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Blues CD Reviews 86
Line Divide

Crooked Eye Tommy
"Hot Coffee And Pain"
Blue Heart Records
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © August 2020

"Hot Coffee And Pain" is the second release for Crooked Eye Tommy, and their first on Blue Heart Records, a division of Nola Blue, Inc. The band centers around the Brothers Marsh - Tommy (the one with the crooked eye, of course) and Paddy - two extremely talented guitarists, vocalists and songwriters. The pair perform as a duo - as they did when they made it to the finals at the 2020 International Blues Challenge, or with a full band - as they did in an earlier IBC and on both releases.

For "Hot Coffee And Pain", the Marsh brothers are joined by: Samuel Corea on bass guitar; Charlie McClure on drums; Craig Williams on Saxophone; Jimmy Calire on Hammond B3 and horn arrangements; and Teresa James on vocals and piano. Of the disc's nine tracks, three are penned by each of the brothers with the other three being covers.

If there were a dictionary that gave definitions by playing music, "Sitting In The Driveway" could easily be one of the songs you might hear playing when you looked up the meaning of "slow blues". The track, one of which Paddy wrote and sings, defines it to a T! Anytime you use two sixty second scorching guitar leads to sandwich gut wrenching vocals that address the difficulty involved with climbing that "twelve step" staircase - all while your rhythm section is right there with you - you're pretty much performing slow blues at its very best. With so much more ahead, I'm making the call early - this could very well be the disc's best track.

On the title track, one in which he wrote and sings, Tommy is not at all enjoying his painful breakfast of "Hot Coffee And Pain". Sadly, with this being just the first morning following his woman having left him after many long years, it's apparent this is a breakfast he'll soon be acquiring a taste for. This is one of about half-a-dozen of the tracks that feature the fabulous horn and Hammond work, and we all know what happens when you take a real good band and add a horn and a keyboard, right?

In addition to it being so soulful, the mood the horn sets on this tracks opening is so defining that you can't help to know that as they climax, some very heartfelt and emotional vocals are about to follow. Then BAM! It just doesn't happen once, it happens twice. On this duet with the truly amazing Teresa James, as he questions his lady about being out all night, Tommy's the first to ask "Baby Where You Been?". Her response, in wanting to know why he's never been there for her through most of the relationship is an identical "Baby Where You Been". Everything about this song screams powerful: the horns, the vocals, the lyrics, the rhythm, Tommy's killer guitar licks throughout, and most importantly, the story being told. It would not surprise me one bit if this original grabs Tommy Marsh a "Song of the Year" nod.

It won't take but a few notes of this one before you feel the Allman Brothers vibe. It's an instrumental of Tommy's titled "The Big House", which just happens to be the name of the estate that was populated by the village like clan associated with the original Allman Brothers Band. The track is highlighted by extraordinary tandem guitar work from the brothers Marsh; some of the disc's best rhythm with Samuel and Charlie at disc's best; and a few hot blasts from Craig on the tenor sax.

Going with the always leave them wanting more theory, closing out the disc with a track that features all six members of the band being on top of their games is the way to do it. That said, that's exactly what's taking place on the bands rendition of Sonny Landreth's "Congo Square". With Tommy singing the hell out of the song and Paddy crushing the hell out of the guitar leads the rest of guys are burning the place down behind them. Smokin' stuff!

Other tracks on "Hot Coffee And Pain", an album that is highly capable of leading Crooked Eye Tommy into the forces to be reckoned with arena, are: "Death Letter Blues" (Eddie J. House); two more of Paddy's - "Twist The Sky" & "The Time It Takes To Live"; and "Angel Of Mercy" (Bruce Bertness McCabe);

To find out more about Crooked Eye Tommy just go to - - and should you have not yet received your copy of "Hot Coffee And Pain" for airplay, just contact Betsie Brown at Additionally, I'm pretty sure you'll find a visit to the label to be cool as well, so check out Wherever you go and whomever you talk to, please tell them that their friend the Blewzzman sent you.

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient

Musical Bar

Wily Bo Walker & Danny Flam
"Ain't No Man A Good Man"
Mescal Canyon Records
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © July 2020

The last time Wily Bo Walker and Danny Flam collaborated on an album was back in 2015 and that project - "Moon Over Indigo" - wound up being nominated for a Grammy Award. Well the guys are at it again, and they're hoping for the same success with their second release - "Ain't No Man A Good Man".

Shoring up their chances, they've assembled more top musicians and vocalists from the U. S. and the UK than I am able to list. That said, joining Wily Bo Walker on guitar, electric bass, banjo, tambourine, percussion sound FX, backing vocals and storytelling; and Danny Flam on trombones, trumpets, sousaphone, Hammond and backing vocals; are: five other guitarists; eight other horn players; five other keyboardists; four bassists; four drummers; a string quartet; a three person Gospel Choir; and a few back up vocalists. Now if you haven't yet thought "wow, this album's a lot goin' on", allow me to tell you it indeed does.

Of the ten tracks on the disc - which the band refers to as "Horn-driven grooves and Voodoo blues" - eight were written and/or collaborated on by Wily Bo Walker.

"Behind every great man is a great woman" is a phrase that absolutely needs no explanation. On the other hand, saying something like "behind every no good man is a good woman, as well", here goes. Contrary to how it may sound, the original and title track, "A'int No Man A Good Man" does not mean there ain't no good men. That said, the song is actually about a woman - but not just any woman - you see, when it comes to seduction, this woman is so good a casting spells that regardless of the men it's cast on, ain't none of them can be good. Musically, the song is as spell binding as its subject. The significant and substantial horn section are as good as these ears have ever had the pleasure of hearing; Danny Flam's trumpet leads and Mike Ross's guitar leads are each more stinging than the other; the rhythm of Tommy Rhodes (bass) and Max Saidi (drums) is profound; and with a deep, raspy, powerful and soulful voice - one that I'm sure any guidance counselor would have told the possessor of to "forget whatever you're thinking of doing for a living and become a blues singer" - Wily is absolutely masterful on the vocals.

Another of the original tracks is an old school shuffle titled "Did I Forget?" As in: did I forget to tell you I love you?; did I forget to tell you I needed you?; and did I forget to tell you I believe in you? Those were all the things that Wily wanted to say but sadly, the drinking got in the way. Another fabulous brass performance with some serious baritone leads at the hands of Ron Bertolet; smoking blues guitar licks by way of Pete Farrugia; and a powerful vocal performance by Wily on which the pain and frustration of him not ever having the opportunity to say what he clearly needed to tell his woman can be clearly heard in his voice.

The first thing I thought when I heard "Walking With The Devil (Blood On My Hands)" was movie soundtrack. As it turned out, Rick J Bowen - writer of the album's accompanying one sheet - felt the same way about other tracks, as well. Could "Aint No Man A Good Man - The Movie" be a thing of the future? Interestingly, there's a line where Wily Bo says "I've been walkin' with the devil, the devil by my side" and between the spooky growl of his voice; the ear popping and eye opening range of Karena's complimenting backing vocals; the intensity of the percussion and rhythm with those deep bass lines and the hands of Clarky on the double bass; and Mike Ross' spine chillin' guitar licks; Ya just gotta wonder if the whole collectively eerie vibe just might have the devils thinking "I've been walkin' with Wily Bo Walker, Wily Bo Walker by my side".

On the nearly one minute long intro on "Night Of The Hunter", Michael Ross on guitar; Stevie Watts on Hammond; Danny Flam on the trumpet and trombone; Ron Bertolet on the baritone sax; Tommy Rhodes on electric bass; Max Saidi on drums; and Karena K on the keyboard and percussion; were in such a musical groove that they got me so looking forward to hearing this instrumental. Then in came that unique, gravelly voiced growl and my grin grew wider.

Depending on who you ask and what you may read, "Saint James Infirmary" may be credited to any number of originators but in this case, we're going with Irving Mills - which BTW, is actually an alias. Along those same lines, if you ask anyone who has bounced in and out of the many music halls up and down Bourbon Street, there will be very little disagreement about it being one of the most requested songs of house bands. Being one who has often requested it and one who has heard it thousands of times I will tell you I've never quit heard a rendition like this. Normally it's done with a jazzed up slow blues type delivery but since these guys don't do slow, this may be the the most uptempo, rocked out version, you'll ever hear.

The disc closes with a song called "Build My Gallows (Ain't No Return)" which is actually a differently done - yet still hypnotizing - version of the title and opening track - "Ain't No Man A Good Man". This take uses a completely different ensemble which features extraordinary lead and slide guitar work by Troy Redfern, and magnificent string presentation by: Cenovia Cummins and Louise Owen on violin, Alissa Smith on viola and Laura Bontrager on cello. Collectively these ladies make up The Cenovia Cummins String Quartet.

Other tracks on this outstanding production are: "Velvet Windows", "Ain't Hungry No More", "Time To Forget" (all originals), and "Fool For You" (Stone McEwan).

To find out more about Wily Bo Walker & Danny Flam go to - and should you have not yet received your copy of "Ain't No Man A Good Man" for airplay, just contact Betsie Brown at Wherever you go and whomever you talk to, please tell them that the Blewzzman sent you.

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient

Musical Bar

CD Woodbury
"World's Gone Crazy"
Self Released
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © July 2020

If you should happen to run into CD Woodbury wearing his all too recognizable Shriner style hat, before you ask him if he is a Shriner - as I did when I ran into him at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis - make sure you focus on the emblem on the hat and let the skull and crossbones stop you from making an idiot of yourself.....LOL. Yes, when we met as we were both putting our promotional material on the the marketing table in the hotel lobby of the Holiday Inn, that did indeed happen.

Speaking of the IBC, while representing the South Sound Blues Association and the Washington Blues Society, CD Woodbury and his band made it to the semi-finals both times; he's had a release make it to the finals of the "Best Self Produced CD" competition; and although I apparently didn't know this was a thing - he and his band were named the "Kings Of Beale Street" during one of those IBC competitions.

On his second release, "World's Gone Crazy" (which I happen to agree with him on), CD Woodbury - on guitar and lead & backing vocals - is joined by: Don Montana on drums and lead & backing vocals; Patrick McDanel on bass guitar and backing vocals; and Mike Marinig on keyboards, saxophone and backing vocals. Of the disc's thirteen tracks, the first eight are originals and the last five are covers.

As you "Follow The River Home", the four man vocal choir on the opening verse of the opening track gives you the impression you'll be making a stop at church along the way. Then BAM!.....the next thing you know you're smack dab in the middle of a shindig. CD and the guys turned what I thought was going to be an inspirational hymn into a full fledged dance party number, fueled by smoking hot rhythm; fierce sax leads; and scorching slide guitar highlights.

There are people who know they can't dance so rather than appear awkward they prefer to be wallflowers. Then there is CD Woodbury - who in spite of being a big man with two left feet - will strut his stuff every chance he gets. When the band is pumpin', his heart starts jumpin' and he's got to move that big ol' body around. With it's lazy rhythm and smooth guitar licks, "Walk Around Music" is the perfect tune to just get out there and go for it.

"Emerald City Blues" is no doubt another of CD's dance floor fillers - even for those wallflowers. If you can stand and sway you'll feel like a Patrick Swayze out there. It's good old slow blues with Don and Patrick in the perfect rhythm groove, while CD pours his heart out with an emotional vocal and musical performance.

So with this song being about his experiences during the International Blues Challenge, speaking as one who freezes his butt off while there, I promise you that "Memphis Heat" has nothing to do with the weather. That said, it is indeed about those hot sounds we've come to know as Memphis Soul. With the whole band getting in some strong solos, wanna be musician listeners can go from playing air drums to air sax to air bass and to air guitar in one simple session. Real fun track.

The title track could have been exactly fifty-five seconds long and it would have made it's point. The intro, featuring CD repeatedly and dreadfully moaning "The World's Gone Crazy" while the slide guitar, organ and rattling cymbals paint a dark and eerie picture, would have simply told the story. Then the pace picks up and CD offers testimony as to why.

This is the eighth track on the disc and the last of its originals. That said, although I'm not disputing that CD wrote it, I'm pretty sure that I've almost word for word said every one of these lyrics. It's a funny and clever song about what he makes sound like his second career - dieting. It's titled "Can't Eat That Stuff No More" and it tells a chronological tale of his dealings with Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers and Slim Fast. Except for the part where CD mixes Slim Fast with Kahlua - been there, done that. With the band in a great blues groove behind him, the song's lyrics - which tell of: CD wanting to prepare for swimsuit season; conversations with his doctor; descriptions of boxed diet foods; and calculating points; are absolutely hilarious.

So before I say it, I know it's a sacrilege and I know I'm most likely one of five people in the whole world who think this, but I was never a big Jimi Hendrix fan {said while ducking}. That said, "Hey Joe" (Roberts) was my all time favorite of his songs. Paying homage to his homie, CD doesn't just cover it but on this nearly eight minute rendition, he totally crushes it.

Other songs on this dynamite disc include: "I Didn't Know" and "South Of South Hill" (both originals); "Wang Dang Doodle" (Dixon), "Last Go Round" (Robinson, Bean); "Adeline" (Sutton); and "Preacher And The President" (Walker).

To find out more about CD Woodbury just go to and should you have not yet received your copy of "World's Gone Crazy" for airplay, just contact Betsie Brown at Wherever you go and whomever you talk to, please tell them that the Blewzzman sent you.

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient

Musical Bar

Gerald McClendon
"Can't Nobody Stop Me Now"
Delta Roots Records
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © June 2020

Although this seasoned veteran of R&B has been around for quite some time, I only discovered him just ten short months ago when I did a review of a CD by various artists titled "Battle Of The Blues: Chicago vs Oakland". Here is what I had to say about Gerald's contribution: "In Chicago, Gerald McClendon is known as the "Soulkeeper", listening to him singing "Cold In The Streets" will attest to why. Back when I was a nominator for the Blues Music Awards, because of the abundance of greats in the category, "Soul Blues" was always my toughest category to narrow down to my top five. Had Gerald been in the picture, that already large field would surely have been larger."

Like that release, Gerald McClendon's newest, and first in over twenty years - "Can't Nobody Stop Me Now" - is also on Delta Roots Records and is also produced by legendary producer, songwriter and drummer - who himself is a six decade veteran of music - Mr. Twist Turner. That said, all of the disc's twelve tracks - which were originally recorded over a dozen ears ago - are written by Twist.

On "Can't Nobody Stop Me Now", old school soul singer extraordinaire Gerald McClendon - who has been compared to the likes of Z.Z. Hill, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, et al is joined by: Herb Walker, Joe Burba and Mark Wydra on guitars; Roosevelt Purify; Sumito "Aryio" Aryioshi and Brian James on keyboards; Skinny Williams on sax solos; John "Boom" Brumbach, The Delta Horns and an unknown trumpeter on horns; Twist Turner on strings and drums; and Art Love on Bass. With track info no longer available on most of these songs, my name credits on any particular track may be sketchy.

On the title track, as Gerald confidently uses the line "Can't Nobody Stop Me Now" he's basically declaring he's got his shit together and there's nowhere left to go but up. Vocally and musically, there's so much soul happening here that this track alone might start you thinking about rearranging that "top five soul artists" list of yours to make some room for this guy.

Playing a game somewhat to "Name That Tune", when "Where Do We Go From Here" started, I was able to say "I can tell I'm gonna love this song after just three notes". With Skinny kicking it off on such a soulful and steamy sax lead it was a gimme that this was going to be some slow, sultry and melancholic blues - and most of us know it just don't get any better than that. After getting caught in the act at a motel, as difficult as it may be to feel any sorrow for him, Gerald's poignant vocals do make it easy to feel his pain. With the support of the full horn section, precision rhythm and percussion behind them, Gerald and Skinny shine on this one.

Sounding reminiscent of "Members Only", this is another track on which Gerald emotionally and soulfully pours his heart out in the song. The second you hear him say "She Don't Love Me Anymore" you're believing him. Musically - Twist, Art, and Roosevelt - on the drums, bass and organ - once again have the rhythm locked right into place and Skinny's blowin' more sentiment through his sax.

While Gerald soulfully laments that "It's Over Now", this track - at the hands of Mark Wydra - features some of the disc's better slow blues guitar licks going on behind him.

So we're towards the end of the disc and Gerald is still getting caught in the act. This time, however, it's a bit more serious. This particular lady he cheated on just didn't tell him '"I'm gonna "Cut You Once"' but she's gonna shoot him twice and she's got him runnin' for his life. But hold on now, there's a logical explanation, right Gerald?

After many songs about pain, sorrow, heartbreaks, getting caught cheating and worrying about getting stabbed, shot and run out of town, I love that the song that was chosen to close the disc was extremely uplifting. It's titled "I Think About You" and it features Gerald lovingly and beautifully letting his lady know that it's thinking about her that gets him through his trying times. It's a good feeling, isn't it Gerald? The easy rhythm, led by soft horn and organ highlights, give what I would have called a song of the year candidate back when it was first recorded, a hymn like feel.

Other tracks on what I believe will be a hugely successful release include: "Groove On Tonight", "Runnin' Wild", "Mr Wrong", "You Can't Take My Love", and "Why Can't We Be Together?".

To find out more about Gerald McClendon just go to and should you have not yet received your copy of "Can't Nobody Stop Me Now" for airplay, just contact Betsie Brown at Wherever you go and whomever you talk to, please tell them that the Blewzzman sent you.

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient

Musical Bar

The Jimmys
"Gotta Have It"
Brown Cow Productions
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © June 2020

Back in November of 2015, I started out my review of "Hot Dish" - The Jimmy's second release - by clarifying that the band was not full of a bunch of musicians named Jimmy, and that is still true. Although changes have been made to the ensemble on "Gotta Have It", the bands fifth release, Jimmy Voegeli - on lead vocals, piano, Hammond B-3 organ and clavinet - is still the only Jimmy in the band. That said, the rest of the talented bunch include: Perry Weber on guitar and lead vocals; Peterson Ross on saxophone; John Wartenweiler on electric and acoustic bass; Kevin Feyzi and Kyle Samuelson on trombone; Mike Boman and Kurt Shipe on trumpet; Tony Braunagel, the disc's producer, on drums; Al Falaschi on baritone saxophone; Marcia Ball on lead and background vocals; Melodye Perry and Mike Finnigan on background vocals; Wally Ingram on percussion; and Greg Koch on slide guitar.

Of the disc's thirteen tracks, eleven are originals with most penned by Jimmy and Perry, and a few others being collaborations between them with Marcia Ball and Tony Braunagal.

The disc opens with one of the originals titled "Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" and in many ways, the song's a statement and a promise, as well. It features Perry, wailing away on guitar and lead vocals; and Jimmy wailing away on piano; leading just about everyone in the above credits on a dance floor filling blues rocker.

She took his house and took all his money. She threw his clothes in a garbage sack and drove away with his brand new Cadillac. Now Jimmy's got to "Write A Hit" to get that back. On a track they co-wrote (along with Tony), this hilarious duet features Jimmy and Marcia going toe to toe exchanging break up barbs. Musically, with Tony and John leading the way on the drums and bass, and the horns right there with them, this one features fabulous rhythm.

At barely over three minutes long there's a lot happening on "She Gotta Have It". With a significant rhythm going on behind them, there's enough time for Jimmy and Perry to light things up on piano and guitar highlights and solos, and for the background gals - sounding wonderfully like a pop-bubble-gum group - to entice you to sing-a-long on the chorus line. Fun stuff!

When this track started up, I'd have made a very large - and losing - bet, that I was about to hear "Scratch My Back" - the 1960's R&B hit that put Slim Harpo on the charts. Although that is one of my favorite songs, with the job The Jimmys did on this original track titled "Started Up Again", I was not at all disappointed.

On what my ears are telling me is a stand-up bass, John is at disc's best on another rhythm fueled track called "Drinkin". That said, the front guys are nailing it as well. Jimmy is laying down some of my personal favorite piano sounds with a lot of fancy, right-handed, high end leads; and Perry, along with several scorching guitar leads, is giving a very appropriate vocal sound to a song about drinking.

"Always A Woman" (Gary Nicholson) is another track that pretty much features everyone in the credits getting in on the action. It's a bit of a funky number with outstanding lead and harmony vocals, intense organ and horn highlights, and some real crazy rhythm and percussion. Definitely the disc's most unique entity.

Search this song on the Internet and you'll come up with so many different versions, listing so many different writers, that it actually gets confusing. That said, "Someday Baby" was written by someone I'm assuming is a good friend of Jimmy's - fellow Wisconsinite Jim Liban. Because it's old school, slow and low down blues with: soulful vocals; stinging blues guitar licks; steamy saxophone leads; and that soft and oh so tight organ led rhythm; it is by far my favorite of the lot.

Other original tracks on "Gotta Have It" include: "Grim Reaper"; "Hotel Stebbins"; "When You Got Love"; "Words And Actions"; "Take You Back"; and "Jose".

Before closing, I'd like to throw some kudos out to Tony Braunagel for his masterful producing skills. Over the many years I've been listening to the blues, I've come across many releases on which Tony was a first time producer of an artist that had several prior releases and on just about all of them, I had felt it was that artist's best work. That - and the fact that this is one of the Jimmy's best releases - are by no means a coincidence. Way to go, Tony.

To find out more about the Jimmys, purchase their albums or request a copy of "Gotta Have It" for airplay, just go to When you do, please tell Jimmy Voegeli that the Blewzzman sent you. Also, once live shows start up again, if you've not yet seen the Jimmys - you must! I had the pleasure of doing so at last year's Bonita Blues Festival and I was blown away. The band is electrifying and Jimmy himself is mesmerizing.

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient

Musical Bar

Jose Ramirez
"Here I Come"
Self Released
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © May 2020

Although "Here I Come" is his debut release, Jose Ramirez is by no means the new kid on the block. In actuality, between his U. S. tour and his two European tours, he's not only been around the block a few times but he's been around the world that many times, as well. I recently had the pleasure of seeing Jose perform several times during the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN a few months back. The first two times were during his quarter and semi-final rounds and the third was at the finals, when he wowed the packed Orpheum Theater crowd with a killer performance that won him second place.

Believing in making a strong first impression, Jose Ramirez pulled out all the stops when it came to making "Here I Come". Placing himself in extremely good hands, Jose chose blues guitar legend Anson Funderburgh as his producer, and as the saying goes, 'that's all she wrote'. Anson brought Jose to Austin, teamed him up with Grammy Award winning engineer Stuart Sullivan and hooked him up with some of the best studio musicians in the business. That said, joining Jose Ramirez on vocals and guitar are: Jim Pugh on Hammond organ and piano; Wes Starr on drums; Nate Rowe on bass; Anson Funderburgh on guitar; and The Texas Horns which consists of: Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff on tenor sax; John Mills on baritone sax; and Al Gomez on trumpet. Of the disc's eleven tracks, nine are Jose Ramirez originals.

The disc opens with the title track "Here I Come", a smooth foot tappin', knee slappin' shuffle featuring a fantastic piano led rhythm. While name dropping some of the blues legends he claims to have taught him to sing and bend those strings, by stating "here I come, on my way, be ready for what I have to say.......", Jose's also serving notice that he's now ready to be a part of those who will keep it all going.

"I Miss You Baby" (Freddie Simon) is a fifties style blues ballad originally done by T-Bone Walker. Although the track showcases the magnificently soulful and emotional sides of Jose's vocals, the two minute mid-song instrumental stopped me in my tracks. Between the combination of the sensitive guitar leads; the delicate piano and organ highlights; the heartbeat of the horns; and the oh so soothing rhythm; all I could do was just sit back and smile.

Now before all you ladies reading this think "awwww, how sweet", when you hear the title of this track, let me warn you about jumping to conclusions. "One Woman Man", is more about what Jose isn't rather than what he is. Musically, the song's just as bold and if you think that line may sting, you just gotta hear the guitar licks.

For so many reasons, "Goodbye Letter" could very well be the disc's best track. The name alone indicates it's gonna be loaded with the blues and, for over seven-and-a-half minutes, that's exactly what it is. Close to half of those minutes feature Jim Pugh masterfully doing his thing on the piano and showing why he's been every recognizable name in the genre's go to guy; and the other half feature Jose belting the hell out of the blues both vocally and with scorching blues guitar licks, while displaying that he's just not coming.....he's here!

"The Way You Make Me Feel" is a soul oozing, uptempo, feel good song that makes you just want to start singing along with it. As a matter of fact, as good as this woman seems to be making Jose feel, he just might become that one woman man after all. With Wes and Nate nailing it on the drums and bass, and those Texans nailing it on the horns, this one's another rhythm rich winner.

"Three Years" is just one of the two tracks featuring Anson on guitar and where I might normally say something like "too bad I'd have loved to hear more of him", he's got Jose so on top of his game and his production work has shone on every track.

With all that's been written about Robert Johnson, one would be hard pressed to find anything in those facts or fables that even remotely describes him as "funky". That said, Jose and the guys do an interesting job of funking up Robert's "Traveling Riverside Blues".

Other tracks on this outstanding project include: "Gasoline And Matches"; "As You Can See"; "Waiting For Your Call"; and "Stop Teasing Me".

In a recent conversation with Jose, he told me that he had submitted a copy of "Here I Come" to Blues Blast Magazine in order to be eligible for their annual Blues Blast Awards. Knowing that, I'm thinking he should be a lock for at least a nod in the "New Artist Debut" and the "Rising Star" categories. Good luck my friend!

To find out more about Jose Ramirez just go to and should you have not yet received your copy of "Here I Come" for airplay, just contact Betsie Brown at Wherever you go and whomever you talk to, please tell them that the Blewzzman sent you.

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient

Musical Bar

Duffy Bishop
"I'm Gonna Do What I Want"
'Lil Spinner Records
Release: May 29, 2020


With Duffy Bishop's house rockin' performance on the stage at B. B. Kings in Memphis during the International Blues Challenge still very fresh in my mind, the timing of this review of her new release - "I'm Gonna Do What I Want" - could not have been more perfect. During that competition, I saw at least forty music performances and not one of them - winners included - put on a more vibrant and energetic performance than Duffy. Acting half her age - and most likely inspiring other performers who actually are half her age - Duffy, basically 'doing what she wanted', jumped and bounced around the stage and belted the hell out of the blues from the opening to closing bell. Had the audience reaction been counted for points, she'd have won that venue hands down.


"I'm Gonna Do What I Want" is the ninth release from from Duffy Bishop, and back in 2015, when Duffy first relocated from OR to FL, I had the pleasure of reviewing number eight as well. For this project, vocalist Duffy Bishop is joined by: husband Chris Carlson on guitars; Alex Richman on piano and organ; Paul Unsworth on drums; and Rusty Springfield on electric and upright bass. Additional guests include: Dave Fleschner on organ; Rob Ellis Peck on harmonica; and Greg Weir on saxes. Of the disc's nine tracks, five are band originals. During my reviews, I'll occasionally incorporate the song's title in a sentence I'm writing about that song so I've got to go on record as saying I was quite impressed with Duffy's creative way of using the title of every song in her liner notes story. Now let's go listen to some music.....

On the opening and title track, when Duffy boldly and very matter-of-fact like belts out the line "I'm Gonna Do What I Want" (C. Carlson), you get the impression that nobody's gonna tell her any a matter of fact, those words were the very next line. Although that list of things she wants to do - like "eat pasghetti (sic) for breakfast" - is humorous, there's no doubt it can get a whole lot more serious. Musically, about midway through the track - with some nice piano and sax highlights creating a real cool rhythm vibe behind him - Chris gets in a hot minute long guitar lead.

When it's time to get bawdy, good lawdy, Ms Bishop will be happy to oblige. This one is about the antics that took place after Duffy's "69 Years Old" (C. Carlson/D. Bishop) boyfriend went to "See Alice".....if you get her drift. Lyrically, it's an all out riot - especially the part when Duffy's states that "if that little soldier stands up for more than four hours I'm calling my friends...........". The song is obviously satirical of the Muddy Waters' classic "She's Nineteen Years Old". The slow blues groove with the lazy, steady rhythm and the scorching blues guitar licks will testify to that. Considering that this is an original written by Duffy and Chris, I'm now wondering if it's satirical at all.......just joking guys.

Several times already, I've referred to the way Duffy presents a song with the words "belting" - and that's not an exaggeration, it's what she does. However, as this and a few other tracks will prove, this powerful vocalist in no one trick pony. With Alex, Paul and Rusty laying down one of their best rhythm grooves behind her, Duffy steals the show on "Must Be My Fault" (T. LeGrand). It's a laid back, toned down number.....well at least by her standards.....on which Duffy showcases absolutely magnificent finesse, control, tone, range and an over outstanding vocal ability.

"My Road Is Not Wide" (L. Brown) is somewhat similar to the above. It's a slow, bluesy ballad on which Duffy soulfully, emotionally and sincerely sings her heart out.

If you're going to write and sing a song about a train, and you want it to smoke like a steam engine, you'd better make sure it has a frantic rhythm pace; some piercing, locomotive sounding harmonica leads; ditto on the guitar leads; and a vocal performance that keeps up with all that. "Whistle Callin'" (D. Bishop) checks all those boxes and more.

The disc closes with an equally interesting and beautiful song titled "New Song" (P. Unsworth). It's a light jazzy number with a Louis Armstrong vibe. It features Chris doing some seriously smooth pickin' on what sounds like a resonator; Paul faintly tappin' the snare; Rusty caressing the big bass; and Duffy sounding angelic-like in falsetto and laying down one of the best mouth trumpet solos ever.

Other tracks on "I'm Gonna Do What I Want" include: "Love Grown Cold", an easy shuffle by the late, great blues harpist Paul deLay ; "You Don't Own Me" (J. Mendora/D. White), a bluesy take on the Leslie Gore classic ; and "One Time"(C. Carlson), a Stones style rocker.

To find out more about Duffy Bishop and the band just go to - and to purchase the disc, or to receive a copy for airplay, just email her at When you do, please tell Duffy and Chris that the Blewzzman sent you.

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient

Musical Bar

The Michael Mills Band
"Stand Up"
Sony Distribution
Marketing: Marlene Palumbo @ Indienink Music
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © May 2020

The Michael Mills Band, based out of the blues rich Huntington Beach, CA area, consists of: Michael Mills on rhythm guitar and vocals; Jesse Godoy on lead and slide guitar; Scot Campbell on bass; Ron Ravicchio on drums; and Mark Weisz on Hammond B3 organ. Joining them are: Eddie Hagihara, Ron Robbins and Jim Butler on saxophone; Chef Denis on harmonica; Albert Margolis on piano; and Jackie Simone Elliott and Cydney Wayne Davis on background vocals.

Although they released a five song EP some time last year, "Stand Up" is the first full length release from The Michael Mills Band. Covering all the styles of blues, all twelve of its tracks are original songs with eleven of them being new for the project.

"Stand Up", the disc's opening and title track, kicks things off in grand fashion. It's an impressive blues rocker doing exactly what an opening track should do by featuring the nucleus of the band, all on top of of their game. The tone has indeed been set.

You'll not only notice it but you'll "Feel It" as the band establishes their versatility by very comfortably switching gears into this absolutely beautiful ballad. Everything from the soulful and heavenly lead and background vocals; to the delicately intense rhythm; to the sensitive guitar chords; to the interweaving of the B3 organ and piano; are all amazingly masterful.

On "I'm Not Sorry", it took all of three notes of Jesse's opening guitar intro for my ears to perk up and my brain to think "oh yeah, here comes some serious slow blues". Then Mark so appropriately sets just the right heartbeat to the song with the Hammond organ; Scot and Ron fall right in with an easy-going rhythm; Michael starts emotionally belting the hell out of the songs' melancholic lyrics; and here I sat - per my taste - listening to what I believe will be the disc's best track.

"My New Woman", the only track that appeared on the band's earlier EP, is definitely one for the movers and shakers. Michael's melodic and vibrant vocals; Jesse's pickin' and slidin' on the acoustic guitar; Chef's howlin' harp leads; and Albert's honky-tonk piano playin'; all give this one the feel of a country blues jamboree.

While Michael's singing "My Baby Drives" like she's running away from the law", the band's keeping a pace that sounds like they are, as well. On this blues rocker, the rhythm is ferocious, the harp leads wail and the very Elmore James sounding slide guitar work is amazing.

Being the funkiest of the lot, ya know the rhythm cats are gonna be all over "Big Black Car". That said, it's the only track that features Eddie Hagihara blowin' the hell out of several tenor sax leads and, although there are many more, that's reason enough for listening.

When Michael Mills and I first started conversing, back in July of 2019, I recall him explaining to me that he was new to the blues. I also recall wanting to reply with "Yeah, right!". Give this track a listen and "I Know" you'll agree. This kind of straight up, gut wrenching blues is what you'd expect to only hear from seasoned blues veterans.

Other tracks on "Stand Up", a disc that I feel establishes The Michael Mills Band as a force to be reckoned with in the genre, include: "Real Good Thing"; "One More Alone"; "Love Is Ahead Of Me"; "You Can't Hide"; and "Chasing The Blues".

To find out more about Michael Mills and the band, please go to; and if you've not yet received a copy of "Stand Up" for airplay, please email Marlene, from Indienlink Music, at As usual, whomever you talk to, please tell them the Blewzzman sent you.

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient

Musical Bar


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