don't think telling my prey that "I'd Hit It", would quite be the one I'd use. I just can't see that one working. What does work is the way Jeff gets nasty with his guitar and vocals on this, another down and dirty smoker. Great Jimmy Reed type harp by Geoff also highlight this one.
When you need servicing, there's nothing like having a big gas.... big gas.... "Big Gas Station" up ahead. However, it's not Jeff's car he's looking to get serviced and it's not gas he's looking to fill up on. At two minutes long, this fast paced smoker is about 4 minutes too short. This is rockin' blues at it's finest, featuring Mark and Jim tearing it up on piano and sax, with Peter and Clark ripping it up on rhythm.
You can, and I recommend you do, check out the band by going to www.jeffdaleblues.com. While you're there, you'll be able to purchase the disc, tell him the Blewzzman sends his regards and possibly figure out.... oh never mind, some thing are just better not knowing.
Some of you may know of her as Cee Cee James, some of you may know of her as Christina Fasano - her real name, and some of you may know of her as "The Funky White Girl" - the nickname associated with her as a result of an earlier R&B release. On the other hand, some of you may not know of her at all, and if that's the case, you need to change that because this gal can sing the blues.
"Low Down Where The Snakes Crawl" consists of eleven low down and dirty Cee Cee originals. Joining her, on the Vocals & Percussion, are: Rob Andrews on Rhythm & Slide Guitar; David Malony on Drums & Percussion; Dan Mohler on Bass; and James Howard on Lead Guitar. Special guests for this project include: Bongoman Bennett on Percussion; Rick Jones on Bass; Jerry Lyle on Lead & Rhythm Guitar; Terry Nelson and Larry Neubauer on Keyboards; and Michael Wilde on Harmonica.
As I prepare to tell you a bit about some of the songs, I'm faced with the extremely difficult task of avoiding redundancy. Ya see, Cee Cee has me so impressed with her incredible vocal prowess, that it could easily happen. Therefore, should I sound like I'm being a bit over complimentary, keep this in mind - she deserves it.
As I listen to the title track, I've become sure of two things. One is that you can't get any lower than "Low Down Where The Snakes Crawl" and the other is that I'm listening to a voice that the rest of the world needs to hear. The emotion that Cee Cee put into this song, her unbelievable range and scratchy, sultry style of singing, had me shaking my head in total amazement. It wasn't until the fifth or sixth listen that I realized what a good job the rest of the band had done. I'm sure this will be the discs best track..... I just can't imagine it getting any better than this.
On "Love Makes Change", you not only get to hear this amazing voice on the lead vocals, but you get to here Cee Cee do her own backup and harmonizing as well. I'm not even getting into how good that sounded or I'll forget about the rest of the band again. This one also features a good rhythm groove and great lead and rhythm guitar work out of James and Rob.
Speaking of rhythm, some of the discs best can be heard on "Desert Blues". Most of this track is highlighted by fierce drum & percussion leads by David. Of course, the vocals are..... oh, you already know what I'm going to say.
"Make It To The Other Side" is an interesting track. It's a hard drivin' shuffle featuring spiritual lyrics with Gospel sounding vocals - hand claps and all. If you can imagine Canned Heat doing Gospel music, you'll have an idea of what this one is like. Great keyboard work from Terry on this one.
Ya think Cee Cee knows what to expect when she tells her man "I'll Ask The Questions, You Tell The Lies"? Obviously she's been there, done that. This is a cute, fast paced, honky tonk, sing-a-long type song featuring great piano playing from Larry.
As the saying, "you can't judge a book by it's cover", goes, everything isn't quite as peaceful and content as it may appear in that house behind the "White Picket Fence". Just ask Cee Cee, she'll tell you, and when she does, it will be with lots of sass. Her sixty second, vocally challenging, tirade at the end of the track pretty much says it all. This one features some of the discs better lead guitar work from James and more good rhythm from David, and this time Rick on bass.
Love done wrong, wrong love done or "Done Love Wrong" are three words - that not matter how they're arranged - just don't go well together. No matter how you lay them out, they'll always add up to a heartbreak.... just ask Cee Cee. With the guys in a very mellow groove behind her, this ballad is all about the vocals. The painful and emotional vocals. With her soulful, Joplin like growls, moans and whispers, Cee Cee is masterful and hypnotic on this one.
Other tracks on "Low Down Where The Snakes Crawl" include: "Black Raven", "Roll Me Over", "Watermelon Lucy" and "Spirit Of The Shaman".
Here we are with pretty much half the year still ahead of us, and I'm thinking I may have just listened to the 2009 Blewzzy Award winning disc. That translates to this - you've got to go to www.ceeceejames.com and pick up a copy. Trust me when I say it - once you listen, you'll have discovered the woman that the blues world will soon be marveling over - Cee Cee James. By the way, make sure you tell her the Blewzzman sent you.
It was just six short months ago that I sat here reviewing "Follow Me To The Blues", by Peter McGraw. At that time, knowing that this - his next release - was already in production, and being as impressed as I was with that first release, I ended that review by stating that I was certainly ready for "More McGraw"....and here it is.
"More McGraw" contains eleven band originals and features Peter McGraw on Vocals & Backup Vocals, Ronny Sessum on Lead Guitar & Rhythm Guitar, Hans McMinamin on Rhythm Guitar, Donny Walsh on Harp & Backup Vocals, Richard Love on Drums & Backup Vocals, Roy Powers on Keyboards & Backup Vocals, Larry Mayo on Bass and Paige Roper on Backup Vocals.
Having made it's debut on the "House Of Blues Radio Hour", it's easy to see why "Party, Party, Party!" has become the disc's breakout hit. It's an all out jam, written by Peter, which features rowdy vocals, blazing hot rhythm, fierce guitar leads and smokin' harp. Everyone's tearin' it up big time on this one.
Things slow down a bit on a beautifully done ballad called "Big Hill". Lead by soothing piano and organ work by Roy, the band settles into a relaxed groove and allows their star to shine - and shine he does. This is surely one of the discs best and these are the kind of songs that Peter McGraw was born to sing. As a matter of fact, this listener would love nothing more than to hear a whole disc of this type of ballad sung by this masterful vocalist.
Another of the discs highlights is "Ain't That A Crying Shame". It's a funky tune featuring more great, gravel voiced, vocals along with lots of good harmony from the backup vocalists. Ronnie, Richard and Larry highlight this one with good guitar leads and tight rhythm.
I'm sure I won't be alone in my thinking that "I'm Alone" is a total masterpiece. This is one of those songs that literally takes you to another place. It immediately caused my eyes to slowly close, picturing the set of American Bandstand, watching my teenage peers caressing as they "slow danced". Honestly, I replayed this classic '50's sounding track so many times, that it took me nearly 50 minutes to reach the end of this five minute recording. Guys, you all nailed this one.
You can hear the concern in Peter's voice as he says "I Think I Lost My Mojo". And rightfully so, we all know how that can suck. Even his doctor said that if he didn't find his Mojo he just might wake up dead. This one's fast and furious, and unlike the previous mentioned track, it's the fast dancers who will now be filling the floor. Richard, Roy and Donny light it up on drums, piano and harp.
"What A Shame" is a dark, yet very true interpretation of the effects of crack cocaine - not just on the people it destroys, but on the surviving loved one's as well. This one is all about the vocals - Peter's soulful and heartfelt leads and the solemn sound of the backup singers.
Other tracks on "More McGraw" include: 'My Suitcase Is Gone", "I Gotta Go To New Orleans", "They Call Me The Mad Dog", I Had The Blues" and "Wait A Minute".
This is the part of the review where I usually send you to the artist's web site and suggest you pick up the disc. However, this time, when you get to www.bluesdestinyrecords.com, I'm going to suggest you not only pick up "More McGraw", but you pick up - if you haven't already - "Follow Me To The Blues" as well. Make sure you tell Peter that Pete the Blewzzman sent ya and he's already looking forward to even more McGraw.
This could very well be one of the easiest reviews I've ever had to do. As a matter of fact, it could very well be one of the shortest, as well. It doesn't take a whole lot of creativity, or space, to tell you that at this year’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, J.P. Soars & The Red Hots were awarded the prestigious first-place award and individually, Soars received the Albert King Award as the competition’s best guitar player. That alone should have you leaving here right now and going straight to the band's website for the disc.
For the few still here, I'll go ahead and tell you more. On "Back Of My Mind", Guitarist and Vocalist J P Soars is joined by Gary Rimmington on Electric & Upright Bass and Chris Peet on Drums. Together, this trio make up J P Soars And The Red Hots. Other musicians on the project include: A J Kelly on Bass, Terry Hanck on Saxophone, Billy Burns on Harmonica, Greg Kingsolver on Piano, John Epstein on Hammond Organ, and Guillermo Lojo on Backup Vocals.
One of several originals on the disc is the opening track titled, "Born In California, Raised In Arkansas". The lyrics tell of a geographical path and give a brief biography of the early Soars years. The other story it tells is that J P can sing and tear it up on guitar.
"A Letter To My Girlfriend" had me stifled in a way. A way in which, because of snappin' my fingers, tappin' my feet and constantly hitting replay, I couldn't get this paragraph done. The band was in such a groove on this one that I needed a lot more than the songs' two and a half minutes. A J and Chris were in a zone on rhythm, Terry's sax blowin' was sharp and J P had me in a trance with his vocals. Surely one of the discs best right here.
The "Gypsy Woman" told J P "You your mother's bad-luck child.". What she told me was that it's this kind of stuff that won J P the Albert King Award. This could very well be the best cover of this Muddy tune that this listener has ever heard. J P is remarkable - both vocally and musically, Terry nails the slow, sultry sax notes and the rhythm guys, led by very steady organ from John, are in a real smooth groove. More good stuff here.
"Call My Baby", another Soars original, has him sounding like a young Howlin' Wolf on vocals. This is a voice designed, and destined, to sing the blues.
"Low Dirty Deal" is a fast, and I mean a real fast, paced smoker. Chris and A J are sluggin' it out while creating some of the discs best rhythm work, Greg's getting in on the fast action with a few piano highlights, and J P.....well he's doin' his usual ass kickin' on guitar.
Although he only appears on a very few tracks, Billy makes up for lost time with some nice harp work on this one. Ditto for Greg with a good job on piano here as well. Red Hots regular, Gary, has got the bottom covered with some nice sound comin' out of that big bass, and J P does a great job of singing about the evils of that vicious drug, and the title of the song, "Cocaine".
Other tracks on "Back Of My Mind" include: "29 Ways", "Will I Ever", "Gangster Of Love", "Been Down So Long", "Baby I Used to Love You" and "Blue Drag".
One of the rewards for winning the International Blues Challenge is that your band gets booked in some of the better blues festivals around the country. That's not just a wonderful opportunity for the band, it's one for some of you as well. Keep your eyes open, because J P Soars will be soaring your way sometime soon. Make sure you catch him.
And for those of you who haven't yet gone to www.jpsoars.com for a copy of "Back Of My Mind", now's the time to do it. Make sure ya tell him that Blewzzman sent ya.
I'm sure that being nominated for a Blues Music Award in 2009 in the "Soul Blues Female Artist Of the Year" category was quite an exciting achievement for Jean Shy. However, when you're someone who at the age of twelve was signed to Chess Records and you're enjoying a career that involves being an acclaimed R&B, Jazz, Rock, Soul, Gospel and Blues Singer, an Accomplished Songwriter, a Music Producer, and an Actress as well, exciting achievements are quite commonplace.
"The Blues Got Soul" is Jean Shy's latest of many releases that crisscross several genres. On this project - which was mostly recorded live at the "Open Air Festival" in Duisburg, Germany - Jean, on vocals, is joined by: Klaus Zimmermann and Martin Hoette on Guitars; Frieso Luecht, Sascha Kuehn and Volker Wendland on Keyboards; Bernhard Spiess and Hendrik Smock on Drums; Peter Bruemmer and Michael "Schnuff" Strohm on Bass; Bernd Winterschladen on Saxophone; George Mahr on B3 Hammond Organ: and, along with Michael and Jean, Ruth Bongartz on Background Vocals.
The opening track, "I Wouldn't Wanna Be You", is - in every sense of the word - powerful. Jean is amazingly strong on the vocals and yet, I got the feeling she wasn't even reaching all that deep just yet. Reinforced by a potent rhythm section and solid guitar leads made this one of the disc highlights.
"Unchain My Heart" seems to have unchained the bass player. On this very funky number, Peter is certainly at disc's - and possibly even career - best. Of course when there's funk involved, fierce sax riffs can't be far behind, and Bernd does get his share in. Vocally, this had to be one of the songs responsible for that BMA nomination.
It's this writers opinion that one of the most beautiful songs ever written is "Song For You", by Leon Russell. It's also this writers opinion that this was an absolutely splendid version of that song. Jean, Frieso and Bernd were flawless on vocals, piano and sax.
"One Day" is one of several Jean Shy originals and ya didn't need to read that to know it. Staying close to her Gospel roots, you can always count on hearing some spirituality coming from this lady - and this is one of a few. Great lyrics, vocals, background vocals and organ highlight this one.
One listen to this track will leave you with "Precious Memories" of what Jean Shy is all about. Yeah she can boogie, yeah she can rock and yeah she can jazz it up, but these slow and soulful ballads are her signature, and they're the main reason for people saying she has a "Golden Throat".
Eleven minute tracks usually feature everyone in the band getting in some highlights, and they all do on this version of Muddy's "Rock Me". However, the mesmeric guitar playing runs away with this one. Klaus and Martin were beyond amazing. Great stuff right here.
Other tracks on "The Blues Got Soul" are: "Livin' The Blues", "Never Loved A Man", "I Can't Save You (From Yourself)", "We Like The Same Thangs", "Old Time Rock 'n Roll" and "Amazing Grace".
Check out Jean Shy & The Shy Guys - who by the way, didn't sound all that shy to me - by going to www.jeanshy.com. Once there, you know the drill - buy something and tell them the Blewzzman sent ya.
If flame throwing, fire breathing, smokin' hot, over the edge, hard rockin' blues is your bag, then "Blues Without A Home" belongs in your home. Just drop what you're doing and go buy this CD - it's as simple as that.
On his third release, Shawn Kellerman - on Guitar and Vocals - is joined by Joseph Veloz on Bass, Andrew "Blaze" Thomas on Drums and Lucky Peterson on B3 & Clav, with Jason Ricci on Harp, Chelsea Oaks on Backup Vocals, Al Cross on Drums and Alec Fraser on Bass, all joining in on individual tracks.
For the opening track, "Ted's Jam", turn the volume up and quickly strap yourself in for the ride. In one word, this instrumental is 'frantic'. Enthusiasts of the guitar will be in their glory hearing Shawn's wizardry over the instrument. It's absolutely incredible. You'll also get a further understanding of how Andrew may have gotten the nickname "Blaze". This one is all about the guitar and the drums.
You'll surely be enjoying "Good Times" while listening to this one. To fans of Lucky's, it isn't much of a secret that sometimes..... errrr..... make that most of the times..... he can be a wild man, and on this one he's just that. Great keyboard work, and real tight rhythm highlight this one.
"Give Me The Blues" could very well be called Shawn's musical autobiography. It's a lyrical explanation of how he plays the blues........"It may not sound like you do, but I know that it ain't wrong". I gotta agree there - especially on this track. Shawn's awe-inspiring on guitar and vocals.
Soft and slow are words you won't here too many times while describing a Shawn Kellerman track, but they do fit "Love Is Sweet". With the rhythm guys in a mellow groove on this six and a half minute instrumental, Shawn and Lucky toss the lead back and forth between the guitar and the keyboards. The outcome equals 'perfection squared'.
Having already used the word frantic to describe the pace of a previous track, I guess I'll have to use the word frenzied to describe "Big Mama's Door". This is more of what these guys do best, and that's give their all...very fast and very hard. Shawn and Andrew are out of control on this blazer.
OK, I'm starting to run out of adjectives here. Let's see, I think the perfect one to describe "Burrito Brain" would have to be unrestrained. That's exactly what Shawn, Jason and Lucky collectively are on guitar, harmonica and keyboards on this one. Blues purists may have a hard time here, but then again, as Shawn Kellerman says on a previous track....."I play my music the only way that I can - some people really dig it, some just don't understand". Amen!
Other tracks on "Blues Without A Home" include" "Counterfeit Man", "Love Of Mine", "Pretty Women" and "Jellyroll" and collectively the disc totals nearly sixty-five minutes of hard core rockin' blues. With "Best Rock Blues Album" added as a new category at the 2009 Blues Music Awards, "Blues Without A Home" has '2010 Nominee' written all over it.
To grab yourself a copy of "Blues Without A Home", stop in and see Shawn at www.shawnkellerman.com. Please make sure you tell him that he blew away the Blewzzman.
From my days as a kid, there are two distinct things I can remember about my father's LP collection. The first was that I didn't care much for the music and the other was that in spite of the first reason, I still enjoyed looking through them. That's because back then, it was quite common to have a "pin up" type picture on the LP'S jacket. Remember that? Well, one look at the 'hot babes' all over the cover of "Like I Do", will tell you Kenny Tsak does. However, this isn't about them, it's about the 'hot sounds' that can be found on the disc.
56 Deluxe consists of: AZ Kenny Tsak on Vocals, Lead & Rhythm Guitars; Avery T. Horton, Jr. on Bass; James Holt on Piano & Keyboards; Frank Perez on Tenor Sax; and Andy "G" on Drums. Additional musicians on several tracks include Joe Beard, Jr. on Drums and Bernie Rose on Piano, with special guest Joey Gilmore on Vocals & Guitar on "Stoop Down Baby".
At the opening of "Full Time Lover", the soft tapping of the symbols by Andy, and the way in which James was so delicately pressing the piano keys, my ears immediately perked up. I could already tell this was going to be my kind of stuff....a real slow and very bluesy ballad. A few seconds later, Kenny started singing some very slow and soulful lyrics followed by slow, scorching guitar riffs and this blues burner was in full progress. Only two tracks in and I'm thinking I've already heard one of the best tracks on the disc.
I don't think you'll hear too many 'Friends Of Bill W' saying "Now that we got sober, all the fun is over", or "There's 12 steps before I'm done, but none of them were very fun", but they do make for interesting lyrics on the very satirical (I hope) "12 Step Boogie". Good hard driving beat on this one.
With Joey Gilmore going toe to toe in a guitar duel with Kenny, it's obvious that "Stoop Down Baby" will feature the discs best guitar work. It was a well fought battle with the listener being the winner. These two, along with the rest of the band, smoked it on this one.
The rhythm is fierce on the very funky "Down South Florida". With Avery at discs best on bass, Andy smokin' up the drums and Frank blowin' fire out of the tenor, this is one of the hotter tracks. I'm sure the dancers love this one.
Another hot track is Willie Dixon's "I Just Want To Make Love To You". This one features more of Kenny's great guitar work, James doing his usually excellent work, but this time it's the organ he's lighting up, and a strong drum performance from Joe.
The disc closes out with an all out free for all style jam on a track called "I'll Take You With Me". It's a four minute musical melee featuring everyone raising hell and sounding like they're having a good time doing it.
Other tracks on "Like I Do" include: "Like I Do", "Walkin' Shoes", "Blues Attitude", "My Tastee Cake" and "All It Takes".
You can check Kenny out by going to www.56deluxe.com. And don't let the 56 Deluxe Girls distract you. Remember why you went there - to buy the disc....and to tell him his friend the Blewzzman sent ya.
The South Side of Chicago may be famous for it's blues bands, however, there's another south side that's rapidly becoming synonymous with that claim as well. That would be the South Side of Florida. When it comes to very good blues bands, the South Florida blues scene is brimming with them. As a matter of fact, the area is the home of two recent IBC winners and it's this writers opinion that number three will one day be delivered through the talents of Blues Dragon. Remember where you heard that.
Blues Dragon, the band, is made up of: Mark Telesca on Lead Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Bass; Mike "Big Dog" Hundley on Electric Guitar & Dr. Sample; Tony "The Reverend" Monaco on Hammond B3, Piano & Background Vocals; John Boyle on Harmonica, Alto Sax, Flute & Background Vocals; Fred Weng on Acoustic Drums, Percussion & Trumpet; Rico Geragi on Congas, Bongos, Roland V-Drums & Handsonic, Muse "The Freddy" Receptor, Percussion & Background Vocals. The Violinists on "Living On Death Row" are Pat Monaco and Lyndsey Brown. An interesting array of instruments played by an equally interesting ensemble of musicians.
"Blues Dragon", the disc, is the bands second self titled release. It's contains twelve very well performed tracks of which eleven are very well written band originals.
The opening track is about a place that may sound familiar to some of us - the bottom of a "Bottle Of Gin". It's a great track to open with in that it features, and introduces the listener to, everyone in the band. The rhythm's intense, with great B3, guitar and sax highlights. This one's a sure sign that there's lots more good stuff ahead.
The "Electric Chair" or a long stretch in prison? Tough choice? Not for Blues Dragon. The title tells you their take. No pun intended, this one sizzles. It's a lightning fast track featuring some of Mike's best guitar work, John blowin' smoke outta the harp, and a lot of attitude from Mark on vocals.
Although untraditional for them, Blues Dragon gets a bit traditional on "The Kiss That Said Goodbye". As it usually is the case with these slow and low down blues songs, the emotional and soulful vocals and scorching guitar leads tend to be the highlights and Mark and Mike nail those roles on this one.
"I'd Do Anything" to see someone sit still for the two minute length of this track. As short a time as that is, it just won't happen. Tony and Fred, on the B3 and drums, will see to that. This one's real hot stuff.
"Don't Get Me Wrong" is a musical masterpiece. It's a blend of blues, jazz and funk that makes several interesting changes. It features Mark at discs best on bass, beautifully rhythmic percussion from Rico, mellifluous flute from John and very steady organ from Tony.
"Living On Death Row" has to be eerie and that's the perfect word to describe this track - eerie. It's lyrics paint a very dark picture, that when combined with the intensity and emotion that Mark puts into the vocals, will send chills through your body. It's almost easy to overlook the level of force that the rest of the band is playing at, while their music translates the pain this story tells. It's disappointing for me to think how many people may never get to hear this amazing piece of work.
Other tracks on "Blues Dragon" include: "Loves Fool", "I Got The Blues For You", "This Train", "Blackest Woman", I Just Want You To Understand" and "Crocodile Shoes".
Do yourself a favor by going to www.bluesdragon.com and getting your hands on a copy of this disc. While there, do me a favor and tell the guys the Blewzzman sent ya.
The Double Barrel Blues Band bills themselves as an intense, exciting, rocking blues band that plays "In Your Face Blues". If that's true, then I'm sure to have a good, good feeling about "Bad, Bad Feeling" - the second release from this Syracuse, NY based band.
Members of Double Barrel include: Mark Cloutier on Lead Guitar & Vocals, John Hart on Vocals & Slide Guitar, Bill Satterly on Bass, and Garnett Grimm on Drums. The disc contains ten tracks of which six are band originals.
Everyone's partying hard on the opening track, that ya gotta wonder if the guys aren't just singing about it but sucking on some of that "Wine, Wine, Wine", as well. This is an all out jam on which the band immediately lives up to their self description. This one rocks! It's highlighted by intense rhythm from Bill and Garnett and lots of smokin' guitar leads by Mark. Real good stuff.
Things slow down a bit on the title track, an original called "Bad, Bad, Feeling". This is a real blues burner that has everyone in a mellow groove behind lots of smoking blues guitar highlights from Mark.
Somewhere between the opening track and here, the guys must have switched over to the hard stuff, because they now have the "Whiskey Blues". It's stuff like this that gives the Double Barrel Blues Band the right to say they're blues is in your face. It doesn't get any more straight up than this. John's vocals and Mark's guitar work on this track are what the blues is all about. Discs best, right here.
The name of this track - "B Flat Bone Boogie" - pretty much describes it. It's a smokin' instrumental that will have you boogieing down to your bones. If you can sit still through this one, then you gotta be in a body cast.
"Tin Pan Alley" is another slow and low down blues burner.....the kind of stuff I can listen to all night long. Although he's pretty hot on all tracks, this one may feature some of Mark's best guitar work. In addition to getting down in the alley on vocals, this one has John sounding very impressive on slide guitar as well.
Other tracks on "Bad, Bad Feeling" include: "Matchbox", "Voodoo Thing", "Restless One", "If You Find I'm Gone" and "Flipping And Flapping".
This is quite an impressive effort by the Double Barrel Blues Band, and I've got to admit that they've certainly lived up to their reputation. "Bad, Bad Feeling" was exciting, rocking and in your face kinda blues. Great work guys!
Check the guys out by going to www.doublebarrelbluesband.com. Feel free to tell them you stopped by to pick up a copy of their "Blewzz Approved" CD.
It's been quite some time since I've heard some good British Blues. The latest submission from the motherland of such blues greats as John Mayall and Long John Baldry is from a band called Out Of the Blue. The disc is titled "Drinking The Red, Talking The Blues", and it consists of all original music.
Out Of the Blue are: Danny Simonis on Vocals and Guitar, Jane Witcomb on Vocals and Hand Percussion, Chris Witcomb on Guitar, Dan "The Harp" Collins on.... yep, you're right.... Harp and Vocals, Stuart Whant on Bass, Paul Davis on Drums, Percussion and Background Vocals, and special guest Ben Creeki on Keyboard and Strings.
The lyrics on "Hurricane Blues" eventually lead to understanding the interesting, yet eerie sounding harmonica solo that opens up the track. The song is about a Bluesman who regrets living his dream and settles for a more stable life. The vocal duet of Danny and Jane highlight this and many other tracks.
The title track is something that pretty much everyone has done at one time or another in their life. There are all kinds of names for it - some call it crying in a bottle, others call it hiding in a bottle, but Out Of the Blue know it as "Drinking The Red, Talking The Blues". This short tune is long on lead guitar licks and fiery rhythm.
"I'm Coming Home" is a sad song about someone separated from the woman he loves. The emotion attached to the situation he has to face when he gets there can be felt by the intensity in which the song is sung by Danny. Great blues guitar, sharp harp and steady organ also highlight this one.
Once again, the vocal duet of Danny and Jane shine on "Did He Get The Devil?". As a matter of fact, the whole band is shining on what may be the discs best track. It certainly features some of the best guitar and harp work, making you wonder if there was a deal made with that devil.
A song that will have you feelin' the direct opposite of it's title is "Feelin' Low". From start to finish, this smoker will have you on your feet and feelin' good.....real good. On this one, Paul is absolutely on fire on the drums. More good stuff.
Other tracks on "Drinking The Red, Talking The Blues" include: "Sugar In My Cup", "The Disillusion Blues", "The Wrong Side of Town", Simply Rosie" and "The Soul Stays Here With Me".
You can check out Out of the Blue by visiting www.myspace.com/outofthebluemusic. I'm sure they'll be very happy to hear that you came to see them about buying a disc and to let them know that their music has been Blewzz Approved.