Category Archives: Blues

Chris Duarte Group “Romp”

(Zoe 2003) Among the contenders to the Stevie Ray Vaughan throne for hottest blues-rock guitarists is Chris Duarte. His blistering electric guitar style owes plenty to Vaughan, and to a host of blues guitarists, but on this, his fourth release, he comes into his own with solid vocals and tasty originals. Duarte’s guitar playing is… »

Doug Wamble “Country Libations”

(Marsalis Music/Rounder 2003) At first listen, Doug Wamble’s debut CD, “Country Libations,” sounds like a compilation. At different points, Wamble flatpicks country swing, booms out heartfelt gospel, plays slide delta blues, swings hard on pre-bop jazz and intersperses moments of free jazz. This range and choice of styles is initially a little confusing, but reflects… »

Dr. John “Creole Moon”

(Blue Note 2001) Though Dr. John has been playing his own brand of New Orleans funk, blues, soul and “voodoo” music since the 60s, few of his recordings have lived up to his amazing live performances. Even the live recordings have been marred by mediocre production and a disappointing mix of songs. At long last,… »

Clarence Gatemouth Brown“Back to Bogalusa”

(Blue Thumb 2001) Even though Clarence Gatemouth Brown’s most recent release, “Back to Bogalusa,” pays homage to the blues-based music of Louisiana, he mixes in an incredibly rich variety of American musical styles. Louis Armstrong once said, “All music is folk music, I ain’t never heard no horse sing a song.” Folk music might just… »

James Blood Ulmer “No escape from the blues”

(Sindrome 2003) Avant-garde jazzbo guitarist James Blood Ulmer has always been fluent in the vernacular. In the past, though, he’s always transformed that into idiosyncratic music more akin to Ornette Coleman than Howling Wolf. Pursuing complex harmonies with off-kilter rhythms became his defining personal style. With “No Escape from the Blues: The Electric Lady Sessions,”… »

Jimmy Thackery and Tab Benoit “Whiskey Store”

(Telarc 2002) The album “Whiskey Store” pairs up two guitar wizards, Jimmy Thackery and Tab Benoit, and lets the good  times fly. The blues here is tough and uncompromising, but punches with sophistication and technique. It surpasses most recordings for its consistent rollicking energy and devotion to  basic blues values  sizzling guitar, earthy songs and… »

John Hammond “Wicked Grin”

(Virgin 2001) John Hammond is a guitarist and singer who has mined the deep veins of traditional country and urban blues since the 1960s. So, why he wanted to take on the contemporary street poetry of songsmith Tom Waits might at first seem curious. After all there’s no shortage of unexcavated blues songs aching to… »

Jon Cleary And the Absolute Monster Gentlemen

(Basin Street 2002) It’s easy to see why this was the top-selling CD at this year’s New Orleans Blues and Jazz Festival, perhaps the funkiest music festival in the world. When it comes to funk, few other current bands do it half as well. You can take Jon Cleary to task for plenty of things–being… »

Kenny Brown “Stingray”

(Fat Possum 2003) Some blues comes smooth-planed, varnished and polished. Other blues leaves splinters. Kenny Brown’s “Stingray” is the latter. Accompanied only by bass and drums, with a little sax and organ for seasoning, Brown eschews all slickness and gets to the core of hard-working, sweating blues. Brown steeped himself in the primal energy of… »

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