So, the January cruise in the books (read my review http://blues411.com/?p=1063) so time to chase away ‘boat throat’ and various lingering incidentals from the cruise and the best way is to listen to some of the music that has found it’s way into my collection.
I recall being knocked out loaded by the Chambers Brothers back in the day. I first saw them on an NBC talent show which they won (sorta like American Idol but these cats could play). Later in ’68-69 (like I can remember) they were the opening act for Joplin & Hendrix in NYC – ’nuff said.
THE voice of The Chambers Brothers, Lester’s deep, rough, iconic voice wends it’s way through thirteen acoustic songs with Delta Blues guitarist K.K. Martin that are simply said wonderful. His voice is still in good stead, as evidenced by his gospel rooted version of ‘Thrill Upon The Hill’ and ‘People Get Ready’. Having come out of the church his treatment of these songs is an uplifting experience that will sit well with your inner soul. With a voice recalling Taj Mahal, Lester starts off a splendid jazzed up version of “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby’ working the vocal range to the fine accompaniment from K.K.
Mr. Martin is a wonderful guitarist. While others have turned to playing Rock and calling it the Blues, Mr. Martin has proudly bucked that trend. Kudos to him ! He is a fourth generation singer/songwriter/guitarist from West Monroe, Louisiana. He has excited me enough that I researched him and found that he has just released a new CD, ‘Naked Blues Vol. II’. He plays the Blues the way they were meant to be heard a man, a guitar and a microphone.
Of all the cuts I am torn between what would be my fav. From this release, Lester’s’ version of ‘Trouble In Mind’ showcases his rich, deep voice and to our surprise he weaves in the classic tune “Since I Fell For You”. Man, that gets it for me. If I might just add another his take on Dylan’s ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’ is just so much fun (I’ll Be Your Daddy Tonight’). Of course ‘Time has Come Today’ makes an appearance as the final cut of this splendid evening with two fine artists. One last note is that Lester’s’ son Dylan joins him on several cuts also. I am so glad to hear Lester’s voice ringing in my ears once again.
From a voice out of the past to a new voice in the Blues. John (JP Blues) Pagano, a gifted 21 year old whose second release ‘I Will Not Go Quietly’ on MCP Records. As the story goes, at the tender age of
9, JP was at a local blues club (with parents) seeing Chris Beard when Chris handed him the guitar he immediately launched into a solo that had the crowd on their feet.
So the story goes, as I said. But what is undeniable is the fact that JP later mentored under the tutelage of Sam ‘Bluzman’ Taylor. Showing JP the true meaning of the Blues, and where they originate …deep in the soul of a man, JP has toured with the late Sam, Derek Trucks, Robben Ford, Gatemouth Brown and Joe Bonamassa, pretty good street cred !
Opening the disc with a Tony Joe White song ‘As The Crow Flies’ is always a good start. Not many people know about Tony Joe and those who do hold him in high esteem. This choice speaks volumes about JP’s ear and upbringing. Another interesting cover is the title cut ‘I Will Not Go Quietly’ – the Don Henley song from back awhile. Well JP hits it hard with more feeling than Mr. Henley could ever muster.
Straight ahead, in your face guitar driven Blues is what we got here. With really good tone and solid axe handling, we hear spots of Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and a Clapton with feeling.
A good mix of covers from the likes of Tampa Red, Sam Taylor, and Clapton along with some original, my favorite is ‘Poor Little Rich Girl’ make this release a good choice for the heavy metal blues fan out there.
Blue-eyed soul brother Tad Robinson continues to pile up the accolades for his music and this release ‘Back In Style’ just enhances his reputation. Nominated for three Blues Music Awards, one for Soul Blues Album of the Year, Soul Blues Male Artist, and the lead track ‘It Rained All Night’, gets a nod for Song of The Year. That’s pretty heavy stuff there.
‘Back In Style’ proves that Mr. Robinson is one of a handful of white singers who can truly sing Soul Blues effectively. What we hear is homage to the traditions that define the sound of soul of Stax and Hi Records. Mix into that a little bit of Tyrone Davis, Al Green and we got ourselves a full blown soul party right here.
‘Full Attention Blues’ is a groove in itself with harp and guitar blending into a nice funky little shuffle, that I keep hearing Robert Cray doing. On ‘You Name It I’ve Had It’ we hear Mr. Robinson listing the woes that he has had – like a pedigree of the Blues he sings it with a pride that cannot be denied but with a gospel chorus testifying to his situation. With ‘Sunday Morning Woman’ we hear the familiar story of a man’s lack of respect for the woman he loves, while she stays at home and takes care of business, he is out being a ‘..late night Saturday man’.
Man this is great stuff. Having grown up on the upper East Side of NYC, where Soul Music, Stax and R&B were first and foremost, I feel compelled to get this release to the brothers who I grew up with to let them know that there is still some great soul music out there. If I had to play them one tune to prove my point, it would be “Get Back To Love’ the final cut, it’s that good.
Ok so one last for all the LRBC Crusiers – You saw him play with Sisters of the South, heard him rock the Piano Bar, found him jamming all over the boat, and most lilely ran into him on the elevators..did you know he has a release thats been out for about a year?
Dave Keyes, Roots Tn The Blues, on Keyland Music. Our David has been bandleader and pianist for two Blues legends, Odetta and Marie Knight, along with conducting the orchestra for the smash Broadway play ‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’. I won’t go on about his pedigree y’all can find that out on his web site www.davekeyes.com.
While we are well aware of his skills on the piano – what we didn’t expect was his deep, husky baritone voice and, with this release we get to hear his quite memorable song writing skills. The opening track “Blues Bearing Down’ Dave shouts at the beginning ‘I got no time to waste/Blues bearing down on me’ and he proceeds to depict his situation with super vocals, stellar key work, and then brings in Popa Chubby on guitar just to make us fully understand the dire straits he is in.
Jamming-est cruiser, Dave Fields, makes an appearance on two tracks ‘Down To The Bones’ where he display his excellent slide work that we have grown to love at the late night piano bar on the boat. Couple that with nasty sax work by Chris Eminizer and you got yourself a tasty bit of funky hell stomping blues.
While eight of the ten cuts are Mr. Keyes originals, his choice for his two covers say a lot about where he has been and his roots and influences. ‘Didn’t It Rain’, written by Marie Knight, and made popular by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Mahalia Jackson. Turns out some of the tastiest Boogie-Woogie piano since the Piano-rama on the boat, throw into that mix some soul-lifting gospel feel and it is a an instant hit with the listener (and check out his vocals). His other choice is Thomas Dorsey’s'Angels Keep Watching Over Me’ ends the release with a classic ‘prayer at the bed side’ Blues benediction.
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Until Next Time
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photos courtesy of artists