1) God Heals You When You Cry - RB Stone - 4:19 / www.rbstone.com
(RB Stone/Tom Hambridge - Middle Mountain Music, BMI/Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP)
This is a scorching ballad sung with emotion and intensity. During my CD reviews, when I come across a song of this caliber my ultimate compliment is to say that "It's songs like this that are worthy of song of the year awards". RB nails this one - both vocally and musically with some serious blues guitar riffs.
2) Life Is A Puzzle - Tommy Lee Cook - 5:40 / www.tommyleecook.com
(Tommy Lee Cook/Danny Shepard - Tommy Lee Cook Ventures, Inc./Two Mule Music)
This is a well written and well performed song with very meaningful lyrics. Tommy basically keeps it real and tells it like it is. Without making the right decisions no one can solve the puzzle of life. The use of several different types of guitars - including an East Indian Swarsangam - add to its unique sound.
3) Junior's Jam - Dave Sadler - 3:33 / www.davesadlermusic.com
(Dave Sadler - Dave Sadler, Pub., BMI)
Junior's Jam is an all-out, full throttle instrumental with everyone kicking ass. Led by some seriously intense guitar work by Dave, and a drummer who's trying his very best to totally wear himself out, this one totally rocks. Good old smoking blues.
4) Broken & Blue - Tracy K - 3:15 / www.tracyk.ca
(Tracy Mastaler, aka Tracy K - SOCAN)
This is old school...I'm talking Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee kind of stuff...acoustic blues at its best. Tracy K has certainly done her homework, 'cause she nails this type of stuff - vocally, musically and more importantly, mentally. Her scrappy, scratchy voice, her masterful harp skills and her intensity all excel.
5) So Complicated - Midnite Johnny - 4:58 / www.midnite-johnny.com
(John Morana - John Morana Music, ASCAP)
Thirty-five years ago, when I first moved to Florida, Midnite Johnny was the guitarist in the first blues band I started to follow down here and I've been a fan ever since. This one is blues done the way it was meant to be done. Gut wrenching, from the heart vocals accompanied by slow, scorching blues guitar leads.
6) Texas Toast - Bridget Kelly Band - 5:55 / www.bridgetkellyband.com
(Tim Fik/Bridget Kelly - Alpha Sun Records Pub.)
The guitars are hot on this volume. As a matter of fact, as he was putting all this music together, my producer - a guitarist himself, said those exact words. I'm sure this was one track he was referring to. With Bridget doing a hell of a job belting out the blues, Timâ€™s giving us a nice taste of some Texas blues.
7) Mississippi Woman - Memphis Gold - 7:13 / www.memphisgoldblues.com
(Chester L. Chandler, aka Memphis Gold - Balria Pub., BMI)
There is so much I'd like to say about this man but then this one sheet would become a two sheet, so let me just say "I Love you Memphis" and leave it at that. When you spin this one just tell your listeners to turn up the volume, sit back, close their eyes and just soak up the next seven minutes of blues bliss.
8) What's Wrong With You - Dr. Lee's Regulators - 4:54 / www.facebook.com/DrLeesRocketTime
(Lee Lowenthal - Dr. Lee Music, Pub.)
The Regulators have had so many talented members pass through the band and become well known touring acts that they're South Florida's version of Roomful of Blues. That speaks volumes for the band and it's and leader, harp player extraordinaire, Dr. Lee. Smokin' harp and guitar leads highlight this one.
9) Never Know Blues - Allen-Lamun Band - 3:56 / http:/www.allenlamunband.com
(Laura Lamun - Mad Left Music)
Her friends know her as "Little" Laura but I've got to tell you that from her personality to her vocal ability and range, there's nothing little about this gal. With tight rhythm and, again, monster guitar work behind her, Laura gives credence to good things coming in small packages, as she belts the hell out of this one.
10) Slow Down Baby - Donald Ray Johnson - 4:00 / www.donaldray.com
(Donald Ray Johnson - MarVista Music, BMI)
I can't think of a better way to close out a disc of this caliber than to do it with a Grammy Award Winner. That was back before the blues got into Donaldâ€™s soul and since it has he's now playing the kind of stuff worthy of Blues Music Awards. Powerful vocals, outstanding horns and keys and, of course, great guitar work.