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CRAIG HARTLEY/Books on Tape Vol. 2 Standard Edition: The jazz piano man and his trio are back with a new set that tips the cap to standards he's loved. Putting his own stamp on the classic and covers, he finds nu music in Ellington and McCartney making this a dandy listening adventure giving new life to chestnuts you'd thought you heard enough of. Not for those looking to ride in the mainstream laminar flow, this is a real treat for the open eared ready to color outside the lines. Check it out.

HOLLY HYATT & JON BURDEN/Shufflin' the Blues: Yeah, another band with a chick bass player---the difference here is that this is a folk/blues duo that sounds like they had access to Geoff and Maria Muldaur's demos after they left Kweskin's band to go off on their own. Tasty old school college coffeehouse stuff with feel and verve that avoids all the folk duo clichés and bowls you over with his heart and Hyatt's free wheeling whaling when called for. A sure bet for folk fans, it's charming, deceptive simplicity is a lesson all comers could learn from. Hot stuff.

JAMES ‘BUDDY' ROGERS/By My Side: When white boys in west Canada get the blues, some sound like the got them on the west side of Chicago. And they get nominated for every award in sight when they really get those guitar slinging blues. Coming at you directly from an after hours, jumping jook joint, Rogers has been at it for decades and sounds like he's learned a new lesson in the blues every day of them. You know Butterfield and his gang is smiling down on this one, and there isn't a harp in earshot, just bloooooze! Check it out.

MATT BUTLER/Reckless Son: Ok, I'm flummoxed. These are the times we're living in. If Butler didn't put together such a killer folk/roots album, I'd have a fusillade of snark I could unload about this actually being his 12 step recovery program set to music. Probably engaging because it's not self indulgent and loaded with poor me lyrics, Butler not only nails it but he comes across like an anti-Kristofferson or anti-Cash without an ounce of self righteous preaching. Are you cynical and jaded? You need to give this a spin. Well done throughout and released in time for Recovery Month.

TILTED AXES/Music for Mobile Electric Guitars: It might lose a little impact without the visuals, but this crew is a marching band made up of guitarists with amps strapped to their hips. Here we get to encounter them in one place and it seems fitting that a lot of them have some kind of affiliation with King Crimson as this is right up the alley of the typical Crim/Fripp fan. Prog to the max, leader Patrick Grant even has two co-writes here with Fripp. And you wondered what was going on in Fripp land beyond Tony Levin! Wild stuff.

RAY OBIEDO/Latin Jazz Project Vol. 1: The guitarist that brought the caliente to Windham Hill is going off on his merry way with his merry band of hit men serving up fun Latin jazz that is neither too ethnic or too gringo centric. Just a tasty outing of Bay area jazz that sounds like summer and good times, everybody on board here brings their A game and makes it all sound so easy. A winning date that just wants to bring out the good times and succeeds mightily.

SI CRANSTON/Old School: With the fake Living Stereo cover leading the way, you know you're in for a retro time here as England's King of Olde let's loose with rockabilly and R&B madness that chases the blues away even as he's playing amped up blues. A generously stacked party platter that keeps things hopping well into the night, this set sends out good vibes for kats and kitties of all ages looking to forget about everything from finals to over due mortgage payments. Fun stuff that delivers throughout.

LAURENCE JONES/Take Me High: When the cat that gave you Eric Clapton brushes aside retirement to bring you a cat who's so hot and so young that he won Young Artist of the Year two years running in the British Blues Awards, you better pay attention. Youth and chops merge so mightily here that it almost sounds like it time to send out the word that the second coming of guitar slinging British blues is here. Rising to the challenge, Jones impresses throughout and the result is a killer. The smoke here is just a cover for the fire underneath. This is a white boy that's owning the blues. Check it out.

NO ONE MIND: The problem with all these dopey bands that are ‘influenced by' is that they don't do anything new with those influences. This crew is influenced by Velvet Underground as well as, say, Stereolab. They then add their own special sauce. Coming up with a sunshine murk sound where darkness and light are interwoven---now we're getting somewhere. Somewhere punters ought to pay attention to. Madness rock of the kind that encourages you to break on through to the other side, this is the sound of raging teen hormones on fire to escape bland suburbs. Wild stuff throughout.

JAY WILLIE BLUES BAND/Hell on Wheels: Maturing into a top notch roots band with blues/R&B leanings, Willie's gang like to tear it up party style with a solid groove and winning attitude leading the way. Stretching back for some hand jive and Teeny Hodges served up right next to some smoking originals, this bunch of white boys from CT with the blues record with the kind of feel that makes you want to see them live. One smoking good time.

Volume 39/Number 305
September 2, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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