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NEWSLETTER #137
Blues & Gospel
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown ->
Mitch Kashmar
 

 

NEW BOOKS

 
WALKING A BLUES ROAD A BLUES READER, 1956-2004 by Samuel Charters ● BOOK $17.95
Paper, 272 pages, counts as 3 CDS for shipping A collection of articles by one of the pioneer writers on the blues drawn from previous books, album liners and newly written for this collection. Subjects covered include Lightnin' Hopkins, Robert Johnson, Mamie Smith's recording of Crazy Blues, St. Louis Blues, field recordings of protest songs, Chicago blues, women's blues from Parchman Prison Farm and much more.

 
 
SINGING IN A STRANGE LAND by Nick Salvatore ● BOOK $27.95
Hardbound, 419 pages, counts as six CDs for shipping. Biography of Reverend C.L. Franklin - one of the most famous influential African American preachers whose recordings on JVB and Chess sold millions of copies. He was also an important figure in the civil rights movement and worked with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to end racial discrimination in downtown Detroit in 1963. He was also the father of Aretha Franklin. This book is based on eight years of research and interviews and traces Franklin's life from his birth in Mississippi, his early years as a preacher, his move to Tennessee and ultimately Detroit where he became a legend

 
INCURABLE BLUES The Troubles & Triumph of  blues Legend Hubert Sumlin  by Will Romano ● BOOK $17.95
Paper, 264 pages, counts as 4 CDS for shipping Authorized biography of one of the most important and influential blues guitarists whose work on Howling Wolf's Chess recordings added to a new dimension to Chicago blues guitar, The book is told through first-hand interviews with Hubert and those who knew him and his music. Includes and annotated selective discography.


 

NEW DVDS

 
NOTE: Unless otherwise noted all DVDs offered are in NTSC format which means that they will not play on a European DVD players unless you have a multiple format player.
 
 
CHAMPION JACK DUPREE Storyville 16038 Blues Legends ● DVD $11.98
The great singer and piano player performing in Denmark in 1986 - includes solo sides, tracks with Kenn Lending or Louisiana Red on guitar and tracks with The Kenn Lending Blues Band - Dupree Special/ Crossroads/ Mean Old Lonesome Train/ Alberta/ You Can Make It + 4 more.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Ventura 19062 Messin' With The Blues ● DVD $16.98
DVD, 75 minutes, color, recommended Thanks to ex-Rolling Stone, Bill Wyman, this DVD is from a Montreaux Jazz Festival concert in 1974 featuring Junior Wells delivering strong versions of two longtime favorites in Messin' With Kid and Hoodoo Man Blues. Buddy Guy then offers the potent When You See The Tears From My Eyes and Ten Years Ago, both searing blues numbers. Muddy Waters closes out the show with fair readings of Hoochie Coochie Man/ Mannish Boy/ The Same Thing and Got My Mojo Working. Dallas Taylor (guitar), Bill Wyman (bass), and Terry Taylor (drums) support with Pinetop Perkins, plus Guy and Wells, and though admirable, there are a few rough spots. Interviews with Buddy Guy and Big Bill Morganfield find Wyman firing out questions, but he has a tendency to stare off in another direction when posing his queries, and he displays a penchant for being somewhat interruptive during the answering process. Small quibbles aside; this is a lengthy and recommended set with clear video quality and a choice of audio selections. If "Drinkin' TNT 'N' Smokin' Dynamite" is in your audio collection, the Wells/Guy material will be familiar, but it's a treat having it in this newly released format along with previously unseen footage of Muddy Waters. (CR)

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
CLARENCE "GATEMOUTH" BROWN Maison De Blues 982 2467 Gate's On The Heat ● CD $15.98
This CD features two sessions - one held in 1972 with "Gate" accompanied by a French rhythm section with The Memphis Horns overdubbed later. This session was originally issued as "The Drifter Rides" again. Another session was held in 1973 with "Gate" joined by Canned Heat. The album was then re-released as "Gate's On The Heat" with two of the tracks added from the Canned Heat session. This CD adds two more tracks from the latter session for a total of 12 tracks. Gate is in fine form singing and playing guitar, violin and harmonica on a collection of originals (Man & His Environment/ Please Mr. Nixon/ Dollar's Got The Blues, etc.) and fine covers Jelly, Jelly/ One Mint Julep/ River's Invitation, etc.)

 
PRECIOUS BRYANT Terminus 0407 The Truth ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 37 mins, recommended
This is the second album from Georgia blueswoman Bryant and is not quite as strong as the first (Terminus 201 Fool Me Good - $15.98) which was a solo country blues effort. This one adds bass and drums to most of the tracks and the added accompaniment seems a little heavy handed. Still Precious is a fine singer and does a varied selection of material including original songs, blues & R&B favorites and gospel songs and the tracks where she is alone or with a second guitarist only are especially nice. (FS)

 
DUWAYNE BURNSIDE BC Records 1314 Live At The Mind ● CD $13.98
High energy electric blues recorded live in Los Angeles in 1999 by R.L. Burnside's son with his band The Mississippi Mafia (bass, organ, accordion, drums & rhythm guitar) and originally issued on the Lucky 13 label. 9 songs, mostly covers, including a 19 minute version of Hoochie Coochie Man!

 
JOE CALICOTT Southland 35 North Mississippi Blues ● CD $13.98
12 tracks, 40 mins, recommended
A fine though frustrating collection featuring 10 of the recordings made by this excellent Mississippi country bluesman for George Mitchell in 1967. Frustrating since six of the ten tracks were previously reissued on Fat Possum (80360 - $15.98) and doubly frustrating since there are still half a dozen of Mitchell's recordings that are not currently on CD. The remaining two cuts are Joe's superb sides from 1930 though these have been reissued a number of times. Booklet includes notes by Keith Tillman. (FS)

 
CARLOS DEL JUNCO Northern Blues 026 Blues Mongrel ● CD $16.98
12 tracks, 57 minutes, excellent
Webster's defines 'mongrel' as: "any animal or plant resulting from the crossing of different breeds or varieties / any cross between different things, esp. if inharmonious or indiscriminate" - which makes this is an apt and fitting title. Delving into jazz, New Orleans funk, Tex-Mex, hip-hop, and bluegrass, among other styles, del Junco's harmonica reflects an exciting and highly-modern twist. In his hands, it's not a small toy instrument as much as it's an extension of soul and voice. The harp swoops, swells, and orbits, and often in tongues not heard in the blues realm. Little Walter's Blues With A Feeling and Sonny Boy Williamson's Nine Below Zero are intelligently crafted blues expressions as much as Skatoon and No Particular Place expand the borders of harp-playing. (CR)

 
SHY GUY DOUGLAS Black Magic 9205 Stone Doin' Alright ● CD $15.98
21 tracks recorded by fine, obscure Nashville singer and harmonica player Tom "Shy Guy" Douglas between 1949 and 1969. This is pretty much everything he recorded, except for his sides for Excello. It includes sides for Todd, Clavert, Bullet (from the 60s Bullet label including several previously unissued), Sur-Speed, Sun (originally unissued), MGM and Chane. Includes Monkey Doin' Woman/ My Little Baby/ Evening Soul/ Stone Doin' Alright (two takes)/ Detroit Arrow/ I Should Have Known/ Shy (two takes), etc. Includes 8 page booklet with brief notes by Fred James and what little discographical info is known about these recordings. (FS)

 
THE DOWN HOME SUPER TRIO Crosscut 11081 In The House, Live At Lucerne, Vol. 6 ● CD $16.98
13 tracks, 54 minutes, highly recommended
Although the band name isn't a familiar one to the world of blues, Frank Goldwasser (guitar and vocals), R.J. Mischo (harmonica and vocals), and Richard Innes (drums) have managed to forge solid reputations with their many years of playing and recording. This smoldering set was tracked in November of 2003 at the prestigious Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland and finds the trio rattling through Willie Dixon's Bloody Tears, Earl Hooker's Going Down The Line, and the Willie Nix gem, Just Can't Stay (although credited to Don Nix), and a handful of strong originals. Alex Schultz and Billy Flynn sit in as guests and the outcome of the entire CD is crashing and distorted blues that recalls the early days of the Post-war scene in Chicago and Memphis. (CR)

 
SNOOKS EAGLIN/ BOOGIE BILL WEBB Storyville 8054 The Blues Of Snooks Eaglin & Boogie Bill Webb ● CD $24.98
16 tracks, very good
This set includes 12 tracks by Eaglin and 4 by Webb recorded in New Orleans. The Eaglin tracks were recorded at Storyville Hall with Snooks's vocals and electric guitar accompanied by bass and drums on fine versions of songs like Mustang Sally/ Guess Who/ Money/ San-Ho-Zay/ Hideaway/ Talk To Your Daughter and others as well as his own Country Boy Down In New Orleans with additional vocals from one of the band members. The Webb cuts with Harmonica Slim on harmonica and vocals tracks are pretty bad with painfully out of tune guitar work and really don't do this artist who was certainly capable of better. (FS)

 
RONNIE EARL & DUKE ROBILLARD Stony Plain 1303 The Duke Meets The Earl ● CD $15.98
8 tracks, 72 minutes, highly recommended
A long-awaited recording for fans of blues guitar and a sizzling one at that. Robillard handles the vocals on three cuts; Big Walter Price's My Tears (15 minutes-plus), Lookin' For Trouble, a rattling Eddie Taylor gem, and B.B. King's I Need You So Bad. Mighty Sam McClain guests on a reworking of A Soul That's Been Abused with the remaining cuts being instrumentals; West Side Shuffle/ Two Bones And A Pick/ What Have I Done Wrong, and Zeb's Thing, a Ronnie-penned tribute to Earl Hooker. A tour-de-force effort from a pair of guitarists who have the respect and admiration of fans worldwide. Jimmy McGriff appears on two tracks while the tight band consists of members from both artist's lineups. (CR)

 
BILLY "THE KID" EMERSON Charly SNAP 224 Move, Baby Move ● CD $13.98
29 tracks, 76 mins, highly recommended
Repackaging of Charly 8276 in handsome digipack format with a picture of Billy on the label and two bonus alternate takes. Billy Emerson was a very talented performer whose lack of success is surprising - he was a powerful singer and an exceptional songwriter whose songs were covered by the likes of Elvis Presley (When It Rains It Pours), Billy Lee Riley (Red Hot), Ry Cooder (Every Woman I Know (Crazy 'Bout Autombiles)) and others. These songs are here along with a whole lot more recorded for Sun and Vee-Jay between 1954 and 1957. The earliest Sun recordings find him accompanied by members of Ike Turner's Kings Of Rhythm (Billy was a member of the band at the time) and subsequent sessions found him with other fine groups including some songs with hot guitar from Calvin Newbern. The Vee-Jay sides have a more polished sound with larger groups but are equally fine with sidemen like Red Holloway, Lefty Bates, Lucious washington and others. This collection includes at least one take of every song he recorded for Sun and Vee-Jay (except for two Vee-Jay titles that have gone missing) and includes some songs not originally issued and some alternate takes. Good sound and informative notes from Adam Komorowski but no discographical info. (FS)

 
THE GOSPEL HUMMINGBIRDS Gospel Hummingbirds 1 Live In Paradise ● CD $15.98
16 tracks, 78 mins, highly recommended
Paradise, California, that is, at the Skyway lodge to be exact. Anyone who has ever had the good fortune to witness the Gospel Hummingbirds live can testify to the power and spirit of the performance. This CD does justice in capturing the live lightning and putting it in a bottle. Where Ain't No Use is playful, Signs Of The Judgment is apocalyptic, and both convince and engage their listeners. All five of the 'Birds step up to lead vocal chores on various songs, demonstrating an impressive depth of talent. Underrated, under-recorded, and under-appreciated, the Gospel Hummingbirds are capable of musical subtleties born out of years of performing. They don't try to overpower every song (although they could), they serve the song, they live the message, they walk by faith. These guys are the real thing. When they sing I'm Waiting For Jesus, no one could doubt them. (JC)

 
THE HOLLYWOOD BLUE FLAMES Delta Groove 102 Soul Sanctuary ● CD $15.98
13 tracks, 47 minutes, highly recommended
With more than a quarter-century having passed since The Hollywood Fats Band debuted offering their only recording in 1979, Al Blake, Larry Taylor, Richard Innes, and Fred Kaplan have continued to play blues. While this recording doesn't mark the first get-together of the remaining four (Fats died in December of 1986) it surely marks their return as worthwhile and based on this effort, it's hopeful for more. The youthful exuberance of old has been replaced with a refined swagger of maturity and Kirk "Eli" Fletcher's guitar work stands as some of the best in blues today. Laced with plenty of Blake's harp, Kaplan's keyboard prowess, and the water-tight rhythm section of Taylor and Innes, it makes for some exceptional listening. Mostly original with a few covers (L.C. McKinley's Nit Wit and St. Louis Jimmy's Soon Forgotten) plus Kim Wilson's guest appearance for Jimmy Rogers' gem You're Sweet. (CR)

 
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Koch 9850 Lightnin' Strike Twice ● CD $16.98
Two CDs, 38 tracks, highly recommended
Splendid collection of Lightnin' recorded in the mid 60s for maverick record producer Aubrey Mayhew and previously available on five CDs on Collectables as "The Lost Texas Tapes." Like that set it includes the egregious error of including six tracks that are not by Lightnin at all - two by Leadbelly, two by Josh White and two by a white folk singer from the 40s. How they got on these tapes is anyone's guess but it would have been nice if Koch had been a little more responsible than Collectables and not included them. The recordings are from a couple of studio sessions and a couple of live performances at the Bird Lounge in Houston and prior to the Collectables release only half a dozen of the live tracks had been released before on a rare mid 60s LP. The material is a mix of old favorites as well as Lightnins' on the spot improvisations. Sam is in fine form vocally and instrumentally playing amplified and electric guitar and it's always to hear Lightnin's warm growling voice on the between songs patter on the live performances. Lightnin' also back up his cousin, singer/ harmonica player Billy Bizor on two superb vocals and two instrumentals. Bizor is erroneously referred to in the notes as Curly Lee! Includes fairly lengthy notes by Mayhew (repeated from the Collectables) on his experiences meeting and recording Lightnin' - interesting stuff though one might question his assertion that Lightnin' did not make many records! (FS)

 
ALBERTA HUNTER Shanachie DVD 6320 Jazz At The Smithsonian ● DVD $15.98
14 tracks, 57 minutes, color, excellent
Aided by the piano work of Gerald Cook and Jimmy Lewis on bass, Alberta Hunter (in her eighties) handed over a highly entertaining set of blues classics to an appreciative crowd at the Smithsonian's Baird Auditorium in November of 1981. Down Hearted Blues, Darktown Stutter's Ball, Rough And Ready Man, You Can't Tell The Difference After Dark, Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, and My Castle's Rockin' (among others) show Hunter's age had little effect on her abilities. She remained powerful, witty, risqu, and rewarding right to her end a few short years after this concert appearance. The DVD includes an interview smartly spaced at about the halfway point in the performance footage. Definitely recommended. (CR)

 
J.B. HUTTO Delmark 778 Stompin' At Mother Blues ● CD $14.98
19 tracks, 60 minutes, highly recommended
J.B. Hutto's jagged and fiery guitar work, and workmanlike voice, were easily capable of knocking any listener off a bar stool from across the room in any of the countless taverns he made his living in, and that style rings loud and clear on this offering. The first 12 tracks were recorded in 1966 at Mother Blues, and although no crowd was present, it's obvious that Hutto and his small band (Herman Hassell & Frank Kirkland) were in top form. The balance dates from 1972 with a different, yet equally adept unit (Lee Jackson, Elbert Buckner & Bombay Carter). Plenty of careening slide and ragged-but-stinging single string lead work throughout. Solid, stripped-down blues on this (mostly) unissued set - Evening Train/ Hawk's Rock/ Alcohol Blues/ Dandruff, and lots more. (CR)

 
MITCH KASHMAR Delta Groove 103 Nickels & Dimes ● CD $15.98
13 tracks, 54 minutes, excellent
Although Mitch Kashmar's name may not be known currently by many in blues circles away from the West Coast, his talents as a songwriter, vocalist, and harmonica master will hopefully bring him wider recognition soon. Aided by the considerable efforts of Junior Watson, Ronnie James Weber, and Richard Innes with guest spots from Abu Talib (formerly known as Freddie Robinson) and Arthur Adams, Kashmar delivers a rousing set of smoldering blues. His originals; Dirty Deal/ Just Show It To Me/ New York Woman/ Becky Ann/ We're Sittin' Home Tonight/ Runnin' Off At The Mouth and the title track stand up easily against six well-chosen covers. While he may be off the radar screen for the majority of the blues world, he's definitely deserving of far more. (CR)

 
 

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