Issue 8-1 January 2, 2014

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine


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 In This Issue  

Jim Crawford has our feature interview with Tail Dragger.

We have five Blues music reviews for you. Mark Thompson reviews an album from Cyril Neville. Rhys Williams reviews a new release by Emanuele Fizzotti. John Mitchell reviews a new album from Shawn Holt And The Teardrops. Marty Gunther reviews a new release from Guy Davis. Steve Jones reviews a new CD from Nuno Mindelis. We have the latest in Blues Society news from around the globe. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!


 From The Editor’s Desk  

Hey Blues Fans,

Happy New Year! We will have lots of new things for you in 2014 starting with a completely new website and a new look for our magazine!

The new Blues Blast Magazine website is located at www.bluesblastmagazine.com.

It has lots of cool new features. It is searchable, it is translatable to any language and it is plugged into to all the social networks. It is formatted for viewing on all size screens and devices such as tablets and cell phones.

It has a new global calendar for artists, Blues societies and venues to publicize their shows and club owners, artists, Blues society members and fans can share these shows directly on Facebook. www.bluesblastmagazine.com/blues-calendar/

All of the album reviews, live show reviews and interviews can be found as stand alone articles on the new website and can be shared with all your friends on facebook, twitter, reddit, tumbler, stumbleon, linkedin, google+ and by email.

You can leave comments on individual articles and issues plus there is a new Blues Forum for you to discuss your Blues topics and questions.

We hope you like the new website and ask you to like it on Facefook  https://www.facebook.com/BluesBlastMagazine

Please take a look and give us your feedback and comments at .

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser


 Blues Wanderings  

We made it out to the James Armstrong CD release party this week in Springfield, Illinois. James is releasing a new CD on February 18 titled Guitar Angels on Catfood Records. We got our hands on an advance copy and can tell you it is good stuff! We will have a review for you in an upcoming issue.

The show was packed and James gave the audience a great show.



 Featured Blues Interview – Tail Dragger  

The list of living legendary Chicago Bluesmen is getting shorter each year!

Guys like Buddy Guy, Eddie Shaw, Carl Weathersby, James Cotton, and one James Yancy Jones, A.K.A. Tail Dragger are some of the more prominent veterans still plying their trade in the clubs of Chicago and touring the world to keep their beloved music alive.

James Jones (Tail Dragger), has been listening to the Blues for his whole life starting in rural Arkansas. Like a lot of youngsters of the day, young James had to do his listening on the sly because parents considered the Blues ‘devil’s music.”

“I used to take the radio to bed with me and listen to the Blues,” he said. “I’d listen to Randy’s Record Mart out of Memphis. My folks didn’t know. We had one of those battery-powered radios ‘cause we didn’t have electricity in the house then. They’d want to listen to their gospel music before church on Sunday morning and couldn’t figure out why the batteries were down (on the radio).”

“The first show I ever saw was Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) and Boyd Gilmore in Pine Bluff,” TD recalls. “They had this club, Jack Rabbit’s and I used to sneak in there ‘cause I wasn’t old enough to be in the clubs. That’s where it all started.”

Those early shows and the songs on the radio sparked young James’s interest in the Blues and before long he was trying his hand at singing.

TD’s parents separated when he was just a baby and he was raised by his grandparents.

“I went to visit my mom in Chicago when I was 14 years old,” he said. “Then I went to Texas and stayed with my uncle, who was a travelin’ preacher and then I came back to Chicago in 1966. I been here ever since.”

Tail Dragger tried marriage the first time when he was 18 and things didn’t work out so he left town for a while. He tried marriage twice more before Uncle Sam caught up with him and he was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam era.

Coming up in the ‘60s, James was subject to the draft and faced the prospect of Vietnam like all young men of the day. He was eventually drafted into the army and spent his basic training in Louisiana and Kentucky before being discharged because he was married with children. He said he fell under a new law passed by the Kennedy administration that allowed guys with families to be exempt from active duty. By that time he had already fathered four kids.

As a young man James had always been good with his hands and had earned a living working on cars, keeping them running and doing body and paint work.

“I started messing with cars when I was a kid,” TD said. “I worked for this car dealer sweeping the floors, taking out the trash. There was this guy who knew all about rebuilding engines and body work and I learned a lot from him. That’s where I learned mechanics. I was always asking questions. That’s what I did long before I ever started singing. I worked on cars.”

Those were the days when the legends were playing every night in the little clubs and dives on Chicago’s West Side, long before the word “legend” was ever used.

“Howlin’ Wolf was my favorite,” TD said. “I’d go watch him every chance I got. I always had a car so me and my buddies would pile in and go see The Wolf.”

“I hadn’t thought about singin’ in the clubs yet. I tried the guitar. Took some lessons but after I started singin’ I put the guitar down. I never could play and sing at the same time. I wasn’t ever satisfied with (my guitar playing) so I got a harp. I can blow shit that I can’t sing but after they put a stent in my heart I put the harp down.”

“I was at a club one night drinkin’ and this guy, Necktie Nate had a band and was singin” Wolf stuff. I told him ‘I can sing that.’ And he told me I was full of shit so I bet him a half pint that I could. People started clappin’ their hands and hollerin’ and that’s how it got started. Best bet I ever made.”

“We’d go see Wolf anywhere we could,” Tail Dragger said. “One night he noticed me and took a likin’ to me. He told his band ‘Help this boy. He’s gonna take my place.’ He taught me to listen to the drums. He taught me how to keep count. A lot of guys play against instead of with each other trying to shine. Wolf taught me to pay attention.”

As with most accounts told by musicians who worked with Howlin Wolf, Tail Dragger treasures the time spent with his mentor.

“He was strict on the band stand,” he said. “Off stage he was just a normal person. There was no drinkin’ and no smoking on the bandstand. No foolishness. If you messed up on stage he would stop the band and say ‘Now I ain’t got to mention no names’ and you knew if it was you who messed up. He damn sure kept everybody in line.”

“You go ‘round Muddy Waters and he’s singin’ to all the nice ladies. Wolf was all about the money. He came up poor with not much education but he sure knew how to make and save that money. He only drove Pontiac station wagons when everybody else was driving big, shiny Cadillacs. He didn’t care about that. He was into makin’ a livin.”

It was Howlin’ Wolf who gave James Jones the moniker that has followed him throughout his life.

“He called me “Tail Dragger” because I was always late for shows,” TD says. “They used to call me “Crawlin’ James” because I used to crawl around on the floor like Wolf when I sang. They said it was ‘cause I was trying to look up the ladies’ dresses while I sang. When you’re off into a song you’re not thinkin’ about that stuff. You don’t have time.”

When asked if he might have at least peeked once or twice Tail Dragger just lets out a big laugh and moves on to the next question.

Before long it was Tail Dragger’s turn to front the bands and keep things in order. It started out slow and gained momentum.

“I was running a shop on Madison Street (in Chicago) and what they’d do, they’d (Necktie Nate) take me with them and I’d hold the door taking money until later on in the night,” he said.

“They knew everybody would be waitin’ for me to get up there and sing. I worked on a lot of people’s cars and then they’d follow me to shows. I had three or four cars full of people following me around. They was usin’ me to keep the crowds.”

All of this was taking place in Chicago during the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, the golden age of modern Blues.

“There was a place on every corner playin’ Blues,” Tail Dragger said. “Six nights a week. I had a guy, Mad Dog Lester, playing harp for me. He left and I talked Big Leon Brooks into coming down and playing for me. He’d given it up and was driving a truck when I got him to come back. He looked pretty ragged so I took him and bought him some clothes. He had a problem with drugs and I had to keep an eye on him.”

“He was a funny guy. He would get a long cord and get over in the corner and blow. I never knew why. I guess he was bashful. He had great tone. He was the kind of guy who would blow for you instead of against you to make himself shine.”

Drugs were the order of the day during those times and Tail Dragger was having no part of it.

“They offered me a hit off a joint one time and I took it and I was laughing so hard I couldn’t hardly get on stage,” he said. “I tried it one more time and never touched it again.”

“Two white guys came to a show one night and gave me a big bag of pot and I thanked them and took it and threw it away. They were always saying ‘Try this. Try that.” I saw what it did to other people. I would say ‘What makes you think you can control it?’ I lost a brother to that shit. He would preach for a while and then go do drugs for a while. I just never did see any good in it.”

Tail dragger’s adventures have taken him all over the world numerous times and he has high praise for the European audiences.

“They treat you like a king over there,” he says. “One time they were doing a Honeyboy Edwards movie here in Chicago and I got in it and this led to a gig in Europe. I been goin’ over there since 1989 and hope I get to back a lot more. One thing about the audiences over there, you can’t bullshit them. They know their stuff.”

“The young blacks (in America) today have forgotten the Blues,” TD says. “They don’t realize their forefathers started the music that led to the rap they listen to today.”

“I don’t dig that shit at all, by the way. They act like they’re ashamed of it. It’s the young white guys who are playing the Blues today. The white guitarists are undermining the real Blues. And, it’s really not the “real” Blues. It’s bullshit Blues. Rock Blues. Tourist Blues.”

“You go to Brazil and every kid there has either a set of drums, a guitar or a harmonica in his living room. I went to one guy’s house and he was talking about stuff I didn’t even know. Talkin’ about Bar B Que Bob and people like that. Stuff I didn’t know. He had this huge wall covered with Blues posters and pictures.”

“Here (in Chicago) they’re into rap or selling drugs. It’s pretty sad to see.”

If nothing else, Tail Dragger calls himself a perfectionist when it comes to his music.

“I’ve got five pieces in my band and I want my sound to be as perfect as we can make it,” he said. “I’m not doing it just to make a dollar. I want it right. But, don’t get me wrong, I like money just as much as the next guy. It’s just not the only reason I sing and play the Blues. A lot of guys don’t care. They’re there just to get the check and go on to the next gig. I don’t understand that.”

“Before each song I always tell a little story,” TD says. “That way the audience has to pay attention. I make them pay attention. That’s what the preacher does. They call me the Blues preacher.”

“You got to have a gimmick. You need the people. They don’t need you. They’re the ones who make you. If it’s just one song after another you’ll lose the audience. It’s all about showmanship. You got to get it figured out.”

Tail Dragger says life is good these days and he wouldn’t change a thing.

“My high points?” he says. “Right now are my high points. I’m traveling more and at my age I don’t have to punch a clock. I’m making more money than I ever have. I’ve got my Social Security ‘cause I always had a job. Some guys never worked and have to play to eat. I’m very comfortable. I plan on staying around and doing it as long as I’m able.”

If you want to see Tail Dragger in action, check out these videos for a sample of his singing.

http://youtu.be/Aw2FyVzj3Kw     http://youtu.be/ToHtqHegkfw      http://youtu.be/U-ILS7jb1mw     http://youtu.be/cJP4_xB9w6E 

Visit Tail Draggers website at: http://www.taildraggerbluesband.com/

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine.

Interviewer Jim Crawford is a transplanted Texan and the current president of the Phoenix Blues Society. He’s a fan of lots of different types of music but keeps his head mostly planted in the Blues today. He received his first 45 rpm record, Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man,” at about age 8 and it stuck. He hosted the “Blues Cruise” on KACV-FM 90 in Amarillo for many years and can be found on many nights catching a good show at the Rhythm Room, Phoenix’s Blues Mecca.

For other interviews on our website CLICK HERE.



 Featured Blues review – 1 of 5  

Cyril Neville – Magic Honey

Ruf Records

www.cyrilneville.net

12 tracks/54:12

Few musicians have embodied the spirit of New Orleans music as long a Cyril Neville. While brother Art redefined funk with the Meters, Aaron captured our hearts with his soaring voice and Charles kept us from forgetting the city’s jazz heritage, Cyril laid down percussive rhythms on several classic Meter recordings before branching off with his own group, Soul Machine.

When the Meters disbanded, the four brothers coalesced into the Neville Brothers Band, gaining international fame for music that mixed all of their individual strengths into one potent package.

Hurricane Katrina scattered the brothers across the country. Cyril found a like-minded spirit in Tab Benoit and joined the Voices of the Wetlands band, where his commitment to social activism fit right in. Next, he formed the blues/rock super group, Royal Southern Brotherhood, with guitarists Devon Allman and Mike Zito. No matter what project he is involved in, Neville’s contributions always come wrapped up in the fiery intensity of a man who wants to right the wrongs of the world.

You can hear that intensity on tracks like “Still Going Down Today”, which tackles the issue of equality, and “Money and Oil”, a guitar-driven rant about big business with Mike Zito sitting in on guitar and Norman Caesar on keyboards. The funky backbeat created by “Mean Willie Green on drums and Carl Dufrene on bass serve as a counterpoint to Neville’s indictment about the plight of the common man on “Invisible”. As he does throughout the disc, guitarist Cranston Clements fires off blistering guitar runs that help drive the point home. Zito is back for a rousing cover of the Rush classic, “Working Man” as Neville reaffirms his concern for those still struggling to get by.

Walter Trout makes an appearance on “Running Water”, a sturdy rocker he co-wrote with Neville. “Swamp Funk” is a rollicking tribute to the music from Louisiana, where the sounds of the swamp mixed with the intricate melodies of the big city. Neville gets the help from the reigning kings of the New Orleans keyboard style – Allen Toussaint on piano and Dr. John on organ. “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” does a slow burn until Cranston unleashes several gut-busting solos that send the track into Led Zeppelin territory.

“Magic Honey” is a swirling musical gumbo seasoned with a strong dose of New Orleans funk as Neville brags about the special love he gets from his “queen bee”. He transforms the lighter, Caribbean-style rhythm on “Another Man” into a brooding admonishment of a cheating woman. Neville drives the message home with gusto on “Blues is the Truth”, then closes the disc with an elastic reggae rhythm on “Slow Motion”, celebrating love, sun and water.

Cyril Neville is at the top of his game throughout this recording. He is in command through all of the shifting musical styles and line-up of special guests. Whether he is raising his voice against injustice or simply relating the facts of life, Neville makes you listen – and care. It’s not all blues but it certainly is damn fine music that comes highly recommended!

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying life without snow. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and the past president of the Crossroads Blues Society of Northern Illinois. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years – just ask his wife!

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE



 Featured Blues review – 2 of 5  

Emanuele Fizzotti – Manny’s Blues

Rockhattle Music

www.emanuelefizzotti.com

10 songs – 35 minutes

Emanuele “Manny” Fizzotti was born and raised in Italy, studied guitar at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles, played as a session guitarist in both the USA and Italy and now resides in London, England, where he gigs with his blues band and teaches guitar. As one might expect from a guitar teacher, this album features a lot of guitar, but to Fizzotti’s credit, he never lets it over-shadow the songs.

Manny’s Blues is Fizzotti’s fifth album, although it is unclear when the songs were actually laid down. The sparse liner notes state that it was recorded primarily in Cavallirio in North-Western Italy, with one song (the country/rockabilly “Something Ain’t Right”) being recorded in London. All ten songs however bear a 2012 copyright.

The songs (of which seven are self-written and three are well-chosen covers) display a wide range of influences. This much is clear from the breakneck first five. Opening up with a version of Bob Dylan’s “Odds And Ends”, Fizzotti confidently re-interprets the song as a high-octane rock’n’roller, even throwing in a hint of AC/DC’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation” in the opening few bars, before the Texas blues of the self-written “Hey Baby” slows the pace. The second cover version is the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna”, played as slide-driven National guitar work-out, which is itself followed by the swampy southern blues-rock of “Do You Love Me” and an outstanding acoustic version of the traditional “Railroad Workshop” that is one of the highlights of the album. The other songs display a similarly catholic palate.

Fizzotti is obviously an outstanding guitar player and a good singer with a warm and enjoyable voice. Apart from writing (or co-writing) seven of the songs, he also produced the album, as well as contributing mandolin, 5-string banjo, the majority of the bass, keyboards on six songs and percussion. His backing musicians include Luca Roffino and Andrea Beccaro on drums, Marco Castellano and Ben Hillyard on double bass, Marina Schiavinato on backing vocals, Alessandro Ghigo on piano and Silvio Sansone on harmonica.

Unfortunately, even though Fizzotti’s versatility and technical ability are extremely impressive, and despite the fact that he himself is so prevalent on the songs, the end-result is a slightly incoherent product, as if one were listening to a compilation rather than an album by a single artist. The sheer range of blues styles essayed results in the listener being unsure where the essence of Fizotti resides. Although his biography states that he has played in a Jimi Hendrix tribute band and produced educational DVDs on playing in the style of Jimmy Page, a more obvious influence appears to be Rory Gallagher, another talented multi-instrumentalist unafraid to pay homage to his wide range of influences. Indeed, given the photos of the battered Strat and National guitar on the CD cover, it is possible that Fizzotti is actually tipping his hat to Gallagher on this release. The difference perhaps is in Gallagher’s extraordinary ability to fully inhabit every song he played.

But this should not deter you from investigating this album if you are a fan of the likes of Clapton, Gallagher or Joe Bonamassa. Each of the songs on this release invariably has something to catch the ear. The acoustic songs, including the impressively catchy “I Can Fly”, all have a foot-tapping infectiousness and the ZZ Top-influenced ballad “A Brand New Love” features some beautiful guitar playing.

This is a relatively short album, clocking in at 35 minutes, but is an enjoyable CD and recommended to all fans of guitar-driven blues-rock.!

Reviewer Rhys Williams lives in Cambridge, England, where he plays blues guitar when not holding down a day job as a technology lawyer or running around after his children. He is married to an American, and speaks the language fluently, if with an accent.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE



 Featured Blues review – 3 of 5  

Shawn Holt And The Teardrops – Daddy Told Me

Blind Pig Records

www.shawnholtandtheteardrops.com/

12 tracks; 49 minutes

When Magic Slim passed away one might have thought that the Teardrops would disband but no, Slim’s son Shawn Holt joined the band (just before his father’s death) and this new CD is the first recorded evidence of how well Shawn can do in his father’s footsteps. The short answer is very well indeed as the new band has cut an excellent album by any standards and, more importantly, an album that will satisfy long-term fans of the band. Shawn plays guitar and takes most of the lead vocals, Levi William plays second guitar and shares vocals on one track, Chris Biedron is on bass and Brian ‘BJ’ Jones is on drums. Chicago stalwart John Primer, himself a former Teardrop, guests on guitar on two tracks and sings lead on one of those. The material is a well-judged mixture of five of Shawn’s own songs, two of his Dad’s tunes and some well-known covers. A sad footnote is that the album was produced by Michael Blakemore, Junior Wells’ nephew, who passed away a few weeks ago.

Buster Brown’s “Fannie Mae” opens the album, Shawn picking out the familiar riff while the band sets off on a typical Teardrops strut. Shawn’s voice has some of the characteristics of his father’s but is more expressive and has a wider range, so this is an excellent choice to open proceedings. A brace of Shawn’s own songs follow, in differing styles: Shawn’s biographical song “Daddy Told Me” is a churning blues shuffle, Shawn recounting some of his Dad’s advice – notably “…never love a woman twice – when she comes back around, something ain’t right”. “Hold You Again”, a co-write with Levi William, is a slower blues, the two guitarists playing nicely against each other. The band romp through Jimmy Reed’s “Down In Virginia” with Levi duetting on vocals with Shawn, the band setting a terrific pace, another highlight of the album.

Levi sits out the two tracks on which John Primer plays. Magic Slim’s “Buddy Buddy Friend” is a pessimistic song in which Slim advises against trusting people who may let you down and the two guitars play well in tandem. John’s other track is a remake of Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me” on which he sings lead and shares guitar duties with Shawn. It is, of course, a song that Slim covered as did Eric Clapton and Delbert McClinton, but this is a fine version. The Teardrops tear it up on Albert Collins’ “Get Your Business Straight” and also tackle Junior Wells’ “Little By Little”, a song that is covered so often it is hard to find anything new to say though Shawn’s guitar is excellent on this version. There is also one further Magic Slim song “Please Don’t Dog Me” which opens in almost acoustic mode before the heavy central riff comes in and Shawn nails his guitar and vocal.

That leaves three more Shawn Holt originals to discuss. “Mean Little Woman” is a solid shuffle with some lighter touches from both guitarists. “Love Got Me Walkin’” is more of a classic Teardrops production, Levi’s rhythm guitar setting the pace and allowing Shawn to play some slide over the riff. “You Done Me Wrong” is an Elmore James style piece with some expressive vocals and guitar from Shawn, a good album closer.

It is very hard to take over from an icon like Magic Slim but Shawn Holt has done a good job here, keeping plenty of the characteristics that Magic Slim fans loved but bringing his own attributes to the table as well. This CD is likely to be on the shortlist for next year’s Blues Blast nominations for Traditional Blues album of the year.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He had a blast at this year’s Blues Blast Awards and is already planning his next trip stateside.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE



 Featured Blues review – 4 of 5  

Guy Davis – Juba Dance

M.C. Records

http://www.guydavis.com/

http://www.chickenmambo.com/

13 songs – 56 minutes

Blues guitarist Guy Davis seamlessly combines standards with his own original compositions as he breathes new life into the country blues idiom on Juba Dance, assisted by Fabrizio Poggi on harmonica.

Named after a form of expression that originated in West Africa and involves foot-stomping and patting of the arms, legs, chest and cheeks, juba – also known as hambone — was brought to the New World via the slave trade and was a precursor to the blues. In many ways, it was used as an attempt to dance away one’s sorrows. With “Juba Dance,” Davis weaves both the beauty and pain of that experience into a rich, modern musical tapestry.

The son of celebrated actors and Civil Rights activists Ruby Dee and Ozzie Davis and an actor-director himself, Guy fell in love with the music by listening to his grandparents. He’s celebrated them throughout his career by weaving their experiences into his songs. Poggi, who co-produced this CD, is a native of Voghera, Italy, where he’s also journalist, and has performed frequently in the U.S. during the past 20 years, most notably with his band, Chicken Mambo.

Davis’ first release on the M.C. Records imprint, the disc kicks off with “Lost Again,” on which he alternates among six- and 12-string guitars and upper-register harmonicas while Poggi pitches in on lower-register and bass harps. “Wishin’ on the wrong star/Walkin’ down the wrong street/Stoppin’ in the wrong park/Sippin’ on the wrong drink/Talkin’ to the wrong girl/I was lost again.” You get the idea. It’s a sprightly little upbeat original on which Guy also provides clever cowbell accents.

A Muddy Waters original, “My Eyes Keep Me In Trouble,” features Davis and Poggi alternating vocals and harp before Guy launches into the tender “Love Looks Good On You,” an original with a classic feel. Guy shares vocal duties with blues and gospel powerhouse Lea Gilmore on “Some Cold Rainy Day,” written in 1928 by Bertha “Chippie” Hill, an early blues and vaudeville superstar. Then he gets an assist from the Blind Boys Of Alabama – Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, Eric “Ricky” McKinnie and Joey Williams – for a triumphant version of “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.” The tune has special meaning for Davis. Written by Blind Lemon Jefferson, Guy sang it at his father’s funeral.

Davis’ claw-hammer banjo picking is featured on “Dance Juba Dance,” while “Black Coffee” is his tribute to John Lee Hooker, highlighted by Poggi’s rich, soulful contributions on the diatonic harmonica. He’s also featured on “Did You See My Baby,” Guy’s homage to Piedmont harmonica star Sonny Terry.

The guitarist wrote the next tune, “Satisfied,” based on a memory recounted to him by musician Bryan Bowers. It’s a recreation of the call-and-response between two groups of prison-farm inmates, one male, the other female. The final four cuts are all modern takes on early blues classics. Rev. Robert Wilkins’ “That’s No Way To Get Along” leads into an interpretation of Ishman Bracey’s “Saturday Blues.” Another Wilkins original, “Prodigal Son,” follows with Davis using an arrangement conceived by Josh White. The disc concludes with Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues.”

This is a beautiful, clean presentation from beginning to end, and has earned Davis a nomination for 2014 Blues Music Association Acoustic Album Of The Year. It’s an instant, but timeless classic..

Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE


 Featured Blues review – 5 of 5  

Nuno Mindelis – Angels & Clowns

Shining Stone Records

www.nunomindelis.com

13 tracks

The guitar great Nuno Mindelis is a fixture in the Brazilian music scene and with this first US release his music is now readily available to listeners here. Although Portuguese is his first language, his lyrics and vocals are solidly Americanized. Born in Angola, his family fled to Brazil when he was 17 and the civil war took everything they had.

He released his first two CD’s with Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughn’s inimitable back ups and has released several more. He was named top guitar player at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2001 and was named one of Brazils 30 top guitarists by their edition of Rolling Stone magazine.

After learning all this, the bar was set pretty high for me and Nuno did not disappoint me. Backed by Duke Robillard’s Mark Teixiera on drums, Brad Hallen on bass and Bruce Bears on keys, this is a solid and enjoyable album. Duke makes a guest appearance as does vocalist Sonny Crownover. He penned 9 of the songs with a little lyrical help from fellow songwriters Stephen Barry and Mike Bowden .

The opening song is a good hook– “It’s All About Love” feature Sonny backing Nuno with Duke on rhythm guitar (and one solo). His Portuguese accent adds a neat and mysterious flavor to his vocals, and his guitar work is impeccable (here a Gibson SG, but a couple of Telecasters in most of the other tracks). It’s a sweet musical ride and sets the tone for a fine album. Duke is also backing on “It’s Only a Dream” which is a swinging and driving track with a vibrant and up front guitar sound. The pace slows for the title track, a thoughtful and interesting ballad.

He shows he can do traditional Chicago blues in tracks like “Blues in My Cabin,” with a big and rousing guitar lead. There are also two sweet instrumentals here, the first being a nice slow blues “Tom Plaisir” which has him “singing” with his guitar. He concludes with a swinging jazzy track, Jazz Breakfast at Lakewest” that is a rapid fire course in Brazilian jazz.

This quite well done and it is worth picking up and listening. Mr. Mundelis is a great guitar player and musician whom I would enjoy seeing and listening to live!

Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and work with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE


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Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign, IL

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is hosting a Send-Off Party for our IBC representative on Saturday January 11, 8:00pm – 12:30am at Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main St. Champaign, IL. The party features the winners of both our IBC Challenge and our Best Self-Produced CD competition. Benny Jenkins bloodline won our BSPCD contest and opens the show at 8:00. Back Pack Jones, our IBC representative headlines the show at 9:30.

Back Pack Jones is a Springfield IL based blues band which is complimented by a five piece horn section that is sure to blow your socks off. Their recently released CD “Betsy’s Kitchen” is packed full of outstanding tunes. Benny Jenkins bloodline combines roots, blues and rockabilly and their CD “Can’t Take The Blues” has advanced to the Semi-Finals of the Blues Foundation’s BSPCD competition. We’ll have raffles and door prizes as part of the fun. Cover is only $5. For more info: www.prairiecrossroadsblues.org

Southeast Iowa Blues Society – Fairfield, IA

The Southeast Iowa Blues Society will be “Rockin’ in the Blue Year” on January 4th, 2014 featuring “Trampled Under Foot”
with Chad & Bonita opening at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, Fairfield, IA. Doors will open at 6:30pm and music begins at
7:00pm. There will be Squeal Good BBQ and beverages for all to enjoy. Don’t miss one of the hottest Blues bands out there….TUF !
For more information visit http://www.southeastiowabluessociety.org/


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