Category Archives: Journalist

Jeff Beck, T-Model Ford, and Tad Robinson – Birthday Boys Playlist

So today is the birthday of the late great T-Model Ford – as far as we know. Record keeping wasn’t too important way back when. We do know that Jeff Beck and Tad Robinson were born this day – June 24. To help celebrate, we put together a little playlist. Get yourself a little cake and ice cream, listen to some tunes and wish these fine gents a happy birthday with us.

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases June 16, 2015

The new releases this week are big bag of funky blues. We have a Henry Gray retrospective compiled by long time collaborator Bob Corritore. According to Bob’s website, “The legendary blues pianist Henry Gray has collaborated with harmonica ace Bob Corritore since 1996. The visceral musical cohesiveness and their long standing musical bond has produced consistently stunning recordings that are steeped in purity and tradition. With Henry’s recent 90th birthday (born January 19, 1925), Bob Corritore took it upon himself to share some of these true musical gems from his seemingly infinite recording vaults. The first volume presents a 14 song selection recorded over a 19 year period, in which all but 4 tracks are previously unissued. Henry sings 9 of these selections and Robert Jr. Lockwood, John Brim, NappyBrown, Tail Dragger, and Dave Riley provide one vocal each. At the core of each of these songs are the Gray and Corritore team who demonstrate their robust musical prowess and understated taste. Joining the proceedings are a rotating lineup of some of the blues’ greatest musicians for a program of fully-realized songs that alternate between rollicking, partying jumps and shuffles to the deepest of blues!” This is a good one folks and not to be missed. You can sample some of it in our Spotify playlist at the bottom of this post.

We also have the domestic release of Rick Vito’s Mojo On My Side. The album was released in Europe last Fall. You may remember Rick from his time in Fleetwood Mac and more recently with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band. Rick is a tremendous writer and guitarist and if this is your first time hearing him you may be left scratching your head wondering how you missed him.

Omar Coleman gives us Born & Raised. Omar kicked off his career in 2010 and has been studying with a who’s who of Chicago Blues legends like Billy Branch, Sugar Blue, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, and Bob Stroger. Born & Raised features his soulful singing and powerful harp playing.

The Frank Bey and Anthony Paule Band are an eight piece group playing West Coast soul-blues since 2011. Two albums released in 2013, You Don’t Know Nothing and Soul For Your Blues earned the band two Blues Music Award nominations. The critically acclaimed Bey Paule Band which has made the Downbeat Magazine critics poll as well as the Living Blues Magazine Best of 2013 list. This resulted in two European tours, and a many prestigious festival appearances throughout North America in 2014. Not Goin’ Away is the new disc. Be sure to check out the samples in our playlist below.

 

Henry Gray & Bob Corritore

Henry Gray & Bob Corritore Vol. 1: Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest

Omar Coleman

Omar Coleman Born And Raised

Rick Vito

Rick Vito Mojo On My Side

Bey Paule Band

Bey Paule Band Not Goin’ Away

Check out a pair of tracks from each of these new albums with our Spotify playlist.
Remember, while it’s great to hear music for free, it’s even better to support the artists and buy the music you like. And whenever possible go see the bands live!

Hump Day Playlist On Spotify

Happy Hump Day everyone! We’ve crossed the one year mark recently here at Blues Biscuits and over the year we’ve covered a lot of ground. Our Hump Day feature remains a popular mid week break and our recent PA Blues Fest Spotify Playlist drew some interest, so today we’re trying out a playlist related to Hump Day. It’s a nice sunny day here in the Northeast so it seems like a good time to take the top off and open it up with a smooth stick shift and solid chassis. No, you pervs, we’re talking about automobiles! Well, maybe we are. If you need it, worked on, lubed, loosened, tightened, tagged, tapped, or driven hard we’ve got just what you need.

A few of these songs were featured in one of our earliest Hump Day features – Johnny Winter, Eli Cook, Blind Boy Fuller, and Led Zeppelin. But now we’ve expanded the set to include Rosetta Howard, Amos Milburn, Chuck Berry, Joe Louis Walker, Junior Wells & James Cotton, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, and Super Chikan. Across the full history of the automobile, Blues singers have turned them into vehicles for sexual innuendo. Big back seats and secluded country roads helped write a lot of Blues tunes from heart break and infidelity to good times and afternoon strolls, it’s all in there. Today we celebrate the automobile and it’s contribution to Blues. Now, fill it up and drive it home!

Happy Hump Day!

Mighty Sam McClain Has Passed Away But Not Gone For Good

MightySamMcClainMighty Sam McClain, 72, suffered a stroke in April and died Monday night. The cause of death was not declared. “If you listen closely, you can hear his mighty voice and music from heaven,” McClain’s Facebook page wrote.

Mighty Sam McClain was born in Monroe, Louisiana and began singing with his mother’s gospel group. Sam hit the road as a teenager to escape his abusive stepfather and toured on the infamous “Chitlin Circuit.” In the mid to late 1960’s Sam worked in Muscle Shoals, Nashville and New Orleans with artists like the Neville Brothers and Wayne Bennett. Mighty Sam McClain even had a surprise R&B hit with a soulful rendition of Patsy Cline’s classic “Sweet Dreams.” His career never really took off after that but he never left music behind. By the end of the 80’s he had relocated to New England and got involved with the recording of Hubert Sumlin’s Blues Party album on Black Top Records. His work led to a recording deal and Sam never looked back, recording and touring consistently and collecting accolades for his work.

Mighty Sam was a Grammy nominated singer and he released numerous albums during his career, including 15 since 1992. Mighty Sam has been honored by The Blues Foundation with nominations for many of his releases in several categories, most recently in 2013 for “Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey)” including Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and a nomination for Mighty Sam McClain as “Soul/Blues Male Artist” of the year. He leaves behind a lasting legacy that will keep him alive indefinitely.

Condolence cards for the family can be sent to P.O. Box 322, Newmarket, NH 03857

Photo courtesy of Mighty Sam McClain’s Official Fan Page

Special Father’s Day Preview From Ronnie Earl And Stony Plain Records

Stony Plain Records to Offer Special “Father’s Day” Advance Present to Radio and Fans with Download of Title Track from Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters’ New Album

RonnieEarlFathersDayEDMONTION, AB – Stony Plain Records plans to offer a special present to radio stations and other media by making available the title track from acclaimed guitarist Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters’ new Father’s Day CD in advance of the Father’s Day observance on June 21. Stony Plain will make the track available by sending a link to DJs on June 15 as an exclusive early download to radio stations; and also offer everyone the song as a free download for two days only on June 20 and 21 at https://soundcloud.com/stony-plain-records/ronnie-earl-fathers-day/

Voted by The Blues Foundation as “Blues Guitarist of the Year” in 2014, guitar master Ronnie Earl and his band return with an even stronger package of music, his ninth album for the label. Added to Ronnie Earl’s spellbinding intensity and soulfulness on guitar, the presence of a horn section for the first time in decades on Father’s Day, set for release on July 17, adds another dimension to his sound. Stony Plain also plans to release the album as a vinyl LP later this year.

MichaelLedbetterThe title of the forthcoming CD has special significance to Ronnie, who found healing with his father, Jerry Akos Horvath, on Father’s Day of last year. Jerry was a Holocaust survivor, as was his mother Rose, and was liberated from Auschwitz in 1945. Both of Ronnie’s parents died in 2014. Ronnie made peace with his father after having had a rocky relationship, which had both its ups and downs, joys and struggles. In the song, realizing that time is short, Ronnie asks the listener to ponder the price of living with resentments in a series of questions: “Can you make peace? Can you be the generous one? Can you forgive? Can you cancel all the debt?” Ronnie’s deeply felt guitar voice and the equally heartfelt vocals, sung by Michael Ledbetter, lead the listener to a place of hope when forgiveness happens and resentments are left behind.
Click here to download a photo of Ronnie’s dad: http://bit.ly/ronnieearls-father

Ronnie Earl dedicated his new CD to his father thusly: “This album is made for my beautiful father, and we came to peace in the end. Don’t ever give up on your family and don’t quit until the miracle happens.”

For more information, visit www.ronnieearl.com and www.stonyplainrecords.com.

New Buddy Guy Album In July – Born To Play Guitar

BuddyGuySlippinInLEGENDARY AWARD-WINNING BLUES ICON BUDDY GUY TO RELEASE
NEW ALBUM BORN TO PLAY GUITAR ON JULY 31

Buddy Guy, the legendary award winning blues icon, will release his brand new studio album Born To Play Guitar on July 31 via RCA Records. The follow-up to his 2013 double disc release, Rhythm & Blues, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart, Born To Play Guitar is produced by Grammy Award winning producer/songwriter and Buddy’s longtime collaborator Tom Hambridge.

The recent recipient of the 2015 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Buddy Guy’s incredible career spans over 50 years with just as many albums released. Career highlights include seven Grammy Awards, 28 Blues Music Awards, Kennedy Center Honors, NARM Chairman’s Award for Sustained Creative Achievement, Billboard Music Awards’ Century Award for distinguished artistic development, Presidential National Medal of Arts, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to name just a few.

If you know anything about Buddy Guy, you know he was definitely Born To Play Guitar and he still does so in a dazzling manner, regularly shaming players half his age. Buddy is also a consummate showman who draws audiences into his performances and takes them along for an often wild ride. Buddy has been delivering consistently brilliant albums for over 20 years so collect them all!

Stay Connected with Buddy Guy:
http://www.buddyguy.net/
http://www.buddyguy.com/
https://www.facebook.com/therealbuddyguy
https://twitter.com/therealbuddyguy

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases Round Up

It’s time for another new releases round up. New blues every week! It always happens. There is new blues out there for us every single week and we let you know the who and what so you can spend more time listening to the Blues.

This week we have the long awaited new release from Royal Southern Brotherhood. The band has seen the departure of Devon Allman and Mike Zito but they have added equally powerful elements with Bart Walker and Tyrone Vaughan. Guiding light Cyril Neville is still front and center and the engine room is still manned by Yonrico Scott on drums and Charlie Wooten on bass. At the bottom of this post we have an RSB video for you so you can get a taste of the new lineup.

Sonny Landreth has a new disc out called Bound By The Blues. If you’ve heard Sonny before or have seen him live, you know he’s not really bound by anything. His technical skills are unsurpassed but he plays with heart and makes every note count. He’s a damned fine songwriter too. Don’t let this one slip by you.

Lucky Peterson has released a new live set which for the moment seem to be a European only release – however, it is available through Amazon.com. We have a lot of Blues fans here in the US but we’re spread out. There are tons of Blues fans in Europe but not as far between as here. Blues bands and acts can make a great living and pack venues all across Europe. It’s a wonderful thing but it’s a damned shame it’s so hard to make it happen here. This set has Lucky treating one of those crowds to an electrifying set of Blues.

And last but not least, we have the return of Barry Levenson with The Visit. The Visit is not yet available at retail. It hits the streets in July but right now you can order the CD from Rip Cat Records and Barry’s proceeds from the sales will go to MS research. We have a preview of a the disc for you below that Barry posted on YouTube a while back. Barry is an expressive player who follows the less-is-more approach and his rhythm chops are impeccable. Listening to his playing like getting a lesson in subtlety from a true master musician. Take advantage of this opportunity to get the new CD before it hits retail.

Sonny Landreth

Sonny Landreth Bound By The Blues

Royal Southern Brotherhood

Royal Southern Brotherhood Don’t Look Back

Lucky Peterson

Lucky Peterson Live In Marciac 2014

Barry Levenson

Barry Levenson The Visit

Royal Southern Brotherhood live at LMF JazzFest 2015

Barry Levenson “Ice Cold Kiss” from The Visit

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases Round-up

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen. It is new releases round-up time again. There is a wide variety of new blues and blues related music out recently. We start off with a pair of albums we overlooked in recent new releases features.

Ana Popovic recently released an album with her father Milton. Speaking about the album, Ana recently reminisced “My dad Milton is the reason I’m into music. It was his impressive blues and soul collection and nightly jam sessions in our modest apartment on the 11th floor in New-Belgrade, Serbia that kept me awake at night and drawn to this great form of American art. I wanted to record the songs we use to play together while I was still living at home. As a memory of my youth days but also to give people, who are into my music, an idea of how and where things started. It took ten years to convince him to record an album together. At last I got him to the studio with an argument he could not reject: ‘Just do it for your grandchildren.’ He did.” It’s just in time for Father’s Day and makes a perfect gift for those Blues loving Dads out there.

Another one we missed recently is Otis Taylor’s Hey Joe Opus – Red Meat. The album is centered around Taylor’s musings on how decisions can change the lives of those affected by the choices. The album is designed to be listened to as a single piece of music in ten parts, with the song “Hey Joe” as its overarching theme. “Hey Joe” is performed twice, each with contrasting instrumentation. The music incorporates spacey textures and interlocking guitars, with additional accents provided by violins and cornets. Four notable guests lend their talents to the proceedings including Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes, acoustic guitarist Bill Nershi from The String Cheese Incident, and singer/songwriter/guitarist Langhorne Slim. Once again Taylor is creating undefinable music and this one certainly seems like it may be pretty intense.

Charles Wilson is the nephew of the late great blues legend, Little Milton, and has been tagged as “The Crown Prince of Soul.” He has been nominated for two W.C. Handy awards (now Blues Music Awards) and returns now with another blues focused disc called Sweet & Sour Blues. The Kentucky Headhunters and Johnnie Johnson teamed up again back in 2003 for a bluesy romp which is just now seeing the light of day on Alligator Records which has me pretty excited. As you may know, Johnnie Johnson was the piano player in Chuck Berry’s band and the man responsible for all those swinging sixths riffs that Chuck churned out on the guitar. Johnnie may not be remembered as the father of Rock & Roll but he was definitely the cool uncle who taught his brother everything he knew! Thankfully these recordings are finally coming out.

Here’s what to look for this week…

Ana & Milton Popovic

Ana & Milton Popovic Blue Room

Otis Taylor

Otis Taylor Hey Joe Opus – Red Meat

The Kentucky Headhunters and Johnnie Johnson

The Kentucky Headhunters and Johnnie Johnson Meet Me In Bluesland

Charles Wilson

Charles Wilson Sweet & Sour Blues

Travis Haddix

Travis Haddix It’s My Time Now: Best Of

Ken Tucker

Ken Tucker Look My Way

Chuck Willis

Chuck Willis My Story: All The Hits & Other Classic Tracks

Daddy Mack Blues Band

Daddy Mack Blues Band Bluesman Looks At Seventy

Fresh Biscuits! Hot New CD Reviews

Our CD reviews this week turned into a guitar fest. I didn’t even plan it that way. I grabbed bunch off the stack and boom! Glorious guitars showering us with notes covered in grease, grime, grits, and gall. The music featured this week is sometimes audacious, sometimes laid back, but just right for whatever ails you. Collect them all!

As always, I hope you find something interesting for your ears.

 

JohnMayallLiveIn67John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers

Live In ‘67

Forty Below Records

Released on April 21, 2015

 

If Corey Harris really wants to know if white people can play Blues, all he needs to do is listen to Peter Green emote liquid hot pain and turmoil on the Bluesbreakers archival release called Live In ’67. The answer he will find may confound him, but it will be a resounding Yes. Much more than Eric Clapton’s replacement, Green transcends musical genres and unleashes the raw hellish nightmare of post WWII Great Britain in a tidal wave of musical expression that will have you listening for the air raid sirens over London. John Mayall is known as the Godfather of British Blues, and along with guys like Cyril Davies and Alexis Corner brought Blues to the attention of the devastated, disaffected youth of England who grew up in abject poverty, standing in line for rations, and stealing to get basics like food and shoes. The industrial cities of the Midlands had ghettos full of workers who would never escape their toils and lived in an unofficial state of indentured servitude. The emotional music of blacks who were exploited for their labor in the American South resounded in the children of the WWII survivors in Britain. They knew the despair and hopelessness first hand and dreamed of more. The Blues provided a way to channel the frustrations and find moments of pure joy amid their miserable existence. Live In ’67 captures some of those moments as delivered by John Mayall, Peter Green, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood.

This band is where Fleetwood Mac was born. Yes, Fleetwood Mac was a blues band kids, before Green checked out and Jeremy Spencer went religious. The triumvirate of Green, McVie, and Fleetwood dominate these recordings which is a testament to Mayall as a band leader. Even in his early days he showcased his band and was willing to step out of the spotlight. Green leads the band through fiery renditions of Otis Rush classics “All Your Love” and “Double Trouble” but he brings down the house over the course of eight minutes of “Have You Ever Loved A Woman.” As for Mayall, his tenor is in fine form and his organ playing anchors the songs that Green stretches six ways from Sunday. One of Green’s jams gets so intense you’ll forget it started out as “The Stumble.” When he kicks back into the song proper, it’s a jolt. There is nothing sleek, pretty, or cute on these recordings. The source material for Live In ’67 is one-channel reel to reel tapes sent to Mayall by a fan from Holland who covertly recorded the shows 50 years prior. Mayall cleaned up the tapes but be warned, this a bootleg recording, albeit a damned good one. This version of the Bluesbreakers only existed for about three months and thankfully the anonymous fan was there to capture one of the most intense Blues line-ups ever, be they white or black. Yes, Corey Harris, white people can play the blues, however very few can play like Peter Green. Represent!

DeltaMoonLowDown

Delta Moon

Low Down

Jumping Jack

Released on May 5, 2015

 

Tom Grey and Mark Johnson of Delta Moon met by chance many (delta) moons ago when Tom tried to sell a Dobro to Mark. Phone numbers were exchanged and soon the two were playing together all around Atlanta. The guitar interplay between Gray and Johnson is magical. After almost a dozen Delta Moon albums, the duo has cemented its place in guitar tandem history. It is rare for a band to have even one skilled slide guitarist but Delta Moon boasts two. Their styles seem to mesh effortlessly and the sum sounds larger than their individual parts. The music also benefits from Tom Gray’s voice which has a mellow whispery rasp which draws you in and makes you listen closely. He was the Roots Music Association’s 2008 Blues Songwriter of the Year so you may want to listen closely anyway. He has a knack for creating insidious hooks that dig deep into your consciousness the more you listen to them. The duo is joined in the band by bassist Franher Joseph and drummer Marion Patton. These two musicians could have been great engineers because they build perfect foundations for every song on Low Down.

Low Down starts with the steady chug and side-winding slide of “Wrong Side Of Town.” “Spark In the Dark” is a fitting title to this energetic tune. It has a driving beat, terse chords, and greasy slide. These guys get incredibly warm tones from their instruments and amps, and the loping stand-up bass in songs like “Nothing You Can Tell A Fool” creates a stomping on the floor boards kind of low end you don’t hear much anymore. I must really hate Tom Waits’ voice because I can’t listen to him, but when I often love his songs when done by others. Delta Moon’s cover of “LowDown” is one of those great covers. The amusing wordplay in the song is perfect for this band and their style and feel makes it pure Delta Moon. If there is a complaint to be made about Low Down it’s this: it’s almost too mellow. It’s relaxing. This is Monday through Thursday Blues. When Friday and Saturday night come around you’ll probably want something more rambunctious and if all goes well, on Sunday you’ll have some explaining to do. At least you can feel sure when Monday night comes around again you can relax on the porch with a tall glass of lemonade or sweet tea and fall into the friendly Low Down groove of a Delta Moon.

 

DebbieDaviesLoveSpin

Debbie Davies

Love Spin

VizzTone

Released on April 21, 2015

 

Love Spin is the latest from the tremendously talented Debbie Davies. The title is drawn from the grimy, slinky title track that brandishes a hopeful attitude about all the crap that comes your way. This seems like it might be her personal philosophy. Debbie tackles many personal issues and demons on Love Spin but presents them in a positive way. “A Darker Side Of Me” is the most pleasant song about self-destructive behavior I’ve ever heard. Other topics include getting traded in for “Two Twenty-Five-Year-Olds” and handling a deficiency in the romantic health of a relationship with “I’m Not Cheating Yet.” Yet, of course, is the operative word so get it together buddy.

The record is full of Davies road tested guitar playing. You can tell she’s played with and learned the greats because she is right there with them. Davies is a tasteful, intelligent player with wide ranging tones, imaginative licks, and fully developed solos. Every note means business. Davies’ work is succinct, tasteful, and accessible. She resists the urge to overplay and knows she made the right decision. Guitar players don’t agree on much but I’m sure most of us would agree that on Love Spin and all her records, she plays exactly what the songs need. On “Two Twenty-Five-Year-Olds” Debbie channels her old boss Albert Collins with some icy, sharp picking. She must be playing daggers for the idiot who wants to trade her in. “A Darker Side Of Me” has delicately strummed chords and gentle fills, and “Life Of The Party” opens with a blast of joyously spiky single note jabs. On the album closer, Debbie plays some mean and gritty slide guitar. I don’t know which guitar and amp combo she used but I want it and I want it today!

Overall, Love Spin lives up to its name as Debbie Davies plays and sings for us a set of happy sounding, reassuring songs. Debbie is in strong voice, singing and playing with verve and style. This is another solid effort from the sassy, guitar slinging road warrior. Give it a (Love) spin.

 

GuitarHeroesJames Burton, Albert Lee, Amos Garrett, David Wilcox
Guitar Heroes
Stony Plain
Released on May 5, 2015

Guitar Heroes is pure, unadulterated joy. Albert Lee, James Burton, Amos Garrett, and David Wilcox spend an hour four twisting and turning your mind through 60 years of Rock, Roll, and Hillbilly Rhythm & Blues guitar licks, tricks, and trapeze flips. Gathering these Masters of the Telecaster was the brainchild of Doug Cox, artistic director of the Vancouver Island MusicFest. In the liner notes Cox says “As Artistic Director of the Vancouver Island MusicFest, I get to dream up collaborations like these for what will hopefully become once-in-a-lifetime musical experiences. This one worked. It’s truly rock and roll heaven, right here on Earth where there is indeed, a hell of a band!”

Beyond the pickers, that band consisted of the members of Albert Lee’s touring band including keyboardist Jon Greathouse, bassist Will MacGregor and drummer Jason Harrison Smith. The 11 tracks were recorded live on stage at the Vancouver Island MusicFest and are presented as-is. There are no edits, overdubs, or studio touch up. This is the real thing and the interplay suggests a band that plays together seven nights a week, not four guys who just met and decided to jam. It is a testament to their abilities and attitudes. There is room for everyone and even though everyone seems to be playing their best stuff, it never sounds like a competition. The playing remains tasteful and the boys never get in the way of the others. Often they play amazingly complimentary bits that give the familiar material unexpected freshness. All the signature tunes are here from rollicking opener “That’s All Right Mama” to “Susie Q” and an all-out jam on set closer “Country Boy.” Stony Plain had the good sense to provide track by track performance credits and a quicksilver set like this needs one so we can keep up. And while the solos are dazzling some of the most interesting work is done to the rhythm guitar parts as these guys deconstruct the songs on the spot and build them back up again while we listen.

Albert Lee has over 20 solo albums, played with Heads, Hands and Feet, the Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton and more. James Burton is responsible for the classic “Susie Q” lick. He was a longtime member of Ricky Nelson’s band and then joined Elvis Presley’s band and stayed until the King died in 1977. He also worked with Jerry Lee Lewis, John Denver, Merle Haggard, Roy Orbison and countless others. Amos Garrett was in Paul Butterfield’s Better Days and has played with Maria Muldaur, Doug Sahm, Gene Taylor Band, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Jerry Garcia and a host of others. David Wilcox is a veteran of Nashville North and The Ian Tyson TV show. he also played with Maria Muldaur, has had many Canadian hits and gold and platinum albums. David is regarded as one of Canada’s most influential roots musicians. The four men got to town one day early to rehearse. One day. One. Day. The result is an incredible set that defies description and must be heard to be fully appreciated. This isn’t just for blues fans. This is for anyone who can appreciate the artistry of master musicians capable of delivering the highest caliber performances just for fun.

JBHuttoHawkSquatJ.B. Hutto With Sunnyland Slim
Hawk Squat
Delmark
Released on March 17, 2015

Delmark has been putting out some great reissues recently and Hawk Squat does not disappoint. Hawk Squat was originally issued in 1968 on Delmark and now contains the re-mastered original album and six additional previously unreleased tracks. Hutto is regarded by those in the know as a standout of the second generation of Chicago Blues greats but his output was sporadic and his catalog is filled with recordings of questionable origin and quality. Luckily he occasionally recorded for reputable labels like Delmark. Recorded at sessions separated by roughly three months, from May to August 1968 plus one track recorded in December 1966, Delmark managed to capture lightning in a bottle. J.B. Hutto’s energy is tangible and his mastery of the Elmore James style of slide is more joyful celebration than emulation. His voice is plaintive and full of anguish on slower numbers like “If You Change Your Mind” and confidently strong on “The Same Mistake Twice” and “Speak My Mind” which appears three times in total. The final version closes the disc and is a full minute longer than the previous two. It is slowed down slightly and is played without the strutting shuffle but is no less intense. These variants offer a wonderful glimpse into the creative process and in this case make the bonus tracks enjoyable additions instead of filler.

Sunnyland Slim is present for the sessions and plays a lot of organ. His piano takes center stage on “Too Much Pride.” This song is also represented by an alternate take which isn’t significantly different but Sunny’s piano seems to sound brighter on the bonus version and his intro sounds higher in pitch. “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” is the only bonus track without a counterpart on the original album. Sunnyland Slim plays some swirling organ under Hutto’s biting guitar licks as J.B. sings about drowning his sorrow and telling his hear he’ll cry tomorrow.

As for the original album, it is fiery, feisty, and fickle. Sunnyland Slim’s organ playing is effervescent, and J.B. Hutto is a whirlwind slurry of Blues Power, sly wit, and toastmaster general. The sessions included Lee Jackson on guitar, Junior Pettis and Dave Myers on bass, frank Kirkland on drums and Maurice McIntyre on tenor sax. Herman Hassell plays bass on “Hip Shakin’” the sole track from 1966. Together these musicians created a Blues classic that still sounds fresh and relevant today. If you are not familiar with J.B. Hutto, do yourself a favor and start right here with Hawk Squat!