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Fresh Biscuits! New Releases July 24, 2015

It’s time once again for new releases. There are a few interesting items this week. First up is a hot new record from Albert Cummings. The first time I heard this guy I didn’t know any of his songs. He arrived at Bluestock without his band, grabbed a couple volunteers to back him up and took the stage by storm (kinda like what the hurricane did to Bluestock). I was floored. I’ve been a fan ever since. For his new disc Someone Like You on Blind Pig, he worked with famed producer David Z and labelmate Jimmy Vivino who leads the Conan show’s Basic Cable Band and has spent time in Butterfield Revisited. Don’t miss this one, especially if you’re a fan of guitar driven blues.

Celebrating Muddy Waters’ centennial is Muddy Waters 100, an official and authorized tribute album featuring pretty much everyone ever. It has John Primer, Billy Branch, Gary Clark Jr., Shemekia Copeland, James Cotton, Bob Margolin, Keb’ Mo’, Derek Trucks, Johnny Winter, Vincent Bucher, Leanne Faine, Tim Gant, Khari Parker, James Teague, Steve Gibons, Keith Henderson, and the Living History Band which includes Matthew Skoller, Billy Flynn, Johnny Iguana, Felton Crews, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith. I haven’t heard it yet but there’s a rumor that electronic drums were used on some of it. Why they would do such a horrible thing I don’t know, but hopefully it’s just a rumor. I thought I’d warn you anyway.

The latest Girls With Guitars dropped a little while back but we missed it, so in case you did too we included it this week. These are usually fun albums and spotlight talented young women making their mark in a male dominated world of guitar worship. I am one of those guitar worshipers and I always look forward to these sets. Eliana Cargnelutti, Sadie Johnson, and Heather Crosse are featured on this latest edition. Eliana Cargnelutti is an award-winning singer and guitarist. She has already shared the stage with the Crème de la Crème of the Italian blues scene and has also collaborated with renowned American jazz and blues guitarist Scott Henderson. At 18, Sadie Johnson may be the youngest musician ever on the Blues Caravan. This native of Bloomington, Indiana has proven equally adept at playing classic old-school country blues to modern-day blues-rock. Leading female artists like Samantha Fish and Susan Tedeschi have encouraged her commitment to the blues. Heather Crosse is also from the USA. She is a respected bassist from Clarksdale, Mississippi and her band Heavy Suga‘ & the SweeTones has appeared frequently at the world-famous Ground Zero Blues Club. This superb trio has upped the ante on future Girls With Guitars new releases for sure.

Beyond these, we have a new disc from Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine called Coulda Woulda Shoulda and the album Mighty Sam McClain was working on at the time of his death – Tears Of The World – with Knut Reiersrud. Lots of good stuff this week so I hope you find something interesting for your ears.

Albert Cummings

Albert Cummings Someone Like You

Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine

Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine Coulda Woulda Shoulda

Mighty Sam McClain

Mighty Sam McClain & Knut Reiersrud Tears of the World

Various Artists

Various Artists Muddy Waters 100

Eliana Cargnelutti, Sadie Johnson, Heather Crosse

Eliana Cargnelutti, Sadie Johnson, Heather Crosse Girls With Guitars

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