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31.3.09

Zola Moon




Zola Moon - Lost in the Blues - 1995 - Kent

Singer/songwriter Zola Moon was born in San Jose, CA., but her fierce intensity and powerful vocals might lead listeners to guess that she was raised someplace like Chicago or New York on the grounds that those are locales more thought of for producing artists of her depth and passion. She is self-taught, though she does acknowledge numerous musical influences, ranging from B.B. King and Muddy Waters to Jim Morrison and Led Zeppelin. Integrating those influences and many others, Zola Moon has, nonetheless, worked hard to keep her sound all her own. She began her career about 1983 in the San Francisco area. After 7 years of performing, which helped her grow a large fan base, she released a debut album in 1990. Titled "Dangerous Love", it was recorded on the Bare Moon Records label. Five years later and on a new label, the legendary Kent Records, she released "Lost In The Blues". It was followed in 1998 by "Almost Crazy" and then in 2000, "Earthquakes, Thunder and Smiling Lightning". 2002 brought "Down To My Bones" and in 2003 she released "Tales Of Love And Desperation". She has just come out with her seventh release, "Wildcats Under My Skin". © 2003-2009 MySpace.com. All Rights Reserved

Good postmodern Blues blues album from Zola Moon. The album has strong elements of soul, blues rock, folk, and roots music. Among her influences are Janis Joplin & Big Mama Thornton. She provides electrifying vocals and music, and has performed with Albert Collins, Etta James, Elvin Bishop, Albert King, Big Mama Thornton, Al Kooper, and Junior Wells among others. Buy her great "Earthquakes, Thunder and Smiling Lightning" album, and promote this great music

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1. Blue Wind - Barry Levenson
2. Lost in the Blues - Barry Levenson
3. Ice Cold Kiss - Barry Levenson/Chuck Tripi
4. Imagination - Barry Goldberg/Gerry Goffin
5. Baby Get Lost - Billy Moore Jr.
6. Mother Earth - Barry Levenson
7. Party Boy - Barry Levenson
8. Dangerous Love - Barry Levenson
9. Radio Lover - Barry Levenson
10. Mean, Mean Man - Barry Levenson/Zola Moon
11. Funeral in New Orleans - Barry Levenson

MAIN MUSICIANS [ See CD sleeve for extra musicians ]

Zola Moon - Vocals
Barry Levenson - Guitars
Chuck Tripi - Keyboards
Blake Watson - Bass
Dave Kida - Drums

PRESS QUOTES

Zola Moon is one of the most critically acclaimed artists on CD Baby. Her astounding vocal virtuosity, grittily brilliant songwriting, and incredible intensity as a live performer have made her a force to be reckoned with for over 25 years. The quotes below are from magazines, newspapers, writers, reviewers, and DJs from around the world. Absolutely no vocal pitch correction or vocal augmentation was used in the making of this CD. *** "A charismatic singer with a restless, wailing sound, Zola Moon's literate original tunes exude a Charles Bukowski wit and a lyrical immediacy. This longtime vet remains one of the Southland's best-kept musical secrets."-- LOS ANGELES WEEKLY

*** "Zola Moon's pretty damn scary; she can belt 'em out like nobody's bidness. When she croons, she grabs you by your throat, knocks you out flat, sits on your chest, and makes sure you know how much she's hurtin'."-- ORANGE COUNTY WEEKLY

*** "Zola Moon's talent as a singer and a songwriter cannot be denied. She can be hurt by the end of a relationship or by economic hardship or by the state of the world, but she never gives in to self pity or despair; she's too tough, gutsy and hip for that. She keeps bouncing back and fighting back, because that's her nature; her voice won't be stilled. And what a voice it is, capable of hard-rockin' joy, bitter sorrow, deeply felt love."--THE SCOPE

SHORT BIO

Female blues singer and songwriter Zola Moon was born in San Jose, CA, but her powerful song stylings might mislead listeners to guess that she was raised in the Deep South of Louisiana or Mississippi on grounds better known for producing great blues artists. She is self-taught, though she does mention numerous musical influences, ranging from B. B. King and Muddy Waters to Hank Williams and Tina Turner. Even with all of those wonderful influences, Zola Moon has worked hard to keep her sound all her own. Zola Moon began her career in blues about 1983, in the San Francisco area. After seven years of performing, which helped her grow a large fan base, she finally released a debut album in 1990. It was titled Dangerous Love and recorded under the BareMoon Records label. Five years later, and with a new label, she finished work on an enjoyable sophomore offering, Lost in the Blues. It was followed in 1998 by Almost Crazy and then in 2000 by Earthquakes, Thunder, and Smiling Lighting. Some of the original blues tunes fans can sample on Zola Moon's albums are "Doll House," "Lucky Me," "I Look at the Fool," "Imagination," "Alley Cat," "Hollywood to the Hood," and "I Don't Think So." Over the years Zola Moon has performed at concerts, festivals, and nightclubs, appearing with many artists, including Etta James, Junior Wells, Al Kooper, Albert Collins, and Elvin Bishop. Her band consists of longtime drummer Jerry Olson, guitarist Vince "the Silver Fox" Joy, and bassist Ron Battle. © Charlotte Dillon, allmusic.com



MORE ABOUT ZOLA MOON

“For me, It’s always about the music,” says Zola Moon. “It’s like a painter who just has to paint that painting. I do it because I can, because I’m lucky enough to be able to do it, and because I have to. It’s an unstoppable drive. Artists do it because something makes them do it. Not the money,” she laughs. “Although, sometimes that helps.” Blues singer Zola Moon has been a consistent presence in Los Angeles for more years than we have fingers and toes, going back to the early and mid-1980s. When I first interviewed her, she had just released “Lost in the Blues” on the prestigious Kent Records label. That was early in 1995. The deal with Kent soured. “When I wanted to start writing my own material and controlling what I sang more, that became a problem for my guitar player and then musical director. So I fired him and the whole band. But we had had a long successful run. Because of my insistence on original material, we were selling original blues shows for 13 years, hammering out an identity, which can be very hard to do. We opened up a lot of doors for a lot of blues acts. We proved to the owners and bookers of a lot of venues, at a time when there were pretty well no blues venues, that the blues was viable.” That was ten years ago, and a year after that Zola released her first record of her own original material, “Almost Crazy.” Her fifth and latest CD of original songs (her seventh overall) “Wildcats under My Skin” is about to be released. When it comes to what she looks for and expects from her band, Zola is one savvy character. The ability to play well is not enough; her players have to have their chops, but they need to be fearless, too, and must be able to extemporize and turn on a dime like the alert, well-seasoned musicians they are. Zola calls her group The Pretty Boys, and the lineup consists of bassist Eric Williams, drummer Jerry Olson, guitarist Michael Carter. “Michael is a sensitive, exciting guitar player,” she says. He’s also got a jazz attitude, like me. There’s plenty of room for him to move, and he really delivers for me.” Williams is described as a solid, old school bass player, like Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones. “Eric plays the bottom, you know, and he is rock steady.” And Olson? “Jerry is the engine of the band. He will put on a show for you. I have had him in every kind of circumstance or show. Jazz clubs where they want a lower volume show, not a boring show, but lower, which is hard for some drummers to do, to huge outside concerts in front of thousands of people where I need a real fire drummer with lots of power and energy. Jerry always delivers what I need. My group always delivers what I need; I love them.” This is the band that recorded “Wildcats under My Skin” on an analog 2-inch tape machine at Dino M4 Studio in Torrance, CA. In this digital age, analog tape is going the way of the dinosaur, but for some musicians it is still the only way to go for its wide sonic range and big sound. The album contains eleven tracks, all of them penned by Zola, with the exception of a little help from Cynthia Manley and Jessica Williams on “Boat Man.” The record also has guest appearances by Ricky Stelma on piano and accordion, Elizabeth Hangan on back-up vocals, and Jimmy Z on saxophone and harmonica. Zola says she can be nervous about a new release at first, but that she’s already sold on her latest, “which I liked immediately. I think it’s because of ‘Tequila Dreams.’ ” At eight and a half minutes, “Tequila Dreams” is by far the longest track, but it stands out in a good way, in part because of its surreal narrative, Zola’s mesmerizing vocals, and Jimmy Z’s sinuous and slithering sax work that plays well against the solid foundation set down by the bass and drums. “ ‘Tequila Dreams’ is a combination of -- yes, I confess – drinking mescal and eating the worms in Tijuana,” Zola says with a loud laugh. “It’s kind of a mescal hallucination. But it’s also the story of the rise of the Insect Queen who dominates the world at the end of Earth’s life-cycle in the solar system.” She then additionally describes the contents of the song which don’t get any less surreal and ends by saying, “So that’s the story of the Dowager Empress Worm Commissioner of the World.” We agree that it’s very Jim Morrison-like, and for me reminiscent of “Beggars Banquet”- era Stones without being derivative of either Mick Jagger or Jim Morrison. Not surprisingly, a list of Zola’s influences puts her own work into perspective, and conveys something of the standards she sets for herself when composing and performing. When asked who has impressed her, she mentions Patti Smith, both as a lyricist and for her Jim Morrison-like spirit. She quickly adds others: Charles Bukowski, Buddy Guy, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Etta James, Linda Hopkins, Big Mama Thornton. Some of these artists, those still with us, have been slogging away at their art – at times without due recognition – for year after year. So how does Zola keep herself going, particularly after – and I assume that all artists have some – a show not up to her exacting standards? “Me and my band are what you would call the last of the roadhouse warriors,” she replies, “and you only feel as good as your last show. So even if it’s a night that there’s not a lot of people there, you still have to make it happen. If those people are excited after the show, you can walk out with your head high. It’s what you have to do. Every show matters. And that is hard to do – but some of us long-distance runners learn how to do that.” As strenuous as they sometimes can be, the live shows inevitably fuel the recordings. “You know, I still believe in the work ethic. To get out there and work the band in front of a real audience tells you more about where you are and the legitimacy of what you’re doing than any kind of record company executive – they live in a different, artificial world. But when you’re out there with people watching your show, and they love you, and you’re doing original material, you know you’re on the right track. That’s why my CDs come out of my live shows. I learned a hard lesson in the past, where you go in and let a producer do what they think the record company wants, and then your fans go, ‘What’s this? This isn’t you.’ Now I take my boys into the studio, no studio players, and I do what I want. “ Often the kernel of a new song evolves while Zola is singing onstage. “A lot of the time it’s the hook and the melody line, it’s all there. Other times it’s the melody line and the story. If the story’s there, the rest will come later.” On occasion, when she’s writing the lyrics, she’ll solicit suggestions from her producer, Richard Vidan, who has overseen her recordings and shows for several years. Although there is a certain autobiographical element in many of Zola’s songs, one can’t fail to notice that her music is billed as postmodern blues, and to a large extent, that is due to her wide range of subject matter, which often parts company with the usual laments of desire and despair that pervade most songs, whether pop, country, or blues. “I think this why postmodern is a good explanation for what I do,” she says, and this is referring to her political and social commentary. But there’s another aspect as well. “I’ve come to realize in the past year that we’re a blues-based band with what I would Americana-roots rock influences. Although it’s all blues-based, some of the blues purists probably don’t think it’s not blues or not blues enough. They’re the same people that don’t like Janis Joplin or Stevie Ray Vaughn or Buddy Guy’s recent work.” Zola acknowledges their viewpoint, but doesn’t seem overly concerned about not fitting neatly into someone’s narrow definition of what they think the genre should be. “We are different, this is true. I’m in love with the blues, always have been. But we are different. I’m doing my blues.” © Bondo Wyszpolski, © 1998-2008 Postmodern Music

Roy Gaines




Roy Gaines - The First TB Album - 2003 - Delta Groove

Roy Gaines plays driving, achin' electric Chicago blues, the way they were always meant to be played. The "TB" stands for "Total Blues" and the album lives up to that name. It's a good basic no frills blues record with some great tracks like "Chicken Shack Boogie", "Every Saturday Night" & "Switcheroo". Roy also covers some of the great blues standards like "Boom Boom", "C.C. Rider" and "Baby Please Don't Go" . Some blues critics often berate blues artists for repeatedly covering these old blues songs, and "The First TB Album" has received this criticism, but who really cares if these old songs are covered well, as they are here. Buy his terrific "New Frontier Lover" album. It's arguably Roy Gaines' best album. For more of this type of blues music, check out the albums of Son Seals, Bernard Allison, Elvin Bishop, and Mavis Staples.

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 Chicken Shack Boogie - Amos Milburn and Cullum
2 Every Saturday Night - Roy Gaines
3 You-Re Still My Baby - Chuck Willis
4 C C Rider - Public Domain
5 Baby, Please Don't Go - M.Morganfield
6 Dangerous - Randy Chortkoff
7 Switcheroo - Roy Gaines
8 Lizzie - Roy Gaines
9 Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker
10 Open House at My House - Patterson and Strickland
11 Running Around Balling - Roy Gaines
12 Big Legs, Tight Skirt - John Lee Hooker

MUSICIANS

Roy Gaines - Guitar, Vocals
John "Marx" Markowski - Guitar, Lap Steel
Leon Blue - Piano
Tom Fillman - Drums
Rick Reed - Bass
Mitch - Kashmar - Harmonica

SHORT BIO

A protege of the legendary T-Bone Walker, electric bluesman Roy Gaines was born in Houston in 1934; the product of a musical family -- his older brother Grady later went on to play saxophone in Little Richard's famed backing band the Upsetters -- he initially played the piano in emulation of Nat King Cole, but as a teen moved to the guitar. A huge admirer of Walker's work, at 14 Gaines met his hero at a local performance, and was even invited to back Walker onstage; dubbed "T-Bone Jr." thereafter, he regularly played clubs throughout the Houston area before relocating to Los Angeles two years later. There Gaines was tapped to join Roy Milton's band, followed by a stint in support of Chuck Willis; additionally, he and Walker occasionally joined forces in the years leading to the latter's 1975 death. Long a sought-after sideman, Gaines recorded infrequently as a headliner, finally releasing an LP, Gaineling, in 1982; other albums include 1996's Lucille Work for Me, 1999's I Got the T-Bone Walker Blues and 2000's New Frontier Lover. © Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide



MORE ABOUT ROY GAINES

Roy Gaines was born August 12, 1937 in Waskom, Texas. His family moved to Houston when he was six. He is the brother of sax player Grady Gaines At an early age Roy Gaines first began playing piano in the style of Nat King Cole. He became friendly with other local musicians such as Clarence Hollimon and Johnny Copeland. In his teens he switched to the guitar and began playing clubs throughout the Houston area. He met his hero T-Bone Walker in 1951, and even backed T-Bone on stage when he was fourteen. He then moved to Los Angeles and joined Roy Milton's band. But by the time he was sixteen he moved to Houston and made his solo debut with an obscure release on Chart Records out of Miami. But when he came to the attention of Bill Harvey, leader of Duke and Peacock Record's house band things started to happen. With that band Gaines was featured on various releases by Big Mama Thorton, Jr. Parker ("Driving Me Mad") and Bobby "Blue" Bland ("It's My Life Baby" & "Woke Up Screaming") in 1955. Following this gig Roy began working with Chuck Willis in New York City and recorded with Willis for Atlantic Records. During this time he signed, under his own name, with RCA Victor's Groove subsidiary label. Gaines released two albums in 1956. In 1957 it was Deluxe Records. Back to RCA in 1958. And the sixties saw only two releases on the small Del-Fi and Uni labels. Chuck Willis died in 1958 and Roy continued his session work. Other early sessions included "Essential Jimmy Rushing" in 1954. And 1957's "Blues Wail: Coleman Hawkins Plays the Blues". He also worked with the Jazz Crusaders (later known simply as the Crusaders) appearing on two LPs in 1961. In 1966 Gaines returned to Los Angeles and joined the Ray Charles big band. While with the band he wrote "No Use Cryin'" for Ray's hit album "Crying Time". By the seventies Gaines was again in demand, making many public appearances either solo or with the Crusaders (1978). He continued as session musician working with artists like Aretha Franklin, Della Reese, the Supremes. He was featured on Stevie Wonder's landmark album album "My Cherie Amour", Milt Buckner's "Green Onions" (1975) and Albert King's "Albert" (1976). He also continued to work with T-Bone Walker until Walker's death in 1975. Roy was part of Harry Belafonte's Las Vegas show in 1976. He toured Central and South America with the Supremes in 1976, and the U.S. with Diana Ross in 1977. When Gaines returned to L.A. he was once more in constant demand. This included movie and television work with Quincy Jones. In 1982 he released the classic "Gainelining". Roy wrote "Don't Make Me No Never Mind" for the movie "The Color Purple" (1985), played on the session, and had a cameo role in the film itself but it wasn't until 1996 that he released another solo album, which was the independent "Lucile Works For Me". He followed this with a disc on JSP, a T-Bone Walker tribute album for Groove Note, one for Severn. © 2007 by Blues Critic Media

30.3.09

John Martyn




John Martyn - May You Never - The Very Best Of - 2009 - Island

As posthumous "Best Ofs" go, this is as tidy as one could wish, despite the odd regrettable omission. It favours the Irascible One's songwriting over his musicianliness and, being Island, concentrates on his Seventies peak. And so we suffer again the tenderness of "Head and Heart" and "Sweet Little Mystery" and flow with "Solid Air". If you have ever experienced the midnight blues and not had a Martyn album to hand, then here's where you start. Buy this and Inside Out and you are well equipped. © Nick Coleman, © independent.co.uk

The late John Martyn's music could never be firmly placed in any defined music genre. You might say he was a brilliant folk artist, as he wrote many great acoustic guitar ballads, and also sang many traditional folk and blues songs in a highly individualistic way. He was a marvellous improvisational player who also was influenced by soul, jazz, fusion, reggae, and even trip-hop. In the 80s, many of his songs could have been categorised as mainstream pop, but still in a class of their own. This "Best Of" compilation encompasses many of John Martyn's various influences. As is always the case, there will be arguments about included and omitted tracks, but in general it covers a great range of John's music, especially his seventies work. He did, after all, record a huge amount of material in his lifetime, including 22 studio albums. John was a highly inventive musical genius, and one of the world's greatest live performers, who put his heart and soul into everything he did on stage. For a more comprehensive collection of John's work, check out "Ain't No Saint". Listen to his "London Conversation" album, which has some great blues based tumes, and his "The Tumbler" album which is very much jazz influenced. His "In Session At The BBC" album is well worth buying. It features some of John Martyn's most masterful, and diverse performances.

TRACKS

01. May You Never
02. Solid Air
03. Bless The Weather
04. Sweet Little Mystery
05. Head And Heart
06. Don't Want To Know
07. John The Baptist by John Martyn / Beverley Martyn
08. Over The Hill
09. Spencer The Rover - Traditional (Arranged by J. Martyn)
10. Fairy Tale Lullaby
11. Couldn't Love You More
12. Over The Rainbow - H. Arlen, C. Harburg
13. Sunshine's Better (Talvin Singh remix)
14. Small Hours
15. Singin' In The Rain - Freed and Brown

All songs composed by John Martyn, except where stated

REVIEWS

Martyn died seven weeks ago, and here’s a tastelessly timed receptacle for your grief. In the 1970s, Island allowed the blurred Scottish visionary to mainline his 1960s singer-songwriter sensibilities, seen at their dippiest here on Fairy Tale Lullaby, into the stratosphere via the judicious use of electric guitar, echoplex and a phalanx of folk and jazz’s finest players. May You Never remains perfect. Solid Air essays a slurred transcendence. Small Hours is a sublime extended improvisation. Island also oversaw Martyn’s 1980s decline into Phil Collins collaborations and jazz-funk tastefulness, mercifully underrepresented here. Squint through the laminated sheen of Sweet Little Mystery and Couldn’t Love You More, however, and the wounded-bear vocal still stuns. © Stewart Lee, © 2009 Times Newspapers Ltd

For once, the epithet "Best Of..." almost rings true. Allowing for the absence of tracks as significant as "Glistening Glyndebourne", "I'd Rather Be the Devil" and "Johnny Too Bad" – and anything from Inside Out or The Tumbler – this is about as wide-ranging an account of John Martyn's oeuvre as could be compiled from his Island output. His folksier roots are covered by one track, the rather cloying "Fairy Tale Lullaby", with his later adaptation of the traditional "Spencer the Rover" indicating the direction he would take folk music in the 1970s. The compilation draws most from Bless the Weather (three tracks) and Solid Air (four), the period in which he crystallised the languorous folk-jazz sound that became his style, his vocal inflections growing progressively more slurred as his music became more oozingly amorphous, reaching its most oceanic state on the nine-minute "Small Hours" from One World, the sole experimental indulgence here. But the absence of his more innovative pieces in favour of crowd-pleasers like "Head and Heart" and "May You Never" does tend to over-simplify his achievements. Martyn never had a bona fide hit album in his lifetime, but with a fair wind, this might be the first. © Andy Gill, © independent.co.uk

ABOUT JOHN MARTYN

Singer/songwriter/guitarist John Martyn was born Iain David McGeachy on September 11, 1948, in New Malden, Surrey, and raised in Glasgow by his grandmother. He began his innovative and expansive career at the age of 17 with a style influenced by American blues artists such as Robert Johnson and Skip James, the traditional music of his homeland, and the eclectic folk of Davey Graham (Graham remained an influence and idol of Martyn's throughout his career). With the aid of his mentor, traditional singer Hamish Imlach, Martyn began to make a name for himself and eventually moved to London, where he became a fixture at Cousins, the center for the local folk scene that spawned the likes of Bert Jansch, Ralph McTell, and Al Stewart. Soon after, he caught the attention of Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who made him the first white solo act to join the roster of his reggae-based label. The subsequent album, London Conversation (February 1968), only hinted at what was to come in Martyn's career. Although it contained touches of blues along with Martyn's rhythmic playing and distinctive voice, it was for the most part a fairly straightforward British folk record. With his follow-up later that same year, the Al Stewart-produced The Tumbler, Martyn began to slowly test other waters, employing backup musicians such as jazz reedman Harold McNair, to flesh out his sound. His voice also started to take on a jazzier quality as he began to experiment musically. While on the road, Martyn continued to experiment with his sound, adding various effects to his electrified acoustic. One such effect, the Echoplex, allowed him to play off of the tape loops of his own guitar, enveloping himself in his own playing while continuing to play leads over the swelling sound. This would become an integral part of his recordings and stage performances in the coming years. He also met Beverley Kutner, a singer from Coventry who later became his wife and musical partner. The duo released two records in 1970, Stormbringer and The Road to Ruin, the former recorded in Woodstock, N.Y. with American musicians including members of the Band. For one track on their second album, John and Bev hired Pentangle double bassist Danny Thompson, who remained a constant in John's career throughout the better part of the '70s, on-stage and in the studio. John planned his third solo album when Beverley retired to take care of the couple's children, although there was supposedly pressure from Island for him to record on his own. The next couple of years saw Martyn continuing to expand on his unique blend of folk music, drawing on folk, blues, rock, and jazz as well as music from the Middle East, South America, and Jamaica. His voice continued to transform with each album while his playing became more aggressive, yet without losing its gentler side. Bless the Weather (1971) and Solid Air (1973) which helped form the foundation of Martyn's fan base, featured some of his most mature and enduring songs: "Solid Air," written for close friend Nick Drake, "May You Never" (recorded by Eric Clapton), and "Head and Heart" (recorded by America). By the time of 1973's Inside Out, Martyn's use of the Echoplex had taken on a life of its own while his vocals became more of an instrument: deeper and bluesier, with words slithering into one another, barely decipherable. During this period, Martyn's well-publicized bouts with alcoholism came to the forefront and began to affect his career somewhat. He became an erratic and at times self-destructive performer. He might perform an evening of electronic guitar experiments for a crowd of folkies or a set of traditional, acoustic ballads when playing to a rock audience. His shows would also range from the odd night of falling over drunk to sheer brilliance, as captured on the independently released Live at Leeds (1975). Following Sunday's Child (1974), the live record, and a 1977 best-of collection, Martyn, for the most part, abandoned his acoustic guitar on record for a sort of rock, world, and jazz fusion. Although his style was moving away from its folk roots, his songs retained the passion and structure of his best early work. Grace and Danger (1980), his first release since 1977's One World, painfully and honestly depicted the crumbling of John and Beverley's marriage in some of his most powerful material in years. It also seemed to garner interest in Martyn's sagging career. With this new momentum and the help of friend Phil Collins, Martyn signed to WEA, where he recorded two records, Glorious Fool (1981) and Well Kept Secret (1982). Glorious Fool, a superb effort, produced by Collins and featuring Eric Clapton on guitar and Collins on drums, piano, and vocals, looked to be his best shot at mainstream success, but failed to extend his cult status. Martyn released his second independent live record, the magnificent Philentropy, before returning to Island Records for two studio releases, a live album and a 12" single which featured a version of Bob Dylan's "Tight Connection to My Heart." He was dropped by the label in 1988. Continuing to battle his alcoholism, Martyn resumed his career in 1990 with The Apprentice and 1992's Cooltide. He also released an album of his classic songs re-recorded with an all-star cast featuring Phil Collins, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and Levon Helm of the Band, as well as various compilations and live recordings. After a four-year layoff, Martyn issued And, an album with strong jazz, trip-hop, and funk overtones, followed in 1998 by The Church with One Bell, a collection of diverse covers. In 1999 he also released a live double album which documented a classic concert at London's Shaw Theatre in 1990 entitled Dirty, Down & Live. Martyn recorded a surprise studio comeback effort called Glasgow Walker at the turn of the century that was very well received, and had his entire Island catalog remastered and reissued — two of his albums, One World, and Grace and Danger, were given the Universal "deluxe" treatment with bonus discs. In 2003, a cyst burst in Martyn's leg due to septicemia brought on by diabetes. The end result was an amputation, but he continued to tour the world with the same tireless energy and restlessness, performing with his band from a wheelchair. Martyn, shrugged it all off, typified by this infamous quote: " "I've been mugged in New York and luckily I fought my way out of it. I've been shot a couple of times as well but I just lay down and pretended to be dead." In 2007 two DVDs appeared, a Live at the BBC set recorded in the 1970s, and Voiceprint's The Man Upstairs documentary. 2008 saw Martyn's name surface once more with some real regularity due to a flurry of activity by the man and his touring schedule, but also because of new releases. His One World label issued a pair of catalogued live dates, the best of these being Simmer Dim , and, in December, Universal/Island released a four-disc retrospective box entitled Ain't No Saint. In January, 2009 Martyn was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) — an irony since he was the most rebellious of Scotsmen. Martyn's health, however, was in real decline as a result of a lifetime of substance abuse issues; in the early morning hours of January 29, 2009, he passed away at the age of 60 after a third bout with pneumonia. With his characteristic backslap acoustic guitar playing, his effects-driven experimental journeys, or his catalog of excellent songs, as well as his jazz-inflected singing style, John Martyn will remain an important and influential figure in both British folk and rock. © Brett Hartenbach & Thom Jurek, allmusic.com



BIO (Wikipedia)

John Martyn OBE, born Iain David McGeachy (11 September 1948 – 29 January 2009), was a British singer-songwriter and guitarist. Over a forty-year career he released twenty studio albums and worked with artists such as Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, and Phil Collins. He has been described as "an electrifying guitarist and singer whose music blurred the boundaries between folk, jazz, rock and blues". Martyn was born in New Malden, Surrey, England. Martyn's parents, both opera singers, divorced when he was five and he spent his childhood alternating between England and Scotland. Much of this was spent in the care of his grandmother. His strongest ties were in Glasgow, and he attended Shawlands Academy there. Mentored by Hamish Imlach, Martyn began his professional musical career when he was seventeen, playing a blend of blues and folk that resulted in a unique style that made him a key figure in the London folk scene during the mid-1960s. He signed to Chris Blackwell's Island Records in 1967 and released his first album, London Conversation, the following year. This first album was soon followed by The Tumbler, which was moving towards jazz. By 1970 Martyn had developed a wholly original and idiosyncratic sound: acoustic guitar run through a fuzzbox, phase-shifter, and Echoplex. This sound was first apparent on Stormbringer! in 1970, which featured Martyn's then wife, Beverley Kutner, as his collaborator. She was also jointly credited on The Road to Ruin, their next album in 1970. However, Island Records felt that it would be more successful to market Martyn as a solo act and this was how subsequent albums were produced, although Beverley Martyn continued to make appearances as a background singer. In 1973, Martyn released one of the defining British albums of the 1970s, Solid Air, the title song a tribute to the singer-songwriter Nick Drake, a close friend and label-mate, who in 1974 died suddenly from an overdose of antidepressants. On this album, as with the one that preceded it, Bless the Weather, Martyn collaborated with jazz bass player, Danny Thompson, with whom he proceeded to have a fruitful musical partnership which continued until his death. He also developed a new, slurred vocal style, the timbre of which resembled a tenor saxophone. Following the commercial success of Solid Air, Martyn quickly recorded and released the experimental Inside Out, a more difficult album with emphasis placed on feel and improvisation rather than song structure. In 1974, he followed this with Sunday's Child. In September of the next year he released a live album, Live at Leeds—Martyn had been unable to convince Island to release the record, and resorted to selling individually signed copies by mail from his home. Live at Leeds features Danny Thompson and drummer John Stevens, and is notable not only for the performances given, but the recording quality and incredibly quiet audience for a live recording. After releasing Live at Leeds, Martyn took a sabbatical, including a visit to Jamaica, spending time with famous reggae producer Lee "Scratch" Perry. In 1977, he released One World, which led some commentators to describe Martyn as the "Father of Trip-Hop" It included tracks such as "Small Hours" and "Big Muff", a collaboration with Lee "Scratch" Perry. One World is notable for having been recorded outside, the album's lush soundscapes are partly the result of microphones picking up ambient sounds, such as water from a nearby lake. Martyn's marriage to Beverley finally broke down at the end of the 1970s and, according to his official website, "John hit the self destruct button" (although other biographers, including The Times obituary writer, attribute the break-up of his marriage to his already being addicted to drink and drugs). Out of this period, described by Martyn as "a very dark period in my life",came the album Grace and Danger. Released in October 1980, the album had been held up for a year by Island boss Chris Blackwell. He was a close friend of John and Beverley, and found the album too openly disturbing to release. Only after intense and sustained pressure from Martyn did Blackwell agree to release the album. Commenting on that period, Martyn said, "I was in a dreadful emotional state over that record. I was hardly in control of my own actions. The reason they finally released it was because I freaked: Please get it out! I don't give a damn about how sad it makes you feel—it's what I'm about: the direct communication of emotion. Grace and Danger was very cathartic, and it really hurt." In the late 1980s Martyn would cite Grace and Danger as his favourite album, and said that it was "probably the most specific piece of autobiography I've written. Some people keep diaries, I make records." The album has since become one of his highest-regarded, prompting a deluxe double-disc issue in 2007, containing the original album remastered. Phil Collins played drums and sang backing vocals on Grace and Danger and subsequently played drums on and produced Martyn's next album, Glorious Fool, in 1981. Martyn left Island records in 1981, and recorded Glorious Fool and Well Kept Secret for WEA, the label clearly aiming to bring him mainstream success, and achieving his first Top 30 album.Glorious Fool was a sharp departure from Martyn's 70s sound and at the time was regarded as something of a sell-out by his die-hard fans, but time has revealed it to be a much stronger album than it seemed at the time, with some fine songwriting and vocals. Well Kept Secret (1982) was less successful. Martyn released a live album, Philentropy, in 1983. Returning to Island records, Martyn recorded Sapphire (1984), Piece by Piece (1986) and the live Foundations (1987) before being dropped by Island in 1988. Martyn released The Apprentice in 1990 and Cooltide in 1991 for Permanent Records, and then rerecorded many of his "classic" songs for No Little Boy (1993). The similar 1992 release Couldn't Love You More was unauthorised by and disowned by Martyn. Material from these recordings and his two Permanent albums has been endlessly recycled on many releases. Permanent Records also released a live 2 CD set called "Live" in 1994. And (1996) came out on Go!Discs and saw Martyn draw heavily on hip-hop textures while blending a sound still distinctively Martyn, a direction which saw more complete expression on 2000's Glasgow Walker ; The Church with One Bell (1998) is a covers album taking in material from Portishead to Ben Harper. In 2001 Martyn appeared on the track Deliver Me by Faithless keyboard player and DJ Sister Bliss. In July 2006 the documentary Johnny Too Bad was screened by the The programme documented the period surrounding the operation to amputate Martyn's right leg below the knee (the result of a burst cyst) and the writing and recording of On the Cobbles (2004), an album described by Peter Marsh on the BBC Music website as "the strongest, most consistent set he's come up with in years." Much of Cobbles was a revisiting of his acoustic-based sound. He continued to write and collaborate with various artists up until his death, dividing his time between Glasgow and Kilkenny in Ireland. He recorded a ballad entitled "Really Gone" with Irish group Ultan John which was released in November 2006. On 4 February 2008, Martyn received the lifetime achievement award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards. The award was presented by Phil Collins. The BBC website says of Martyn, "his heartfelt performances have either suggested or fully demonstrated an idiosyncratic genius." Eric Clapton was quoted as saying that Martyn was, "so far ahead of everything, it's almost inconceivable." Martyn performed "Over the Hill" and "May You Never" at the ceremony, with John Paul Jones accompanying on mandolin. To mark Martyn's 60th birthday Island released a career-spanning 4CD boxed set, Ain't No Saint on 1 September 2008. The acclaimed set includes many live recordings and unreleased studio material, researched and compiled by his close friend John Hillarby who also runs the official Martyn website. Martyn was appointed OBE in the 2009 New Year Honours. Martyn's death was announced on his website on 29 January 2009, John Hillarby wrote, "With heavy heart and an unbearable sense of loss we must announce that John died this morning." Martyn died in hospital in Ireland as a result of double pneumonia. English rock band Keane sang a Martyn song. On 31 January 2009, Liverpool-based folk-singer/guitarist John Smith, who had previously supported Martyn on tour, performed "Spencer The Rover", from Martyn's Sunday's Child album, at The Bluecoat in Liverpool, announcing the song simply "For John". Paying tribute to Martyn, BBC Radio 2's folk presenter Mike Harding said: "John Martyn was a true original, one of the giants of the folk scene. He could write and sing classics like 'May You Never' and 'Fairy Tale Lullaby' like nobody else, and he could sing traditional songs like Spencer The Rover in a way that made them seem new minted." Harding introduced an hour-long tribute to Martyn in his Radio 2 programme on 25 February 2009.

29.3.09

Joanna Connor




Joanna Connor - Living on the Road - 1993 - Inak Records

"Living on the Road" was recorded live in 1993 from a performance at the Franz Club in Berlin. Brooklyn born Joanna Connor is strongly influenced by great artists like Etta James, Ann Peebles, Aretha Franklin, Luther Allison, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, Lowell George and Johnny Winter, and shades of all these great artists' musical styles can be heard in Joanna's music. The album features three originals and seven covers. The songs range from roadhouse rockers like Delbert McClinton's "My Baby's Loving" and lohnny Copeland's "Boogie Woogie Nighthawk" to songs from the woman's perspective such as "Good Woman Gone Bad,"' 'Wildfire Woman" and her own "lalapeno Mama."~ She also sings her heart out on "At the Dark End of the Street." Her band has been with her for a few years now, and it sounds like it. Joanna is a great slide guitarist in the style of Rory Block, and Bonnie Raitt. Her first gig was with the late, great slide guitarist, Johnny Littlejohn, and she has jammed with Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, James Cotton, and many more great artists. "Living on the Road" is a great album of soul blues, funk, and R&B and is well worth buying, as is her great debut album, "Believe It!". Check out Joanna's "Slidetime" album @ JOACON/SLTME

TRACKS/ COMPOSERS

1 My Baby's Lovin' - McClinton
2 Good Woman Gone Bad
3 The Sky Is Crying - James, Lewis, Robinson
4 Jalapeno Mama
5 Forgotten Woman
6 Midnight Sunrise
7 Wildfire Woman
8 Boogie Woogie Nighthawk
9 The Dark End of the Street - Moman, Penn
10 Going Back Home

BAND

Joanna Connor - Guitar, Slide Guitar, Vocals
Stan Mixon - Bass
Larry Ortega - Drums

BIO

What sets Joanna Connor apart from the rest of the pack of guitar-playing female blues singers is her skill on the instrument. Even though Connor has become an accomplished singer over time, her first love was guitar playing, and it shows in her live shows and on her recordings. Brooklyn-born, Massachusetts-raised Joanna Connor was drawn to the Chicago blues scene like a bee to a half-full soda can. Connor, a fiery guitarist raised in the 1970s -- when rock & roll was all over the mass media -- just wanted to play blues. She was born August 31, 1962, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised by her mother in Worcester, MA. She benefitted from her mother's huge collection of blues and jazz recordings, and a young Connor was taken to see people like Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder and Buddy Guy in concert. Connor got her first guitar at age seven. When she was 16, she began singing in Worcester-area bands, and when she was 22, she moved to Chicago. Soon after her arrival in 1984, she began sitting in with Chicago regulars like James Cotton, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and A.C. Reed. She hooked up with Johnny Littlejohn's group for a short time before being asked by Dion Payton to join his 43rd Street Blues Band. She performed with Payton at the 1987 Chicago Blues Festival. Later that year, she was ready to put her own band together. Her 1989 debut for the Blind Pig label, Believe It!, got her out of Chicago clubs and into clubs and festivals around the U.S., Canada and Europe. Her other albums include 1992's Fight for Blind Pig (the title track a Luther Allison tune), Living on the Road (1993) and Rock and Roll Gypsy (1995), the latter two for the Ruf Records label. Slidetime on Blind Pig followed in 1998 and Nothing But the Blues, a live recording of a 1999 show in Germany, appeared on the German Inakustik label in 2001. Connor left Blind Pig and signed to small indie label M.C. in 2002. Her first release for her new label, The Joanna Connor Band, finds Connor expanding her sound a bit in an attempt to reach a more mainstream audience. Connor has blossomed into a gifted blues songwriter. Her songwriting talents, strongly influenced by greats like Luther Allison, will insure that she stays in the blues spotlight for years to come. © Richard Skelly, All Music Guide



MORE ABOUT JOANNA CONNOR

Born on the 31 August 1962, New York City, New York, USA, Joanna Connor was raised in Worcester, Massachusetts and began playing guitar while still a small child. Encouraged by her mother, a blues enthusiast, her guitar playing skills proved to be exceptional and in her teenage years she frequently sat in with visiting blues artists. By the mid-80s she had relocated to Chicago where she continued sitting in, this time with major figures who appreciated her instrumental ability. By the late 80s she had played in bands led by Johnny Littlejohn and Dion Payton, performing with the latter at the 1987 Chicago Blues Festival. Forming her own band was the next logical step and this she did late in 1987. By the end of the decade, owing to her records, she was extending her fanbase nationwide. In addition to playing and singing, Joanna also writes her own material, developing this facet of her talent through the 90s and into the early 00s. Her singing has been likened to that of Bonnie Raitt, one of the visiting artists with whom she played back in Worcester. Her strongest asset is her outstanding guitar playing, which allies sometimes savage intensity with a remarkable level of technical virtuosity. [ Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze ]

27.3.09

Tab Benoit




Tab Benoit - Best of The Bayou Blues - 2006 - Vanguard

The great bluesman Tab Benoit has the Louisiana bayou blues running through his veins. Tab is a stylish and technically basic guitar player who does not rely on flashy guitar solos to get his music across. His phrasing is superb and he plays from the heart. He has never deviated from his Cajun-influenced blues style, and like Rory Block, Maria Muldaur, Paul Rishell & Annie Raines, he is one of todays great blues traditionalists, never selling out to commercialism. This is a wonderful New Orleans style soul/blues album which is a compilation of some of Tab's best tracks. The album is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Buy the Tab Benoit & Jimmy Thackery album, "Whiskey Store Live," and Tab's great "Nice And Warm" debut album. Check out Tab's "Live: Swampland Jam" album @ TABBEN/LSJ

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 Voodoo on the Bayou Benoit 3:21
2 Drownin' on Dry Land Jackson 6:42
3 Somehow Benoit 3:28
4 Jambalaya Williams 3:41
5 Nice and Warm Benoit 7:18
6 Rainy Day Blues Nelson 3:48
7 Gone Too Long Benoit 4:29
8 What I Live For Benoit 4:27
9 Mother Earth Chatman, Simpkins 3:49
10 Crawfishin' Benoit 4:22
11 Standing on the Bank Benoit 5:32
12 The Seventh Son Dixon 3:21
13 You Got What I Want Benoit 4:08
14 Cherry Tree Blues Benoit 6:49
15 Hot Tamale Baby Chenier 5:32
16 These Blues Are All Mine Benoit 7:01

REVIEW

Legendary Blues guitarist and singer Tab Benoit has recently released a best of collection. “Best of the Bayou Blues” is a great collection of all the best tracks throughout Tab’s career. This is a great compilation for fans that want to hear all the best, or new listeners who want to be exposed to a wide range of music from this musician’s great career. The album itself was put together well and the tracks fit together as if they were originally intended to go together. This is a great album that speaks for itself and for the great career of Tab Benoit. © Drew Mulkins, © 1995-2008 by TheCelebrityCafe.com

ABOUT TAB BENOIT

Tab Benoit was born on November 17, 1967, in Baton Rouge, LA. One of the most impressive guitarists to emerge from the rich bayous of southern Louisiana in recent years, bluesman Tab Benoit serves as an inspiration to other aspiring players of the region. A guitarist who himself progressed naturally from classic rock and country to the blues, Benoit holds the belief that the next generation of guitarists will likewise discover the style that motivated him to pursue a musical career. "The blues are the roots of all American music," he expressed to Billboard magazine's Steve Graybow. "As people grow older and form their own opinions, they go back to what's real--and the blues is as real as it gets. When you are young, you want everything to be make-believe, but as soon as you get older you want something more tangible." Content in his youth to play more popular music until a friend loaned him an album by Buddy Guy, Benoit redirected his energies and set out to recreate the older bluesman's deep-rooted emotion, adopting Guy's style and researching with intensity the blues tradition. Shunning those who were not receptive to a white man just out of his teens playing blues guitar, Benoit decided to follow his own path. And it was his blues rather than rock and roll that earned him his first record deal with Justice Records, for whom he recorded his debut album, 1992's Nice and Warm. Since then, he has gone on to record five more albums, including two in 1999: Homesick for the Road and These Blues Are All Mine, for the Telarc and Vanguard labels, respectively. Born on November 17, 1967, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Benoit grew up in the nearby oil and fishing town of Houma, where he still resides today. Musically, he was exposed early on to traditional Cajun waltzes and the country music broadcast on his hometown's only radio station. Benoit's father was a musician the family home was filled with various instruments. Falling in love first with the drums while a Catholic school student, Benoit soon switched to guitar because the only gigs to land in rural Louisiana were held in churches and at church fairs, and organizers would not allow loud drums to be played at these events. Nonetheless, Benoit felt grateful for a chance to play. "Yeah, what I really loved was drums," he admitted in an interview with Rebecca West of the Blues On Stage, "but it doesn't matter what I play: it's music." Despite his initial reservations, Benoit took to the guitar with little guidance, and within no time, his natural gift became evident. In fact, he claims that he barely remembers learning to play at all. "It was my ninth birthday when I got my guitar. [But] I was a guitar player and there really weren't any good parts in Cajun music for guitar, just strummin' rhythm chords," he recalled, as quoted by the Womp Blues website. "I had a book that showed you how to play chords. After I learned the first three, I got rid of the book." However, Benoit would not discover his true passion--the blues--until his teens. "When I heard John Lee Hooker and B.B. King, I thought, 'That's what I've been looking for.' I always played music, but that's when I saw that this kind of playing came easy to me. I never sat down and tried to learn scales, I just enjoyed playing what I felt," he continued. From that moment on, and against his parents' advice, Benoit set about a career in music. Upon graduating from high school he played guitar in every type of band around, including country and rock, in order to hone his skills, even though blues music remained his first love. Consequently, every time he took the stage, hints of the blues came through. Whether playing music at weddings, local Cajun festivals, or 1950s-style rock and roll shows, Benoit seemed happy just for the chance to play. Like many modern-day bluesmen, Benoit found it difficult to find an audience accepting of his style and grew increasingly discouraged. Fortunately, a trip in 1989 to New Orleans to see Albert Collins perform proved to be a life-affirming experience. And he soon looked toward Collins and other blues aficionados--among them Tabby Thomas, Raful Neal, and Henry Gray--for inspiration. "These guys are playing from a different era," he told Womp Blues. "Every note that they play means something. Every note has a specific purpose and place, so one note can say a lot more than a lot of notes can say." Financial constraints and family pressures forced Benoit, albeit reluctantly, to attend college and place his musical pursuits on hold. There, he pursued another lifelong interest: flying. "I took all the courses first to get my certified flying license. And I was playing on weekends to pick up money," he recalled to West. Then, after coming in third at a blues jam contest in New Orleans, Benoit's music, too, began to take flight. Impressed by his performance, Justice Records invited the hopeful blues guitarist to participate for the compilation Strike a Deep Chord: Blues Guitar for the Homeless alongside such artists as Dr. John, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and Johnny Copeland. Signing with Justice, he released his solo debut, Nice and Warm, produced by Randall Hage Jamail, in 1992. Contributors for the set included Gregg Bissonette on drums, Steve Bailey on bass, and Paul English on keyboards. Along with a record deal, Benoit also finally gained his father's approval. "Well, now he says he taught me everything I know. Once I got a contract it was all different. Of course no one where I came from had ever made it as a musician before. He was trying to keep me from having to give up something I loved," said Benoit to West. Although Benoit did not break any new ground with his subsequent albums, all of his efforts showcase a traditional, yet fresh and understated style, and critics marveled at his dexterity on the Fender Stratocaster guitar. "With tone as thick as gumbo and licks as fiery as a tablespoon of cayenne pepper, singer/guitarist Tab Benoit may be the hottest thing to come out of Louisiana since Chef Paul Prudhomme," Guitar Player once commented about his abilities, as quoted by Benoit's official website. "Influenced by Buddy Guy's intensity and Albert King's gutsy punch ... Benoit's mellow Big Easy personality contradicts the tear-your-head-off intensity of his performance." After the release of What I Live For in 1994, Benoit returned in 1995 with Standing on the Bank, which revealed a more authentic feel than his previous albums and solidified his position in the blues world. Here, he enlisted a rhythm section comprised of Greg Rzab on bass, and Ray Allison on drums, both borrowed from Buddy Guy's band; the album also featured a duet with country great Willie Nelson. Recorded live in the studio in two days on a two-track tape, a method and a throwback to the days of old Benoit felt would give the album more spontaneity, Standing on the Bank indeed showed a cast of musicians completely on their toes. In 1997, Benoit released Live: Swampland Jam, his personal favorite because he considers himself more of a live performer than a recording artist. Recorded during two sold-out shows in Louisiana, this live set of songs, none of which appeared before on his studio albums, won applause for its raw-sounding blues. Following his successful stint with Justice, Benoit in the late-1990s signed with Vanguard Records. In 1999, he released These Blues Are All Mine, an album featuring five original compositions as well as new takes on songs by Albert Collins, Albert King, and Hank Williams. Benoit recorded the record at Sugar Hill Studios in Houston, Texas, the oldest studio in the state. "We broke out the old tape machines and played live, just like we'd be playing at a gig. The energy just built and built so that everything we played was a keeper," Benoit said to Womp Blues. Earning rave reviews, the effort led Wall Street Journal contributor Craig Havighurst to comment: These Blues Are All Mine "spills over with emotion and fiery playing, captured with a vintage recording studio's ambience. You'll have to keep reminding yourself this is a new release and not a rediscovered master tape from a contemporary Magic Sam or Buddy Guy." An important factor of his success, stresses Benoit, is touring to bring his music to his fans coupled with the ability to keep each performance fresh. "Music changes all the time," he explained to West. "It changes every time I play it. I'm just there. It's coming through me." © Laura Hightower , © 2008 Net Industries - All Rights Reserved

SHORT BIO

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Tab Benoit makes his home near New Orleans in Houma, LA. Born November 17, 1967, he's one of a handful of bright rising stars on the modern blues scene. For most of the 1990s, he's been working each of his records the old fashioned way, by playing anywhere and everywhere he and his band can play. Unlike so many others before him, Benoit understands that blues is not a medium in favor with 50,000-watt commercial rock radio stations, so as a consequence, he's worked each of his releases with as many shows as he can possibly play. Since the release of his first album for Justice, Benoit has taken his brand of Cajun-influenced blues all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Nice and Warm, his debut album for Houston-based Justice Records, prompted some critics to say he's reminiscent, at times, of three blues guitar gods: Albert King, Albert Collins, and Jimi Hendrix. Although the hard-working, modest guitarist scoffs at those comparisons, and doesn't think he sounds like them (and doesn't try to sound like them), Benoit doesn't appear to be one who's easily led into playing rock & roll in favor of his down-home blend of swamp blues and east Texas guitar-driven blues. Talk to Tab at one of his shows, and he'll tell you about his desire to "stay the course," and not water down his blues by playing items that could be interpreted as "alternative" rock. Despite the screaming guitar licks he coaxes from his Telecaster and his powerful songwriting and singing abilities, Benoit's laid-back, down-to-earth personality off-stage is the exact opposite of his live shows. Benoit's releases include Nice and Warm (1992), What I Live For (1994), Standing on the Bank (1995), and Live: Swampland Jam (1997), all recorded for Vanguard. Benoit then moved over to the Telarc label for These Blues Are All Mine (1999), Whiskey Store (2002, with Jimmy Thackery), Wetlands (2002), and The Sea Saint Sessions (2003). In 2004, Benoit released Whiskey Store Live, recorded with Jimmy Thackery on the support tour for Whiskey Store. 2005 saw the release of Fever for the Bayou on the Telarc label. 2005 also saw Voice of the Wetlands come out on Rykodisc. Another album from Telarc, Brother to the Blues, appeared in 2006. Power of the Pontchartrain followed in 2007. Considering that many of Benoit's records have surpassed the 50,000 mark, he's well on his way to a career that could rival the kind of popularity the late Stevie Ray Vaughan enjoyed in the late '80s. © Richard Skelly & Al Campbell, All Music Guide




BIO (Wikipedia)

Tab Benoit (born November 17, 1967 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States) is a blues guitarist, musician and singer. He plays a style that is a combination of Swamp blues, Soul blues and Chicago blues. He plays Fender guitars and writes his own music compositions. Benoit graduated from Vandebilt Catholic High School in Houma, Louisiana in May, 1985. In 2003, he formed an organization promoting awareness of coastal wetlands preservation known as "Voice of the Wetlands." A guitar player since his teenage years, he hung out at the Blues Box, a music club and cultural center in Baton Rouge run by guitarist Tabby Thomas. Playing guitar alongside Thomas, Raful Neal, Henry Gray and other high-profile regulars at the club, Benoit learned the blues first-hand from a faculty of living blues legends. He formed a trio in 1987 and began playing clubs in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. He began touring other parts of the south two years later and started touring more of the United States in 1991- and he continues to this day. Benoit landed a recording contract with the Texas-based Justice Records and released a series of well-received recordings, beginning in 1992 with Nice and Warm, an album that prompted comparisons to blues guitar heavyweights like Albert King, Albert Collins and even Jimi Hendrix. Despite the hype, Benoit has done his best over the years to maintain a commitment to his Cajun roots— a goal that often eluded him when past producers and promoters tried to turn him and his recordings in a rock direction, often against his better instincts. These Blues Are All Mine, released on Vanguard in 1999 after Justice folded, marked a return to the rootsy sound that he’d been steered away from for several years. That same year, he appeared on Homesick for the Road, a collaborative album on the Telarc label with fellow guitarists Kenny Neal and Debbie Davies. Homesick not only served as a showcase for three relatively young but clearly rising stars, but also launched Benoit’s relationship with Telarc that came to fruition in 2002 with the release of Wetlands —arguably the most authentically Cajun installment in his entire ten-year discography. On Wetlands, Benoit mixes original material like the autobiographical “When a Cajun Man Gets the Blues” and the driving “Fast and Free” with little-known classics like Li’l Bob & the Lollipops’ “I Got Loaded,” Professor Longhair’s “Her Mind Is Gone” and Otis Redding’s timeless “These Arms of Mine” (Tab’s vocal style has long been influenced by Redding). Later in 2002, Benoit released Whiskey Store, a collaborative recording with fellow guitarist and Telarc labelmate Jimmy Thackery as well as harpist Charlie Musselwhite and Double Trouble—the two-man rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton that backed Stevie Ray Vaughan. Benoit, in 2003, released Sea Saint Sessions, recorded at Big Easy Recording Studio (better known among musicians in the region as Sea Saint Studio) in New Orleans. In addition to Benoit and his regular crew—bassist Carl Dufrene and drummer Darryl White—Sea Saint Sessions includes numerous guest appearances by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Cyril Neville, Brian Stoltz and George Porter. That same year, Benoit and Thackery took their dueling guitar show on the road and recorded a March 2003 performance at the Unity Centre for Performing Arts in Unity, Maine. The result was Whiskey Store Live, a high-energy guitar fest released in February 2004. Benoit's 2005 release is Fever for the Bayou,which also includes guest appearances by Cyril Neville (vocals and percussion) and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (vocals). In 2006 Benoit recorded " Brother To The Blues" with Louisiana's LeRoux. The album was a bit more countrified but still was nominated for a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album. There is nothing country about his live rendition of these songs however. Tab was owner of Tab Benoit's Lagniappe Music Cafe, situated in the downtown district of Houma, Louisiana. He is also founder of an organization known as "Voice of the Wetlands," providing an awareness of the receding coastal wetlands of Louisiana.

Tommy Castro - Johnny Nitro - Kevin Russell




Tommy Castro - Johnny Nitro - Kevin Russell - San Francisco Blues Guitar Summit - Volume 3 - 1993 - Blues Bureau International

This album is supposed to be Tommy Castro's first recorded appearance. It's a brilliant blues rock album featuring the great Tommy Castro, (Look at the album cover, and you will notice that Tommy is listed as "Tom Castro"), Johnny Nitro and Kevin Russell. There is some mind boggling guitar on this album. Lyrically, the songs are very weak, but this aspect of the album quickly fades away, when you listen to some of the fretboard wizardry by these three guys. Feeding the fire with every measure, Kevin Russell, Johnny Nitro and Tom Castro push each other to set new contemporary blues standards. This album is HR by A.O.O.F.C.

ABOUT TOMMY CASTRO, JOHNNY NITRO, & KEVIN RUSSELL

Michael Locke, the dean of the North Beach blues scene, mentor to Tommy Castro and countless others, has stated that "If the world was fair, Johnny Nitro would be famous". Johnny has played with Albert King, Albert Collins and Sonny Rhodes. He wrote Dirty Dishes, a song popularised by Albert Collins and also recorded by the great Tab Benoit. Johnny’s also a long time blues instructor at Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco. If you can find it, it is worth buying the great "Car Fixin' Blues" album by Johnny Nitro & the Door Slammers. He is a very much underrated artist. Kevin Russell is quoted as saying, "I have always been suspect of musicians who do not dig blues". Kevin comes from Detroit and is proudly maintaining the great Motor City blue rock tradition. Kevin played in a successful rock band, Kokomo, with Grateful Dead members, Bill Kreutzman and Brent Midland. He also played with ex-Stray Cats, Slim Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker. Kevin is a highly respected session guitarist, and has played on many great recordings. He has produced some of Rick Derringers work. An immensely talented guitarist, his "Movin` On" album is a brilliant modern electric blues album, and well worth buying. There is no need to elaborate too much on the Californian master Bluuesman Tommy Castro's guitar prowess. Carlos Santana had this to say about Tommy Castro, - "The blues is in good hands. When someone has the right intentions, with sincerity, you can never go wrong. This is the person who has the voice, the sound, and the intentions, to touch everybody's heart." Influenced by blues and soul greats like Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett., Tommy Castro is one of the most talented bluesmem playing today. Check out Tommy's "No Foolin'" album @ TCAST/NF and his "Exception To The Rule" album @ TCAST/E2TR

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1. Train Conductor (Kevin Russell) (4:34)
2. You Know I Love Ya (Tommy Castro) (5:20)
3. Nobody Else's Arms (Johnny Nitro) (6:50)
4. Alligator Alley (Kevin Russell) (5:37)
5. I Tried (Tommy Castro) (9:35)
6. Runnin' On Fumes (Johnny Nitro) (6:46)
7. Take It Like A Man (Kevin Russell) (5:38)
8. You Got Something (Tommy Castro) (5:30)
9. The Wrong Bed (Johnny Nitro) (8:04)
10. You Gotta Roll (Kevin Russell) (5:13)

MUSICIANS

Johnny Nitro, Tommy Castro, Kevin Russell - Guitars, Vocals
Brad Russell - Bass
Andy Doerschuk - Drums

The Kerry Kearney Band




The Kerry Kearney Band - A Night in the Tropics - 2006 - Dwaz Entertainment

A very good album from a great modern blues band. There are eight great Delta roots blues style tracks here, with three Kerry Kearney originals and also great covers of songs by Dylan, Robert Johnson, and Little Walter Jacobs. A great selection of tracks by a band you need to hear more of. Kerry is a great slide guitarist and his back up band really know how to lay down the blues. Buy the band's excellent ""Connect With Your Roots" album and promote this talented outfit

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

Chop Suey - Kerry Kearney
Love In Vain - Robert Johnson
It Ain't Right - Little Walter Jacobs
Skip to my Lou - Traditional
Jelly Roll Campo - Tony Campo
Girl from the North Country - Bob Dylan
A Night in the Tropics - Kerry Kearney
Stuck Inside of EKO with J.P. Blues Again - Kerry Kearney

BAND

Kerry Kearney-Guitars and Vocals
Frank Celenza- Bass
Eileen Murphy- Drums
Charlie Wolfe -Harmonica
Tony Campo- Keyboards

SHORT BIO

The Kerry Kearney Band originated in 1995 with their debut CD "Blow Your House Down." After Frank Celenza, Eileen Murphy and Charlie Wolfe joined the band, they played local gigs, finding their own sound. Utilizing a dobro, played "Delta style" in an electric band, they created unique grooves with the bass and drums. The band recorded their second CD, titled "Kerry Kearney" in 1999. Shortly thereafter, KKB played numerous shows with The Allman Brothers, on the 2000 Nascar Rocks Tour. After returning home to NY, KKB was approached by Relix Records, which produced the first two of a trilogy of "Psychedelta" CD's. "Welcome to the Psychedelta" was released in 2001. That summer, KKB toured nationally with The Dickey Betts Band. With Tony Campo on board, in 2002, KKB recorded, KKB recorded "Trippin' on Psychedelta." "Secrets From the Psychedelta" CD/DVD was released in July 2005. In January 2006, The KKB invited fans to be present at the recording of their live CD titled "A Night in the Tropics." KKB played a number of all-star shows at Tribecca Blues, Manny's Carwash, Chicago Blues and The Bottom Line in NYC. They also headlined several music festivals including the Annual Riverhead Blues Festivals, NY's Blues 2000 Festivals, the Bucks County Blues Festival and Mayfair Arts & Music Festivals in PA, June Jam In Delaware and the Guinness Blues Festival in Castlebar, Ireland. In 2007, KKB is currently celebrating 10 years of musical accomplishments together & a new, much anticipated CD is planned to be released in July. Voted "Long Island's Best Blues Band," The Kerry Kearney Band must be seen live... their dynamic energy is something you won't ever forget! © http://kerrykearney.com/biographies.html

MORE ABOUT THE KERRY KEARNEY BAND

The Kerry Kearney Band is a Long Island based band that plays an exciting and unique style of Blues-Roots-Delta music, a completely original sound with a tag name for the music being called "Psychedelta". They have toured both nationally and internationally, sharing the stage with notables such as; The Allman Brothers, Dickey Betts, Sonny Landreth, Marcia Ball, Leon Russell, John Lee Hooker Jr and Mountain. The band has played a multitude of music festivals. They have headlined six of the nine annual Riverhead Blues Festivals in Riverhead, NY. They have also played the 2006 June Jam in Houston, Delaware, the 2005 and 2006 Mayfair Arts and Music Festivals in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Blues-2000 Festivals for 2002, 2003, and 2005. The Kerry Kearney Band has also performed at the Guinness 2006 Blues Festival in Castlebar, Ireland. The Kerry Kearney Band has played many well known venues from B.B. Kings, The House of Blues and The Bottom Line. They perform regularly at The Dinosaur BBQ, and Terra of Blues in New York City as well as the Stephan Talkhouse in Amagansett, Long Island. The Band has a tremendous following in the Northeast and has sold thousands of CDs from their catalogue of work. Kerry is a favorite guest frequently featured on many radio stations; his songs are receiving heavy rotation airplay on blues stations nationally. Kerry's music is currently receiving airplay on more than 300 radio stations across the country. © 2003-2009 MySpace. All Rights Reserved

John Mayall's Bluesbreakers




John Mayall's Bluesbreakers - Power Of The Blues - 1987 - Charly

Legendary British blues artist John Mayall has always been an eclectic blues artist because of his tendency to incorporate jazz and folk elements into his music. This in-concert set from 1987 is a successful attempt by Mayall to contemporize the electric Chicago blues style. Mayall and his band, including the great guitarists, Walter Trout and Coco Montoya cover tunes by great artists including Sonny Boy Williamson, and Otis Rush. The 11-minute "Room to Move," with Mayall on harmonica, is a standout track. Over the years Mayall has swung his musical output between acoustic and electric, and although much of his less blues orientated material remains very much in demand, it's a great change to hear the man get back to basics, and play some authentic blues standards. This album was recorded live in Frankfurt, Bonn, and Munster, Germany between 19th, and 21st April 1987. The UK magazine series The Blues Collection No.8 includes a CD with the same tracks as The Power of the Blues. The album has also been released on other labels with different sleeve/CD covers. However, the track list is the same on most of them. Listen to the brilliant John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers 1967 "Crusade" album, and John's equally brilliant 1968 "Blues from Laurel Canyon" album. British blues doesn't come much better than the two aforementioned albums.

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 Ridin' On The L&M - Burley/Hampton
2 Help Me - Williamson/Bass
3 Racehorse Man - Mayall
4 All Your Love - Rush
5 I Ain't Got You - Arnold
6 Wild About You - Mayall
7 It Ain't Right - Jacobs
8 Room To Move - Mayall

MUSICIANS

John Mayall - Mouth Harp, Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Coco Montoya - Guitar, Vocals
Walter Trout - Guitar, Vocals
Bobby Haynes - Bass
Joe Yuele - Drums



BIO (Wikipedia)

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers are a pioneering English blues band, led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall, OBE. Mayall used the band name between 1963 and '67 then dropped it for some fifteen years, but in 1982 a 'Return of the Bluesbreakers' was announced and it has been kept since then. The name has become generic without a clear distinction which recordings are to be credited just to the leader or to leader and his band. The Bluesbreakers have included luminaries such as: Eric Clapton (April–August 1965, November 1965–July 1966 and Jack Bruce, who both left to form Cream, Peter Green, who had replaced Clapton, played until August 1967, when he departed with Mick Fleetwood and then also enticed Bluesbreaker John McVie a few weeks later to form Fleetwood Mac, Mick Taylor (August 1967–July 1969) who later joined The Rolling Stones, and reunion tours in 1982–83 and 2004, Harvey Mandel, Walter Trout, Larry Taylor (later in Canned Heat), Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Randy Resnick, Aynsley Dunbar, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser (Free), Chris Mercer, Henry Lowther, Johnny Almond and Jon Mark (later of Mark-Almond). The Bluesbreakers were formed in January 1963 and became an ever-evolving lineup of more than 100 different combinations of musicians performing under that name. Eric Clapton joined in 1965 just a few months after the release of their first album. Clapton brought the blues influences to the forefront of the group, as he had left The Yardbirds in order to play the blues. The group lost their record contract with Decca that year, which also saw the release of a single called "I'm Your Witchdoctor" (produced by Jimmy Page), followed by a return to Decca in 1966. The album Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton (also known as The Beano Album because Clapton is shown on the cover photo reading a copy of the comic) was released later that year; it reached the Top Ten in the UK. Clapton and Jack Bruce left the group that year to form Cream. Clapton was replaced by Peter Green for A Hard Road, after which he left to form Fleetwood Mac. Finally, in 1969, the third Bluesbreaker-guitarist departed when Mick Taylor joined the Rolling Stones. By the time the 1960s were over, the Bluesbreakers had finally achieved some success in the United States. With some interruptions, the Bluesbreakers have continued to tour and release albums (over 50 to date), though they never achieved the critical or popular acclaim of their earlier material. In 2003, Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor and Chris Barber reunited with the band for John Mayall's 70th Birthday Concert in Liverpool — the concert was later released on CD and DVD. In 2004, their line up included Buddy Whittington, Joe Yuele, Hank Van Sickle and Tom Canning, and the band toured the UK with Mick Taylor as a guest musician. In November 2008 Mayall announced on his website he was disbanding the Bluesbreakers to cut back on his heavy workload and give himself freedom to work with other musicians. A 2009 tour with Rocky Athos (formerly of Black Oak Arkansas) is currently advertised.

Johnny Nicholas




Johnny Nicholas - Livin' With The Blues - 2005 - Topcat

Livin' With The Blues showcases Johnny Nicholas' instrumental virtuosity, songwriting acumen (featuring 7 original tunes) and his heartfelt love of the musical and cultural diverstiy of Texas. © cdbaby.com

Livin' With The Blues showcases Johnny Nicholas' instrumental virtuosity, songwriting acumen (featuring 7 original tunes) and his heartfelt love of the musical and cultural diverstiy of Texas. This outstanding CD pays loving, deeply respectful homage to those seminal blues masters and friends who were his greatest influences and is a testament to the fact that Johnny is back in force. Livin' With The Blues, Johnny's 3rd CD release on TopCat Records (his first two widely acclaimed releases - Rockin' My Blues To Sleep and Thrill On The Hill), features a Who's-Who of top Texas music stars - Marcia Ball, Greg Piccolo, Ray Benson, Cindy Cashdollar, Stephen Bruton, Mark "Kaz" Kazinof, Red Young, Joel Guzman, Barry "Frosty" Smith, Ernie Durawa, Riley Osbourne, Terry Hale, Al Gomez, John Mills, Jack Barber and special guest Kinky Friedman. In 1980, after twenty years of the blues scenes of Providence, Detroit-Ann Arbor, Chicago, the Bay Area, the Cajun country of Louisiana and Texas, performing with Duke Robillard, Steve Nordella, Big Walter Horton, Asleep At The Wheel and Johnny Shine (Nicholas played on and produced the late Johnny Shine's last album with Snooky Pryor). Johnny Nicholas is without a doubt "The Real Deal" and every fan of Johnny will be thrilled to add this exceptional CD to their collection. Livin' With The Blues is sure to receive stellar reviews and will certainly be one of the top CD releases of 2005. © cdbaby.com, & © 1991-2006 TopCatRecords.com All right reserved

If you like "rootsy regional music", then you'll appreciate this album from the great Bluesman, Johnny Nicholas. Johnny described one of his albums as "regular, downhome music that has a good beat. It’s music for working people, but anybody can appreciate it". The same can be said for "Livin' With The Blues". It's basic blues, well played, and very enjoyable. It's also played for the pure love of the blues, and lacks any commercial frills. A great album with seven Johnny Nicholas originals, and covers of great blues standards, including Roosevelt Sykes' "You Can't Be Lucky All the Time" and Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee's "Livin' with the Blues". Buy Johnny's great "Rockin' My Blues To Sleep" album. You'll enjoy it!

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 Froggy Bottom Nicholas 4:22
2 Hill Top Nicholas 2:55
3 You Can't Be Lucky All the Time Sykes 5:10
4 I'll Be Around Burnet 4:18
5 Dirty People Nicholas 5:31
6 Teardrops on My Windowpane Nicholas 4:59
7 Livin' with the Blues McGhee, McGhee 4:00
8 Need Your Love So Bad Mertis 5:01
9 Honeydrippin' Baby Nicholas 3:49
10 Texas Drifter McLain 4:32
11 I'm from Texas Nicholas 5:27
12 Down in the Alley Nicholas 5:19

MAIN MUSICIANS

Johnny Nicholas - vocals, guitar
Ray Benson - guitar
Cindy Cashdollar - lap steel guitar
Greg Piccolo - tenor saxophone
Marcia Ball - vocals

BIO (Wikipedia)

Johnny Nicholas (b. 1948) is a blues musician. He was most noted for as being a member of the Grammy Award winning group Austin, Texas based Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel. Nicholas grew up in Rhode Island, where he formed his first band, The Vikings. The band performed cover songs of popular rhythm and blues hits of the time, along with songs by the Rolling Stones. In the mid-1960s, he formed the Black Cat Blues Band with Duke Robillard, Fran Christina and Steve Nardella. Around 1970, he formed the Boogie Brothers with Nardella. After attending the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1970, the band eventually moved on to San Francisco, California in 1972 pre-request of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. By 1974, Nicholas had moved to Chicago, Illinois and began playing with Big Walter Horton. During his time in Chicago, he would record music with Walter, Boogie Woogie Red and Robert Lockwood, Jr. In 1974, he created his own single, Too Many Bad Habits for Blind Pig Records. Moving back to Providence, Rhode Island, he formed his own band, Johnny Nicholas and the Rhythm Rockers, which included Kaz Kazanoff on saxophone, Terry Bingham on drums, Sarah Brown on bass guitar and Ronnie Earle on electric guitar. Nicholas began his stint with Asleep at the Wheel in 1978, when the band asked him to perform with them. During his off time, he would travel to various cities for solo shows, but would often visit Louisiana to play with Link Davis and Cajun accordion player Nathan Abshire. By 1980, however, Nicholas decided to take time off from music in order to raise a family. He was also noted as being fed up with the scene, stating "the whole thing got so reversed it became a parody of blues." Between 1981 and 1990, Nicholas and his new wife Brenda owned and managed a roadside restaurant (formally a gas station) called the Hill Top Café near Fredericksburg, Texas. After fathering three boys, Nicholas returned to recording blues music with Johnny Shines and Snooky Pryor on the album Back to the Country in 1991. Since then, he has released one studio album and three live albums on Topcat Records while also returning to regular live shows.



MORE ABOUT JOHNNY NICHOLAS

Although considered a Texas blues man, Johnny Nicholas actually honed his chops on around and about the Midwest, on the blues scenes of Providence, Detroit, and Chicago in the '60s. He was frontman for Ann Arbor's Boogie Brothers in the early '70s when this genre of music was as popular as could be in this music-loving college town. Then came the move to Texas, a state known for many styles of traditional music as well as blues. He dug right in, playing Cajun music with Link Davis and Western swing with the Grammy award winning Austin band Asleep at the Wheel. He also recorded with blues master Big Walter Horton in Chicago in 1977. In the next decade, he stepped down from the music business in order to raise a family. The couple opened a restaurant which did quite well, and Nicholas stayed away from the blues until the early '90s. He started out again slowly, bending the strings a little around home and on the festival circuit. Nicholas formed a group with some of his favorite musicians from San Antonio and Austin. In 1994, he cut the recording Thrill on the Hill for the Antone's label, followed by Rockin' My Blues to Sleep: Texas/Louisiana Blues and Dance Hall Favorites on Hilltop. © Eugene Chadbourne, allmusic.com

Cathy Lemons Blues Band




Cathy Lemons Blues Band - Dark Road - 1999 - Saloon

Cathy Lemons is one of the greatest white, young, blues female vocalists to hit the scene since Janis Joplin. She sings straight from the heart--and she sings with her own voice and style. When she sings a song--it becomes her story--about her life--and that is what the blues is all about! Dark Road offers five originals and 9 covers--blues classics played with spare style and taste. Accompanying her on this debut CD is her long-time partner Johnny Ace on bass, Steve Freund (Sunnyland Slim's guitarists for 10 years), David Maxwell (currently the pianist with James Cotton), Tommy Castro (the up and coming blues star from San Francisco) and Rusty Zinn (Kim Wilson's guitarist and WC Handy Award Winner) with drums played by Kevin Coggins. "Dark Road" is a exellent CD in the way that it blends strong Texas rythmic influences with Chicago-styled lead configurations! Hailed by critics from every major blues publication, Cathy Lemons is on her way to becoming one ! of the most well respected blues vocalists on the scene today! © amazon.com


If you're not aware of Cathy Lemons, then give this great album a listen. We can all rest assured that The Blues is in safe hands with this lady around. Cathy sings deep, soulful songs recorded live at the infamous Saloon, San Francisco, California. The album features brilliant blues guitarist Tommy Castro on a few tracks, as well as David Maxwell, Rusty Zinn, and Steve Freund, the great guitarist who backed Sunnyland Slim for over ten years. Cathy Lemons is another great blues lady who along with Rory Block, Maria Muldaur, and Mare Edstrom is doing immeasurable work in preserving the blues. Buy this album, and promote Cathy Lemons . It is pure class, and HR by A.O.O.F.C. Watch closely for other releases by this lady

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

"Rollin' And Tumblin'" - Muddy Waters
"Hard Headed Man" - Lemons
"Dirty Man" - Bobby Miller
"Let Me Be Good" - Ace, Lemons
"Worry Worry" - Jules Taub, Plumber Davis
"Sayin' It Plain" - Lemons
"Good Morning Little Schoolboy" - Level, Love
"Dark Road" - Lemons
"Lonesome Whistle Blues" - Moore, Teat, Toombs
"Takin' A Train" - Lemons
"I Need You So Bad" - Maghett
"Just Got To Know" - McCracklin
"Little By Little" - Junior Wells
"You Belong To Me" - Magic Sam

MUSICIANS

Cathy Lemons - Vocals
Rusty Zinn, Steve Freund, Tommy Castro - Guitars
Johnny Ace - Bass
David Maxwell - Piano
Kevin Coggins - Drums

REVIEWS

Cathy Lemons--she got it! Now that's the real blues! Funky! © John Lee Hooker


Lemons squeezes some fine work out of a stellar group of musicians ... but they can’t outshine Lemons soulful, knowing vocals. © Bill Kisliuk from Blues Access from January 2000 Issue

"The more you listen to this self-produced work the more you realize it is a very individualistic emotional approach." © DH from Vintage Guitar January 200 issue, Volume 14, No. 03

'"Dark Road’ .. shows Lemons to be a skillful and expressive singer in a wide variety of styles." © PRA from Living Blues, June 2000 issue, #150
“Dark Road” a burnished, scintillating disc--certainly one of the finest debuts from a contemporary female blues singer this year." © Hal horowitz from Blues Revue, Issue Number 52, November 1999

ABOUT CATHY LEMONS BLUES BAND / DARK ROAD

Chicago blues sung by a critically aclaimed female vocalist , backed by partner/band leader Johnny Ace on bass with guest guitarists Tommy Castro, Rusty Zinn, Steve Freund and brilliant pianist David Maxwell. Cathy Lemons and Johnny Ace's critically acclaimed CD "Dark Road" has won them some hard fought for recognition both as song writers and as soulful and expressive blues talents. BLUES REVUE hailed "Dark Road" as "a burnished, scintillating disc and certainly one of the finest debuts from a contemporary female blues singer this year." VINTAGE GUITAR says this of Lemons' vocal style: "She presents an almost classical quality to her voice. A dangerous approach to a tradition? You bet! But Lemons makes it work. The more you listen to this self-produced effort, the more you realize that it is a very individualistic emotional approach." And LIVING BLUES calls Lemons "a skillful and expressive singer" delivering blues "in a wide range of styles" from "dance-floor soul grooves" to "the occasional ballad." The quality of this CD is strengthened by an all-star line up of blues veterans that back up what Bill Kisliuk of Blues Access calls Lemons' "soulful, knowing vocals." Guest artist TOMMY CASTRO delivers his own firey brand of guitar licks on the Lemons/Ace penned funk "Let Me Be Good" and his wailing and intense solo work on the slow blues "Takin' a Train" (another original) can only be described as electrifying. RUSTY ZINN plays some raw Elmore James-style licks on another Lemons original "Hard Headed Man" and his "nasty tone and wild note bending" guitar work on the Junior Wells classic "Little By Little' leaves the listener wondering if this young "golden boy" might be from another time and generation of players. STEVE FREUND really shines as the master of many styles on this CD. Kisliuk writes that Freund "fills in the edges around the snowmelt slow 'Dirty Man' with restraint and aching beauty." DH of Vintage Guitar says that Freund's "Lockwood-style finesse in tone and articulation work perfectly" with Lemons' "delicate style." He plays with beauty and intensity on the title cut "Dark Road," creating a melancholic undertone, which builds as the song progresses. Freund's 20 years in the blues business has indeed made him an exquisite accompanist. DAVID MAXWELL is the pleasant surprise of this CD. His brilliant, jazz-influenced riffs on the Magic Sam classic "I Need You So Bad" create a richly textured rhythmic flow and his sinuous, Spann-like scales during his solo on the haunting "Worry, Worry" are rendered with magnificent feeling and precision. JOHNNNY ACE, Lemons' partner and session leader, makes contributions with both bass and back up vocals. Ace's style is simple and direct. He has an uncanny ability to follow Lemons in all her subtlety and zone in on just the right bass line to create a sexy, low-down groove. Ace becomes the very pulse, the very heart beat of the music. Nobody can play blues bass better than Johnny Ace. So, as Mark A. Cole says of "Dark Road" in his Big City Blues review, "This is an excellent CD in that it combines Texas-rhythm influences with Chicago lead configurations. Lemons vocal work is top of the line ... Definitely a winner! This CD has more talent and depth than you can imagine!" CATHY LEMONS - Cathy Lemons was raised in Dallas Texas-the home of many a blues great. In her early twenties she saw Anson Funderburg and Darryl Nulisch playing blues at a tiny little match box club called Poor David's Pub in Dallas and she became instantly inspired to sing the songs that to her told about life on the dark end of the street. Soon she was performing regularly in favorite Dallas blues clubs and sharing the stage with such luminaries of the eighties Texas blues scene as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Anson Funderburg, Mark Polluck and Robin Syler. She put together a band with David Watson--Anson Funderburg's X drummer --and later made a fine recording with Anson Funderburg and members of his band. In 1986 Cathy arrived on the Bay Area Blues scene and began working with talented harp player/singer Mark Hummel and guitarist extraordinaire Paris Slim. Cathy attracted the attention of Blues legend and star John Lee Hooker in 1988 and soon became the opening singer for Hooker's touring Coast to Coast Blues machine. In 1987, Lemons met bassist/vocalist Johnny Ace in a little North Beach club famous for its good times and great music-The Saloon. They became instant friends and played together in a band with San Francisco/Columbus, Ohio blues wiz David Workman for several years before they became a romantic and musical team. JOHNNY ACE - Johnny Ace (not to be confused with the late great R&B singer) hails from New York City and is one of the most respected bassist in the blues profession today. He ws awarded by Real Blues magazine "Best Blues bass player for West Coast" for 2000. Ace was given the nickname "Ace" by fellow musicians such as Paul Oscher and John Leslie--in their opinion he was number one. He never wanted to use the name out of respect for the original Johnny Ace, but as he says "somehow the name just stuck." Ace has worked with some of the great legendary figures in blues-Victoria Spivey, Otis Rush, John Lee Hooker, Eddie "Clean- head" Vinson, Lowell Fulson, Charlie Musslewhite and most recently Boz Scaggs. Not only is Johnny Ace an excellent bassist, but he is also a fine vocalist and band leader. He has a unique and charismatic stage presence with a sense of humor to match every inch of his effusive musical talent. The Cathy Lemons Johnny Ace Blues Band performs at San Francisco's premiere blues club Bisquits and Blues every Sunday with Danny Caron, who worked for ten years with the legendary Charles Brown and their long time drummer Rick Sanke. The band has also performed as an opening act for The Tommy Castro Band at Slims in San Francisco, CA and The Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, CA. They recently played The Redwood Coast's "Blues By The Bay" festival in Eureka, California and the Sacramento Heritage Festival. They perform regularly in the best Bay Area night clubs and will be touring the United States by the end of this year. © cdbaby.com

CATHY LEMONS - SHORT BIO

Cathy Lemons grew up in Dallas Texas. By the age of 23 she had already performed with Stevie Ray Vaughan and recorded with Anson Funderburgh. She arrived on the San Francisco blues scene in 1986 and worked with Paris Slim and Mark Hummell, and by 1987, she was touring with the great John Lee Hooker's Coast to Coast Blues Machine as his lead off singer. In 1995, she formed The Cathy Lemons Blues Band with her long time partner Johnny Ace on bass and recorded "Dark Road," earning critical praise. Johnny Ace, Cathy's bassist and band leader, has played with Otis Rush, Victoria Spivey, John Lee Hooker, Lowell Fulson, Roscoe Gordon, Charlie Musselwhite and many more--blues credibility to die for. His biting East Coast humor and charismatic stage presence is a perfect match to the beautiful Cathy Lemons' heartfelt, unpretentious vocal style. As a blues team they regularly perform with many of the finest guitarists in the business--Rusty Zinn, Steve Freund, Anthony! Paul --and in the best blues venues and festivals the blues scene has to offer. They currently play every Sunday night at Biscuits and Blues, San Francisco' s premier blues club, with Rick Sanke on drums and Danny Carron on guitar, who formerly played with the late, great Charles Brown for 10 years. © amazon.com

CATHY LEMONS BIO

Cathy Lemons was born August 13, 1958 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She would move 15 times before the age of 13 before settling in Dallas, TX. Some of her travels took her as a child to exotic places such as Entebbe, Uganda, East Africa and Kingston, Jamaica. In 1971, her mother finally settled down for good in Dallas, Texas. The South and Texas is known for its great blues talent--"it's a place of harsh extremes, a place of sudden change--even in the weather--where people tell it just like it is," says Cathy. "You have to be tough just to survive the Texas heat--110 degrees 6 to 7 months out of the year." Commenting on what the blue scene was like in Texas when she was growing up, she says, "It was a great place for blues . I had a chance to see many fine talents in their early stages of development like Anson Funderburg, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lou Anne Barton. The blues scene was very small--lots of great gossip--very few secrets. Texas players were more into what I consider to be real blues people--not a mish mash of rock and roll, no top 40 blues bands. No. The musicians I knew back then were studied blues artists. They knew their stuff--Magic Sam, Lowell Fulson, Freddie King, B.B. King, Little Walter, you name it-- and they knew it and loved it. In Dallas and the surrounding towns, there were not many clubs to play --and many of us were just struggling so hard to make a dime. So, Texas musicians tended to really stick together back then. There weren't too many free lance type players. You made a band--and you worked with only that band. I liked it that way. California players fail to see their greatest weakness--which is in my opinion, not enough knowledge of blues roots music and not enough respect for what a band is--when you work together as a whole for the greater good of that whole. If you let ego get in the way, the music somehow dies. Music is about giving." In her early twenties Cathy often sat in and sang with Anson Funderburge and Darryl Nulisch at a tiny, little match box club called Poor David's in Dallas. When she first heard blues played live, she knew that was what she wanted to do. in 1980, there were very few women singing blues in Dallas--very few. So, when Cathy started out , she was playing a man's game all the way. Cathy says, "When I first started singing blues--male musicians said I could never do it--they said I didn't have the voice or feel for it--that I should stick to folk or swing music which was what I had been singing. Somehow I knew that blues was for me, and I didn't listen to them. Blues hit me in my gut. I was drawn to the words and that sexy figure eight sound in the drums--reminds me of a woman's walk--hell blues is made for a woman. When I started out, I went out and bought every record I could find of the greats and I learned those songs. And then I went around and sat in and started getting jobs with bands. I will never forget this one bass player--Daryll Strehli--back in Dallas, who said I couldn't sing no blues. Well--I went to this club he was playing in a couple years after he hadn't seen or heard me sing--and I sat in and stole that show all night long. When it was over, Darryll came up to me and said he was dead wrong--and he apologized--said I sounded great! I shocked him--and it made me feel so good--like I had come full circle." Cathy says of her first blues band: "When I was 23 I tried out for a band called "Killer and the Show Cats"--it was a band filled with psychiatrists! I sang "Stormy Monday" and they loved it and hired me on the spot! They needed to replace their woman singer--Bobby who was more Holiday Inn than blues. Apparently she thought she was a stripper and a singer and was doing wild things during her performances! I guess the guys had had enough! Hilarious! I remember the drummer was a shrink and so was one of the lead guitar players. I still remember him doing the Chuck Berry duck walk--it was probably the worst duck walk ever done in history! His face would turn all white and he would stick his neck out and wiggle it back and forth. He looked like a sick duck all right--walking to the doctah! CALL THE DOCTAH! The bass player was Rene Martinez, a great guy who always encouraged me to sing. He used to say "Cathy you have a natural born talent." Rene also worked on Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitars and knew him quite. It was Rene and Pat, a commercial artist and the other lead guitarist in my band, that introduced me to Anson Funderburg and then Stevie Ray Vaughan. Rene Martinez played on the recording I made with Anson Funderburg a few years later. "Killer and the Show Cats" had a gig every Saturday night in Dallas, and I remember coming off that stage sweating from head to toe. I also remember Pat sometimes throwing me over his shoulder to get me out of the club and into a car. I used to wear these really, really, high heels and when I would drink too much, I would start to stagger. Those were wild days and I was young--what can I say--I was having a ball! I used to get all dressed up in glitter, satin and low cut velvet blouses. and just party it up. Sometimes we would go to El Taxco in this run down Spanish neighborhood in East Dallas and meet Anson and his boys there after gigs. We'd sit at one giant table and watch the Mexican gangsters roll in--all this at 4:00 in the morning! What a great time we all had!" By this time Cathy was now performing regularly in favorite Dallas blues clubs and sharing the stage with such luminaries of the '80's Texas blues scene as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Anson Funderburg, Mark Polluck , Robin Syler, and others. In 1983, She put together a band with David Watson, Anson Funderburge's x drummer and Doyle Bramhall's nephew (Doyle Bramhall was Stevie Ray Vaughan's mentor). Cathy with David's encouragement made a fine studio recording with Anson Funderburge on guitar (8 cuts), Robin Syler on guitar on 1 cut, Freddy Faro on drums, Doug Smith on piano and Rene Martinez on bass. There were 9 songs on that recording. Cathy was 24 years old and she sounded great! Cathy has a rebellious streak, and back then often explored the dark side of life-- ran with what could be termed a dangerous crowd--and eventually had to leave Texas--yes--with "sirens blazing." She struggled with a serious drug addiction off and on for many years--something that eventually led to what became insight and maturity. "When you are addicted to the serious stuff--you see things--the addiction takes you to places people don't usually go--and you learn about life in a very real way. A snap judgment on a person can mean life or death--one false step, and you can end up dead. I learned about human nature--and I learned not to judge a person's moral choices. We all just do the best we can in this life and deal out the hand we're dealt. In 1986 Cathy arrived on the Bay Area Blues scene and began working with harp player/singer Mark Hummell and blues guitarist extraordinaire Paris Slim. She even had a chance to open up and later hang out with for Paul Butterfield in 1987--a real interesting experience. During those years Cathy attracted the attention of Blues legend and star John Lee Hooker and soon became the opening singer for Hooker's touring Coast to Coast Blues Machine, performing along side some of the best blues men in the business: John Hammond, Elvin Bishop, Pine Tops Perkins, and of course John Lee Hooker, himself. Hooker was trying to get Cathy a record deal with Virgin Records at that time. She was working on songs that Hooker's friend and organ player Deacon Jones wrote. However, no real quality demo was ever made, and Virgin didn't bite the bait. "I over dubbed over Buddy Miles singing Deacon's songs, and all them songs were in the damn wrong key. Hooker was cheap---what can I say!" Cathy also says of John Lee Hooker: "I learned so much from him. When we were on the road I took care of him. He could not read or write, so I would help him order his food, read signs in the airport, hotels, stuff like that. He was very proud. Once I offered to teach him how to read, but he would have no part of that! John was very sharp,and he knew the value of a dollar--and man, could he count that money! He also believed in people. I remember he was the one who got Elvin Bishop with the Rosebud agency. He knew he was having a hard time, and he wanted to help get him back on track. A lot of times, I felt bad for John, though. Now that he is gone, I still feel bad. People were always trying to get something from him. He would let them hustle him--just out of love for the person. He'd look for the good not the bad. But I think it wears you down. John at heart was a sweet and kind person. He was always encouraging to me. He said "Cathy--you a rrr rolling stone." And lord, back in those days I sure was, staying in hotel rooms in the Tenderloin or at his home in Redwood City, struggling with my demons. The last time I spoke with John, I said, "Aren't you proud of me John? I come through allright and I'm still singing!" He said, :"I am proud of you--you come a la la long way, Cathy." And he meant it. To me he was one of the greatest blues singers that ever lived, and it was a great honor to have known him, may he rest in peace." Cathy Lemons eventually wanted to headline her own band. She knew she would have to take the harder road, so she pulled out of the Coast to Coast Blues Machine with John Lee Hooker and went back to live in San Francisco. She met with some hard times there but evenually met up with a very brilliant San Francisco based guitarist, Dave Workman who was originally a Columbus, Ohio blues star. Cathy says of Dave, "Oh he loved blues! He was very versatile and had played with many a blues great including Koko Taylor and Lonnie Mack. I played with him off and on for almost seven years and we really had a good sound. We made a couple of demos that I recently listened too, and they were really quite good." During the Lemons/Workman band years Cathy started to get her life together. She went back to school to study first at City College in 1990 and then San Francisco State University where she graduated magna cum laude in 1995 with a BA in English Literature. Her father, a retired English professor wanted her to try teaching at the university level, but Cathy just couldn't give up the music: "I loved the academic world and learning, but when I hadto make a career decision, I could not give up my music. That was around the time I started seeing Johnny Ace, my partner. Although I knew John since 1987, I always loved John as a person. We always had a wonderful connection. After I graduated from college, we teamed up in 1995 and started playing together regularly." Since 1995 Cathy Lemons with her fabulous bass playing partner Johnny Ace, have worked with some of the finest musicians on the scene: Paris Slim, Steve Freund, David Maxwell, Danny Carron (guitarist for Charles Brown), Rusty Zinn, Ron Thompson, Anthony Paule, Johnny Talbot (guitarist for Bobbie 'Blue' Bland) ... the list goes on. Cathy Lemons and Johnny Ace recorded their first album, "Dark Road" on The Saloon Recordings label in late 1999. The CD received fabulous reviews from every major blues magazine in the United States. They are working on new, original, blues-based songs now for a second CD. Currently, they perform at all of San Francisco's premiere blues clubs: Biscuits & Blues, Lou's, and The Saloon, plus some of the out of town blues spots such as Mojo's Lounge, JJ's San Jose, and others. Pierre Le Corre is their lead guitarist along with Artie "Stixs" Chavez on drums. The Cathy Lemons Johnny Ace Blues Band has performed at Slims in San Francisco and the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma. For festivals, they have performed at the Redwood Coast's "Blues By The Bay" in Eureka, California, The Sacramento Heritage Festival, the Metro Fountain Blues Festival in San Jose, the Stockton Blues Festival, the Rumsey Blues Festival, and most recently the Mission Veijo Jazz Fest, among many others. You will no doubt be hearing more from this sultry, soulful singer and her partner, JohnnyAce, a consumate show man in his own right. They are a great team, so be on the look out for their next CD! © www.lemonace.com/cathy.htm