So I decided that after Labor Day this year I’d get that long aching left knee scoped. Result is that the existing arthritis and meniscus tear taken care of. The issue of how do I spend my R&R time, led me to South Carolina and sun, beach and beer-can chicken (always a good remedy for what ails ya). Add to that mix some good Blues music and I am almost ready to hit the high seas once again at the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise end of October.
Here is what has been playing in the workout room, on the iPod while biking and keeping me company in the air during my return to Rochester.
Right away – Down in the Swamp – a well paced riff-driven blues with the bite of a ‘gator exposes Samantha’s fine understanding of the guitar and how to make it talk to us. Continuing the aural display we are treated to an upbeat boogie number ‘Runaway‘. The title track keeps the feet moving and allows her to showcase her adroit skills at plucking leads in a tasty manner that enhances the overall mood of the song.
This is her solo debut release containing nine originals and two covers. Produced by Mike Zito, who co-wrote ‘Push Comes To Shove’ where he performs a nice duet with her in a song that is somewhat reminiscent of the Sue Foley/Peter Karp ‘He Said, She Said’ of a while ago. On this release we also get to hear Ms. Cassie Taylor on bass, who is one third of ‘Girls With Guitars’ (along with Samantha and Dani Wilde) who have been burning down festivals across the country this summer.
My favorite cover is ‘Louisiana Rain’, the Tom Petty chestnut, which is presented with perfectly crafted vocals by Samantha, who then adds some thick, sweet slide guitar that refreshes this well known to a new level – and it’s perfect played loud while driving in the car !
I first met Samantha on the an LRBC cruise when she had to step in for an very ill Danielle Schnebelen of Trampled Under Foot, she was outstanding and I believe that opportunity solidified in her mind what her potential really was. She certainly showed it to the crowd who loved every moment of her performance with the band.
There aren’t a lot of things to make ya feel good – or better – than a sweet tenor sax and soul filled vocalist. Well Terry Hanck provides all this and more. This is Terry’s 6th release, his first for Delta Groove, and it provides us with an outstanding collection of covers and originals.
Terry covers Chick Willis’ ‘Keep A Drivin’ layered with the languid feel of ‘The Stroll’ and some rough gritty sax work complete with background vocals. A stepping West Coast Swing version of Tiny Bradshaw’s ‘Train Kept a Rollin’ is a rollicking jaunt on the rails of good old fashioned Rock & Roll, and it’s way better than Aerosmith’s version (trust me).
As a songwriter Terry has always been capable, creative and most importantly – enjoyable. In what has become my theme song and expression du jour Terry has given us ‘Appreciate What You Got’. A poignant but uplifting homage to the current state of distress we are all living in we are treated to a scorching guitar solo by co-producer Kid Andersen. Then Terry announces that he will appreciate his own self and gives us a rollicking, swaggering sax solo that recalls the sound of King Curtis and has the feel of some fine old Memphis greasy rock & soul music.
Terry is one of the very best saxophonists around today. He has a complete understanding of where the instrument stands in history but takes it off the mantle and keeps it alive and well. His singing is deep and soulful and his music does what music is supposed to do in it’s purest form – make ya move to it !
Ian Siegal is one of the most gifted singers and smart song writers that I know of. That’s a helluva statement to make, and by doing so I hope I don’t alienate people, but damn this guy puts it out there. I have been a fan of his for quite some time, first discovering him with his ‘Meat and Potatoes’ release (2005). Methinks I am not alone as he just won the British Blues Award for Male Artist of The Year.
With ‘The Skinny’ we see Mr. Siegal cross the big pond and come to America to record with American Blues Artists. This is a time honored tradition, done by such British Blues bands as the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Mr. Siegal came to the North Mississippi studio of the late Jim Dickinson, to record with Cody Dickinson (son of Jim), Garry Burnside (son of R.L.), Robert Kimbrough (son of Junior) and Rodd Bland ()son of Bobby ‘Blue) – all of them the youngest sons of their legendary fathers – hence the name reference.
The title track ‘The Skinny’ is a pulsing, grinding down-to-the-bone low down on what is happenin’ right here and right now – the skinny = the truth delivered in a menacing straight up rhythm. ‘Stud Spider’ is a Tony Joe White tune presented as a dark metaphorical look at the world of male/female relations. Robert Kimbrough’s solo is an incredibly dizzying venture down into a web of sound, only to be pulled out at the end by a rattling, clanking scratching at the strings that had seemed to have given up the fight just seconds earlier. No black widow feast here.
There is not a soft spot here, as come to be expected from Mr. Siegal. ‘Master Plan’ is a open pledge to acquire the apple of his eye much in the same way that ‘Ruby Baby’ stated ‘Ruby bay, how I want you, like a ghost I’m gonna haunt you’ but with more conviction than that dark pop song had. ‘Devil’s In The Details’ is a treat for us to experience the sound of some really fine Hill Country Fife and Drum music featuring Andre Turner on fife with some call and response added to fullness.
If you are a fan of Ian Siegal then this is a must. If you have not yet had the pleasure than this will serve as a proper introduction. It is pure Ian but served up with a raw and edgy side of Mississippi Hill Country Fried Poke Salad.
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease