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Blues CD Reviews 3


CD Reviews

Nuno Mindelis

Nuno Mindelis - "Twelve Hours"

Everyone on the jazz scene is, of course, familiar with the very popular Brazilian Jazz sound. Now, with the release of "TWELVE HOURS," NUNO MINDELIS is creating a buzz in the blues community about another Brazilian sound - Brazilian Blues.

Settling in Brazil, by way of Africa and Canada, NUNO MINDELIS is achieving significant recognition in his country. His fans and the media have labeled him "the best blues guitarist to ever come out of their country." Liking what I have heard, and not knowing many other Brazilian blues guitar players, I'll agree with that.

Quite frankly, in all of the research that I have done on NUNO, I find it difficult to understand why not much credit has been given to his vocal talents. In other reviews I have read, his exceptional guitar playing talent is already being compared to some of the instruments giants however, none mention his singing talent. His voice and singing style provide a great accompaniment to his great guitar playing

During the past decade, NUNO has released several other blues CD's, and has performed with many well know American blues artists. However, his popularity and recognition seem to have been limited to the confines of his country's borders. "TWELVE HOURS," just may change that. This CD announces that NUNO MINDELIS is ready for the mainstream.

Of the twelve tracks on "TWELVE HOURS," 10 are NUNO originals. On "Stormy Minded Man" the blazing guitar licks took me right to the threshold of my blues guitar horizons. I found this quite interesting because most of the times that this happens the guitarist tends to go a little over the edge for my taste and loses me. Not NUNO, he held me right at the edge. The next track "Shake It," slowed down to a nice, very bluesy, very sassy little number that had me swaying in my seat. Just a few tracks into the CD and I was already impressed with NUNO'S diversity.

"Dizzy Slow Blues" could not have been more appropriately named. The ninety-second solo guitar intro is just that - dizzying. That, accompanied by some interesting trickery on the vocals and some super Hammond playing by FLAVIO NAVES, clearly made this one of my favorite cuts on the CD.

On "I Can't Quit Singing The Blues" NUNO confesses that as hard as he has tried, he just can't stop singing the blues.............that's a good thing for the blues world.

This band - which consists of NUNO MINDELIS on guitar and vocals; ANDREI IVANOVIC on bass; RICHARD MONTANO on drums; THIAGO "JAMES" CERVEIRA on harp; FLAVIO NAVES on Hammond organ and Rhodes Piano - would be a treat to catch live, but currently I see no American activity in their near future.
Hopefully that will one day change.

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Swingadelic - "Organized"

PATIENCE HIGGENS, BUDDY TERRY, MEL TAYLOR, JAY RODRIGUEZ, KEN FRADLEY, JOE BREIDENSTINE and NEAL PAULEY may not all be as famous as the MEMPHIS HORNS, the TOWER OF POWER HORNS, or even the ROOMFUL OF BLUES HORNS, but these cats will give them a run for their money in the talent department. The fore mentioned musicians along with DON MILITELL and TOM "T-BONE" STINSON on organ, FAUSTO BOZZA on guitar, DAVE POST on stand up bass and IRA KAYE, JIMMY COLEMAN and RAPHAEL CRUZ all on percussion, this cast compromises SWINGADELIC.

I first got onto this band when I did a review of "The New York Jazz & Blues Society's Compilation CD, and now find myself happily reviewing their latest CD "ORGANIZED." In their own words, SWINGADELIC refers to their type of music as "Acid Lounge," which they describe as "a beautiful blend of the classic sounds of BASIE and ELLINGTON, the rockin' rhythms of jump blues masters, a pinch of soul jazz and a little bit of Latin spice." Whatever it is and whatever they call it, it swings, it jumps, it rocks, it rolls and it all works well together. SWINGADELIC's definitely got it going on.

On "ORGANIZED," the band performs 10 very well known and very well done standards along with three originals. The standards are all custom fits for the very talented brass section and two of the three originals happen to me on my list of favorite tracks. "YOU DIG? YOU DOG!" Perhaps is the bluesiest tune on the CD, and for that reason alone it gets top billing in this review. "CHICKEN, BEER AND FIFTY DOLLARS" I hope was written as satire, but I am afraid It may very well have been written from frustration. It's a song about a band that plays for -- what else -- chicken, beer and fifty dollars, and it's the same amount they have been making since IKE was President - Yikes!

The feeling I get from listening to this CD makes me think that SWINGADELIC has to be one hell of a live act. Catching them will be a priority on my list of things to do on my next trip to the New York area.

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Pete Schmidt

Pete Schmidt and Shane Scott - "Blues Approved"

When you think about Canada and some of the great products it exports worldwide, maple syrup, bacon, beer and blues music immediately come to mind. Blues music? Of course, look at some of theses names: JEFF HEALY, THE DOWNCHILD BLUES BAND, PAUL REDDICK AND THE SIDEMEN, ANTHONY GOMES, COLIN JAMES, RITA CHIARELL, SUE FOLEY. Those are all names of some very good blues musicians who are all putting out a real good blues product -- and they are all Canadians.

With the release of their debut CD, "BLUES APPROVED", the names of PETE SCHMIDT and SHANE SCOTT must now be added to the fast growing list of excellent Canadian blues artists.

Although "BLUES APPROVED" is PETE SCHMIDT and SHANE SCOTT's first release under their own names, they are not by any means newcomers to the scene. Being two of the most in demand side men, they are permanent fixtures on the local Canadian club scene. This, in fact, is what makes "BLUES APPROVED" such an interesting and diversified CD. The side men on this CD happen to be just about every musician they have played with.

"BLUES APPROVED" contains 15 tracks all written and arranged by PETE (guitar) and SHANE (bass). Having surrounded themselves by so many talented musicians, there are no two identical sounding tracks on the CD. The vocals being shared by six different singers, the harmonica being played by five players, the rhythm section using four players, all added to a slide guitar, a piano, an organ and a sax made this one of the most varied and complete blues CD's I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.

On this CD, any attempt at listing particular tracks that impressed me would be pointless -- they all did.

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Melissa Martin & The Rhythm Kings

Melissa Martin and The Mighty Rhythm Kings - "On The Mark"

As I listened to "ON THE MARK", By MELISSA MARTIN AND THE MIGHTY RHYTHM KINGS, by the third or fourth cut, the music had painted a vivid picture in my mind. With the style of music they play and the way it is presented on this CD, I felt as if I were taken away from my desk and stereo and placed at a table in a 1940s style cabaret. All of a sudden there I was -- in a packed juke joint with a dance floor full of happy, swinging bodies -- tapping my feet, snapping my fingers and feeling good. All while watching this sultry looking blonde knock out song after song while being backed by a marvelous bluesy, jazzy, right "on the mark" swing band.

MELISSA MARTIN AND THE MIGHTY RHYTHM KINGS which consist of MELISSA MARTIN on vocals, DAVID SAGHERIAN on guitar, ROBIN POGGI on drums and vocals, PAUL MATECKI on piano and vocals, NEIL TAYLOR on guitar, and JEFF MICHAEL on bass are a fine quintet that have what they do down pat.

Although all of the cuts off of "ON THE MARK" are covers, each one is an enjoyable rendition of some of the finest standards. My favorites were "BABY BABY EVERY NIGHT", "YOU DON'T MOVE ME NO MORE", "I WANT YOU TO BE MY BABY", "LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL", "LOVIN MACHINE" and "GET ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY." They all made it difficult for this wall flower to stay still.

Unquestionably, this band would be one hell of an act caught live. Those of you in the Pennsylvania area keep your eyes open for MELISSA MARTIN AND THE MIGHTY RHYTHM KINGS.

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Nick Moss

Nick Moss & The Flip Tops - "Count Your Blessings"

At the 24th Annual W. C. Handy Awards in Memphis this past May, NICK MOSS was nominated for -- and should have won -- the "Best New Artist" award. So how did he handle the loss? Simple, he just put out a new CD that will surely get nominated at the 25th Annual W. C. Handy Awards for "Best New Album." And maybe this year when NICK takes the stage at the ORPHIUM THEATER, it won't be to present an award -- it will be to receive one. It's this writers opinion that "COUNT YOU BLESSINGS" is award winning material.

As most new artists continue the trend of taking blues music to many different tangents, it's quite exhilarating to see NICK MOSS, a young, modern day bluesman so eager to follow in the footsteps of some of the great Chicago blues legends. If you're a purist like myself, that likes the good old, straight up, in your face authentic style of blues, you'll love "COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS." One press report recently referred to NICK MOSS as possibly being the future of the blues -- if so, the then the blues has a promising future.

"COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS" Is a collection of 18 pure blues songs of which 10 are originals. NICK'S amazing song writing ability shows that not only does he have the musical and vocal ability of his predecessors and influences, but the mind as well.

Joining NICK MOSS on vocals and guitar, KATE MOSS on rhythm guitar, ANDY LESTER on bass and GREG CAMPBELL on drums are some notable and very talented musicians who turn this cast into an all star ensemble, and they are: SAMMY MEYERS on vocals and harmonica, ANSON FUNDERBURGH on guitar, CURTIS SALGADO on harmonica, WILLIE "BIG EYES" SMITH, on drums, BOB STROGER on bass, LYNWOOD SLIM on vocals and harmonica, BARRELHOUSE CHUCK on piano and JOHNNY BRADLEY on upright bass.

I'll forego giving a song by song synopsis of this CD, because on "COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS", Every song is lyrically, vocally and musically superb. Surprisingly though, with three extraordinary harmonica players on this CD, only one song features a harmonica duet -- "LIGHTNIN" -- appropriately written by a master harpist himself, JAMES COTTON.

Congratulations NICK MOSS & THE FLIP TOPS, I'll see you at the HANDY'S in May

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~~Mark Cook is the 2003 BLEWZZY AWARD Winner!~~

2003 BLEWZZY Winner!!

Mark Cook & the Cook-N-Blues Experience - "An Evening With The Blues"

As the genres legends continue to age, the task of keeping the BLUES alive is becoming more and more difficult. The music's youth movement needs for some of these young bloods to step forward and carry on the music. I believe that MARK COOK could just be one of them. When I review a CD, the caliber of this one, it does my heart good knowing that the blues will not die off with the legends. On "AN EVENING WITH THE BLUES," this very talented young man not only wrote all of the lyrics and music, but he also plays both guitar and bass on most of the songs. In addition to that, he also produced, engineered, mixed and arranged the complete CD in his self built studio. His talent does not stop there either. With the use of many the finest players in his area, he shows an extraordinary talent for recognizing talent. (Please see the listing below for all of the musical credits.) Someone needs to discover this gift to the music world real fast. It would be a downright shame should the masses not have the pleasure of experiencing the many and extraordinary musical talents of MARK COOK

It's no wonder why the organization called JUST PLAIN FOLKS (a community of over 25,000 Songwriters, Recording Artists, Music Publishers, Record Labels, Performing Arts Societies, Educational Institutions, Recording Studios and Engineers, Producers, Legal Professionals, Publicists and Journalists, Publications, Music Manufacturers and Retailers and about every other type of member of the Music Industry) picked MARK COOK'S "AN EVENING WITH THE BLUES", and his follow up release - "THE PROMISE HIGHWAY" as the "Best Blues Albums Of The Year" (2001 & 2002).

As I attempt to name my favorite cuts on the CD, I may just mention them all. The first three songs all feature TOM MCFARLAND on vocals and can this man sing the blues. "ALL YOUR LOVIN" is a real nice shuffle with the horn section doing a real great job. "NASTY OLD FEELING" is my idea of the perfect kind of a blues song - in your face scorching guitar and sax, with real soulful lyrics. "BAD REPUTATION" once again features some excellent vocals.

"FADED MEMORY" and "IT'S YOUR SWEET LOVE", two songs that show the sensitive side of the author, have some very emotional and heartwarming lyrics while "LET IT GO" and "DON'T LET ME HOLD YOU BACK" were two very jazzy, big band blues type cuts that had me dancing in my seat. "IM WALKING" which features some great harmonica playing by STEVE RUSIN, pretty much rounds out what I consider to be the highlights on this highlight of a CD. Good job MARK, this effort definitely puts you in the running for a "BLEWZZY"

Musicians Appearing on this cd:
Vocals: Tom McFarland, Dave Kyle, John Henderson
Backup Vocals: DaRon Washington
Baritone Sax: Sally Russell
Bass: Andy Engle
Drums: Chuck Hill, Brad Dart
Guitar, Bass, Organ, Keyboard, Strings: Mark Cook
Harmonica: Steve Rusin
Keyboards: Rob Steidel
National Steel Guitar: Dave Kyle
Organ: Don Zlaty
Percussion: David Hunt
Piano: Kenneth Fary
Tenor, Baritone and Alto Sax, Organ: Don Zlaty
Trombone: Randy Mitchell
Trumpet: Gary Turner, Larry Powell

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Putumayo World Music

Putumato World Music....."American Blues"

In conjunction with 2003 being "The Official Year of the Blues" and their companies 10th anniversary, PUTUMAYO WORLD MUSIC - distributors of world and roots music around the globe -- will be releasing a new CD called "AMERICAN BLUES." The release date is scheduled for August 26th.

The CD is a compilation of 14 Blues tracks by various artists and it covers all the areas of the Blues; Scorching Down Home Blues, Acoustic Delta Sounds, Gospel, Soul and Torch Burning Ballads.

The performing artists are an interesting blend of some Grammy Award Winners, some W. C. Handy Award Winners, some Blues Legends, some Blues Contemporaries and some new up and coming 'future legends'.

The songs on "AMERICAN BLUES" are:
"Get Next To Me"........................................B. B. King and Arthur Adams
"Hand It Over".............................................Keb Mo
"Good Day For The Blues"...........................Ruth Brown
"How Could You Do It".................................Henry Gray
"Cakewalk Into Town"..................................Taj Mahal
"She's Into Something.................................Albert Collins and Robert Cray
"Hello San Francisco".................................Sugar Pie Desanto
"Call Me Baby"...........................................Raful Neal
"I Got The Blues"........................................Otis Rush
"Sunpie's Romp And Stomp".......................Sunpie Barnes
"Needed Time"...........................................Eric Bibb
"Why Blues"..............................................Chris Thomas King
"Just Won't Burn".......................................Susan Tedeschi
"None Of us Are Free"................................Soloman Burke

This is the type of CD that once listened to can turn a novice blues listener into an avid fan. As a matter of fact it even introduced two new artists to me. Prior to listening to this CD, I was totally unaware of SUGAR PIE DESANTO and SUNPIE BARNES and they performed two of my favorite cuts on the CD. "AMERICAN BLUES" should be included in everyone's collection.

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