Gerald McClendon - Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now

Gerald McClendon 

Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now
Delta Roots Records

by Greg Johnson 

Chicago vocalist Gerald McClendon releases his latest disc, Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now, offering a dozen original tracks that blend everything you can possibly desire in pure R&B and soul music, done in the bluesiest of fashions. Using the basic themes of undying love, cheating partners and broken hearts, McClendon magnificently and smoothly sings of human passions that are true and straight to the heart. 

It’s easy to see that McClendon has heavy blues influences from the likes of Bobby Bland and Z.Z. Hill, but listening to his catalog of previous releases you’ll also find reminisces of folks like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. It all comes through with his vocal presentation that channels the very best in the business.  

The songs on this disc are filled with imagery that is easy to visualize while listening. On “Cut You Twice” the narrator’s wife walks in on her cheating partner in the act and lets him know, “I’m gonna cut you once, shoot you twice, you better start running for your life.” On “Mr Wrong” he simply asks if he can be Mr Wrong until Mr Right comes along.” On “She Don’t Love Me Anymore,” the tables are on the opposite side as he comes home and finds out that all of his clothes have been thrown outside and the locks changed, because while he was sleeping, she was midnight creeping with somebody else. The wordplay on every number is absolutely brilliant and the finished product flows perfectly. 

With a sensational array of Chicago side-men backing him, including stand-out performances by saxman Skinny Williams and songwriter, producer, drummer Twist Turner, McClendon flows smoothly from one song to the next while displaying his authenticity or masterful delivery. Known by his peers in Chicago as “The Soulkeeper,” it’s quite obvious how fitting that title really is after one listen to Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now. Excellent album and highly recommended!! 

Total Time: 45:09 

Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now / Where Do We Go From Here / Groove On Tonight / She Don’t Love Me Anymore / Runnin’ Wild / It’s Over Now / Mr Wrong / I Started Over / You Can’t Take My Love / Why Can’t We Be Together / Cut You Once / I Think About You 

Johnny Rawls

Johnny Rawls 

Live In Europe
Continental Records Services

Review by Greg Johnson 

If you’re new to the field of soul blues, then it’s time for you to sit up and take notice. Going directly to Johnny Rawls may be one of the best options to introduce yourself. The multi-Blues Music Award winning vocalist is like something sweet that is going to make you crave hearing him more and more. Like maybe your favorite ice cream or dessert, once you hear his voice you immediately turn up the volume and listen even closer. 

It’s always a treat to see a master musician perform live, especially when they possess the capacity to draw a crowd into their hands. Makes you want to dance; makes you want to smile. On this new disc, Live in Europe, (released on the Dutch label Continental Records Services) Rawls only needs to take nine songs to bring your senses to attention. He is backed by a German trio known as The Özdemirs, and Italian Hammond player Alberto Marsico. The group toured throughout Europe in 2019, including this performance recorded in Hildeshiem, Germany, and in Vejle, Denmark, where they captured a take on T-Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday.”  

Most of the selections, like “Stormy Monday” are covers, but all done in his own sensual and smooth rendition. Songs like The Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden,” OV Wright’s “Into Something (I Can’t Shake Loose),” Tyrone Davis’ “Turning Point” and James Carr’s “Pouring Water on a Drowning Man,” are all done with just the right Rawls’ touch that is heartfelt and spot-on soulful. “Lucy,” one of his own signature tunes, closes the performance and also hits home. You know as he calls the ladies down front that this is a party by all means; and if you’ve ever caught Johnny Rawls in a juke joint or small stage, he is going to get a little raunchy and suggestive, too. Inciting the audience to get your hands in the air and swing that thing! “Come on, Lucy, get juicy, honey, get on down and down and work that coochie.” 

The album closes with a very nice take on Rawls’ tribute to his friend, Otis Clay, the title track to his previous American release “I Miss Otis Clay.” He brought this touring band into the studio in Copenhagen to lay this take down. Get your hands on this incredible album, because Johnny Rawls is arguably the finest soul bluesman in the world today. He’s going to lead you into a sure-fire love affair with soul blues without doubt. 

Total Time: 41:14 

Beast of Burden / Country Boy / Too Weak To Fight / Can I Get It / Turning Point / Stormy Monday / Into Something (I Can’t Shake Loose) / Pouring Water on a Drowning Man / Lucy / I Miss Otis Clay[Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break] 

October 2020 cancelled

July General Meeting Cancelled

We had hoped for better news this month, but Covid-19 continues to change our plans on a regular basis as of late. With the current postponement of the reopening of Multnomah County, the effects will also alter our chances of holding our monthly meetings until further changes can take place. We once again need to cancel our meeting in July. 

At the beginning of the year, we had originally scheduled our July meeting for July 8 in anticipation of the Waterfront Blues Festival. But even with a week’s delay, we would need to abide by state guidelines. By that direction, we could not use our regular home base at The Eagles Lodge as they would fall under the rulings for fraternal organizations for Phase One of reopening. Unless that organization has a full-time restaurant on-site, they do not fall under the same terms as a restaurant or bar, and must not allow any gatherings greater than 25 people. As stated in last month’s BluesNotes, holding a meeting with that limited number of people would not even allow us to hire our sound people, and the numbers on-site would have to include staff and the band. Phase Two guidelines will need to be explored to determine if that will offer us the opportunity to have our August meeting at The Eagles. But at this time (writing on June 15), with possible Phase One opening on June 19), the earliest that Phase Two would be able to take place would be July 10 with the 21 required days Phase One has to be held. 

Keep your fingers crossed that the pandemic lets up. We want to see all of you again as soon as we can. But until then, we’ll continue with our current wait-and-see-what-comes-next position. 

Stay safe, everyone (wear your masks and practice safe social distancing). Keep watching those online performances and tipping the musicians, buy their music (online, directly or at retail outlets — we suggest longtime CBA sponsor Music Millennium), attend shows where possible, and support everybody in our music community. 

Linsey Alexander 

Live at Rosa’s
Delmark Records 

 by John Taylor 

The “Hoochie Man” lives. And Linsey Alexander, whose blues are as authentic and Chicago as they come, is living well, if his “Live at Rosa’s” album, released May 15, is any indication. 

The eight-song collection comes from a recent show at the storied Chicago blues club, Rosa’s Lounge. Listen to three or four notes of this disc, and you’ll feel like you’re sitting at the best table in the house. Alexander’s vocals and guitar cut a wide swath, and he’s got plenty of muscle behind him: Sergei Androshin (guitar), Roosevelt Purifoy (keyboards) Ron Simmons (bass) and Ray Stewart (drums). 

Alexander turns 78 in July, but he’s in his prime here. He’s playing the kind of blues that thump in your chest. Full. Solid. Satisfying. The kind you only hear when you head downtown. 

Alexander’s signature lyrics and playful style is on full display. His light licks accent songs like “Please Love Me,” but he seizes the strings and powers them down on cuts like “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” and “Ships on the Ocean.” You might even want to get up and do a little dancing when he plays “Goin’ Out Walkin’ ” or “Snowing in Chicago.” 

No doubt about it. This guy’s still the real deal, and he’s keeping real blues alive and relevant. You’re gonna want to savor “Live at Rosa’s.” So here — pull up a chair and dust that snow of your coatYou can sit with us. 

We got another round on the way. 

Total Time: 53:03 

Please Love Me / My Days Are So Long  / Have You Ever Loved a Woman / I Got a Woman / Goin’ Out Walkin’ / Somethin’ ’Bout ’Cha / Snowing in Chicago / Ships on the Ocean / Going Back to My Old Time Used to Be 

 

Victor Wainwright & The Train

Victor Wainwright & The Train 

Memphis Loud
Ruf Records

by Greg Johnson 

Victor Wainwright is without doubt one of the piano kings of our time. On his latest disc, Memphis Loud, he takes us on a compelling journey through a series of musical styles where he expands on his range of playing, from his well-known boogie to soft ballads to a touch of country. And it all screams to be heard. 

Wainwright’s band, The Train, is a mixture of amazing musicians from Memphis and afar: Terrance Grayson on bass, drummer Billy Dean, twin guitars from Pat Harrington and Dave Gross, plus horns provided by Doug Woolverton and Mark Earley. If that’s not enough, the guest list of friends joining in is an all-star collection in its own right: Reba Russell, Monster Mike Welch, Gracie Curran, Greg Gumpel, Mikey Junior and Chris Stephenson. Thus The Train is a fitting moniker as there is a lot of locomotive energy behind this band. 

The opening track, “Mississippi,” draws you forth with Wainwright’s frolicking fingerwork, gliding and glistening across his keys. The pace increases and the tone is set for what to expect through the rest of the album. The music and lyrics are going to hit on all angles, heartbreak (“Disappear”), humor (“South End of a Northbound Mule”), gospel-influenced soul (“Reconcile”), there’s even a love letter written for his dog (“My Dog Riley”). Horns that bring to mind classic jazz bands like Duke Ellington; there’s musical grounds of Memphis, New Orleans and more; and of course that pounding piano that hearkens to boogie masters such as Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. Wainwright covers all that ground and more in splendid fashion on Memphis Loud. 

 

Total Time: 57:49 

Mississippi / Walk The Walk / Memphis Loud / Sing / Disappear / Creek Don’t Rise / Golden Rule / America / South End of a Northbound Mule / Recovery / My Dog Riley / Reconcile 

 

  

New Music Releases October 2020

New Music Releases July 2020

There is so much good music out there. To help sort through it, we recommend starting here. 

Albert Castiglia – Wild and Free (Gulf Coast Records) 

Ana Popovic – Live For Live (Artist Exclusive) 

Crystal Shawanda – Church House Blues (True North Records) 

Gerald McClendon – Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now (Delta Roots Records) 

Gregg Martinez – Mac Daddy Mojeaux (NOLA Blue) 

Jan James – Justify (Blue Palace Records) 

Jeff Fetterman – Southern Son (Self Release) 

Jeremy Buck – All For You (Chateau Motel Records) 

John Primer & Bob Corritore – The Gypsy Woman Told Me (VizzTone) 

Johnny Burgin – No Border Blues (Delmark Records) 

Johnny Rawls – Live in Europe (Continental Records Services) 

Jose Ramirez – Here I Come (Self Release) 

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne – Go, Just Do It! (Stony Plain Records) 

Laura Green – Green Eyed Blues (Self Release) 

Linsey Alexander – Live at Rosa’s (Delmark Records) 

Mark Telesca – Higher Vibrations (Self Release) 

Matteo Sansonetto Blues Revue – I’m Still Around (Wind Chill Records) 

Mick Kolassa – Blind Lemon Sessions (Endless Blues Records) 

Rob Oliver – Highs and Lows and Blues (Roliver Productions) 

Sari Schorr – Live in Europe (Manhoten) 

The BB King Blues Band – The Soul of the King (Ruf Records) 

 

Blues Fest 2020

Blues Fest 2020 – Listening Together

Presented by Bank of America
July 4th on KOIN TV and ONLINE / KBOO July 4th & 5th

We may not be at the waterfront, but we are still coming to you this July 4th weekend ✨ We are proud to share Blues Fest 2020: Listening Together presented by Bank of America. Join us as we bring the joy of the Blues Fest to you through three exciting programs:

➡️ The Blues Fest Bandwagon will bring live music to driveways, cul-de-sacs, and front porches in the Portland Metro Area July 3 and 4. And guess what? YOU can nominate your favorite friend, frontline hero, or family member to be a part of the socially-distanced fun. We’re working with amazing local musicians to safely hop on the Bandwagon to bring some tunes, happiness, and smiles to our community. Nominations are now closed 🚘

➡️ Tune in and turn it up as KOIN 6 hosts a two-hour July 4th TV special celebrating some of the most memorable performances from the Waterfront Blues Festival, capped off with a replay of the awe-inspiring fireworks show over the Willamette River. From the comfort of your living room, the KOIN team (and special festival guests!) will have you reliving some of the magical musical moments from the Waterfront. Catch all the fun on July 4 from 9pm to 11pm on KOIN 6 or at www.koin.com.

➡️ Set up your lawn chairs, get the BBQ going, and tune in to KBOO all weekend long as you groove to the Blues Fest On Air. Local Portlanders can catch all the excitement on 90.7 FM and our festival friends across the world can join us at kboo.fm/listen-now. Blues Fest On Air will feature two full days, from 12pm to 7pm, of crowd-favorites sets and behind-the-scenes stories from the Waterfront Blues Festival throughout the years.

Head to waterfrontbluesfest.com for more details 🎶

Ramblings On My Mind - October 2020

Ramblings On My Mind July 2020

Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President 

Typically, we make a point not to bring politics into the organization’s stances, but this past month has brought about a divisiveness that we must address. The crimes committed by police in the name of law and order in Minneapolis and cities throughout our country recently and over the years reflect on us all. The Cascade Blues Association stands behind the Black Lives Matter movement and finds these violent actions reprehensible. We also understand that these occurrences are not just random actions as they happen far too often for our communities to feel comfortable with what we’re witnessing. And that includes within our own city and neighborhoods. We have seen these same shameful events happen here at times. It is not exclusive to one portion of our nation, it happens everywhere.  

The roots of the music we celebrate as an organization, the blues, originated in the black community. The music was a form of expression that often dealt with oppression, segregation, cruelty and unjust laws, solely because of the shade of one’s skin. We cannot appreciate the music without the knowledge of its origins. 

The black community has endured this demeaning hardship for more than 400 years in America. It is time for a change, and in order for that to happen everyone must take responsibility to see that change occur. Hatred and racism need to be eradicated. Enough is enough. We all need to stand together 

 

David Jacobs-Strain, Christopher Worth and Haley Johnsen

David Jacobs-Strain, Christopher Worth and Haley Johnsen

New EPs to be Released Simultaneously

Three of the area’s brightest young artists will come together for one special night to release new music EPs at the Alberta Rose Theatre. 

David Jacobs-Strain is a fierce slide guitar player and song poet known for both his virtuosity and spirit of emotional abandon. His live shows move from humorous, subversive blues, to delicate balladry, and then swing back to swampy rock and roll. It’s a range that ties Jacobs-Strain to his own generation and to guitar-slinger troubadours like Robert Johnson and Jackson Browne.   

Christopher Worth, better known locally as Worth, has become known for his unique style of bohemian blues, which he developed as a street performer traveling across the U.S. and Europe. His songs are timeless and real, tied together by the power and purity of his voice. 

Together, Strain and Worth have collaborated with performances the past couple of years and have created new music that they will be sharing and releasing at this show. 

Haley Johnsen’s newest release, When You Lit The Sky, is a soulful helping of blues and pop songwriting with nostalgic arrangements, and a window into the great passions of an artist whose dynamic vocals soar and whose heart is eternally, vulnerably, human. 

Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., Thursday, July 23, 8 pm. $15 advance at Etix.com, $20 at the door. VIP seating (first few rows center stage) available for $30. Minors OK when accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

This show has been rescheduled from March 28. If you purchased a ticket to this event prior to the date change and can no longer make this show, please contact the venue for a refund of your purchase. 

 

Cathedral Park Free Jazz Festival

40th Cathedral Park Free Jazz Festival 

Will Be Virtual, Streaming Live Online 

July 17, 18 and 19, 2020 

Portland, Oregon, June 27 2020 – Like jazz, life in the time of the pandemic is about improvisation.   

This year, the 40th annual Cathedral Park Jazz Festival will be virtual, streaming live online at https://www.twitch.tv/cathedralparkjazz Friday through Sunday, July 17-19, 2020, thanks to presenting sponsor, Oregonians Credit Union, and the organizer, the Jazz Society of OregonFor the past 39 years, this long-running free festival has beens held in North Portland’s Cathedral Park under the historic St Johns Bridge.  

Highlights of this year’s three-day festival celebrating jazz, blues, R&B, and funk: pianist and vocalist Steve Kerin and the Bayou Boyz, originally from Louisiana but now calling Portland home; violinist Eddie Parentechannelling the great jazz violinists like Stephane Grappelli, Stuff Smith, and Joe Venuto; and soulful vocalist Saeeda Wright and her nine-piece orchestraSaeeda has sung backup for Prince, Lalah Hathaway, Live Warfield and others. 

 The complete lineup is as follows: 

Friday July 17 begins with Tevis Hodge, Jrthen two acts that have each been finalists in the  International Blues Challenge”: the Rae Gordon Bandfollowed by Johnny Wheels and the Swamp Donkeys. Steve Kerin and the Bayou Boyz will wrap up the evening. 

Saturday July 18 kicks off with the popular Roosevelt High School Band, followed by the Eddie Parente Quartet, Outer Orbit, Latin-favorite Picante, and finally Saeeda Wright as the closing act. 

Sunday July 19 starts with the Minidoka Swing Band, then the John Butler Quartet, followed by the Christopher Brown Quartet, the Mel Brown Trio featuring special guest vocalist Shirley Nanette, and the Ethio-soul Tezeta Band taking it home.  

“This is the 40th consecutive year of the festival, which was started by a group of volunteers commemorating the construction of beautiful Cathedral Park,” said Rita Rega, Jazz Society of Oregon board member and artistic director. “It has evolved into a celebration of Portland’s diverse jazz music sceneIt is also the longest-running community event in the Greater Portland area. While this year’s event won’t be in our usual spectacular outdoor setting, the spirit and music of the festival live on. 

In addition to Oregonians Credit Union, sponsors include: METRO, Bill Mattecheck, Deschutes Brewing, Stoller Family Estate Wines, Shine Distillery, and The 1905 Jazz Club 

Background – Cathedral Park Jazz Festival 

This year marks the 40th consecutive year of the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, which has been managed for the past six years by the Jazz Society of Oregon. 

“This is a free, non-profit festival that provides the best in jazz, blues, R&B and soul, from around the greater Portland/Vancouver area,” said Rega. “In fact, the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival is both the longest-running free annual jazz festival west of the Mississippi – and Portland’s longest-running annual community event.” 

About the Jazz Society of Oregon 

The Jazz Society of Oregon is an all-volunteer non-profit organization 501(c)(3) whose mission is to promote the local jazz scene in Portland and the rest of Oregon.  The Society supports jazz educationas well as fostering a greater appreciation of this thoroughly American art form. 

Information on the 40th Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, including specific times of the livestream  can be found at https://jazzoregon.org/2020-festival  

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Image attached (photo credit: Chris Lazarus): photo of the Jazz Society of Oregon’s free Cathedral Park Jazz Festival taken pre-Covid-19 in 2018.  The 2020 festival takes place July 17, 18 & 19th will be livestreamed at https://www.twitch.tv/cathedralparkjazz.