Naked … In Your Face By Eddie Turner & Trouble Twins

January 4, 2017

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Eddie Turner may not be a household name but he is an underground guitar legend who has produced good music for nearly 50 years. His career stretches back to the early 1970’s and playing with such groups as Mother Earth, Zephyr, and the Otis Taylor Band. His solo career has seen him fuse the blues with rock and roll with some funk chops thrown in for good measure.

His newest album is also his first live release. Recorded at Calgary’s Blues Can during August of 2015; it finds Turner fronting a basic trio with bassist/vocalist Anna Lisa Hughes and drummer Kelly Kruse in support.

While the album is a vehicle for Turner to show off his guitar virtuosity; bassist Hughes adds some interesting elements including gritty vocals on the albums two cover songs, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “Buried Alive In The Blues,” plus her own composition “Mistreated.”

The meat of the album are Turner’s own composition. “So Many Roads,” “Dangerous,” “Rise,” and “Secret” all clock in between eight and 12 minutes, which give Turner plenty of room to improvise as he takes the melodies on a number of twists and turns.

Live is the way Turner should be experienced. Naked…In Your Face is a coming out party for an under appreciated guitar genius and you’re invited.


Ladies And Gentlemen The Bangles By The Bangles

January 4, 2017

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If you are, or have ever been a fan of the Bangles, then this new release is one for you. Ladies And Gentlemen…The Bangles gathers rare tracks from their past, including those when they were known as The Bangs, and presents them in a clean remastered form.

The Bangles were and still are a bright, melodic pop and rock band. Formed as The Bangs in 1981 by guitar/vocalist Susanna Hoffs, drummer Debbi Peterson, and guitarist Vickie Peterson; they received their greatest fame during the 1980’s. They produced a number of up-beat radio-friendly pop hits such as “Manic Monday,” “Hazy Shade Of Winter,” “Eternal Flame,” and the number one single of 1987 “Walk Like An Egyptian.”

The material on this release pre-dates their most successful time period. If you want an introduction to the band, any of their greatest hits albums would be preferable to this one, which digs deeply into their formative years.

Their only single release as The Bangs; “Getting Out Of Hand/Call On Me,” plus their early recording “Bitchen Summer/Speedway” find a band learning their craft.

The heart of the release are the five tracks that were originally issued as a self-titled EP in 1981. “The Real World,” “I’m In Line,” “Want You,” “Mary Street,” and “How Is The Air Up There” approach the sound that would produce their best work in a couple of years.

Throw in some early demos, including the old Paul Revere & The Raiders song “Steppin’ Out,” plus a couple of live tracks from 1984, “7 + 7” and “Tell Me” and you have an interesting, if not classic release.

Like many albums that explore the history of an artist, Ladies ad Gentlemen…The Bangles may not be of the quality of their best work but creates a nice time-line to their career, while filling in the gaps in their catalogue of music.


High Voltage By Maynard Ferguson

January 4, 2017

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This is the fifth Maynard Ferguson reissue by Omnivore Recordings that has crossed my desk in the last six months or so. Each has presented a distinct period of Ferguson’s career and Complete High Voltage is no exception.

Ferguson had just released on of the best albums of his career with 1987’s Body & Soul. Rather than rest on his laurels, he left behind his big band and recorded two albums with a much smaller unit. Now High Voltage I and II have been reissued as a two disc set complete with two bonus tracks.

Outside of his big band context, the focus of the music was squarely on Ferguson, who was one of the more creative trumpet players of the last half of the 20th century. This setting allows him to solo more than in the past, in which he explores the outer edges of the trumpet sound.

If you are a fan of Ferguson, Complete High Voltage is an interesting stop in his career. A lot of good music in one place.


Josh At Midnight By Josh White

January 4, 2017

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Josh White, (1914-1969), packed a lot of adventure and music into his 55 years of life. A practitioner of the southern blues who branched out into gospel, country blues, and traditional folk; he was an early black artist whose issued a number of protest songs. A friend of President Franklyn Roosevelt, for whom he gave a command performance at the White House in 1941; he was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era of the 1950’s. He made a commercial comeback during the 1960’s and his music and style has influenced the generations of folk and blues singers who have followed.

Now Ramseur Records will reissue what may be his finest album on August 19. Josh At Midnight, originally released in 1956, is primarily of album of traditional folk songs from a southern blues perspective.

It is a raw album with roots firmly entrenched in the Delta blues of the first half of the 20th century. Only one microphone was used during the recording session and the only instrument besides White’s guitar is the bass of jazz musician Al Hall. The only other person involved was vocalist Sam Gary. The remastering makes everything have a clarity that is superior to the original vinyl release but it is still primitive by today’s musical standards.

Nine of the 12 tracks are in the public domain, which fits White’s approach well. “Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho,” “Jelly Jelly,” “Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dyin’ Bed,” and “Takin’ Names” are fused into a blues style and sound. White does not perform the songs as much as he attack’s them. There is passion and emotion that combines with harshness.

Josh At Midnight is a resurrection and re-introduction of an important musician who is often forgotten about in the 21st century. The fact that it has been reissued as a vinyl only release adds an authenticity to the listening experience.


Blue Skies By Matty T Wall

January 4, 2017

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Matty T. Wall is an under appreciated blues treasure. He has a soulful voice that captures the blues and is a guitarist who represents its essence. He has now released a new album titled Blue Skies.

Wall is basically a blues traditionalist who add a modern touch to its history and legacy. Whether one of his seven originals or three choice cover songs; it is a trip through what the modern day blues are all about.

Backed by his band of drummer Jasper Miller and bassist Stephen Walker, plus the addition of organist of Gordon Cant; he blasts his way through Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child”  and the Robert Johnson classic “Hellhound On My Trail,” while tracks such as “Burnin’ Up Burin’ Down,” “This Is Red,” and “Love Gone Away” show his song writing skills.

Blue Skies is no-nonsense blues by a modern day guitar warrior. Matty T Wall is an artist who deserves your attention.