Al Basile – B’s Hot House is some fine Bedrock Blues

I’ve always thought of Al Basile as the Randy Newman of the blues and his new album B’s Hot House just reinforces the notion. Al first started recording in 1998 and has been nominated 8 times over the years for his work as a songwriter/singer/cornet player by the Blues Music Foundation.

The new album is what I call the bedrock blues; solid earthy tunes with engaging lyrics and heartfelt vocal delivery that are backed by talented veteran musicians. Al’s band mates are people he has recorded with over the years and features the renown guitar player Duke Robillard (who also produced the album), Mark Teixeira (drums), Brad Hallen (bass), Bruce Bears (keyboards), Doug James (tenor sax), and Jeff “Doc” Chanonhouse (trumpet). Mark, Brad, and Bruce are members of the Duke’s band and the horn section are old friends from Al’s days with Roomful of Blues. Together, these talented artists have created an enjoyable blues and R&B recording.

Lyrically as well as musically, the song So Called Storyteller encapsulates Al’s talent as a musician and songwriter and is my favorite on the album. I also loved Razor Wire; the guitar licks are great and Al’s cornet gives the tune just the right feel. Al does a bit of political commentary with Don’t Fool With the Truth; an upbeat song with some biting lyrics. Additionally, I will be working Five Roads, I See You There, and Looking for a Cookie into my roadhouse blues shows on BMFR.

Overall, this 14 song (all originals) recording enhances Al Basile’s reputation as a great singer/songwriter who also happens to play a badass cornet.


Al Basile – B’s Hot House (2019 Sweetspot Records)

Wentus Blues Band with Duke Robillard – Too Much Mustard

Sometimes I run across an album that just blows me away…..this one did!! Wentus Blues Band is a Finnish group that has been together touring for thirty years. Recently, they journeyed across the seas to Rhode Island to make the album TOO MUCH MUSTARD with renown guitarist and producer Duke Robillard……the result is simply blues magic!

The first cut to grab my attention was 2:19. The band is tight featuring Juho Kinaret on vocals, Niko Riippa on guitar, Robban Hagnäs on bass, Pekka Gröhn on keyboards, and Daniel Hjerppe on drums and they blend their instruments seamlessly as they drift though a badass little tune.

I was riveted by their version of FIRST WE TAKE MANHATTAN. The song was written by Leonard Cohen and I am familiar with it because of a recording done by Jennifer Warnes in the 1990’s with Stevie Ray Vaughan on lead guitar. Both the Cohen and Warnes versions were whimsical. Wentus Blues Band delivers the appropriate feel and ominous warning to this apocalyptic song.

A song that will get alot of airplay during my roadhouse blues sets on BMFR is SHE’S A KILLER HOT BLONDE. It is hot rockin’ blues with some great guitar and piano licks.

I also enjoyed the songs TOO MUCH MUSTARD, FEELS SO BAD, and I HEAR YOU KNOCKIN’. All great tunes that bear the imprint of the Duke as their record producer. He also plays guitar throughout the album and even provided two tunes for the band from his early years, SHE MADE MY MIND and PASSIONATE KISS.

In an interview done on the Michael Limnios Blues Network, Juho eloquently stated “the Blues music is a universal playground. It doesn’t look at your color, how old you are or where do you come from.” Amen, brother!! As I have stated a number of times over the last five years, there is alot of great blues coming out of Europe and Copenhagen and the Nordic countries in particular. With the release of this album, the Wentus Blues Band’s TOO MUCH MUSTARD blueses itself into contention as one of the great recordings of 2019.


Wentus Blues Band – Too Much Mustard (2019 Ramasound Records)

Links in blue are to Spotify, Youtube, or quote references.

...And yes I know “blueses” wasn’t a word until today…..lol.

Zack Walther Band – The Westerner

The Texas based Zack Walther Band is hard to pin down when it comes to their tastes in music…and that is a good thing! On the new album, The Westerner, due out this Friday, October 25th, they provide a spicy mix of Americana, rock, country, and R&B that plays to the strength of band leader Zack Walther’s soul infused voice.

My favorite tune on the album is Payin’ For It Now. A song about poor life choices that lead inevitably to the blues, Zack’s voice vividly brings home the realization that there is more to bein’ a man than money and cars. An insistent beat and some great backing harmonies with band members Matthew Briggs (drums, guitars, bass) and Mike Atkins (keyboards, bass) make this a recording you won’t soon forget.

Zack reminds me a bit of Gregg Allman on another of my favorite cuts of the recording, What Kind of Man. He originally released this song on a previous album, Get Out of Your Head, and I am glad to see him include it once again. The lyrics are powerful and the delivery is perfect.

The album also features a song originally recorded by Sam & Dave, Hold On I’m Coming that is some damn fine soul music featuring trumpet playin’ by D. Tiger Anaya and some badass sax by Mark L. Wilson.

Other songs that I enjoyed on the album were I’m Going Out of Your Mind that has some awesome guitar riffs, the sultry tune Bad Girl, and DFW which has a great Kenny Wayne Shepherd feel to it.

And for those of you that enjoy cool album art, this one is a must have that was designed by Catherine Atkins.

Overall, this is an awesome album of Americana music performed by a talented band with great crossover potential for contemporary blues audiences on several cuts. I will be featuring some during my upcoming BMFR roadhouse blues sets. If you live in the New Braunfels area of Texas, try and catch their CD release party this Friday, October 25th, at the Brauntex Theater. If you go, let me know what you think.


Zack Walther Band – The Westerner (2019)

The Mike Duke Project ….took a while

I first met Mike Duke during the heyday of Wet Willie back in the 1970’s. Wet Willie was part of the sound emanating from Macon, Georgia, the home of Capricorn Records. Along with the Allman Brothers Band and the Marshall Tucker Band. Wet Willie helped solidify the main stream appeal of southern style rock music with its blues, soul, and country influences. And that was in no small part due to the talent of Mike Duke He was, and remains, a gifted song writer, singer, and keyboard player.

After the luster of Wet Willie faded for Mike, he moved on, doing a stint with The Outlaws and then relocating to the San Francisco Bay area where he spent most of the 1980’s. During that time he wrote several tunes that became hits for Huey Lewis and enhanced his reputation as a songwriter. During the 1990’s he moved to Nashville and was a featured member of Delbert McClinton’s band. In 1998, he moved back to Northern California and has been there ever since.

This album “….took a while” includes tunes that span the length of his career since the 1970’s and yet is, amazingly, his debut album! All of the songs are written by Mike and four of them are newly recorded. One tune, Torn & Scarred, was actually written by Mike in 1969 while he worked with a black church in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. It is a sweet little gospel song with Mike pounding the ivories and singing with a voice that has lost none of its power or range after all these years.

My favorite cut on the album is a new recording of I Can’t Let You Go featuring some tasteful lead guitar licks from Elvin Bishop. It should get a lot of airplay on stations and streams that feature soul blues music. I will certainly be playing it during my roadhouse blues sets on BMFR.

I also loved another new recording, I’m Not Sad Tonight, that features Gary Vogensen on guitar and his long time friend, Angela Strehli, as part of the backing vocals. Mike’s voice and keyboard playing transported me back…just remembering…but I’m not sad….just dang happy he came out with this album!

The album has the demo version of Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do recorded in 1980. Huey Lewis loved it when encouraged by Bob Brown, his manager, to give it a listen. And it was performed by Huey on his second album in 1982. Mike’s demo recording started a life long friendship with Bob who also played a major part in getting this album recorded and released.

Let Her Go And Start Over is another tune on the album that I really enjoyed that Mike recorded in 1981 and was used by Huey on one of his albums. Other songs on the album that I recommend for a listen are Little Miss Ponytail and That’s What So Good About the South (featuring Jack Pearson). And there is also a little zydeco influenced jewel of a tune Let Me Be Your Fool Tonight that you just have to hear.

I remember Mike as a young affable musician with obvious talent who took enjoyment from keyboard playing, the chance to sing for audiences, and have people hear songs he had written. He didn’t avidly seek the limelight or stardom like so many of his contemporaries and that is probably why It took a damn long while for Bob Brown to convince Mike to release his first solo album. My hope is that several more will follow in short order!


The Mike Duke Project…took a while (2019 Little Village Foundation)

Chuck Berry Blues

Today, October 18th, is the birthday of Charles Edward Anderson Berry who is better known to us as Chuck Berry. He is one of my favorite all time artists and he could damn sure rock the blues.

Here are some cuts from his years recording for Chess Records, one of the premier blues recording labels of the fifties and sixties.

Chuck BerryDust My Broom

A delicious cover of the Robert Johnson classic featuring distinctive Berry riffs on his beloved Gibson Guitar.

Chuck BerryI Just Want to Make Love to You

Chuck lays down a great version of the Willie Dixon penned tune first recorded by Muddy Waters and which, much later, became a mega hit for Foghat.

Chuck Berry Johnny B. Blues

This is an instrumental version of Johnny B. Goode that is just some badass bluzin’.

Chuck BerryBaby, What You Want Me to Do

Just an awesome rendition of the Jimmy Reed classic.

Chuck BerryConfessin’ the Blues

From his 1960 album, Rockin’ at the Hops, Chuck helped translate the electrified urban blues to an entire generation of teenagers, including John Lennon and Eric Clapton, back in the 1950’s and 1960’s with songs like this one. He is rightly called the father of rock & roll and was one fantastic blues man too!

Chuck Berry was one of the defining artists of his time…..flaws and all. I love his music and hope you do too.


Links in blue are to Spotify

The October Beachin’ Blues

I’m down along the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama this week. Here are some tunes that we are listenin’ to while drinking….eating oyster poboys…jambalaya…nookie burgers…red beans & rice…and oh…some more drinkin’….. (links to Spotify in blue)

Alabama Gulf Coast

Arsen ShamakhovSunset Beach

Couldn’t sing it bettah myself!! Arsen hails from British Columbia and has a hot new album, Rain City Blues.

Arthur “Big Boy” CrudupKeep On Drinkin’

Arthur inspired Elvis and was one badass delta bluesman!

Pinetop Perkins5-10-15 Hours (featuring Carolyn Wonderland)

Recorded in his mid nineties….Pinetop is one of the all time best.

Albert KingRoadhouse Blues

Some badass lowdown grindin’ blues from the master himself.

JJ Grey & MofroTen Thousand Islands

Some swamp blues are perfect for chillin’ on the beach.

HeavydrunkIf I Loved You Hard Enough

Absolutely one of my favorite tunes of 2019, the lyrics are modern Shakespeare and a vivid picture of a dysfunctional and powerful love.

Beth HartThankful

I am so thankful for my family and friends and the life I have…..Beth Hart sings my thanks bettah than I can express on her brilliant new album War In My Mind.

Hundred Seventy SplitHelp Me Baby

Two of the original members of Ten Years After have a new band and lay down a powerful rendition of their blues rock classic.

Tony Joe WhiteThe Beach Life

If Tony Joe White can’t get ya to chill out on the beach….it can’t be done!

_____________________________________________________________________________

A note about streaming (which is great for exposing new artists and songs)…..it may surprise you to know that for every 10,000 streams of a song, the artist may make as little as $40 (US). But when you buy their CDs, they can make a decent living plying their craft. SO…….if ya love the music…use your favorite site and download the albums. And if you go see the artists live….buy those CDs, tee shirts, and hats at the show…….helps them defray road expenses and, in many cases, eat for the night.

Roadhouse Blues Bin Singles for early October 2019

Here is a selection of Roadhouse Blues Bin tunes that I am listening to and spinning during my roadhouse blues sets on BMFR. (Links to Spotify are in blue).

Beth Hart Bad Woman Blues

Another in a long string of sexy upbeat tunes from my favorite female artist off her new album War In My Mind.

Ronnie Earl and the BroadcastersBaby How Long

The tone of his guitar is entrancing, the harpin’ is incredible, and he always lays down some bad ass blues. Love the new album, Beyond the Blue Door.

Guy Forsyth & Jeska Bailey Amazing Grace/House of the Rising Sun

This tune will raise the hair on your arms….it is that incredible. An awesome and creative mixing of the venerable Amazing Grace with another all time classic House of the Rising Sun is one of them once in a generation tunes. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have. The cut is from their album Conspirators.

Tennessee RedemptionBack to Tennessee

Brandon Santini and Jeff Jensen reunite for a killer tune off a badass self titled debut album. I just love the southern blues infused style of this recording.

Heather NewmanI’m Coming For You

Tune with a badass groove highlighted by Heather’s sultry Kansas City voice. The entire album Rise from the Flames is well worth a listen.

Altered Five Blues BandMischief Man

Building on the success of their last hit single, Charmed & Dangerous, this new tune is vibrant and upbeat with the great voice of Jeff Taylor and some incredible guitar playin’ by Jeff Schroedl. I love EVERY tune on the new release Ten Thousand Watts.

Chris O’Leary Heartbreak Waitin’ to Happen

Chris hails from New York but you would swear from his voice and tunes that he was from down the bayou in my home state of Louisiana. This cut is from 7 Minutes Late….one of my favorite albums of the year.

Tad RobinsonReal Street

An incredible soul blues singer who was born and raised in New York City and attended college in Indiana. Tad traveled to Memphis to record his stellar new album Real Street. This song is the perfect fusion of Memphis soul and the Chicago blues….a damn fine tune. This Friday, October 4th, Tad will have a special album release party at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis. If you live close …..go see him!!!

Steve Earle and the DukesKing of the Blues

This tune came out in 2015 from his album Terraplane and just keeps makin’ its way back onto my playlists. Best known for Copperhead Road, Steve is one of the premier songwriters of his generation and, along with Ray Wylie Hubbard, a co-regent of the outlaw blues.

————————————————————————————————————–

A note about streaming (which is great for exposing new artists and songs)…..it may surprise you to know that for every 10,000 streams of a song, the artist may make as little as $40 (US). But when you buy their CDs, they can make a decent living plying their craft. SO…….if ya love the music…use your favorite site and download the albums. And if you go see the artists live….buy those CDs, tee shirts, and hats at the show…….helps them defray road expenses and, in many cases, eat for the night.