Roadhouse Blues Bin for Mid April 2019

It’s spring time, well almost in New England, and here is what I am listening to as I await freakin’ warmer weather …..

Manx Marriner MainlineHell Bound for Heaven (2019)

Manx Marriner

Harry Manx is a blues original.  His primary musical instrument is the Mohan Veena,  often associated with classical music from India, which gives Harry’s music a surreal sound that is perfect for the blues. His partner for the album is Steve Marriner, a gifted harmonica and guitar player who also performs on the drums, organ, and bass.  Both have great voices and contribute songs for Hell Bound for Heaven, released by Stony Plain Records.

The recording has a mix of what I call roots blues and gospel tunes.  I particularly enjoyed their rendition of the legendary Charlie Patton’s Rattlesnake.  And the songs Hell Bound for Heaven, Nothing, and Everybody Knows will get a lot of spins on my personal stream (http://s1.nexuscast.com:8043) and during my upcoming sets on Blues Music Fan Radio.  Great tunes from a duo of Canadian artists!!!

Stony Plain Records 2019


Harpdog Brown – For Love & Money (2019)

Harpdog brown

To be officially released on April 26th, Harpdog Brown’s For Love & Money recording is a great throwback to the swing and jazzy feel of the blues in the late 1940’s.  If I didn’t know better I would swear this Canadian from British Columbia had grown up in New Orleans.  With a heavy emphasis on piano and horns on the album, Harpdog reminds me alot of the best of Dr. John….gravely voice, gritty lyrics, and fantastic musicianship.

I particularly enjoyed Thinkin’ and Drinkin’, Blue Light Boogie, Buzzard Luck, and Vicious Vodka.  An album best enjoyed with your woman and a martini and cigar in hand for sure!

Dog House Records 2019


Brandon Santini – The Longshot (2019)

Brandon Santini

Brandon Santini turns up the amplifier (and I’d say it’s about time!) on his new album, The Longshot.  An up and coming harmonica player and vocalist who has already been nominated for the BMA blues harmonica player of the year award (2014), his future is bright to say the least! I always have felt that Brandon, who I became aware of in 2012, had the ideal voice and harmonica skills to lay down some badass blues rock……and now he has.

He is backed on this outing by a solid group of musicians; Timo Arthur and Jed Potts on guitars, one of my favorite keyboard players John Ginty, Chuck Combs on bass, and Reid Muchow on drums.  Ginty, Santini, and Ben Elliot produced the album.

I loved Somebody’s Gotta Go, Back to You, Beggin’ Baby, Going Home, and Drive You Off My Mind.  All of them are now in rotation for my DJ sets.

I certainly think this album deserves early consideration as a nominee for Blues Rock album of 2019!  Keep crankin out dem roadhouse blues Brian!!!

American Showplace Music (2019)


Mark Wenner’s Blues Warriors (2018)

Mark Wenner

A side project for long time Nighthawk Mark Wenner, this album is a refreshing celebration of tunes by Muddy Water, B.B. King, Sonny Boy Williamson, Fats Domino, Big Joe Turner, Elmore James, and Slim Harpo.  Mark is a gifted singer and harmonica player and his brilliance carries this upbeat bluzin’ album.  Fellow Nighthawk, Mark Stutso joins him on drums, along with talented guitarist Zach Sweeney, singer and guitarist Clarence “The Bluesman” Turner, and features the double bass of Steve Wolf.

I loved every cut on this CD including King Bee, Trust My Baby, Rock A While, Hello Josephine, (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear, It’s My Own Fault,  and Dust My Broom. The album includes a really nice cover of a relatively unknown tune by Muddy Waters Diamonds at Your Feet that I have worked into my blues sets al ot over the years and the only original song, written by Mark, is an instrumental tribute to the legendary Jimmy Reed entitled Just Like Jimmy.

If you want to spend some time listening to straight up rockin’ blues from the fifties, you can’t do better than downloading and listening to this album!

Ellersoul Records 2018


 

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On The MARK….The Nighthawks new recording is fantastic Roadhouse Blues

Nighthawks

I’ve been a fan of the Washington DC based Nighthawks for a long time and they simply have out done themselves on their new CD, All You Gotta Do.  I count a gospel blues nomination, a harp instrumental nomination, and a Blues Song of the Year among the tracks on this 12 track masterpiece!!  Mark Wenner has fronted and guided the band for 43 years and it shows in the both the selection and performance of some badass roadhouse blues tunes. On their previous albums they have performed primarily original songs but on this one they expand their horizons to give several great classic blues tunes the Nighthawk touch including songs by Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, and RL Burnside.

The highlight of the album has to be a slow beautiful soul blues ballad Three Times Your Fool.  Mark Stutso, who wrote the song, puts his heart and soul into the performance and it should earn the band a sure fired nomination for song of the year.  And if there is a nomination for “Just Plain Bad Ass Rockin Blues” it has to be their reworking of RL Burnside’s Snake Drive. This trance blues tune has a infectious beat with great harmonica and guitar work.  They also kick out a jammin version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s Ninety Nine Dollars and a great version of Muddy Waters Baby I Want to Be Loved.

The Nighthawks also add some down the bayou spice to the recording with Voodoo Doll and Isn’t That So and take a side trip back to the sounds of the  fifties and sixties with a great reworked version of the original Standell’s song Dirty Water and Brenda Lee’s That’s All You Gotta Do.

And if that is not enough, Blues For Brother John, is a simple but great blues harmonica instrumental that deserves a nod for Mark Wenner in the harmonica category.  And to top it off Mark Stutso does a heart warming version of Levon Helm’s When I Go Away that is gospel blues at its finest.

The current lineup for the Nighthawks is Mark Wenner (vocals and harmonica), Mark Stutso (vocals and drums), Johnny Castle (vocals and bass) and Paul Bell (guitars).  The chemistry of the group is undeniable and the fact they are havin a damn good time comes through clearly on the recordings. Here’s to hoping they stay together for a long long time!

Ellersoul Records 2017

PS…if you feel like listenin’ to some roadhouse blues after reading this review….check out my 24 hour stream at http://www.s1.nexuscast.com:8043 .