This week, I've spent most of my spare time listening to new discs and writing up reviews for the April issue of Blues Bytes, which comes out in about a month or so. Because the last issue was a two-month combined issue, I now have two months' worth of great blues CDs to listen to. That, my friends, is a nice problem to have. I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at what's hitting music stores very soon.
Blue Bella Records is releasing FOUR CDs next week, including one from the label's founder, Nick Moss. Moss and his band, the Flip Tops, had one of the best CDs of 2009, volume 2 of a live set at Chan's in Rhode Island. Moss is considered to be one of the best blues guitarists out there right now, and the Flip Tops have been dazzling audiences for over a decade with their own brand of Chicago blues. Here's a video of the band performing Freddie King's "I Love The Woman," that was recorded the Kalamazoo Blues Festival in 2007.
Moss's new set, called Privileged, moves just a bit from his usual Chicago-based blues into blues/rock territory. It also features some nice original songs from Moss and some inspired guitar work.
The other new Blue Bella releases are from the Kilborn Alley Blues Band, the Cash Box Kings, and an instrumental album from Charlie Musselwhite guitarist Matthew Stubbs. The Stubbs CD is cool and features a variety of genres and styles from blues to jazz to surf. The Kilborn Alley Blues Band and the Cash Box Kings both play straight-ahead, no-frills blues, mostly of the Chicago variety with the occasional venture into southern soul. Look for all of these stellar releases coming your way on March 16. While you're waiting for them, check out this live clip of the Kilborn Alley Blues Band from their 2009 UK tour. This song, "Bluesville" is on their newest CD.
Another new release, The Bluesmasters Featuring Mickey Thomas, features a performer that many people that are in my age group may remember. Mickey Thomas has served as lead singer of Jefferson Starship/Starship since the mid 70's and was the voice behind such big pop hits as "Jane," "We Built This City," and "Sarah." Of course, he first gained fame as the vocalist for Elvin Bishop's 1974 surprise hit, "Fooled Around and Fell In Love." Thomas returns to that format on this release with the Bluesmasters on this March release. Thomas does an excellent job on a nice set of familiar blues songs from artists like Muddy Waters, Etta James, Willie Dixon, and Dave Bartholomew.
One last new release this week (we'll look at a few more in coming weeks)......One of the best releases of 2007 was a joint effort on Broke & Hungry Records by Terry "Big T" Williams and Wesley "Junebug" Jefferson called Meet Me In The Cotton Field. Williams is a familiar face to most Clarksdale and Mississippi Delta blues fans. He's played with several of the local musicians over the years and has even taught classes on the blues at the Delta Blues Museum. Williams has a new CD called Jump Back, Big T's In The House, which veers from the more traditional sounds of the Broke & Hungry set, and focuses more on the funky side of the blues. Here's Big T at the Hayward/Russell City Blues Festival in 2008.
Dennis Jones' latest CD, Pleasure and Pain, came out last fall, but you might have missed it. If so, you missed a treat. Jones' rock-fueled blues attack is reminscent of artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Rolling Stones, and Jimmy Page. The Baltimore native first gained fame as the frontman for the L.A. funk/rock band, Blackhead, but turned to the blues in the early 90's. Check out this clip of his song, "Big Black Cat," and you'll agree it was a sound decision on his part.