Kim Wilson TAKE ME BACK (The Bigtone Sessions)

KIM WILSON
Take Me Back (The Bigtone Sessions)
MC Records

The Blues; Precisely Like They Outta Be Played.

For someone who will reach their 70th. birthday next January Kim Wilson shows no signs of slowing down.
He has re-joined MC Records, following a hiatus of 17 years and they will release what will be his first solo album in 3 long years, which according to my calculations will be number his #7 under his own moniker.
You also have to add the 14 or so studio albums (plus the Live ones and Compilations etc.) he has recorded with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, the legendary Austin band he formed with Jimmie Vaughan in 1974 and still continues to lead to this day.

Just like in the old days, all 16 tracks on Take Me Back were recorded in Glorious Mono and “live in the studio;” at Big John Atkinson’s Big Tone Records in Bristol, Virginia.
Being in the Blues business for something like 50 years means Kim can call on some notable musicians and genuine friends to play on the album, not just the studio owner but also the likes of Billy Flynn, Rusty Zinn, Barrelhouse Chuck and Kid Andersen.

The respect and affection Wilson has for Jimmy Rogers means that 4 of the cover versions here are lesser known gems from his honorary uncle’s Chess period.
There are then renditions from the catalogues of Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Percy Mayfield, Larry Williams and Jimmy Nolen too; plus seven self-penned numbers, four being instrumentals and they all point directly to the ultimate pantheon of the blues that is the Windy City.

Take Me Back” is the title track and a fine cover of a Little Walter beauty that was a B-Side to “It’s Too Late Brother”, first released in 1956.
The opening track is also one of the covers; Jimmy Nolen’s “You’ve been Goofin’” featuring some very distinctive guitar punctuated with baritone saxophone.
We then have the first of Kim’s instrumentals, “Wingin’ It” followed by a terrific Blues shuffle where we hear all about his “Fine Little Woman”, learning that
you don’t wanna mess with that woman,
she got the devil in her eye”.
Larry Willliam’s Rock’n Roll classic “Slow Down” then gets the party truly swinging without deviating too much from the original.

Howlin’ Wolf’s “No Place to Go” is genuinely respectful of the mega Blues icon and then Percy Mayfield’s “Strange Things Happening” slows things down again, with Kim’s familiar harmonica well to the foreground of the mix.
The mood picks back up again with “Play Me” bouncing along, guaranteeing sub-conscious foot tapping for any listener.

My Favourite Track is the penultimate “Goin’ Away Baby” which is one of the four Jimmy Rogers covers with its long 32 second harmonica intro followed by Kim’s vocals being interspersed or answered with his trademark, stinging harmonica.

In summary, 16 solid killer tracks, providing value for money, all concise and only lasting between 2:25 and 3:57 minutes each; that make the 50 minutes absolutely fly by; just like they used to back in the golden era of juke-box (nay juke-joint) singles.
In many ways Kim Wilson can be like that ‘marketing strap line’ used by Ronseal, he is ‘what it says on the tin’ …… quite simply the consummate musician who knows no other way to sing and play the Blues; precisely like they should be played.
So, no worries for Kim, Blues lovers everywhere will undoubtedly Take Him Back.

Released on 9th. October 2020
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://continentalrecordservices.bandcamp.com/album/take-me-back

http://fabulousthunderbirds.com/

Review by Jack KiddMessin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com

Chris Smither MORE FROM THE LEVEE

Chris Smither
MORE FROM THE LEVEE
Signature Sounds/Mighty Albert

Timeless Songs Full of Rustic Charm and Tattered Love.

As regular readers will know I listen to albums a couple of times, so as to pass judgement before picking up the accompanying Press Release.
Today, this caused some consternation as I thought/presumed that this was a brand new, shiny album from one of our favourite singer-songwriters; but apparantly these are actually leftovers from 2013’s SONGS FROM THE LEVEE sessions, which actually begat a fabulous Double Album; and without giving the game away too early ……… that must have been some special water Smither was drinking at that time if this collection weren’t deemed good enough to make the ‘initial final cut’!
I couldn’t stop thinking about ‘that’ this morning when I sat down to start writing and listened again to opening track Caveman.
Come on guys; if 99% of other songwriters had written this song; and even sung it in the way Smither does, it would be a career highlight!
But for Chris Smither it only made the reserve list! Such is his quality threshold.
In fairness you can play a 20 year old Chris Smither album and his songs don’t sound like they’ve aged a day; such is the timeless quality of his writing and singing; which is why I presumed that Father’s Day and Lonely Time; which are all full of Smither’s trademarked quintessential rustic charm were brand new songs written and performed this year.
Perhaps I missed something when I first heard and fell in love with the gloriously downbeat Old Man Down; which actually has a Leonard Cohen vibe to it; but it will also touch the hearts and souls of most listeners of my generation as Chris digs deeper than most other songwriters can; or even dare.
Of course that ‘sitting on the back porch’ ‘easy come/easy go’ feeling that saturated SONGS FROM THE LEVEE is still here; especially so on Hey Hey Hey and What I Do; where Chris just oozes effortless cool in every word and note.
But; I’m going to the darker edges of the album to choose a Favourite Song.
As you’d expect the ‘aging process’ is something of a shadow here; although yer man never feels sorry for himself; and nor should we as he celebrates a ‘life well lived’ in one form or another on the tattered and inspirational Lonely Time and, the song that squeezed the the actual oxygen out of my heart the second time I played it and understood it ………. Confirmation; with its delightful twangy melody and toe-tapping beat; but listen to Smithers clever and introspective words and …….. phew ……… this is a song that’s well worth the entrance fee alone.
Just like the opening track Caveman; it’s staggering to think that songs this good weren’t deemed good enough to be included in the original Double Album; and to be fair ……. they weren’t even missed; where they?
There is actually one brand spanking new song here; and it closes the album just perfectly’ as What I Do fits in like an aging hand into a well worn leather glove.

Released September 25th 2020
https://smither.com/

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https://chrissmither.bandcamp.com/album/more-from-the-levee



Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters RISE UP

Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters
RISE UP
Stony Plain

A Veritable Masterclass in Classic Blues.

I am so late to the work of Ronnie Earl it’s embarrassing. But, in my lowly defence there’s only so many hours in the day and my musical tastes are eclectic to say the least; but damn….. man, I love The Blues; and this Cat can play it like the Masters from the past, that we all revere so highly.

From what I gather this album has been quite spontaneous in the making, with several major events making Earl want to ‘create some music’ that reflected his feeling; and if that ain’t The Blues, I don’t know what is.
In the current political climate; not just in the United States, what better way to begin than with a re-invention of We Shall Not Be Moved, with Ronnie strumming an acoustic guitar gently and making the tune’s melody raw and painful; yet beautiful and heart affirming at the same time ….. which is quite some accomplishment.
The next cut is another ‘live recording from Daryl’s House Club in 2019;’ Higher Love featuring the divine Diane Blue on vocals of the sultry kind; which isn’t good for a man of my age!
At 15 tracks long, this is quite a long album by modern standards and when you consider that 3 tracks are six minutes long, one eight and the mighty opus Blues for Lucky Peterson comes in at an epic 10 minutes plus; you would be forgiven for thinking that Ronnie Earl has got carried away; but you’d be wrong; I doubt there’s a wasted note anywhere on this record.
For a man of his own undisputed talents, Ronnie Earl comfortably wears his influences on his sleeve; Blues For Lucky Peterson meanders and weaves like a country stream; but always finds its way back home; and another live cut; Albert’s Stomp is as dirty as it’s soulful, and somehow captures my attention in a way a certain guitarist from New York never has managed, yet tries desperately to sound this cool.
While most tracks here are from Mr Earl’s own pen; there are some fascinating covers dropped in like Musical hand-grenades; Eddie Taylor’s Big Town Playboy sounds sublime in the easy way Diane grooves around Earl and the Broadcasters; and it’s been a long, long time since I heard Magic Sam’s All Your Love (a regular in Newcastle’s Blues Burglar’s sets back in the 80’s) and again Diane Blue sings as if her life depends on it; albeit in a very restrained manner.
Obviously it’s a case of ‘each to their own’ but this version of You Don’t Know What Love Is; totally blew me away in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.
Obviously Ronnie Earl’s guitar playing is never far from the forefront; but the inclusion of Jimmy Smith’s Blues For J; which allows Dave Limina five or six minutes in the spotlight; as well as a meticulous drum solo from Forrest Pasgett is a masterstroke by my reckoning.
Just as big a surprise; but for different reasons is the staggeringly beautiful Lord Protect My Child.
Who knew that this was a Bob Dylan song?
Oh! Just me, then; but wow …… every single note is in exactly the right place and Earl’s guitar playing cuts through like knife through butter.
On most any other album that would easily be my Favourite Song; but this isn’t no ordinary release; as there are two brand new songs here that …… well …….. phew ……. for once I’m actually lost for words; but for telling you that the simplicity of Black Lives Matter and most pertinently; the inspired instrumental, Blues For George Floyd prove that you don’t have to shout from the rooftops to get your message across ……. plus; both will make you cry your heart out.
Therefore it’s a credible tie between these two ‘songs of our time.’
I’ve loved the mix and match way this album has been put together; but in all fairness ‘it’ is all about those last two songs; and while I don’t normally advocate it; if you must only download a couple of tracks (for fiscal reasons) …. make it those two.

Released September 11th 2020
Buy Don’t Spotify https://my.labelstore.ca/772532141826_rise_up_digital_mp3.html
http://www.ronnieearl.com/





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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https://smarturl.it/jvpleasure




New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers VOL 1

New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers
Volume 1
Stony Plain

100% Proof That True Blues Music Is Here to Stay.

“The blues go, but it don’t stop.” so said John Lee Hooker.
In early 2008, producer Jim Dickinson gathered together roots musicians Charlie Musselwhite and Alvin Youngblood Hart, along with Jimbo Mathus and brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson, to spend a few nights jamming and recording a “hardcore blues” session.
They all gathered in a circle on the floor of the studio, Dickinson set up some room mics to capture the performance and, over the next few nights, they improvised one song after another, taking turns singing, letting the music flow naturally. It’s nice that during a time of so many musicians recording songs while playing to a click track, and then piling on layers of overdubs, that we can still get old school honesty and true authenticity in music nowadays.
Musicians in the moment, feeling the music as it flows through them.
Jim Dickinson finished mixing this series of performances before he passed away in 2009, but it’s just now seeing the light of day, and right now with this damn world-wide pandemic happening, it’s just in time!
Are you ready for shack-shaking blues?
Harmonica runs that bring to mind feverish howling winds?
Drums that crack and tumble through the transitions like a south-bound train?
Distorted guitar ruffs which strike like lightning and hit like thunder?
Gruff, world weary vocals that ain’t afraid to reach for that bottle of lightning and moan the blues away?
You got it all aplenty from those initial harp bursts that start this album, with the tune “Blues Why You Worry Me,” sung by Charlie Musselwhite as if his life depended on it .
You can tell straight away that you’re in for for a barn burner of a tune; no showing off here or on the other nine songs either, just ready-made Blues and plenty of dirt floor funk.
A personal favorite of mine on this collection is a fun version of the Canned Heat classic “Let’s Work Together,” sung by the main-man Jim Dickinson himself which brings to mind ? and the Mysterians — which is always a good thing!
“Strange Land” has plenty of searing guitar and harmonica along with an urgent vocal by Musselwhite; to make a Blues believer out of anyone.
“Stone Free” is the Jimi Hendrix tune; but now with mangled guitar and really ‘out there’ harp runs, done justice with an all out and abandoned take.
“Stop and Listen Blues” closes this set with some authentic ‘Walking Blues’ and it’s obvious that these guys know the blues inside and out, and ain’t afraid to hit it every which way that works for them.
Proof, therefore, that true Blues music is here to stay.
This collection may have sat idle for too many years, but I’m thinking it’s going to play on my stereo for many years to come.
Better late, than never!
Oh, and look out for Volume 2 coming out next year, containing even more from these same Blues Cats.

Review courtesy The Legendary Roy Peak.

Released 04th September 2020
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://my.labelstore.ca/772532141628-new-moon-jelly-roll-freedom-rockers-volume-1-digital-mp3.html

LLOYD JONES – Tennessee Run

LLOYD JONES
Tennessee Run
Vizztone Label

Well Produced, Well Written and Truly Excellent R&B album, Full of Variety and Balance.

Lloyd Jones loves his job, and he’s loved it for more than 40 years.
The Portland, Oregon native loved the opportunity to previously work with Earl King, Charlie Musselwhite, Big Mama Thornton and Albert Collins. Over time he has loved releasing 9 of his own critically acclaimed albums, especially when some of his original songs then got covered by the calibre of Gatemouth Brown, Coco Montaya, Joe Louis Walker and Curtis Salgado. There’s even a quote on Lloyd’s Facebook Page that confirms his love of the music business, which says:
Just trying to keep this ol’ R&B alive. Wake up, write a song, find a gig, play the gig and repeat, believe me that’s a full-time job…but……… I LOVE MY JOB!”

So, on Delbert McClinton’s ‘Sandy Beaches Cruise’ in January 2019 the basic concept of the new album was conceived. Subsequently, Lloyd was invited to Franklin, Tennessee to write songs with producer Kevin McKendree.
All the basic tracks were typically recorded “live” at Kevin’s Rock House Studios and then mixed and mastered all by New Year’s Eve 2019.

On Tennessee Run, Lloyd has written a dozen of the songs plus he co-wrote 2 more with Kevin and legendary Texan singer-songwriter, Gary Nicholson. “You Got Me good” gets the party off to a fine and Soulful start, serving as a terrific indicator of what’s to come.
Track Two “Me & You” keeps up the tempo and has another fine guitar solo from the man himself followed by a typical, breezy Jim Hoke honk on the sax.
No slowing down for “I Wish I Could Remember Loving You” featuring the guest vocals recorded remotely in the LA home of Teresa James. Then, turning funky on ‘Where’s my Phone” Lloyd reveals he’s looked everywhere without success, till ……. he opens the fridge door.
Been there.
Done that.

A True Love Never Dies” slows the pace down with the superb horn section replicating the sort of backing that made Memphis famous in the 1960’s.
Musically, we then head south to N’Awlins for the first co-write “Bayou Boys;” that has a syncopated second line percussion steadily driving the full band along.
Mr. McClinton eventually gets into the proceedings, dueting on “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”, together he and Lloyd prove more than compatible singing buddies.
Jazzy organ and pounding piano feature strongly on the pulsating but light-hearted “Chicken Bones,” with even more humour injected into “Dilly Dally” that also has Lloyd’s wah-wah guitar cutting in and out.

More terrific up-beat guitar sounds and Saxophone solos plus McKendree’s fine piano help the bluesy shuffle of “Turn Me Loose,” which is followed by another 1950’s classic, Big Easy style, stroll with “That’s All I Want”.
Etta Britt and Jackie Wilson then add their joint backing vocals to the second of the co-writes on “Love Is Everything”, plus they can be heard again on the honky-tonking “Every Time We Meet” and also the album closer “Chevrolet Angel,” recalling memories in the midnight blue Corvette.

In summary, it’s a very well produced, well written, excellent R&B album, providing variety and balance in abundance.
If you are desperately impatient for your next Delbert McClinton album fix, then this is definitely something that will tide you over and even lead you to search out Lloyd Jones’ own back catalogue.
Believe me, you won’t regret it.
You might even love it.

Jack KiddMessin’ with the Kidd” on http://www.lionheartradio.com

Released on 18th. September 2020
http://www.lloydjonesmusic.com/

Kat Riggins CRY OUT

Kat Riggins
Cry Out
Gulf Coast Records

Sad, Sad Blues Full of Longing Passion and S.O.U.L

When I filed this album away it looks like I have a copy of her 2018 release IN THE BOYS CLUB; and it took a while but it eventually came back to me …… yes; I liked it ….. of course I liked it ……. but it arrived way after the release date and never actually got reviewed; hey ho … and shame on me!
This latest release finds her rocking up on Mike Zito’s Gulf Coast Records label; and the man himself has taken on the role of producer; and yikes! He’s found that ‘hidden something’ which might have been missing from IN THE BOYS CLUB.
The album starts with a huge BANG!
Cards are thrown down with a vengeance on Son Of a Gun; a fearsome and passionate Rock & Rolling love song, of the unrequited variety, with a chorus to send a shiver down a man’s back …….
“They call me a Son of a Gun
as I’ll drop you were you stand!”
After that; Kat takes us on the metaphorical Rollercoaster of emotions associated with relationships of all hues; but always dipped in the Blues.
As she alluded to on that last album; she ain’t afraid of The Boys Club; as she can ‘rock it’ and ‘shake it’ with the best of them; try listening to Catching Up, Wicked Tongue and/or Burn It All (with it’s dirty guitar licks) and tell me that Kat Riggins isn’t a contender to be the reigning Queen of the Blues!
Just like the best of all the previous contenders to that throne; Kat sings about the sadder side of love like she’s not just lived that life; but is still living it today and is singing Truth and the big and brassy Ca You See Me? just for you and you alone; the brokenhearted and lovelorn.
Mike Zito really works his producing magic across the whole album; but manages to bring out something really ‘special’ in Kat’s vocal performances on the title track Cry Out and again on the beautiful and Gospel influenced Hand in Hand too.
The big difference between Kat Riggins and the majority of the other female Blues singers in my record collection; is that she can actually sing.
That’s certainly not meant to decry anyone else; it’s just that when Kat goes goes for a note she actually hits it with ease; and that’s especially true of my Favourite Song here; The Storm, which closes the album and finds Ms Riggins in a sultry mood, and radiates the type of longing and passion that is normally found in S.O.U.L and it’s not the only time I’ve had those thoughts listening to these songs; but certainly the most prescient.
Okay; I know Kat Riggins has been around the scene for a good while now; but now she’s on Mike Zito’s rosta I think the time is right for these songs to take her up into the Blues Premier League; and give her a place on the Top Table when the Awards Season comes around.

Released August 14th 2020.
http://katriggins.com/
Buy, Don’t Spotify!

John Fusco & The X-Road Riders JOHN THE REVELATOR

John Fusco & The X-Road Riders
JOHN THE REVELATOR
Checkerboard Lounge Records

A Sad Case of The Blues With a Cinematic Americana Heart.

I’m not even sure where to start here.
John Fusco? Famed movie Director (Crossroads AND Highwaymen!), all round renaissance man and creator of one of our Favourite Albums of the last few years; and here he is again …….. back in the swamps, alongside his star-studded friends.
I’m not normally a lover of Double Albums, but here Fusco splits the two perfectly with the first being a looser vibe; with plenty of room to groove and sway; as well as listen to Fusco’s wise and often prescient words; whereas the second album takes a deeper and more contemplative direction.
In Bluesland John the Revelator is a classic tune; yet I only own one version and I can’t even remember who by, as it’s on a Various Artist CD …….. but I do love it; and it was a regular on my old radio programme ……. usually played when things were going to sweetly.
Which is a fair description of Fusco’s red raw version that opens the first side of this staggering Double Album of largely self-penned songs; that sound as if they were all unearthed in a cellar that hasn’t seen daylight since Katrina hit.
You can read elsewhere who plays what on these songs; but trust me ……. everyone involved is already in your record collection.
When I first heard Bone Deep I could have sworn I already knew it; but no …… it’s brand new; yet Fusco’s Hammond B3 playing and Ronnie Klinsberg’s ‘Blues Wailing’ harmonica are as timeless as you will hear this century.
It’s a similar feeling with the slow and ‘ornery Bad Dog and Snake Oil Man that sounds like Randy Newman after a night on the ‘shine!
Sometimes I listen to ‘hard’ to albums as I review them; and occasionally miss the bleeding obvious! The theme of ‘love’ is the golden thread that weaves throughout this album; sometimes happy sometimes sad and more often than not …….. love for love’s sake; which is where Applejack Brandy fits in perfectly well; and it’s lifted to amazing heights by the addition of Patrick Ross’s staggering fiddle playing too.
Ooh …….. choosing a Favourite on Album #1 isn’t easy at all; especially when the standard is so high; but I’ve now whittled it down to a choice between two ……… the racy duet with Sarah Morrow, Don’t Mess Up a Good Thing and Ophelia (I Feel Ya) which I guess is a homage to The Band or more especially Levon Helm; but I guess I’m going for the former tonight …… but that will change next time I play the album.
Album #2 was recorded ‘Up North’ in Burlington, Vermont as opposed to Memphis; and that sort of lends itself to the darker and possibly even deeper songs here.
Starting with Song For Peter, the mood is certainly a lot more intense, the electric guitar and Hammond B3 creating a ghostly atmosphere on a tragically beautiful story.
There’s even a hint of a claustrophobia on several tracks; starting with Jacqueline and continuing through The Sun Also Rises; you know …… the type that cloys the air and prefaces a storm; which is also the best way to describe Fools Fire, too.
As I’ve said many times before; The Blues comes in many hues and John Fusco has a musical pallet full of them all. On Language of Angels Patrick Ross’s fiddle playing adds a Celtic Green to a tearjerker of a melancholic ballad; and later on Motel Laws of Arizona the band tread a Country path that normally only eagles dare tread.
In between there are slightly lighter shades in the pictures Fusco paints with his majestic words on the beautiful Moonstone Lady and Good Money After Bad; which has all the hallmarks of Little Feat at the finest.
Here one song in particular stands out head and shoulders above all others; Hottest Part of the Flame conjures up all kinds of imagery in Fusco’s words; and the way the band come together in all their pomp and glory, while never even threatening to overshadow the singer has to be heard to be believed ……. trust me; I know these things. (#wink)
While I’d read a few snippets about this release on Social Media; genuinely nothing has prepared me for the quality in every single track; from Fusco’s words, the bands’ exemplary playing and his deep, dark and expressive voice.

PS All proceeds from CD Sales go to the Blues Foundation’s HART Fund!
You know what to do …… Buy Don’t Spotify https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0899K1KJS?linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1&tag=featurefmuk-21

Released 31st July 2020

Bobby Rush RAW

BOBBY RUSH
Rawer than Raw
Thirty Tigers

Stripped Down and Utterly Authentic, Pulsating Acoustic Blues.

Genuine Blues Master, Mr. Bobby Rush may be an octogenarian, fact is, he’s nearer 90 than 80 but that doesn’t seem to inhibit his desire and creativity to release a brand new album.
Rawer than Raw is a welcome follow up to his previous stripped down and acoustic album; Raw, which actually hit the streets some 13 years ago. It helps that the concept follows the theme of his regular series of intimate solo gigs, which have proved very popular in his concert schedule.

Whilst born in Louisiana, Bobby Rush has lived much of his life in the state of Mississippi, so it’s more than appropriate that he chooses to honour five of The Magnolia States’ “Blues Hall of Famers” on this new record. A further five of the eleven tracks are then credited to Emmett Ellis Jr. which is, if you didn’t know …….. Bobby Rush’s given name.
Pertinently and entirely appropriate that the album was recorded in the state capital of Jackson, with executive producer Randy Everett also a Mississippi native.

Howlin’ Wolf is the fortunate legend who has 2 of his songs covered by Rush, namely the Wolf’s signature tune “Smokestack Lightning” and then something a little more obscure with a Willie Dixon song that was a B-Side for Wolf, entitled “Shake for Me”.
Track 2 is re-named “Hard Times”, though the first cover version of the album, it’s actually a rendition of Skip James 1931 classic song, “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues”.
Muddy Waters was massively admired by Rush and here he pays tribute to Mr. Morganfield by covering “Honey Bee, Sail On”.
Don’t Start Me Talkin” has been covered by numerous rock acts over the years but is included here as Rush’s homage to Sonny Boy Williamson II. Finally, Rush couldn’t leave out Elmore James whom he first met in 1947, so the selection of “Dust my Broom” has a double bubble effect, originally written and recorded of course by another Mississippian – Robert Johnson.

The 5 self-penned songs are certainly not fillers either, he reverts back to what he was famous for in the last century with a sultry and sensuous “Let’s Make Love Again;” and a similarly themed but opportunistic plea with “Let Me in Your House”.
Then, there’s a couple of slow burners in “Garbage Man” and “Sometimes I Wonder;” but my clear favourite track on the entire album is “Down in Mississippi” with it’s more upbeat, rolling guitar and soulful harmonica.

For something so stripped down it’s an utterly authentic and pulsating representation of Acoustic Blues.
Just the four singular sounds throughout the entire album, guitar, harmonica, foot stomp plus the unique and totally beguiling voice of a genuine Blues Master.

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

Released in 28th. August 2020
https://www.bobbyrushbluesman.com/
Buy Don’t Spotify https://www.roughtrade.com/gb/bobby-rush/rawer-than-raw/cd?channable=a40338.Mjg2OTIz&gclid=CjwKCAjwydP5BRBREiwA-qrCGhJavmqES5IcSDG-69a6lTjkAZ1hyG73K_KUUzwsEOl_p8XqgOAnIRoCmI4QAvD_BwE

Benjamin Adair Murphy LET’S MAKE A KING

Benjamin Adair Murphy
LET’S MAKE A KING
Self-Release

21st Century Subversive, Exciting and Very, Very Relevant Folk and Blues Protest Songs.

YIKES!
I wasn’t expecting anything like THIS!
Benjamin Adair Murphy is one of those artists that seems to flit around the world making music for an ever growing fan base without ever coming near to touching the mainstream; and that’s the mainstream’s loss!
YIKES x TWO!
Opening track Your Gun made my jaw drop the first time I played it a week ago. Phew, Adair doesn’t hold back on his Waitsian Rap about gun-control, or more poignantly ……. the lack of gun-control in the US of A.
Sitting here in the comfort of my Northern English home, I’m left wondering why no one else has written so powerfully on this subject so close to America’s heart.
Adair manages to address many other 21st Century ‘issues’ in a way that’s not always comfortable, but always accessible.
One Hundred Pills Per Person and The White Man Gets Things Done are exactly what you’d expect to hear from reading the titles; but add a band that sounds like it has been force fed Zappa and Beefheart 24/7 and you get real Grown Up Rock Music that will frighten your Granny!
I keep wanting to say Adair’s writing style is Poetic; but the more I listen the more I think he’s been influenced by Old School Hip-Hop …….. but co-opted it into the left of centre Blues and Rock fields.
Nothing is ever straight forward; even the slow and moody acoustic tracks Back Pocket Blues and Teach The Christians are multi-layered and down right emotional, and will be interpreted quite differently by each and everyone who hears them.
While never sounding like a parody, the Tom Waits ‘style’ of singing/talking comes across regularly here; and it is actually quite refreshing and brings out the nuances in Let’s Make a King and the stinging Alabama Goddam! like no other style could even dream of producing.
While 99.999% of music fans will never hear Same Kind of Fascist, I think it should be played on daytime radio across the Western World each and every hour for the next ten years.
Just saying.
It’s fair to say Woody Guthrie will be proud of young Mr.Murphy for daring to not just write and record this missive; but actually release it into the wild too.
Whenever I hear albums like this; and they are more common than you’d imagine …….. I always go back to the interview when Neil Young whinged and whined that no younger artists were writing protest songs any more; he obviously doesn’t get to hear the likes of Benjamin Adair Murphy when he sings the arse off U.S Custody, set to a stark yet melodic Native American melody and totally capturing the current zeitgeist.
If you have got your breath back, the only thing left is my Favourite Track, which is an odd moniker on an album as deep, dark and angry as this …….. but Stupid Followed Evil is a really special song; combining the best of everything here, from the Hip-Hop melody through Zappa and Waits but distilling the very soul of Woody Guthrie in such a contemporary manner that will have them dancing in the aisle while raising a clenched fist in the air!
In his accompanying letter Benjamin mentions his love of the Blues and how he keeps returning to it in his music. Well, that’s not always obvious; but that’s why I’ve had the album on heavy rotation this week ……… it is a Blues album at heart; but excitingly different and adventurous in many ways and never ever ‘obvious’, apart from the messages he tries to get across.

Released 9th July 2020
www.benjaminadairmurphy.com
Buy DON’T Spotify at https://benjaminadairmurphy.bandcamp.com/