"Bighead Baby" is The Michael Terry Group's debut CD. The band, from St. Louis, MO, consists of Michael Terry on vocals and guitars, Jan "Jan-Jan" Cameron on bass, Michael Schmidt on drums, and Steve "Weepin' One Take" Wamser on keyboards. The CD features eleven original and well done tracks.
The disc opens with the catchy title track "Bighead Baby". Now I could be wrong, but I'm thinkin' that telling your baby she has a big head has to be right up there - on the things not to say list - with telling her she has a big butt. With it's humorous lyrics, this foot tappin' / knee slappin' / head bobbin' shuffle is highlighted by real tight and steady rhythm and great guitar and piano leads.
"Why You Wanna Scream On Me?" could very well be the discs best track. The groove that Jan-Jan, Michael and Steve have themselves locked into is as awesome as Michael's scorching guitar leads and vocals. This three and a half minute track should have been at least six or seven minutes longer, but several replays took care of that. Real good stuff right here.
One of the discs more progressive tracks is "Mama Raised A Fool". This one's an all out free for all with everyone wailin' away. The mix of hot funk coming from the rhythm section, along with the wild guitar chords and psychedelic sounds created by the piano, had me thinking Sly and the Family Stone on steroids. Whoa!
In spite of some great musical support, "What Would I Do?" is one of those tracks where the intensity of the lyrics, and the emotional way in which they are sung, absolutely steal the song. This melancholy ballad has Michael wondering about the same things everyone who loves someone might wonder about - should that loved one all of a sudden be gone. It's songs like this that would get my "song of the year" vote. Great work, Michael!
On this all out jam, the band's kickin' ass and "Takin' Names". Depending on where your speakers are located, you just might want to be concerned with your smoke alarms going off when this one gets going. The scorching guitar licks, the fiery rhythm and the blazing piano are all throwing out some serious heat.
Other rockin', funky and blues filled tracks on "Bighead Baby" include: "Here to Stay", "Muddy World", "Too Bad:, "Whooped", "She's My Baby", and "Hard To Find My Way".
Although The Michael Terry Group doesn't have a web site, you can easily contact them on myspace by clicking right here ---> www.myspace.com/michaelterrygroup. Once you're there, become their friend, buy the disc and as always - tell them the Blewzzman sent ya.
To those of you who over the years have followed my reviews, this artists name should be quite familiar. During the past half a dozen years, this is the fourth release from Danny Brooks that I've had the pleasure of working on, and listening to as well. "Soulsville III" was recorded on May 27, 2009, "Live At the Palais Royale" in Toronto, Canada". The disc is distinctive Danny Brooks - a classic mix of smokin' blues, old school R&B, soul and Gospel music that consists of spiritual and uplifting lyrics based on true life experiences.
Saying that the majority of the music on "Soulsville III" is 'original' just doesn't cut it - the word 'original' just isn't descriptive enough. Writing music about your life growing up in a poor neighborhood, about how you lived on the streets, about your addictions, incarcerations, rehabilitation and ultimately your redemption, needs to be called 'real original' music. As the saying goes, Danny Brooks has been there, done that.
On this project, The Rockin' Revelators consist of Lance Anderson on the B3 organ & piano, Bucky Berger on drums, Jerome Godboo on harmonica, "Papa" John King on guitar & slide guitar, Amoy and Ceceal Levy on vocals, Dennis Pinhorn on bass, John "Rocky" Verweel on trumpet, Ed Zankowski on saxophone and, of course, their leader - Danny Brooks on vocals, harmonica, acoustic & slide guitar.
The opening track is a story about a trip that Danny took to ' "Carolina", some 40 years ago. Danny sheds a whole new light on why "Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina". For him, it was the smell of the sweet magnolias that filled the air and the sound of the sweet soul music that could be heard everywhere. Danny's vocals, the tandem slide guitar work between him and "Papa" John, the hot rhythm & piano and very melodic background vocals all highlight this one.
With it's sermon worthy lyrics and the enthusiastically soulful way in which it was sung, this track had me felling as if I should be listening from "Down On My Knees". Danny, Amoy and Ceceal are inspiring on the vocals, while Danny and John add a heavenly feel on guitar and trumpet.
With the way he tells it, Danny makes it sound so easy to understand. Sometimes when there are dark clouds all around, just remember... the sun is always shining on the "Other Side of the Clouds". The smokin' harp, sax, piano and guitar highlights will have you shakin', and this rocker may very well move you in more ways than one.
"Hold On", is a song about the many things that Danny, of course, wants to hold on to. In addition to the very obvious, such as the love his life, Danny puts an emphasis on memories of the past. Using old songs as a reference, he pays tribute to some of his apparent musical inspirations... Sam Cooke, Bobby Blue Bland, Joe Tex, Gladys Knight and several others. John, Ed and Vance, on the horns and organ, highlight this foot tappin' sing along.
"Soulsville III" closes out with a bonus acoustic track titled "The Holy Ghost Highway". It's a duet between Danny - who sings the moving vocals and plays the harp & acoustic guitar - and his Lord - who provides the inspiration and wisdom.
Other tracks on this wonderful disc include: "Hold Your Head Up", "Somebody On Your Bond", "Righteous Highway", "Carry Me", "Still Got This Thing For You", "No Turnin Back" and "Homestead Boogie".
Although so called "Spiritual" or "Gospel" music are generally limited to a niche following, Danny Brooks should be considered the crossover. By no stretch of the imagination do I consider myself to be self righteous and/or spiritual, yet I find his music moving. I truly believe that fans of Blues, Soul, Gospel, R&B, and even Country Music, will love this disc. Check it out for yourself by going to - www.dannybrooksmusic.com, and when you're there, please tell Danny the Blewzzman sent ya.
Most likely, this will be the first review I have ever done where almost everyone in the country has already heard the band. Not you, you say? Well, think again. If you've ever seen the TV commercial where the owner of Papa John's Pizza knocks on someone's door and says "How about some Papa John's Pizza?", then you've heard Big Papa And The TCB. That's them playing "Go Big Papa" in the background.
Big Papa And The TCB are Chris "Big Papa" Thayer on vocals & guitars, Quinton "Dr. Q" Hufferd on keyboards & vocals, Steve "Ice Cream Man" Brown on bass & vocals and Ray "Mr. Pittz" Wilson on drums & vocals. Special guests on "12 Gauge Insurance Plan" include "Jumpin' Jack" Benny Cortez on harmonica, Gabe Hartman on tenor sax and Marianne Keith & Kelly McGuire on vocals. The disc features sixteen original tracks, totaling well over an hour of music. Let's go hear some.......
In addition to the musical highlights, which include some great guitar work, outstanding organ, and wonderful vocal harmony between Chris & Kelly, this track also offers some sound advice... you'll definitely be playing with your life when you love "Another Man's Wife". Take heed!
I'm only a few tracks into the disc and I believe I may have already found my favorite - "The Fool You Left Behind". This is one of those tracks that totally transforms you to a different place and time. Close your eyes, listen carefully and enjoy the nostalgic trip back to wherever it may take you. This wonderful ballad is highlighted by absolutely beautiful work from Chris on the vocals, Quinton on the piano and Gabe on the saxophone. Replays are in order for this one.
"Another Ride" is going it be a 'wild ride' as well. This is one of only three tracks that feature "Jumpin Jack" on harp, and he certainly lives up to his nickname - you will be jumpin' to this one. The race between Quinton and Ray on the organ and drums sets the smoking rhythm pace.
You'd better be ready, 'cause your thangs gonna start shakin' when "Ain't No Thang" starts spinning. It's gotta happen, this one's an all out smoker. Everyone's in a total jam led by the frantic rhythm coming from the bass and drums. Steve and Ray are at discs best right here.
The tile of this track - "Dirty Bird Blues" - might indicate you're about to hear some low down dirty blues, and for the next ten minutes, that's exactly what your going to get. This one's got it all going on - slow and scorching vocals, very slow, smooth and down the alley piano leads, smoking blues guitar riffs and it's all held together with perfectly mellow rhythm lead by steady organ work. Real good stuff right here.
As I'm listening to the lyrics, it's easy to understand how "Go Big Papa" became the anthem for the pizza delivery chain. Of course it's the name of the song, but I'm thinking the part about doing 90 miles an hour in a 20 mile per hr zone had something to do with as well... doesn't that sound exactly like a pizza delivery guy? As it's been throughout the disc, Quinton's piano playing is again a highlight on this one.
Other tracks on "12 Gauge Insurance Plan" include: "Who's Yo Daddy?", "Money", "Hey There Charlie", "All I Need", "Slow Down", "Saved By You", "Easy Does It", "Little Miss Mischief", "It Wasn't Me", and "Lovin' Man".
While you go to www.bptcb.com to check out the band, buy the disc and tell them the Blewzzman sent ya, I'm going back for another listen of "The Fool You Left Behind".
The Don Ray Band's mission statement is "Music with a blues feel that tells a country story and throws in a big rock and roll hell yeah!" Now don't go thinking this is "Country Blues", 'cause it isn't. Musically, this is good old raunchy and rockin' blues at it's best, it's the all original lyrics that tell the country stories.
Since he usually does his singing through a mic behind the drum set, "On Top Of The Heap" is Don Ray's first undertaking on which he's left the sticks behind and performs as the up front vocalist. Joining him are: Curt Ryle on acoustic guitar, electric guitar solos and lap steel guitar; Gary Smith on piano and keyboards; Steve Bryant on bass; Steve Brewster on drums and percussion; Troy Lancaster and Mike Durham on electric guitar; Annette Donald, Wanda Jordan-Barnett and Terra Allen on background vocals.
On the opening track, the bands not just taking "The High Road", but they're taking it in high gear, with the petal to the metal, as well. This smoker features some red hot rhythm, led by savage drum work from Steve. It's quite obvious that since Don was vacating the position, he wasn't turning the kit over to just anyone.
Blues purists are going to be in their glory - as I was - while listening to "I Might Just Say Goodbye". With the rest of the band locked into one of those grooves that puts you into a trance, this one is all about the scorching guitar riffs and the intense and soulful vocals. Don and Curt are absolutely amazing on this one. If this isn't the discs best track, then I can't wait to find the one that is.
Once again, it's the rhythm section that's impressing me here. Both Steve's are at discs best on drums and bass, and together with Gary's work on the organ and the wonderful work of the background singers, they're all just "So Wicked" together. This one may very well put a spell on you.
"Good Bad Boy" is one of those rockin' sing-a-long type songs which contain the lyrics that live audience's love and that country hits are made from. There's no question in my mind that when he plays this one at his live shows, Don's got most of the audience up on their feet, shaking their bodies and simultaneously shouting out the chorus line along with him.
Obviously telling a true story, with very real and warm lyrics, Don pays tribute to his wife first, then his daughter, all while using the same words. Although he actually knows the answer, it seems he's still speculative as to "How a man at 200 pounds and over six feet tall, could be "Wrapped Around A Finger" that small" Don's enthusiastic vocals, and very well written lyrics steal this one.
You are a "Perfect Ten". Now that's not just the title of the song, it's Dons answer to that question that every man in a relationship has been asked.... "Do you like what you see or does my butt look big in these jeans". This track is the bands mission statement in full swing. Don and the background singers are singin' their hearts out while the band is kickin' out some rockin' blues.
"How Much Of This Is Love" is a catchy retro tune on which Don Ray and his Rayettes will have you thinking of your favorite sixties singing groups. Once again, as it has been on pretty much most of the tracks, the vocals - lead and backup - along with the percussion, are profound.
Other tracks on "On Top Of The Heap" include: "I Can't Find My Angel", "Boom Chika Wah Wah", "Barbecue And Beans", and "On Top Of The Heap".
"On Top Of The Heap" could possibly be one of the most well rounded discs I've listened to in some time. Right from the first to the last track, it had it going on vocally, musically and lyrically.
You've really got to get over to www.donrayband.com and check them out. Once you give a few of the tracks a listen, I'm sure you'll want to hear more. And one more thing, after you buy the disc, make sure you tell Don that the Blewzzman sent ya.
When doing a review, I generally don't get into bio's too much. It's what I'm listening to that needs to impress me. On the other hand, there aren't very many bio's that have awed me as much as the one I just read. Trust me, if you ever hear Shaun Murphy say "been there - done that", bet on it that she has.
As if working in bands of such greats as Bob Seger, Bruce Hornsby, Glen Frey, and Joe Walsh, and recording with other greats like Phil Collins, Leon Russell, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper and many others too numerous to name weren't enough - Shaun's also appeared in several well known hit productions on Broadway. Oh, and let's not forget the opportunities - yes, more than one - of a lifetime that came when she was asked to record and tour with Eric Clapton and later on become a fifteen year member of Little Feat. Very impressive. And by the way, the disc is as well.
On "Livin' The Blues", vocalist Shaun Murphy's band consists of Randy Coleman on bass and vocals, Larry Van Loon on keyboards and vocals, Kenne Cramer on guitar and vocals, and Mike Caputy on drums, with special guests Piero Mariani on percussion and Tim Gonzalez on Harmonica.
Several of Shaun's vocal talents - her soulful style, voice strength and range - are quickly introduced on "Ocean Of Tears", the discs opening track. Besides the great vocals, this one features some very nice keyboard highlights.
Although it was written by Bob Dylan, the way Shaun sings "It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry", the song should have been re-titled "Blues Belting 101". It should also be required listening for any aspiring female blues artists. Being the slow blues burner that it is, the track also features some great lead guitar and piano highlights.
Even with the cool background jive talkin', "That's A Pretty Good Love" is all about the rhythm. Randy, Kenne, Mike and Piero are at discs best right here. If this one doesn't get your foot tapping, you might want to check your pulse.
"Love To Burn" is another one that should get some.... oh make that all... of your body parts moving. This one features the whole band in a very tight and quite funky groove. The three minutes this track lasted was not nearly enough for this listener... thank goodness for replay buttons.
I'm finding it difficult to express how "I Still Believe In The Blues" just made me feel. The song was so smoothly and so perfectly sung and performed. I'm just going to say that you've got to hear this one for yourself, and leave it at that. Excuse me while I go listen a few more times.
It's fitting that one of the best songs on the disc - "It Feels Like Rain" - be the longest. Every second of it's six and a half minutes was a pleasure to listen to. The soft, yet piercing guitar riffs, the ever present sound of the keyboards, the relaxing rhythm and the intense and sensitive vocals all bring this one perfectly together. If you thought Buddy did it good, ya gotta hear this version.
Other tracks on "Livin' The Blues" include: "Someone Else Is Steppin' In" , "Livin' The Blues", "Come To Mama", "Taking Up Another Man's Place", "Can't No Grave Hold My Body Down", "Hound Dog", and "Rock And Roll Everynight".
To get yourself a copy of "Livin' The Blues" - and I highly recommend that you do, and to learn more about the incredible career of Shaun Murphy, just go to www.shaunmurphyband.com. And please, make sure you tell her the Blewzzman sent ya.
I'm definitely not talking about a breakfast of champions, yet I could be talking about a blues musicians dinner, however, what I'm really referring to when I say "Fried Chicken & Whiskey" is the new CD from Jack Edery & UltraSuede.
The band consists of Jack Edery on guitars and vocals, Susan Pierce on Keyboards and vocals, Jason McCollum on bass, and Robert Smith on drums. Special guests on the project include: Jimbo Mathis on guitars, piano and background vocals; Justin Showah on background vocals; Eric Carlson on keyboards; Gin Gin Abraham on Background vocals; and Ken Turner on scrub board and strings. "Fried Chicken & Whiskey" contains eleven tracks of which ten are band originals. UltraSuede likes to refer to themselves as a band that plays "a gumbo of styles with blues as the roux". Let's go taste some.
Hailing from Beaumont, Texas, it's kind of natural that the first ingredient in their brand of gumbo is some rockin' Texas Blues. "Blues Outside My Window" starts things off with the whole band tearin' it up and kickin' some ass. Just how good this gumbo is has yet to be determined, but I do know this - it's going to be hot!
The funk is added with the title track, "Fried Chicken & Whiskey". With the lyrics pretty much being the band jive talkin' 'tween themselves and fried chicken and whisky being the main words, this one is all about the music. It's full of some very serious rhythm grooves, and heavy on the funk.
"Mr. Ervin" is a song dedicated to the late Beaumont blues man, Ervin Charles. This one's all about Jack - and, of course - his mentor. You can't help but feel the sincerity in his vocals as Jack sings about missing his friend. This one has all the ingredients of a perfect ballad - real and heartfelt lyrics, soulful vocals, slow and steady rhythm, and scorching guitar riffs. This was one awesome track. Well done UltraSuede!
Man, this band knows how to "Throw A Boogie Woogie". Whoa! A good bowl of gumbo is nothing without lots of spice, and this two minute barn burner provides some heaping doses. This total free for all is worth a few hits of the replay button.
A pissed off woman with a gun in her hand is never a good thing. However, it sounds even scarier when she's a "Blind Woman With A Gun". Susan steals the show on this one. She wrote the song, sings her heart out on it, and kicks ass on the keyboards. Unfortunately, that's not all she's kickin' ass on. Ya see, although she's blind, she's still able to hear her man, with another women, in her bed... and then there's that gun. This is some good old dirty blues as it's best.
"Memphis" is an absolutely beautiful piece of work. The harmony between Jack and Gin Gin is a pleasure to listen to, the precise way the slide, lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars meld together is commendable and the rhythm is profound. Another extremely well done track.
It's a proven theory that using good ingredients, is synonymous with making a good product. From what I've just heard, UltraSuede has every right to call themselves a band that plays "a gumbo of styles with blues as the roux". They actually may want to expand on that and say "a delicious gumbo of styles with real good blues as the roux".
Other tracks on "Fried Chicken & Whiskey" include: "Ballad Of Yvonne & Angel", "Cajun Queenie", "Good At Being Bad", Turn Me Loose In Your Kitchen", and "Knucklebuster".
You can check out Jack Edery & UltraSuede by going to www.myspace.com/UltraSuede409. Tell him you heard Blewzzman raving about it, so you just had to come and get some "Fried Chicken & Whiskey".
"In It For the Long Haul" is not just the name of Pat Pepin's latest release. They are the very words that she lives by and it's a phrase she confidently uses to describe her career in the music business. In a business that's short on longevity, those are some tough words. On the other hand, Pat's a tough gal. Just ask her where she's from and she'll proudly say "I'm from Maine, where the men are men and the women are too." With an attitude like that, along with having a mastery over the tenor sax, outstanding vocal talents and a great songwriting ability, I believe Pat Pepin may just live up to her motto.
On "In It For the Long Haul" Pat Pepin on vocals, tenor sax, acoustic guitar, soprano sax and trombone, is joined by: Bob Colwell on piano, organ, bass and clarinet; Steve Jones on guitar, bass, dobro, banjo and tambourine; Dave Thibodeau on bass; Richard Hollis on drums, conga and tambourine; Pat Colwell on lead guitar; Angela Plato on trumpet. The disc features a dozen tracks, of which nine are Pat Pepin originals. Showcasing her versatility, the songs cover many styles of blues.
One of her originals, "Don't Call Me Baby, Baby", features Pat doing two of the things she does best..... telling off a man and blowin' the hell out of her sax, and she may be at discs best on the latter. This one also features a great rhythm groove and several hot piano highlights.
You'll feel like you're strollin' down Bourbon Street when "Can't Take it With You" comes on. This is a nice mix of Cajun Blues and Dixieland Jazz and showcases Pat's sense of humor in her writing. The lyrics are a hoot and the horns are hot on this party style sing-a-long.
Be careful if you're driving when this one comes on. This smokin' Texas style blues will make you feel like a "Long Haul Trucker", speeding along on I-10 in a rush to get to San Antonio. This one's a no holds barred jam with everyone's pedal to the metal. Great lead guitar, fiery rhythm and flame throwin' sax all highlight this one.
This track has Pat wondering what a lot of us are wondering these days...."Why Me?". I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that Pat's got this jazz lounge, singer thing down pat. This one's all her. With the band in a smooth and tight jazz groove behind her, she shines on vocals and sax.
It wouldn't be a Pat Pepin disc without a song written, or made famous by, the great Etta James. This time she chose the very beautiful "Sunday Kind Of Love". Once again, it's her vocals and sultry sax riffs that highlight this soft, slow and very sexy ballad. The slow dancers are going to just love this one.
Before I tell you about the closing track, the one referred to as the "bonus novelty track", let me set it up a bit. Ya see, like many blues musicians, Pat Pepin travels the country in a van. Hers is a mini RV with a vanity license plate affectionately displaying it's name - PATIBGO (pictured on the back of the CD cover). Having - on many occasions - taken advantage of a major national retailers very relaxed policy towards RVer's, she was inspired to write "Living At Wal-Mart". It's an incredibly clever and extremely humorous "jingle" about spending nights at what she calls "America's free campground". You're just gonna have to hear it to appreciate it.
Other tracks on "I'm In It For the Long Haul" include: "Can't Be Satisfied", "Can't Take It With You", "Till Death Do Us Part", "This Dress", "Left Me Lonely" and "Ain't What You Got".
Now that Deanna Bogart has made women saxophone players winning Blues Music Awards a common thing, could it be long before another one does? Pat Pepin doesn't think so. If you want to hear why, check her out at www.patpepin.com. Hopefully you'll tell her how and why you're visiting... the Blewzzman sent you and you want to buy a copy of "In It For the Long Haul".
Florida's version of the Mississippi River is the Intracoastal Waterway. Similar to that muddy river that runs through the center of the country, the Intracoastal Waterway runs through many states as well. Just as the state of Mississippi comes to mind when you think of the mighty Mississippi, the state of Florida comes to mind when you think of the relaxing Intracoastal.
Another similarity of sorts, is that many of the cites that border the Mississippi - Clarksdale, Tunica, Indianola, Vicksburg and Memphis, TN - just to name a few - are all great cities famous for their juke joints and their great delta blues men. On the other hand, cities along the Intracoastal - such as Hollywood, Ft. Lauderdale, Jupiter, Stuart, Sebastian, Melbourne and many more - all the way up to Jacksonville - are famous for their tiki-bars and a great delta blues man as well - Ernie Southern.
Ernie Southern and the Deltaholics are the real deal when it comes to original and progressive delta blues. The band consists of: Ernie Southern on vocals and National Reso-Phonics guitars; Pompano Pete De Stefano on harp and backup vocals; Gary Jr. Waldo on bass; Steve Thorpe on Dobro guitars; Bobby Day on bass, percussion and backup vocals; Randy crouch on drums; Mike Della Cioppa on piano; and Tara & Kiley Howe on backup vocals.
Ernie's latest release consists of eleven original tracks that pretty much reflect his outlook - and possibly that of many others, as well - on the struggles of modern day life. The discs title - and opening track, "Every Day Is A Fight", sums it up quite well.
Ernie makes no bones about voicing his frustrations as he candidly proclaims "I Wanna Kill Somebody". Of course he doesn't mean it, but the situations he sings about can surely make someone want to think that way. This one's good old down home Delta Blues at it's best. Vocally, Ernie's so intense that you can't help but feel his sincerity, and musically it's an all out jam. The rhythm is hot and tight, the harp playing is dynamic and the connection between Ernie and Steve on the Resonator and Dobro is profound. This could very well be the discs best track.
Although things slow down a bit on "Goin' Insane", the only thing that really changes is the beat. Ernie and Steve continue to display the musically creative bond they have between them and there's lots of serious pickin' on this one.
If you're a fan of "Red Hot Delta Blues", then this one's for you. Although the Resonator and Dobro get their share of pickin in, this one features Pete and Randy at discs best. There are lots of very sharp harp leads and the drum work is absolutely phenomenal throughout. Vocally, Ernie's right on as usual while he sings about his experiences in one of those great Delta cities, Memphis, TN.
Like a lot of other people, Ernie's looking for "Someone With Brains". Well, not really Ernie, because I'm sure he's singing this song about someone else. Ya see, I know his wife Franni, and he's already found someone with brains. Another cleverly written track which is highlighted by harmonically sound background vocals and percussion.
On "Atheist Funeral", Ernie may rot in hell for saying it, but that's apparently OK with him. You see, after her departs from this life of sin and disgrace, he doesn't want to go to heaven 'cause it sounds like hell. This one features absolutely great guitar work - from Ernie on the resonator and from Bobby on the bass. This is another of the discs many highlights.
Other tracks on this excellent disc include: "Every Day Is A Fight", "Into The Wind", "Island Earth", "Anytime Valentine", "Franni's Again", and "Blame it On the Moon".
Hard core blues fans, especially those of the Delta style, need to check out this disc. You can pick one up, and read a lot about Ernie's very interesting and long spanning musical career by visiting his web site - www.erniesouthern.com. While there, please let him know his buddy the Blewzzman sends his regards.
Captiva, FL is on a tiny Gulf Coast Island about as wide as my waist. Unlike the Keys, where everyone heads when they want to go nuts, Captiva is a place where everyone heads when they want to get sane. The place is renowned for vegging out, searching for seashells and possibly searching for your soul as well. Yes, it does have a music festival, but part of that festival's mission statement claims "...the festival is to present classical music of the highest standard...". Have I made my point yet? Not exactly the place you'd want to go to in hopes of hearing a smokin' blues band, right? Not quite, Marty Stokes and the Captiva Band may have something to say about that.
The band consists of Marty Stokes on vocals and guitar, Lisa George on vocals and percussion, Todd haut on bass, Jim Burns on drums and percussion, and Donovan Christenson on guitar. Additional musicians joining the band on the bands debut CD, are Summer Kilgore on vocals, John McLane on piano, keyboards and B-3 organ, Harry Drew on saxophone and Richie Iannuzzi on congas and percussion. The disc contains thirteen tracks, of which eight are very well done originals.
The opening and title track, "Hear You Callin", immediately impresses. Marty wastes no time establishing his guitar prowess, Todd, Jim and Richie are rhythmically awesome, John's got all the keyboards lit up and Summer provides great back up to Marty's melodic vocals. Great start!
When this track comes on, the dance floor's not gonna have to "Wait For Me Baby". Led by smokin' slide guitar, fierce rhythm, wicked hot piano and perfect harmony from Lisa and Summer, this one's full throttle all the way. Replays are in order here.
If it's low down scorching blues you're looking for - and I always am - then you can just stop right here. As he pleads for his hurting to "Stop", the pain Marty's feeling is equally expressed through his emotional vocals and burning guitar licks. The only thing that can make a song like this better is an intense sax, and Harry did just that. Absolutely great stuff right here.
Another of the discs best is "Heartbreak School". In spite of Marty and Summer teaming up for some absolutely beautiful harmony on vocals, it's the guests that highlight this one. The relentless percussion and smokin' sax from Richie and Harry is awesome.
Your house will start rockin' "When The House Is A Rockin" comes on. This one's a total free for all. With everyone wailin' in jam mode, it doesn't get any faster and hotter than this. Turn up the volume and let your body join the party.
Contrary to the title of the song, you'll easily want to let go when "Can't Let Go" comes on. If this one doesn't get you moving, don't even wait for the track to end - call a doctor immediately. This rockin', country blues track features hot slide guitar, honky-tonk piano and Summer singing her heart out. Another of the discs best.
Other tracks on "Hear You Callin" include: "Don't Kill The Party", "Little By Little", "Hindsite", "Gotta Get to Work (On The Thing)", "The Thrill Is Gone", "On My Own" and "Captiva Bone".
You can check out Marty Stokes and the Captiva Band by going to www.captivaband.com. Of course while you're there, buy the disc and tell him Pete the Blewzzman sent ya. And one more thing....If you ever happen to make it to Captiva, FL, after you find some sea shells - and your sanity - find where the band is playing.
I'm not exactly sure if the word "Reverend" is a title acquired through ordainment or if it's just a common nickname that he, as many other blues musicians, chose to use. Regardless of the origin, I do know that listening to Rev. Marv Ward sing his original, message filled songs will make you feel good.....real good!
On "Love Like You Never Been Burned", The Reverend, on electric & acoustic guitar, percussion and vocals, is joined by: Mike Wainscott on acoustic guitar; James Boyce on bass & slide guitar; Tom "T-Bird" Toglio on drums; Willie Lyles on Hammond organ; Jim "Wallstreet" Coullard and Mike Fore on harmonica; Treavor Michael on dobro; Cam Mullikan on mandolin; John Miranda on saxophone; Patty Ficklin, Susan Mullikan and Abby Brown on backup vocals.
The words that make up the title track are just a portion of the advice that the song gives. Ya see, if you really want to get through life's strife, then.... you gotta work like you don't need the money, be happy with the karma you've earned, you gotta dance like nobody's watching and "Love Like You Never been Burned". Now that's a mouthful. Between the very advisable lyrics, the intensity with which they're sung, the funky rhythm and the rippin' sax riffs, I'm thinking I just heard this years song of the year.
If misery indeed loves company, then the Reverend's got lots of it, as he experiences these "Hard Times". You're not the only one they're killin', Rev. This one features a great rhythm groove with hot harp and guitar leads by Jim and Marv.
The only cover on the disc is "The Cuckoo". It's a traditional English folk song that has been covered by many musicians in several different styles, and this is one of the best renditions I've ever heard. Thankfully it is one of the discs longest tracks, because unfortunately, it's the only track which features Cam and his masterful mandolin playing. The 90 second instrumental intro, which features the melding of the mandolin, the dobro and the acoustic guitars, is hypnotizing. Additionally, Rev. Marv nails it on the vocals. By far one of the discs best.
On this track, Rev. Marv's figured out how to "Chase These Blues Away", and his philosophy makes it sound real easy. Dobro and acoustic guitars, along with great harp work from Mike, highlight this Piedmont blues style number.
The final message the Reverend shares with us all is that when "Love Is Calling", it might be a very good idea if you're listening. Highlighting this one is great backup vocals, steady Hammond work throughout, and more wonderful and inspiring lyrics.
Other tracks on "Love Like You Never Been Burned", a gospel and soulful combination of Delta and Piedmont blues, include: "Ole Mule", "Railroad Gal", "It's Just You", "Unabashed Carnivore" and "On Down The Road".
Now that you're done reading about it, you really ought to listen to it. You can do that by going to www.marvward.com/ to pick up a copy. Make sure you tell him the Blewzzman sends his regards.
Rick Welter is one cool and very smooth bluesman. Looking at the places he's called home, one must wonder if those characteristics could have been geographically acquired? He's a former New Yorker - that, of course would speak for the coolness, who's lived in Chicago - probably where he honed his blues skills, who now lives on the west coast - explaining his smoothness. Now although his picture on the discs cover represents an expression similar to when "The Fonz" looked in the mirror on "Happy Days", my description is referring to his music. "I'm All Yours" is cool, smooth, blues - musically and vocally - from beginning to end.
Along with Rick, on Guitar & Vocals, the rest of the cast on "I'm All Yours" are: Tom Royer on Drums & Back-up Vocals; John Neish on Bass & Back-up Vocals; Steve Lindsay, also on Bass; Jim Wallace on Harmonica; Bradley Scott on Percussion; Dave Keefer on Back-up Vocals.
Put on your dancin' shoes when "Come On" comes on. There'll be no sitting still for this one. It's a fast one, beat and time wise, that will have you swingin'. Tom and John will provide you with all the rhythm you'll need for that. A nice 60 second guitar lead in the middle of this three minute track is another highlight.
"I'm Sold On You", one of several Rick Welter originals, is a real smoothie. Along with Rick's soulful vocals, this one is highlighted by a great rhythm groove led by Tom and very sharp harp leads by Jim. Too bad he's only on two cuts.
"In The Wee Wee Hours", is a hot one that might have you thinkin' Chuck Berry. It's just one of those kind of songs, musically and lyrically.
"It Just Ain't Right" is another of my favorites. Partly because it's the other track which features Jim, the very talented harp player, as well as some of Rick's fanciest, tone changing, guitar work.
If your life's a little hectic and you just don't have the time for a tropical vacation, then you need a little "Mexicali Hipshake". Start off by fixing yourself any kind of rum drink (leaving off the straw umbrella is OK), then put this track on loud and walk out to your backyard. In no time at all you'll be looking for something to limbo under. This fun instrumental is all about great guitar and percussion work.
Other tracks on "I'm All Yours" include: "Fairchild", "I Had A Talk With My Baby", "Goin' Uptown", "I'm All Yours", "The Grind", "My Love Is Strong", "Rockin' Man" and "I'm Gonna Forget About You".
What I found interesting about this CD is, that when it was over, I realized that although I hadn't heard a track that compelled me to hit replay, I still wound up replaying the whole disc several times. As I said earlier, "I'm All Yours" is cool, smooth, blues - musically and vocally - from beginning to end.
Picking up a copy of "I'm All Yours" is as easy as going to www.bluestopia.com, and stopping by www.myspace.com/rickwelterband will allow you to say hello to Rick. Of course you'll tell him that the Blewzzman, another cool new Yorker, sent ya.