Category: CD Review

Danny Draher

Danny Draher CD cover

Danny Draher CD cover Blues Blues Blues, Live from The Bitter End, N.Y, N.Y.

Double Dynamite Records

Review by Jeff Levine

Danny Draher is an accomplished international blues and jazz musician. Starting out in Chicago, at Chess studios, Danny has recorded and toured nationally and internationally with Dr. John, Etta James, Paul Butterfield and Allen Toussaint.

Danny’s awards include: Nominee Blues and Jazz artist 2016, Josie Music Awards, 2016 Connecticut Blues Society Representative at the International Blues Challenge, and Master Blues Artist 2015, New York Blues Hall of Fame

I had the chance to see Danny at the 2017 International Blues Challenge, and brought

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Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton Live in San Diego

Live In San Diego (with special guest JJ Cale)
Reprise Records

Eric Clapton Live in San DiegoRecorded in 2007 in San Diego, this is an all-star affair with Eric Clapton joined on stage by stellar artists that include guitarists Doyle Bramhall II and Derek Trucks, the late JJ Cale joining for a full set of his own music, and even Robert Cray for a number. They are highly complimented by Willie Weeks on bass, Tim Camron and Chris Stainton on piano, and Steve Jordan on drums. You just know with this pack of masters that you’re in for what was surely an incredible night.

This …

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Southern Avenue

Southern Avenue CD cover

Southern Avenue
Stax Records

Southern Avenue CD coverWhen you release an album on the famed Memphis-based Stax Records label, you know that there are going to be a lot of expectations from the start. This label has a long record of releasing some of the seminal blues, R&B, gospel, and soul of all time, including Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Albert King, and The Staple Singers. So you better set your standards high when you put together your material for a release on this label, and beyond any doubt Southern Avenue has done things as required and have hit it just right.

Southern

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Lightning Kings

lightning kings

Lightning Kings
The Road Is My Throne
Self Produced

If you’re looking for some truly serious rocking blues with a punch, then Portland-based Lightning Kings’ new release The Road is My Throne will be right up your alley. This is engaging recording that hits you right from the get-go on the opening number “Rules of The Road.” Sharp guitar licks backed by a horn section and thundering organ throughout. It is a mixture of the sound of the old world school of classic rock baptized directly in the muddy waters of the blues, yet offering some funky variations at times

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Billy Flynn

Billy Flynn CD cover

Billy FlynnBilly Flynn
Lonesome Highway
Delmark Records

There is a good reason why Billy Flynn has been one of the most requested guitarist in Chicago and elsewhere. He just knows how to play with just the right number of notes with the right tone and is flat out tasteful in everything he bring forth from his strings. For nearly five decades (Flynn was first noted by the legendary bluesman Jimmy Dawkins when he was just 14 years old) he has worked with an amazing array of superb musicians such as former Muddy Waters sidemen in The Legendary Blues Band, Otis Rush,

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Johnny Nicholas

Johnny Nicholas - Fresh Air

Fresh Air
Self Produced

Johnny Nicholas - Fresh AirJohnny Nicholas has indeed been around the block when it comes to the blues and performing. He worked and played alongside many of the legends of the genre — Big Walter Horton, Robert Lockwood Jr, Johnny Shines, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Hound Dog Taylor and many others. He formed his first band with a new guitarist named Duke Robillard in the 1960s, led another in the 1970s that featured a young Ronnie Earl, and of course he may best be remembered for his stint playing western swing with the Texas-based group Asleep At The Wheel with …

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Sharon Lewis and Texas Fire

Sharon Lewis and Texas Fire

Grown Ass Woman
Delmark Records

Sharon Lewis and Texas FireWhen you think about the Chicago blues women singers, there is an image that come immediately to mind — the full powered voices of people like Koko Taylor, Zora Young, Demetria Taylor, or Shemekia Copeland (yeah, I know Shemekia is originally from New York, but she stills presents a Chicago style when she sings). That is exactly what you get from Sharon Lewis, too. But her presentation is more than just a shouter, she has a lot of soulfulness and can bring forth a tenderness in her voice that is every bit of pleasing to …

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Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio
Alligator Records

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun TrioOkay, when you use the word fun in anything that involves Elvin Bishop it is simply echoing what is already implied from the get go. He has always been about fun, and locating somebody having more fun in the blues might be difficult proposition. It comes across from his smile while performing onstage to the music on his albums, so with this new grouping, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, you know what you’re in for. This is truly advertising in pure honesty.

This is a bare bones recording with just Elvin strumming out …

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Scott Ramminger

Scott Ramminger

Do What Your Heart Says To
Arbor Lane Music

Scott RammingerSaxophonist Scott Ramminger may live and work in the Washington, DC area, but his musical soul lies directly in New Orleans. His songs are filled with the jumpy, second line and jazzy feel associated with that Southern city. And with his latest release, he fills his music with the authenticity of some of New Orleans’ most renowned players to give it that added lagniappe.

Fourteen tracks, all originals written by Ramminger, make up his latest release, Do What Your Heart Says To. The core band, aside from Ramminger on tenor and …

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Cee Cee James

Cee Cee James

Stripped Down & Surrendered
FWG Records

Cee Cee JamesWhen it comes to songwriting, it should go without saying that the very best music comes through when it is honest and has been experienced. Especially with the blues. It is about life and its lessons. It’s love lost and found. The trials and tribulations that the story-teller is bringing across are authentic. It’s something that is meaningful and shows that you are worthy of relaying your message despite whatever anybody else may think.

With Cee Cee James, she has experienced more than her share of ups and downs in life. So you know …

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