Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Bad Boy" Perhaps Is Magic Slim's Last Recording


Bad Boy on Blind Pig unfortunately is the final recording of Morris ‘Magic Slim’ Holt who passed away on February 21, 2013 at the age of 75. Over the past forty-five plus years Magic Slim and the Teardrops toured all across the United States (eventually establishing the Zoo Bar in Lincoln Nebraska as home base) and around the world captivating blues lovers with their non-stop Delta-rooted Chicago blues. A terrific live band, Slim's recordings usually captured this.

The last edition of the Teardrops included Andre Howard on bass, Jon McDonald on second guitar, and Brian “BJ” Jones on the drums and they provide the strong driving rhythm to propel the twelve performances here starting with the Eddie Taylor blues that provides this album with its title. Its a pretty diverse collection of material including an interesting rendition of Denise LaSalle’s Someone Else Is Steppin’ In, with Howard contributing a second vocal. One of the best tracks here is a driving rendition of Detroit Junior’s I Got Money, with plenty of stinging guitar, and the following Sunrise Blues, which is a prototypical Magic Slim performance at medium walking tempo.

Girl What You Want to Do is a driving number with a bass line that evokes Mustang Sally and certainly will fill dance floors. I do believe Slim previously recorded for the Austrian Wolf label Roy Brown’s Hard Luck Blues, but certainly there was nothing with him revisiting. Gambling Blues, is a rocking original and the Teardrops get the tempo up for J.B. Lenoir’s How Much More Long, although it doesn’t strike me as one of the most realized performances here. Better is Matchbox Blues, a clever reworking of Albert King’s recording, with plenty of stinging guitar and a tight groove.

A spirited instrumental Country Joyride concludes this album although unfortunately Slim will no longer able to play for us later as he tells us during this tune’s closing. Given the fact Magic Slim had a few dozen albums over his life time, one might be hard-pressed to include this as among his best. Perhaps a couple tracks here are not Slim at his best, but there is still much first-rate blues on Bad Boy.

I purchased my copy. Here is Magic Slim performing the title track.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Albert King's Born Under A Bad Sign Even Better Remastered


The latest addition to the Stax Remasters series of Concord is the classic Albert King album, Born Under a Bad Sign. Previously reissued on CD in 2002, this latest remastered edition includes five previously unissued bonus tracks. Originally issued in 1967 it was amongst the earliest blues albums I purchased (I may have bought it in mono not stereo) and still remains among my favorite blues albums of all time and is one of those blues records that truly are essential.

Originally comprised of three singles along with five songs from another session, King backed by Booker T and the MGs and the Memphis Horns, the album contained a number of recordings that became staples of the blues and rock world including the title track, Crosscut Saw, The Hunter, As The Years Go Passing By, and Laundromat Blues. Whether first recorded by King or not (such as Crosscut Saw originally done by Tommy McClennan and then The Birmingham Blues Boys, or As The Years Go Passing By originally performed by Fenton Robinson for Duke), King placed his stamp on every tune including the unexpected delight of his take of the Ray Noble ballad The Very Thought of You.

The album’s impact can be seen by Cream’s cover of the title track as well as Ike and Tina’s cover of The Hunter (with Albert Collins on guitar), and covers of his music that continue to today. This album as much as any Albert King album displays the strength of his vocals as well as his guitar playing with his tone and nuanced playing. Included are alternate takes of the title track, Crosscut Saw (with an additional chorus at the end), The Hunter, and Personal Manager, as well as an untitled instrumental. In the liner booklet, Bill Dahl provides an astute overview of the music. Michael Point’s notes from the previous reissue along with Deanie Parker’s original 1967 liner notes also are included. As I previously stated, Born Under a Bad Sign is an essential blues album, and this Stax Remasters release improves on its earlier CD reissue.

I received my review copy from a publicist. Here is a video of Albert performing Born Under a Bad Sign.



Friday, March 29, 2013

Little Bit a Blues at Blues Alley

Warner Williams is a Washington DC area blues treasure that many outside of Washington may not be aware with. Over the past couple decades he has performed with harmonica player Jay Summerour as Little Bit a Blues. Warner will not fly and accordingly does not travel that often although he has played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and some other national blues and folk festivals.

Wednesday, March 27, Warner and Jay, with Eric Selby on drums, celebrated at the Washington DC night club Blues Alley, the release of their new CD Live at B.B. King's Bluesville with a marvelous set of acoustic blues that ranged beyond the already wide repertoire of songs on the CDs including Warner's take on such classic blues as Key To The Highway, Digging My Potatoes, I Feel So Good, Greyhound Blues and Good Morning Little Schoolgirl. Warner's fluid guitar was a delight as was his warm baritone and delighted the Blues Alley crowd.

Jay Summerour, Eleanor Ellis and Eric Selby at Blues Alley on March 27, 2013
Eleanor Ellis, one of the finest female acoustic blues women alive opened with a set that included songs from Memphis Minnie, Jim Jackson, Pink Anderson and Simmie Dooley and Little Hat Jones-Andy Boy. Eleanor was also backed by Jay and Eric for her set. Her renditions of Memphis Minnie tunes are better than most by the better known, but not more talented artists, on the recent Memphis Minnie tribute album Maria Muldaur put out recently. Elanor is that good and its time for her to do another CD.

It was an evening of superb acoustic blues. Warner and Little Bit Blues will be appearing at the Pennsylvania Blues Festival on July 28, 2013. here is a link to that festival, http://www.skibluemt.com/seasonal-activities/pa-blues-festival/.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Selected DC Area Blues For the Month of April

Otis Taylor will be at Blues Alley

Back when I edited the DC Blues Society’s newsletter, I highlighted what I thought were especially interesting shows. In that spirit, here are a few blues highlights for April.

April 3 - Otis Taylor at Blues Alley. Otis is touring in support of his latest Telarc album “My World Is Gone,” where he has a special guest, Native American guitarist Mato Nanji. This is of Taylor’s most moving recordings with deceptively simple, stark and understated performances of his songs that convey the tragic times Native Americans have endured better and the presence of Mato Nanji on this tour is especially welcome. 

April 3 Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Birchmere. The Carolina Chocolate Drops have led the revival of tradition African-American String Band music with an eclectic and delightful repertoire and are making a welcome return to the area.

April 6 Grant Dermody & Rich DelGrosso, perform at a House Concert at the Glassie/Littell House in Bethesda. Grant Dermody is one of the really fine harmonica players out there. Rich DelGrosso is among the few blues players who focus on the blues mandolin, but his talents go way beyond that. Rich and his late wife Maureen played a fantastic concert for the DC Blues Society back in 1990 with the legendary Howard Armstrong where they were joined by Cephas and Wiggins at the end. Email Jeff Glassie at jeffglassie@ gmail.com if interested in attending.
Deanna Bogart will be wailing as part of the
Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue at
the State Theatre. Photo © Ron Weinstock

April 17 Lloyd Jones at the Archie Edwards Blues Barbershop. Portland, Oregon based singer-guitarist has earned a reputation for his funk-drenched urban blues style but is a very gifted songwriter will be making an appearance performing solo at this mid-week show at the Archie Edwards Blues Foundation’s Barbershop. For those who want a preview, check out his excellent 2011 album, “Highway Bound” on Underworld Records.

April 19 The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue at The State Theatre. The popular 
The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue featuring Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, Deanna Bogart, Magic Dick, and Ronnie Baker Brooks makes another appearance at The State Theatre. This popular revue led by Tommy Castro, is an offshoot of the revue which has become a popular feature of the Legendary Rhythm and Blues cruises.

April 20 - Janiva Magness at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club. Janiva is a marvelous vocalist who brings a clarity as well as plenty of heart to his blues, most currently displayed by her Alligator recordings. On this tour she is supported by a band that includes a superb keyboard player Jim Alfredson.

April 21 - Gary Nicholson at JV’s. Nicholson is amongst the best roots songwriters in Nashville. he is probably best known for his work for Delbert McClinton, but his name is increasingly found in songwriting credits on many new blues and roots releases. He will be on a tour with a band Scott Ramminger is putting together when he performs at the Falls Church venue. 

April 27- Hadden Sayers at Hill Country Barbecue. Hadden Sayers has a knack with words, his vocals ring true and his wonderful guitar playing is complemented by his fine band. He is touring in support of his exceptional new album Rolling Soul. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Otis Taylor's World Is Gone


Otis Taylor has received considerable acclaim for his various recordings over the years. Regularly his recordings are highly rated by DownBeat for example and he is a favorite of the DownBeat Critics’ Poll. His so-called ‘trance blues,’ employs simple repeated motifs over which he tells his stories (often in a topical vein) while he and his band members add musical embellishments. The music is generally evocative and haunting. 

His latest Telarc album is My World Is Gone, where he has a special guest, Native American guitarist Mato Nanji, along with Anne Harris on fiddle, Larry Thompson on drums, Shawn Starksi on bass, Brian Juan on keyboards and Ron Miles on cornet, on an album whose songs are centered on the travails Native American’s have suffered as their traditional world has vanished, probably never to return. Against the rhythmic core, Taylor sometimes on electric banjo, mandolin and guitar, Nanji on lead guitar, Harris and Miles add embellishments and solos that enhance the mood of the specific song. It is particularly a delight to listen to Ms. Harris wonderful playing. Those who have seen Taylor live with Harris in the band know the exuberance and excitement she visually contributes which can lead one to miss just how good a fiddler she is and how much her fiddle contributes aurally and not simply visually.

Otis Taylor at 2012 Pennsylvania Blues Festival
This is most directly addressed in the title selection and its a strength of Taylor and Nanji that this opening selection conveys the sorrow of old ways having passed and some of the consequences without the song becoming an overstated polemic. Harris’ fiddle enhancing the mournful tenor of Taylor’s vocal while Nanji adds tight guitar runs. A crisp walking groove permeates Lost My Horse, where a navaho loses his horse from having drank too much (I done lost my horse, I surely lose my mind) whereas Miles floating cornet adds to the atmosphere developed on Huckleberry Blues, where Taylor sings about being stalked by his female neighbor. Sand Creek Mourning is a stark number that recounts a US army massacre of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians with Nanji’s guitar and Miles cornet adding to the gloomy feel instilled by the ostinato played by Taylor on banjo and rhythm section. 

Blue Rain in Africa has the haunting line about seeing the white buffalo on the television while there must be blue rain in Africa because that is what he saw on television. Nanji’s tonal coloring here is quite impressive. “Never Been To The Reservation” has a lyric about the man living in luxury oblivious to the hardships as he contrasts babies sleeping on to the grown to the gentleman drinking champagne and eating caviar. Coming With Crosses, is a somber recollection of a young man recounting his mother’s murder by cross-burning riders of the night, with Harris’ fiddle embellishments over the banjo centered accompaniment.

My Home Is Gone is one of Taylor’s most moving recordings with deceptively simple, stark and understated performances of his songs that convey the tragic times Native Americans have endured better than simple polemic lyrics would. It is certain to gather more acclaim to Otis Taylor.

For those living in the Washington DC area, he appears at Blues Alley with special guest Mato Nanji on April 3. Its part of a short East Coast tour that includes Chicago, New York City, Kentucky and Savannah, Georgia. 

I received a review copy from a publicist.  Here is Otis performing Blue Rain in Africa.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Earl Thomas Helping Raise Blues Hall Of Fame Roof

The highpoint of the 2012 Pennsylvania Blues Festival was the riveting performance by the veteran San Francisco Bay singer Earl Thomas and his Blues Ambassadors. Thomas brought not only a deep soul voice to his program of blues and classic R&B (A killer rendition of the Etta James smash I'd Rather Go Blind) , but his showmanship was dazzling. Definitely a performer of the old school, of which there is too little today. 
Tis image taken from the Blues Foundation's website

Sunday, March 24 Earl Thomas headlines a terrific Raise the Roof Concert for the Blues Hall of Fame to raise money for the Blues Hall of Fame that The Blues Foundation. This takes place starting at 1PM PDT, 4PM EDT and 8PM in Europe. Here is some information from the Foundation's website:

"Blues legend Earl Thomas and his friends will play at Club Fox in Redwood City on Sunday, March 24, 2013. This once in a lifetime event, which will not be replicated anywhere, will be live streamed by VenMundi, making it possible for Blues aficionados all over the world to enjoy these extraordinary artists who are coming together in support of The Blues Foundation's Raise the Roof! Campaign for the Blues Hall of Fame.

Sista Monica (seen at 2012 DC Blues Festival)
among those assisting Earl Thomas
Raise the Roof for the Blues Hall Of fame
Earl Thomas started out wanting to support The Blues Foundation by giving back his time and talents as a Blues artist. As his fellow Blues musicians heard about what Thomas was doing, they wanted to join him. As a result, the show will feature Sista Monica, Syreeta Neal, Lady Bianca, Kenny Neal, Tia Carroll, King Tuffnstuff, Shane Dwight, Daniel Castro, John Nemeth, Kyle Rowland, Greg Nagy, Aki Kumar, the Blues Ambassadors and the list is growing.

Thomas explains, “I’m excited to be part of this event, and even more excited to have my friends join me in supporting The Blues Foundation. I think it is important for all of us to give back to the music that we love and to ensure that the history of Blues is preserved. I’m also grateful to VenMundi for helping us contribute 50 percent of the proceeds in support of the Blues Hall of Fame.”"

Here is the link to the specific VenMundi.com page for this PPV event.

As a full disclosure, I am a member of The Blues Foundation and am currently making a monthly pledge towards the Blues Hall of Fame. I will be watching this PPV tomorrow.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Warner Williams Live at B.B. King's Bluesville


Guitarist Warner Williams and harmonica player Jay Summerour have been playing the Washington DC area as Little Bit A Blues for about two decades. Williams is a Piedmont blues treasure although bis guitar style and repertoire shows more than a little country influence, particularly the picking style of Merle Travis and a fairly diverse repertoire. In 2011 he was honored by the National Endowment of the Arts as a National heritage Fellow. Warner does not travel outside of DC very often he will not fly, which probably accounts for him being not familiar to many.

The cover of Little Bit a Blues’ new CD on Soul Stew records is Live at B.B. King’s Bluesville. This is the duo’s fourth album joined by Eric Selby’s deft drums and percussion. Earlier albums include two on the Patuxent label and one on Smithsonian Folkways from a variety of live performances. The cover of this CD labels it The Best of Little Bit A Blues which is odd insofar as this is not a compilation of their best recordings. Rather recorded in November 2012 at the SiriusXM studios of songs that are perhaps the core of Warner’s repertoire.

Starting with Blind Boy Fuller’s Step It Up and Go, through the closing instrumental Little Bit A Blues Theme, Warner takes us through a pretty diverse repertoire including some humorous country honky tonk, Hey Bartender, There’s a Big Bug in My Beer, a ramped up rendition of Lightnin’ Slim’s swamp blues Greyhound Blues, and fine renditions of blues standards like Key to the Highway, Going Down Slow, I Feel So Good, and Good Mornin’ Little School Girl. Despite the familiarity of the material, Warner puts his own stamp on this with his deft guitar playing that incorporates some jazz and country boogie to complement his heartfelt singing while Summerour complements him so well and Selby adds rhythmic embellishments with a light touch.

It is so nice to have the new Little Bit A Blues recording Live at B.B. King’s Bluesville, to spotlight Warner Williams distinctive blues. His repertoire goes beyond what one might on this and he is such a delight to see perform. For those in the DC area, Warner and Jay with Eric will celebrate the release of this at Blues Alley on March 27 with guest Eleanor Ellis. Warner will also be performing at this year’s Pennsylvania Blues Festival at the Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Palmerton, Pennsylvania on Sunday, July 28. 

I received my copy from the performers.



Friday, March 15, 2013

And This Was Maxwell Street


Blues was a staple of the Maxwell Street market for decades before gentrification led to the closing of the market some years ago. In the late 1990s and 2000, there were Ds that released some of the amazing music that might be heard on a Sunday there. This review from the latter part of 2000 was published in the DC Blues Calendar. I likely received review copies from the labels. This is out of print so you need to look for used copies but Amazon, for example, shows several sellers for this.

While efforts continue (bluesman Jimmie Lee Robinson is still on a hunger strike) to preserve the remaining portions of the historic Maxwell Street market area, Rooster Blues has released a three-disc compilation, And This is Maxwell Street that presents music that was recorded as part of the making of the film, And This is Free. Some of the music heard here was previously issued by Rounder on lp and cd as Robert Nighthawk, Live on Maxwell Street. 

The Rounder release has since been repackaged and reconfigured with some previously unissued selections and including tracks attributed to J.B. Lenoir, Carey Bell and Johnny Young. The Rooster Blues set has a full two √éhours of music and also includes selections from Little Arthur (Red Top/Ornithology which is deleted from the latest version of the Rounder); John Wrencher; Arvella Gray, Carrie Robinson; and James and Fannie Brewer. Additionally, Mama Talk To Your Daughter, credited to JB Lenoir on the Rounder is credited to Big Mojo Elem here. 

There are several Nighthawk performances here that are not on the Rounder including a Dust My Broom that includes Mike Bloomfield on guitar (possibly being Bloomfield's earliest recording). The full range of music here is quite powerful and entertaining including ArvNighthawk s updating of Dr. Clayton’s Cheatin’ and Lyin’ Blues, the fervent gospel singing of Carrie Robinson as well as James and Fannie Brewer, street singer Arvella Gray’s vigorous renditions of Corinna, Corinna and John Henry, and one armed harp wizard Big John Wrencher’s Lucille

Several tracks spotlight Carey Bell, with I’m Ready perhaps being Bell’s first recorded vocal. Portions of vendor sales pitches and street preachers sermons are heard here as well. Providing some context to the recording. The ounder has a portion of Mike Bloomfield s interview with Robert Nighthawk (uncredited however) which is heard in its entirety (nearly 50 minutes) as the third disc of the Rooster Blues set. 

My advance copy of the Rooster Blues lacks the booklet that should be accompanying it so I cannot comment on this aspect of the package, but because of the more complete reissue of this historic and wonderful blues, And This Is Maxwell Street is preferable, and is a contender for vintage reissue of 2000.

Here is the legendary Robert Nighthawk on Maxwell Street some 50 years ago.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Yazoo's Barrelhouse and Juke Joint Piano Blues Reissues


The latest volumes in Yazoo's piano blues reissues maintain the standard set by the earlier releases in this series. 

Dallas Alley Drag collects 23 selections of pianists and vocalists associated with the notorious Deep Ellum District. Whistlin’ Alex Moore is perhaps the best known performer here, and is heard on several selections including Heart Wrecked Blues, where his whistling is employed along with a loping piano accompaniment. While vocalist Billiken Johnson’s vocal train whistle effects may get tiresome, the accompaniment by Neal Roberts is fine and Frisco Blues is one of several train blues here. Several classic blues verses can be heard on Billiken’s Weary Blues, with stride-flavored piano from Texas Bill Day. Jack Ranger’s Window Blues, celebrating the Texas and Pacific is another fine track. Two fine vocalists, Ida Mae Mack and Bessie Tucker, benefit from K.D. Johnson s fine playing. Tucker was a particularly powerful singer and her three performances are quite compelling. Overall, this is a solid compilation with solid piano and singing.

Even more spectacular is Juke Joint Saturday Night, which includes a number of great barrelhouse blues and rags. It opens with Jabo Williams'spectacular Pratt City Blues, showcasing a driving left hand and some imaginative right hand work. Little Brother Montgomery’s Vicksburg Blues, his version of the Forty Four theme is a classic piano blues. Louise Johnson four sides, often urged on by Son House and Willie Brown, are spectacular including On the Wall, a celebration of various Memphis Saloons with a terrific accompaniment adapted from Cow Cow Blues. Equally astonishing is Skip James idiosyncratic piano on If You Haven t Any Hay Get on Down the Road. His 22-20 Blues, maybe be less spectacular but was covered by Robert Johnson as 32-20. Other selections feature, among others, James Wiggins, Roosevelt Sykes and Kingfish Bill Tomlin with some knock down, barrelhouse blues and stomps. 

Both albums featured informative booklets by Bob Hall.

I wrote this review for the DC Blues Calendar in late 2000 and it appeared in either late 2000 or early 2001. I received review copies from Shanachie which at the time operated Yazoo. One may have to track down used copies of these but they are available as downloads.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul Of Otis Redding



The new Stax release, Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul Of Otis Redding, is a collection that focuses on the heartbreaking, yearning ballads that Redding sang in singular fashion. Producer David Gorman in explaining the concept behind this release stated “I tried to find the saddest most potently heartbreaking songs he ever sang, with no regard for chart position or notoriety.  There are a few hits on the album, but they’re there because they fit the mood, not because we wanted to include the hits.”

It is packaged as if was originally released on Stax during Redding’s lifetime, and mixes some of his most famous ballads of love and heart break. This includes the hits I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, These Arms of Mine, and My Lover’s Prayer, along with lesser known gems Gone Again, Open the Door, Waste of Time, and Everybody Makes a Mistake, along with alternate takes of Open the Door and I’ve Got Dreams To Remember. This latter performance has somewhat darker lyrics than the issued recording.


Throughout Redding is heard with the Stax great studio band including Booker T & the MGs with Steve Cropper being especially superb on the cover of Send Me Some Lovin'. Throughout the Memphis Horns or the Bar-Kays add their signature riffs. As the album closes with his cover of Clyde McPhatter’s My Lover’s Prayer, one is reminded how Otis Redding took familiar songs and made them his own. This terrific ‘new’ Redding release displays just how fresh and contemporary Otis Redding still sounds over 45 years after his tragic early passing. Yes, I highly recommend this.


I received a review copy from a publicist. Here is Otis performing I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.






Sunday, March 10, 2013

Otis Rush's Classic Cobra Recordings.


A new reissue of Otis Rush s classic Cobra recordings has been released by Fuel 2000 who  licensed the material fromJewel/Paula. The Essential Otis Rush, The Classic Cobra Recordings 1956-1958 includes all eight singles that Rush recorded  (and all produced  Willie Dixon) along with eight alternate takes. Not every Cobra recording was memorable and little that even Rush’s fervent singing could salvage such as Violent Love, but on smoldering slow blues like I Can’t Quit You Baby, My Love Will Never Die, Groaning the Blues and Double Trouble, as well as uptempo numbers Three Times a Fool and All My Loving (I Miss Loving) (the Mayall version with Clapton on guitar pales in comparison). 

Rush sang here with an intensity matched by few in blues history and complemented that with some stinging guitar (although Ike Turner may be the lead guitarist on Double Trouble). In addition to Willie Dixon, others on the original sessions included guitarists Turner, Wayne Bennett and Louis Myers, Little Walter and Walter Horton on harp; saxophonists Harold Ashby, Red Holloway and Jackie Brenston, pianists Lafayette Leake and Little Brother Montgomery, and drummers Odie Payne and Al Duncan.

Rush's Cobra recordings produced some of the most intense examples of the West Side Chicago Blues style that developed in the fifties and remain classic almost 60 years later.

This review was written in late 2000 and this review likely originally appeared in the DC Blues Calendar around that time, although I have made some stylistic changes from what I originally wrote for clarity purposes. This particular reissue is out-of-print but might be found used. There are other CDs that also reissue Rush's Cobra recordings if not all of the alternate takes. 

Friday, March 08, 2013

Scott Ramminger's Wise Fatherly Advice


Washington DC area saxophonist and vocalist Scott Ramminger impressed with his debut CD Crawstickers. It was full of good songs, strong bands and Ramminger’s strong saxophone playing and vocals. He has followed this up with a new recording Advice From a Father to a Son (Arbor Lane) that builds on the strengths of the earlier recording to produce a collection of performances that will satisfy both dancers and listeners. The album was recorded both in New Orleans (the first seven tracks) and the Washington DC area (last three). The New Orleans tracks have Ramminger’s tenor and baritone saxophones joined by David Torkanowsky on keyboards, Shane Theriot on guitar,   George Porter Jr. on bass, and Johnny Vidacovich on drums, The Washington, DC tracks include Tommy Lepson on organ, Dave Chappell on guitar, Jay Turner on bass and Barry Hart on drums. Nashville’s McCrary Sisters as well as DC’s Patty Reese are amongst those adding background vocals making for a strong cast of those supporting Scott on this.

Scott is a triple threat. He is a vocalist who brings warmth, depth of feeling, and humor, an able saxophonist who plays solidly in the vein of a Lee Allen or Red Tyler and a songwriter whose ability to craft songs together is quite notable. Without going through a detailed analysis of every track, a few highlights of the varied songs heard here include the opening I Love Your Smile, a song dealing with his wife’s many qualities (the clothes she wears, her derriere, fine sense of style, and he really loves her smile) with rollicking New Orleans piano from David Torkanowsky; a duet with Regina McCrary, The Other Man’s Shoes, with a message that folks should look beyond their own narrow views and try to see things from the view of the other man’s views with some striking guitar as well as a nicely shaped and clean-toned solo from Ramminger.

The title song which provides advice include that one be careful of a man in white shoes when buying a car; be generous to people who have less; eat more salad than you need; check your oil when buying gas; if go to an old girlfriend’s wedding try not to act like an ass; and don’t forget to call your mother, her love is second to none; enjoy everyday like it might be your last; advice from a father to a son, set to a lively second-line groove with a nice trumpet solo from Vince McCool; and the closing Sometimes You Race With The Devil, with a nice reggae groove and solid playing by the DC area studio group. This song recently took the Gold Award (the top honor) in the vocal blues/jazz category of the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest.

The remaining performances stand out in a similar fashion. About Scott’s earlier album, Crawstickers, I observed that it was seriously entertaining with plenty of substance in the performances. With Advice From a Father To a Son, Scott has produced an another excellent  rich musical gumbo that is certain to delight a wide audience.

I received this from a publicist.  Here is Scott performing Crawsticker at the Surf Club, the late, fondly remembered DC area venue.


Monday, March 04, 2013

2013-0303 Erin Harpe at AEBHF-1030790

Several years ago I heard a wonderful solo album by Erin Harpe, based in the Boston area and daughter of Neil Harpe, a blues singer and guitarist as well as artist from Annapolis, MD. Erin has grown as a performer (and her solo album was very good) and with her group, The Delta Swingers, has perhaps reached the next level. Both the group, as well as Erin and harmonica player Richard Rosenblatt have won the Boston Blues Society's Blues Battles and both made it to the semi-finals of the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge.

On March 3, she performed at the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation in Riverdale MD some wonderful country blues including songs from (amongst others) Memphis Minnie, Furry Lewis, Willie Brown (Son House's friend) and the other one, Bessie Smith and John Prine (an uptempo "Angel From Montgomery").

She was accompanied by Jim Countryman on bass and joined by Washington DC area treasure Eleanor Ellis for several duets. It was a marvelous late afternoon of music and one looks forward to more from this lady including an upcoming debut album by Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers.