Well so there I was working on the next round of CD Reviews, getting them all in place when what should appear but these two very new releases. OK , I will admit to knowing these artists and digging the heck outta them, but that shouldn’t taint my opinion – right ? Anyway, here are two smokers from some dear friends that I know you will enjoy.
E.G. Kight: Lip Service (Blue South/Vizztone)
This baby will hit the streets June 21, the first day of summer, perfect timing ! EG Kight is also known as the ‘Georgia Songbird’ and has crossed over from pure country to special place on the country side of contemporary Americana Blues. With a surperb voice and a deep tone she has wowed audiances over the world, on this release she ups the ante and adds horns and swings out in an awesome disply of versatilty.
Opening the disc is ‘Sugar Daddies’ which offers up an in-depth view of just how bad the economy and overall times are these days. Ms. Kight has a poignant sense of humor and offers up some research that the mainstream media hasn’t quite figured out. Stating that “…even sugar daddies are cutting back, they’re giving cultured pearls to their uptown girls instead of diamonds and Cadillacs” all to a peacock strutting beat that features some sweet slide work by Tommy Talton and sax work by Cliff Meyers.
Following this is, ‘I’m In It To Win It’ a funky horn drenched soul parade with EG throwing down with some deep-fried soulful vocals testifying the truth and staking her claim in this situation.
‘Lip Service’ is a rousing confessional about how certain kinds of men always seemed to be the ones she would pick, and how she finally got it right.
‘Savannah’ captures the feel and mood of the very unique city and it’s mysterious side. A haunted Southern city but with a worldly influence, this song allows you to breathe the hot and heavy air, and feel the Spanish moss as it falls around you and takes you to a place that not many have seen.
Ms. Kight dedicated this release to Ms. Koko Taylor, her friend and mentor and offers us ‘Koko’s Song’. A wonderful story about her relationship with Ms. Taylor, and how Koko is now playing with her new band in the promised land. A super song – thank you for sharing it with us.
While a good deal of these songs are horn driven and funky, Ms. Kight does not ignore her vocal strengths and showcases it on several cuts. One quite outstanding ballad is her work with Mr. John Nemeth, ‘Somewhere Down Deep’. The combination of these two fantastic voices is like a mint julep on a hot summer day – perfect ! One other fine ‘old style’ ballad is ‘It’s Gonna Rain All Night’ is a simply constructed smokey barroom torch song that speaks to us of desperation, loneliness and loss.
The final cut is ‘I’m Happy With the One I Got Now’ is a stripped down slide guitar blues number takes us home with the re-affirmation of a solid relationship and the security it gives us. A fine release from a fine artist, be sure to get yourself one so you can kick back and enjoy some fine summer listening.
Please take a moment to send some good vibes out to Ms. EG, as she has been ‘under the weather’ and is home recovering from some issues. Get better darling !
Tommy Castro presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue (Alligator Records)
This release comes out of Tommy’s work on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise over the last few years. He has hosted late night jams, and shared the stage with other Blues musicians in many forms and formations. He has decided to re-create the jams that occur on the LRBC, but with a nod to the old time traveling Blues Revues, by taking a group of some of the very best musicians today on the road and playing at festivals and shows around the country.
With the opening riff from ‘Wake Up Call’ we get a good taste of what we are in store for on this release. The splendid, yeoman type work from Tommy’s band featuring Keith Crossan and Tom Poole on those sparkling horns, to the funky bass lines of Scot Sutherland, add a heaping shot of keyboards from Tony Stead and top it off with Ronnie Smith on drums as they work with various guest artists., as well as Tommy singing and playing some of the finest guitar I have heard him play.
So what makes these so special is the guests Mr. Castro features on these revues. We start with the ‘Iron Man’, Mr. Michael Burks just scorching our ears on ‘Voodoo Spell’. Mr. Burks is one of the strongest players out there, and this cut showcases his ample talent very nicely. Next up is Mr. Joe Louis Walker, working with the TC Band doing a funky hip-shaking version of ‘It’s Shame’.
It’s not all guitar based rock-tinged Blues here folks, this is a Revue so we get to sample some other styles and forms out there. On ‘Never Say Never’ we are treated to Sister Monica Parkers’ full treatment of a slow blues torch song – and some super keyboard work by aforementioned Tony Stead. One of my all time favorite songs is ‘My Next Ex-Wife’ written and performed by Mr. Rick Estrin, whose harp gyrations and vocal treatment is first class.
One of the hottest up and coming bands, Trampled Under Foot (Danielle, Nick and Chris Schnebelen) go down the alley with ‘Fog’ . Danielle’s vocals tear at our heart strings and the trio create such a large sound that we can just listen and shake our heads at the power and fullness of their sound. ‘Think’ features the deep sultry vocals of Ms. Janiva Magness and the TC Band, just getting too funky with this hip-shaking, head bopping number featuring Tommy on guitar. Speaking of funky, we are treated to the legendary Mr. Theodis Ealey, the ‘stand up in it’ man. In his composition ‘This Time I Know’ he serves us up some real fine southern soul stew, with just the right amount of heat provided by his vocals and an extra helping of sauce with the help of Tom Poole & Keith Crossan on horns.
The final guest is …. what can I say Ms. Debbie Davies. Listen to those first few notes that she rings from her guitar, ‘All I Found’ is one killer cut. Slow blues at it’s best with Ms. Davies vocals setting us up for the knock out punch provided by her untouchable guitar work. YIKES !
Mr. Castro, while providing us with the opportunity to (see) hear these various artists, does a solid job of laying down some fine music on his own. A funkified ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ couples Mr. Castro’s fine vocals and guitar work with the punctuating rhythm of the horns and nasty back line of Scot and Ronnie keeping everyone on course on this hard driven cut.
If you haven’t had the chance to see the LRBR live – get yourself this release, it will keep you in the right frame of mind and if you are feeling down it will pick you up. Then you will have to go see them.
For more on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, please visit: http://bluescruise.com/
Until Next Time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photos courtesy of artists