Blind Raccoon and NOLA Blue Collection Vol. 4 | Album Review

Blind Raccoon and NOLA Blue Collection Vol. 4

NOLA Blue and Blue Heart Records

2 discs, 34 tracks total

Blind Raccoon’s new collection of tunes, along with their partner NOLA Blues and their new joint label Blue Heart Records, have delivered up two fine CDs with seventeen songs each. This collection is loaded with a lot of super, new tunes, many of which have been included in albums Crossroads Blues Society has reviewed in the past year. Blind Racoon’s Betsie Brown and NOLA Blues’ Sallie Bengston have produced so much fine music and with this sampler we get to hear a song from almost three dozen new albums. This is their 4th annual effort and it is the 8th annual production if you count just Blind Raccoon’s compilation CDs prior to that.

The CD is currently not for retail sale except on NOLA Blues’ website as a download. It was physically produced for promotional uses  and is also given away for fundraising efforts. Space limitations prevent me from mentioning all 34 songs. This collection even features a tune from legendary actor and comedian Dick Van Dyke, now in his nineties. Dick was helping some people he befriended who were doing music education in a local Malibu school. The friendship blossomed and Van Dyke not only supported and sang with them but also resulted in an album of Blues standards that Dick loved. Included here is “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” and the 96 year old nails it just like he did as the chimney sweep in Mary Poppins back when I was a kid. There is some great sax and piano work along with band accompaniment, but Van Dyke skats and sings in a way that belies his age and I was really impressed.

There is some truly memorable cuts on this.  We have reviewed like  “So Far So Good” by guitar whiz Peter Veteska & Blues Train and  “If Your Phone Don’t Ring” by Trudy Lynn. “Born Under A Bad Sign” by Chris Daniels, Hazel Miller, and Dana Marsh is soulful and beautifully done. Clarence Spady’s “If Only We Could” is a great tune, too. “Funky Steampunk Blues” by Professor Louie & The Crowmatix is fun as is “Back Door Woman Blues” done by the Waydown Wailers.

Traditional acoustic blues like “Never Gonna Change” (David Gogo), “Hard Times Coming” (David Rotundo Band), “She Might Meet Me” (Kenny Parker) and “Bang At The Door” from one of my favorite 2021 albums (Donna Herula) are offered up aplenty. Soulful cuts abound;  Skylar Rogers “Firebreather “ and “Takes One To Know One” (Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps) are also included. Swinging and jumping cuts like “Ruthless Boogie” (David Lumsden) and adding a sultry side to the mix like “Livin’ For Me” (Tiffany Pollack & Co.) make for great variety.

Like I said, I can’t mention them all but they all are good songs and done well. Blues, rock, soul, swing, and more are offered up and it’s a fun ride. If you especially like a song, then there is usually an album of more you can dial up, purchase and enjoy, too.  I always enjoy the Blind Racoon/NOLA Blues samplers; it’s like a musical pot luck where Food Network chefs provide the meal; all the artists are at the top of their games and you get to hear them doing what they do best– singing and playing the blues!

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