Get this crazy baby off my head!


Mick Martin & The Blues Rockers

Mick Martin & The Blues Rockers - Blues Plate Special - 1994 - Blues Rock Records

In their home base of Sacramento, California, the group has been cited on three occasions as the area's "Best Blues Band" by the popular-vote Sacramento Area Music Awards (SAMMIES). and for six years in a row, Real Blues magazine of Canada has honored Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers as "Best West Coast Blues Band". No mean feat, considering the huge amount of competition out there. Mick Martin is a great vocalist, and mouth organ specialist. Tim Barnes plays some tasty Freddie King and Elmore James licks. Russ Skarsten plays some funky keyboard riffs, and Jerry Banks lays down some cool percussion. All the tracks are originals, penned by Mick Martin, & Tim Barnes. This is a band that would appreciate a wider audience, or vice versa. Top class funky blues/R&B played by a Grade A band. Since the release of this album, there have been on/off changes in band personnel. The band have released quite a few albums, all worth listening to. Buy their album, "Live at the Sutter Street Saloon". It would be money well spent. Check www.mickmartinblues.com for available albums.


1 She Must Be Crazy
2 There's the Door
3 What's Goin On
4 The Way You Used to Be
5 High Heel Baby
6 I Left My Blues in Chicago
7 Voodoo Queen
8 Boogie All Night Long
9 Watch What You're Doin'
10 Somebody Else
11 Special Delivery Man
12 Find That Girl
13 Got to Move

All songs composed by Mick Martin, & Tim Barnes


Mick Martin - Harmonica, Lead Vocals
Tim Barnes - Guitar, Lead Vocals (Ttacks 6, & 9)
Russ Skarsten - Piano, Organ, Backing Vocals
Steve Schofer - Bass, Backing Vocals
Jerry Banks - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals


"full of jazz, soul, and funk touches that help it ot transcend run-of-the-mill blues/rock efforts. A playlist of 13 originals offers a wide range of tempos, rhythms, and lyrics, resulting in one of the more creative and enjoyable recent blues/rock products". © Living Blues (01/01/1995)
"The only real rock'n roll band left who don't sound tired and ready for rest homes, these guys can turn the switch to blues in a heartbeat." © Andy Grigg

With any luck, Blues Plate Special should prove to be the breakthrough album that lands Mick Martin a national recording contract. In the past few months I've listened to dozens of major label promos and this CD stands up well against the competition. Backed by his best band ever, Mick has taken some huge personal strides as a journeyman practitioner of the blues. I was particularly impressed with his growth as a vocalist as evidenced by his handling of an intense, slow blues in G like The Way You Used To Be, the album's runaway highlight. Mick's voice is clean and strong and his phrasing is impeccable. This track is also a showcase for band members Russ Skarsten, playing high wire Hammond riffs, and guitarist Tim Barnes, who plays some wickedly bent strings. Russ Skarsten's keyboard throughout the album is a revelation. Whether he's pounding out a driving boogie on the piano as on There's the Door; or doing his best Lucky Peterson on the Hammond as on Boogie All Night Long, Russ's playing fills out every song with tasteful rhythms and inspired solos. Tim Bames, the ex-Stoneground lead guitarist, provides everything from razor sharp, overdriven slide as on She Must Be Crazy, to the pleading, sustained notes of The Way You Used To Be. I was particularly impressed with his restraint on the solos and fills of that song. The backbone of the band, providing a rock solid back- beat and expert shuffle fills, is one of the best blues drummers anywhere, Sacramento veteran Jerry Banks ably assisted on rhythm by bassist Steve Schofer. Blues Plate Special is filled with high energy dance numbers, funky grooves, rockin' shuffles and even the swamp boogie of Got to Move, which also features a smoking Bames guitar solo.. . and of course, be sure to catch the guys live at their frequent Sacramento area appearances. © Jack Oudiz, Sacramento Blues Society


For the sixth straight year, Real Blues magazine of Canada has honored Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers as "Best West Coast Blues Band," a real coup considering the hard-core traditionalist attitude of its founder/editor, Andy Grigg. This is because the Blues Rockers, to paraphrase Paul Anka's contribution to Frank Sinatra's canon, have always "done it their way," concentrating on an individualistic blend of blues, soul and rock rather than yielding to the tenants of the blues purists. "We write and play what we feel," says Martin, of the band that also boasts bassist Donna Proctor, lead guitarist Jim Pailer, lead guitarist Obie Dee and drummer Bruce Pressley. This is evidenced on their studio CD, “One Foot in Front of the Other” and the upcoming two-disc anthology “Gambling on the Blues." “No one can ever hope to duplicate the highly individual styles of Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James, Little Walter, B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King and the other blues greats, although I can't fault other 'blues disciples' for trying. But, like the originators, we have our own sound. Fortunately, people seem to like it, and we have a commitment to carrying on the blues tradition." In their home base of Sacramento, California, the group has been cited on three occasions as the area's "Best Blues Band" by the popular-vote Sacramento Area Music Awards (SAMMIES). This led to their induction in spring of 2001 into the Hall of Fame, an honor shared by only one other blues-based group, Little Charlie and the Nightcats. "It's kind of ironic," Martin says. This is because Martin was once looked down on by the new traditionalists of the blues in Sacramento. "When Charlie Baty came to town in the mid-'70s, I was in the Orion Express, continuing to play blues as I always had, but mixing it, by necessity, with rock originals to appeal to the audiences at the time." At a Sacramento Blues Society event, Baty refused to back Martin because, in his words, the singer-harmonica player was "too rock." "We've since become friends," Martin says, "but Charlie's attitude at the time is a good example of how those of us in the old guard of blues were looked down on by the young turks of the time." Along with Nate Shiner and Michael Andrews, two other singer-harmonica players, Martin was an early pioneer in popularizing the blues with young audiences in Sacramento in the '60s. Just this year, Martin was picked, again by Real Blues magazine, as "Best West Coast Harp Player," sharing the honor with Mark Hummel. "Awards and reviews are great, but the real thrill for me is playing for audiences," he says. Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers were formed in 1983 after a performance at the Sacramento Blues Festival, which he played for ten years until its untimely demise in 1993. "I had been out of the music scene, except for the festival and occasional shows, since Orion Express lost its equipment in a fire in May 1977," Martin says. "It just seemed like the right time to get back on the horse, if you will." While this edition of the band -- which included Wayne Smith, lead guitar, Robbie Smith, vocals/rhythm guitar, Donna Proctor, bass, Mike McCormick, keyboards and the late John "Johnny Severe" Pechal, drums -- lasted for nearly five years, it was a rough road. "To my mind, you either commit yourself to the music or you don't. Everyone in that early version of the band had day jobs. When the opportunity came to play at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, two members refused because they said it was 'too far to go.' That sounded the death knell for me, although Wayne Smith and I continue to work together at his studio, Cathouse Sound, where we cut ‘One Foot in Front of the Other,’ the best-selling CD of our career." When the first edition of the Blues Rockers broke up, it was just a short time before the band re-emerged. Steve Schofer (Orion Express) had, in the meantime, been playing with Tim Barnes of the groundbreaking San Francisco bay area group, Stoneground, in the Fabulous Flames, which had evolved from Sacramento's version of the Blue Flames. Schofer and Barnes left the Flames to try a new direction with former Stoneground drummer, Sammy Piazza, who had grown up with the Vaughan brothers, Stevie Ray and Jimmie. Their first choice for lead singer didn't quite pan out, so they called Martin. "I jumped at the chance. I was fronting Steve Foster and the Dog Tones, but we were having 'creative differences,' so I played out the dates we had left and joined forces with Schofer once again." Since that time, they've never looked back. Three tours of Europe, multiple festival appearances in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a growing legion of fans have kept them going. Martin's songwriting resulted in numerous CDs: "Blues Plate Special," "Got to Play the Blues," "Blues All Night," "Live at the Sutter Street Saloon," "Winning Hand" and "Live at Rainbow Orchards (with former Blues Rocker Harvey Mandel)" on Blues Rock Records in the U.S. Plus, they've recorded "Long Distance Call" for Double Trouble Records, Belgium/Holland and "Good Reaction" for JSP Records in England. Their work also has been featured on numerous anthologies, including "Beach Music Beat" (Rounder Records, U.S.), "A Fourth Wave of Bay Area Blues" (Taxim Records, Germany), "West Coast Wailers" (Double Trouble), "Good Times Vol. II" (Shag Music Archives), as well as appearing on the 2003 and 2004 editions of the "Blues for the Cure" live CDs, benefiting breast cancer research. The year 2002 brought two new CD releases: "In One Ear," a cutting edge collection of a variety of blues styles, and "Blues Rock, USA," a two-disc retrospective of audience favorites from their previous releases. In 2003, the band joined forces with the Dig Music label to produce the critically acclaimed "Tip of the Hat," a tribute to British blues and R&B pioneers cited as one of the best CDs of the year by Blues Matters magazine in England. Multi-instrumentalist Jackie Greene and drummer Steve Price (of Pablo Cruise and Stoneground fame) were among the studio guests. America's Blues Revue magazine called it, "Irresistible!" The tragic death of drummer Joe Murazzo of a heart attack on stage during a concert in 2001 with the Sons of Champlin staggered the group. "He was our heart and soul and it was hard to keep going," Martin says, "but we knew Joe would want it that way.” Slowly, Tim Barnes and Steve Schofer left. I’m thankful that Bruce Pressley, who did a short stint with the Blues Rockers as a favor in 1999, came back into my life because he has the kind of remarkable versatility Joe had. The miracle continued when firebrand guitarist Jimmy Pailer, Obie Dee (a.k.a. “The Old Blues Dude,” known for his work with the BluesExciters, among others) and founding member Donna Proctor returned in 2008 when Martin and Pressley decided to continue the band’s blues direction after membership changes had resulted in the Blues Rockers becoming “too rock” in the words of several of its long-time fans.In the summer of 2008, Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers will be returning to the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee and the California State Fair, which will be augmented by more concert, festival and nightclub shows. "We love to play for audiences. In fact, we always say that we don't consider our supporters to be fans, but friends." Its 15th CD, "One Foot in Front of the Other," says Martin, “pretty much sums up our philosophy as individuals and as a band. As long as there are people who want to hear our music, we consider it a privilege to play it for them." © www.mickmartinblues.com


A.O.O.F.C said...



Anonymous said...

Great post my friend..I like this.
MICK MARTIN is fantastic.
I´m searchin´ "One Foot In Front Of The Other" to complete my collection.
One more time,thanks a lot.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Howzitgoin' ElPasoSugar. He is good, and I'll try to dig up something new from him. TVM, and ttu soon