Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Review: LLuis Coloma "Boogie Portraits"

I got a package in the mail the other day, and in it I found the new cd by Lluis Coloma. I was listening to it and my wife walked by. She said "That's real good." Now you wouId have to know my wife to understand, but that's HIGH PRAISE. Normally I review guitar based discs, and when I play one of those somehow she seems to find an excuse to go out for a while. Not only did she listen to this one, but she sat down and listened to it with me. This has never happened before!

This is a great disc if you like boogie woogie style piano. Lluis Coloba is a leading European blues pianist, and he has made a great cd of hot energetic accessible blues piano music. I was exhilerated after listening to the first song here, "Coloma's boogie," but I couldn't wait to hear more! The rest of the songs on the disc are all duets with other great pianists, recorded live at Nova Jazz Cava Terrassa & Centre Cultural Barradas L'Hospitalet in Europe between September 2007 and January 2008.

This may be the best recorded live piano disc you'll ever hear--Coloma's piano comes out through the left channel, the guest pianinsts' come out the right channel. "Coloma's Boogie" starts things off at a high level, and the performances just keep getting better. Next up is a wonderful take of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" with August Tharrats that sounds like they are channelling Big Joe Duskin. Then a rollicking New Orleans style "Red Beans" with Mitch Woods on 2nd piano and vocal, and then a slow and beautiful "C C Rider" with Carl Sonny Leyland. Things reach a high water mark with the Ivory Joe Hunter tune "I Got To Learn To Do the Mambo" with Julien Brunetaud on 2nd piano and vocal--just great. Other highlights are "Honky Tonk Blues Bar Boogie with Frank Muschalle and "School Days On My Mind" with Barrelhouse Chuck on 2nd piano and vocals.

This disc is on the Swing Alley label and it should be out soon. Pick it up for a great disc of piano mastery.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Review: Sum' Mo' Chikan

James "Super Chikan" Johnson and his band, the Fighting Cocks, have come out with a new cd, "Sum' Mo' Chikan." At first I thought Super Chikan was some kind of comedy act, a wanna be player, sort of like Bruce Willis or Steven Segal, and I just didn't want to have time for his act. Then I sat down and began to listen to Super Chikan's music. I heard this album, and after 2 or 3 listens I am a man with a changed mind. I was wrong about SuperChikan. (I might still be right about Steven Segal, but we'll take that up another time.) According to Wikipedia, Super Chikan is the nephew of Big Jack Johnson, and he got his start playing bass with the Jelly Roll Kings. Well, that's a pretty good pedigree. Nowadays Super Chikan plays regularly at Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale Mississippi. I bet he makes skeptics into fans every time he turns on his guitar and steps up to the mic. This is a good cd--it starts out with "Freddy's Thang," which is just "Hideaway" done over a bit sideways, and then it follows with two songs "Crystal Ball" and "Hookin' Up," two autobiographical songs that still make me laugh out loud. These songs remind me of my childhood in the best way. Then the songs, the guitar, and the vocals all just keep getting better. By the time you get to the last song, "Coochie Daddy," you feel like you're listening to a friend. There are lots of upbeat joyful tunes here, it's well written and well played. Give it a chance and you'll probably like it. If you think your blues world is already full without letting this guy in, you're just missing out. This cd is on the Vizztone Record label.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Last night I saw Nicole Hart & NRG (energy) Band

They were live at Darwin's in Marietta Georgia--a fantastic room--and they put on a really good show! Let me admit that I have championed Nicole Hart for nearly 2 years now, but wow! She was coming home last night--she is a native Atlanta girl--and she made everyone at Darwin's feel like a member of the family. Nicole is now fronting a new band with one terrific exception: she still has Lance Ong, keyboard player extrordinaire and musical arranger. The new members include Jared Kahn on Guitar and Alvin Harrison on bass and a new drummer whose name I couldn't catch. This new NRG band gives Nicole's vocals a much younger louder and more NRGetic (energetic--get it?) "launching point" than the band captured on the "Live" Nicole Hart & NRG Band cd that came out in 2006. Comparing the show I saw last night with that album showed me that somebody needs to get this band into the studio right away. They have improved by leaps and bounds in the last two years. I was impressed last night by every part of the show. Tonight they are at Harry A's club in St George Island, Florida, and they will soon (July 17-18-19) be playing at Pineapple Willie's at Panama Beach, Florida. Keep up with Nicole Hart & theNRG Band--they have a MySpace page, and they are represented by Blues Boys & Divas, and their website is:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Live shows and bootlegs available for trade

I know this has nothing to do with the blues, but with this post I want to list the live shows and bootleg cds I have in my collection. These are the result of almost a year of blogging and following leads and visiting with people. These came to me without cost. If you who read this list see anything you would like, send an email to me at and let me know. I'll get back to you, and maybe we can work out a trade. I want to try and do this without any money exchanging hands for either of us--my intent is not to get rich. I just want to make these available to other music lovers.

Here's what I've got:

Bob Dylan Live at Finjan Club Montreal Canada 1962
Fleetwood Mac Live at the Carousel Ballroom San Francisco CA 6-8-68
Hubert Sumlin & the Butanes Live at Famous Dave's Barbecue & Beer Minneapolis MN 9-22-07
Bob Marley & the Wailers Live at the Record Plant Sausalito CA 10-31-71
Derek & the Dominos Live with Duane Allman Soul Mates Tampa FL 12-1-70
Paul MacCartney Live at Amoeba Records Hollywood CA 6-27-07
Bob Dylan Darkness at the Break of Noon 1978
Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street Outtakes aka "Exile Stones"
The Replacements Live at CBGB's 10-12-84
REM Live at Florida Atlantic University 9-29-84

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Review: austin "walkin' cane"--murder of a blues singer

This is one fine blues disc. Austin "Walkin' Cane" Charanghat comes out of Cleveland playing acoustic and electric and slide guitars and singing with a great full-of-life baritone voice. This is his fourth cd under his own name since 1997--he participated on Chris Allen's 2007 cd "Lonesome Stars." From the website: "The Walkin' Cane Band featuring Mike Barrick on bass, Michael Bay on guitar & Jim Wall on drums captured the perfect "live in the studio" feeling that Charanghat & co-writer Chris Allen had envisioned for these songs. The band is a "well oiled machine" & has been writing, recording & performing together since 1998. Special guests on "Murder of a Blues Singer" include Colin Dussault (Colin Dussault's Blues Project), Eric "Eroc" Sosinski (Michael Stanley, Wish You Were Here) and one of Cleveland's finest gospel groups, the Prayer Warriors." This is the sort of collection of songs that Sonny Boy Williamson and Son House and the old timers made--it sounds absolutely effortless, the kind of music that Eric Clapton could never dream of making. There is a lot of authentic honest music making happening here--the band and the songs bring together a great tight sound and they tell a story. There are ten songs here: eight originals by Charanghat and/or Allen, and a cover of Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave is Kept Clean" and a cover of Robert Johnson's "Ramblin' On My Mind." The cd is on Lazy Eye Records and the website is: Http://