Ben Vee’s Late July Roadhouse Blues Bin

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 Winer√∂ (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 loved Heatwave which 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 Myself that 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 ūüėõ

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 Hontel√© (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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Joe Bonamassa – Redemption

Joe B 1.jpg

From Joe B.’s fan art work!

 

The synthesis of the electric blues, British blues, delta blues, and progressive and classic rock, Joe Bonamassa merges them all  on his new album Redemption to create an  inspiring anthem to the roadhouse blues.  Since his first solo album in 2000, Joe has been building a loyal following among blues rockers, blues fans, and old time classic rockers yearning for a sound that has largely disappeared from main stream broadcasting.  All of them should be thrilled to listen to his latest recording.

Joe is certainly one of the finest electric guitar players on the planet, has a fantastic voice, and is under rated as a song writer. On Redemption, he showcases all three elements of his talent.¬† The Ghost of Macon Jones is a blues rock ballad with guitar work that hints at Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band and has haunting synthesizer and keyboard play by band member Reese Wynans.¬† On Molly O, Joe creates a rock masterpiece on par with Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir.¬† Anton Fig on drums and Michael Rhodes on bass provide an insistent beat as Joe takes his guitar to places only the very best can go. On the title cut, Redemption, the delta and gospel blues merge with Led Zeppelin¬†and Black Country Communion influences to create a fantastic rock paean.¬† Deep in the Blues is a notable song with that same ethereal quality that Eric Clapton has always brought to his music.

On King Bee Shakedown and Evil Mama,  Joe finds that sweet spot between the blues and rock I call the roadhouse blues on upbeat horns infused tunes. On I Got Some Mind Over What Matters, Joe channels a bit of Muddy Waters on a sweet delta electric blues tune.

When Joe was a youngster, B.B. King invited him on stage to give the audience a glimpse of his talent and on Just Cos You Can Don’t Mean You Should Joe displays some of the same mastery of the electric guitar that the King of the Blues saw almost 30 years ago.

Joe B Redemption

Love is a Gamble is some bad ass grindin’ blues in the mold of Albert King, Freddie King, and Luther Allison.¬† Pick Up The Pieces is a down home New Orleans style blues tune with echoes of Dr. John in the rhythms and lyrics. And Stronger Now in Broken Places is a heart tugging acoustic number that highlights Joe’s stellar voice.

Over the years, Joe has recorded several songs that seem directed right at me, a laser pointed straight at my heart. Self Inflicted Wounds joins the songs Drive, Different Shades of Blue, and Driving Towards The Daylight from previous albums as soul searching epics that I will never forget.  On an album filled with great songs, it is my favorite.

Joe has earned the admiration and accolades from  music critics and reviewers like myself since the release of his third album, Blues Deluxe, back in 2003. It is my fervent hope that this album finally takes Joe into the main stream for contemporary rock audience downloads; the final piece in the puzzle. The mainstream contemporary rock genre has been decimated over the years; Joe and his music are the path back!  Redemption is an interesting and intense synergy of the blues and rock and worthy of comparisons with the works of B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton. He has internalized influences from some of the greatest and with Redemption makes the statement that he represents the best of all of them: a blues man, a blues rocker, a rock guitar virtuoso, and, in my opinion, the best roadhouse blues man alive today.

Joe Bonamassa – Redemption (2018 J&R Adventures)

 

P.S. You can listen to Joe and enjoy many more roadhouse blues artists on my 24 hour blues stream at Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues !