Various Artists – Battle Of The Blues – Chicago Vs Oakland
13 songs time – 55:56
Long time blues drummer, producer and songwriter-singer Twist Turner after playing for fifty years with a virtual “who’s who” of blues artists put together this collection of lesser known blues and R&B stalwarts from the Oakland, California and Chicago scenes. Twist drummed on all tracks as well as producing, mixing, horn arrangements, writing all the original songs and occasional keyboards and guitar. The list of artists represented here are Mz Sumac, Aldwin London, Freddie Roulette, Nat Bolden, James Newman, Emery Williams Jr., “Mr. Excitement” Del Brown, Gerald McClendon and Country Pete McGill. The supporting band is extensive and includes Rusty Zinn, Maurice John Vaughn and Roosevelt Purifoy among others.
Mz Sumac from Oakland delivers her rebuke of a dead beat man in the soul tune “Broke Ass Man”. Aldwin London lends his pipes to a soulful version of Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” that features elegant sax from John “Boom” Brumbach. The renown lap steel master Freddie Roulette offers up two instrumentals that showcase his smooth touch on his instrument. The R&B fueled “Take It Easy” and the atmospheric “Red Tide”.
Nat Bolden kicks in with the first real blues on the Chicago style blues of “Good Morning Mr. Blues” with the trusty guitar of Rusty Zinn. James Newman contributes the soul-blues of “Hit And Run Lover” and “Me And My Guitar” with his mellow voice. The latter has Mark Wydra on the guitar. The late Emery Williams Jr. instills his sultry vocals on the R&B of “Hurtin” On You” along with “Mama Don’t Weep”.
The powerful tenor voice of “Mr. Excitement” Del Brown appears on the slow burning R&B “Now That I’ve Gone” and the intense “Time Slippin’ Away”. The late Country Pete McGill sings “Hoochie Coochie Mama” backed by the “one-two” guitar punch of Freddie Roulette and Rusty Zinn.
Twist Turner has assembled a strong collection of blues, R&B and soul here, bringing these under appreciated artists to the foreground. No major revelations here, just well sung and played heartfelt music.