Thursday, August 6, 2009

J P Soars "Back Of My Mind"

Fairly often I come across someone who has the idea that "The blues are dead!" I've always responded by playing some great music for them--music by newer artists like Albert Castiglia, Ruthie Foster, Dave Gross, the Insomniacs. Well, I have a new disc to add to that list--J P Soars' "Back Of My Mind." J P hails from Boca Raton Florida, and he surely has the chops--he & his band, The Red Hots, won the 2009 IBC in Memphis last February, and he also won the Albert King award there as best guitarist. So it is comes as no surprise that "Back Of My Mind" is a fine cd, with a full compliment of great swinging guitar moments. Soars is joined here by A J Kelly on bass, and Chris Peet on drums. Together, this trio makes up J P Soars And The Red Hots. Other musicians on the project include: Gary Rimmington on electric and upright bass, Terry Hanck on saxophone, Billy Burns on harmonica, Greg Kingsolver on piano, John Epstein on Hammond organ, and Guillermo Lojo on backup vocals. Four of the songs are J P Soars originals, and they fit in quite well with a wide-ranging batch of cool covers, including T Bone Walker's "Low Dirty Deal," J B Lenoir's "Been Down So Long," and Johnny Guitar Watson's "Gangster Of Love." My favorite tracks are the superb Muddy Waters' "Gypsy Woman," with great guitar work, and the original "Baby I Used To Love You" which features an old-timey acoustic feel. The focus throughout the disc is on the whole band, playing music as an ensemble, and some great solos are taken by sax man Terry Hanck and harp ace Billy Burns. Soars brings the great guitar playing that he is known for, and his singing is pretty good too. I'm not sure we really needed another cover of Willie Dixon's "29 Ways" or the Reverend Gary Davis's "Cocaine," but that's just a quibble. Everything here is terrific--top ten nominee for 2009.

You can buy this disc online at

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