Friday, December 10, 2010

In Case You Missed Them......

Well, you're forced to endure an abbreviated version of FBF for yet another week.  Things are moving pretty fast at my household because we're right in the middle of some remodeling, not to mention the Christmas season, so time devoted to the blog is scarce for another week, and we'll have to look at that mysterious record label I mentioned last week at another time.  Today, we'll look at a few more discs that might have slipped under the radar the first time around.  Sorry, but part of the remodeling involved the room containing my music area, so most of my CDs are boxed away, which means no audio clips. 

From Mississippi to Chicago
Various Artists - From Mississippi To Chicago (Hightone) - This set was released in the late 90's and features an interesting mix of artists....five native Mississippians.  The most familiar ones are Chicago piano man Pinetop Perkins and Hill Country master R. L. Burnside, and their songs are excellent, particularly Burnside's "Poor Black Mattie" cut that opens the disc, and "Bad Luck."  However, the real stars on this disc are the lesser-knowns.....Eddie Cusic, Abie "Boogaloo" Ames, and the phenomenal Robert Curtis Smith.  Smith was formerly a bluesman, but gave it all up for the church.  Though he moved from secular to religious music, his fire and passion for his music is undiminished.  This is a nice, varied set of blues that will appeal to any blues fan.

Fix It When I CanThe Daddy Mack Blues Band - Fix It When I Can (Inside Sounds) - The title is a reference Mack Orr's day job as a mechanic.  Orr picked up the blues relatively late in his early 40's......but he was a quick study.  His style is not an earthshattering revelation by any means, just good solid Memphis blues with a little soul and a healthy dose of funk.  He wrote most of the songs here, but they are for the most part variations of already existing blues themes, mostly in the vein of Albert King.  There are some great standout tracks here, including "Giving You My Money," "I Don't Understand You Baby," "Razor Blade," and "Get Your Act Together."  The closer is a tough instrumental version of Donny Hathaway's "The Ghetto."  This disc still gets regular play in my stereo ten years after its release.  It's a gritty, greasy slice of Memphis blues that may cause an increase in your cholestorol just by listening.  If you've never experienced the Memphis version of the blues, any of The Daddy Mack Blues Band's four releases are a great place to start the journey, but this one is my favorite.

Long Time Comin
Fred Sanders - Long Time Comin' (I-55 Productions) - Sanders is another Memphis resident, only he has played for years in the area at various clubs like Blues Alley and Club Paradise, playing with artists like B. B. King, Bobby Bland, and Albert King.  He has also been a regular at Handy Park for many years and can be heard there most days, though he's recently been battling cancer.  His sole release was issued around the turn of the century and although he's pictured on the cover with an acoustic guitar, this is electric blues in more ways than one.  All of the songs are originals and features Sanders' tasteful, economical guitar work and his smooth as sandpaper vocals in a soulful Memphis blues/soul setting.  Mempho Records has gone out of business, but the disc was recently reissued by I-55 Productions, so give this one a listen.

Gorgeous GeorgeLast, but certainly not least is the cover subject of last week's post - George Stancell - Gorgeous George (JSP).  Stancell is a longtime resident of Milwaukee and was a player there for many years.  Soul/blues singer/producer Johnny Rawls discovered Stancell singing in his own club and signed him to JSP, where he released one of the hidden gems of the late 90's.  Vocally, Stancell is somewhere between Bobby Bland and Little Johnny Taylor and is a sneaky-good guitarist as well.  Most of the songs here are soul-based blues, and he does a great job on them.  This disc was an impulse buy for me, mainly based on that great cover, but I still listen to it quite a bit today. 

That's all for now.  Thanks for stopping by.  Hopefully, things will be returning to normal (or as close to normal as possible around here) in the next week or so. 

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