Posted in blues, Classic Rock, Music, Uncategorized

Savoy Brown – “Witchy Feelin’”feels fine

Savoy Brown

Savoy Brown – “Witchy Feelin’”feels fine

Savoy Brown has been around since the mid’ -60’s and recorded over 30 albums. While recording on Ruf in recent years, The band has often played with mystic themes, with titles such as Voodoo Moon and The Devil to Pay. Witchy Feelin‘ has definitely got some of that, woven in with some tunes that are just plain spectacular guitar-driven blues-rock.

While the band has had many different lineups in 52 years, Kim Simmonds is still and always has been part of it, and it has always delivered great blues-rock. You will know they have not slowed down by the first notes of the first song, “Why Did You Hoodoo Me?” And when the vocals kick in, you realize Kim Simmonds still sounds just as perfect for this music as he always has, as well as being a guitar wizard.

The pace slows a bit as things get swampy for”Living On The Bayou,” with a strong Dire Straits feel and a cast of interesting characters. “Can’t Stop the Blues,” on the other hand, is a down and dirty rocker which still manages to incorporate some spooky imagery into a basic tale of a breakup.

Next comes the title track. “Witchy Feeling” is an eerie song with some really tasty guitar fills and vocals from Simmonds.
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We take a break from the spooky stuff for “Guitar Slinger”, a rocking bit of storytelling based on the first time Simmonds saw Roy Buchanon back in 1969. “Vintage Man” continues the nostalgia with a happy boogie-woogie about a man who loves everything old.

“Standing in a Doorway” is my favorite track on the album because the wicked slide guitar brings such joy to my heart. It’s a slow Southern-rock flavored ballad that simply shimmers with Simmond’s guitar magic. .It is followed by the flat-out rock of “Memphis Blues” and “Can’t Find Paradise.”

Wah-wah hits you and tremolo abounds in “Thunder, Lightning, and Rain,” and the drummer keeps the beat pounding while the bass is thrumming as Simmonds takes us back into the dark zone.

The album ends with a beautiful jazz instrumental. “Close to Midnight,: which gives you the feeling that whatever has gone before, it is all going to be all right.

All three members of Savoy Brown do an excellent job here, but Kim Simmonds is the beating heart of Savoy Brown, and after 50 years, he has never sounded better.Witchy Feelin’ is a wonder.

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Posted in blues, Film, Music

Sidemen: Long Road to Glory

Sidemen: Long Road to Glory

Pinetop Perkins. Hubert Sumlin. Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. These three men helped make some of the most influential and recognizable electric blues music in the world, as sidemen for Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. But they were the sidemen, and it was The Wolf and Waters who got the glory.

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“I was getting the scraps, they were getting the money,” explains Perkins in one of many film interviews,

Yet it should not be thought hat Sidemen: Long Road to Glory is a bitter movie. Not at all! Despite going through some hard times after Wolf and Muddy died, all three men continued their careers into their eighties and nineties and lived to see at least some of the fame they deserved. They died within eight months of each other in 2011, shortly after Perkins and Smith won a Grammy for their album Joined at the Hip. At 97, Perkins was the eldest Grammy winner ever.

Hubert Sumlin played guitar for Howlin’ Wolf (and, for a short time, for Muddy,) while Perkins and Smith played with Muddy Waters, Perkins on piano and Smith on drums (and also driving the bus.) The many anecdotes indicate that while their relationships with the big men were complex, they loved Wolf and Muddy and their lives on the road.

This film treats these three important men first and foremost with respect. It shows how all of them, but especially Sumlin, influenced the young British musicians like The Rolling Stones and Clapton, with great archival footage. Many contemporary musicians, poignantly including the now-deceased Johhny Winter and Greg Allman, offer homage, Others who speak on film are Joe Bonamassa, Shemekia Copeland, Warren Haynes, Robby Krieger, Joe Perry, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. All attest to the real significance of these sidemen to the development of blues and rock and roll.

The film points out the great shame thatnone of these three men are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A ouching moment in the film shows Sumlin talking about how he wanted to be there, up on the wall with The Wolf. He hoped to live to see it, but that didn’t. and still hasn’t, happened.

Nevertheless, this is a story of men who did what they wanted to do and did it so well that hey changed music for good. They deserve to be remembered with love and respect, and this film helps make that happen. You will come out o it with a strong compulsion to listen to their music again, which is exactly what a film documentary should do.

Credits:
Production companies: Red Hawk Films, Red Thread Productions
Distributor: Abramorama
Director: Scott D. Rosenbaum
Screenwriters: Jasin Cadic, Scott D. Rosenbaum
Producers: Jasin Cadic, Tony Grazia, Emmett James, Scott D. Rosenbaum, Joseph White
Executive producers: Fabrizio Grossi, Alan Rudolph, Pat Scalabrino
Directors of photography: Robby Baumgartner, Daniel Marracino, Brian McAward, Declan Quinn, Joseph Quirk, Greg Wilson
Editor: Bo Mehrad

 

 

Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

Music Review: Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind – ‘Approved by Snakes’

Music Review: Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind – ‘Approved by Snakes’

  This article originally published by Rhetta at Blogcritics.org

Jason Ricci has always been honest and open about his often difficult life, filled with trips in and out of addiction, brushes with the law, and questions about his sexuality. His experience, until he finally made a turn toward sobriety and found the love of his life who just recently became his bride, was full of danger. He has taken all that dark and ragged experience and poured it into Approved by Snakes.

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It is not for the faint of heart or for those with easily offended ears. Keep this one away from kids! It also was not written with airplay in mind, running nearly 80 minutes long, with eight of its 11 songs running over five minutes, some nearly to 10.

But Ricci is a harmonica wizard, one of the best on the planet, and he is not afraid to use electronics to enhance his playing even more, getting more out of a harp than a man should be able to. The Bad Kind are amazing, too, with Sam Hotchkiss and John Lisi on guitar, Andy Kurz on bass, and Adam Baumol on percussion/drums. Ricci is also a dramatic vocalist, and together they create dark, gritty magic.

The album kicks off with the eight-minute epic, “My True Love Is a Dope Whore,” which has Ricci reciting in his ragged voice the reality of the dark streets where degradation rules, and then breaking into pain-filled music, including an amazing guitar and harmonica solo in the middle that feels like it might rip your soul apart. This tale of love, hate, degradation and despair is as honest as anything I have ever heard on a recording.

Things get funky for “Something Just Arrived,” which celebrates the arrival of something in the house. Wonder what that might be? The guitar and bass slither along with the harp to draw you in and mesmerize you.

“Demon Lover” starts with a hypnotic harp run, followed by ominous bass before Ricci presents a piece of modern mythology, in which a beautiful demon crosses the sea and steals his soul and more.

“My Mom’s Gonna Yell at You,” written by Lisi, offers a blessed lightening of the mood. Lisi shares the vocals with Ricci, and it bounces along as it explains just what mom will do when the culprit reaches heaven.

But we are thrown right back into darkness with “Broken Toy/I Fink U Freaky.” Ricci delves back into all his old insecurities and fears on the first part of this medley: “I’m too well for the hospital/I’m too sick for all the healthy/Too rich to be a poor man’s slave/And too average for the wealthy” and emphasizes it with a bit of ” I Fink U Freaky” from South African rap group Die Antwoord.

Next is another welcome break, this one a 10-minute cover of jazz sax player Eddie Harris’s “Listen Here,” which gives Ricci a chance to introduce the band and let them strut their stuff. It includes a touching story about Lisi, who is a New Orleans legend in his own right. After the band stretches out for a bit, Ricci inserts a rap, followed by a tremendous drum solo by Baumol. What a trip!

“Terrors of Nightlife” was written by Dax Riggs. Even the choice of covers for this album reflects brilliance. This one is pure poetry, aided vocally by Black Betty. It is followed by “I Got Cleaned Up,” a reggae-infused bit of biography about the problems and rewards of changing your life.

Now that we’re through the darkness and things are looking up, they get funky with “I’m Too Strong for You,” which is followed by Lisi’s original tune “Disconnect” (about not listening to what media tries to sell you), and the deeply affirmative “515.”

Whether you like it or whether you don’t, this album will move you. Like the label says, it is “Explicit” in every sense of the word. I believe snakes would approve, and so do I.

Posted in blues, Celebrity musicians, Music, Uncategorized

‘The Best of Muddy Waters’ to be released on vinyl for the first time in 20 years! Chess Records too!

Muddy Waters on vinyl again! Here is the press release:

 muddy

Los Angeles – October 10, 2017 – Few pieces of art have been as influential as Muddy Waters’ seminal debut album The Best of Muddy Waters, a humble piece of vinyl released by an upstart label in 1958 that served as The Big Bang for rock ‘n’ roll and the ensuing half century of modern popular culture. On November 10, Geffen/UMe will celebrate the forthcoming 60th anniversary of Waters’ first album by reissuing The Best of Muddy Waters on vinyl in original mono for the first time in 30 years while also making it available for download and streaming for the first time ever, giving new and familiar listeners a reminder of the bluesman’s truly incandescent music. Preorder The Best Of Muddy Waters here: https://UMe.lnk.to/MuddyBest

 

Born McKinley Morganfield in Mississippi in 1915, Waters was initially a sharecropper playing his acoustic guitar for change and tips at rural plantation parties. He migrated to Chicago in 1943 where he brought together a pipeline of the city’s top musicians to create, refine and define the modern blues. While he was undergoing this transformation, millions of rural Southern blacks were making the same journey, and their stories and music were working into the popular consciousness – and capturing the imagination of a restless teenage suburbia increasingly open to new things in the rebellious 1960s.

 

An assemblage of Waters 78 RPM recording made between 1948 and 1954 for Chess Records, The Best of Muddy Waters captured Waters’ growth from acoustic artist to archetypical electrified band leader and charted the exciting evolution of blues. Rolling Stone awarded the timeless greatest hits collection a rare five-star review, hailing the 12 songs as “one masterpiece after another,” and exclaiming, “Throughout, Waters embodies a persona that simmers with lust, loss and menace. His voice intimates threat, never more so than when he unleashes his gripping repertoire of moans, howls, hollers, hums, groans and growls.” Continuing, “The tension-wire whine of his slide guitar and the hypnotic drone of Little Walter’s harmonica often mimic the cadences of Waters’ voice, creating the claustrophobic impression that the singer’s pain, desperation and explosive urges are the only emotions that exist. Charms, spells and erotic magic suffuse these songs.”

 

Between the thematically fitting bookends of opener “I Just Want to Make Love to You” and unforgettable closer “I Can’t Be Satisfied” – rock ‘n’ roll’s mission statement if ever there was one, the album laid the blueprint for modern blues, rock and even country music, with monumental recordings like “Rollin’ Stone,” “Honey Bee” and “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man.”

 

It was weathered, scratched, well-traveled copies of The Best of Muddy Waters – often passed hand to hand – that launched a revolution due to its influence on future British and American rock ‘n’ roll stars. Waters’ deeply emotional, often foreboding and always mysterious music helped inspire the imagination of acts such as the Rolling Stones – who take their name directly from Waters’ music – Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Led Zeppelin, The Band and so many others. These artists in turn took their love and appreciation of Waters to millions of listeners and aspiring musicians, creating a timeless feedback loop that continues with each generation. Waters’ music arrived at important crossroads moments in both the bluesman’s personal life and that of the nation.

 

The re-release The Best of Muddy Waters gives fans a chance to examine this masterpiece again, a classic work of art that both inspires creative genius and entertains casual fans in ways that changed popular culture.

 

The Best of Muddy Waters track listing:

 

Side A
1. I Just Want To Make Love To You
2. Long Distance Call
3. Louisiana Blues
4. Honey Bee
5. Rollin’ Stone
6. I’m Ready

 

Side B
1. Hoochie Coochie
2. She Moves Me
3. I Want You To Love Me
4. Standing Around Crying
5. Still A Fool
6. I Can’t Be Satisfied

muddywatersofficial.com
facebook.com/muddywatersofficial

 

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Posted in Uncategorized

Laser Lloyd New Album and Video

Laser Lloyd New Album and Video

Laser lloyd has a new album out, Freedom’s Child, and a new and powerful video,”America,” to go with it.  As always,Lloyd;s intention is to spread love, light and positivity  while being open and honest.

https://business.facebook.com/lazerlloyd/videos/2018636321713219/

The album can be found at:

Spotify: https://tinyurl.com/ybqcr2mb
iTunes: https://tinyurl.com/yc5qaxpy
Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/yc28dajf

Posted in blues, Music

Ted Drozdowski and The Scissormen – ‘Love and Life’

There is no one else like Ted Drozdowski. He is part bluesman, part psychedelic rocker and he manages to fuse the two into something magical. With the support of The Scissormen, he takes listeners on a real musical trip, from the rock of “Beggin’ Jesus” and the menacing “Letter From Hell”to the haunting, poetic ghost story  “The River” to the almost pure blues of “Unwanted Man.”

drozdowski

He’s a born storyteller, sharing tales of Watermelon Slmi,. here renamed Watermelon Kid, the late R.L:. Burnside, and his grandparents who died of Black Lung Disease from working in the Pennsylvania coal mines. Sometimes he sounds somewhat like Dylan or even. on “Dreaming On the Road, like Donovan.But he always sounds unique, and with all his vinage guitars, amps, pedals and a diddley bow or two, he and The Scissormen create something wonderful.  Just listen to the amazing drone on “Can’t Be Satisfied” to hear what I am talking about!

If you haven’t experienced Ted Drozdowski and The Scissormen, it;s time you did. You may have to listen twice to really orient to what you’re hearing but you’ll find out. It getsin your bones!