Ben’s Monday Blues Bin (7/15/19)

It’s summertime in Connecticut.  I am sittin’ out in my man cave enjoying the heat, smokin’ a cigar, and listening to some new albums.

Zac HarmonMississippi BarBQ (Catfood Records 2019)

Zac Harmon

A great mix of soul, Chicago blues, and a touch of blues rock, the new Zac Harmon album Mississippi BarBQ was produced by Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana).  It also features a stellar group of studio musicians known as the Rays: Bob Trenchard (bass), Richy Puga (drums), Johnny McGee (guitars), Dan Ferguson (keyboards), Mike Middleton (trumpet), Andy Roman (alto sax), Nick Flood (tenor and baritone sax), and Drake Dominigue (trombone & tuba).

Zac has been recording since 2003 and with this CD, he steps it up to a new level. The voice is fabulous, his guitar playing is first class, and the song writing conveys images that give witness to his Jackson, Mississippi roots.  The songs are all originals except for a great rendition of Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door.  I enjoyed Make a Dollar Out of Fifteen Cents, Gypsy Road, Honey Pleez, Smoke and Mirrors, and So Cold.

A gifted artist, a world renown producer, and some fantastic studio musicians meld together for a first rate recording that also features cuts by his current touring band. Make sure to give the title cut Mississippi BarBQ a listen….with some barbeque, cornbread, mustard greens, black eyed peas and, of course a cold beer at the ready!!

The Texas HornsGet Here Quick (Severn Records 2019)

Texas Horns

 

Three of the most bad ass horn blowers on the planet got together down in Texas, invited some gifted friends, and created a delightful RnB recording entitled Get Here Quick. Mark ‘Kaz’ Kazanoff (tenor sax), John Mills (baritone sax), and Al Gomez (trumpet) can truly be judged by the company they keep with the likes of Carolyn Wonderland, Curtis Salgado, Guy Forsyth, Gary Nicholson, John Nemeth, Ronnie Earl,  and Anson Funderburgh steppin’ into the studio to assist; they got the rhythm and they damn sure got the blues!  This is an awesome CD!

A long time favorite of mine, Carolyn belts it out on I’m Doin’ Alright At Least For Tonight. And Curtis lends his soulful voice to Sundown Talkin’. My favorite tune on the album is Guitar Town that is sung by Guy Forsyth with backing vocals by Carolyn and lead guitar work by Anson. Gary Nicholson contributes two of his songs, Soulshine  & Fix Your Face, and both recordings are mighty fine. Anson does the lead guitar on Soulshine and another of my favorites, Ronnie Earl, does the honors on Fix Your Face.

There are also several tasty instrumentals on the album that showcase the talent of this horn blowin trio. My favorite is Truckload of Trouble written by John Mills and I also enjoyed the title cut contributed by Kaz Kazanoff.

I have to say when I opened the CD I was thinkin’ “now who are these guys?”.  Man…was I pleasantly surprised after listening to the entire recording. Download and give this a listen…hope you are pleased too!

The Duke Robillard BandEar Worms (2019 Stony Plain Records)

Duke Robillard

The new album, Ear Worms, has a fifties and sixties feel to it and is a pleasant listen.  Duke Robillard has been playing and recording for over fifty years and is a superlative guitar player.  I particularly loved the instrumental You Belong to Me that I first heard sung by Patsy Cline many years ago. It was one of my mother’s favorites and Duke shows it the love and tenderness it deserves.

I also enjoyed Don’t Bother Trying to Steal Her Love with Dave Howard on vocals and the song Yellow Moon which is sung by drummer Mark Teixeira.  The rest of the band is Bruce Bears (keyboards & vocals) and Brad Hallen on bass and they are a very tight knit group of artists.  The album features a number of guest vocalists including Sunny Crownover, Chris Cote, Mark Cutler, and Klem Klimek.  This is definitely a recording to relax with on warm summer evening.

 


Send along a comment if you would like! Love to hear what your thoughts are on these albums and blues music in general!!

 

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Best of the Blues 2018 – Ben Vee’s Roadhouse 66 Song List

Similar to the old Route 66 that wound from the heart of the United States in Chicago to the west coast and captured some of the best of what America has to offer, the Ben Vee Roadhouse 66 song list meanders world wide from Africa to Europe to North and South America.. on then to Australia and up to Asia capturing the best blues songs of 2018. The roadhouse blues is situated at the crossroads of the blues and rock genres so there are plenty of upbeat tunes and a number of belly grinders on the list. The selection includes 15 female singers..a dozen blues rockers…several roots blues tunes and numbers of hot contemporary blues recordings…I hope you download and enjoy listening to all the songs!!

As a DJ, in 2018 I played over 200 sets and 500 hours of blues music or roughly 6,000 songs for listening audiences. On my 24 hour Roadhouse blues stream, I streamed thousands more. Picking the best 66 from my broadcasts was both a labor of love and a huge challenge.  The position of the songs on the list is of little consequence…you might list them in a different order or include ones that I didn’t.  The important thing is that these 66 tunes are a “top shelf” sampling of a vibrant and growing contemporary blues market. Don’t let ANYONE tell you that the blues are dead or dying!!  I encourage you to turn your friends on to songs on the list and help spread the news that, as Buddy Guy said on his latest album, the blues is alive and well!!

1 Joe Bonamassa King Bee Shakedown
2 Anthony Gomes Whiskey Made Me Do It
3 Lance Lopez Blue Moon Rising
4 Larkin Poe Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues
5 Billy F. Gibbons Hollywood 151
6 Danielle Nicole Save Me ft. Kenny Wayne Shepherd
7 Boz Scaggs Little Miss Night And Day
8 Buddy Guy Cognac (feat. Jeff Beck & Keith Richards)
9 Shemekia Copeland Ain’t Got Time For Hate
10 Widow Blue Who’s Gonna Take Care of Lucille?
11 Bettye LaVette Things Have Changed
12 Mike Zito Mississippi Nights
13 Layla Zoe Are You Still Alive Inside
14 Ray Bonneville South of the Blues
15 Markey Blue Ric Latina Project Raised in Muddy Water
16 Colin James I Will Remain
17 Jim Allchin Voodoo Doll
18 Tinsley Ellis Nothing But Fine
19 Sean Chambers All Night Long
20 Ryan McGarvey Ain’t Enough Whiskey
21 The Nick Moss Band The High Cost of Low Living
22 Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps The Day The Blues Came To Call
23 Delta Moon Skinny Woman
24 Chris Smither Maybelline
25 Janiva Magness Down Below
26 Curtis Salgado/Alan Hager You Got to Move
27 Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats Coolin’ Out
28 The Record Company Roll Bones
29 Travis Bowlin Vicksburg Blues
30 Damon Fowler Ain’t Gonna Rock With You No More
31 Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa Give It Everything You Got
32 Dana Fuchs Ready To Rise
33 Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite The Bottle Wins Again
34 Sue Foley The Lucky Ones (ft Jimmie Vaughan)
35 Anthony Geraci Why Did You Have to Go
36 Joe Goldmark Beautician Blues
37 Mud Morganfield Oh Yeah
38 The Lucky Losers The River
39 Fiona Boyes Ember
40 Johnny & The Headhunters Watch And Chain (Hey Gyp)
41 Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones Mama Said
42 The Reverend Shawn Amos Moved
43 Dry Johnson Drunk Girl With a Tamborine (feat Snit)
44 Tom Hambridge The End of the Road (ft Sonny Landreth)
45 Anthony Gomes Take Me Back Home
46 Ally Venable Backwater Blues
47 Kat Danser Hol’ Up Baby
48 Dan Patlansky Judge A Man
49 Marcia Ball Take a Little Louisiana
50 Sari Schorr Thank You
51 Too Slim And the Taildraggers Trouble
52 Jamie Lynn Vessels Done Me Wrong
53 Lindsay Beaver Dangerous
54 Steve Krase Dirty Dirty
55 Black River Delta Keeps Me Bleeding
56 The Marcus King Band Side Door
57 Kris Barras Band Wrong Place, Wrong Time
58 Dany Franchi Wanna Know
59 Niecie Thank God for Fools
60 Eric Steckel We’re Still Friends
61 Luke Winslow King Chicken Dinner
62 John Akapo Maui Blues
63 Kat Riggins A Girl in the Boys’ Club
64 The Bob Lanza Blues Band Hey Baby
65 Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne That Raggedy Shack
66 Elvin Bishop That’s the Way Willy Likes It

Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues on BluesMusicFan.com from 3-5 pm EST

Join us today, Thursday, November 29th, as I roll out a set of the Roadhouse blues on BluesMusicFan Radio !  Tunes by Jimmy Thackery, Gary Hoey, Joe Bonamassa, Samantha Fish, Keb Mo, Luther Allison, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Curtis Salgado, and many more! It’s from 3=5 pm EST every Thurday!  CYA online!

Full Steam Through the Night with Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado

thorbjorn

The first great blues rock album of 2017, Change My Game, is by Copenhagen based Thorbjorn Risager and the Black Tornado. A true mesh of blues, rock, and soul, the album resonates with a contemporary sound.  Thorbjorn was a distinctive voice meant for steamy nights at the club or home. Musically, the album makes tasteful use of horns, keyboards, and backup vocals to compliment the outstanding guitar and percussion work.

I have noted previously over the last year that a number of music artists have revived the true rhythm and blues and soul sound of the sixties and seventies on their releases. These genres are important categories of the blues and deserve the attention and respect they are getting from contemporary artists.  Beth Hart, Melissa Etheridge, along with perennials Curtis Salgado and Janiva Magness come to mind and Thorbjorn fits nicely into this group of stellar performers.  The title cut is vintage funk…upbeat and snappy. Long Gone is a slow lyrical masterpiece filled with late night images of sorrow and pain. And I Used To Love You is a beautiful song with some awesome blues guitar riffs and a nice beat.

thorbjorn-1On a number of cuts on the album, Thorbjorn continues to expand on the blues for contemporary audiences.  Train is just badass contemporary upbeat rockin’ blues…ridin full steam through the night. Holler and Moan builds on the delta roots of the electric blues and makes tasteful use of blues chant and horns as well as the banjo to highlight the growling vocals of Thorbjorn…a very cool tune.  Maybe It’s Alright is a perfect synergy of the blues, soul, and rock that should drive people to the dance floor at juke joints worldwide.

Without a doubt, Thorbjorn Risager and the Black Tornado, are world class talents.  This is the tenth record release for the group and with the power and drive of blues giants Ruf Records behind them, they should get a lot of airplay on blues stations and streams (like mine) across the globe.  They will be touring in Denmark, Germany, and Sweden to support the new album over the next several months. As the airplay builds for the record, I expect the tour to expand through the rest of Europe during the summer.  I know it is very expensive for an eight member European band to travel and play in the United States, but I do hope they will make one foray to the northeastern United States and Canada. I know enough about the current blues and blues rock music scene to say with full confidence that audiences in New York City, Hartford, Boston, Montreal, and Toronto will love their music!! I just hope I get to see them soon…..or can find a cheap flight to Copenhagen!