The 2020 Ben Vee Roadhouse 66 Best Blues Songs of the Year

The Year 2020 was one that we all were glad to see go. Not only were our family, friends, and neighbors ravaged by COVID but our political systems were stressed and our rights to meet and gather were often suspended. And performing artists and musicians took the financial brunt of the frenzied response as outdoor venues, bars, and restraunts closed across the world throwing millions of performers out of work. But musicians are a resilient and creative group. They retreated, like the rest of us, to their homes, their garages, and their basements and began the process of creating new music using novel internet collaborative tools to record and share their music with other band members and recording studios. The product of their work is what I want us to celebrate in this article. It took new thinking, creative use of software, and dogged perseverance to write, record, and release new music during 2020 and EVERY artist and group that did so should be commended for not giving in to the darkness and continuing to bring the joy of music to us all.

During 2020, I played over 7000 songs on my DJ shows and listened to hundreds of albums sent to me by the artists, publicists, and record companies. I received even more as part of the staff of Blues Music Fan Radio. Out of all that music, I have chosen my favorite 66 roadhouse blues songs for 2020 using only two rules; I had to have played the tune during one of my shows in 2020 and I could only select one song per album. The list represents less than 1% of all music that I broadcast during the year and includes both perennial favorites as well as artists you may not have heard of. These are the best of the best and regardless of position on this listing, they are all fabulous tunes in my opinion. I hope you enjoy reviewing the list, listening to the songs, and hopefully, downloading some for your own music collection or as a gift to family and friends.

The Roadhouse Blues Top 66 Songs

61The Smoke Wagon Blues BandThe Fat ManThe Ballad Of Albert Johnson
62Misty BluesTreat Me Like I WantWeed ‘Em & Reap
63Peter ParcekBeyond Here Lies NothingMississippi Suitcase
64Nora Jean WallaceI’m A Blues WomanBlues Woman
65Lloyd JonesTurn Me LooseTennessee Run
66The Rolling StonesLiving In A Ghost TownLiving In A Ghost Town

The Roadhouse Blues Top 50 & 60 songs

51John Primer and Bob CorritoreKeep A-DrivingThe Gypsy Woman Told Me
52Cary MorinNobody Gotta KnowDockside Saints
53Pinkie RideauBring Me SugarBring Me Sugar
54Dudley TaftThe End Of The BluesCosmic Radio
55Henrik Freischlader BandWhat Have I Done to YouMissing Pieces
56JD3 & The Jondo TrioRocks At The MoonSomething Good
57Shaun MurphyLiving In The Palace Of The KingFlame Still Burns
58The NighthawksChairman Of The BoardTryin’ to Get to You
59Paul Buchanan’s Voodoo PreachersSome Kind Of VoodooTestimony
60New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom RockersNight Time (feat Jimbo Mathis)Volume I
41Mary Jo Curry BandNothin’ Is EasyFront Porch
42Kerry KearneyVoodoo Down the RiverTales From The Psychedelta
43Simon Kinny-LewisBlack Cat MoanAnother Day In San Jose
44The Reverend Shawn Amos & The BrotherhoodCounting Down The DaysBlue Sky
45The Lucky LosersHalf a NothingGodless Land
46Marcus KingThe WellEl Dorado
47Samantha Martin & Delta SugarSacrificeThe Reckless On
48Coco MontoyaTroubleComing In Hot
49Robert CrayAnything You WantThat’s What I Heard
50Dave FieldsForce of WillForce of Will

The Roadhouse Blues Top 40 songs

31Steve Washington (feat  Lucky Peterson)Blues Don’t Cost a ThingJust A Matter of Time
32Tammi Savoy & The Chris Casello ComboAs Long As I’m Movin’That Rock ‘n’ Roll Rhythm!
33Too Slim and the TaildraggersDevil’s HostageThe Remedy
34David Rotundo BandI Must Be CrazySo Much Trouble
35Mick ClarkeAin’t Beggin’ NobodyCrazy with the Blues
36Casey HensleySearching For A ManGood As Gone
37Tas CruSave MeDrive On
38Sass JordanThe KeyRebel Moon Blues
39Mark MayBarbecue And BluesDeep Dark Demon
40Shemekia CopelandWalk Until I RideUncivil War

The Roadhouse Blues Top 30 Songs

21Eric JohansonDown To The BottomBelow Sea Level
22Tinsley EllisEvil Till SunriseIce Cream In Hell
23The Immediate FamilyCruel TwistSlippin’ and Slidin’
24Mike ZitoAfter The StormQuarantine Blues
25Savoy BrownJaguar CarAin’t Done Yet
26Kirsten ThienShoulda BeenTwo Sides
27Larkin PoeEvery Bird That FliesSelf Made Man
28Eric SteckelSince I Been Loving YouGrandview Drive
29Sonny LandrethSomebody Gotta Make A MoveBlacktop Run
30Crystal ShawandaEvil MemoryChurch House Blues

The Roadhouse House Top 20 Songs

11Rae Gordon BandGet Right With The WorldWrong Kind Of Love
12Fantastic NegritoChocolate SamuraiHave You Lost Your Mind Yet?
13Ben LevinMy Back ScratcherCarryout Or Delivery
14Kat RigginsThe StormCry Out
15Albert CummingsRed RoosterBelieve
16The War and TreatyBeautiful (feat. Jason Isbell)Hearts Town
17Anthony GomesUntil The End Of TimeContainment Blues
18Popa ChubbyI’m The Beast From The EastIt’s A Mighty Hard Road
19The Mary Stokes BandComin’ HomeComin’ Home
20Joanne Shaw TaylorHumanReckless Blues

The Roadhouse Top Ten Tunes for 2020

10. Johnny Iguana – Shake Your Money Maker [Johnny Iguana’s Chicago Spectacular] (Delmark Records)

Johnny Iguana’s cover of the Elmore James song from 1961 should get you movin’ in your easy chair as you listen. Johnny’s energetic keyboard playing is superbly matched by the slide guitar work of Lil’ Ed.

9. Layla Zoe – Nowhere Left To Go [Title Cut] (Self Release)

Though not officially released until January 8, 2021, I got a promo copy in December and started spinning it so it makes the list! Layla’s growling delivery is just badass and harkens back to Janis Joplin.

8. Wily Bo Walker/Danny Flam – Ain’t No Man a Good Man [Title Cut] (Mescal Canyon Records)

Blues rock with a hint of Dr. John in his voice, Wily Bo is a fantastic UK artist with a growing following. Wily’s delivery is theatric in nature and I can’t wait for the opportunity to see him and Danny perform live on stage one day…SOON!

7. Alastair Greene – Bayou Mile [The New World Blues] (Whiskey Bayou Records)

A native of Ventura, California, Alastair got to collaborate with the great Tab Benoit from my home state of Louisiana to make this recording and the result is a haunting beautiful song.

6. Thorbjorn Risager and the Black Tornado – Come On In [Title Cut] (Ruf Records)

A Danish powerhouse and one of my favorite European roadhouse blues artists, Thorbjorn has a unique voice and he is backed by an incredible seven piece ensemble that just continue to crank out catchy and upbeat roadhouse blues tunes.

5. Dion – Blues Comin’ On (ft. Joe Bonamassa) [Blues With Friends] (KTBA Records)

An American treasure, Dion is still creating vibrant music at the age of 81! Produced by Joe Bonamassa’s Keeping the Blues Alive label, Dion got Joe to sit in on this track!

4. Christone “Kingfish” Ingram – Rock & Roll [Empty Promises] (Alligator Records)

This song is about a deal with the angels and a family’s devotion to a young artist’s future. It is simply beautiful and Christone’s delivery is authentic and riveting.

3. Joe Bonamassa – Why Does It Take So Long to Say Goodbye [Royal Tea] (J&R Adventures)

Another Joe Bonamassa ballad that meshes rock and blues like only he can. He is known as a world class guitar player, but I love his voice and his songwriting. This one is a roadhouse jewel!

2. Walter Trout – Make It Right [Ordinary Madness] (Provogue Records)

At 69, Walter is creating some of the best music of his storied career. The guitar playing on this tune is vintage Trout. I hope I get to see him perform it live sometime this year or next!

1……. Avey Grouws Band – Rise Up [The Devil May Care] (Self Release)

A self released debut album by a group from Iowa features a song that is my #1 roadhouse tune for 2020! Who would have thought?? I know I didn’t until I heard Jeni Grouw’s voice and Chris Avey’s guitar playing on Rise Up. It is not only a catchy but topical tune. We all need to rise up, in love, and confront the issues of our times head on without hate or rancor. It’s a song and a message we all need to spread around! Oh…and by the way…..the Avey Grouws Band will be appearing in concert in June with…..Walter Trout. My #1 and #2 artists on the same stage…..if you are close…go see them!!!!


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB.

Roadhouse Blues Nooner (12-2pm EST) on BMFR

Mhmm…got some badass new Roadhouse blues today during my Nooner on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com from 12-2 pm EST!. Have tunes from Alabama Slim (see his cool photo in the post), Johnny Gallagher, Bjorn Berge, Joanna Connor, Kirsten Thien, The WildRoots, Ally Venable, and a couple of classics from R.L. Burnside and John Lee Hooker!

Below is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLEALBUM
The Mighty KlucksC JamBackyard Blues
What the FRNKHey YaThere’s Something About You
3TIMES740 DaysSmile While I Sing The Blues
The Mighty KlucksMore WhiskeyBackyard Blues
Rocktrain Slaves5 String BluesThe Rock Springtime
Alabama SlimFreddie’s Voodoo BoogieThe Parlor
R.L. BurnsideDon’t Care How Long You’re GoneMississippi Hill Country Blues
John Lee HookerDimplesAnthology 50 Years – CD1
Johnny GallagherShake That TambourineA 2020 Vision (A Collection of Johnny Gallagher’s Work from the Last Ten Years in One Box)
Trainman BluesUndivided SeerShadows And Shapes
Kelly’s LotTook It BackBlind Raccoon Nola Blue Collection Volume Three Disc One
Trevor B. PowerWomanWhat Is Real
Bjorn BergeAlone AgainHeavy Gauge
Rocky & The House BandBall And ChainBackyard Blues
AJ Crawdaddy BandLove & WarPromo Single
Kenny James Miller BandGive That Dog A BoneTear In My Eye
Joanna ConnorIt’s My Time (feat. Joe Bonamassa)4801 South Indiana Avenue
Johnny Mastro and Mama’s BoysChild WolfElmore James For President
Rose Hudson With BarrelhouseThe Blues Will Burn YaBackyard Blues
Clas Yngstrom & Big Tex ThreeOutlaw BluesMr Bob’s Blue Devils
Kirsten ThienShoulda Been (Rock Slide Radio Mix)Blind Raccoon Nola Blue Collection Volume Three Disc One
The WildRoots634-5789WildRoots Sessions Volume 1
Ally VenablePlayed The GameHeart Of Fire
John Henry and the RainmakersPsycofillyJohn Henry and the Rainmakers
Brad StiversThree Times a FoolSIX
Krokfoss BandHave MercyAre You Ready
Mick ClarkeCrazy with the BluesCrazy with the Blues
Dudley TaftGoin’ Away BabyCosmic Radio
Jeremiah JohnsonDaddy’s Going Out TonightUnemployed Highly Annoyed

The Almost to 2021 Roadhouse Blues Nooner on BMFR

This godforsaken year is almost done!! Join me today, December 15th, for some contemporary blues on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com from 12 pm to 2 pm EST! I have some Mark Knopfler, Bonnie Raitt, Lee O’Nell Blues Gang, Alastair Greene, the Brother Jon Band, and many more! Below is the intended playlist…..and….they make GREAT Christmas gifts to friends and family!

ARTISTTITLEALBUMLABEL
The Fabulous Thunderbirds(Rockin’) Winter WonderlandAn Austin Rhythm And Blues Christmas
Jimmie VaughanThe Pleasure’s All MineThe Pleasure’s All Mine
Mojo Blues BandDo Me Up Good (Live)Shutdown
John HiattOver The HillThe Eclipse SessionsNew West Records
Andrew RiverstoneWhen The Wind Changes (Beside With Me)Andrew Riverstone
Mark KnopflerBlood and WaterPrivateering
Van MorrisonCeltic New YearMagic Time
Grainne DuffyNo Matter What I DoVoodoo Blues
Bonnie RaittLove LetterRoad TestedCapital Records
Lee O’Nell Blues GangDifferent Shades Of LoveDifferent Shades Of Love
Keb’ Mo’Merry Merry ChristmasMoonlight, Mistletoe & You
Irma ThomasOld Habits Are Hard to BreakRollin’ Into Memphis: Songs of John Hiatt
Duke RobillardI Ain’t Gonna Do ItBlues Bash With Duke Robillard and FriendsStony Plain Records
Kim WilsonSlow DownTake Me Back
Peter Veteska & Blues TrainYou Give Me LovingGrass Ain’t Greener On The Other Side
Gov’t MuleWhen The World Gets Small [feat. Steve Winwood]Shout!
Joe BonamassaWhy Does It Take So Long To Say GoodbyeRoyal Tea
Alastair GreeneBayou MileThe New World Blues
Julian SasThe Blues Won’t StayBound To Roll
Andy WattsStraight Shooting WomanSuperGroove
Dudley TaftThe End Of The BluesCosmic Radio
Eric SteckelSince I Been Loving YouGrandview Drive
Félix RabinSay (You Won’t Leave Me)Pogboy
Geoff EverettLeavin’ trunkSwamp FrogGeoff Everett
Brother Jon Band990 DaysOpen JamSelf Release

The Ben Vee Roadhouse 40 Best Blues Rock Albums of 2020

I am publishing my annual lists early this year with the hopes that people who follow me will give the gift of music for the holidays to friends and family to financially help a group of creative people that have been particularly hard hit by public gathering restrictions. No single working group other than restaurant workers has been hit as hard during the pandemic as artists and musicians. My heart goes out to them and 2021 can’t get here soon enough!

My criteria for picking the 40 best blues rock albums that I have heard during 2020 are pretty simple: 1) A judgement of the body of work on the recording, not just the fact that it may have a hit single. (Which I address in my annual Roadhouse 66 Best Blues Songs of the Year review.) 2) In the blues community there is a lot of respect given to artists and groups that “have paid their dues” through years of recording and performing which I reflect in my weighting of selections for the list. With that stated…..get your credit cards ready and your favorite music purchase app loaded….and chose a couple or more of these albums to help the blues community survive the 2020 pandemic!!

The Top Forty Blues Rock Albums (Listings 31 through 40)

These ten selections include Australian Simon Kinny-Lewis performing a rousing rendition of “I Just Want to Make Love To You” and getting help from Robben Ford on the song “Dagger Eyes”. American expat Seasick Steve cranks out a message to all of us to give each other a break, come together, stop the hatred, and get back to “Love & Peace”. Hurricane Ruth is a blues rockin’ Mama out of St. Louis that continues to do an awesome job of rockin’ the blues with tunes like “She’s Golden”. Some of you may not know of King King out of the UK where they are a perennial blues rockin’ favorite. Their lead singer, Alan Nimmo, has a voice you just have got to hear!! Give the song “I Will Not Fail” a listen!! Sass Jordan delivers a purely blues rockin’ album that includes a great version of “One Way Out” by the Allman Brothers and covers of blues favorites “Palace of the King” and “Leaving Trunk”. The UK’s Snowy White recorded with Thin Lizzy and Pink Floyd back in the day and has put out a string of awesome blues rock albums over the years. Give a listen to “One More Traveler” and “Commercial Suicide” from his latest recording to understand why I think it is one of the very best albums of 2020.

Top FortySimon Kinny-LewisAnother Day in San JoseAustralia
Top FortySeasick SteveLove & PeaceUK
Top FortyHurricane Ruth Good LifeUSA
Top FortyDave FieldsForce of WillUSA
Top FortyKing KingMaverickUK
Top FortySass JordanRebel Moon BluesCanada
Top FortyBilly Walton BandDark HourUSA
Top FortySnowy White and the White FlamesSomething on MeUK
Top FortyRae Gordon BandWrong Kind of LoveUSA
Top FortyRobert Jon & The WreckLast Light on the HighwayUSA

Top Thirty Blues Rock Albums (selections 21 to 30)

Our next grouping of artists includes Casey James who is a talented Texan with a Hollywood smile, a great voice, and plays a badass guitar. One testament to his talent is that Roadhouse Hall of Famer Delbert McClinton recorded the song “Bulletproof” with him on the new album. The Allman Betts Band featuring the sons of the Allman Brothers Band released their sophomore album this past summer. Give “Pale Horse Rider” and “Savannah’s Dream” a spin to understand why I believe they will be one of the great touring bands of this decade. I love the depth of sound of big bands and the seven piece ensemble that backs Thorbjorn Risager as the Black Tornado are world class. Thorbjorn’s voice has driven a number of listeners to my Blues Music Fan Radio shows to jump on chat and ask me “who is THAT singing?”. Give the title cut and “Last Train” a listen…you will understand why. Another fabulous voice of the blues is Canadian Crystal Shawanda who belts out “Evil Memory” and “Move Me” on the new recording. Dudley Taft has done well enough in the music biz over the years to purchase Peter Frampton’s studio in Ohio and record some stellar albums there. Give the title cut of Croatia’s Be Sharp Band recording and you’ll understand why I am so high on this European group. One of my picks for breakout group of 2020 has to be the Avey Grouws Band out of Iowa. They have been nominated for a Grammy and their future is very bright!

Top ThirtyCasey JamesIf You Don’t Know By NowUSA
Top ThirtyThe Allman Betts BandBless Your HeartUSA
Top ThirtyThorbjorn Risager and The Black TornadoCome On InDenmark
Top ThirtyDudley TaftCosmic RadioUSA
Top ThirtyAlastair GreeneThe New World BluesUSA
Top ThirtyCrystal ShawandaChurch House BluesCanada
Top ThirtyMarcus KingEldoradoUSA
Top ThirtyAvey Grouws BandThe Devil May CareUSA
Top ThirtyThe Reverend Shawn Amos & The BrotherhoodBlue SkyUSA
Top ThirtyBe Sharp BandAshesCroatia

Top Twenty Blues Rock Albums (Selections 11 to 20)

This selection of albums includes new recordings by perennial favorites Joe Bonamassa, Tinsley Ellis, Joe Louis Walker, Sonny Landreth, and Joanne Shaw Taylor. All of them are super stars of the blues in general and blues rock in particular. And any of their albums would make great stocking stuffers for Christmas! The selection also includes some interesting newer artists. Eliza Neals, from Detroit, can dang sure belt out a tune with feeling. Andy Watts hails from Israel and gets contributions from Eliza Neals, Joe Louis Walker, and a gravely voiced singer by the name of Roy Young on the Supergroove recording. Hailing from New York City, you need to give the fierce vocals and gritty realism of Bette Smith’s lyrics a listen on “Fistful of Dollars”, “I’m A Sinner”, and “Don’t Skip Out on Me”. Another New Yorker on the list, from Long Island, is Kerry Kearney. His new album includes some stellar cover tunes (“Lawdy Mama”, “Mean Old Frisco”) as well as several badass originals including “Voodoo Down the River”. And last but nevah least is the new recording from Jeff Fetterman. Give “49/61” and his incredible cover of “All Along The Watchtower” a spin to understand why I love his talent.

Top TwentyAndy WattsSuperGrooveIsrael
Top TwentyJoe BonamassaRoyal TeaUSA
Top TwentyTinsley EllisIce Cream In HellUSA
Top TwentyBette SmithThe Good, the Bad and the BetteUSA
Top TwentyJoe Louis WalkerBlues Comin’ OnUSA
Top TwentySonny LandrethBlacktop RunUSA
Top TwentyJeff FettermanSouthern SonUSA
Top TwentyJoanne Shaw Taylor Reckless BluesUSA
Top TwentyEliza NealsBlack Crow MoanUSA
Top TwentyKerry KearneyTales from the PsychedeltaUSA

THE BEN VEE ROADHOUSE TOP TEN BEST BLUES ROCK ALBUMS OF 2020

#10 – Albert CummingsBelieve

Albert Cummings first started recording in the late 1990’s and his stellar guitar playing earned him instant notice. Over the last 20 years, he has released six studio albums prior to this one. Given that he has a day job as a custom home builder, he has not toured as extensively as many of the others on this list. But that hasn’t stopped him from developing a loyal following including one Ben Vee! Give “Call Me Crazy”, “Me and My Guitar”, or his cover of “Hold On” and “My Babe” a spin to get a good feel for his talent.

#9 – Too Slim and the TaildraggersThe Remedy

If ya just want to listen to power trio blues rock to chase the black clouds in your mind away, there is no better remedy than Too Slim and The Taildraggers. Tim “Too Slim” Langford has a distinctive gravely voice and cranks out sonic pyrotechnics that are a meld of Robin Trower and ZZ Top. Give “Devil’s Hostage”, “She Got the Remedy”, and “Reckless” a listen to understand my amazement at the number of people that don’t know who this group is though they have released over TWENTY albums since the mid 1980’s.

#8 – Larkin PoeSelf Made Man

This talented sister duo has taken the world by storm over the last several years and are probably the best selling artists on this year’s list. Their music is highly accessible as evidenced by their crossover appeal to blues, rock, country, and gospel audiences. During the pandemic, I have tuned into several of their live performances on Facebook and it is incredible to watch them just wing their way through their songs while chatting, laughing, and having a generally fine time from a small room. Give a listen to “Every Bird That Flies”, “Holy Ghost Fire”, and “Danger Angel” to understand what all the commotion is about. I can’t imagine you going wrong giving this album as a gift to anyone on your shopping list!

#7 – Savoy BrownAin’t Done Yet

The music of Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown helped coin the phrase “blues rock” back in the late 1960’s. Over 50 years later, Kim is still producing amazing songs! The title cut is definitive blues rock, “Jaguar Car” will get ya moving in your computer chair, and “Rocking In Louisiana” is a tribute to the music and people of my home state. Every tune on this recording rocks the blues….enough said.

#6 – Anthony GomesContainment Blues

A Canadian blues rocker with a distinctive voice and incredible guitar talents, Anthony Gomes released his first album in the late 1990’s. Over the ensuing years, he has released eight more studio albums and garnered a very loyal following. He has the swagger of a rock star and the persona to match. While he can crank it out with the best of them, he also writes beautiful blues rock ballads like ” Until the End of Time” that is included on the latest release. My bet is if ya love blues rock, you will love “Hell and Half of Georgia”, “Make a Good Man (Wanna Be Bad), and “Tell Somebody”. And kudos to Anthony for having the courage to record “Stop Calling Women Hoes and Bitches”….I’ve had enough of the use of these hateful terms in “pop culture”…how about you?

#5 – Eric JohansonBelow Sea Level

In 2017, Eric Johanson released his debut album BURN IT DOWN on Tab Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou and spent the next two years touring with and opening for Tab. I spun it all the time during my internet radio shows. In early 2019, he made a duet recording with Tiffany Pollack entitled BLUES IN MY BLOOD. I spun it all the time again. Now in 2020, he has released BELOW SEA LEVEL and guess what? I spin it all the time!! Eric, who lives in New Orleans, does a great job of melding the blues with rock in a style that is distinctively his own. On the latest release he expands the limits of the blues with tunes like “Buried Above Ground”, “Down to the Bottom”, and “River of Oblivion”. Ya gotta listen!! Eric is a blues rock star in the making!

#4 – Mike ZitoQuarantine Blues

Some people have the talent and inspiration to make the best of any situation. Mike Zito is one of those people. A gifted singer, songwriter, guitar player, producer, and now record company owner, Mike exudes confidence with a proverbial twinkle in his eye. Another artist that I have watched on Facebook several times during the pandemic (and made my first Venmo contribution to on my phone), Mike is as relaxed playing in his home studio as he is before large audiences. I first got turned on to Mike with the release of Pear River in 2009 and he just keeps gettin’ bettah and bettah. Give “After the Storm”, “Dark Raven”, and “Don’t Let the World Get You Down” for a tiny glimpse of his talent. Oh..and by the way…the title cut is my defining song of the 2020 pandemic.

#3 – Wily Bo Walker/Dennis FlamAin’t No Man a Good Man

I’ve been a big Wily Bo Walker fan since I first became aware of him in 2015 and his latest collaboration with Dennis Flam is a jewel of a recording. This British artist channels Dr. John as he weaves music and storytelling into a magical series of songs. The title cut and associated “return” tune “Build My Gallows” are absolutely incredible. So much so that they got stuck in my head for days on end. “Ain’t Hungry No More”, “Fool For You”, “Walking with the Devil”, and “Night of the Hunter” should give you a good feel for his style and talent. Additionally, he does a great cover of “St. James Infirmary Blues” as well as a tune called “Did I Forget” that would fit perfectly during a set at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. If you have friends that enjoy Night Tripper style blues, this album will make a great stocking stuffer for them.

#2 – DionBlues With Friends

Dion started out as a teenage rock and roller back in the early 1960’s. Now in his eighties and still a fantastic artist, a literal who’s who of the music world have gotten together to pay homage to this giant of American music on the Blues With Friends recording. Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, Sonny Landreth, Paul Simon, Rory Block, Stevie Van Zandt, Samantha Fish, Joe Louis Walker, Jeff Beck, Van Morrison, and John Hammond all make contributions. This recording is not only a great blues rock album, it will almost certainly be in contention for the prestigious 2020 Blues album of the year award at next year’s Blue Music Foundation ceremonies in Memphis.

My favorite cuts are “Blues Comin’ On” with Joe Bonamassa, “I Got Nothin'” with Van Morrison and Joe Louis Walker, “Way Down (I Won’t Cry No More)” with Stevie Van Zandt, and the contemporary gospel song “Hymn to Him” with Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa.

You can’t go wrong giving this album as a Christmas present to anyone you know that loves music. On an interesting side note, this is also the first label release for Joe Bonamassa’s new recording company, Keep The Blues Alive (KTBA)….quite an impressive start!

#1 – Walter TroutOrdinary Madness

At the age of 69, Walter Trout has released possibly the greatest album of his long and storied career, Ordinary Madness. He started out in the late 1960’s playing bars and juke joints in his home state of New Jersey alongside other bands including one that featured another blossoming talent, Bruce Springsteen. By the time the eighties rolled around, his guitar playing and love of the blues had landed him gigs with John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat and drawn the attention of John Mayall. In 1984, he became another of the legendary guitarists (e.g. Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor) to play in the Bluesbreakers.

In 1989, he started his own band and became an overnight sensation in Europe. He played and released albums there for almost ten years before his United States solo debut in 1998. And during the past decade he has released eight of what I consider to be the finest albums of the blues rock genre including one, Luther’s Blues, that paid homage to the great Luther Allison.

Walter’s blues are often described as hard core, a term that reflects as much how he lived his life as the music he played. Renowned for his live performances, the constant touring lead to bouts with alcoholism that culminated in liver failure in 2014. He was able to receive a life saving transplant that year and returned to performing in 2015 with an album, Battle Scars, that chronicled his desperation and fears while awaiting a suitable matching liver.

Ordinary Madness is an unapologetic blues rock recording with songs that address his observations on life and time (“Final Curtain Call”, “The Sun Is Going Down”, “Ordinary Madness”) and thoughts on love and relationships (“All Out of Tears”, “Heaven in Your Eyes”, “My Foolish Pride”). My favorite three songs on the album are “Up Above My Sky”, “Make It Right”, and the simply incredible “Wanna Dance” which is likely to be my favorite single for 2020 when I publish my Roadhouse 66 list of the best songs of the year.

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All in all, it was an incredible year for fans of the blues rock genre. I hope you enjoyed reviewing the list and PLEASE download one or more of these albums to help the artists that you enjoy listening to.


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut.

The Ben Vee Roadhouse Nooner on BMFR (Tues June 16th)

Gonna be spinnin’ alot of blues rock and several tunes from the new DION album during today’s Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues Nooner at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com from 12 to 2 pm ET. Also have songs from the Quarryteen Men, Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ana Popovic, Sue Foley. Beth Hart, and many more.

Below is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLE
Savoy BrownGetting To The Point
Robin TrowerCrossroads
DionWay Down (I Won’t Cry No More) (Feat. Stevie Van Zandt)
Layla ZoeDesert Song
Kenny Wayne ShepherdAnywhere The Wind Blows
Ash GrunwaldEveryday
The Quarryteen MenCorona Condom
John Cook, Rich Newman, Rory Gallagher, SpoonLeaving Town Blues
Joe BonamassaWoke Up Dreaming
Albert CummingsCall Me Crazy
DionBlues Comin’ On (Feat. Joe Bonamassa)
Sue Foley81
The Rolling StonesLiving In A Ghost Town
Ana PopovicGet Back Home To You
Beth HartBetter Man
Widespread PanicPleas
Bryce JaneyFunky Guitar Blues
Savoy BrownI Can’t Stop The Blues
DionI Got Nothin’ (Feat. Van Morrison & Joe Louis Walker)
Eric ClaptonIf I Had Possession Of Judgement Day
Bob DylanRollin’ And Tumblin’
Dudley TaftDrifting
Alastair GreeneAnother Lie (feat Walter Trout)
DionI Got The Cure (Feat. Sonny Landreth)

Tuesday Feb 11th Roadhouse Nooner on BMFR

I got dem Tuesday Roadhouse Nooner Blues on BMFR at High Noon EST. Join us at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com!

Below is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLE
Arsen ShomakhovThree Arrows
CW AyonEnd of My Rope
Jason Lee McKinney BandNormal Is Just An Exit
Albert CummingsQueen Of Mean
Avey Grouws BandDevil May Care
Layla ZoeSomeday
Bernard AllisonSlide Master
Robert CrayAnything You Want
JD SimoI Got Love If You Want It
Tomislav GolubanHayloft Blues
Whitney ShayGetting In My Way
Phantom Blues BandIm Just Your Fool
Debbie DaviesDone Sold Everything
Gary MooreAll Your Love (Live)
Eliza NealsPawn Shop Blues (Roadhouse) (Feat. Popa Chubby & Dave Keyes)
Widow BlueBroken Heart for Sale
John McVeyI Don’t Stutter
Jeff FettermanBad Feeling
Dudley TaftMeet Me In The Morning
Mary Bridget DaviesTrick The Devil
Ryan Foret And Foret TraditionThat’s How Strong My Love Is
Buddy Guy & Junior WellsHoodoo Man Blues
Mike FarrisLet Me Love You Baby
Jamie Lynn VesselsDon’t Look Back
Seth RosenbloomI Can’t Help It
Jimmy Z & The Z-TribeHoneyman

Thursday Jan 23rd Roadhouse Blues on BMFR

Have a mix of new contemporary blues and some classics I hope you will enjoy. Stream in at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com at 3 PM EST today, January 23rd.. I will feature new songs by Sass Jordan, Chris Shutters, Bill Blue, Bywater Call, and Angel Forrest plus 20 or so others.

Below is the intended playlist.

ARTISTTITLE
Benton St Blues BandDirty Girl
Blue Moon MarqueeTossin’ ‘n’ Turnin’
Jamie Lynn VesselsGypsy Blues
George Thorogood & The DestroyersNew Boogie Chillun
Hamish AndersonHold On Me
Angel ForrestMenie The Monster
Sass JordanToo Much Alcohol
J.B. Hutto & The New HawksBlack’s Ball
Coyote KingsShakin’ It
Chris Shutters With Special Guest Jimmy BurnsKeep You Satisfied
Bill BlueIndianola
Benton St Blues BandHate To See You Go
Sir Oliver Mally & Hubert HofherrMeet Me In The Alley
Gregg AllmanJust Another Rider
Bywater CallWalk On By
The GreyhoundsIt’s So Good To Be Alive
Alvin Lee & Ten Years AfterThe Stomp
Big Wolf BandKeep Fighting Back
Marcus MaloneSlow Down
Katarina PejakRoads That Cross
Daryl Roberts and Hey GringoTango With The Devil
Dudley TaftSeventh Son
Grinder BluesWoke up This Morning
RossingtonShame On Me
Bryce JaneyChrome Horse
Micki FreeTattoo Burn

Ben Vee’s Roadhouse 66 – The Best Blues Tunes of 2017

Compiling a list of my favorite roadhouse blues tunes of 2017 has been a labor of love. It includes some perennial favorites and some up and coming new artists. I hope you enjoy reviewing the list and hopefully you will buy and download some of the tunes.

TAJMO

At number one is Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’s, Don’t Leave Me Here, from the fantastic album Tajmo.  Two special talents working together have produced the masterpiece of  the 2017 roadhouse blues.

Walter Trout

Coming in at number two, Walter Trout is a perennial favorite of blues rockers and when you combine his guitar playing with that of Joe Bonamassa you get some very special mojo on the tune We’re All in this Together.

Altered Five Band

At number three is the Altered Five band song, Charmed & Dangerous, an upbeat badass song that exudes sexual energy from a group based in Wisconsin.

beth hart fire on the floor

Beth Hart has four songs from the album Fire on Floor in the top 66 and coming in at number four is the title cut.  It is a slow intense tune that plays to all of Beth’s strengths as a song writer and performer.

KWS Band

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band has three songs in the top 66 from his album Lay It on Down. Nothing But the Night comes in at number five.  We have tickets to see both him and Beth Hart in July….can’t wait!!

the nighthawks

At number six is the song Three Times Your Fool by Washington D.C.’s, the Nighthawks.  This is a slow beautiful song for the ages from a group that has been playing the blues for over forty years!

thorbjorn risager

Based out of Denmark, Thorbjorn Risager & the Black Tornado, have four songs in the top 66. At number seven is the title cut, Change My Game. Featuring a full seven piece band with a compliment of some badass horns, this group is easily my favorite European roadhouse blues band.

tommy castro stompin ground

Californian Tommy Castro & the Painkillers returned to his roots in San Jose to record the album, Stompin’ Grounds, and has four songs included on my list. At number eight is Blues All Around Me.  I have seen him in concert a couple of times and can’t wait to do it again!

Tucci Olivia

At number nine is the band Tucci and the song, High Roller, that feature’s Chicago’s own Larry McCray….just some badass blues.

Dennis Johnson

Rounding out the top ten is Dennis Johnson’s rendition of Robert Johnson’s Walkin’ Blues. Dennis is a guitar virtuoso and his talent shines through on the album, Rhythmland.

Some special notes about the rest of the top Roadhouse 66:

  • Samantha Fish has songs from two different albums included on the list! On one, Hello Stranger, she channels some Amy Winehouse….give it a listen!
  • Sean Chambers has three songs from his album, Trouble & Whiskey, on the list. The album is one of my favorites of the year.
  • Hurricane Ruth, from Missouri, has three songs on the list from her album, Ain’t Ready for the Grave. She belts out tunes with power and intensity……you will enjoy… I promise 🙂
  • Savoy Brown, a British blues band that has been recording for fifty years, has a three songs from their album, Witchy Feelin’, on the list!
  • John Mayall, the elder statesman of the Roadhouse Blues, has a great song, Blues Midnight on the list.
  • Van Morrison makes the list with the title cut of his album, Roll With the Punches.
  • Newcomers Eliza Neal and Anthony Rosano & the Conqueroos are well worth a listen.
  • The list features 14 female roadhouse blues songs.  There are more and more female roadhouse blues singers releasing albums..a fantastic trend for the future.

Here is the full list….enjoy!  And you can listen to all of these songs on my 24 hour roadhouse blues stream at Ben Vee’s Roadhouse Blues!

ARTIST TITLE
1 Taj Mahal Don’t Leave Me Here (ft Keb Mo)
2 Walter Trout We’re All In This Together (feat. Joe Bonamassa)
3 Altered Five Blues Band Charmed & Dangerous
4 Beth Hart Fire On The Floor
5 Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band Nothing But The Night
6 The Nighthawks Three Times Your Fool
7 Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado Change My Game
8 Tommy Castro & The Painkillers Blues All Around Me
9 Tucci High Roller (ft Larry McCray)
10 Dennis Johnson Walkin Blues
11 Savoy Brown I Can’t Stop The Blues
12 John Mayall Blue Midnight
13 Van Morrison Roll With The Punches
14 Tommy Castro & The Painkillers Feat. Mike Zito Rock Bottom
15 James Armstrong Second Time Around
16 Eliza Neals Another Lifetime
17 Coco Montoya Hard As Hell
18 Steve Krase Brand New Thang
19 Tommy Castro & The Painkillers Nonchalant
20 John McNamara One, Two of a Kind
21 Beth Hart Love Is A Lie
22 Sean Chambers Bottle Keeps Staring at Me
23 Kenny Wayne Shepherd Baby Got Gone
24 Popa Chubby Rescue Me
25 Dudley Taft I Lost My Way
26 The Nighthawks That’s All You Gotta Do
27 Savoy Brown Why Did You Hoodoo Me
28 Sean Chambers Trouble & Whiskey
29 Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado Train
30 Corey Dennison Band Hear My Plea
31 Hurricane Ruth Let Me Be the One
32 Anthony Rosano & The Conqueroos Bound To You
33 Karen Lovely Nice and Easy
34 John Ginty And Aster Pheonyx Captain Hook
35 Sean Chambers Gonna Groove
36 Beth Hart Tell Her You Belong To Me (feat. Jeff Beck)
37 Kenny Wayne Shepherd How Low Can You Go
38 Walter Trout Crash And Burn (feat. Joe Louis Walker)
39 Samantha Fish No Angels
40 Downchild Blues Band Mailbox Money
41 Gregg Allman I Love The Life I Live
42 Janiva Magness I Can Tell
43 Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado I Used to Love You
44 Peter Parcek World Keep On Turning
45 Milligan Vaughan Project Dangerous Eyes
46 Hurricane Ruth Beekeeper
47 The Cash Box Kings All Night Long
48 Kim Wilson Bonus Boogie
49 Jan James Black Orchid Blues
50 Hamilton Loomis Sugar Baby
51 Beth Hart Let’s Get Together
52 Billy Flynn You Are My Lover
53 Delta Wires Your Eyes
54 Savoy Brown Vintage Man
55 Samantha Fish Hello Stranger
56 The Original Blues Brothers Band Got My Mojo Working
57 Hurricane Ruth Barrelhouse Joe’s
58 Linsey Alexander Where Did You Take Your Clothes off Last Night
59 Bridget Kelly Band What You Need
60 The Magpie Salute Comin’ Home (Live)
61 Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado Hard Time
62 The Gordon Meier Blues Experience Just Keep Ridin’
63 Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm You Must Believe in Yourself
64 Jimmy Carpenter You Belong to Me
65 Albert Castiglia Woman Don’t Lie
66 Tommy Castro And The Painkillers My Old Neighborhood

Dudley Taft’s Summer Rain lets the blues rock pour down!

Dudley Taft

I first became aware of Dudley Taft back in 2011 with the release of Left for Dead, a great blues rock album that highlighted his unique and memorable voice. Fast forward six years, and we get his fifth studio album, Summer Rain, which is just as good.  Dudley laid down the basic tracks for the new CD in his new studio outside Cincinnati (that he bought from Peter Frampton) and wrote all the songs.  He is an unabashed blues rocker and his music draws on the best of both its progenitors and helps to define the genre.

Come with Me sounds like a perfect mesh of Ted Nugent and Deep Purple; his guitar soars as an insistent beat drives the song….good stuff!  Dark Blue Star, Edge of Insane, and Don’t Let It Fade just crank!  My favorite tune is Flying on Love…..like fine tequila..sensimilla…you take me higher…why don’t we just drink margaritas and sit by the fire…..what a damn good idea…make it a bottle of Don Julio 1942 and I will be right there! I Lost My Way  and Live or Die are beautiful slow songs with great guitar licks.  And the title cut, Summer Rain, features some more great guitar riffs.

Dudley dedicated his album to all the men and women in the armed forces who accept duty tours in faraway places.   One of my greatest honors as a DJ has been to have troops stationed in Afghanistan tune into my live DJ sets on the Secondlife social grid and request mainly upbeat blues rock tunes to pump them up before they go out on missions.  The song, Pistols At Ten Paces, is one that I will be sure to play if they ask again.

This album was a great listen!  It will be officially released on September 15th and I hope it does well in terms of radio/internet play and sales over the coming months.  Download it as soon as you can….you won’t be disappointed!

Dudley Taft – Summer Rain    Taft Enterprises LLC 2017