Jeff Healey – Songs From The Road

Jeff HealeySongs From The Road
Songs From The Road
© 2009 Ruf Records RUF1154

When Jeff Healey passed away in March of 2008, the world lost a magnificent talent! Fortunately, with this live release, we have some more great music from this master which we can enjoy forever.

I have been a fan of Jeff Healey since he covered John Hiatt’s “Angel Eyes” and will always be. This album only cements my feelings about the man’s talent. Actually, this may be my favorite release for as you all should know by now, live music is my favorite way to hear the vast majority of all the great songs ever written. The only exceptions are the examples of music which have been heavily post-produced and tweaked to perfection in the studio. Even then, if the artists are capable of keeping my interest in a live format, I prefer the live version.

This release has eleven of the best songs from the mass conciousness which could have been chosen by bassist and long-time engineer Alec Fraser and Healy and his band present them is a wonderful way, guaranteed to please any discriminating blues lover.  With cover versions of great songs everything  from Cream, The Allman Brothers, The Beatles, Willie Dixon, CSN&Y, to Mark Knopfler, there is sure to be at least one favorite here for you.  While there are many things here that you probably expect, there are many more to surprise you and to make many new fans. These tracks come from London and Toronto in 2007 and Norway 2006.

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Tony Spinner – Rollin’ & Tumblin’

Rollin' & Tumblin'

Tony Spinner
Rollin’ & Tumblin’
© 2009 Grooveyard Records GYR051

I have been a fan and a close friend of Tony Spinner ever since we first traded licks and worked together at the Muzic Complex in Jonesboro, AR back in the `90’s. I am now his webmaster so there are plenty of reasons to think this review is biased… And yes, I’d have to say it is.

Since Tony first got a record contract,  he has gone on to work with such acts as Pat Travers, Paul Gilbert of Mr. Big, and from 1999 to 2009 he worked as a backing guitar player and background singer for Toto. He has just returned from the CREAM Tribute European tour with Kofi Baker, Ginger Baker’s son and is getting ready to embark on another one with Kofi Baker and Malcolm Bruce, son of Jack Bruce in a “Sons of Cream” tour. Let me say this… Tony is up to it.

Tony is both a phenomenal guitarist and vocalist and you can experienced him on any of his nine solo albums or his offerings on such releases as the TOTO DVD and CDs 25th Anniversary: Live in Amsterdam, and Livefields. His work with Paul Gilbert is full of guitar pyrotechnics and excellent vocals on the releases VibratoAlligator Farm and Flying Dog. Of course, Tony’s contributions stand out as my favorites on Voodoo Crossing, a Jimi Hendrix tribute, Songs from the Better Blues Bureau compilation, Hat’s Off To Stevie Ray, a great SRV tribute, Fit For A  King, the Albert King tribute and the albums by Mark Sallings & The Famous Unknowns, Talkin’ To Myself and Let It Be Known.

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Delta Pickin’s Is Back!

Welcome to my new Delta Pickin’s Music Reviews page on Delta Boogie. Thanks Hairy Larry and Vivian Heyl!

Stay tuned, we will have some content for you shortly! Meanwhile, don’t forget to support live music!

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B. B. King “ON THE ROAD WITH B. B. KING” MCAH – 11298 Interactive CD-ROM

bbbus

If you ever wondered what a trip down memory lane with B.B. King would be like, just get this interactive autobiography and hang on to your seat.
You are invited to climb aboard B.B.’s tour bus, Big Red, and take the wheel, visiting many of the sites that B.B. considers to be the most important places of his life. What you get is a musical road trip through seven decades, across thousands of miles and into cyber-space. You will be entertained and informed about enough details of B.B.’s life and music to keep you interacting with this disc again and again.B.B. King is your guide through these 3- D journeys from Indianola, Mississippi, to Beale St., in Memphis on to B.B. King’s Club in L.A. with several stops along the way. There is also an airplane fly-over so you can visit the different sites at random, with B.B. telling stories the whole trip.One of the best aspects of this CD- ROM is the virtual Lucille that allows you to point the mouse to any spot on the neck and click to hear a different lick on the guitar. Also there are over forty song clips and a hundred or so rare clips of B.B. and his friends, like Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis , Louis Jordan and U 2, in concert. You also get the definitive B.B. King discography, interviews with musicians about how B.B. has influenced them, a museum dedicated to Lucille, a trophy room in the second floor of the club, and you can click on anything to learn about it.

With system requirements of Windows 3.1 in 486 PC’s with 33 MHz and 8 MB of RAM, 2 MB available for Quicktime installation, 16 bit color and a 2x CD ROM, this CD- ROM will work on all Macintosh computers with system 7.01 or higher, as well.

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Willie Dixon – I AM THE BLUES – COL. 53627

willie

Willie Dixon has to be the most important composer of the modern blues era. He was also the most prolific. As staff producer and bass player for Chess Records, he was responsible for writing, playing, and production on all the classic Chess material.

This collection finds Willie and the Chicago All-Stars cooking on some of his songs made famous by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Led Zeppelin, Cream and Jimi Hendrix, just to name a few, proving he is the blues!

I have been listening to this release ever since it first came out on LP and I still have trouble taking it out of the CD player. It is certainly one of Willie’s best outings from the latter half of his career and you need it if you don’t already have it!

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Willie Cobbs – PAY OR DO 11 MONTHS & 29 DAYS – Wilco 1004

payordo

Born in Smale, AR in 1932, Willie Cobbs’ recording career has spanned five decades and he has contributed much to the Blues. The best known of his compositions is the classic “You Don’t Love Me”, covered by everyone and made famous by the Allman Brothers. Willie does his best on this release. Having fun and singing about a very diverse group of subjects, he has plenty of room to shine and he takes every chance to entertain you on this CD.
Also a great harp player, Willie survived for years playing on several labels and with various blues greats. The steady work of a blues club soon enticed Willie to become the owner of the Blue Flame Club in Stuttgart, Arkansas and later he opened the Turning Point in Itta Bena, Mississippi. In 1978 he tried Greenwood, Mississippi on for size and opened Mr. C’s Bar-B-Que.

1986 saw the teaming up Willie with Jim O’Neal of Rooster Blues to assemble a cassette of his 45 rpm releases on his label, Wilco Records. Then, in 1994 Willie recorded his first Rooster Blues disc, “Down To Earth” Rooster Blues CD RB2628. A release also worth picking up.

Accompanied by Roland Robinson, bass; Harrell Otis and Teenie Hodges, guitar; Steve Potts, drums; Fred Hodges, Piano; Charles Hodges, organ; Vera Cobbs, harp; James Mitchell, sax and Mickey Gregory, trumpet, Willie has turned in a winner this time that is sure to please.

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Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble – LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL – Epic 68163

liveat

With the release of this CD and the remastered studio material that came out in `99 we seem to have been granted the good luck of hearing some really good outtakes and some amazing live playing from SRV that should be a welcomed addition to anyone’s collection. Since the record vaults are our only source of new SRV stuff these days, their contents help us deal with his passing as it appears he had so much more music within. This should have been out years ago. We can only hope that Sony will put more live stuff like this out in the future!
Carnegie Hall has always been a goal for artists of all styles of music. The bluesmen who have made it there have invariably worked their butts off and paid their dues, more than they probably should have. But after so many gigs on the road, the rewards of playing Carnegie Hall are usually increased awareness of the public and increased sales of product.

Born Oct. 3, 1954, Stevie Ray finally got to play this renowned hall the day after his 30th birthday. Double Trouble, (bassist Tommy Shannon, drummer Chris Layton), were augmented on this occasion by brother Jimmie Vaughan, vocalist Angela Strehli, pianist Dr. John and the Roomful of Blues horn section.

The first six songs find Double Trouble in fine form, playing in the tradition of power-trios like Jimi Hendrix and Cream, but the sound is pure Texas blues that reminds me of SRV’s fellow Texan, Johnny Winter more than any rock act.

Educating the audience was one of the things that Stevie tried to do by paying homage to Guitar Slim on “The Things That I Used to Do” (with brother Jimmie on guitar); Albert King on C.O.D. (with vocals by Strehli); and Albert Collins on “Collins Shuffle”. But he also got to debut some of his own songs for the crowd, who responded with quite a bit more volume than usual, for the venue.

Back in Austin, during the early `80s, SRV was in the clutches of drugs, and alcohol. But Stevie Ray still managed to somehow take blues guitar into the realm of rock and roll, much like Jimi Hendrix did in the `60s, only to a much wider audience than Jimi.

Stevie Ray’s playing is clean and inspired on this release. Especially on the encore where he really gets the emotions flowing when he returns to the stage alone to play a solo “Lenny”, the beautiful ballad written for his ex-wife.

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Son House – DELTA BLUES AND SPIRITUALS – Capitol 31830

house

This live recording from 1970 has been reissued a lot lately on small labels, but It is widely available now and it can be added to the legendary Columbia recordings. Son did not quit recording or playing after those 1965 sessions. He played the festival circuit for a while and made a few appearances on a few small labels.
Son really didn’t have much material released from this era however making this release all that much more enjoyable. Son House speaks on two cuts and his voice is the sound of the Delta personified. “Between Midnight And Day”, “I Want To Go Home On The Morning Train”, “This Light Of Mine” and “How To Treat A Man” are songs that as far as I know, make their first appearance on disc. We also get to hear some excellent gospel done accapella on this CD as well, like “Grinnin’In Your Face”, the soul-stirring “John The Revelator”, and on some of the tracks Al Wilson of Canned Heat plays harp. This one touched me deeply and I highly recommend it.
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Robert Nighthawk – LIVE ON MAXWELL STREET 1964 – Rounder 2022

nitehawk

Robert Nighthawk’s voice has a warmth that comes from deep down in his soul. His guitar style is riviting and here, it includes some single-string slide playing reminicent of Muddy Waters. This album, originally released in `80 features this brilliant musician recorded live in Chicago, on Maxwell Street in 1964. Nighthawks’ recorded legacy is very small, so this live set is a welcome addition to any collection. The quality of the recording is not that great, but buy it anyway, as the performances are worth having and are quite rare.
Robert is accompanied by Johnny Young on guitar, Robert Whitehead on drums and the ex-Muddy Waters sideman, Carey Bell on bass and harmonica! The material is not made up of his originals, but Robert’s talents make each tune his own. The disc also includes an interview which was not on the original LP version. This CD is a must-have!
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Robben Ford & The Blue Line – THE AUTHORIZED BOOTLEG – Bluethumb 7013

ford

This rare, live acoustic 4-piece performance of Robben and the band is so blusey, it has quickly become my favorite acoustic jazzy blues disk. More than that, it makes me want to practice my guitar. That is a sign that should be read as “If you love improvisational music that is 12 bar blues and yet swings like crazy, this is just what the Dr. ordered.” This CD will remind you just how many styles of blues there are that can be performed by an acoustic quartet of fantastic session players.
Robben also sings lead and Roscoe Beck is the bassist and he, combined with Tom Brechtlein on drums and Bill Boublitz on baby grand cover “Lovin’ Cup” by Paul Butterfield, and a slow, mellow version of “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” that add subtlety and warmth to an already very cozy atmosphere.

Recorded at Yoshi’s in Oakland, CA on December 5, 1995 and just released in 1998, this disc, as the title implies, is an attempt by Mr. Ford to “Beat the Bootleggers” to paraphrase Frank Zappa. It is also stated as such in the liner notes. Either way, buy this or suffer the consequences of missing out on one of the best CDs to come out in decades!

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