Smokin’ Cigars and Ponderin’ Blues (Feb 23, 2015)

Sittin’ in my easy chair, smokin’ a cigar, and ponderin’ blues reviews:

  • Rory BlockHard Luck Child – Stony Plain Recording 2014
    • No Cigar – While acoustically brilliant, the album, which covers Skip James, didn’t do much for me.
  • Eric BibJericho Road – Stony Plain Recording 2013
    • One Fine Cigar – Death Row Blues is a great tune on a solid album.
  • Edin BrentJigsaw Heart – Yellow Dog Records 2014
    • One Fine Cigar and a Sniffer of Brandy – She is “Bonnie Raitt on a piano”. Nuff said!
  • John MooneySon and Moon – Fatback Records 2014
    • One Fine Cigar – Covering Son House tunes, John does some fine acoustic pickin’ playing the delta blues.
  • Elvin BishopCan’t Even Do Wrong Right – Alligator Records 2014
    • One Cigar – The title cut is vintage “Red Dog” blues and nominated for song of the year by the Blues Foundation.
  • John NemethMemphis Grease – Blue Corn Music 2014
    • One Fine Cigar – Bad Luck is My Name has been nominated for song of the year. Contains several nice soul blues and harp tunes.
  • Jarekus SingletonRefuse to Lose – Alligator Records 2014
    • One Fine Cuban Cigar with some friends – It’s the Chicago blues Baby! Great album by an up and coming young artist! High Minded was my favorite.
  • The Mannish BoysWrapped Up and Ready – Delta Groove Music 2014
    • One Fine Cuban Cigar with some friends – Layin’ down the Chicago blues with vigor and finesse. Loved Blues for Michael Bloomfield, a great jammin’ grinding blues tune!
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With a little help from my friends….Favorite Blues/Blues Rock Songs……What’s Yours?

I have some favorite blues and blues rock tunes. How about you?  I have seeded the list but I am interested in what my friends and fellow bloggers favorite songs are.  Post them and I will add to the master list.

In no particular order:

  • B. B. King –  The Thrill is Gone
  • Joe Bonamassa – Sloe Gin
  • Alvin Lee – The Bluest Blue
  • Etta James – I’d Rather Go Blind
  • Janiva Magness – You Were Never Mine
  • Muddy Waters – Hoochie Coochie Man
  • Johnny Winters – Highway Sixty One Revisited
  • Beth Hart – Am I The One?
  • ZZ Top – A Fool For Your Stockings
  • Joe Cocker – You Can Leave the Hat On
  • Buddy Guy – Damn Right I Got The Blues!

New Blues Bits & Bytes (Feb 17 2015)

  • So Delicious – Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Feb 2015 – Shanatchie Ent. Corp
    • Not much here unless you like hobo hillbilly blues. The music is a bit like Seasick Steve’s but nowhere near as engaging.
  • Terraplane – Steve Earle & the Dukes – Feb 2015 – New West Records
    • I love the first and last cuts, Baby Baby Baby and King of the Blues. The album has the flavor of the outlaw blues of Ray Wylie Hubbard and Lucinda Williams.
  • Something’s About to Change – Robin Tower – Feb 2015 – V-12 Records
    • I bought this one! The title cut and Fallen are great tunes. Overall, another solid mellow blues rock album from a guitar master.
  • Tough Love – Tinsley Ellis – Feb 2015 – Heartfixer Music
    • The cut, In from the Cold, blew me away. It is a great slow blues tune with some fantastic guitar riffs. Also enjoyed the grindin’ blues song, Should I Have Lied. Solid blues album!

Bluzin in low and fast (2/12/15 reviews)

Gary Clark – Live – Warner Brothers 2014

Badass blues rock! He is infused with Jimi’s genes. Nice to have some new music from him.

Fave Cuts:  Next Door Neighbor Blues, Three O’clock Blues, If Trouble was Money, Catfish Blues

Joe Bonamassa – Different Shades of Blues – J&R Adventures 2014

The most popular and best blues and blues rock singer and guitarist on the planet at the top of his game!

Fave Cuts: Different Shades of Blue, Get Back My Tomorrow, I Gave up Everything for you ‘Cept the Blues

Johnny Winter – Step Back – Megaforce Records 2014

His last studio album before his death. Chocked full of great new tunes with the help from a lot of friends!

Fave Cuts: Don’t Want No Woman, Can’t Hold Out, Mojo Hand, Killing Floor

Keb’ Mo – Bluesamericana – Kind of Blues Music 2014

His most accessible album to date for me! MOVE is a great dance song with crossover potential!

Fave Cuts: Move, The Worst is Yet to Come, That’s Alright

Got dem Hoodoo Man Blues!

Hoodoo Man Blues
Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band
Delmark Records – November 1965

Missed, at the time, amongst the debut albums of 1965 for future music luminaries like Cher, Tom Jones, the Who, and the Lovin’ Spoonful was a seminal recording in Chicago on the tiny Delmark label by Junior Wells. It was termed “dead on arrival” after its release and panned by critics as having no commercial value. But today I, and many others, consider it one of the great blues albums of all time.

The album featured two musicians that had been working together off and on since 1958. Junior, a blues harpist with a voice, and Buddy Guy, a talented if some offbeat (for the times) guitarist, had both been pulled into orbit around the brightest star of the 1950’s blues, Muddy Waters. Junior had been the first replacement for Little Waters in Muddy’s band back in 1952 and had spent the ensuing years honing his style in the rough and tumble world of the Chicago blues. Bob Koester, founder of Delmark Records, believed in Junior and told him to assemble a band of studio musicians of his choice and just play like he did in the clubs without the “3 minute” constraint that dominated the radio waves. Buddy, signed by Muddy’s label, Chess records, had to use the pseudonym, Friendly Chap, just to be able to perform on the disc. It was to be the first of 12 records that they worked on together over the next thirty years.

The songs on the album are straight forward electric and harp blues. Junior does a stellar 4 minute version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s Good Morning Little Schoolgirl including an intro displaying his virtuosity on the harmonica. The title cut, Hoodoo Man Blues, is a reworking of a Sonny Boy tune that Junior almost didn’t record because of its past rejection by other labels. Junior’s vocal style, somewhere between Howlin’ Wolf and Magic Sam, and his relaxed laughing manner as he sings carry the tune and the album. He and Buddy do a jamming version of a traditional tune also done by Sonny Boy, Early in the Morning, that is simply badass blues! And Well’s tune, In the Wee Wee hours, is a slow grindin’ blues showcase for Junior’s harp and Buddy’s blues licks as is the more upbeat Hey Lawdy Mama and the instrumental We’re Ready (written by Buddy). Throw in a nice cover of Elmore James’ version of Yonder Wall, a blues version of Hound Dog, and the often covered Chitlins Con Carne instrumental and you have one of first albums “to fully document the smoky ambience of a night at a West side nightspot in the superior acoustics of a recording studio”, according to Bill Dahl of Allmusic.

Junior’s career was to rise and fall over the ensuing years up to his death in 1998. He recorded and played on over 40 albums but his first was an enduring legacy inspired by nothing more than the desire to get some friends together and play the blues…..HELL YEAH!