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Fall New Releases For Your Christmas List

It’s the holiday season again and that mean gift giving. This fall there has been a treasure trove of Blues new releases and you’re sure to find something for all the Blues lovers on your shopping list and maybe even something for yourself.  Guitar fans will find Mike Zito, Walter Trout, Todd Wolfe, Tommy McCoy, Popa Chubby, Gary Clark Jr., Dave Weld, Jay Willie, Leslie West, Tommy Castro, and Arlen Roth‘s Slide Guitar Summit. Legends like Robert Cray and John Mayall have new releases. Harp fans can dig into new releases from Chris O’Leary, Harmonica Shah, Charlie Musselwhite, and an expansive collection from Ruf called Blues Harp Women. If a blues fan on your list has been very good this year you might consider getting them the omnibus 14 disc Paul Butterfield complete albums box set. You’ve been good this year right? Get yourself one too.

There’s a mess o’ blues this year so grab an eggnog, dig in deep and check out these hot new items from the last few months. Check your list twice, there’s a lot you don’t want to miss!

Andy Santana

Andy Santana & The West Coast Playboys Watch Your Step!

Anthony Geraci

Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars Fifty Shades Of Blue

Arlen Roth

Arlen Roth Slide Guitar Summit

Joe Bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa Live At Radio City Music Hall

Walter Trout

Walter Trout Battle Scars

Leslie West

Leslie West Soundcheck

Tommy Castro

Tommy Castro Method To My Madness

Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown

Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown The Devil To Pay

John Mayall

John Mayall Find A Way To Care

Mike Zito & The Wheel

Mike Zito & The Wheel Keep Coming Back

Paul Butterfield

Paul Butterfield Complete Albums: 1965-1980 14 Disc Box set

Shemekia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland Outskirts Of Love

Danielle Nicole

Danielle Nicole Wolf Den

Duke Robillard

Duke Robillard The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard

Joe Louis Walker

Joe Louis Walker Everybody Wants A Piece

Guy Davis

Guy Davis Kokomo Kidd

MonkeyJunk

MonkeyJunk Moon Turn Red

Various Artists

Various Artists Blues Harp Women

Jonn Del Toro Richardson

Jonn Del Toro Richardson Tengo Blues

Steve Howell & The Mighty Men

Steve Howell & The Mighty Men Friend Like Me

The  Jimmys

The Jimmys Hot Dish

Colin Linden

Colin Linden Rich In Love

King Louie & LaRhonda Steele

King Louie & LaRhonda Steele King Louie & LaRhonda Steele

Lara Price

Lara Price I Mean Business

Eric Bibb and JJ Milteau

Eric Bibb and JJ Milteau Lead Belly’s Gold

Kevin Selfe

Kevin Selfe Buy My Soul Back

Thorbjorn  Risager & The Black Tornado

Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado Songs From the Road

The Claudettes

The Claudettes No Hotel

Dave Weld And The Imperial Flames

Dave Weld And The Imperial Flames Slip Into A Dream

Mitch Woods

Mitch Woods Jammin’ On the High Cs

Chris O'Leary

Chris O’Leary Gonna Die Tryin’

The Robert Cray Band

The Robert Cray Band 4 Nights of 40 Years Live

Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr. The Story of Sonny Boy Slim

Laurence Jones

Laurence Jones What’s It Gonna Be

Harmonica Shah

Harmonica Shah If You Live To Get Old, You Will Understand

Dudley Taft

Dudley Taft Skin and Bones

Jay Willie

Jay Willie Johnny’s Juke Joint

Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie Musselwhite I Ain’t Lyin’

Dave & Phil Alvin

Dave & Phil Alvin Lost Time

Popa Chubby

Popa Chubby Big, Bad And Beautiful – Live

Nikki Hill

Nikki Hill Heavy Hearts Hard Fists

Loren Connors

Loren Connors Live In New York

Les Copeland

Les Copeland To Be In Your Company

Todd Wolfe Band

Todd Wolfe Band Long Road Back

Andy Cohen

Andy Cohen Road Be Kind

The JC Smith Band

The JC Smith Band Love Mechani

Andy Poxon

Andy Poxon Must Be Crazy!

Tommy McCoy

Tommy McCoy 25 Year Retrospective

Al Basile

Al Basile B’s Expression

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!

Fresh Biscuits! Weekly CD Reviews – February 28, 2015

NickMossBandTimeAintFreeNick Moss Band
Time Ain’t Free
Blue Bella Records
Released on March 18, 2014

Nick Moss has been a fixture of the Chicago music scene since the early Nineties. He plays regular gigs at Buddy Guy’s Legends, he’s played with Jimmy Rogers and Jimmy Dawkins, and counts Ronnie Earl among his biggest fans. In 1993 he joined The Legendary Blues Band led by Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Nick’s career as a bandleader kicked off with 1998’s First Offense and it’s been building slowly but surely into a proud legacy. This legacy has grown by leaps and bounds with the last few records and in many ways those were building toward the crowning achievement that is Time Ain’t Free.

I don’t know what in the Hell this music is called. It’s got Blues, Boogie, Soul, Gospel, and Rock & Roll. It’s Little Feat, Mavis Staples, Muddy Waters and Booker T. and that’s just in one song. It should be a mess but it’s marvelous. Nick Moss and his band have emptied the pantry and come up with one of the best damned recipes you’ve ever seen. This is musical comfort food. Nick’s records have always carried his influences but with Time Ain’t Free he has finally found the perfect balance. A major added dimension to the music is vocalist and second guitarist Michael Ledbetter.

Michael is a descendant of Huddie Ledbetter aka Lead Belly. He grew up hearing soul singers but at age 15 he decided to become an opera singer. He spent eight years in the Chicago Opera scene before deciding to focus his talents on Blues. The Blues scene and the Nick Moss Band are better for it. Nick moss deserves a lot of credit for inviting this talented young man into his band and slowly giving him a bigger share of the spotlight. I saw the band a few years ago at 2nd Story Blues in Bethlehem, PA and Michael was fairly new to the band. He sang a few songs and did terrific background vocals. After the show he was humble when complimented and was focused on paying his dues. Nick Moss knows all about paying dues and has obviously been a great mentor. Ledbetter sings six tunes on Time Ain’t Free and has or shares writing credit on a few as well. Of these tracks, “Fare Thee Well” is the benchmark by which all others shall be judged. This is a song that brings the whole band together for a glorious moment of aural perfection.

Time Ain’t Free captures your ears with the first raspy slide guitar licks of “She Wants It” and melts your face with album closing instrumental “[Big Mike’s] Sweet Potato Pie.” “Was I Ever Heard” is a rollicking march with swirling keyboards courtesy of Bryan Rogers. Drummer Patrick Seals propels this tune and Nick Moss lets loose torrents of raunchy guitar licks that contrast beautifully with the softness of the chorus and background vocalists Tina J. Crawley and Lara Jenkins. Bryan Rogers keyboards are like the gravy that ties it all together on a lot of these songs. I sure he hope he used a B-3 and not some digital reproduction. The music on Time Ain’t Free is so earthy and rich that I’d be heartbroken if it was infected with fake B-3. It sounds great whatever it is, but it’s the principal of it! I guess I could let it slide since the band covered “Bad ‘N’ Ruin” by the Faces and Mr. Rogers offers up stellar playing that would make the late, great Ian McLagan proud.

The decision to cover a song by the Faces gives you an idea where this band is and where they’re headed. No influence is avoided. Instead, all influences are blended into a distinct Nick Moss Band sound. When Moss solos, he is incandescent. His guitar playing is passionate, poisonous, and proud. His licks in “Been Gone So Long” are illegal in five states, yet in “Fare Thee Well” he uses a cleaner tone, inhabits the groove and releases soul stirring notes to the heavens. The riffs on title track “Time Ain’t Free” are a stuttering jolt of energy and Moss harnesses that energy to fuel his fiery solos.

Time Ain’t Free is a reminder that truly great music is still be made today. While the mainstream is giving accolades to auto-tuned pabulum spewing fashionistas, Nick Moss Band is cranking out honest, gripping music and taking it to the people one town at a time. Don’t waste your time on Celebutantes of Pop or any of the Blues Pretenders to the Throne out there, your Time Ain’t Free and it deserves the real deal.

SteveEarleTerraplaneSteve Earle
Terraplane
New West Records
Released on February 17, 2015

According to the liner notes, Steve Earle only believes two things about the Blues: they are the common denominator of the human experience, and someday he would make this album. Damn if he wasn’t right on both accounts. Terraplane is that album. Not only can Steve play the Blues, but he can write engaging songs that seamlessly fit into the tapestry started on a plantation over 100 years ago. Arguably the album is named for Robert Johnson’s “Terraplane Blues” and ol’ Bob Johnson is named checked on “Tennessee Kid” so it’s no surprise Steve Earle has taken Johnson’s approach to Blues. Johnson melded music from all around into his own distinct sound. You all remember “They’re Red Hot” right? On Terraplane, Earle takes common themes, common patterns, and common words and much like the rest of his catalog, stirs them into something wholly uncommon.

I thought the best thing about a Blues album from Steve Earle would be the utter lack of re-tread lyrics, but the best thing about Terraplane is the sound. It’s a big, wide open sound. The instruments have room to breathe, the guitars get gritty, the drums can be felt coming through the speakers, and Earle’s voice is expertly captured, retaining all the snarl, melancholy, and loss. The feeling of dread is undeniable when he all but whispers the awful truth that “the balance comes due someday” at the end of “Tennessee Kid.” While the lyrics of the songs on Terraplane are sometimes clever and often poignant, there is the seemingly throw-away chorus of “Baby Baby Baby (Baby).” It must be a tongue-in-cheek tip of the hat to classic blues that were more about the feeling conveyed than the actual words. Still the song has one of my favorite lines in “I got a little girl that live way down south, a little town they call ‘shut my mouth’” and it’s a strutting harmonica fueled shuffle that would have sat comfortably between Little Walter and James Cotton at a Muddy Waters show.

Earle was joined in the studio by his faithful compatriots Kelly Looney on bass, Will Rigby on drums, Eleanor Whitmore on fiddle, and Chris Masterson on guitar. Steve sings of course, and plays harmonica, guitar, and mandolin. Eleanor duets with Steve on “Baby’s Just As Mean As Me” and ups the ante considerably. She has a classic voice for blues, somewhere between Billie Holliday and Lil’ Johnson. Chris Masterson plays beautifully crafted solos and fills. He never over-steps, over-plays, nor over compensates for having no sense of the music. He knows the music and from his guitar work you can tell he feels it. The whole band seems to play like hive mind hell bent on groove. Terraplane is a testament to their collective artistry.

Steve has made a lot of music over the decades and a lot of it has been indefinable even though everyone has tried. But Steve Earle knows the Blues. He knows it isn’t defined by twelve bar shuffles, minor sevenths, never-ending Elmore James slide licks, or blowing through the Blues Box guitar scale as fast as you can. It’s a feeling, and you can’t fake it no matter how hard you try. Over the last eight years or so of writing about blues I’ve seen a lot of bands and heard a landfill full of questionable blues records. There’s a lot of crap out there. If you want to save the Blues, you better start feeling it because without the feeling isn’t worth a good god damn. Maybe the Blues will be saved by aging artists and fans that come to realize they need more authentic music in their lives. Today’s One Direction and Beyonce fans will eventually be 50 and looking for a greater meaning in their world and the music they choose to fill the empty spaces. They may turn to the Blues if it isn’t over-run by self-congratulatory musical masturbators singing “Woke up this morning” between 100 bars of speed exercises. Steve Earle knows all this. He’s known it for a long time. Steve has lived the blues. He’s fought demons inside and demons in Nashville. He’s had everything and he’s had nothing. He’s had the blues and he’s always made music with hints of blues. He writes honest songs. He’s not pretentious but he isn’t afraid to step up on the soapbox either. He’s me and you and we all have the Blues. With Terraplane he’s put those Blues together in one record. With an eye to the past put rooted firmly in the present, Steve Earle has offered an authentic document that defies description and pigeonholes, but is quite obviously blue. I knew Steve Earle wouldn’t let us down.

DaveAlvinLiveInLongBeach1997Dave Alvin with Billy Boy Arnold,Gatemouth Brown, and Joe Louis Walker
Live In Long Beach 1997
Rock Beat Records
Released on February 17, 2015

Flying in under the radar recently is a new release on Rock Beat Records that features a live set recorded in 1997 during one of many in a series of Blues Unplugged show at Cal State University Long Beach. The shows were put together by KLON program director Gary Chiachi who had been involved in the Long Beach Blues Festival. On this particular night in 1997, founding member of The Blasters and CSULB alum, Dave Alvin was on the bill along with Blues luminaries Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Billy Boy Arnold, and Joe Louis Walker. Dave Alvin may not be the first name that pops into your head when you think Blues Unplugged but in this setting, Alvin’s blues roots come to the surface and crack every sidewalk in town.

Last year Dave and his brother Phil released Common Ground, an album of Big Bill Broonzy tunes, so it is not surprising that Dave covered a Big Bill Broonzy song on that night long ago. “Tell Me How You Want It Done” also turned up on Common Ground but here it is stripped down to just Dave and his guitar. Dave quips to the audience that it’s a guitar song he’s never managed to play correctly all the way through. He does a damned fine job though and his earnestness comes through. Even before the days of The Blasters, Dave and his brother Phil would follow blues musicians around and talk their way into the gigs. They spent a great deal of time with Big Joe Turner who Dave calls “maybe the greatest human who ever lived” as he introduces “Chains Of Love.” Dave puts all his heart and soul into this sublime version of the tune. Dave ends his set with a slow, earthy version of The Blasters tune “Long White Cadillac.”

As good as Dave Alvin’s set is, the magic really starts with the collaborations. First up, Dave joins Billy Boy Arnold on a chugging Bo Diddley style number called “I Wish You Would” that Arnold actually wrote back when he was playing with Bo Diddley in the 50’s. This is a veritable classic, with a great hook that hangs around long after the tune is over. This stripped version is a little slower, but Arnold’s harp howls and moans over Dave’s rhythm that rolls on steady like a southbound train. When Dave joins Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, they play an impromptu tribute to such a train, the “Wabash Cannonball.” According to Brown, Dave didn’t even know they were going to do that tune prompting Gate to say “man this guy’s great.. I pulled that one out, he didn’t know I was gonna do it!” Gate’s fiddle and Dave’s guitar combine for two minutes of train-hopping hobo blues that ends all too soon. Leave it to Gatemouth Brown to whip out “Beer Barrel Polka” at a Blues show and play it in a Hillbilly fashion on a fiddle. He takes a few moments to tell Dave how they’ll be playing it and ten away they go. Dave’s strumming is percussive and steady as Gate fiddle’s fiery and furiously, better than any kid in Georgia giving the Devil the business. Johnny, when you’re done bring that fiddle made of gold over to Gate’s house. It’s his.

The disc ends with Billy Boy Arnold, Joe Louis Walker, Gatemouth Brown, and Dave Alvin playing a pair of tunes. Oddly, the back cover leaves gate out of the credits for the last two tracks, but he is mentioned in the liner notes and by the MC on the disc. The first tune is a loose jam that ended up named “Long Beach Blues.” Obviously impromptu, its cohesion is a testament to the language of the Blues and the ability of the performers to converse musically. For guitar enthusiasts this jam is the go-to track on here. Walker blazes on slide, Dave rips out some fiery licks he became famous for in the Blasters and Gate trades his fiddle for his guitar and rips it up with the boys. This is a blues jam the fans always hope for but rarely get. It is off the cuff and brilliant with guys who never played together, listening to each other, playing for fun, and having a great time. The set ends with Gatemouth Brown’s “It’s A Long Way Home.” The song recalls Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key To The Highway” and the wide open feel provides a perfect close of this meeting of journeymen. For me, these last two tracks with all four musicians makes this set worth the price of admission. Live In Long Beach 1997 is a rare time capsule of an authentic Blues jam between masters of the form who leave their egos at the door and just have a good time playing honest, satisfying music. Don’t let this one pass you by.

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases For February 2015

It’s new releases round up time again. This week we’re combining the last two weeks’ new releases because there wasn’t much for either one but we want to let you know about what’s new. It seems Steve Earle has joined the ranks of Blues musicians, at least for this record. Steve has always had a fair amount of Blues in his music so this one should be interesting. I never really saw Steve as a country artist; to me he is a roots rockin’ singer/songwriter and no matter the genre he always comes up with good music. Keep an eye out for this one. 

There’s also a great 1997 live set from Dave Alvin where he joined Gatemouth Brown, Billy Boy Arnold & Joe Louis Walker for a rousing Blues jam. Other archival releases include a Leadbelly box set and a Mississippi Fred McDowell live album with recordings from 1971.  Igor Prado Band with Delta Groove Allstars offers a set of collaborations including two songs featuring the late great Lynwood Slim performing Lowell Fulson’s “Baby Won’t You Jump with Me” and Paul Gayten’s “You Better Believe It.” There’s also brand new music from Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, and Little Freddie King. It’s not a big new releases list but there’s plenty of exciting possibilities for your ears this time around.

Steve Earle

Steve Earle Terraplane

Dave Alvin

Dave Alvin, Gatemouth Brown, Billy Boy Arnold & Joe Louis Walker Live In Long Beach 1997

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band So Delicious

Igor Prado Band with Delta Groove Allstars

Igor Prado Band with Delta Groove Allstars Way Down South

Little Freddie King

Little Freddie King Messin’ Around Tha Living Room

Fred Mcdowell

Mississippi Fred Mcdowell Live 1971

Lead Belly

Lead Belly The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

Hump Day! Risque Tunes For Your Midweek Blues 2/4/15

BluesBiscuitsHumpdayDamn it’s cold out there! Especially if you’re anywhere from Sweet Home Chicago eastward. It’s Hump Day and we all need a little warmth in our lives this wintery week to get us through. Thankfully, plenty of blues men and women have some suggestions for us.

Howlin’ Wolf offers his “300 Pounds Of Joy” to keep you warm. I’m guessing he’s not talking about slow cooking a side of beef, but meat is definitely being offered, if you know what I mean…

Alexis P. Suter has a few ideas to warm you up this winter. She explores them in her song “Big Mama.” “Big mama gonna play with you, big mama gonna see you through.” She cares. She wants to warm you up – up being the operative word. Candye Kane has similar thoughts. She knows you need a “Great Big Woman” this Hump Day to show you how to love. Your temperature is rising already isn’t it? At least, I think it’s your temperature.

Big Twist & The Mellow Fellows are looking for some heat, and ladies they want to you to keep your hot box burning. “Don’t Turn Your Heater Down” please, they need your heat all around them. Finally we have Joe Louis Walker agreeing with the ladies of the blues as he looks for a “Big Fine Woman” to warm his heart and other organs. That sounds dirty.

No matter what you’ve got, shake it, roll it, bump it, and hump it. It’s hump day after all!

Howlin’ Wolf Three Hundred Pounds of Joy

Alexis P. Suter Band Big Mama

Candye Kane Great Big Woman

Big Twist & The Mellow Fellows Don’t Turn Your Heater Down

Joe Louis Walker Big Fine Woman

 

 

Fresh Biscuits! Friday Fast Five CD Reviews August 8, 2014

Welcome to the first installment of Friday Fast Five CD Reviews. I hope to do this every week. There’s a lot of music out there to sort through and we’re here to help you find something appealing. The idea is to present five short and to-the-point reviews in 300 words or less. Yeah, I didn’t think I could do it either!

Maybe you’ll love something I don’t and maybe you won’t like something I love. Be sure to comment here, or on Facebook or Twitter. Alright, let’s get to it…

 

AndyTNickNixonBand-LivinItUpAndy T & Nick Nixon Band
Livin’ It Up
Delta Groove
Released June 17, 2014

Livin’ It Up is the follow up to Andy T & Nick Nixon’s 2013 breakout album Drink Drank Drunk. It’s big but uncluttered, crisp, clean Rhythm & Blues. Nick Nixon has a smooth voice and a heartfelt delivery. Andy T mixes classic guitar influences from T. Bone Walker to Jimmy Rogers into a personal style with rich tone that avoids being derivative. These guys know the importance of creating your own music beyond your influences and they do it well. They claim to play Chicago, Texas, and New Orleans Blues and R&B. Somehow they manage to wrap all those styles into a singular package without getting messy or losing the plot.

“Livin’ It Down” is ostensibly the title track. She undoes everything he has and while she’s out there livin’ it up, he’s trying to live it down. He had his “ducks in a row and she shot ’em.” That’s cold! The words are playful and fun even though Nixon gets continuously dumped on by his erstwhile love. Nick Nixon is a consummate vocalist and varies his intensity according to the song. He can be silky smooth or rasp saw rugged and Andy T plays exactly what’s needed to accompany his partner’s voice. Both men work for the song, making every track a keeper. The band falls in behind and consistently delivers big grooves and deep blues. Larry Van Loon is a master of Hammond B3 dynamics and Ron Jones and Dana Robbins shine on saxophone. Producer Anson Funderburgh puts it all in the blender and serves up fresh organic blues with the finest ingredients. If you want fun, good time blues with a vintage feel this is your band.

 

AnthonySherrodRedsJukeJointSessionsAnthony “Big A” Sherrod & The Cornlickers
Red’s Juke Joint Series Vol. 2
Independent
Unknown release date – Summer 2014

Anthony “Big A” Sherrod is around 30 years old, plays guitar like a man possessed, sings from his soul, and entertains a crowd like he was born for the stage. He’s the total blues package and very few people have heard of him outside Clarksdale, MS. Very little about him can be found on line and if not for his two stellar performances at Briggs Farm Blues Festival this past July I’d know even less about him. This CD was, as the title suggests, recorded at Red’s Lounge. Red’s is one of the last true jukes in Clarksdale and is featured heavily in the film We Juke Up In Here. Big A is also featured in the film and wrote the title song for the film. This disc captures the energy of Big A’s live show, backed by Big Jack Johnson’s former band, The Cornlickers. The Cornlickers are tight and know every blues lick ever played, every rhythm, every chord. The music in their collective soul and they get the house rockin’ every time.

Sherrod works the crowd like Buddy Guy, and even covers one of Guy’s latter day tunes “Midnight Train.” In his hands it becomes a raucous down home jam instead of the Jonny Lang-overwrought-singing, big-production crossover blues. Anthony plays it so funky you could smell it – something Buddy should have done. “Big A” personalizes “Have You Ever Been Mistreated,” bends the notes long and hard and heats things up by having Rita Engedalen join in for a vocal duet. At the center of the album is a nine minute excursion called “The Blues Is Serious.” Even though Big A has some fun with it and the crowd, you can tell this young man is a serious rising star. The set closes with a raucous “Got Something On My Shoulder,” with Anthony digging deep and playing from the gut. This is good time, Mississippi groove music and it translates well to disc. Keep an ear to the ground for Anthony “Big A” Sherrod. His train will be leaving the Delta shortly and hopefully coming to a stop near you.

Roger Stolle has informed us that Anthony’s CD is available to order from his store in Clarksdale, MS – the legendary Cat Head.



Joe-Louis-WalkerStonyPlainJoe Louis Walker
The Best Of The Stony Plain Years
Stony Plain
Released June 17, 2014

Joe Louis Walker has been on his share of labels, which happens with a lot of blues artists. Stony Plain has released a selection of tunes from his tenure there. From 2008 to 2010, Joe Louis Walker made three records, 2008’s Witness To The Blues, 2009’s Between A Rock and The Blues, and Live On The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise in 2010. I like it best when Joe rocks it up a little and there is plenty here to scratch that itch from “Eyes Like A Cat” and “I’m Tide” to “Slow Down GTO” but there’s something for everyone here. There’s the big band R&B of “Black Widow Spider,” the jazzy jam of “Highview,” the heart-wrenching soul of “You’re Gonna Make Me Cry” featuring Curtis Salgado, and acoustic back porch blues on “Send You Back.”

JLW’s plaintive vocals and outstanding guitar playing are mainstays of the collection no matter what direction Joe sends the music. Part of the fun of a Joe Louis Walker record is wondering where it’s going next. He’s a blues man by trade but he is a well-rounded musician who draws inspiration from a multitude of sources. He has become a master of compiling those sources on record and keeps them coherent. The Best Of The Stony Plain Years gives a glimpse of all Joe’s styles and because of his eclectic tendencies, this works well as a standalone album.

 

RickEstrinNightcatsLiveRick Estrin & The Nightcats
You Asked For It…Live!
Alligator Records
Released July 8, 2014

Rick Estrin & the Nightcats are the result of Little Charlie Baty retiring in 2009. The band Little Charlie & The Night Cats changed the name, added Chris “Kid” Anderson on guitar and took off with their new moniker. The sound has remained familiar as Estrin has always been the singer, harp player, and principal writer. His sly lyrics, self-deprecating humor, and astute word play make the songs interesting and the band can play anything. They can get deep in the pocket, funk it up, or dust up the boards with a rollicking shuffle. The new disc, by popular demand, is You Asked For It…Live!

There’s a lot of good humor here including “My Next Ex-Wife,” “New Old Lady,” ‘Dump That Chump,” and “That’s Big.” Estrin’s harp playing is in fine form all over this album and it no surprise that he is every bit as good live as he is on record. Kid Anderson has settled into his role whether comping behind the soloist or burning up the fret board. He’s a full-blown Nightcat by now and brings a lot of energy to the band. “Smart Like Einstein” gives everyone a chance to jam and keyboardist/bassist Lorenzo Farrell plays his ass off, and effortlessly covers the deep end even when working his magic on the keys.

Surprisingly, the disc has no tracks from the band’s two albums as Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, so I’m not sure how well it represents their live show, but it’s only one disc and maybe they didn’t want to repeat recent offerings. What we do get on You Asked For It…Live! is energetic and entertaining especially with Estrin’s stage banter and stories. Whatever the reason, if You Asked For It…Live!, you got it: 76 minutes of fun.

 

SuitTyThurrstyPeopleInTheStreetCDSuit Ty Thurrsty
People In The Street
FYI Music
Released December 16, 2013

Suit Ty Thurrsty play Blues, Rock, Funk, Soul, & Hip-Hop. I don’t know if it’s a new hybrid or not but they are convincing. The trio is named for its members Tom “The Suit” Forst, Tyree “TY” Pope, and Pedro “Bigg Thurrsty” Johnson. Their assorted backgrounds meet in R&B and Soul and their music weaves in and out of the modern R&B idiom. This isn’t James Brown’s R&B nor it is blues, but it’s not not-blues either. It’s a peculiar mix. Many songs have group vocals that maintain the R&B/Soul vibe, however, much like the real People In The Street, there is a lot of diversity here. “You Make Me Real” draws from ballads of sidewalk soul singers and “Drawers” rips everything wide open with its punky metal blues. There are nods to Jimi Hendrix all over this record, most obviously on “Diamonds” which has parallels with “Purple Haze,” especially during the verses. “Same Old Song” is the closest to straight blues but it also has a 70’s blues rock feel and squealing ZZ Top style guitar leads.

Suit Ty Thurrsty is trying to be a lot of things at once and while I can appreciate the desire to avoid being pigeon-holed, sometimes you need to establish a tone for your music and build from there. People In The Street has the feel of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. It’s messy and scattered and even includes a bonus track alternate version of “Same Old Song.” It’s like they’re saying “if you didn’t like the hard blues version here’s a funky urban version.” Their overall success might be better served if they pick one and stick with it. They do offer samples on their website so check it out.

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases For June 17, 2014

There are several blues releases this week. At Blues Biscuits we are striving to be your go-to resource for new release information, dates and itineraries. We hope you’ll check in every week and see what’s fresh from Blues hearth.

This week’s batch features a stunning new set from Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and retrospective sets from Too Slim & The Taildraggers, Joe Louis Walker, and Long John Baldry.

Fresh Biscuits  –  6/17/14

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters – Good News

Ronnie-Earl-Good-News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nighthawks – 444

Nighthawks444

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mannish Boys – Wrapped Up And Ready

MannishBoysWrappedUpAndReady

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vaneese Thomas – Blues For My Father

VaneeseThomas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy T – Nick Nixon Band – Livin’ It Up

AndyTNickNixonBand-LivinItUp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alastair Greene Band – Trouble At Your Door

AlastairGreene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colleen Rennison – See The Sky About to Rain

ColleenRennisonSkyAboutToRain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Louis Walker – The Best of the Stony Plain Years

Joe-Louis-WalkerStonyPlain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long John Baldry – The Best of the Stony Plain Years

LongJohnBaldryStonyPlain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too Slim and the Taildraggers – Anthology

TooSlimAnthology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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