The Yardbirds LIVE FRANCE

THE YARDBIRDS
Live in France
Repetoire Records

Shapes of Things From Their Early Days R&B Pioneers Through To Prototype Heavy Rock Gods.

Okay folks, we all know that nostalgia is a thing of the past and most of us are more than delighted to still be interested in all the new music that is available, from all corners of the globe. Occasionally though, someone comes along with some historic and pertinent music just to remind us (whatever your age) where the embryonic roots of popular music in Europe were formed.

Repertoire Records are that someone with the release of Live in France which captures some of The Yardbirds concert recordings (audio from French TV and Radio) over a 4 year period in the 1960’s and subsequently collated into a glorious 21st. century package.
The album is available in either CD or Deluxe Vinyl options that have both liner notes and a 16 page booklet by Chris Welch, including exclusive interviews with Jim McCarty and Paul Samwell-Smith.
Aficionados of the Swinging Sixties will undoubtedly appreciate the detail and absolute care taken in pulling this package together.

Like many in-depth retrospective releases Live in France has a few songs that are duplicated (even triplicated), from different venues and dates, but that should not have a negative impact on the obsessive collector of such memorabilia. Logically it flows in chronological order covering three actual concert performances plus one TV show.

For Your Love” and “I Wish You Would” kick off the album, recorded at Palais Des Sports on 20th. June 1965 (whilst sharing the bill with The Beatles btw) and has Keith Relf and his band-mates showcasing their Pop hit (written by a young Graham Gouldman) and then a typical mid 1960’s R&B harmonica effort.

There are then three tracks from 27th. June 1965 when they played at Music Hall de France, firstly a cover of Tiny Bradshaws “Train Kept A Rollin” followed by two collective band compositions that both made the charts, “Shapes Of Things” as well as  “Over, Under Sideways, Down” (Where he Eastern and therefore ‘progressive’ influences clearly prominent).
As per the 20th. June recordings the lead guitar comes from Jeff Beck.

The next seven tracks were all recorded at Grand Spectacle de Jeunes, Paris on 30th. April 1967 after Beck had left the group and Jimmy Page taking over on lead guitar.
Shapes Of Things”, “Train Kept A Rollin” and “Over, Under, Sideways, Down” are all repeated along with four other tracks including another of their hits “Heart Full Of Soul”; with all now being increasingly ‘different’ from the original versions.

Less than three months before The Yardbirds would call it a day we have the final batch of live performances coming from a TV Special ‘Live at Bouton Rouge;” recorded on 9th. March 1968.
There is a third rendition of “Train Kept A Rollin” as well as “Goodnight Sweet Josephine”. However, the highlight of the entire package is “Dazed And Confused” where you sense the distinct metamorphism, from Rhythm & Blues to the Prog Rock/Heavy Rock which would end the bands days, with Page’s stinging guitar indicating just what the future holds (for him, at least).

Personally, I don’t remember too much from the 1960’s, preferring to ensure that alcohol consumption was more important than musical memories. With the benefit of hindsight I should have stuck with the Amber and not been enticed by the Broon.
But, we all know that well-worn quotation “if you can remember the sixties, then you weren’t really there”.
Well folks, I confess that I was definitely there, no; not in France, but enjoying myself in the clubs & pubs where there was live music and somewhere in the back of my mind I think I did catch The Yardbirds, probably down the bill on a Package Tour at Newcastle City Hall.

So, as your classic ‘Baby Boomer’ listening to these recordings, complete with the odious screaming from hordes of pubescent French fillies, it brings back clouded memories and stirs long lost retrospective recollections and has put a silly grin on my well worn façade.

Jack Kidd Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com  

Released on 7th. May 2021

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Hitman Blues Band NOT MY CIRCUS, NOT MY MONKEY

Hitman Blues Band
Not My Circus, Not My Monkey
Nerus Records/Self Release

A Righteous, Cosmopolitan and Shiny R&B Blast From Start to Finish.

Regular readers know our Modus Operandi by now; which is that I select albums in the way we used to flicking through the racks in a record store looking for inspiration; and when something captures our attention we ‘buy it’ then take it home and sit around our ‘metaphorical’ bedroom with friends, listening and talking about what’s on offer.
In this case, the album title NOT MY CIRCUS, NOT MY MONKEY just happens to be my current catchphrase after hearing Son #2 use it at Christmas!
So far; so good ….. but what about the music?
The titular opening track NOT MY CIRCUS (NOT MY MONKEY) lives right up to any pre-conceived ideas I may have had. A sordid tale of falling for the wrong woman in the wrong bar on the wrong side of town ……. this is what the Blues does better than any other genre.
Hitman Blues Band are a Classy R&B combo that can not just write but perform a blistering Bluesy song that not just makes you want to dance, but actually listen and consider the lyrics and story; via Russell ‘Hitman’ Alexander; who should know what he’s doing after 5 previous albums in this guise and several previous decades in a variety of other beat combos.
That one song along; with it’s searing guitar solos, funky brass section and glorious harmonies from the fabulous female backing singers ……. is worth the entrance fee alone.
Hitman goes all Rufus Thomas funky on track #2; Buy That Man a Drink; and if you ain’t dancing by now …….. you’re listening to the wrong record!
Just because a band is six albums into their career it doesn’t mean that they can always keep your attention; but The Hitman Blues Band certainly can; not just Alexander sounding like he’s having the time of his life poring out You Can’t Say No and/or the beautiful ballad Everybody But Me; but the band themselves are as tight as the proverbial drum; subtle as can be on You Don’t Understand and No Place Like Home; allowing Alexander to shine in a way; only pure professionals who ‘get it’ can; but when necessary they can still show restraint while blowing the roof off, as they do on Nobody’s Fault But Mine and album closer; the shufflicious Go Down Fighting …… which truly needs to be turned up to 10 to get the best from it.
Those subtle and majestic flourishes are on just about every song here; and I can only dare to imagine what a fabulous night this band can create; how else can you describe what’s just gone before then add the winging and swooshing, Walk With You and a stark Gospel version of John The Revelator being on the same album; and both sounding like you’d be missing out on something special if they weren’t there.
I’m certainly going left of centre for my choice of Favourite Track; there are too many versions of Dylan’s The Times Are a Changing to mention; but this here version is up there with the very best; imagine Eric Burdon and War, produced by Curtis Mayfield in an NY cellar; and you will get the stifling claustrophobic sound these cats produce.
Not for the first time I’m left feeling confused and disappointed after reading the attached Press Release; simply because Alexander raves about touring Europe and especially the UK where fans are more ‘open minded’ about this type of music; which we are …… yet before last Monday I’d never heard of Hitman Blues Band never mind seen them on their numerous tours in recent years!
I need a better set of friends if I’ve been missing out on music this good.

Released March 15th 2021
http://hitmanbluesband.com/index.html

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Johnny Mastro and Mama’s Boys ELMORE JAMES FOR PRESIDENT

Johnny Mastro and Mama’s Boys
ELMORE JAMES FOR PRESIDENT
Continental Record Services

A Trip Further Down the Dangerous Road Their Forefathers Ever Dared Travel.

This has been something of a conundrum; as I’ve played this more than any other album this year; mostly for fun too ….. but every time I’ve come to write up the review I’m stumped for what to actually say, for once.
Here goes ……..
The title track Elmore James For President kicks things off like a bottle fight on a Saturday afternoon at Craghead Vic.
Mastro on vocals that make the Wolf Man sound effeminate and blowing a wheezing harmonica, he sounds like he’s circling the front row, daring you not to have fun while his band are menacing onlookers behind him.
This the Blues boys and girls; but the kind your Mother didn’t want you listening to…..it’s scary.
I know nothing about this band; but hope against hope they wear dark suits, well worn white shirts, skinny ties and have slicked back hair, with at least two; Mastro included wearing Wayfarers; even at night; or at least leather jackets and Doc Martens.
Songs like Red Guitar, Rampart Street and The Bottle Won’t Save you are among the greasiest and nastiest music I’ve ever heard; and I’ve heard a lot ….. and when turned up to 10 in my Hyundai i20 makes it feel like a Camero fuelled on nitro!
You just know that any band who can sound this raw in the studio are really, really gonna rip it up on a Friday night somewhere sleazy and smoky when they light the blue touch paper that will lead into The Bottle Won’t Save You, Little Freddie is King and/or Wildman Call, then just as you think you’ve escaped a kicking, they come at you again with the slow, mean and dangerous Like Marie Laveau; One More Time and the nearest thing here to an actual love song; See Me In The Evening.
While Johnny Mastro and Mamma’s Boys can go further down the dangerous path that their forefathers ever dared travel; they can tease you with sweet, sweet riffs too; which is why Child Wolf has evolved into being my Favourite Track; taking a smidgen of Freddie King and adding it to a big portion of TS McPhee’s guitar gumbo then adding in some hot sauce from a sizzling bass/drum combo then at the last minute splashing on some hot sauce courtesy Mastro’s piquant harp playing and meaty singing style …… and no second helpings either.
OK, this may not be an earth shatteringly new combination; and thinking back it’s a road I first encountered in the company of Captain Beefheart and have visited various times over the years via Dr Feelgood, JD Wilkes and of course Howlin’ Wolf’s back catalogue …… but as God is my witness, Johnny Mastro & Mama’s Boys kick up a ruckus as well if not better than any or all of them!
This has gone straight into my Top Twenty Albums of the year file; and if I hear 20 better or more exciting albums this year I will be a happy; if surprised man.

Released February 26th 2021
https://www.johnnymastro.com/

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JOANNA CONNOR – 4801 South Indiana Avenue

JOANNA CONNOR
4801 South Indiana Avenue
KTBA Records

The Queen Of Blues Slide Guitar Finally Captures Her ‘Live Magic’ in the Studio.

Brooklyn born, Joanna Connor was raised in Massachusetts, influenced by her Mom’s Blues and Jazz record collection. Buying her first guitar at 7 years old and pulled to Chicago at 22; when she found it futile to fight the magnetic forces of the Blues.
She was soon sitting in with legends such as James Cotton, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor and A.C. Reed very quickly establishing herself as the premier female Blues guitarist of the time.

Her debut album, Believe It came out in 1989; and since then there have been something like 8 further studio albums and several live releases. I first encountered her in a small club in San Francisco on Saturday 17th. May 1996 (I’ve still got the ticket!) whilst on a ‘business trip’ with 6 other Brits.
She sold 7 copies of her then current release Big Girl Blues that night, we were all so impressed with her superb guitar playing, excellent voice and her flamboyant stage presence.

As the years have passed by she has somehow, sadly flown under my personal radar until her superb 2019 release Rise which I loved for its variety, energy and that guitar playing ‘wow factor’.

Since Rise was so well received two years ago she somehow came to the attention of Joe Bonamassa and it is he and Josh Smith who have not only co-produced 4801 South Indiana Road, but both play a significant role in adding their own six string skills to this new album. It is actually the second to be released on the new independent label KTBA Records; which is an off-shoot of ‘Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation” the non-profit organisation which Joe and his long-time manager Roy Weisman created some years ago.

Recorded a year ago, pre-pandemic, at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville with an absolute A-List set of musicians, the album gets under way with a very lively cover of Jimmy Thackeray’s “Destination, featuring Joanna’s trademark slide, Reese Wynan’s piano, plus … wait for it, the added bonus of Jimmy Hall (aka Wet Willie) adding his Southern Soul on backing vocals.
The groove continues with a cover of Hound Dog Taylors “Come Back Home, featuring more of Reece’s psycho 88’s plus conducive raw, nay, primitive slide to propel the strong vocals from Joanna.

The prescient song selections that Joe and Josh have persuaded Joanna to record (mostly single takes) work really well, coming from the catalogues of many of the blues icons, mostly with personal memories for Joanna.
Capturing the “lighting in a bottle” that is always evident at her live performances, the boys at the desk have stretched and cajoled her to the very limit of her musical and vocal capabilities.
But, you know what, it really works and it’s delivered with such raw energy and absolute zhuzh, without any hint of asperity.
You’ll struggle keeping your volume control below 9 and as a result, not just your neighbours, but the entire street will know you’ve just added this rocking Blues album to your collection!

My favourite tracks are, the ubiquitous “I Feel So Good,” “Trouble Trouble”, a Lowell Fulsom cover with slinky horns and additional subtle guitar licks from Josh Smith; plus “Please Help” another Hound Dog Taylor rollicking memory of a JB Hutto classic.
However, just edging into my favourite position is a superb slowed down, sexy cover of “Part Time Love”, an R&B hit for Little Johnny Taylor in 1963 and subsequently also a Hi-Records smash for Ann Peebles in 1970. Calvin Turner’s horn arrangement with Mark Duthits Sax compliment Joanna’s frenetic slide before Joe demonstrates just why he’s regarded as the cymophanous Blues-Rock axeman.

At long last, Joanna Connor looks like getting, not just the recognition that her distinctive slide guitar deserves, but also the actual album sales and wide distribution that her efficacious connections ought to guarantee.
If holidays and cruises ever get going again, then you can believe that Joanna Connor will most certainly be coming to a Blues Cruise near you, obviously along with her new found pals from this fine release.

Jack KiddMessin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com

Released on 26th. February 2021
http://joannaconnor.com/

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Zed Mitchell ROUTE 69

Zed Mitchell
Route 69
Z Records

Laid Back Bluesy Grooves For Winter’s Evenings And a Summer’s Days Too.

In principal we like to be ‘ahead of the game’ with our reviews at RMHQ, trying to get them to you before release; but that’s not always possible …… which is why I’ve only gotten around to playing this album by Zed Mitchell from Essen, Germany, a month after it first came out; and only then via a gentle push from Pete Feenstra who wrote four of the songs here.
In my defence I’ve been very busy – it was Christmas after all!
So; as is my won’t I gave it a try last weekend, which was frosty and sunny on a short car ride (honest guv) to do my daily exercise.
While most of my journey was on the A693, ROUTE 66 proved a delightful companion in both directions.
The first thing heart squeezing opening track, By Sundown You’ll Be Gone was how much Zed Mitchell reminded me of Chris Rea (and therefore Mark Knopfler by default) in the way his guitar playing is both intricate and fluid while his vocals are soft, purring and almost velvety in texture.
Once I got into open country, with frost covered fields for as far as I could see; Mitchell’s sublime Freedom Trail, Life Will Always Find You and; of course the uber-cool I Like to Drive – I’m Ready To Live meant once I’d hit 4th gear I found myself gliding along on a musical cloud of Blues dipped loveliness.
I’ve said many times that The Blues comes in a million guises; and sometimes laid back grooves like these are just what the Soul needs; and when you hear Blue In Your Eyes and I’m Still Waiting (To See You) I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me.
There are no outright commercial ‘singles’ here; but a couple of songs have really tantalised me this week.
The finale Fake is as edgy as Zed Mitchell gets, with his sad tale that covers many parts of our lives; with it one day being about a relationship or a Media Star and on another it may be about the politicians that run and sometimes ruin our lives. But, I will let you decide.
The other; and the song I’m selecting as my Favourite Track is ……. Is This Life? Mostly because of Mitchell’s hypnotic guitar playing; but the song; and the way he drops his voice an octave or two is as perfect an example of Contemporary Blues that I expect to hear this year.
Zed Mitchell is no ‘new kid on the block’; he’s been appearing on albums for over 50 years as a ‘go to’ session player, but also releasing 7 previous solo albums; but that just goes to show that it’s never too late to discover a new talent.

CD/Download Released December 10th 2020
LP January 2021
https://www.zedmitchell.com/

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Ordering in Zed’s shop is easy. Send an e-mail to:  zed.mitchell@gmx.de 
or via PayPal with this e-mail address. 


Robert Connely Farr COUNTRY SUPER

Robert Connely Farr
Country Supper
Self-Release

Bentonia Just Unearthed Another Rough Diamond.

My Mother always told me to ‘never judge a book by the cover’; and to some degree that’s true of Albums too; and boy is it true of this one!
It’s certainly a ‘cool enough’ cover and probably something that would catch my eye in a record shop; but God Almighty! It wouldn’t prepare me for what we are about to receive when the needle comes down ….. at all.
Although slow and sultry, opening track Cypress Grove comes at you like an out of control steam roller.
OK I now know it’s a a Skip James song; but I’ve never heard it before; and even if I had I doubt I would recognise it from the way Robert Connely Farr squeezes every ounce of drama out of it, like Hitchcock on mogodons.
Bloody Hell! I already love this album to bits after only one song!
Again; I don’t recognise Track #2, Girl in the Holler, but it’s a Leo Bud Welch song and Farr, cranks up the tempo with the addition of a steel rimmed band behind him and man …… is this Heavy!
Skip James? Leo Bud Welch? Do you see where this is not just going; but actually coming from?
Robert Connely Farr actually hails from Mississippi and has been mentored by Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes in the Bentonia Style of Delta Blues and, this is a good thing; puts his own indelible twist on one of my favourite styles of music.
Do you want Raw? Gritty? Honest Blues …… the type that will scare the dogs away?
Well; that’s what you get here ….. and more.
It turns out Farr wasn’t particularly a lover of the Blues when he lived in the Delta, only becoming attracted the music of his homeland after moving North to Vancouver, Canada.
Perhaps that’s the reason he can take an age old format and lovingly bring it bang up to date on his own songs; none more so than the threatening I Ain’t Dying, Bad Bad Feeling and the guitar melter Cadillac Problems; all of which conjure up memories of the heady era when the likes of the Groundhogs and The Pretty Things where treading the boards and educating long haired youths all across the Western Plains and beyond.
I love the way Farr (and bandmates Jon Wood, Tommy Hillifer and Jay Bundy Johnson) keep faith with the covers they include; none more so than the static they create on Catfish; their take on Jimmy Holmes’ Must’ve Been The Devil somehow sounds reverential but truly contemporary at the same time …… which is a really clever trick to pull off.
But if I’m forced to select a Favourite Song it really has to be one of Farr’s own compositions; which comfortably sit alongside their Bntonia counterparts in comfort and ease.
The sultry Bad Whiskey has to be a contender as it has more than a hint of Hill Country in the melody but is never the less Bluer than Blue, Blues at its finest.
The magnificent and slow burning If It Was Up To Me was another early contender, as it more than nods in the direction of Skynard, in the way Farr uses his natural drawl as in instrument in its own rite.
As this is The Blues; loving, losing and being heartbroken is never far away; which brings me to Can’t Be Satisfied and the ‘ornery Bad Bad Feeling which is difficult to choose between as my actual Favourite; with possibly the latter winning as Hillifer’s bass actually made the office speakers shake at one stage ….. which is a first!
Obviously this is going to be an album for aficionados and certainly not for the casual listener; but those; like me with an open mind and matching ears will cherish this 16 track album for years to come and speak of it in hushed tones in dark corners of scruffy bars, to like minded folk that they trust.

Released October 17th 2020
https://www.robertconnelyfarr.com/

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Rocking Magpie Music Hour Ep:2

Rocking Magpie Music Hour
Ep:2
7th January 2021

A day early and a brand new first half hour of music from I had planned; following events in ‘the other’ Washington* on Wednesday!
I’ve included a couple of what I think are very apt songs for the current mood among ‘normal people’ and especially music lovers; not just in the USA but all around the world.
Plus there are two Gateway songs; Rory Gallagher and the Groundhogs, which were cornerstones in my love affair with the Blues.
What I want to get across with this feature is how music used to be a more considered affair; we had to plan buying LP’s weeks or months in advance plus, in the case of Blues Obituary by the Groundhogs, buy them second hand.
It’s my personal opinion that the streaming services are culpable in ‘dumbing down’ music, by offering far too much choice ……. and usually for free, taking away any mystique or sense of ownership.
Just a thought.
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Oh ……. if you listen to the very end you will hear a message from our new sponsor.

https://tufac.bigcartel.com/

*I live in the ‘original Washington’ ….. Tyne and Wear, England, a fully fledged dormitory town that the village that houses George Washington’s ancestral home.

1Drive-By Truckers#2 PODCASTArmageddon’s Back in Town
2American Aquarium#2 PODCASTA Better South
3Nathan Bell#2 PODCASTThe Big Ole American Dream
4Andre Williams#2 PODCASTWhat Now
5Jimmie Vaughan#2 PODCASTCried Like a Baby
6Stephen Fearing#2 PODCASTPut Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
7Annie Dressner#2 PODCASTMidnight Bus
8Bap and Brenda Kennedy#2 PODCASTLove Hurts
9Diana Jones#2 PODCASTAsk a Woman
10Rory GallagherGateway#2 PODCASTDaughter of the Everglades
11GroundhogsGateway#2 PODCASTNatchez Burning
12Robert Connoly Farr#2 PODCASTI Been Changed
13Chuck Prophet#2 PODCASTLaughing on the Inside
141957 Tail Fin Fiasco#2 PODCASTHarvard Tango


Cathy Grier I’M ALL BURN

Cathy Grier & The Troublemakers
I’m All Burn
Self-Release

Imagine You’re Sitting in a Lonely Hotel Lounge One Cold Tuesday Night With Only 2 for 1 Cocktails For Company.

While we try to keep up to date with our reviews; getting them out as near to the release date as is humanly possible; sometime we have to make exceptions.
A few weeks ago Cathy Grier sent an e-mail asking if we’d be interested in listening to her latest album which had been released back in the Summer; and out of courtesy I responded in the affirmative.
Then heard nothing.
Until the postie delivered a package from the US of A with a handwritten note alongside a comprehensive Press Release and a cool looking CD.
So far; so good …… but with so much going on in November and now December I wasn’t sure when I could listen to it.
Then, yesterday morning I managed to squeeze in a ‘morning constitutional’ walk in the park; so played this as an accompaniment. Now; what I heard was nothing like what I expected from the imagery and artwork!

But Far Far Better, baring in mind it was a cold and grey morning and the rains came half-way round.
The title track, I’m All Burn opens with an intense horn section serenading us before Cathy glides in with a sultry ode to the feminist movement; but don’t let that put you off guys; as what Ms. Grier sings from her pumping heart is pretty much what my Mother preached to her sons half a century ago and my wife and I have passed on to our sons; and still stands upright today in 2020 …….. to paraphrase;
why does a woman have to work twice as hard as a man; to be treated as his equal?
I’m with you sister!
The sentiments that follow are pretty much dyed in the wool standard fayre; but boy oh boy can Cathy Grier not just sing a soulful Blues ballad but write a belter too.
There’s a wonderful ‘groove’ from start to finish that sent a shiver down my back while making me hold my breath at the same time; if that’s possible? Well; that’s how Roots Run Deep and Easy Come Easy Go; especially Larry Byrne’s swirling organ solos have; and still make me feel today.
Cathy dabbles her toe in Ma Rainey territory with the saucy Backroad Blues; which features some absolutely scorching harmonica from Steve Cohen as well as some slide from the legendary Greg Koch, to seal a very contemporary Classic Juke Joint love song.
I’ve quickly fallen in love with the bodacious Key To My Survival and What Fools Do; as they just somehow ‘speak to me’ in a way only The Blues can.
For a laid back style of album; there’s an awful lot going on behind Cathy Grier when she sings and plays guitar; and boy can she play a guitar …….. try listening to her solo runs on the slow and simmering Happiness Blues or Cool Trick and tell me you’re not hearing a Mastercraftsman; (or should that be Mastercraftswoman) at work and play?
While Cathy Grier has a very distinctive and smooth singing voice; she can still get low down and funky when she wants; most notably on Down On My Knees and Keep You Out, which both sound like they could have been recorded at Muscle Shoals back in the early 80’s.
There’s even a bit of a curve ball with the final track; Cathy’s Bike Song; which finds our heroine going solo and playing a Cigar-Box guitar; and it’s a lot darker than the ‘piece of whimsy’ that the title first suggested; and I’d sure like to hear a whole album in this particular style.
As is my won’t I’ve played this four times now before actually digesting the Press Release; and apparantly this is Cathy Grier’s 14th Album! FOURTEEN? And yet she looks so young and pretty.
Plus, she’s very proud that this has been recorded in Wisconsin using pretty much local musicians, and is her tribute to her new found home in Sturgeon Bay.
This is very much the type of album you will get the best from late at night when you are feeling very sorry for yourself; or sitting in a lonely Hotel Jazz Lounge one cold Tuesday night, with only 2 for 1 cocktails for company; therefore picking out one individual song to be my Favourite Track hasn’t been easy at all; but I’m going to take a punt on the Rhythm and Blues delight of Question Of Desire; but then again Protecting My Heart; which precedes it probably sounds like the single track that might sum up Cathy Grier’s ‘style’ …… oh this isn’t easy at all!
By the way, there’s one cover song here; and when I tell you that Cathy has put her own individual twist on Bobbie Gentry’s iconic Ode To Billy Joe you will hopefully what a brave risk taker Ms Grier is and, as it’s in keeping with everything else here, why I’m totally smitten with I’M ALL BURN.

Released July 2020
https://cathygrier.com/

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Rory Gallagher THE BEST OF

Rory Gallagher
The Best Of
UMC

The Flame Burns Brighter Than Ever.

Does the world really need a BEST OF Rory Gallagher?
Seriously, that’s a serious question.
Rory Gallagher fans; like my good self will undoubtedly already own all, if not most of his recorded work; (he has that effect on people) but ……. and here’s the genius behind Brother Donal’s management of Rory’s archives; this is ‘all killer and absolutely no filler’ whatsoever; and is; no doubt intended for the lucrative Christmas market.
Although a cynical old sod by nature; I have no issue with that at all …….. because just imagine handing this Double Album over to your favourite son, daughter, nephew, niece or just about anyone under the age of 40 who may have only heard about the legend that is Rory Gallagher and watch their faces light up as they hear What’s Going On by the Irishman’s incarnation in the Taste for the very first time!
Then the music takes a magical leap forward 8 short years to Shadow Play; which is mystically completely different but somehow showcases the guitarist’s guitarist and his distinctive singing like probably no other here.
I’m reviewing the Double Album; which is what you should buy; as the Single release will surely leave you feeling short changed; and if you’ve received it as a gift left thinking the giver was a cheapskate and didn’t love you as much as you thought.
One of the funny things about this is that the tracks aren’t in chronological order; but that’s no problem as you get to hear and appreciate Rory’s amazing diversity in a whole new manner; CD 2 starts with the dirty Blues of 1979’s Bad Penny then follows with the Bluesiest song I’d ever heard in 1973, Walk On Hot Coals; then we get transported back to 1969 with Blister on the Moon (from Taste’s debut album) then if your senses aren’t already off the Richter Scale by this stage, our Man goes acoustic AND electric on Loanshark Blues.
Even if we just judge him by those 4 songs alone; I defy you to give me the name of another act who could possibly evolve so much, while still maintaining quality control like no other?
That was always the beauty of buying a new Gallagher album; you didn’t really know what to expect in advance, but you were always sure that your blind faith in his talents would be rewarded to the hilt.
In theory there should be no surprises here; as I already own every song and every album he ever released (plus a couple he and his record company didn’t know about #wink) but there are ………. I’ve not heard it in years, so Philby blew me away last week and again this morning; what a fabulous song ….. and let’s not forget what a truly great songwriter Rory was; which again comes to the fore on the slow and sleazy Bought & Sold, Jinxed (which I’d completely forgot about!) and even Cruise On Out which is perhaps the Rockiest song here.
There was nothing wrong in what his contempories were releasing in this period; but I loved and indeed, still love the way he sometimes went left of centre in his subject matter; Tattoo’d Lady? This was 1973 when such creatures were only seen in Fairgrounds and not in the Asda on a Tuesday afternoon.
Philby of course was an infamous Spy in the 1960’s and one of my favourite songs of all times, Daughter of The Everglades now sounds like Rory invented Americana!
With hindsight, the imagery in Rory’s songs really does transcend what most everything those around him were releasing back in those days. Moonchild? Ghost Blues? Calling Card? None are really his most ‘famous tracks’ but show a man who had a fertile imagination; and a romantic one too when you re-hear They Don’t Make Them Like You Anymore (which now sounds a bit like latter day Taste? Discuss?), Just The Smile and I Fall Apart after all these years.
There’s obviously an obligatory ‘never before released’ track to tempt completists; and it’s been a bit of a slow burner for me. Although famous for including older Blues standards in his repertoire; I can’t think of another contemporary track he’s ever recorded (or played live; apart from a Born Under a Bad Sign and Politician with Jack Bruce) so hearing him turn the Rolling Stones (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction alongside Jerry Lee Lewis into a down and dirty Chicago Blues has been fascinating and illuminating in it’s own way.
To some greater or lesser degree I could stick a pin in and find my Favourite Track, as they probably were at some time in my life; but today I’ve narrowed it down to three; all of which I hadn’t played in donkey’s years and have not just surprised me but re-kindled my admiration for Rory Gallagher …….. It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again from the much maligned ON THE BOARDS by Taste, with it’s Jazzy undertones and liquid gold guitar playing; then there’s Crest of a Wave which still sounds nothing like anything else he ever recorded; and conjures up memories of seeing him play it live several times.
The winner though (I think) is A Million Miles Away; possibly because I had forgotten about it; but the sublime skill and nuances in his guitar playing are truly exemplary and the song itself is as romantic a Blues tale as ever straddled what we now call Americana as I may ever have heard.
Old Farts like me are always going to look at the track list and think, “why is X not here?”
But, even if your favourite track isn’t here (and these are all from the studio albums; before you ask) ……. what would you actually miss off?
Every album is featured in one way or another; and remember …… this is a retrospective of an all too short career destined for a whole new generation to discover ……. so if that’s you, get over yourself and Trust in Brother Donal to keep the flame burning brightly.
Damn ……. in this format, Rory Gallagher just may be even better than I have been telling people for half a century!

Released October 9th 2020
https://rorygallagher.com/

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Jimmie Vaughan THE PLEASURE’S ALL MINE

JIMMIE VAUGHAN
The Pleasure’s All Mine
Last Music Co.

Pioneering Guitar Legend Oozes Pure Unadulterated Class.

Four times Grammy winner Jimmie Vaughan isn’t just a guitarist from Texas and he isn’t just regarded by many as one of the purest, finest blues players to grace this earth.
Here’s what I think he is; an absolute pioneering guitar legend who can pick a song from almost any genre and then effortlessly convert that song into a rootsy blues song.
So there!

After releasing “Do You Get the Blues” in 2001, there was a 9 year gap in him making another solo studio album. However, in 2010 those astute people at London based Proper Records mutually initiated a return to recording, which resulted in “Blues, Ballads and Favourites”.
This stunning album, covering what could be regarded as The Great American Blues Songbook, featured some guest vocalists, including long-time collaborator, the sassy and soulful Lou Ann Barton.
Then in 2011 the concept and formula was replicated with the same musicians going back into the same studio for “More Blues, Ballads and Favourites”.

So to celebrate those twin pivotal experiences of a decade (or so) ago and to also satisfy the in-vogue U-Turn trend by the music buying public of returning to 12” vinyl, The Last Music Co. (a division of Proper Music) will release a special 3 LP collection, covering both those albums, entitled The Pleasure’s All Mine.
There’s also a 2 CD version for those (like me) who prefer to continue to purchase their music and maintain their collection, having the best of both worlds, a CD on the shelves plus a digital version for the MP3 player of your choice. If you missed them first time around, then now is the time for rectification.

Both albums were recorded, similar to the originals, “Live in the studio” and in “mono” too, fitting together like the proverbial glove.
The superb horn section of Greg Piccolo and Doug James (both ex Roomful of Blues) are prominent throughout, whilst the rhythm section (George Rains on Drums and Ronnie James on Bass) are granite solid.
From the first album you also have the bonus of ex-King Records house band organist, the legendary Bill Willis, who gets to croon lead vocals on “Funny How Time Slips Away”.

You can easily imagine Jimmie and his brother growing up in Dallas, listening to the various Border Radio Stations blasting out such classic, vintage material and being subsequently, heavily influenced by each and every song they heard.
I remember reading somewhere that Jimmie could never differentiate between the musical genres of country, pop and blues, which is testimony to what you hear on The Pleasure’s All Mine.
Whilst there are a few obscurities, the 31 songs range from the catalogues of Willie Nelson, Gene Autry and Mel Tillis of Country, to the Swampy Pop of Lloyd Price and Bobby Charles, on to the Rock’n Roll of Little Richard then to the Rhythm & Blues of Nappy Brown and Ray Charles as well as, of course, the straight Blues from the likes of Jimmy Reed, Guitar Junior and Roy Milton.

What is most impressive though is that once you hear the renowned tone and timing of his guitar playing, coupled with the expressive, laid back vocals, then you realise that the music patently oozes pure unadulterated class.
Thereby, ensuring that it’s you, the lucky listener, who receives all of the pleasure.

Jack Kidd: “Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com

Released 30th October. 2020
https://www.jimmievaughan.com/jimmie-vaughan-biography

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