When A Man Loves A Woman By Percy Sledge

May 15, 2018

 

If you want a quick lesson in what soul music is all about; “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge is a place to start.

The song has sparse instrumentation with Sledge pouring out his heart over the top.

It debuted on the Billboard hot 100 April 9. Seven weeks later it was number one for the first of two weeks. It would prove to be double hit as it topped the R&B chart as well.

He would never have another top ten pop hit, but his one huge hit was eternal.

 

 

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Better Late Than No Time Soon By Leonard Griffie

May 15, 2018

Leonard Griffie is a musician who explores a number of styles and sounds but in the end he is grounded in the blues. He has released a new album titled Better Late Than No Time Soon. It is an album of original material which fuse the modern with the traditional.

Griffie is a musician who is able to change tempos effortlessly. There are silky ballads, gritty rhythm & blues, and explosive blues/rockers.

He is one of those artists who tends to float under the radar. despite producing very listenable blues. Hopefully Better Late Than No Time Soon will bring him some well deserved commercial success to go along with the respect he has already earned.


Down Hearted Blues By Eilen Jewel

May 15, 2018

Eilen Jewel is as much historian as she is a blues musician. Her new album, Deep Hearted Blues, reaches back in time for songs by the famous; Willie Dixon and Memphis Minnie, and some who have been swallowed by the mists of time; Fiddlin John Carson.

She has taken a somewhat convoluted journey to releasing her first blues album. She has issued two albums of original material, recorded two gospel albums with the Gospel Shakers, and even recorded an album of Loretta Lynn covers.

Despite her search for the perfect blues material, she adds her own personal touches ranging from rockabilly to the twang of old-time surf music.

She has a wonderful soulful voice that traverses a number of keys. Every once in a while she comes close to jazz territory.

Three Willie Dixon songs form the heart of the album. “You’ll Be Mine,” “Crazy Mixed Up World,” and “You Know My Love” take on new textures curtesy of a modern day female blues approach. Minnie Lawler’s “Nothing In Rambling” is a unique take on a classic blues tune. Also of note is her resurrection of the old blues ditty “The Poor Girl’s Story” by the aforementioned Fiddlin John Carson.

Eilen Jewel continues her journey through American music with her blues laden Down Hearted Blues. It is a journey of surprises worth taking with her.


Quiet Money By Al Basile

May 15, 2018

Over four decades ago Al Basile was the trumpet player for the Rhode Island jump-blues band Roomful Of Blues. These days, he surfaces every so often with a new solo album. He has explored a number of styles and rhythms but Quiet Money comes close to the classic sound of Roomful Of Blues.

He brings along many of his usual cast of characters. Former bandmate, producer, and brilliant guitarist Duke Robillard is on board as are former buddies from Roomful Of Blues, plus an assortment of musicians from Robillard’s current band.

In addition to being a superb trumpet and cornet player, it is his ability as a songwriter that pushes his music beyond the norm. He is a poet who regales the listener with thoughtful and incisive stories set to melodic blues music.

When you get to a certain age, your thoughts and approach to life begin to change. “Not Today” and “Who’s Gonna Close My Eyes” explore the passage of time. “Put Some Salt On It” is a humorous take of classic blues with hidden meanings lurking in the lyrics.

Quiet Money is an excellent dollop of modern-day blues from a sometimes unappreciated master.


Angels Hear (CD) By Action Skulls

May 15, 2018

There are super groups and then there are sort-of super groups. John Cowsill of the 1960’s pop group the Cowsills, Vicki Peterson of the Bangles, and Bill Mumy,  producer, singer, and child actor of Lost In Space “Danger Will Robinson Danger,” have combined their talents to produce the album Angels Hear by their newly formed group, Action Skulls.

While the music is modern sounding, in many ways it contains a retro approach harping back to the 1970’s California and west coast sound. They basically produce shiny pop music that travels in a number of directions. There is the up tempo toe-tapper, “The Luckiest Man Alive,” a maudlin “I’ll See You In Another World,” the acoustic “Map Of The World,” and the bluesy “Feed My Hungry Heart.”

The harmonies are not only well-crafted but interesting. Their voices are very different but they blend together well. Whether the style is laid back or energetic, the harmonies which can be subtle or soaring and remain the foundation of their sound.

Angels Hear was about four years in the making. Eight songs were recorded, when original member, bassist Rick Rosas passed away. That loss and their own schedules put everything on hold for several years. Whether the Action Skulls ever record another album remains to be seen; but Angels Hair is an excellent album of well-crafted pop that proves musicians from different backgrounds can create very listenable music together.


On The Way Downtown: Recorded Live At Folk Scene (CD) By Peter Case

April 23, 2018

You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I’m telling you why, Elvis Presley is coming to town (again).

Christmas is less than three months away and another batch of Elvis Presley music has been re-imagined. The latest in the Elvis sweepstakes is 13 of his Christmas tunes, now being backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Elvis Presley’s three Christmas albums have sold a combined 24,000,000 copies and his original 1950’s Christmas album remains his biggest selling album. The original release is one of the better Christmas releases in that it combines rock, sacred, and gospel with some gritty and in several cases bluesy vocals by the king. It is just about the perfect Christmas album.

As Jim Croce wrote, “And you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger,” and you don’t mess around with the perfect Christmas album.

In many ways the background orchestra takes away from the power of Elvis’ vocals. When the orchestra is reduced to the distant background and the vocals are more upfront, it is just a better listen such as “Merry Christmas Baby.”

If you have not heard or want to obtain some of Elvis’ Christmas music, seek out a copy of his original first album. It is readily available. If you are an Elvis fan who has to have everything, then go ahead.


Elvis Christmas With Royal Philharmonic (CD) By Elvis Presley

April 23, 2018

You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I’m telling you why, Elvis Presley is coming to town (again).

Christmas is less than three months away and another batch of Elvis Presley music has been re-imagined. The latest in the Elvis sweepstakes is 13 of his Christmas tunes, now being backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Elvis Presley’s three Christmas albums have sold a combined 24,000,000 copies and his original 1950’s Christmas album remains his biggest selling album. The original release is one of the better Christmas releases in that it combines rock, sacred, and gospel with some gritty and in several cases bluesy vocals by the king. It is just about the perfect Christmas album.

As Jim Croce wrote, “And you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger,” and you don’t mess around with the perfect Christmas album.

In many ways the background orchestra takes away from the power of Elvis’ vocals. When the orchestra is reduced to the distant background and the vocals are more upfront, it is just a better listen such as “Merry Christmas Baby.”

If you have not heard or want to obtain some of Elvis’ Christmas music, seek out a copy of his original first album. It is readily available. If you are an Elvis fan who has to have everything, then go ahead.