ZZ Top – RAW (That Little Ol’ Band From Texas Original Soundtrack) (2022 Shelter Records/BMG)
Recorded in 2019 as part of the documentary “That Little Ol’ Band from Texas“, this legendary trio retreated to their garage rock roots by renting the oldest dance hall in Texas, the Gruene Hall, and then crankin’ out versions of a dozen of their classic tunes. There were no crowds; just the band and recording staff. Dusty Hill was magical on the bass, Frank Beard kept a tight pocket with an insistent beat, and Billy Gibbons provided his signature guitar licks and raw vocals. With the death of Dusty, the magic that was ZZ Top will never pass this way again. And as the last recording of the group, it stands as a mighty testament to their fusion of rock and blues. It is well worth every nickel you pay for the download or the vinyl.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – At the Royal Albert Hall April 14, 1970 (2022 Craft Records)
Recorded by the BBC during Creedence Clearwater Revival’s first tour of Europe in 1970, this music was never released because of the never ending battles between the band and their original label, Fantasy Records. Now, after 52 years, you get to hear CCR at their finest with John Fogerty on vocals and guitars, his older brother Tim Fogerty on rhythm guitars, Stu Cook on bass and Doug ‘Cosmo’ Clifford on drums.
CCR sprang to fame in 1968 with a cover of Dale Hawkin’s Suzy Q, burned brightly as a true super group for 4 years and then they were gone; the victim of internal band strife and business battles. But on this spring night in 1970, they were in top musical form for the 13 songs on the recording kicking out what I have always referred to as swamp blues rock. For me, this was a nostalgic trip back to the golden era of music. For those of you who may have never have heard CCR live, this recording is well worth a listen and representative of the talent of Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Joan Osborne – Radio Waves (2022 Womanly Hips Records)
Joan Osborne is one of those artists that I have always included in the pantheon of Roadhouse Blues artists because her music and songwriting are an outpouring of her soul; to me the essence of the blues. She got her start singing at blues mic open nights at clubs in New York City in the 1980’s. She had a mega hit with One of Us in the 1990’s but I have never felt the song was representative of her body of work which is much more blues, soul and R&B influenced. In fact, she was nominated for a Grammy for the best blues album of 2013, Bring It On Home.
Her newest recording, Radio Waves, is an interesting compilation of 13 songs that she recorded at radio stations between 1995 and 2012. Normally these type recordings are done as part of a promotional tour and have more of a live feel to them which is a strong suit for Joan. Give Shake Your Hips, Only You and I Know, and My Love Is Alive a listen They should help remind you of the talent of this gifted songwriter and singer.
Hundred Seventy Split – The Story So Far (2022 Repertoire Records )
Formed in 2010, this blues rock trio features the legendary Leo Lyons of Ten Years After on bass, Joe Gooch on vocals and guitars, and Damon Sawyer on drums. They are a fabulous band and this recording features songs from five of their recordings over the past decade. Joe on guitar is a fantastic replacement for the late great Alvin Lee. Take a listen to Going Home to see what I mean. Devil To Pay is some straight up badass blues rock and I Grew Up on Muddy Waters is a live tribute to the man who is the father of the electric Roadhouse Blues. This compilation recordings should serve as a great introduction to the many of you that are not yet familiar with this great British roadhouse blues group!!