Friday, December 28, 2007

The last weekend of 2007

Good morning blues lovers. I saw a t-shirt the other day that said across the front "2007 Sucked." While we are approaching the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008--you have got to be grateful for endings and new beginnings!

For many of my friends, and to some degree for myself as well, 2007 has not been the best year. We lost loved one, we lost jobs, we struggled with relocating our families, there was the war in Iraq and Afghanistan ..... and all together now, that was a tough year. But what we need to remember too at the end of 2007 is that we survived. We overcame losing loved ones and jobs, we overcame moving our families and we got new jobs which in some cases we like better than the old jobs! At the end of 2007 we need to celebrate, we need to party--we need to gather ourselves together in one big sloppy happy hug and sing that song, that old blue song that Guy Lombardo used to sing on New Year's Eve .....

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne ?

No, don't forget anything. We need to remember the tough times we have had, because those tough times make us stronger to overcome the next tough time that will come along. That's the blues talking, and telling the truth.

I hope for all of us a good 2008. And keep the blues alive.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I had a cool Yule!

It was a super good Christmas here yesterday--a beautiful time with family, good food, good giving. I was especially happy about one thing I received--the Sugar Ray & the Bluetones latest cd "My Life, My Friends, My Music." (Severn Records, 2007). Sugar Ray on vocals and harmonica, Michael "Mudcat" Ward on bass, Neil Gouvin on drums, Anthony Geraci on piano---with special guests Duke Robillard and "Monster" Mike Welch on guitars, and Greg Piccolo, Doug "Mr Low" Carl Querfurth and Bob Enos on horns. Friends, this is a great cd! The playing is clean and passionate throughout. You need to buy a few copies! Give em to your friends! I hope you can hear this cd soon.

Tell me what you've heard lately that really made your day. I love to get comments. More from me soon. Keep the blues alive!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Sunday Before Christmas

Remembering the great time I had at the Atlanta Blues Society meeting and howl last Sunday. I joined the ABS, and I met a bunch of great people, and I ate great pulled pork sandwiches, and I got to hear some great local musicians at Tony's American Grille in Roswell. The musical entertainment was brought by Tommy Brown vocals, Albert White guitar, Eddie Boyd on sax, Carlos Capote on harmonica and a great rhythm section. I have heard these guys on their cds, and they are all fantastic bluesmen, and together they knew how to bring the blues with truth and joy and power. It was a great evening, the #1 best good time I've had since I moved to Georgia last September.

The next good night of blues in my future is seeing The Breeze Kings on January 11 at the Fernbank Science Center. The Breeze Kings have been named #1 Blues Band in Atlanta by the Creative loafing for the past SEVEN years. When I was a DJ at KJLU at Lincoln University in Jefferson City one of the bands I loved to play were The Breeze Kings. I regularly got requests for their song "Don't Put No Headstone On My Grave" from their second cd, "You got to Bring Some to Get Some" (2003, Varitone Records).

Have a great Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Typing quietly & listening thru headphones

because son Chris is still asleep in futon behind me. Cold cup of coffee at my elbow, and I'm eating a bowl of oatmeal cooked with cranberry juice instead of water--yummy! I had a bowl of oatmeal in Nebraska City Nebraska one morning last September made with apple juice, and it woke me up. Since then I've never cooked oatmeal with water. And microwave oatmeal is AWFUL!

Good morning to all who might read this, and Merry Christmas.

For the past couple of days I've been listening to George "Wild Child" Butler's cd "Sho' 'Nuff" (Acoustic Sounds, 2001). He has a unique voice, but these past few days it has been working for me. Good harp playing throughout, and what a band! Jimmy D Lane and Jimmie Lee Robinson handle the guitar chores, and the rhythm section is Bob Stroger and Sam Lay. They deliver All Star quality playing, my friends. "Wild Child" has made other records since this one, but I encourage you to dig up this disc. It will not disappoint.

Another artist that has been easy on my ears lately is Big George Jackson. He is on Black & Tan Records, and I "discovered" him for myself on their 2003 sampler "Straight Blues 4 U" where Big George Jackson does two songs, "Tell Me" and "Rubbish Truck." Big George leads a tough sounding razor sharp 4 piece band based in Minneapolis. I'm going down later to the local independent cd shop (Decatur CD--& this is a great shop! Check it out for yourself at: ) and pick up Big George Jackson's cd "Southern In My Soul." Highly recommended.

Actually, I have got to get a bunch of shopping done today--I am not ready at all for Christmas. I will say a prayer today asking for safe travel for everybody who has miles to go ..... and I'll write some more here soon.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fridays can be a Blessing--Thanks Nicole Hart!

This photo is real cool. Nicole Hart is a very fine blues singer with NRG band from up in New York City. Well, when she saw that Albert White was #2 in my "Top 15 Blues Cds of 2007" she sent me this picture--Nicole in the middle with Albert White and Beverly "Guitar" Watkins. It was taken last month at what I think is the best radio station in Atlanta, Georgia, WRFG 89.3 fm.

I am looking forward to hearing Nicole if she & NRG Band ever make it down this direction. Thanks Nicole!

Looking forward and back

Hard to work on this blog today--Christmas is coming fast. My son finished his first semester college finals yesterday and will be home next Wednesday. I am really looking forward to seeing him. At the same time I'm still hurt at the loss of Ike Turner the other day. So many memories related to his music over the years. When I was a teenager I used to go to clubs in St Louis where Ike and Tina used to play. Old timers told me, "They were real good before they got big. Ike was so into music." I heard Buddy Guy say that same thing on an interview with Bill Wax on XM channel 74 "Bluesville" yesterday afternoon. And Ike's passing brings back to my mind so many other who have passed over the years. My mom. Otis Redding. John Lennon. James Brown.

I have many things to do today. Most of my errands are related to my family, including getting ready for my son's arrival. I'll do my chores, but I would really rather put on the headphones and spend one more day with Ike Turner.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ike Turner R.I.P.

I just got word that Ike Turner has died today at his home in California. He was 76 years old. Ike Turner was one of the true architects of American music as we know it. In my mind he was as important to music as anybody. Along with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Bo Diddley, he almost invented Rock & Roll back in the 50s. His song "Rocket 88" was the first Rock & Roll song in 1951, although it was credited to Jackie Brenston, the singer on the track.

Throughout his career Ike was overshadowed by his wife Tina. He discovered her and made her the singer in his band in the mid 50s, and he married her in 1958. He was important as a band leader throughout the 60's, influencing a score of musicians and launching the careers of several. His struggles with domestic violence and drug abuse are well-known. He finally was arrested for drugs and spent 17 months in prison in 1989-1990. After his release he was off drugs and sober. He continued his musical career, winning a Grammy earlier this year for the blues cd "Rising With The Blues."

Ike Turner will be missed. There was nobody like him.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Top 15 Blues cds for 2007

I have been reading a lot of other bloggers' "Best of 2007" lists, and it got me thinking about my Top Blues cds of the year. There have been some great blues cds released in 2007. The first thing I did was junk the idea of a Top Ten. There were just too many good cds to limit it to that. These are the cds I keep listening to.

1. Mavis Staples "We'll Never Turn Back" Anti Records

2. Albert White "Soul Of The Blues" Music Maker

3. The Insomniacs "Left Coast Blues" Delta Groove

4. Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmy Vaughan "On The Jimmy Reed Highway" Ruf

5. Muddy Waters/Johnny Winter/James Cotton "Breakin It Up, Breakin It Down" Sony

6. Nappy Brown "Long Time Coming" Blind Pig

7. John Nemeth "Magic Touch" Blind Pig

8. Gary Moore "Close As You Get" Eagle

9. JJ Grey & Mofro "Country Ghetto" Alligator

10. Sweet Suzi & the Blues Experience "Unbroken" Independent

11. Mannish Boys "Big Plans" Delta Groove

12. Buddy Flett "Mississippi Sea" Out of the Past

13. Philip Walker "Going Back Home" Delta Groove

14. Frank Goldwasser "Bluju" Delta Groove

15. Nicole Hart & the NRG Band "Live" Independent

And these were close but not quite top fifteen--The Soul of John Black, Charlie Wood & the New Memphis Underground, Bobby Rush Raw, Debbie Davies' Blues Blast, John "Juke" Logan The Chill (Re-Chilled).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fantastic Sunday night concert

Gospel and blues are so closely linked that they seem to be two sides of the same coin. Well, when I attended the Christmas concert at St Philip AME Church last evening--"Make A Joyful Noise For Toys: By Candlelight"--my heart was filled up with great gospel music. This was the 23rd annual event, and it was sure great! There were two choirs, a very fine band, the Vanessa Fanning String Ensemble, and a full, supportive sanctuary of folks to play for. Most importantly, there was a good cause to motivate--toys for children for Christmas. Admission was a toy.

The highlights were many. The combined choirs kicked things off with a fantastic version of "O Come O Come Emmanuel" with Mrs. Yolanda DuBose, soloist. This number had fine work by the horn section of Kendell Baker on trombone and Ryan Jackson on trumpet. It was in the pocket! Next up was "Infant Lowly, Infant Holy" with Mr. Carlton Allen, Sr., soloist. As the combined choirs hit the last chorus I swear the whole Sanctuary was moving. We were in Church, y'all! And it went on and on like that for well over 2 hours. It was a terrific opportunity to hear top-notch Gospel music live. Great work by the Sanctuary Choir, by the Choir # 1, by L'Tanya Moore, Director and Music Coordinator, and by everybody who participated.

Towards the end of the evening it was announced that enough toys were collected for almost 700 children. It was a great evening. If you were there you know what I mean. My words don't do it justice--but if you missed it, make plans to catch it next year.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Bad Night With Junior Wells Beats A Good Day At The Office

Albert Castigilia A Bad Night With Junior Wells Beats A Good Day At The Office
Category: Music
Article added by: Dave King

Have you experienced your first big break in your professional career? Albert Castiglia has, rather it may be said he made it himself. Imagine being invited by one of the legends of the Blues to come up on stage to perform a few numbers, this after being cautioned that if he had "sucked", he would have been told so. Well he didn't. Upon finishing a set, he was asked to accompany the same artist on a three city mini-tour, with possibly the same caution. This mini-tour extended well past the third city. Albert would accompany this Blues dignitary "to the end," as his guitarist.
This was no small feat. The legendary artist was none other than Junior Wells. Although Albert was asked to fill in for Junior's guitarist at the time, we all know who Junior had performed with for most of his professional career. None other than the legendary Bluesman Buddy Guy.
How do you prepare for a challenge such as this? Well it's said that success is a point when preparation meets opportunity. Albert Castiglia had honed his skills playing guitar evenings until he was awarded Best Guitarist by the Miami Times Magazine, while working for the state of Florida during the days. When opportunity presented itself, he knew which fork to take in his personal life. And he was prepared. He hasn't looked back. As he says, "A bad night with Junior Wells beats a good day at the office."
Since then he has performed with a host of Blues dignitaries. " After Junior passed, I stayed in Chicago and worked with a bunch of people." he recounts, " I worked with Melvin Taylor, Michael Coleman, Lurrie Bell, Charlie Love, J.W Williams and the Chi-Town Hustlers, Lindsey Alexander, Sugar Blue, Phil Guy, Zanne Mack, Little Mack Simmons, Otis Clay, Billy Boy Arnold and Matthew Skoller. Of course when you live in Chicago, you're bound to jam with just about anybody like Ronnie Baker Brooks or Pinetop Perkins."
He has recently released a new CD that has gotten rave reviews, A Stones Throw. Engineered and produced by Grammy award winners Ben Elliott and Jack Kreisberg, in the same recording where Hubert Sumlin's last CD, "About Them Shoes" was recorded Of it he says " I'm very proud of it." He has every right to be.

It was 1981 when you picked up the guitar for the first time. Who were you listening to then that inspired you to become a guitarist?

At the time, I was inspired by the music my uncle was listening to. He was also the one who taught me the basic open chords of guitar. I listened to Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Stones, a lot of the classic rock guitarists like Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana. Clapton was probably the most influential of those that I've mentioned.

Did you come from a musical family?

Not really. My uncle on my mother's side dabbled with guitar and taught me the basics. My grandmother on my father's side had an accordion but hasn't played it in over 70 years. However, my father's uncle was a professional musician and owned a music store in Connecticut. My father told me that he saw a lot of him in me. He passed away around the same time I picked up the guitar, so he's probably guiding my musical career from up in the clouds (lol).

What was your first exposure to the Blues?

When I was a kid, I had an Eric Clapton album called "Just One Night." It had a lot of blues covers on it. I was intrigued by the stuff on it and I started listening to the original versions of these songs. I then began listening to B.B King, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells, Etc. Then I bought "Hard Again" by Muddy Waters around 1982-84. That was the album that changed my life. After listening to 'Hard Again," I knew I wanted to play blues for a living. The weird thing about that album is that Muddy didn't play guitar on it. It was all Johnny Winter and Bob Margolin. I thanked Bob numerous times for being a part of that project. It opened me up to more of Muddy's classic recordings and Chicago blues in general.

After completing your education, while working as a social service investigator for the state of Florida, you played evenings and weekends throughout south Florida honing your skills as a musician. Did these late hours as an entertainer cause any problems with your day job?

Hell yeah! It was tough playing nights and then getting up the following morning and facing the barrage of paperwork I was going to have to make sense of, or deal with angry clients and supervisors. It didn't really affect my work until near the end of my tenure with the State, but I took care of everything before I moved on to playing music full time. I will admit, I am a better musician than a social worker.

There was a moment that you had to decide between this day job and your evening gigs. Do you recall that moment? Can you describe it for us?

I had been thinking for years on how to make a living playing music and give up the day job. It wasn't easy to do in Miami. The moment I decided I was going to do it was after I was called by Junior Wells to do 3 nights with him in the Midwest. After that I decided to take a chance and try. I took a leave of absence and struggled the first month. Then Junior's road manager called me to join his band full time.

After performing for seven years with the Miami Blues Authority and being awarded Best Blues Guitarist for 1997 by the Miami Times Magazine, you were introduced to Blues great Junior Wells, with whom you were originally going to perform a 3 city mini tour. Tell us about this introduction.

I first met Junior Wells at The Back Room in Delray Beach, Florida on 12-31-96. He was playing a New Year's Eve Show. We had a mutual friend, Gloria Pierce. Gloria persuaded Junior to let me up and play with him at some point in the night. Junior's road manager, Michael Blakemore, told me I'd better be good because if I wasn't Junior was going to let me know it. I told him "a bad night with Junior Wells beats a good day at the office" and that I was up for the challenge. I got up and did a couple of songs with the band, then Junior came up and we did a couple of more songs, 'Messin With The Kid" & "Little Red Rooster". I was walking on air after that night. Junior needed me to fill in for one of his guitarists, Andy Walo, for a 3 day trip to Buffalo, Cleveland and Detroit. The following month Andy left and I replaced him. I was with Junior until the end.

What was it like working with this legend of the Blues?

It was an incredible experience on so many levels. For someone who just the month before was working in a welfare office to touring with, in my opinion, the greatest harmonica player ever, it was a dream. It wasn't always pleasant but it was always an adventure. He was nurturing when he had to be and he put his foot in your ass when he had to.

Was there any one thing that you recall learning from Junior? What was it?

I learned a lot about performing from Junior, how he opened himself to his audience, how he related to them. That's what it was all about. It wasn't just about playing an instrument and singing. It was about making the audience feel like they were a part of the show and that's what he did.

You have since gone on to perform with other Blues legends. Who have you performed with?

After Junior passed, I stayed in Chicago and worked with a bunch of people. I was always everybody's last resort in terms of getting called for work. It was a lot of freelance work, usually to fill in for someone's regular guy. I worked with Melvin Taylor, Michael Coleman, Lurrie Bell, Charlie Love, J.W Williams and the Chi-Town Hustlers, Lindsey Alexander, Sugar Blue, Phil Guy, Zanne Mack, Little Mack Simmons, Otis Clay, Billy Boy Arnold and Matthew Skoller. Of course when you live in Chicago, you're bound to jam with just about anybody like Ronnie Baker Brooks or Pinetop Perkins.

“The fact that you toured and played with some of the heaviest cats in Chicago means nothing when you break out on your own. You have to prove yourself as a frontman, not a sideman”
Albert Castiglia

After Junior's passing you hooked up with the "Empress of the Blues" Sandra Hall. Was this an adjustment?

Not really. I think it was a bigger adjustment going from playing in a local band in Miami to playing with Junior Wells. It took a month or two to get used to touring. Playing with Junior and living in Chicago working with other players made working with Sandra into an easy transition. It helped that she was a great artist in her own right.

You have gone on to perform with other Blues dignitaries. Who?

During my time with Sandra Hall, I didn't work with too many artists. On occasion, I did do freelance work with Stacy Mitchart's band out of Nashville, which I had the honor of backing Rufus Thomas with. I also did some work with Mitch Woods after I left Sandra. While I was with Sandra, players like Bernard Allison, Joe Louis Walker, Pinetop, Susan Tedeschi and Jimmy Vivino jammed with us. I've jammed with so many people, I know I'm leaving some people out. The jams probably meant more to me than they did the big names we jammed with.

How long did you tour with her before you would break out on your own?

I was with Sandra Hall over 3 years.

Since, how many CDs have you released?

I have 3 released CDs : "Burn,"" The Bittersweet Sessions w/Graham Drout," and" A Stone's Throw."

Most recently you have released a new CD for which you have received rave reviews. Tell us about this.

My latest release is "A Stone's Throw." It's on Blues Leaf Records. It was recorded at Showplace Studios in Dover, New Jersey. Hubert Sumlin's last CD, "About Them Shoes" was recorded there. I'm very proud of it. We recorded it in three days. We had Grammy winners engineering and producing with Ben Elliott and Jack Kreisberg.

What other big things do you see for yourself and your band this coming year?

I'm currently working on material for a new album this year. I hope to extend my touring territory further west and get my music out to more people, a manifest destiny of sorts.

I hope this is enough info. Let me know if you need anything else. Thanks Dave.

Albert Castiglia

Posted by rickny at 5:50 AM

Friday, December 7, 2007

Friday afternoon

Do you listen to blues on the radio? Traditionally blues music was accessible in the early days by live performances, and then in the 20s and 30s on 78s and 45s records, and then during the "classic era" of the 50s and 60s on the radio. Now days it's harder to hear blues on the radio--the stations seem to be locked into ever-narrower niches, and none of those niches include blues! Of course, before I start to complain I need to acknowledge that it's not just hurting blues. Remember the last time you heard George Jones on radio? Or Merle Haggard? or John Coltrane? Or Cassandra Wilson? It seems to me that radio is killing itself by chasing the newer and newer at the expense of the great figures of music history. All I know is that I'd like to jump into my car some morning and turn on the radio and hear Ella Fitzgerald or Thelonius Monk or Louis Armstrong or Jimmy Rushing. It would blow my mind!

I expect somebody will tell me that I'm a dinosaur. Some body else will tell me to listen to XM or Sirius Satellite radio. That might work but I am afraid that those services will never reach any more than a small fraction of the music lovers out there. There is just something wonderful about the crackly AM radio at night that can't be duplicated, and FM just stinks.....
There is a station here in this town that says they play 52 minutes of music without interruption every hour. So why is it whenever I get in my car that's when the 8 minutes of commercials starts?

Anyway, I invite you to write in and tell me---where on the radio where you live can the blues be found? Send me the station call letters, the show times, anything that we can share so my readers can find blues wherever we happen to go. I'll share the answers here in a couple of weeks.

Oh, and as my friend the Blues Pilot always says--

Keep the boogie alive!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thank God for Byther Smith

I want to relate a portion of my day this time out. I was running family errands, just the normal "to do" list, and the traffic was beginning to at first annoy me....... and then it began to really aggravate me.......... and then it seemed as though every couple of blocks the traffic was even worse, AND there was some idiot doing something stupid in front of me. Life threatening stupid.

Well, I was sitting there at the next light unable to move and steaming angry and I put my hand in my left coat pocket and found a cd. I pulled the cd out of my pocket and popped it in the cd player without even thinking, and lo and behold, out came the beautiful soothing sounds of Chicago guitar blues-- Byther Smith's cd "Smitty's Blues." (2001, Black & Tan Records) The first track is "Ought To Be Ashamed" and I felt exactly the pain and hurt that Byther was testifying about. I just let this great blues music wash over my battered and distressed soul for a few minutes, and seriously, all my anger was gone.

The rest of today I've been thanking God for Byther Smith. Can you relate? That's one of the reasons why I love the blues.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Two more reviews

Reviews of new releases by two of my favorite women blues singers--Sweet Suzi Smith & Nicole Hart. These women are great! These reviews were sent to me by Rick Lusher. Thanks Rick.

Unbroken-Sweet Suzi and the Blues Experience

Suzi’s short maternity break has left her hyperkinetic, supercharged and raring to go. Chrispy Chicken has produced and horned with big muscular lines and driving speed, albeit being mixed too hot. The band is a steamroller of rhythmic mayhem and melodic manpower. The material is fresh and new yet there are enough old Suzi favs that the disk is like an old friend. The songs are rich, high calorie phat busters with the aforementioned horns, Chrispy’s keys and John Anderson’s tearing ass guitar. From the opening note, rhythm a la Foschino and Pelligrino are Schwartzenegger tough and they make it clear that they’re back! “Does Your Wife Know?” shows the real Suzi, driving her band like a naughty stepchild. “Unbroken” is lowdown blue with hints of desperation. A cover of Roger Troy’s “Shadows” is funky and hot, only to plunge to the depths on Sam Taylor’s “Mama.” “Your Mama’s Talkin’” rocks with Memphis intensity. I like Suzi’s version better that Shemekia’s. “I’d Rather Go Blind” shows madame’s deepest soul. Her gift is rare and precious and few can express emotion this purely and intensely. Just listen to her heart tearing take on Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child.” The disk ends with 2 houserockers. Denise LaSalle’s Slippin’ Out, Slippin’ In” is raw, unpolished power and “The Weight” comes out as funk raver. Unbroken has the heat, the power, the thrust and the blues. Let’s see how this baby pulls the strings on the streets.

doctorblues mark_gresser


Nicole Hart & The NRG Band - Live NRG

Record label scouts take note: Nicole Hart & The NRG Band gots chops! The independently-released "Live NRG" (***) is a splendid showcase for frontwoman Hart and the trusty NRG Band. Though recorded live the sound is crystal clear and mixed right. They slip into a tight groove on the Jazzy Blues original "I Heard", written by keyboardist Lang Ong allowing Gil Parris (David Sanborn) to flex his guitar digits. Guitarist Rich Cohen is also impressive on the instrumental cover of The Allman Brothers "Hot'Lanta" which also has Ong unleashing layers of icy organ and funky drums by Joe Piteo. A great take! Also noteworthy is the version of Koko Taylor's "Voodoo Woman" with Hart delivering a particularly confident vocal. Visit to learn more.

Blues Critic

The Online Home Of Blues & Southern Soul

Posted by rickny at 8:28 AM

Monday, December 3, 2007

Two Reviews

Hot Tuna--Hot Tuna (RCA 1970--reissued 1996 BMG with 5 additional songs)

This is Hot Tuna's debut album. Recorded live at the New Orleans House, Berkeley. Acoustic finger-picking and vocals from Jorma Kaukonen and bass from Jack Casady. Almost all covers, ranging from Jelly Roll Morton to Sam "LIghtnin" Hopkins, with two Kaukonen originals. Good liner notes by Jeff Tamarkin. This has the original Hot Tuna hit, "Hesitation Blues." A fabulous album to enjoy on a Sunday morning or late at night through headphones. One of my favorite releases of the 70s. It still sounds great.

Raw--Bobby Rush (2007 Thirty Tigers)

This is a pretty good cd. All Music Guide (2007) praises "Raw" for it's honesty and its passion--they say it may be the blues cd of the year--I think that's right on. One voice and an acoustic guitar make genuine blues music. Rush is a good writer and a good singer, and his guitar playing and foot stomping moves each song along at a leisurely pace. Ten Rush originals and 3 covers. This cd is similar to Eric Bibb's cd "Diamond Days" (2006 Flat Brim) in subject matter and instrumentation, but I think Bobby Rush delivers the goods with more fire.