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Hard Bargain


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Hard Bargain - More Than You Bargained For - 2005 - The Bass Guy Records

Hard Bargain is a great band name and this energetic 12-song set is a straight up house Blues party combining originals with some well chosen covers. After the Southern swamp Funk/Rock intro (title track) and Ike Turner-like Rockin' Soul of "Ain't No Brakeman" the spirit of Stax permeates a portion of this record. From the stomping covers of Johnnie Taylor's "Who's Making Love", Clarence Carter's "Too Weak To Fight" to the new "If You Feel For Me", one of three songwriting contributions from Jon & Sally Tiven (whose credits include Little Milton, Wilson Pickett, Ellis Hooks, Sir Mack Rice). Horn & organ-laden backdrops, hard pumpin' rhythm and a little of that "new-guys-with-something-to-prove" hunger that creates added excitement. The Tivens provide two more standouts with the Jazzy "Birthday Blues" which manages to (inadvertently?) borrow from "On Broadway" and take it Deep South and the swampy "Sittin' On A Time Bomb". Showing his versatility singer "King Arthur" Canaday reaches down and pulls out a stirring Blues from ZZ Top's "Just Got Back From Baby's"; slowing the tempo and bringing out the drama. It even features an effective flute solo! (Rafik Cezanne). This is followed by two Canady originals including the cheeky "Pop This Pill", another not-so-subtle ode to Viagra. A fun track that opens with a funky guitar lick by founding band member Alan Grossinger that recalls (to me) the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back". Nice touch. The band particularly shines on this one (also including Michael Cohen, bass; Ron Duncan, drums; Dave Falcone, guitar; Bill Blend, keyboards; Eric Williams, trumpet & saxist "Mustang" Mike Corrado). These cats have good taste too for doing Graham Parker's should-be R & B classic "White Honey" (although Parker's gnarly pipes are better suited for this cut as opposed to plaintive "everyman" voice). I've read somewhere the "listen Mr. Alligator" lyric from the title cut was directed at Alligaor Records' founder Bruce Iglaur as if saying "we have arrived!" and that they have. *** ½ © Dylann DeAnna bluescritic.com

The voice of Hard Bargain's lead singer, Arthur "King Arthur" Canady's vocals have been compared to artists like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. His deep vocals are complemented by a tight band playing funky, dynamic soul blues and R&B grooves in the Muscle Shoals/Stax tradition. Great musicianship from a great band playing real "shake-your-money-maker" material. Buy Hard Bargain's great 2002 s/t album. The band's music can be purchased at iTunes, CD Baby, and many online sources

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1. More Than You Bargained For - Eric Williams, Michael Cohen
2. Ain't No Brakeman - Fontaine Brown
3. If You Feel For Me - Jon & Sally Tiven
4. Just Got Back From Baby's - Billy Gibbons
5. Pop This Pill - Arthur "King Arthur" Canady
6. Forget About It - Arthur "King Arthur" Canady
7. Who's Makin' Love - Homer Banks
8. Watchdog - Lonnie Brooks
9. Too Weak To Fight - Clarence Carter
10. Birthday Blues - Jon & Sally Tiven
11. White Honey - Graham Parker
12. Sittin' On A Time Bomb - Jon & Sally Tiven

MUSICIANS

Arthur "King Arthur" Canady - lead vocals
Bill Wright - lead guitar
Alan Grossinger - rhythm guitar, vocals
Dave Falcone - guitar
Michael Cohen - bass, vocals
Dennis Gilmour - keyboards
Bill Blend - keyboards
Ron Duncan - drums, vocals
Rafik Cezanne - tenor sax
Cal Payne - alto sax
"Mustang" Mike Corrado - sax
Eric Williams - trumpet

ABOUT HARD BARGAIN / ALBUM

Hard Bargain has been a solid blues band, they are a local favorite available for gigs and parties. Twice they were a 6th place runner-up for our Battle of The Bands competition. Rarely does a real R & B band come up with something original to say. Michael Cohen, producer and bassist, obviously sold himself to the devil to make this recording. Opening with the title tune "More Than You Bargained For" co-written by Eric Williams, and Michael Cohen they set the tone for an impressive set. The sub-title and lyric "Listen Mr. Alligator" is aimed at none other than Bruce Iglauer of Alligator Records as they try to tell him that they've arrived; and they have. "Ain't No Brakeman", written by Fontaine Brown was included on John Mayall's "Spinning Coin" album released back in 1995 and Hard Bargain does a great version here. What follows is the first of three Jon and Sally Tiven authored tunes. John and Sally Tiven have produced and co-written with Wilson Pickett, Little Milton, and Ellis Hooks. Well Jon and Sally wrote these never released songs that appear here, but that seems to be the extent of their involvement. "If You Feel For Me" should be chosen for airplay, it's that good. The horn arrangement and Arthur Canady's vocal are both outstanding. "Just Got Back From Baby's" is from ZZ Top. "Pop This Pill" is sub-titled the Viagra song, and it is damn right serious. Vocalist Arthur Canady wrote and sings this tribute song; he exceeds his range so to speak. This is another song that should receive a lot of "play". "Forget About It" is the other Arthur Canady original. "Who's Making Love?" is the Homer Banks classic that was a hit for Johnny Taylor. "Watch Dog" is an old Lonnie Brooks tune. "Too Weak To Fight" comes from Clarence Carter. "Birthday Blues" is another of the Jon and Sally Tiven authored songs, and the smoky, murky horn arrangements are perfect. "White Honey" comes from Graham Parker. "Sittin On A Time Bomb", is the third Jon and Sally Tiven authored tune and last on the album. It is a "topical" song. Hard Bargain consists of Arthur Canady, lead vocals; Alan Grossinger, rhythm guitar; Michael Cohen, bass; Ron Duncan, drums; Rafik Cezanne, tenor saxophone; Dave Falcone, lead and slide guitars; Eric Williams, trumpet and horn arrangements; Bill Blend, keyboards; and Mike Corrado, alto saxophone. This is without a doubt the most improved local band I've heard this year and I believe this album should get them some attention and a bunch of gigs. Hard Bargain is much "More Than You Bargained For". More information on them is available at their website www.hardbargainblues.com. Be sure to catch them at Kenny's Castaways 157 Bleecker St, Greenwich Village on Friday January 13th, 2006 © Richard Ludmerer, Director, The New York Blues & Jazz Society http://www.nybluesandjazz.org/index.htm

BIO

Hard Bargain has been performing a wide range of blues and soul, with the fat R&B grooves of the ‘60s and beyond. The band is now featuring powerful and soulful lead singer Billy Valentin. The band's music includes covers, remakes and some originals, with material from such artists as Bobby Bland, Freddie King, Little Milton, Johnnie Taylor, Rufus Thomas and other blues and soul originators, as well as modern blues artists like Coco Montoya, Tommy Castro and Taj Mahal. The group began in the mid '90s as Natural Causes, founded by guitarist Alan Grossinger. Next came Arthur Canady on lead vocals; then new millenium brought the addition of bassist Michael Cohen and saxophonist Rafik Cezanne. In 2000, the name was changed to Hard Bargain. Ron Duncan joined on drums and vocals a few years later making the band the most powerful soul band around. Eric Williams is trumpeter extraordinaire and manages horn chart duties. In 2009 HB welcomed Billy Valentine as new lead singer and guitarist, with Rich Paganello on keyboards, and "Jersey Dave" Falcone still kickin it on slide guitar like nobody's business! Today, Hard Bargain is a soul powerhouse, described by industry fans as “the real deal," and one of NYC's finest R&B bands. Hard Bargain has been active on the New York music scene for over 11 years, performing at the Bitter End, Kenny's Castaways, Le Bar Bat, The Roxy, the famous Cotton Club, Stanhope House and many other venues throughout the NY-NJ area. In 2002, after releasing their debut CD, Hard Bargain played for a packed Blues 2000&2 Festival in the Catskills. The band released their second CD in early 2006. Since then, the group has played north and south of the Mason-Dixon, and continues wowing audiences in the Northeast. The debut CD has sold in 20 countries and across the U.S., and is still available at CD Baby and iTunes. Hard Bargain’s release, “More Than You Bargained For,” includes new originals by the group as well as Grammy nominees Jon & Sally Tiven, who have written and produced for Robert Cray, B.B. King, and the late Little Milton and Wilson Pickett. Hard Bargain music is available at CD Baby, iTunes and most ther online sources. © http://thebassguy.com/bandbio.html

5 comments:

KODRA said...

File is deleted!!!!Why?!!Can you fix it?

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

There's an explanation of why files are deleted @ http://neopixeos.
weebly.com/about
-aoofc.html

I'll re-up the album within 3 days

Cheers!

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

LINK

p/w if needed is aoofc

thebassguy said...

Hi it's thebassguy from Hard Bargain!

Love to update you on what the band's been up to; still goin strong and workin on a 3rd big release, with vocalist $5 Bill Valentine!

http://hardbargainblues.com

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

Hi,BG. Good news! Hope it's as good as your other stuff. Thanks for info & rock on!