King Louie’s Blues Revue – Live at Riverhouse Jazz | Album Review

King Louie’s Blues Revue – Live at Riverhouse Jazz

Shoug Records

CD: 11 Songs, 55:53 Minutes

Styles: Blues/Jazz Covers, Ensemble Blues and Jazz, Live Album

Who doesn’t love a live album? It possesses a different momentum than one produced in a studio, a whole other level of crowd-fueled energy and mutual feedback between artist and audience. In March of 2017, Portland, Oregon’s Louis “King Louie” Pain (think “French for bread,” not “discomfort”) and his ensemble performed Live at Riverhouse Jazz to make an entry in Bend, OR’s prestigious Mt. Bachelor Riverhouse Jazz series. Afterwards, numerous attendees proclaimed that they’d never experienced a more exciting concert. For fifty-five minutes and fifty-three seconds, this Blues Revue laid everything on the line to thrill the crowd with blues and jazz standards and three originals. As in the Olympics, athletes can practice and practice, but when it comes time to perform in person, they’d better not lose their nerve – or they lose their chance at a medal. Fortunately for everyone, live audiences and those at home, Louis et al. bring home the gold. Need further evidence? Check this out: King Louie is Caucasian, but he sounds African-American when he sings, channeling Marvin Gaye and B.B. King with aplomb. He’s also known as “Portland’s Boss of the B3.” His fellow musicians are no slouches, by any means:

Lisa Mann – Two-time Blues Music Award winner; CBA Hall of Fame
Andy Stokes – Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee
LaRhonda Steele – “Portland’s First Lady of the Blues,” according to KOIN TV
Renato Caranto – Former saxophonist with Merle Haggard and Esperanza Spalding; CBA Hall of Fame
Edwin Coleman III – Drummer with Soul Vaccination and the Thunder Brothers
Danny Armstrong – Legendary San Francisco Bay Area trombonist
Peter Dammann – Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee

The following three original songs, one of them less than a minute but packing just as much of a punch, are the best of these eleven tracks. They demonstrate that Louis and company can more than hold their own when playing their own material amidst all the crowd-favorite covers.

Track 03: “Two Halves of One Broken Heart” – Lisa Mann and King Louie perform a stunning powerhouse duet, a ballad of love gone wrong that shows one and one don’t always make two. “I want to love you, but you won’t let me in. Do you remember how it was way back when? We had passion, bodies crashin’ in the pale moonlight…How did we come to this place in our lives? Who is to blame? It’s too late to take sides. We’re just two halves of one broken heart.” The B3 organ is red-hot from the King, as is the saxophone, complementing the vocals perfectly. Ms. Mann wrote this number, and it makes for one sensational slow-dance tune.

Track 04: “Full Growed Woman” – Hold on to your hats, folks! LaRhonda Steele composed this rollicking rocker about what a “Full Growed Woman” desires in terms of love. “She knows what she wants; she knows how to get it. She’ll find you some breakfast and have her way with you.” Yow! Track number four will get people on their feet and get those feet moving fast. The guitar and bassline are killer here, as smooth as the rapport between the artists.

Track 11: “Trombone Duel” – This bonus track may only be fifty-eight seconds long, but it sure is catchy. Trombonists at home might try and play along with it for practice. Which of the two trombones wins? Let’s call it a draw, because they’re both fantastic.

Live at Riverhouse Jazz, from Louis Pain and posse, shows how “King Louie” earned his name!

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