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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

Fresh Biscuits! MonkeyJunk – Tiger In Your Tank CD Review

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Tiger In Your Tank (2014 Reissue with Bonus Tracks)
Stony Plain

Tiger In Your Tank is MonkeyJunk’s first album and has now been reissued by their current label, Stony Plain, and the new version includes two bonus tracks recorded in 2014. It’s hard to believe this is a debut album. Their sound seems so fully realized and they play together intuitively like it’s been years but they were a relatively new band at the time of the recording. MonkeyJunk formed around Steve Marriner and Tony Diteodoro, two old friends who enlisted drummer Matt Sobb to round out the trio. Together, they developed their rustic, no-bass sound over a few months of playing live. They were nominated for awards before their debut album came out and the buzz has built to a roar since then.

The album opens with a lonesome harmonica and the Son House quote that gave the band its name. “I’m talkin’ ’bout the Blues. . . I ain’t talkin’ ’bout monkey junk!” and then launches into a high energy take on Muddy Waters’ “I Wanna Put A Tiger In Your Tank.” The insistent beat and snarling guitars propel the song and Marriner’s harp signals the arrival of the chugging freight train MonkeyJunk calls their debut album.  “Pay the Cost” is like a modern day take on “Mother Earth.” No one makes it out alive and the mournful harp and earthy guitar tones remind us of the inevitable dirt nap we all get for playing. “’If You Were Mine” sounds like a Stevie Ray Vaughan take on Otis Rush which probably says more about Otis’ influence on SRV than anything else. MonkeyJunk turn in a fun version with a brisk shuffle pace with some badass barroom blowing on harp from Steve Marriner and a barnstorming solo from Tony D.

Tony D is a skilled slide guitar player which reminds me that guys like Duane Allman, Sonny Landreth, Derek Trucks, Lowell George and the late, great Johnny Winter get all the accolades when it comes to slide guitar but there are a ton of great slide players hiding in plain sight. Unfortunately, with the music business the way it is, you have to actively seek them out. If you are looking for a good one carrying the torch of the legends but melding styles and playing with a masterful touch and intonation listen to Tony D. His slide chops are all over Tiger In Your Tank but he plays in such a natural, organic way that you can hear it and not realize the skill it takes to make it sound that way. For instance, “Blues For Anna” is a classic Chicago Elmore James style slide tune, except that it isn’t. James’ signature riff is missing but not missed because Tony weaves together licks from the Hill Country to the Delta for a swampy, gritty romp through the bayou of Chicago’s South Side.

“Beefy” indeed has a big, bold tone with lyrical playing from Tony D. “Beefy” is a showcase tune for the whole band. Steve Marriner howls and moans on harp, and percussionist Matt Sobb adds a little hoodoo to the big beat. Speaking of hoodoo, “Boogie Man” is surprise take on Freddie King’s Blackwell/Russell composition. This is what cover songs should be: a near reinvention. Any bar band can faithfully reproduce a song and they’ll always be a bar band. MonkeyJunk deconstructs “Boogie Man” and rebuilds it as a swampy, murky stomp that reminds us more of the scary phantom of childhood nightmares than a womanizer in the 70’s discothèques. It might be my favorite Freddie King cover ever.

The additional bonus songs illustrate the continuity of sound this band has had since its debut album. The first is “Lucky One” and is a high energy rocking tune starting off with the fuzzed out guitar riff that fits in well with the 2009 tones on Tiger In Your Tank. It sounds like Sobb is playing a full kit and it’s missing some of the more interesting accents he uses to great effect on other tracks but everything about this tunes says the boys just wanted to rock and I’m right there with them. This is not a throwaway bonus track that leaves you wish the bonus was cash. Well maybe you still want the money, but the song is excellent and doesn’t musically disappoint. “Pueblo” closes the disc with all the hallmarks of this great debut album. Howling, menacing harp, rich rhythmic elements, and sweet guitar tones for miles. I don’t know where this Pueblo is but it’s got to be somewhere in the swamps of Louisiana, among the cypress, tupelo and alligators. For some reason, it reminds me of the way “When The Levee Breaks” ends Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. It’s dark and eerie and keeps you wondering what’s coming next.

So who are MonkeyJunk? Steve Marriner is a multi-instrumentalist supplying vocals, baritone guitar (baritone guitar? yes, please!), and is perhaps known best as one of Canada’s finest purveyors of harmonica blasting and back porch blowing. Steve has toured and performed with Harry Manx and Sue Foley. He’s appeared on Harry Manx recordings, as well as records from JW Jones Blues Band, and Steve Dawson. He also released his own album, Going Up, in 2007. He won the Ottawa Blues Harp Blow-Off at age 14 and got a spot on stage at that summer’s Ottawa Cisco Blues Festival. But is he any good? Yes, he’s good. He also produced the album and played organ on a few tracks. No, he’s not just showing off.

Tony Diteodoro (aka Tony D) has spent 20 years on the Canadian blues scene with his own band as guitar player, singer, and songwriter. He has played festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, toured Europe several times, and played for Canadian Forces troops stationed around the World. He has released six CDs and is active with Blues In The Schools and other charities. So, he’s been around and seems like a nice guy, but can he play? Let’s ask the eight ball… Sources say yes, and they’re quite right.

Last but not least, the engine driver Matt Sobb was a busy Ottawa-based freelance drummer before he joined MonkeyJunk. He has played with Jeff Healey, Johnnie Johnson, Kim Wilson, Colin Linden, and Lee Oskar just to name a few. He can play any style and uses a variety of percussive instruments to add texture and accents to the MonkeyJunk sound. But can he play the blues? Well if Kim Wilson is calling you, you can play the blues.

Together these gentlemen have created a unique sound beyond classification; breaking blues barriers and building a reputation as custodians of the modern blues. Their sound is at once Chicago Blues, swampy Louisiana Blues, Mississippi Hill Country meets Delta Blues with a dash of Folk, Country, and Funk. It could be a disaster musically but they deftly pull it off, seemingly with no effort at all and that’s how you know they’re good. It takes work, practice, and skill to create something so fresh from forms so old. If Son House was around, he’d surely be talking about MonkeyJunk now.

Please support the artists and Blues Biscuits by shopping through our links. Thanks!

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases For July 29, 2014

It’s another slow week Biscuiteers. Apparently July is not a big month this year for new blues releases. There are two very exciting live CD new releases this week though. First is the latest installment in Johnny Winter‘s Live Bootleg series. We lost Johnny on July 16, 2014 and he will be sorely missed. The Live Bootleg series, from Volume 1 to this new Volume 11, is a great way to remember why we loved him. I pre-ordered mine from Amazon and can’t wait for the mail tomorrow.

Another archival live release is the sprawling 6 CD set from The Allman Brothers Band. The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings features live recording from the shows on the weekend of March 12-13, 1971 that gave us the legendary At Fillmore East album plus their show from the closing of the Fillmore East on June 27, 1971. This is not strictly blues, but they explored the outer reaches of blues and jazz improvisation like no band before or after and influenced blues players everywhere.

Rounding out this week is a reissue with bonus tracks from Monkeyjunk. This is a reissue of their 2009 debut Tiger In Your Tank.

With the passing of Johnny Winter and The Allman Brothers Band bringing its career to an end this year, we are reminded we should get out there and see our favorite performers while we still can. Hopefully Monkeyjunk will keep going for a while. Get out there and see them!

Fresh Biscuits – July 28, 2014

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Johnny Winter – Live Bootleg Series Volume 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Allman Brothers Band The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings
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6 CD Edition, 3 Blu Ray audio discs, or 4 LPs (which appear to be a partial sample of the set)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MonkeyJunk – Tiger In Your Tank (reissue + 2 bonus tracks)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please support the artists and Blues Biscuits by shopping through our links. Thanks!