Blues Access Spring 2001
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New Releases

All CDs reviewed by the BLUES ACCESS editorial staff. Discs that have been given full reviews in this or previous issues of BLUES ACCESS are quoted with the reviewers initials in brackets.    Note: Be sure to send us two (2) copies of all new releases.

Red Rooster Pick     (†=Import)

Burning Blue

Guitarist Russell Miller is gifted with a voice more suited to his style than those heard on half the CDs in this column. Miller also knows how to play guitar within his own space, providing appropriately clean and tasty licks without overstaying his welcome on any particular solo. Dig the Viagra-inspired lyrics on "Little Blue Pill." (Room)

Johnny Adams
There Is Always One More Time

Another gem in the 30-CD series of Heritage reissues from Rounder. Adams signed with Rounder in 1983 after a long and spotty career and stayed with producer Scott Billington until his death in 1998. The incredible line-ups they put together for these sessions guaranteed that these would be some of his best recordings: Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Wayne Bennett, Dr. John and Duke Robillard are just a few of Adams’ talented friends tapped for the various sessions. The collection is capped off by a duet with Aaron Neville on "Never Alone" which showcases the high end of Johnny’s incredible range. (Rounder Heritage)

The Blues Grew Up!

Alvon’s infectious pub romp must be the first one sponsored by a software company. Includes guest shots from Guitar Shorty and Keb’ Mo’. (Alvon)

Adel’s Puro Malto
Wild Wild Live

Italian trio captured live, serving up heaps of raw and energetic blues-rock. (Adels†)

Brint Anderson
Tales from Clarksdale

"Anderson is a modern blues player who has his feet planted firmly in the rich blues of the Delta — its influence percolates under all his playing, from funk to rock to blues. He’s one of the finest slide guitar players performing today, and his originals are powerful." [Rippey] (Toulouse)

Steve Arvey
It’s a Fine Line

Hailing from Chicago’s West Side, Arvey presents a set of mostly original tunes in a variety of styles, from the acoustic Dobro feature "Peshtigo River Blues" to the positively swinging title cut with full band and fine chromatic harp work from Mark Hoekstra. You won’t get bored listening to this CD, as there is always a hoppin’ tune to follow up a slow or mellow one. (Bittersweet)

Charles Atkins
Sweet Voice

"Atkins has a hearty, resonant delivery that’s full of soul — sometimes sweet and plaintive, sometimes gritty and brimming over with shouting gospel and blues tones — and his emotionally exposed, warm-hearted singing and song-writing are lovingly documented here." [Huchtemann] (Icehouse)

Gwen Avery
Sugar Mama

Avery has a sultry, expressive voice that seems better suited to her traditional blues numbers than the contemporary R&B-flavored cuts. (Sugar Mama Music)

Long John Baldry Trio

Pioneer of the UK blues scene since the ’50s, Baldry’s bawdy vocals and 12-string guitar sound are captured live at the Down Town Blues Club in Hamburg, Germany. Baldry and company play a great set, with a tip o’ the hat to many of the British blues superstars he’s played with over the years. (Stony Plain)

Joe Beard

Third and best offering from New England guitarist/vocalist Beard, with the same lineup — Duke Robillard on guitar, the always tasteful Jerry Portnoy on harmonica, pianist Bruce Katz, Rod Carey on bass and drummer Per Hanson — from his 1997 For Real CD. Beard’s authentic Mississippi-cum-Chicago vocals are purposefully understated, creating a feeling of restrained urgency that propels the music. Every one of these mostly one-take recordings has a live feel, with the kind of outstanding playing you’d expect from this dream band. (AudioQuest)

Chris Bell & 100% Blues
Blues 2001

Bell’s wide array of guitar tones and fluent blues stylings puts this album slightly ahead of the up-and-coming guitar-hero pack. (Silver Bridge)

D.C. Bellamy & America’s Most Wanted
Water to Wine

"Bellamy’s guitar work is sparse and tasty and, as the cliché goes, he could sing the phone book. Bellamy’s song-writing, vocals and guitar work are first-rate, and the interplay between leader and band is seamless." [Gallo] (Rooster Blues)

Duster Bennett
Shady Little Baby

Twenty-two sides from early-’60s British acoustic folk-blues star Duster Bennett, collected from his six popular records of the time. Here’s what early Fleetwood Mac and the John Mayall guys were hearing in the coffeehouses. (Indigo†)

Chuck Berry
The Anthology

"A great Chess compilation offering 50 of the most influential recordings of the modern era by the man who put the electric guitar at the very center of popular music and created the template for rock’n’roll music with his fiercely idiomatic songs, brilliant playing and hyperbolic presentation style." [Sinclair] (Chess)

Sonny Black & the Dukes
Heart and Soul

UK guitarist is featured on a mostly instrumental CD with a nice late-night blues/jazz feel — think Peter Green crossed with Kenny Burrell. (Bluetrack†)

Blue C
Swimming Against the Tide

UK acoustic blues guitarist Raphael Callahan demonstrates nice chops, but his voice doesn’t quite carry the day. (Blue C Recording†)

Blue Hammer
First Gear

West Coast blues at its best — never mind if they’re from Sweden, these guys have it down. Guitarist Thomas Hammarlund has an Alex-Schultz-meets-Junior-Watson sound, providing the perfect counterpoint for Anders Karlsson’s expressive vocals. The band strikes an enviable groove, and the recording definitely cooks. (Ljudhavet†)

Blue Shadows
On a Mission

Recorded live at the Mission Coffee House in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, guitarist and singer Mat Kollack tops his bass-and-drums trio with some tasty guitar playing, but this tight band needs a vocalist better suited to the material.

Blue Stew
Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones

Gently rolling blues, California style. This stew goes down easy. (Main Street)

Shirley Brown
Holding My Own

Contemporary soul-blues diva shows off her powerful voice backed by Malaco’s solid signature grooves. (Malaco)

Walter Brown/Crown Prince Waterford
Blues Everywhere

Two singers whose work with the legendary Jay McShann propelled them to stardom in the early ’40s are featured here on post-McShann recordings made by Brown for the Queen label in 1946 and by Waterford for King in 1949–’50. Both singers were better with McShann. (Westside†)

The Brunning Sunflower Blues Band
Bullen St. Blues

Reissue of two albums recorded in 1968 by some of the early blues players in Britain at the time, including several tracks featuring Peter Green. Session leader Bob Brunning was just off two years as Fleetwood Mac’s bassist and you can definitely hear that early Mac sound in these tracks. (Indigo†)

R.L. Burnside
Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down

"For Burnside diehards, this album marks a complete departure. Call it ‘mainstream,’ with loud, blinking neon lights attached." [Friedman] (Fat Possum)

Cephas & Wiggins
From Richmond to Atlanta


Reissued selections from the three albums this fine Piedmont duo recorded for Flying Fish between 1984 and 1992.

Bobby Charles
Walking to New Orleans

Reissue of Charles’1964–’65 Jewel/Paula recordings, along with some previously-unreleased sides from the same era. All the cuts — "Ain’t Misbehavin’" is one of the best — serve to remind us of how popular Charles was as he walked the line between pop and R&B. (Westside†)

Boozoo Chavis
Johnnie Billy Goat

Twenty-two excellent sides from the current crowned King of Zydeco, Boozoo Chavis, recorded in 1993 and 1998 with Carlton "Guitar" Thomas, Nathaniel Fontenot on rhythm guitar, Charles Chavis on rubboard and vocals, Classie Ballou on bass and Rellis Chavis on drums. (Rounder Heritage)

Clifton Chenier
Live! at Grant Street

"This is a notable addition to the Chenier catalog that documents an emotion-charged event. His band steams relentlessly, and Chenier lavishes all his musical know-how on a largely extraordinary selection of material, taking it to the limit without sacrificing an ounce of credibility." [Kelton] (Arhoolie)

William Clarke
Tip of the Top

"Fifteen selections of straight-up blues with Clarke backed by such West Coast-genre stalwarts as Hollywood Fats, Junior Watson and Bill Stuve. When this session was recorded, Clarke was fully formed musically and managed the rare task of taking his blues to a high peak of musicianship while retaining a vivid sense of the street." [Schuller] (KingAce)

Pat Coast & Out of the Blue
Play Somethin’ We Can Dance To

Coast has taken some time to develop an individual sound, and his band holds a great groove behind his vocals and guitar work. They’re complemented on various tunes by an extensive Seattle-area support cast too numerous to mention, but the great trumpet of Michael Lenke on the blues, "Last Hard Earned Dollar," must be noted.

Michael Coleman
Do Your Thing!

Coleman’s tasteful guitar and soulful singing on "Cold, Cold Feeling" really define the difference between this bluesman and the rest of the pack. He’s innovative and gutsy on his version of "Do Your Thing," and his treatment of Otis Redding’s "Dock of the Bay" pays tribute to his obvious vocal influences. (Delmark)

Mark Cook
An Evening with the Blues

A solid effort from this restrained guitar-slinger that works well within genre boundaries, but can or will he go beyond them? Worth waiting to see. (Cook)

The Coots
Message from the Seventh Dimension

These Coots have some screws loose, alright, with their low-key blues about off-the-wall subjects like mosquitoes, Cootsville residents and other dimensions. (Windjam)

Shemekia Copeland

"Shemekia lays down a sundry range of styles, backed by a finely-tuned group of studio musicians including guitarist Jimmy Vivino. This CD serves as confirmation that it’s time to roll out the red carpet and escort this young lady to her throne." [Wickstrom] (Alligator)

Ike Cosse
Cold Blooded World

Ike’s second release for JSP is an acoustic solo affair featuring Cosse’s witty and humorous songwriting — could he be the Randy Newman of the blues? (JSP†)

Kevin Coyne
Room Full of Fools

A long time ago in Rhode Island, a bunch of art students picked up instruments and did something original and arty with music — they were the Talking Heads. Soooo, now it’s the present day and the art students are in Germany and I guess this is something original and arty. (Ruf Records†)

The Crudup Brothers
Franktown Blues

A great recording from the sons of the famous Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, who’s known in Memphis as the father of rock’n’roll. James, Jonas and George Crudup all sing and play, backed up by a stellar lineup including Lonnie Mack on guitar, Greg Taylor on harp, producer Tim Drummond on bass and Wayne Jackson and Andy Love of the Memphis Horns. Drummer James Crudup is the heart and soul of the recording, with his punchy beat and Sam Myers-style vocals setting the tone throughout. Unhappily, James passed away close to the end of the project, but you will be glad he made this recording. (Warehouse Creek)

Theryl "Houseman" De’Clouet
The Houseman Cometh

"Born in the Crescent City and raised on Johnny Adams, the lead vocalist for Galactic sports a deep, soulful, raspy voice with equal measures of church aisle and dance floor. He displays impressive control, changing dynamics to fit the mood and style of a wide variety of material." [Feld] (Bullseye)

Dem Bones

Tight New Mexico outfit caught live, delivering straight-ahead, good-time party tunes.

Johnny Dollar
My Baby Loves Me

Johnny Dollar is the real deal in Chicago blues. His guitar work covers all the bases, from smooth and sweet to sharp and biting, and Dollar’s got a personal style that effortlessly crosses back and forth across the boundary between Memphis soul and Chicago blues as if it were simply the space between cuts. His Lou Rawls-inspired vocal work on the classic "If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don’t Want to Be Right" combines with Dollar’s guitar to define his sound. Let’s hope this man stays out of semi-retirement to give us some more great material like this. (Wolf†)

The Downchild Blues Band
A Matter of Time

Canadian guitarist/harpist/bandleader Donnie Walsh and his brother Rick started making records in the early ’70s. This collection features the Walshes in a variety of settings, from live big bands with horns to small intimate combos, in 20 cuts recorded between 1973 and 1996. Dedicated to the memories of Rick Walsh, vocalist Tony Flaim and keyboardist Jane Vasey, all featured on this release. (Blue Wave)

Chris Duarte Group
Love Is Greater Than Me

Being dropped by his initial record label and beset by personal problems hasn’t stopped Duarte from bouncing back with another display of passionate song-writing and strong chops on this good, hard-rockin’ romp. (Zoë/Rounder)

Dave Duncan
I Don’t Know If It’s True …

Duncan plays a lean and clean guitar but could use some variety in tempo and style to take things up a notch. (BoneTone)

Champion Jack Dupree
A Portrait of Champion Jack Dupree

Born in the Crescent City in 1910, Dupree made his life and music in England and Germany for decades before returning to play the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1989 and 1990. Recorded during his long-awaited visits to "Hometown New Orleans," these 14 sides triumphantly celebrate his long career — his playing still crisp and energetic, his voice mellowed with age yet still rich and full. (Rounder Heritage)

Champion Jack Dupree
The Blues of Champion Jack Dupree

Dupree’s classic voice and trademark piano style are showcased on these 17 sides recorded in Copenhagen between 1960–’64. Champion Jack mixes barrelhouse rolls with a heaping helping of New Orleans blues and a tip ’o the hat to Chicago. Listening to these recordings makes you wonder how we Americans could have let such a treasure leave our shores so long for life as an expatriate. (Storyville†)

David "Honeyboy" Edwards
Shake ’Em on Down

"This disc has that casual, informal playing style that transports listeners to a simpler time. It reminds us that Edwards has something fresh to offer us as listeners in the new millennium, with a vibrancy that shows that his eighth decade is just as significant as any time period from his past." [Koetzner] (APO)

Elliott & the Untouchables
Both Ends Burnin’

This veteran quartet makes all the right moves, navigating swing, jump blues and plain low-down and dirty with grace and chops. Lean and mean. (BluePoint)

Lauren Ellis
Push the River

A fine effort from singer, songwriter and guitarist Ellis, who delivers her heartfelt originals with a unique vocal sound and some tasteful slide guitar. Well done. (Slidechik)

The Fins

The Fins are a sharp and swingin’ outfit, and when their horn section kicks things into overdrive, you won’t be able to sit still. (M.A.S.)

The Fabricators
The Fabricators

These guys write solid tunes, their horn arrangements work well and, with a bigger production budget, they could make waves.

Five Points Band
The Five Points Band

"Robin Ludwig has clearly studied up on Elmore James and Lightnin’ Hopkins, contemplating death and the devil with a moan in his throat and a whine in his slide guitar. It’s a good start but, as they say, this road has been trod before." [Knopper] (Acacia)

What’s It Gonna Take?

Combines nimble fretwork, a pumpin’ horn section, originals and covers (Jimmy Witherspoon, T-Bone Walker, Louis Jordan) to fashion a cool affair. (World Talent)

Lowell Fulson
I’ve Got the Blues

The late, great Oklahoma singer, guitarist and songwriter delivers 18 more classic numbers in this reissue of the early-’60s Jewel album of the same name. Fulson’s ability to blend catchy rhythms with a well-turned phrase often lent other artists more success with their versions of his tunes, but this release puts Fulson in charge, and he shines throughout. (Fuel 2000/Universal)

Burton Gaar & the Mud Kats
Mighty Long Road

An outstanding effort from long-time New Orleans bluesman Burton Gaar: His powerful, expressive vocals never sound forced, he’s surrounded himself with top Nashville and Crescent City talent, and the production team delivers an excellent sound that never loses its live feel. Mighty Long Road covers all the bases, from funky danceable second-line tunes to slow and soulful ballads, and Gaar really gets to show off what he’s about. (Louisiana Red Hot)

Terry Garland
The One to Blame/Trouble in Mind

Garland is a muscular player on acoustic and National steel guitar and a fine singer, as evidenced on these two CDs. One to Blame is a bit mellower than Trouble in Mind, which features Garland’s more boisterous, driving numbers. (Planetary)

Gator Dogs
Gator Dogs

Fronted by the distinctive vocals of Carlton Collins, Gator Dogs is a funky, rockin’ bayou blues band featuring original tunes by Collins and guitarist/bassist Rod Smarr, whose guitar work is confident and gutsy. (Lake Shore)

Geneva Red & the Roadsters
In the Red

Singer Geneva Red plays both diatonic and chromatic harmonica and creates her own sound with the support of guitarists Floyd Murphy and Jackie 5 & Dime, bassist Mark Sorlie and Sam Carr and Earl Howell on drums. (Full Cyrkle Records)

Stefan George
Point and Pray

An engaging series of acoustic duets between George and Duncan Stitt, Tom Ball and others that make for some good ol’ down-home sounds. (Blue Bhikku)

Anthony Gomes
Sweet Stringin’ Soul

A convincing gospel-driven acoustic guitar workout featuring Gomes’ engaging vocals and well-crafted originals. (Urban Electric)

Rosco Gordon
Memphis Tennessee

"A pleasure that requires no guilt, this disc just doesn’t let down, even if it’s a little top-heavy with spiffed-up versions of Rosco’s old chestnuts." [Braun] (Stony Plain)

Al Green
Greatest Gospel Hits

These 17 sides represent the best of the singer’s golden gospel age, spanning most of his ’80s output. Rev. Al is in fine form throughout — he sounds as if his sweet singing is as natural as breathing, and here he is clearly in his element. A must for Green fans. (The Right Stuff )

Buddy Guy
The Complete Vanguard Recordings

Three-disc set containing Buddy’s three Vanguard LPs — made between 1968 and 1972 — and a scant handful of bonus tracks. It’s something of a mixed bag, but there are more than enough flashes of the incendiary style that would eventually carry Buddy to the forefront of the blues world to make this a worthwhile listen. (Vanguard)

Travis "Moonchild" Haddix
Old & Easy

B.B. King-styled delivery from this accomplished veteran but, unfortunately, without the King’s production values. (Wann-Sonn)

The Hangan Brothers
Mars Market

Guitarist Clabe Hangan’s vocals are the attraction here: They’re smooth, resonant and soulful, and they’re backed by a top-notch band led by multi-instrumentalist Jim Shirley on keys, violin, mandolin, accordion and occasional guitar. The material ranges from the slow Chicago-style "Mercy" through the second-line feel of "Muddy and the Devil" to the swinging "Jive-7." (Blue Cap)

John Harbison
Under the Sun

Finger-style guitar and roadhouse piano are the instruments of choice for singer John Harbison, who delivers a collection of 14 originals and classics — including a blazing "That’s Alright Mama" and a piano-guitar self-duet on "Nobody Knows You." (Adelphi/Genes)

Home Cookin’
Afrobilly Soul Stew

A hearty, multi-flavored stew made up of inventive re-workings of disparate tunes by Buck Owens and Jimmy Cliff coupled with sassy originals by lead singer Brenda Boykin. Infectious fun. (Blue Dot)

Big Walter Horton & Alfred "Blues King" Harris
Harmonica Blues Kings

"Big Walter’s impassioned vocal and harmonica on ‘Hard Hearted Woman’ (States, 1954) can finally be heard on CD, and it’s not to be missed. The disc also offers both sides of a Big Walter single issued under the name of Tommy Brown, seven tracks recorded for States by harpman Alfred ‘Blues King’ Harris with singer James Bannister, and several unissued alternate takes from the same sessions." [Sinclair] (Delmark)

Kelley Hunt

Captured live, this versatile singer is as comfortable with a torch ballad as she is with Kansas City boogie, blues and points in between. (88 Records)

Mississippi John Hurt
The Complete Vanguard Recordings

In the mid-’60s John Hurt, a life-long resident of rural Mississippi, was rediscovered by a pair of young white musicians from Washington, D.C., and, in the words of John Milward’s liner notes, "slipped through the looking glass into a whole new world." These three albums — Today!, The Immortal …, and Last Sessions, done within the span of a few days in 1966 and produced by Patrick Sky — show the impish Hurt at the top of his form. (Vanguard)

Etta James
Matriarch of the Blues

"First seeing some of the song titles was cringe-inducing, but the album’s consistent listenability was a big surprise. What could have been a Las Vegas lounge experience turned out to be a slow-burning, funky blues evening with the one and only Etta James." [Socey] (Private Music)

Jimmy Johnson
Pepper’s Hangout

First U.S. release of 1977 session (with Ralph Bass at the controls) that was scheduled to be Johnson’s first full-length LP. Instead, it languished for years before appearing in the UK. Despite problems with the recording session (for one, Sam Lay was supposed to play drums but didn’t show), the disc nicely shows off Johnson’s high sweet voice and tasteful guitar. The 34-minute playing time is pretty paltry, though. (Delmark)

Syl Johnson
The Complete Syl Johnson on Hi Records

Two-CD collection of ’70s Memphis soul hits spotlights Johnson’s convincing vocals over the great Hi Records band. Syl’s falsetto vocals and soulful harmonica make "Take Me to the River" even funkier than the Al Green version. (Hi/Demon/Westside†)

The J.W. Jones Blues Band

This Canadian five-piece will surprise you with its great West Coast sound. Youngster J.W. Jones gets a guitar tone that’s somewhere between Hollywood Fats and Alex Schultz — this kid has done his homework. (Solid Blues)

Janis Joplin
This Is Janis Joplin

Looks like ex-Big Brother James Gurley dug out some early demos, added some overdubs and released this seven-song CD. Sacrilege or sacrament? Guess it depends on how much you want to hear "new" Janis (who is in good form here). (Big City)

Louis Jordan
One Sided Love Then Sakatumi

"Little of the high-voltage jump-blues Jordan pioneered and popularized can be found in this CD, on which he appears with a ragged 14-piece band. Recorded and produced in Hollywood, it’s Jordan extruded from a Wonder Bread factory." [Waggoner] (Connoisseur Collection†)

B.B. King

Here it is: the two-CD compilation of B.B. King’s best work for ABC/MCA from the last 40 years, starting with the 1963 "How Blue Can You Get" and continuing up through "I’ll Survive" from his great 1998 album, Blues on the Bayou. This is a remarkably comprehensive, high-quality collection, complete with a 28-page booklet of photos and liner notes. King fans will not regret this purchase, and for those rare individuals who may need to add some B.B. King to their CD collections, this would be a great place to start. (MCA)

Willie King & the Liberators
Freedom Creek

"King is a thinking man’s blues artist with a social conscience that would make Martin Luther King damn proud. He utilizes an unending groove that’s infectious from the get-go. More than just a declaration of independence set to funked-up beats, it’s also a deep-fried juke-joint party complete with a live audience, subtle improvisation and plenty of soul." [Emery] (Rooster Blues)

Sonny Landreth
Levee Town

"Those who go to this CD seeking great tunes and top-notch production won’t be disappointed. Those of us who are mesmerized by Landreth’s uncanny slide playing have plenty to hang onto as well, and probably everybody will hope it isn’t another four years until we hear from him again." [Kirby] (Sugar Hill)

J.T. Lauritsen & the Buckshot Hunters
My Kind of Blues

These Norwegians produce clean-sounding R&B blues that push the right buttons — but maybe it’s a tad too clean, if ya know what I mean. (Hunter†)

Kim Lembo & Blue Heat
Paris Burning

Recorded live at the Chesterfield Café in Paris (France, not Texas), Lembo and crew really start a fire. Her smoky vocals are packed with power, and her extremely well-rehearsed band — including the tasty guitar of Frank Grace and Mark Nanni’s fine keyboards and arrangements — keeps her moving. (Blue Wave)

Furry Lewis with Lee Baker, Jr.
Take Your Time

"On these recordings, made live in the studio in Memphis in 1969, Lewis demonstrates his mastery of the free-verse style of songwriting, starting his songs with a familiar line and then bringing in disparate verses from other tunes and combining them with stream-of-consciousness poetry." [Finman] (Adelphi/Genes)

Little Whitey & the Castlerockers
Chicago Shuffle

Rock-solid Chicago blues from this 20-year South Side outfit, kicked into high gear by the presence of one Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins, who sounds less like a mere guest star than an integral member of the band. (Skyway)

Little Hatch
Goin’ Back

"Hatch is a seasoned blues harpist and vocalist with long tenure in KC but an honest Delta upbringing. He doesn’t waste notes, he leaves plenty of space, and his playing is anything but simple — rather, this is the work of someone who’s lived these songs and found a way to make them his own." [Ellis] (APO)

Los Blancos
Special Blend

Syracuse band mixes up a flavorful blend of blues with influences from Latin to Chicago and funk to swing, seasoned with a dash of Nashville soul. From J.J. Cale’s "Crazy Mama" to Gershwin’s "Summertime" swung with a Latin flair, you never know what to expect, and that’s the best part.

Lizzy Girl & the Git’Gone Blues Band
Tribute to Ike and Tina Turner

With the first three cuts of this five-song EP dedicated to Ike & Tina, Lizzy showcases her strong, sultry voice in front of a rockin’ electric blues combo featuring Chris Tassey’s equally powerful guitar. Her version of Ike & Tina’s "Nutbush City Limits" captures some of the energy of the original, and she adds two "bonus jump-blues tracks" — Jimmy Liggins’ "Jump" and a cooking version of Willie Dixon’s "Little Red Rooster" — both with some excellent (though uncredited) tenor sax work. (Killer Diller)

The Luck Brothers
Coming Back Home

Nice low-key affair from Philly-based duo equally adept at R&B and gutbucket blues. (Wit)

Doug MacLeod
Whose Truth, Whose Lies?

MacLeod’s sparse acoustic blues gets a lift from his impassioned songwriting and (at times) over-the-top vocals. (Audioquest)

Magic Red & the Voodoo Tribe
The First Temptation

Magic Red is out there in SRV-meets-Leslie-West guitar-tone land on the opening cut, moves to a slow blues on the second track but can’t resist the temptation to take it to the extreme rock sound again and again. Good if you like that sort of thing. (Mystery Media)

Mick Martin & the Blues Rockers
Live at Rainbow Orchards

The Blues Rockers, with Canned Heat alumnus Harvey "The Snake" Mandel on lead guitar, live up to their name on this live show. They’ve got an obviously experienced party band, and it sounds like everyone is having a great time as they roll through a set of mostly cover tunes and a couple of originals. (Blues Rock)

Jade Maze
My Favorite Color Is Blue

Blues-diva outing with nice R&B overtones. (No Genre)

Jerry McCain
Somebody’s Been Talking: The Complete Jewel Singles 1965–1972

Snappy instrumentals and sly vocals are the order of the day on this UK compilation of the underrated and overlooked singer and harpist’s work for Shreveport’s Jewel label. (Westside†)

Billy Earl McClelland
Judgment Day

Is it the Allman Brothers with a taste of Texas, or Texas with a taste of Alabama? Moving between those worlds, McClelland sings and plays his way through 10 guitar-heavy tunes, his excellent work on both straight and slide guitar abetted by Rod Smarr and Barry Bird Burton. McClelland’s vocals aspire to that sound essential to this style — somewhere between Gregg Allman and Lowell George — and the package delivers solidly on several cuts. (

Delbert McClinton
Nothing Personal

McClinton has the road miles to ensure that you’ll be listening to well-developed material on every cut of this nicely produced new release. There’s a bit more of McClinton the balladeer than you’ve perhaps heard before, not to mention a stronger dose of the country sound. But he still rocks it, and McClinton can always be counted on to get ’em up and dancing. (New West)

Liz McComb

American vocalist moves to Paris and becomes the most celebrated gospel singer overseas. This live CD shows why: A powerful voice coupled with superb contemporary gospel backup from her band makes for a soul-stirring experience. (Back To Blues†)

Mississippi Fred McDowell
Live at the Gaslight

"In an intimate 1971 appearance at the Gaslight Cafe in New York City, McDowell used his energy, inspiration and intensity to communicate to his audience what he lived and what he knew best: the down-home Mississippi blues." [Bernhardt] (Grapeshot/Live Archive)

Brownie McGhee
Omega: The Final Recordings

The Last Great Blues Hero

These identical albums contain the final recordings of the legendary Brownie McGhee, made a year before his death in February 1996. Although McGhee was already suffering from stomach cancer, he sounds at his prime on these 12 cuts, all old favorites of his. Backed by guitarist/singer Elmer Lee Thomas and his band, McGhee makes each song a tribute in its own way to his friends and musical collaborators over the years, including Sonny Terry, Leadbelly and Big Bill Broonzy. Brownie’s many fans will be remiss if they don’t get a copy of this excellent set. (Westside†) / (Music Club/Demon†)

Kevin McKendree & Brothers from Other Mothers
Miss Laura’s Kitchen

He writes! He sings! He plays most of the instruments! And he does it all well, with lotsa homegrown Southern soul and wit. (East Folks)

Chris Michie
Seven Rivers

With subtle musicianship and nice production touches, veteran Michie has crafted a no-nonsense contemporary blues album. (J-Bird)

Jennifer Mir & the Super Sunday Brunch
Jennifer Mir & the Super Sunday Brunch

Props for using the clarinet as a blues instrument, but the vocals don’t have to be reedy and shrill as well.

Rural Electric

"Mohead’s music is not a style but rather an accumulation of styles that ebb and flow from song to song. He has enough on the ball as a songwriter and arranger to give each track its own feel and musical nuance, and he’s drawing on a sensibility that is clearly as rural as it is electric." [Van Vleck] (Rooster Blues/Okra-Tone)

Alastair Moock
Bad Moock Rising

Moock is a folksy balladeer playing country-flavored originals and covers of Dylan and Woody Guthrie. He’s sometimes serious ("Let Me Die in My Footsteps") and sometimes just having fun, as on the not-for-airplay "Here’s a Latte and My Middle Finger." (Bad Moock Rising)


Blues-rock Southern-style, with lots of decadent and dirty guitar sounds for the axe hounds.

Geoff Muldaur

Muldaur follows up his 1998 Secret Handshake with another strong, introspective effort, blending the spirits of Charley Patton, Jimmie Rodgers and jug band music to create an album of quiet, haunting power. (Hightone)

Maria Muldaur
Music for Lovers

Telarc has gathered the bluesiest 11 cuts from Ms. Muldaur’s last three releases and put them together for this collection. A master of vocal dynamics, Maria can move from a whisper to full volume without losing her remarkably unique tone. (Telarc)

Bobby Murray
Waiting for Mr. Goodfingers

"Murray has crafted a collection that’s as steeped in tradition as it is contemporary. His guitar playing doesn’t get up into the listener’s face but, no question, it burns nonetheless." [Gallo] (No Cover)

Frank Muschalle

Well-studied if not inspired German boogie-woogie piano trio captured live. (Styx†)

Absolutely the Best

Compilation of the best cuts from Odetta’s first two LPs make for a great intro to the folk/blues icon. (Fuel 2000/Universal)

Erskine Oglesby
Blues Dancin’

A veteran of the bands of Billy Gayles, Albert King, Ike & Tina Turner, Little Milton, Eugene Neal and Benny Sharp, tenor sax man Erskine Oglesby returns to the roots of jump blues with his sax and smooth vocals out front. His quintet provides a laid-back groove that alternately jumps and swings, and Oglesby’s solos spice up the jump-blues and R&B material with some smooth jazzy lines that give him a distinguishable sound … even if he rarely ventures outside of St. Louis. (Black & Tan†)

Oreo Blue
Rx for the Blues

Arkansas quartet has a polished sound that comes only from lots of performance experience. Frontmen and guitarists Brian Crowne and Gary Hutchinson are backed by drummer Stephen Boudreaux and bassist Rod Williamson on 11 tunes, expertly produced at Fat Rabbit studios.

Calvin Owens & His Blues Orchestra
Stop Lying in My Face

Former B.B. King bandleader and trumpeter extraordinaire Calvin Owens steps out on this sprawling, frenetic work, incorporating Owens’ grand arrangements and an army of musicians who throw down modern R&B, jazz and big band bluesscapes.. (Sawdust Alley Records)

Nerek Roth Patterson Band
Back in the Day

This band plays the smooth blues well, but the sameness of the material keeps this session from really taking off.

Peg Leg Sam
Kickin’ It!

"This guy is incredible! His favorite venue, according to the man himself, was the street, and his ability to captivate from first listen is done fine justice by this new collection of recordings from 1972." [Grafe] (32 Blues)

Pinetop Perkins

Live at Antone’s, Volume 1

You’ve heard every one of these songs before, but somehow it doesn’t matter when Perkins applies the master’s touch to them. This is his set from the Antone’s 20th Anniversary shows in 1995. (Antone’s)

Whiskey’d Up

There’s a lot of Highlands spirit in this Scottish trio’s version of the blues, and Dave Acari’s raspy voice gives Tom Waits a run for his money. (Buzz†)

Eomot RaSun
Three Days Walkin’

RaSun’s debut reveals a mature harpist, influenced by Big Walter Horton and Little Walter, deftly mining the Chicago tradition while adding his own twist. It doesn’t hurt when Sam Lay is your drummer, either. Good show. (APO)

The Ravens
Be I Bumble Bee or Not

The Ravens — Jimmy Ricks, Maithe Marshall, Leonard Puzuy and Warren Suttles — were a pioneering post-war R&B vocal group with an extensive discography, as evidenced by this collection of 25 sides recorded between 1946–’49. The recordings have been digitally remastered to get the full effect of the sound these guys had — which, in a word, was marvelous! (Indigo)

Donnie Ray
Let’s Go Dancing

Dedicating himself to the preservation of Southern soul music, Texas singer Donnie Ray Aldridge wrote seven of the nine tracks here and plays his own guitar and bass, guaranteeing that the arrangements are perfectly suited to his traditional vocal style. (Susie Q)

The Redliners
The Redliners


Entertaining Australian band melds ’50s rock influences with a love for raw blues with refreshing results. Their self-titled CD suffers a little from low-fi production, but both albums are chock full of good, gritty fun. (Redliners†)

Jimmie Lee Robinson
Remember Me

Wonderfully understated acoustic set from a musician who virtually grew up on Chicago’s Maxwell Street. Another sweet product from the audio magicians at Blue Heaven Studio. (APO)

Roll & Tumble
Not Long for Day

Four-piece acoustic blues ensemble with eight originals and eight covers of tunes by the likes of Son House, Lonnie Johnson, and Blind Willie McTell. Frank Corso on National guitars and harpman Justin Quinn alternate vocals, while Curtis Jerome Haynes plays a mean honky-tonk piano and Jon Ross covers drums and mandolin. These guys obviously have some mileage, and their interpretations of the classics jibe perfectly with their original material. An outstanding recording by four men who have paid enough dues to understand the country blues and make them their own. (Flying Lady)

Roomful of Blues
The Blues’ll Make You Happy, Too

Rounder commemorates its 20-year association with Roomful with this Heritage Series compilation featuring cuts from various LPs and two unreleased tunes, including a great live outing with Big Joe Turner on "Shake, Rattle and Roll." Great intro to a great outfit. (Rounder Heritage)

Jo Jo Sawado
Spoodie Woodie

They Call Me Jo Jo

Country and jump blues from Japan with guitarist Sawado covering material from the bluegrass-flavored "Mystery Train" to "Pink Champagne" to an acoustic slide version of "Aloha Oe," as well as tunes from the likes of Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters. Fine playing on both acoustic and electric guitars as Sawado covers all the blues bases with aplomb. (Okra/Gumbo†) / (Mid West†)

Willie "Big Eyes" Smith & the Northern Blues Legends
Blues From the Heart

Long-time Muddy Waters drummer steps out in front to sing on his second solo outing for Juke Records. Smith’s rich, smooth vocals are perfect, and he keeps the arrangements sparse so the groove is established quickly. This is a set of original tunes by Smith written in the classic Muddy style, with a cleaner, slightly modern feel provided via the excellent musicianship of the band. (Juke Joint)

Billy Stapleton
Got to Be a Love

Stapleton is a guitarist with lots of chops, showcased here against a variety of dramatic, soulful backdrops and the vocals of Mark Dufresne. (Interurban)

Roosevelt Sykes
Raining in My Heart

"Collects the veteran bluesman’s stellar work for United Records during 1951–’53, 18 tunes and two alternate takes. Sykes’ output for United included excellent songs like ‘Security Blues,’ ‘Fine and Brown,’ ‘Boogie Sykes,’ ‘Been Through the Mill,’ ‘4:00 Blues’ and the title track." [Sinclair] (Delmark)

Johnnie Taylor

Three-disc career retrospective of the recently departed soul great covers over 40 years of recordings, beginning with some scintillating gospel sides with the Highway QCs and the Soul Stirrers from the ’50s. Among the 65 tracks are 13 that were never released. (Stax)

Johnnie Taylor

A collection of unreleased mid-to-late-’70s sides recorded with Don Davis, producer of Taylor’s hits for Stax Records. Taylor devotees will find some minor gems in the rough here. (Fuel 2000/Universal)

Otis Taylor
White African

Multi-instrumentalist Taylor sings and plays guitar, banjo, harp and mandolin on 11 original numbers. His resonant voice is expressive yet restrained, and it’s mixed well with the acoustic instrumentation: Kenny Passarelli on bass and keys, Eddie Taylor’s occasional lead guitar and daughter Cassie Taylor on background vocals. (Shoelace Records)

Ted Taylor
Ever Wonderful

Reissue of 15 sides recorded in the ’70s by Southern soul singer Taylor. Produced by George Clinton, the music is mostly representative of Taylor’s soul and gospel sound, but there’s definitely a funky sound to several of the cuts. (Westside†)

Todd Tijerina
The Lowdown

Low-budget production can’t hide Tijerina’s fiery fretwork. Could be a guitarist to watch for.

Skip Towne & the Greyhounds
Hit the Bricks

Skip Towne & the Greyhounds sound like they’ve spent a lotta time on the tour bus — music guaranteed to rock any roadhouse on the highway. (Skip Towne)

Nellie "Tiger" Travis
I Got It Like That

Chicago’s Travis gets some help from producer Vintz Famus on this fine recording with a distinctive Windy City flair. Her vocals are strong, polished and supported by a great band, including Billy Branch on harp. Co-producers Rusty Hall on keys, Patrick Doody on drums and Biscuit Miller on bass make for a first-class Chicago rhythm section, and there are fine performances galore. (Tiger Belle)

Various Artists
A Salute to the Chicago Blues Masters

This three-CD package dedicates a disc each to Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon. The assembled personnel is the key to the success of these recordings: The various tribute bands include former Muddy sidemen Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Pinetop Perkins, Bob Margolin, Jerry Portnoy, Calvin Jones and Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson, as well as Henry Gray, Sam Lay, Colin Linden, Eddie Shaw, Hubert Sumlin and David Maxwell. Well-known guest stars abound. (Telarc)

Various Artists
Afro-American Folk Music for Tate and Panola Counties, Mississippi

University of Memphis’ Dr. David Evans captured the music that was part of the lives of the people in this area on these field recordings made for the Library of Congress between 1969–’72. Fife and drums, the diddley bow and other homemade folk instruments are mixed with guitars and singing, and there’s a 65-page book that explains each and every cut and the context in which they were recorded. (Rounder)

Various Artists
American Blues, Volume 1

A nice little collection of classic blues releases from Charles Brown, T-Bone Walker, Jimmy Reed, Buddy Guy, B.B. King and others. While most of these are not the original versions nor the released takes, there are enough good sides here to make this worth a listen for those who appreciate the early urban blues of the post-war period up though the ’50s. (Fuel 2000/Universal)

Various Artists
… And This Is Maxwell Street

"This incredible package warrants space in every CD rack! The three CDs contain over 120 minutes of some of the toughest blues ever laid down in Chicago, 45 minutes of Mike Bloomfield interviewing Robert Nighthawk and a 60-plus-page booklet documenting Chicago’s open-air Maxwell Street market and its people — Nighthawk, Johnny Young, Carey Bell, Arvella Gray, James Brewer and others. Recorded in the cluttered Maxwell Street area, these performances have an incredibly loose feel, but everything works beautifully." [Ruskey] (Rooster Blues)

Various Artists
Blue Haze: Songs of Jimi Hendrix

This collection of Hendrix covers by various artists is good but inconsistent. While some cuts, like Eric Bibb’s piano-and-vocal "Angel" and Ana Popovic’s "Belly Button Window," are creative, really inspired interpretations of Hendrix tunes, they’re mixed with some others that are just hard to get through. (Ruf Records)

Various Artists
Cliff’s Picks

A super sampler of the best of Antone’s Records as picked by owner Clifford Antone: 14 choice cuts from Doyle Bramhall, Toni Price, Kim Wilson, James Cotton, Marcia Ball and Pinetop Perkins, just to name a few. The last track is an interesting and entertaining interview with Cliff discussing his memories of running the famous Austin blues club and producing tours for artists from Muddy Waters to Stevie Ray Vaughn. (Antone’s)

Various Artists
Dealin’ With the Devil: Songs of Robert Johnson

An even dozen interpretations of some of the best-known material in the blues canon. Corey Harris, Debbie Davies, Eddie Kirkland, Dave Van Ronk, Kenny Neal, Sue Foley, Pinetop Perkins, Guy Davis, among others. (Cannonball)

Various Artists

A tribute to Eric Clapton’s good taste, this is a compilation of tunes by Muddy, Wolf, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Elmore James and others that inspired or were covered by Clapton during his long career. He learned from the best. (Connoisseur Collection†)

Various Artists
Horton’s Briefcase … Not Far From Maxwell Street

Big Walter left quite an impression on Sweden, as evidenced by this tribute: Six of Sweden’s finest harp players interpreting Horton classics, and doing them well. (Cee Pee Vee†)

Various Artists
Jump ’n’ Shout!

"Drawn from DeLuxe and (mostly) Regal recordings made between 1949–’51 and augmented by four unissued Ernie K-Doe masters cut for United in 1953, Jump ’n’ Shout restores to currency masterful sides by Dave Bartholomew, Larry Darnell, Joe ‘Mr. Google Eyes’ August, Chubby ‘Hip-Shakin’’ Newsome, Annie Laurie and others. No New Orleans R&B collection should be without this compilation." [Sinclair] (Delmark)

Various Artists
Leaflets: Volume 1

An entertaining sampler of seven artists out of New Jersey, including two or three cuts each from harpman Steve Guyger, guitarist/singer Johnny Charles (tasty!), harpist Steve Bailey, Chizmo Charles singing with power over a big horn-sounding band, Stringbean & the Stalkers, Janiva Magness’ cooking jump-blues vocals (great guitar work here too) and Gene Ludwig’s way-cool and laid-back guitar and organ sound. (Blue Leaf)

Various Artists
Long Man Blues

"Another fine Delmark compilation from the vaults of United and States with 25 truly obscure tracks recorded between 1951–’57 by ten almost equally obscure artists, including pianist Eddie Boyd, Harold Burrage, Arbee Stidham with guitarists Earl Hooker and Lefty Bates, L.C. McKinley, Ernest Cotton, ‘Cowboy’ Jack Cooley, Dennis ‘Long Man’ Binder and others." [Sinclair] (Delmark)

Various Artists
Mojo Mamas

"Although there’s nothing revelatory here, the CD — featuring Big Time Sarah, Zora Young, Graná Louise, Shirley Johnson, Mary Lane, Pat Scott, Maggie Burrell and Gloria Shannon — nonetheless provides a strong argument for the continued power and vitality of the Chicago female blues tradition." [Freeland] (Blue Chicago)

Various Artists
New Blues Blood

A collection of cuts from the blues’ new generation, all from nationally recorded and touring artists: Johnny Lang, Susan Tedeschi, Bernard Allison, Michael Hill, James Armstrong, Popa Chubby, Indigenous, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Sue Foley, Mike Welch, Deborah Coleman and Chris Duarte. These 14 cuts may whet your appetite for more. Commendable not only for the quality of the material but also for the cooperation among several record labels, although the package would be a more effective marketing vehicle if a bit of info about each artist was also supplied. (Era)

Various Artists
New Millennium Blues Party

Rhino has the collection thing down and demonstrates it here by combining 20 songs to make an excellent party mix, juxtaposing modern artists like Susan Tedeschi and Kenny Wayne Shepherd with classic cuts by Elmore James and John Lee Hooker. The set also includes Eric Clapton’s "Hoochie Coochie Man," SRV’s "Flood Down in Texas," plus Robert Cray, Muddy himself, Bonnie Raitt, Albert King, Johnny Winter and Etta James. (Rhino)

Various Artists
Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues

Star-studded line-up — Alvin Youngblood Hart, Duke Robillard, Debbie Davies, Guy Davis, Otis Taylor and others — delivers strong acoustic performances of classic pre-war tunes. A bonanza for acoustic blues lovers. (Shanachie)

Various Artists
The Incredible Electric Blues Guitar Album

This compilation lives up to its name by featuring legendary guitarists from Otis Rush and Elmore James to Albert Collins and Buddy Guy delivering blistering performances from early in their careers, and not necessarily on their best-known numbers. A smorgasbord of greatness. (Fuel 2000/Universal)

Various Artists
The Stax Story

"A four-CD anthology of the timeless hits that came out of that converted movie theater on McLemore Avenue in Memphis between 1960 and 1975. The mastering is phenomenal, taking advantage of digital possibilities and quality while at the same time retaining analog smoothness and the original intentions of the Stax producers and engineers regarding overall sound." [Shuey] (Stax)

Various Artists
This Is the Blues Harmonica

"Spanning half a century, this is in part an homage to the blues harp players who created a tradition and lent their own signatures to blues music, and in part a tasty sampler from the Delmark catalog. The album also demonstrates the influence of the Chicago blues harmonica scene in shaping many of the innovations and modern methods of harp playing." [Koetzner] (Delmark)

Vivino Brothers Blues Band
Vivino Brothers Blues Band

Well-played, agreeably smooth blues with a funky tip — perhaps a little too smooth to make a lasting impression. (Digital Music)

Weepin’ Willie
At Last, On Time

The son of Georgia sharecroppers, this 74-year-old singer (now based in Boston) got a boost from friends Mighty Sam McClain and Susan Tedeschi to "record a CD before I die." Sam and Sue help him out on vocals, contributing to a disc with a real "good-time" feel to it. (APO)

Junior Wells
Calling All Blues: The Chief, Profile & USA Recordings 1957–1963

Fascinating and entertaining UK compilation of Wells’ earliest recordings under his own name. Primal blasts of raw blues and R&B is the order of business here, and it’s simply glorious. (Fuel 2000/Universal)

Willie West
When Love Ain’t There …

Some smooth and soulful blues with an R&B twist from this veteran New Orleans singer. (Gifft)

Artie "Blues Boy" White
Can We Get Together

Chicago with a Memphis flavor from the Blues Boy as he crosses over to the big electric blues sound here, backed by a great band (replete with the Muscle Shoals Horns) and a full complement of back-up singers. (Waldoxy)

Ken Whiteley

Whiteley covers a broad spectrum of sounds on this well-done release, beginning with an a cappella arrangement of the traditional gospel tune, "Woke Up This Morning," and continuing with a mixture of folk, folksy blues, swing and world music, with the emphasis on Whiteley’s vocals. (Borealis)

Lorna Willhelm
I Feel Good with the Blues

Enjoyable enough, but the music tends to carry Willhelm’s restrained vocals instead of the other way around. (Poundcat)

Sonny Boy Williamson
Stop Breaking Down: The Essential Recordings of Sonny Boy Williamson

Excellent UK compilation of classic cuts by modern harmonica pioneer John Lee Williamson, the highly influential harp player of the pre-war era who was senselessly murdered in 1948 before the Chicago blues renaissance told hold. Many of the songs here would go on to become blues standards. (Indigo†)

Charles Wilson
Mr. Freak

Memphis soul man Wilson has a fine voice, and he crosses over to blues on cuts like the fun "Why Should I Get Married When My Neighbor’s Got a Wife?" A good dose of modern Memphis, but the liner notes sadly fail to credit the fine cast of studio players on this session. (ECKO)

Janine Wilson
The Blue Album

The Austin singer fronts a studio band of pros who keep it mellow behind her rich vocals, which are alternately sultry, breathy and powerful. Excellent production by Don McCalister and Ms. Wilson keeps the focus on her voice, heard to great effect on material ranging from a beautiful version of Elvis Costello’s "Almost Blue" to Duke Robillard’s driving "Passionate Kiss."

Wine, Wine, Wine
Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

Young Texas combo — with vocalist Linda Freeman nicely upholding the torch singer tradition — is off to a good start. Let’s hope this wine gets even better with age. (Entwine)

Maurice Wynn
Better Safe Than Sorry

Wynn’s voice glides smoothly over these suave, bluesy R&B grooves with an assured and winning ease. A promising debut. (Susie Q)

Larry Yates & the Blues Monsters
Live Vibrations

This band has all the ingredients for a great show: Excellent harp and vocals from Larry Yates, smooth guitar work from Barry Slayton and Chuck Dunn (also heard on keys), funky bass from Tom Barnes and Michael Overhauser’s in-the-pocket drumming, plus some nice horn arrangements and perhaps the most important ingredient — you can tell they all love playing together! While the material is not always the strongest, fine musicianship seems to rule most of the time. (Xtown)

R.C. Yetter & Riviera Paradise
Guitar Trouble

Strat slinger Yetter and his trio do a good job of rocking the blues with in-your-face guitar work throughout — well done, but we’ve been there. (Riviera Paradise)

Zora Young
Learned My Lesson

"With a full, rich voice that fills the nooks and crannies of the songs with emotion, Young has crafted a fine disc that features plenty of blues but also adds a few well-chosen detours to the mix." [Smith] (Delmark)

Rusty Zinn
The Chill

The 30-year-old guitarist’s debut for Alligator picks up where his two Black Top discs left off. A Luther Tucker protegé, Zinn is a fan of Chicago electric blues, which he infuses with a West Coast R&B sensibility. He’s a fine singer with great taste in cover material who also contributes several compositions (most co-written with Rick Estrin of Little Charlie and the Night Cats). (Alligator)

America’s Most Wanted

Here’s a fine CD from guitarist Mike Zito and his bass-and-drums trio. Zito has a strong, expressive voice with a unique tone that elevates the band’s sound above the roadhouse-bloozer standard. His arrangements are tight, and the band understands dynamics. Make no mistake, these guys are rockers with blues roots, but they’re doing it with some finesse. (Studio-No Prod)


©2001 Blues Access, Boulder, Colorado, USA