Lock Up The Liquer By The Little Red Rooster Blues Band

October 16, 2019

The Little Red Rooster Blues Band may not be a household name. but for three decades they have been touring relentlessly and producing first-rate blues. Now, in celebration of their 30th anniversary, they have released an album of 15 original songs titled Lock Up The Liquor.

They are a talented bar band who have made good. As such, they have a sense of humor and an easy going approach to their music that are important for any band who has spent years playing in front of small crowds in smoky filled rooms.

Guitarist/vocalist Kevin McCann, harp player Dave Holtzman, bassist Jeff Michael. and drummer Ben Holden have learned their craft well. Their music ranges from dance tunes to emotional ballads. “Thrift Store Rubbers” exemplifies their sense of humor and “Cotton Mouth” is a tribute to James Cotton.

The Little Red Rooster Blues Band have issued an album of entertaining blues. So grab your favorite brew, put your legs up, and enjoy.


Just Waitin’ By The Steve Krase Band

October 16, 2019

The harmonica is such a simple instrument. Just about anyone can get sounds from the it, but to play the harmonica well, takes years, and sometimes decades, of practice. Very few musicians gain elite status, which brings us to Steve Krase.

Krase is basically a bluesman and a harmonica player extraordinaire, who has expanded his vision and sound on his new album Just Waitin.’ His selection of material forces him outside his comfort zone as covers of Hank Williams, The Beverly Hillbillies, plus classics from Howlin’ Wolf and Walter Price populate the album.

He uses a basic backing band of guitarist David Carter, bassist Rick Romano, and drummer Tamara Williams. There maybe an accordion here and some extra percussion there, but overall the sound is stripped down and provides a solid foundation for his vocals and harp excisions.

One of the best and quirkiest tracks is his cover of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song “The Ballad Of Jed Clampett.” The accordion gives it a Zydeco feel but the rest of the band connects it to the blues.

“My Baby Walked Out On Me,” “All In The Mood,” and “Nobody Loves Me” are classic blues songs with an edge. At times the band can rock, which provides a nice fusion of styles and sounds.

Krase is one of those veterans who populate the modern blues scene. He is constantly on the road plying his trade. Just Waiting’ is an album that deserves to bring him some mass commercial appeal. An excellent blues album, especially for anyone who appreciates the harmonica.

 


In The Boys Club By Kat Riggins

October 16, 2019

Sometimes the best things come on small packages. So it is with the dominative Kat Riggins and her new album In The Boys’ Club.

Riggins may be small in stature but more than makes up for it with her big, powerful voice. Add in her ability as a song writer and you have one of the bigger blues talents working today.

Her albums always have an edge and sass to them. She is a woman blues singer in a field where most of her contemporaries are male. As such, she brings a female perspective to her music. That perspective is on display in the title song, “A Girl In The Boys’ Club.” “Uh oh fellas, there’s a girl in in the boys’ club,” just about sums up her attitude and approach to the blues.

She is a southern blues singer and has a gritty nature to her voice. While there may be some modern elements to her music, she is at heart a traditional blues singer. “Kitty Won’t Scratch,” “Don’t Throw Me Away,” and “Cheat Or Lose” may have a backing band but there is an elemental quality to them that connects them to the Southern Delta, the cradle of the blues.

Riggins is now well into her career and she has settled nicely into her role as a female voice of the blues. In The Boys’ House an excellent album for any aficionado of the blues.


Blind Spot By The Lucky Losers

September 19, 2019

Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz, professionally known as The Lucky Losers, have just issued their latest album titled Blind Spot.

The album features 11 original compositions that explore various facets of their life’s journey. Whether its the subject of love, the lack of morals and ethics around them, or simply getting through life; their vocal duet approach presents the songs with passion and finesse.

Their music is blues centered but it extends into soul and Americana. Backed by veteran musicians, their approach and sound is a reminder of days past.

The Lucky Losers have spun some new tales to be explored and appreciated. Blind Spot is worth while stop on their continuing journey through the highways and byways of life.


The Self-Contained Trilogy

September 19, 2019

Peter Banks, one of the founding members of Yes, has been gone for five years. In recognition of the fifth anniversary of his passing The Peter Banks Musical Estate released two albums. The first, Be Well, Be Safe, Be Lucky, (reviewed previously), was a jumbled affair, taking songs from various periods of banks career.

The second release is much more cohesive and necessary for any fan of banks. The Self-Contained Trilogy gathers together his three 1990’s solo albums into one set.

Instinct, Self-Contained, and Reduction create a complete picture of his musical thoughts and visions during a particular period of his career. He produced creative progressive rock that tended to float just outside the mainstream.

Peter Banks tended to move from project to project but The Self-Contained Trilogy covers one of the more settled periods of his career. It contains a lot of music worth exploring.


Be Well, Be Safe, Be Lucky: The Anthology By Peter Banks

September 19, 2019

Peter Banks, 1947-2013, was a musical everyman who missed the brass ring early in his career.

During the mid 1960’s, Banks was a part of a number of mostly forgotten bands; The Nighthawks, Devil’s Disciples, and Syn. By the time he migrated to Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, his bandmates were vocalist Jon Anderson, drummer Bill Buford, and keyboardist Tony Kaye. It was an easy jump to the formation of Yes. Banks left during the recording of their second album die to creative differences and the rest, as they say, is history, at least for Yes.

Banks would eventually settle into a solo career that produced cutting edge and creative progressive rock, that was just outside the mainstream. While he remained widely respected, large commercial success would elude him.

Be Well, Be Safe, Be Lucky is a two disc, 30 track release to mark the fifth annivsary of his death. While it is a compilation drawn from his solo career, the song selection is eclectic, bordering on odd at times. The release lacks cohesiveness, which helps regulate it to a niche release, primarily pf interest for fans of Banks.

There are a number of tracks that just feature Banks on guitar. “All Points South,” “Fogbound,” and “No Place Like Home” have a raw feel but demonstrate his style. When he is backed by a band, the music has a more finished feel, “Knights (Reprise)” with Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, and John Wetten and “Knights (Revisited)” with Tony Kaye, Billy Sherwood, and Jay Schellen present his musical visions.

Much of the second disc find him playing all the instruments with varying degrees of success.

During his career Banks released a lot of interesting music but continually seemed to be searching. Be Well, Be Safe, Be Lucky is an album of bits and pieces that that has individual high points but is never consistently satisfying.


Blues By Willie Jackson

July 5, 2019

It’s always good to have a plan B in life. When an accident ended Willie Jackson’s day job; music was his plan B.

There has always been a close relationship between gospel music and the blues. Willie Jackson began his career singing in church. As he became serious about a career in music, he progressed to the blues, while retaining some of the roots of his gospel past.

Jackson has just release a six-song EP titled Blues. Backed by bassist Jon Willis, guitarist Dillon Young, drummer Paxton Eugene, and harmonica player Ace Anderson; he has issued an album of personal, self-composed blues tracks.

This is the blues without a lot of frills.  He has a big voice but does not overwhelm his backing band. “Just An Old Dog,” “Big Boned Woman,” “Diggin’ My Shovel,” and “Sleepin’ On The Job,” are good examples of his personal style.

Blues contains music for late at night with the headphones on. Sometimes plan B works out just fine.