I am back from vacation and ready to roll out some badass roadhouse blues for you on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com at High Noon EST. Have a mix of new contemporary tunes by Mike Duke, Zack Walther, and the Tedeschi Trucks Band as well as some classics from the archive.
Here is the intended playlist that I post with the hope that if you like the some of the tunes that you will go to your favorite music shop and buy them! Help the blues to thrive in 2019!
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.
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 ofHope You Love Me Like You Say You Dorecorded 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.
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)
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.
Time for the Tuesday Roadhouse Blues Nooner with Ben Vee on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com! It starts today (July 30th) at High Noon EST and will feature tunes that are related to each other by some measure.
Below is the intended playlist. See if you can pick out why I related the tunes!
The summer is blowin’ by and here are some of the albums that I am listening to (song links to Spotify or Youtube are in blue):
The Kokomo Kings – Fighting Fire with Gasoline(2019)
The Kokomo Kings new album Fighting Fire with Gasoline heralds the return of the era when rock & roll and the blues were essentially the same genre. Upbeat and fun, I really enjoyed EVERY tune on this recording done by a mix of band members from Sweden and Denmark. I don’t know if it is somethin’ in the water, but there are a number of great new bands coming out of Copenhagen and Stockholm and the Kokomo Kings are one of the best. The band features Martin Abrahamsson (vocals and guitar), Magnus Lanshammar (bass and guitar), Ronni Boysen (guitar), and Daniel Winerö (drums).
The album is packed with great rockin’ boogie blues tunes that will get your hips and feet movin’ including A Big Pile of Fish, Fighting Fire With Gasoline, Fooled by the City Lights, I Thought I was a Patient Man, If I was an Alien, Tornadohead, and The Fish Won’t Bite. Really lovedHeatwavewhich has a Fabulous Thunderbirds feel to it. And my personal favorite is Tied to the Tracks that has some nice guitar riffs and a Mississippi Hill Country sound.
The influence of Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry pervades the album and I know both are in blues heaven smilin’ down on this fantastic recording. Now…if only I can persuade them to send me a t-shirt with the album cover on it…my summer will be complete!!!
Jason Ricci & the Bad Kind – My Chops Are Rolling (Ellersoul Records 2019)
Since releasing his first recording in 1995, Jason Ricci has earned a reputation as one of the best harmonica players in the music business with two awards (2010 & 2018) from the prestigious Blues Music Foundation for his talent on the instrument. On his second release for Ellersoul Records, My Chops Are Rolling, Jason Ricci & the Bad Kind again lay down some badass roadhouse blues.
I was captivated by the tune The Way That I Hurt Myselfthat has echoes of Led Zeppelin in the performance. The song highlights Jason’s voice as well as some badass harpin’ and also shines the musical spotlight on the incredible guitar playing of John Lisi.
Additionally, Jason does a stellar instrumental cover of Led Zepp’s Going to California on the album. I also enjoyed Break In the Rain and a song he recorded with his wife, Kaitlin Dibble, entitled If You Should Lose Me. It is a great cover of a song originally performed by Barbara Lynn back in the late 1960’s.
Jason & I share a love for the New Orleans Saints and he put his admiration into words and music on Who Dat Nation! All you Saints fan should give it a listen! And Atlanta Falcon fans might want to avoid the explicit version he also includes 😛
Blue Moon Marquee – Bare Knuckles & Brawn(Factor Canada 2019)
Harkening back to the era of the blues cabaret, Blue Moon Marquee modernizes the sound on their new CD, Bare Knuckles & Brawn. A.W. Cardinal makes it work with gritty vocals and guitar playing and Jasmine Collette lays down some badass upright bass riffs as well as vocals. They are the core of a band that features guest appearances by Darcy Phillips (keyboards), Jerry Cook (Tenor & Bari Sax, Clarinet), Jimmy “Hollywood” Badger (Drums), Jack Garton (trumpet), and Paul Pigat (guitar).
Overall, this is well produced album with a laid back ambiance and a jazzy feel that still maintains an adherence to the blues. I really enjoyed 52nd Street Strut, As I Lay Dying, and the sultry feel of Big Black Mamba. Big Smoke is a great blues tune and Fever Flickering Flame conjures up scenes of a packed dance floor at a 1920 speakeasy. The haunting use of the trumpet and sparse piano licks perfectly frame Jasmine’s voice on Hard Times Hit Parade. And I loved the western swing guitar playing of Paul on The Red Devil Himself.
This is the perfect album to share with friends, a fine cigar, and a dirty martini. Let me know when ya do!!!
Travellin’ Blue Kings – Wired Up(Donor Productions 2019)
A European band that helps defines what I term as the roadhouse blues, the Travellin’ Blue Kings kick out some solid tunes on their new album Wired Up. This four piece band consists of Stephan Hermsen (vocals, harp, guitar), Jimmy Hontelé (guitar), Winne Penninckx (bass), and Marc Gijbels (drums).
This is another album where I loved EVERY cut. Particular favorites are Get It Done, Ninety Minutes, Into the Night, Straight Eight, and The Way It Used to Be. The instrumental title cut Wired Up is also a badass tune featuring some awesome guitar playing.
They are also the first band that I have seen that identify themselves as being from Benelux, an economic union of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The Travellin’ Blue Kings are doing their part to promote Benelux with one of the best roadhouse blues albums of 2019!
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It’s time for a summer time roadhouse blues nooner with Ben Vee on BMFR today at 12 pm EST. Got some brand new songs by Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Jimmie Vaughan as well as lots of other modern contemporary blues from artists around the globe. Tune in at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com!