Monday, December 12, 2011
Leaflets Vol. 2
Leaflets Vol 2 is a sharp new compilation from the artists on Blues Leaf Records. Leaflets Vol 1 came out in 2001. It was one of my favorite cds when I began as a blues DJ in 2006 because every track was good for airplay. It was on Leaflets 1 that I first heard Janiva Magness sing "Empty Bed Blues" and Stringbean & the Stalkers' great song "Great Change." Well here we are, ten years later, and Blues Leaf brings out Leaflets Vol 2. Like Vol 1, this collection is intended to get these artists some radio air play. It is a fine set, with a tight set of songs by a truly worthy group of artists. These artists are doing it right--making music, touring, working their butts off for not much money or recognition. Things start out with Steve Guyger, just like on the previous collection, this time singing and playing harp on "Sometimes I Wonder." Next up is Paul Oscher playing harp on "All Night." Man o man. Oscher has been playing harp since back in the day. He was with Muddy Waters' Band. Oscher and Steve Guyger made a cd together back in 2000 called "Living Legends." You ought to pick that one up. Next up is the Killer Blues Band, doing the instrumental "Don and Dewey" featuring a lead violin. When you do it right, you don't need to use words. Then three of the top artists in the blues--Sandy Mack "Keep holding On Baby" and Janiva Magness "Nobody Love You Like Me" and Stringbean and The Stalkers "Back On That Horse." Believe me, these tunes cook! Red Young is next, with "Organ Grind Blues," and he makes the Hammond B-3 sing. Then we have Janiva Magness singing the hell out of "Stormy Blues." Sweet! George Friend testifies to the woman who did him wrong with "Whole Lotta Trouble," and Stringbean and the Stalkers recreate the 60s blues sound of John Mayall with a fabulous take of "I Wish You Would." Taking the microphone at the end of that might be a daunting task for any band, but The Tonemasters are up to the challenge with "Goin' With The Flow," the title track from their 2004 release. It is a step back into the 50s Chicago style, a horn-driven song to remind us that blues was once music to dance to. Arsen Shomakhov, the Russian guitarist, steps forth with what I think is his best song so far, "Dangerous," title track from his 2006 cd. And then things wrap up with Albert Castiglia's "Big Toe" from his 2006 cd "A Stone's Throw," another slice of great guitar work and singing.
So that's it. Leaflets Vol 2 is really good. I recommend all the cds by each of these artists. If you are a blues lover and haven't got all these cds, or if you are a new to the blues student, here's a compilation that will introduce you to a bunch of people whose music you need to discover.
You can buy this cd at http://www.bluesleaf.com