Tuesday, May 29, 2012

J T Coldfire -- "Always & Never"

J T Coldfire is a fine guitarist and singer and songwriter, and if you like blues, this is a cd you need to pick up. J T is based in Austin Texas, and if you know anything at all about the music scene in Austin you know that to stay there you have got to bring it. J T can hold his own with the best Austin has to offer. He wrote all the songs, and he arranged and produced everything here. And let me tell you, everything POPS! The ten songs cover the waterfront from party blues to acoustic to everything in between. The band is JT on guitars and vocals, Roland 'Woe' Guajardo on harp and backing vocals, Pelle Sundquist on drums and backing vocals, Magnus Edland on bass and backing vocals, Ingemar Rogefeldt on guitar and backing vocals, Anna-Carin Borgstrom on duet vocals owith J T on "Let's Go For A Drive," Per Eric Johannsson on piano, Bjorn Lexelius on organ, Kaj Sundqvist on sax, and Glas-Goran Dahlberg on accordian. It's a big band, with an upfront blues sound, and they all play and sing just fine. In fact, "Let's Go For A Drive" is my favorite song on the cd. But throughout, JT leads the band with his fine vocals and rip-roaring guitar. "Party Lovin Pappa" sounds good like Roomful of Blues, with hot harp work. "Get It On (In The Back of the Bar)" is the closest you're likely to come to the Stray Cats rockabilly sound, including a hot piano driving the beat and a great sax solo. There's good lyrics about life and love in "I'm The Best Thing You Ever Had." You could hear "Tired Man's Blues" on a polka radio station, as it features a hot accordian.

J T has been a well-kept secret, but I'm glad to blow the lid off that. Get this cd and see if, after hearing it once, you'll play it again. By the third or fourth time you listen, you'll be carrying this cd with you so you can play it for your friends. Listen for these tracks to start turning up on your favorite blues radio station. J T is that good. Trust me.

You can buy this cd at http://www.jtcoldfire.com

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Phantom Blues Band -- "Inside Out"

The Phantom Blues Band was originally formed as a studio band to back up Taj Mahal on his 1993 cd "Dancin' The Blues." They backed Taj Mahal for over a decade, traveling all over the world and winning two Grammys and a W.C. Handy Blues Award. "Inside Out" is their third cd with the group on their own--their previous efforts are "Out Of The Shadows" (2006) and "Footprints" (2007), both on Delta Groove Records. This new disc is on Vizztone, and it features the same core band members--Tony Braunagel on drums and percussion, Larry Fulcher on bass on vocals, Mike Finnegan on keyboards and vocals, Darrell Leonard on trumpets, Joe Sublett on saxes, Johnny Lee Schell on guitar and vocals. Special guests on "Inside Out" include Lenny Castro on percussion, Joe Sample on keyboards, Denny Freeman on guitar, and Reed Noble on vocal. As is true every time the Phantom Blues Band makes a cd, everything is tight and soulful and the songs are in a variety of styles. The band members wrote the majority of the songs, and there are some interesting covers: Smokey McCallister's "I Can't Stand It," Charlie Rich's "Feel Like Goin Home," Dave Bartholomew's "Little Fernadez," Doc Pomus's "Boogie-Woogie Country Girl," and Jimmy McCracken's "Shame Shame" all receive the Phantom Blues Band treatment and come out sounding great. Only on the Son House song "Death Letter" does the band struggle a bit--and I think that is because there's not enough for everybody in the band to do on this so-often-overplayed song. I think my favorite song changes with each listen--but today I really like the way everybody in the band seems to dig in and give a great performance on the Fulcher/Sublett song "So Far From Heaven." The first time I heard it I wasn't all that impressed, but with each additional listen I get more impressed. I don't know any other band who could play it as well. Other than that slight stumble trying to do Son House, this is a really great record. As Sirius/XM BB King's blues channel's Bill Wax says in the promo sheet, "One of the best I have heard in the last few years. I could comfortably play all the songs on it." You can buy this cd at http://www.phantombluesband.com

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Playlist: Bruce's Texas Blues Show

PLAYLIST PLAYLIST PLAYLIST Here's the playlist for Bruce's Texas Blues Show last Thursday, May 3rd. I got a bunch of good used cds from Decatur CD a week ago today and those allowed me to play a bunch of new (to me) songs. One thing I really enjoyed about this show was I got to play Joe Medwick singing "I Pity The Fool." Joe Medwick wrote that song! I had always thought it was a Bobby Blue Bland song. Anyway, I hope you will listen to the Texas Blues with me--it's live every Thursday from 4-6pm eastern time at http://www.goldradio.org Anyway, here's the playlist. I've marked the new songs: T-Bone Walker--Blues Is A Woman Freddie King--Have You Ever Loved A Woman Bobby Blue Bland--Turn On Your Love Light Lowell Folson--Reconsider Baby ZZ Hill--Down Home Blues Big Walter Horton--Trouble In Mind Diunna Greenleaf--Sunny Day Friends Ray Wiley Hubbard--Snake Farm Ray Wiley Hubbard--Coricidin Bottle (new) F&G Band--You Don't Sing The Blues, The Blues Sing You Slim Harpo--So Many Roads, So Many Trains Cee Cee James--Watermelon Lucy Doyle Bramhall--I'd Rather Be (Blind, Crippled & Crazy) Ruthie Foster--Aim For The Heart (new) Lightnin' Hopkins--Give Me Central 209 (Hello Central) Joe Medwick--I Pity The Fool Lowell Folson--Come Back Baby Johnny Nicholas--Hey Hey Buddy Flett--Done Somebody Wrong Texas Slim--Expresso Girl U P Wilson--Hold On Baby Robert Cray Band--On The Road Down Johnny Winter--Last Night Peter Karp/Sue Foley--We're Gonna Make It (new) Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble--Wham The Reverend Payton's Big Damn Band--Mississippi Bolweavil Blues Nathan James & The Rhythm Scratchers--Chosen Kind (new) J T Coldfire--It's Alright With Me (new) Junior Brown--Guit-Steel Blues Phantom Blues Band--I Can't Stand It (new) Jimmy Reed--Big Boss Man Howlin' Wolf--Spoonful

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bob Corritore & Tail Dragger -- "Longtime Friends In The Blues"

Bob Corritore & Tail Dragger have made a very fine cd together. They have a history both as friends and blues players--they met when they played together at a tribute show in 1976 to honor Howlin' Wolf, who had died the day before. Tail Dragger hired the young Corritore to play with him many years ago. Now Corritore has returned the favor, hiring Tail Dragger for this cd. Bob is one of the very best Chicago harmonica players around; Tail Dragger (aka as James Yancy Jones) is one of the best blues singers anywhere. Together here they make beautiful blues music. In addition to Tail Dragger on vocals, & Bob Corritore on harmonica, "Longtime Friends In The Blues" features a great band made up of Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass, Brian Fahey on drums and the wonderful Henry Gray on piano (and vocals on "Sugar Mama"). Howlin' Wolf's influence becomes apparent on "Longtime Friends In The Blues", when only a few short seconds into the opening track, Tail Dragger blasts out the words, "I'm Worried, Babe I'm Worried About You" sounding just like the Wolf. From that moment on we are on a great Chicago Style Blues ride. The next song is the Sonny Boy Williamson song "Sugar Mama," which opens with a sizzling harp wail from Corritore and continues with vocals by Tail Dragger and Henry Gray. Following "Sugar Mama" there is no letdown, as we hear "Birthday Blues," which is simply wonderful. Special kudos to the rhythm section here--they push things along real well here and on all the songs. This is not a nostalgia tour--this is a real fast ride! Next we hear "She's Worrying Me," which may be the best song here. Tail Dragger's vocals here are truly amazing. Tail Dragger wrote that one, and he also wrote "Cold Outdoors," another chance for Henry Gray to shine on piano. The next track, "So Ezee" is a message song about getting people to wake up. If all moralizing came wrapped in this sort of hot blues, I'd be a fan of protest music for sure! This song is also a showcase for Bob Corritore's driving harp, along with great guitar work from James and Fletcher. Henry Gray especially shines on the boogie-woogie number "Boogie Woogie Ball." The closing track "Please Mr Jailer" is the longest of the ten songs on "Longtime Friends In The Blues," and another great performance by the entire band. "Longtime Friends In The Blues" is a wonderful Chicago Style Blues Album. Great vocal work from Tail Dragger, great harp work from Bob Corritore, plus outstanding performances from Henry Gray, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey. Special note for those who read the liner notes--Chris James & Patrick Rynn are becoming, together, about the best players you can get to make a great blues record. Many thanks for his help with this review to John Vermilyea. You can buy this cd at http://www.deltagrooveproductions.com/