Down in Louisiana, along the banks of the Mississippi River, there's a very soulful and charismatic blues man who's currently paying his dues, while quickly working his way up to becoming a household name in the blues community. No, I don't mean that Delta Blues Man, he's already a household name. However if you did take the legendary Dr. John, dispatched him of his voodoo and elixirs, made him a bit more articulate and stood him behind a guitar rather than sat him in front of a piano - you'd now have the blues man I'm talkin' about -KENNY ACOSTA.
On "FULL MOON ON BLUES STREET", his third release, KENNY ACOSTA on guitar and vocals, is joined by: SHAWN MANGUNO and BILL STEWART on drums; MIGUEL HERNANDEZ on bass; N C THURMAN on Hammond B3 organ and piano; and KEVIN MC KENDREE on Hammond B3 organ.
The disc opens with an original - which at a recent live show, KENNY announced that he had written for his lovely wife SUE - titled "NOBODY'S BETTER THAN YOU". KENNY seems very happy to announce that as a result of nobody being better than her, that nobody has it better than him. The song is slow but funky and features good soulful vocals by KENNY, backed up by a mellow yet funky rhythm section.
Some of KENNY'S best vocals can be heard on the slow and soulful Ray Charles ballad called "HARD TIMES". It's stuff like this that is quickly making KENNY ACOSTA one of my favorite blues vocalists.
KENNY does an absolutely masterful version of one of my personal all time favorite blues songs - "I STILL HAVE THE BLUES FOR YOU" by Gary Moore. This ballad is all about Kenny. With the band in a real soft groove behind him, KENNY just tears it up on the vocals and his precise picking on the piercing guitar notes. This one is by far the best track on the disc. While writing this paragraph, I may have hit the replay button on the media player more than I did the keypad.
Hearing the sorrow in KENNY'S voice, as he sings about the great flood of 1927 on a track called "LOUISIANA", would make one think he was singing about something he had lived through. Thankfully he hadn't. But then again, this Baton Rouge native does have Katrina - which offered some horrible similarities - fresh in his mind. More great vocals on this one.
This disc, which was rich with slow and soulful ballads, appropriately ends with one of the best slow and soulful ballads of all time - "HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN". Interestingly enough though, KENNY'S version, about halfway through, picks it up a notch. Great rhythm by BILL and MIGUEL on drum and bass on this one.
Other tracks on "FULL MOON ON BLUES STREET" include "BOOGIE CHILLEN", "MR. CHARLIE", "JUST TO HAVE THE BLUES", "POLK SALAD" and "THE THRILL IS GONE".
If KENNY ACOSTA should ever decide to take a trip to the Crossroads, there would be "no way in hell" the devil could afford his soul - there's just way to much of it.
Visit KENNY at www.kennyacosta.com and while you're there, tell KENNY you stopped by to see what the Blewzzman had to say about his last disc - "SPANISH TOWN MARDI GRAS". Then do yourself a real favor - buy them both.
"YEAH BABY!"...OK, now hold on just a minute - that was not meant to be read as the discs title, that was a reaction. Did you notice the exclamation point? That's right, "YEAH BABY", the new CD by THE PREACHERS has the Blewzmann saying "yeah baby".
THE PREACHERS are a Southern California based upbeat, alternative blues band led by BRIAN BATCHLEY and DAVID REO, who combined to write all of the discs tracks. Musician wise, the ensemble on "YEAH BABY" consists of: BRIAN BATCHLEY on harmonica, vocals and rhythm guitar; DAVID REO on guitar and vocals; SAM BOLLE on bass; DAXX NEILSEN on drums; JIM CALIRE on piano and organ; ANGIE MATSON on backup vocals and "meows"; The 24/7 Singers on background vocals and hand claps.
"YEAH BABY" opens with the title track. It's a hot shuffle that will surely have you singing along to the chorus line. Musically, it's an all out jam. The rhythm sections right on the mark and along with tearing it up on guitar, DAVID's vocals are outstanding. Great job by ANGIE on the sexy "yeah babies" as well.
"JIVE STUFF" opens with a "whammer jammer" style intro by BRIAN on the harp then continues into a very rhythmic six and a half minute takeoff on "Hand Jive". Great drum work by DAXX on this one.
"LOVE MY MONKEY" is another smoker. This one starts out fast and never looks back. Some of the CD's best harp and drum work can be heard right here. BRIAN'S vocals, along with help from the 24/7 Singers, add additional highlights to this - one of the discs best tracks.
The blues don't get any better than what you'll hear on "911". I've got half the disc to go and have already decided I'm listening to the best track on it. This is my kinda stuff - great blues harp and gritty, soulful vocals by BRIAN, plenty of flame throwing guitar riffs by DAVID and the soft and steady groove of JIM on the Hammond B3 organ, constantly in the background. This was the best seven minutes of my day.
"24/7" and "BETTY JOE" are two more smokers that will surely get you shakin'. As with "YEAH BABY", everyone's locked into a tight groove on both of these shuffles. JIM'S keyboards highlight both tracks. On "24/7", he's tearing it up on the piano and on "BETTY JOE", he's once again working his magic on that Hammond Organ. More good stuff right here.
Fortunately, for this listener anyway, both of the discs longest tracks were the two low down and dirty blues numbers. Taking nothing away from the rest of the band, this one is all about the bandleaders. On "BRING ME A WOMAN", you will unquestionably hear some of the best guitar, harmonica and vocal work on the disc. BRIAN and DAVID took it up a notch on this one - another of "YEAH BABY'S" highlights.
Click onto www.thepreachersbluesband.com and check out THE PREACHERS. If they happen to ask you if the Blewzzman sent ya, just say "yeah baby".
I generally like to visit a bands website before starting a review of their CD. More often than not, some valuable information is available which, from time to time, may be worthy of mention in the review. On this particular visit I was hoping to discover a clue as to how the band got their name. Unfortunately, nothing relating to that was found. However, inasmuch as they may not want that to be known, they do want you to know how to say it. You can bet I was relieved to see the phonetic explanation of: Pronunciation: wun-twelv-north-duk. To think, all along I was saying 112 NORTH DUCK.
112 NORTH DUCK'S newest release is titled "I TOOK THE HOOK", and it features eleven outstanding band originals - covering several styles of blues - out of thirteen tracks. The strong group of talented musicians that make up 112 NORTH DUCK are: BRENDAN RILEY, vocals, guitar and percussion; MICHAEL BEEBE, guitar and vocals; BRIAN LUGER, bass; J. E. VAN HORN, drums.
On one of my particular favorites, it seems that this poor guy has such a vicious woman, doing him enough emotional harm, that she'd have no problem even bringing a "TEAR TO A GLASS EYE". Great lyrics and vocals to go along with the very progressive jam the bands got going. Smokin' rhythm highlights this one.
Some excellent guitar work is to be found on a ballad called "END OF THE ROAD". This being one of the more traditional blues tracks easily makes it another one of my personal favorites. J. E. setting the drums on fire is another of this one's highlights.
I'm sure that at the 112 NORTH DUCK live shows, "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT" is one of their most popular songs. As a matter of fact, if you listen carefully, you can nearly hear the rowdy crowd singing along with this "Honky-Tonk" like song all the way over here. OK, maybe not, but I'll betcha they do get into it.
Guitar heads will be airing it out to "SOUL OF THE DUCK". This four minute instrumental is all about the guitars - lead and bass.
Country blues is well represented on "THE GAME". This one's hot. When it comes on just stop what yer doin' cause yer not goin' to be able to pay attention to anything else. I guarantee this one will have your fingers snappin', your toes tappin' and your hands slappin'. Good stuff right here.
Having a woman that can't be satisfied can become a serious problem. Especially when she goes from being a gold digger to being your "GRAVEDIGGER". This is good old, low down dirty blues at it's best. Lots of scorching blues guitar licks accompanied by scorching, soulful blues vocals.
Take the sounds of Jerry Lee Lewis smokin' it on "Great Balls of Fire", mix it with Chuck Berry tearin' it up on "Johnny B Goode", add steroids, and you now have "MOUNTAIN MOVIN' MAMA". Need I say more?
Other tracks on "I TOOK THE HOOK" are: "I TOOK THE HOOK", "SHE CAUGHT THE KATY AND LEFT ME A MULE TO RIDE", "ROLLIN' LOW", "THE TURN", "BEHIND THOSE EYES", and "GET AWAY FROM ME".
You can check out 112 NORTH DUCK by going to www.northduck.com, and while you're there, tell them Blewzzman (Pronunciation: Blooze-Man) already told you how to say their name.
As the saying goes, history does repeat itself. Just about three and a half years ago I wrote these words ..... "This CD consists of one right after another of very interesting, sometimes humorous, often truthful and always cleverly written songs".... about a disc I was reviewing - "MY MOJO'S JUST TOO WEAK" - by JOOK BOURKE. Well, here I now sit, reviewing "JUST A MINUTE", the latest JOOK BOURKE release, and the best way to describe this disc is to simply say it again - "This CD consists of one right after another of very interesting, sometimes humorous, often truthful and always cleverly written songs". When quality is involved, consistency is a beautiful thing.
On "JUST A MINUTE", JOOK BOURKE once again takes topical events such as hurricanes, and every day happenings like answering the telephone, and turns them into eleven masterfully written and superbly delivered original songs. Of course, he also does all the vocals, plays the guitars, bass, hand drum, and harmonica and created all the drum loops.
The title track, "JUST A MINUTE", is one of the most beautiful love songs I have ever heard. The lyrics simply state that by seeing his woman's smile or hearing her voice - even if just for a minute - is all he needs to soothe his blues. JOOKS singing of these remarkable lyrics make them sound even more remarkable. It took me a good 25 minuets to listen to this 2:47 track. If this song ever gets discovered and recorded by a mainstream artist I guarantee it will top the charts. This is the only track that featured another musician and CHRISTIAN HOWES did a beautiful job on the violin.
Living in the area where notorious hurricanes "FRANCIS" and "JEAN" struck within a two week period, JOOK'S unfortunately got experiences to relate on a track called "IT'S A HURRICANE". Unfortunately, I live in the same area and just talking about hurricanes makes me nervous, so you'll just have to listen to this track to hear what JOOK, and myself, think about these beasts.
The title of another great track is not just the title, it's also an explanation of sorts. Ya see, you can't always be on top of your game and when some low down misery gets the best of him, JOOK'S got no problem with letting folks know that "SOMETIMES I JUST NEED TO FEEL THIS WAY". More great vocals and top notch acoustic guitar pickin' highlight this one.
"AREA CODE 212" is, of course, all about New York, New York - a place which as JOOK says - "Is so important, you've got to say it twice". Having wished he moved there sooner when he could have bought the whole place for $24, you can imagine his disappointment when his moving truck got a ticket for five times as much. New Yawkers are going to love this one. Great harp and bass playing, and JOOK doing his own background vocals make this one of the discs best.
The lack of caller ID has JOOK in a constant debate - with himself, as to if he should answer the phone or not. You see, it's very obvious that "SOMEBODY'S CALLING", but who could it be? The many possibilities cause the phone to be on it's thirteenth ring on this very hilarious song. More great lyrics and vocals on this one.
Other tracks on "JUST A MINUTE" include: "HOT PEPPER SAUCE", "NOBODY CAN DO WHAT I CAN DO", "REACH OUT", "I NEED TO GET HOME", "THIS AIN'T WHERE I BELONG" and "BOCA RATON".
Here's the place to check JOOK out at.... www.jookbourke.com.... and make sure you tell him the Blewzzman sent ya. While you're doin' that, I'm going back to listen to "JUST A MINUTE" a few more times.
The biography of BUCK 69 states that the band is influenced by more than three generations of music. This father and son blues rock band claim to be made up of three members over the age of 45 and five members under the age of 30. And when I looked at the picture, with absolutely no further help, I was able to figure out who the three were and who the five were...amazing!
Having said that, let me now introduce all eight of them, and not necessarily by age. BUCK 69 consists of: TOM CLAWSON, lead vocals, songwriter and father; ALEX CLAWSON, lead guitar and son; BUZZ ANDERSON, lead guitar; CANDICE COLEMAN, vocals; DAVE ALAN, drums; B J LOVE, keyboards; TODD OVALL, bass; and PAM BERGER, harmonies. On several tracks are special guests JOHN SEVILLA on lead guitar and BOBBY DUNLAP on drums.
You blues rockers don't even need to read this review.....as a matter of fact, just stop right here and go directly to www.buck69.net and buy yourself a copy of "WHEN SHE WHISPERS YOUR NAME". C'mon there's not one, not two, but three lead guitarists.....what are you still doin' here? This disc should've been called "Shootout at the Strat Coral"
The smoke, and the music both start on "T-TOWN", the opening track. This one's all about the CLAWSONS. With a rhythm section that's absolutely on fire behind them, dad and son tear it up on vocals and lead guitar. Plain and simple - ass kickin', rockin' blues at it's best.
The title, and following track, "WHEN SHE WHISPERS YOUR NAME" and "MISERY", temporarily slow things down a bit. On both of these, the band is in a slow but very tight groove with TOM and the ladies doing an absolutely wonderful job on vocals and harmonizing. Very smooth stuff right here.
Good old, down home, Blewzzman's kinda blues is featured on "COLD WIND". Once again, the masterful vocals of TOM, PAM and CANDICE highlight this slow and very soulful ballad. Of course, down home blues is nothing without some low down and dirty guitar licks and there are lots of those provided by BUZZ. Unquestionably one of my favorite tracks on the disc.
Another of "WHEN SHE WHISPERS YOUR NAME" highlights is "SOMETIMES". On this one, with some of DAVE'S best drum work going on behind him, BUZZ absolutely tears it up on guitar. PAM and CANDICE are at discs best on this one as well. The vocals and the harmonizing are constantly sharp and impressive throughout.
"SOMEONE LIKE ME" is another of the slower, more true to the blues tracks. This one features the third of three of the most phenomenal young guitarists this listener has had the pleasure of hearing lately - JOHN SEVILLA . This one is all JOHN and TOM.
Other tracks on "WHEN SHE WHISPERS YOUR NAME", that were not covered due to a lack of space and a fear of setting off the smoke detector over my computer, are: "RISK IT ALL", "NO TIME FOR LOVE", "NO TIME FOR LOVE", "SEX DRUGS UR MOM AND ME", "SWEET SPOT", "I'M A KING BEE", "THE MONKEY SONG" and "THE BEST PLACE".
Once again, you can check out BUCK 69 by going to www.buck69.net. Although we'll all know you're really there to win the $1069 they're giving away, you can still tell them you came 'cause the Blewzzman sent ya.
Having formerly lived, for a very long time, in the area where THE NUCKLEBUSTERS have - and continue to play their locals gigs, I can't even begin to count the number of times I've seen their act live. Their leader, FRANK WARD, is probably South Florida's best known and liked musician, or better yet, best known and liked person. Using the cliche "He's a musician's musician" wouldn't even sum it up. FRANK'S bands have played every local club, every charitable event, every festival, he hosts jams, attends other musicians jams, and when he isn't working, you can bet you'll see him happily handing over the cover charge to see his peers, or whichever national touring act may be in town. I have virtually see him perform in several hundred different ensembles. During those times, never once did I see him not have a smile on his face or ever try to steal the show. It's a tremendous pleasure, and equally tremendous honor, to be able to say what I'm about to say about FRANK WARD & THE NUCKLEBUSTERS BLUES BAND................
THE NUCKLEBUSTERS BLUES BAND consists of FRANK WARD on guitar and vocals, SHELDON "UNCLE SHELLY" VOSS on bass, TIM "TIMMAH" KUCHTA on drums, and JOE SAINT on Hammond organ.
"SOMEBODY BETTER HAVE MY MONEY" is the bands third release and I get the feeling, from what I'm listening to, this is the one - that with a bit of the luck that it takes for things like this to happen, may get them more than local recognition. Adding the Hammond organ, especially the way JOE makes it sound will certainly be a factor in the bands eminent success.
"SOMEBODY BETTER HAVE MY MONEY" opens with two profound instrumentals, "WHITE SHADOW" and "DOWN BY THE C SIDE". One's slow and funky and the other is fast and furious, with both emphasizing the high caliber musicianship involved. JOE'S organ work is mesmerizing, FRANK sounds as if he's reached his pinnacle of playing, and SHELDON and TIM are absolutely phenomenal. Kudos also deserve to go out to BRIAN FITZPATRICK. His mixing and engineering had each instrument sounding so precise, obviously heightening the quality of these instrumentals. I could have easily listened to fifty more minutes of this.
Is it his sense of humor that FRANK displays on an original called "EX-WIFE", or is it sheer frustration? Well, hearing him sing "I've got an ex-wife, who's trying to run my life.....I've got a mother-in-law, with a voice like a chain saw.....I've got attorney's fees, somebody shoot me please" - I gotta think it's a little of both. Thankfully, taking some of that frustration out on his guitar leads to some of FRANK'S best work being heard on this track. To those familiar with him, FRANK'S fondness of Ronnie Earl should be noticed here.
"BABY PLEASE DON'T GO" is a six minute, all out progressive jam on which TIM shines on the drums. You know those situations where you're about to do something you've done so many times before, and this particular time you want to do it better than you ever had - I mean really better? On this track, it sounds to me as if TIM is having one of those times. This is one of this discs many highlights.
The NUCKLEBUSTERS pay tribute to Ronnie Earl, FRANK'S main inspiration, by doing a phenomenal rendition of "AKOS". At the risk of sounding redundant, it's another masterful instrumental in which everyone seems to be peaking. The rhythm section reached fast and furious then locked into cruise control while FRANK and JOE took turns tearing it up on guitar and organ. Again, one of the discs best.
Slowing things down a bit - but not for very long, the guys do a great version of Little Willie John's "NEED YOUR LOVE SO BAD". This one is highlighted by UNCLE SHELLY doing a magnificent job with some very smooth and soulful vocals.
More excellent guitar work can be heard on one of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite artists, "I'LL PLAY THE BLUES FOR YOU" by Albert King. Once again, FRANK and JOE do an excellent job sharing the leads on the guitar and the organ. More great stuff here.
Other very well done tracks on "SOMEBODY BETTER HAVE MY MONEY", which totals well over an hour of real good music are: "I'M WALKING OUT ON YOU", "THE NUCKLEBUCK".....errr, just kidding, that would be "THE HUCKLEBUCK", "LITTLE BY LITTLE", "PARTY GIRL", "I GOT MONEY", "LAYIN' IN THE ALLEY" and "I CAN'T LOSE".
Of course, you can check out THE NUCKLEBUSTER BLUES BAND by logging onto www.nucklebusters.com. While you're there, tell the guys you wanna be a the same kinda "nucklehead" that Pete the Blewzzman is.