Blues & Gospel - Newsletter 142 - Johnny Adams -> Charlie Musselwhite + DVDS, Books, Calnedar
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Blues & Gospel
Johnnie Adams ->
Charlie Musselwhite



BIG GEORGE BROCK Cat Head 1002 Hard Times ● DVD $19.98
DVD,1 hour, 7 min., recommended This Damien Blaylock-directed film began life as a promo piece for MS. bluesman Big George Brock. It ended up as a documentary about Brock's life and times. He worked as a sharecropper, boxer, and blues club owner; is said to have knocked down Sonny Liston (before his title), and even wrestled a bear for money! As a club owner, Brock booked Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Howlin' Wolf and other greats over the years, and played with them all. His own style owes more than something to Howlin' Wolf, although Brock names Waters as the king of the blues. Brock is no youngster, but his singing and harp playing still have an undeniable power and rawness, even if he does perform sitting down. Concert footage is interspersed with interview segments. In the end, this DVD lacks any real depth in terms of revealing Brock as a man, perhaps because his record label wasn't interested in showing him in anything but a flattering light, perhaps because Blaylock only shot film for three days. So Brock tells about picking cotton (and actually picks some on camera) and boxing but reveals little beyond a few personal observations. Still Brock's story is pretty damn interesting. Did I mention that he has 42 kids? (JC)

MAGIC SLIM Blind Pig 6003 Anything Can Happen ● DVD $19.98
DVD, 75 minutes, good Brief liner notes accompanying this disc state that "although the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company's luxuriously appointed Big Room is light-years removed from the kind of clubs in which Magic Slim grew up learning and plying his craft, the music is as real as it gets." True since Slim and his three-piece band are real people playing real instruments to a real audience in Chico, CA, but the antiseptic feel of the surroundings finds Magic Slim rarely rising above the level of mediocrity with the sameness of the grooves getting downright tedious after the first few songs. Miles Jordan's notes close by saying "I never made it to Florence's, or any other of Chicago's clubs where this music lives and breathes, but I can't imagine that what we heard that night in Chico was too much different from what Slim and his band play for his Chicago audiences." A suggestion would be for the writer to make a pilgrimage to the Windy City in order to witness what Slim lays down at B.L.U.E.S. or other home turf clubs to see if that opinion changes. (CR)

OTIS RUSH & FRIENDS Eagle Eye DVD 39114 Live At Montreux, 1986 ● DVD $13.98
DVD, 13 tracks, 88 min., highly recommended Rush drew national attention way back in the 1950s while at Cobra Records, where his I Can't Quit You Baby hit the charts hard enough to do serious damage. By this 1986 show at Montreux, he was near the top of the short list of greatest living bluesmen. A gifted and expressive singer and guitarist, Rush is backed by Professor Eddie Lusk's band, as hot a blues machine as you are likely to find. The "friends" are Eric Clapton and Luther Allison, both of whom were heavily influenced by our man. Clapton joins Rush on a cover of Albert King's Crosscut Saw and stays for Double Trouble and All Your Love (I Miss Loving), both of which Clapton has recorded with marked success. Then Luther Allison waltzes on stage and all three blues legends turn their attentions to the Memphis Slim classic Everyday I Have The Blues. What more could you want? (JC)

POPS STAPLES Silvermine Video 4042 In Concert ● DVD $19.98
Color, 60 mins, recommended The first 30 minutes of this video features the patrich of Staple Singers, Roebuck "Pops" Staples doing a solo set alone with his Delta blues flavored treemlo laden electric guitar on a varied selection including Nobody's Fault But Mine/ Will The Circle Be Unbroken/ Too Close/ Why Am I Treated So bad and others plus a rap on the dangers of drugs. Some beautiful performances though somewhat marred by an annoying hum throughout and some ridiculous graphic effects. For the next 15 minutes Pops is joined by a band doing some of the songs from his 90s albums - Pops singing is great but the band is a bit heavy handed. The last 15 minutes features various contemporary groups and choirs including one that sound like hip-hop gospel. Not really my cup of tea. Production throughout is pretty amateurish but those first 30 minutes is a real joy if you can ignore the hum. (FS)


VARIOUS ARTISTS Fat Possum 1020 You See Me Laughing ● DVD $18.98
DVD, color, 86 min., highly recommended It would be easy to condemn this documentary as cynical self-promotion on the part of Fat Possum Records, but it doesn't feel like that at all. It takes a look at the FP roster of elderly blues practitioners, yes, but one gets the feeling that label founder Matthew Johnson really is motivated by a desire to see his musicians get the respect they deserve...and some money, if possible. The big star here is Fat Possum's best seller, R. L. Burnside, who recently passed. The clip of Burnside from the early 1970s is a real treat, but the reason to watch this is the gritty, realistic way each musician is presented. Holly Springs, Mississippi, ain't Los Angeles, and Cedell Davis and Junior Kimbrough and T-Model Ford and others are allowed to be themselves, even when they aren't always the way a press release might want them. The poverty of the area presses itself through the screen and into your house in ways you will be unlikely to forget. This is the real blues, before it's packaged, shined up, and marketed to middle America. Intense. (JC)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Winner 222 Mark Naftalin's Blue Monday Party, Vols 1 & 2 ● DVD $19.98
Blues pianist Mark Naftalin party hosted the weekly Blue Monday Party at the Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax, California between 1979 and 1983 featuring his own band (usually including Bobby Murray/gtr and Henry Oden/ bass), and featuring numerous visiting blues greats. The Blue Monday Party was the scene of three half-hour television specials in 1980 and 1981 and this DVD presents two of them - the first one featuring Lowell Fulson and Percy Mayfield as guests and the second one features Charlie Musselwhite and John Lee Hooker with Luther Tucker in attendance on guitar. All the artists are in fine form with particularly nice performances by Fulson and Hooker - the latter departing from his familiar repertoire with some less familiar songs.

MUDDY WATERS Hip-O 5842 Classic Concerts ● DVD $19.98
DVD,25 tracks, about 2 hours, highly recommended This welcome release documents three great Muddy Waters concerts: the Newport Jazz Festival (1960), the Copenhagen Jazz Festival (1968), the Molde Jazz Festival (Norway, 1977). Reason enough to watch is the Newport footage, which has been synced to the stereo tapes for the first time, thus offering exceptional sound to go along with Muddy's remarkable performance. His band at the time included Otis Spann (piano) and James Cotton (harmonica), among others, and during one cut Muddy brings out several of the blues/R&B performers at Newport, including Jimmy Rushing and Sammy Price. The Denmark show also features Otis Spann on keys, and Muddy introduces him as his brother before letting Spann sing Nobody Knows My Trouble and Cold Cold Feeling. Muddy Waters enjoyed a popular revival in the 1970s and his Norway show finds him older (he plays sitting down now) but still vocally powerful beyond any doubt. His band consisted of Pinetop Perkins (piano), Luther "Guitar" Johnson, Jerry Portnoy (harmonica), Calvin Jones (bass), Willie Smith (drums), and Bob Margolin (guitar). Bonus features include a live cut from a London show in 1977 and interview footage. Includes informative liner notes and previously unreleased footage. (JC)



CLASSIC BLUES ARTWORK FROM THE 1920S 2007 Calendar Blues Images 207 ● DVD $16.98
Get ready for 2007 with the fourth of what is promised to be a series of 15 calendars using images discovered by collector John Tefteller. These are drawn from a cache of original artwork for advertisements printed in African-American newspapers in the late 20s and early 30s by the Paramount Record Company advertising their latest blues releases. This one features ads for records by Victoria Spivey (not a Paramount but a great image), Charley Patton, Ida Cox, The Beale Street Sheiks, Bumble Bee Slim, Ma Rainey and other. The calendar also includes sample song lyrics, brief biographies and birth and death dates for many blues artists. As if that wasn't enough the calendar comes with a bonus CD with 14 tracks - all 12 of the advertised releases plus four bonus sides including both sides of the recently unearthed fourth Paramount by Son House that was recently reissued by Yazoo and in the introduction to the calendar Tefteller reveals some more information about the source of this incredible and wonderful rarity. Also included are full color inserts to enable you to make your own Classic Blues Artwork CD with a jewel case (jewel case not included) Since these would make such a great gift if you buy five or more calendars you can get them for ● CD $14.98 each! Calendar/ CD set counts as four CDs for shipping purposes.


JOHNNY ADAMS Rounder 2182 The Great Johnny Adams Blues Album ● CD $12.98
12 tracks, 53 min., recommended
A compilation of Adams' bluesier tracks drawn from his many (at least a dozen) Rounder releases. Songs feature some fine New Orleans musicians, including Dr. John on piano, Alvin "Red" Tyler on tenor sax, and Duke Robillard on guitar, among others. But since everything here is available on other Rounder CDs, and since the variety of blues styles here is so wide (songs by Sam Cooke, Percy Mayfield, Doc Pomus, Lowell Fulsom, Oscar Lee Perry), it would seem logical enough just to pick up any Johnny Adams CD, because, as here, he always does a fine job in front of the mic. But if you're looking for an Adams blues album recorded in New Orleans, this one qualifies. (JC)

BIG GEORGE BROCK Cat Head 1003 Round Two ● CD $14.98
13 tracks, 45 minutes, recommended
Although Big George Brock is no spring chicken at the age of 74, he's still a relative newcomer to recording with "Round Two" being only his second outing, a follow-up to his solid "Club Caravan" disc of last year. This is some serious, down-home juke-joint blues with Brock's throaty harmonica and raspy vocals well to-the-fore with a rocking quartet of guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums assisting. Hubert Sumlin sits in on a pair (Brock's So Long and Willie Dixon's Shake For Me) adding some lowdown six-string, but the hands-down winners are where Brock offers harp with only drum support as on his own tough-as-nails Rockin' Chair and the ragged instrumental Mattson, Miss. And you thought they didn't make records like this anymore. Potent and powerful. (CR)

SAM CHATMON Dynamic 32 Blues When It Rains ● CD $17.98
Delightful collection of 11 sides recorded in 1976 at his home in Hollandale, Mississippi by this infrequnetly recorded Mississippi country bluesman and songster. Sam is in fine form on a selection of his most popular songs - St. Louis Blues/ Stoop Down Girl/ I'm A Fool About Your Loving/ Used To Be (Sam's unique take on Lowell Fulson's Black Nights)/ Good Eat Meat Boy, etc.

WALLACE COLEMAN Pinto Blue 1954 Stretch My Money ● CD $14.98
12 tracks, 55 min., recommended
A bluesman who smiles on the cover photo? Yes, he does exist. He's blue but his band is good enough that he doesn't need to pose. Coleman covers Lightnin' Hopkins (Mojo Hand), Willie Dixon (Dead Presidents, Bring It On Home), Earl Hooker (Off The Hook), Roosevelt Sykes (Dangerous Man), Howlin' Wolf (Who's Been Talking) and sounds convincing each time out. He's is no slouch with a pen either, as Spare Woman aptly demonstrates. And it doesn't hurt that he's got three guitarists, including Frank "Silk" Smith on slide. Coleman sings and blows harp throughout, though not simultaneously. Nothing here to blow you away, but nothing likely to disappoint either. (JC)

MICHAEL COLEMAN & THE DELMARK ALL-STARS Delmark 785 Blues Brunch At The Mart ● CD $14.98
13 tracks, 69 minutes, recommended
With Little Arthur Duncan, Lurrie Bell, Willie Kent, Steve Freund, Bonnie Lee, Tail Dragger, Aaron Moore and others backed by Michael Coleman for a 'live' location recording from Chicago's Jazz Record Mart expectations are bound to be high and the gathered cast doesn't disappoint. Coleman shines bringing new life to The Sky Is Crying mixing T-Bone Walker and Fenton Robinson with his own modern guitar approach and Lurrie Bell sounds better than ever on Reconsider Baby and I Need You So Bad while Steve Freund soars through a rousing My Little Playhouse delivering scorching guitar. It'd be nice if Delmark could manage more recordings from their Blues Brunch series of performances. (CR)

THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS Tone-Cool 51633 Painted On ● CD $16.98
12 tracks, 47 minutes, excellent
While Kim Wilson remains as the only original member of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, he still maintains the gritty mix of blues, R&B, and vintage rock 'n' roll that brought the band to cult status and later shot them to (somewhat short-lived) stardom. The biggest change is the personnel with Kirk "Eli" Fletcher and Nick Curran sharing guitar duties (with Curran adding a few vocals) but Wilson stands as a brilliant harp player, songwriter, and singer who's aged (and matured) into more than a driving force. Leroy Washington's Wild Cherry is superb with a healthy dose of Kim's originals (Hard Knock/ Got To Get Out/ Postman/ Painted On and more) and Curran's You Torture Me standing tall. Not the straight-ahead blues outing Kim takes on as a solo artist, but just as potent and powerful. (CR)

THE GRIFFIN BROTHERS Acrobat ACRCD 218 Blues With A Beat, Volume 2 ● CD $10.98
Another fabulous collection of sides by this exciting combo featuring a mix of rocking instrumentals and fine vocals by Margie Day and Buddy Griffin. In addition to 23 tracks by the band there are four solo sides by Buddy Griffin with his wife Claudia on vocals. Includes 12 page booklet with notes by Dave Penny.

J.W. JONES Northern Blues 0035 Kissing In 29 Days ● CD $16.98
14 tracks, 68 minutes. excellent
Canadian JW Jones has been making himself well-known to the blues world through associations with Kim Wilson and other high-ranking artists and follows up 2004's My Kind Of Evil with a new plate showing a definite New Orleans slant from beginning to end. Although not the most potent or forceful singer (not unlike Rusty Zinn), his voice shows improvement, and Jones displays quirky, mature, and highly creative guitar work. The four-piece band is made up of guitar, bass, keys, and drums and pushed along by a large horn section (alto, tenor and baritone saxes plus two trumpets) and features David "Fathead"Newman on a few cuts. Maybe a little less adventurous than his prior recordings by sticking close to the Crescent City but Jones has fun and it comes across in his efforts. (CR)

THE KILBURN ALLEY BLUES BAND Blue Bella 1007 Put It In The Alley ● CD $14.98
13 tracks, 59 minutes, excellent
Although still a relatively unknown quantity outside the greater-Chicago circuit, what The Kilborn Alley Blues Band lacks in notoriety they make up for in enthusiasm, passion, and dedication with their gritty blend of straight blues and blues-laced soul. An original dozen with B.B. King's I Like To Live The Love tossed in, this crew knows the meaning of playing from the heart with Andrew Duncanson's lead vocals and guitar belying his age as much as Joe Asselin's tough harp work. Your Next Baby's Daddy with smart lyrics sounds like an outtake of Muddy's Tiger In Your Tank while a shuffling The Blues Take Me In/ Can I Get A Hello and Mr.Campbell's Blues (a heartwarming ode to the late Little Milton) showing the stylish writing and performing abilities of the band. Produced by Nick Moss and recorded in the Chicago suburbs, this disc oozes Chicago grime. (CR)

B.B. KING Virgin 11654 Original Greatest Hits ● CD $25.98
2 CDs, 40 tracks, 120 minutes, recommended
From Riley B. King's first outing as a recording artist for the Bullet label in 1949 with his pairing of Miss Martha King and When Your Baby Packs Up And Goes through Blues Stay Away From Me/ Rock Me Baby for Kent in 1964, this is a dandy overview of the blues' greatest ambassador. Boasting superior sound from a superb blues shouter who possessed an ability for some of the most devastating guitar work ever, this collection focuses mainly on sides King recorded for the Bihari brothers' imprints; RPM, Kent, and Crown. 3 O'Clock Blues/ She's Dynamite/ The Woman I Love/ Ten Long Years/ Crying Won't Help You/ Be Careful With A Fool/ Worry, Worry/ Walkin' Dr. Bill and many more with brief notes from Colin Escott and peak chart positions for the songs. Nicely done. (CR)
B.B. KING: 3 O'Clock Blues/ Ain't Nobody's Business/ Bad Luck/ Be Careful With A Fool/ Blind Love/ Blues Stay Away From Me/ Boogie Rock (House Rocker)/ Confessin' The Blues/ Crying Won't Help You/ Days Of Old/ Did You Ever Love A Woman/ Down Now/ Downhearted (How Blue Can You Get?)/ Every Day I Have The Blues/ I'll Survive/ Love You Baby (Take A Swing With Me)/ Mashed Potato Twist/ Miss Martha King/ My Own Fault/ Neighborhood Affair/ On My Word Of Honor/ Peace Of Mind/ Please Accept My Love/ Please Love Me/ Rock Me Baby/ She's Dynamite/ Story Fom My Heart And Soul/ Sweet Little Angel/ Sweet Sixteen Parts 1 & 2/ Ten Long Years/ That Evil Child/ The Woman I Love/ Walkin' Dr. Bill/ When My Heart Beats Like A Hammer/ When Your Baby Packs Up And Goes/ Worry, Worry/ You Don't Know/ You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now/ You Know I Love You/ You Upset Me, Baby

CHRIS THOMAS KING 21st Century Blues 2114 Rise ● CD $14.98
11 tracks, 47 mins, highly recommended
Powerful and moving new album by the multi-talented King expressing his feelings about his home town of New Orleans in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Seven of the songs are originals including the spine chilling What Would Jesus Do, the soulful Like A Hurricane (Ghost Of Marie Laveau and the beautiful . Covers include a tremendous rendition of Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi which seems remrkably prescient, a tough version of St James Infirmary, the lovely Irish folk song 'Tis The Last Rose Of Summer sung for his mother who died in December 2005 and the set ends with a message of hope with a fine rendition of the Louis Armstrong standard What A Wonderful World. Perhaps not really a blues album there's some fine blues singing and guitar from Chris on a number of tracks and if this wasn't an experience to engender the blues I don't know what is. In the past Chris's music has sometimes seemed unfocussed - here his music expresses his feelings with razor sharp clarity (FS)
Additional comments by Nancy
 It seems to have been the conclusion of the federal government that saving much of the Gulf Coast was optional (certainly less important than getting the oil rigs and refineries back on line), and that rebuilding much of New Orleans had best be left to the tourist industry. If any of you reading this recognize that it is up to us to restore the heart of American vernacular culture that is the Mississippi delta, I recommend that Chris Thomas King's Rise be a touchstone: there have been earlier (also deliberately engineered) destructions of New Orleans by flood than this latest one, and more than a few records by black artists that spoke to the ruin of their lives, but this time it's ours, and Chris Thomas King is the genius out of whose heartbreak and despair its artistic expression was wrung. So listen to it, and share it, and then figure out what you can do to help heal the Delta. (NSN)

LEAD BELLY Empire Musicwerks 50833 The Tradition Years - The Legend Of Lead Belly ● CD $13.98
23 tracks, 57 mins, highly recommended
More great sides from the legendary blues singer, songster and 12 string guitarist. These were recorded in 1939, 1943 and 1944 and were originally issued on Musicraft and Asch and since then have appeared on numerous LPs and CDs. Most of the songs are familiar ones he recorded for a number of labels including De Kalb Blues/ Bourgeois Blues/ Gllows Pole/ Goonight Irene/ Bottle Up And Go/ Jullie Ann Johnson and others but the performnces here as good as any of these songs. It also includes two superb rendition of the traditional balls John Hardy - one with accordion and one with guitar. On Big Fat Woman he treats us to some of his wonderful raggy piano playing. His version of How LOng features Sonny Terry on harmonica and one of his rendition of Pretty Flowers features fine guitar work from Josh White. If you don't already have them these are ceratinly a worthwhile addition to your Lead Belly collection. (FS)

BILL LUPKIN & FRIENDS Blue Bella 1006 Where I Come From ● CD $14.98
14 tracks, 59 minutes, excellent
Bill Lupkin's career as a top-drawer harp player stretches back to his uncredited appearance with Jimmy Rogers on the "Gold Tailed Bird" sessions for Shelter in 1972. After leaving Chicago and a lengthy period of inactivity (still keeping his chops sharp) Lupkin re-appeared with a 'live' disc in 1999 and then as a guest on "Got A New Plan" from Nick Moss & The Flip Tops in 2001. Moss's Blue Bella label gives Lupkin another showcase (with far better distribution) and the disc succeeds as a potent nod to Lupkin's mentors (Little Walter, Junior Wells, Johnny Young, etc.) on an all-original set with Moss handling guitar chores brilliantly with Harlan Terson and Gerry Hundt sharing bass duties and Mark Fornek drumming. This is smoldering Chicago Blues from a harp player and vocalist we should be hearing lots more from in the future. (CR)

MAGIC SLIM & JOE CARTER Delmark 786 That Ain't Right ● CD $14.98
13 tracks, 63 minutes, highly recommended
Recorded and produced by Ralph Bass in 1977, this pairing of Magic Slim's gritty, single-string attack and Joe Carter's rough and ragged slide approach is a wonderful addition to the Delmark catalog. Morris Holt's half-dozen (In The Dark/ She Is Mine/ Strange Things Happen/ Cummins Prison Farm/ Soul Blues/ Just To Be With You) are typical, slashing Magic Slim grinders with Junior Pettis plus Nick and Doug Holt supporting. Joe Carter (1927-2001), with help from Lacy Gibson, Sunnyland Slim, Willie Black, and Fred Below fared much better on this session than he did for the Barrelhouse label in 1976, and the level of assistance makes the marked difference - I'm Worried/ Anna Lee/ Sweet Home Chicago/ Joe's Boogie/ Stormy Monday, and Bobby's Rock. Improved sound and Jim O'Neal's liner notes add to its appeal and you also get Fred Below doing Route 66. (CR)

THE MANNISH BOYS Delta Groove 105 Live & In DEmand ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, 57 min., recommended
With the release of the Mannish Boys' studio album, "That Represent Man" (surely the title comes from a line in the song that is their name sake, yes?), came talk of blues super groups and many superlative-heaped reviews, some of them deserved. This live set (recorded at the Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival in Winthrop, Washington, in 2005) features an almost entirely new playlist (very little duplication), and a few of the Boys on TRM have been (at least temporarily) replaced. Specifically, Kirk Fletcher has been replaced with Kid Ramos; Roy Gaines is missing, along with Ronnie Weber (bass), June Core (drums), and Paul Oscher (guitar). But the band still knows how to drive a blues song home and park it in the living room. And who can resist the song She Wants To Sell My Monkey? Extra points for Tom Leavey's purple cowboy boots on the cover--must be alligator or snake. Great sound quality. (JC)

PERCY MAYFIELD Winner 445 Live ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 52 mins, highly recommended
Available again. It's not without reason that Percy Mayfield is called "The Poet Of The Blues" with his beautifully crafted, witty and intelligent, but never pretentious, lyrics that can strike at many nerves. In the last few years of his life he was no longer crafting new songs but his vocal skills were still strong with a great warmth. In those last years he frequently performed in the Bay Area and was a regular guest on Mark Naftalin's live radio show "Blue Monday Party" and the recordings on this excellent disc are drawn from shows over a two year period. Percy performs some of his most famous songs - River's Invitation/ Strange Things Happening/ Loose Lips/ The Highway Is Like A Woman and other, including of course, his most famous composition Please Send Me Someone To Love. Percy sounds relaxed and enjoying himself with frequent chucckles and asides. He is accompanied by top notch musicians, mostly Bay Area locals including Naftalin on piano, Pee Wee Crayton, Bobby Murray or Ron Thompson/ guitar, Dr Wild Willie Moore, Julian Vaught or Bobbie Webb/ sax and others. Recording quality is excellent and these last recordings by a blues legend are a sublime ending to a career that was often fraught with misfortune. (FS)

R.J. MISCHO Crosscut 11087 He Came To Play ● CD $16.98
14 tracks, 49 minutes, recommended
R.J. Mischo pays homage to past heroes, their songs, influences, and their styles by fusing his own gifts as a songwriter, singer, and top-shelf harmonica player with the music he grew up loving. He's no newcomer either - he's been doing it so long that there's a seamless fit between nods to J.B. Hutto (20% Alcohol and Please Help), John Lee Williamson (Bluebird Blues), Louis "Mr. Bo" Collins (The Train), and Jimmy Dawkins (Hippie's Playground) with his own imaginative instrumentals such as The Switch/ The Pull, and The Waddle or his crafty ability with the turn of a phrase on Telephone Driver and I Came To Play. Recorded 'live' in one room with Frank Goldwasser and Kid Anderson on guitars and a spot-on rhythm section (with piano and sax) Mischo gets assistance of the highest caliber. He's one of the best around which should come as no surprise with him having been honing his craft for about three decades now. (CR)

MISSISSIPPI HEAT Crosscut 11085 Glad You're Mine ● CD $16.98
12 tracks, 54 min., recommended
The Ms. Heat is lead by harmonica master Pierre Lacocque, although its voice belongs to Inetta Visor, who can belt out a song with the conviction of a drill sergeant. On their third CD for the German CrossCut label, Lacocque does the song-writing, although he does cover the Leiber-Stoller number I'm A Woman and two from Denise LaSalle (Give Me Yo Most Strongest Whiskey. and Real Sad Story. At least some of the heat here comes from Steve Doyle's slide guitar, as well as from hired axe man Carl Weathersby. As usual with the Heat, this is not just a blues harmonica album where the songs are excuses for mad solos; this is a solid blues outing with harmonica in all the right places and none of the wrong ones. Why a US label doesn't pick them up is a mystery, probably involving test market research, demographic studies and business models. (JC)

NICK MOSS & THE FLIP TOPS Blue Bella 1004 Sadie Mae ● CD $14.98
16 tracks, 75 minutes, recommended
Cutting his teeth with Jimmy Dawkins and many other Chicago legends, guitarist Nick Moss delivers his fourth disc maintaining the same street-wise, two-fisted, mostly original approach that has marked him as a force to be reckoned with. "Sadie Mae" kicks off with Moss and his bandmates in the rough and tough knockdown of the title track straight from Hound Dog Taylor's Sadie - which is no mere coincidence. As with his previous outings, Nick tips his hat to his mentors with timeless grooves that propel his gripping originals - I Never Forget/ One-Eyed Jack/ The Money I Make, and The Bishop are worth the price of the disc alone - and his covers of Jimmy Rogers' Crazy Woman Blues and Earl Hooker's You Got To Lose are just as surely in-the-pocket. While Moss has guitar chops to spare, he maintains an ensemble approach that's refreshing and dishes out plenty of space to his sidemen. Another superb showing. (CR)

NICK MOSS & THE FLIP TOPS Blue Bella 1005 Live At Chan's ● CD $14.98
11 tracks, 76 minutes, recommended
Those who think traditional Chicago-style blues has become little more than a museum display obviously haven't heard of Nick Moss & The Flip Tops and it's a sure bet they haven't heard him and his gang lean on a groove. Moss possesses a voice as powerful as his guitar and shines on a few well-chosen covers (Your Red Wagon/ It's Good In Your Neighborhood/ Wine-O Baby Boogie, and a stunning I Love The Woman) but he truly stands out on the well-crafted originals One Eyed Jack playing slide that would have made Muddy Waters proud, The End, a stirring nod to Earl Hooker, and I Never Forget with devastating guitar. Moss is no newcomer (his previous four discs are all on Blue Bella) and his numerous nominations and awards are deserving of an artist with so much to offer. Monster Mike Welch offers some top-notch guitar on two. A superb 'live' outing in front of an appreciative (although not overpowering) audience. (CR)

CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE Real World 60122 Delta Hardware ● CD $17.98
10 tracks, 40 minutes, very good
With a career spanning five decades, Charlie Musselwhite still seems (at times) to be searching for where he fits comfortably; although his blues roots are unquestionable he's long careened across the musical landscape like a car bounding along unpaved roads in the backwoods of the Deep South. Little Walter's One Of These Mornings and Just A Feeling show leanings towards rock/blues but he and his band (guitar/bass/drums) can still manage thumping Chicago shuffles; Blues For Yesterday and Sundown are prime examples. Invisible Ones is a fine political blues but the production values in Church Is Out seem somewhat misguided and pale. His voice can still be an acquired taste but once in a while Musselwhite can still nail it down like he did in the 1960s for Vanguard. Not his finest outing in a now-massive catalog of recordings but still well-done and enjoyable. (CR)


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