BIG JAY McNEELY/Blowin' Down the House: At 89, McNeely is one of the last r&b artifacts from the original era that still standing let alone still working. One of the great honking sax players, he was the proto Jimi Hendrix, doing all kinds of shenanigans and pyrotechnics to keep the listener riveted. One of Ralph Bass' original starting line up of pros, McNeely still knows how to turn it out 70 years later. This grandpa ain't no geezer, not if these tracks are evidence. If you want some R&B that's more than a history lesson, be sure to check this out.
JAMES MONTGOMERY BLUES BAND: It's easy for the casual listener to mistake Montgomery for an underachiever since he's been making killer records for 40 years that never seem to go as far as they should, and that would be your first mistake. A white boy with the blues from Boston, Montgomery, his crew and his well pedigreed pals turn it out big time on this tribute to Paul Butterfield that has more grit than Butterfield could ever find in the suburbs no matter how down and dirty he got out in the country. Raw, hard hitting and gritty, this non stop electric blues rouser hit's the target as hard and squarely as possible. A winner throughout.
IKE & TINA TURNER/Complete Pompeii Recordings 1968-69: Recording three albums in the time span they were also signed to Blue Thumb, the Turners were all about hard work because there wasn't any other choice. Rising from the hard scrabble chitlin circuit, the Turners early 60s hits had dried up but there were still a force with "Proud Mary" waiting in the wings on the horizon. Solid soul sides that had grits as well as guest vocals by The Chipmunks (you figure it out), this important puzzle piece in any hard core collector's discography will satisfy that sweet tooth that makes you hunt down those log out of print sides loaded with deep album tracks that you just gotta have. Recorded during one of the record business's last great whore house periods, the Turners were fighting the tide by showing up with raw, gritty and fully professional performances designed to rock the house and blow the roof off the sucker. If you aren't familiar with pre-Stones Turneralia, come and hear just what Ike, Tina and the Ikettes were serving up hot night after night. A welcome, killer collection that shows what was going on somewhere between Motown and Stax.
GEORGE CABLES/George Cables Songbook: This grandpa with no dust on him continues to make late career wonders for the label. Feeling almost like a chamber classical session, Cables takes the time here to delve into his own compositions as opposed to hot stuff he played on. Somewhat after hours, somewhat high toned, this is the sound of a master at the top of his game playing in a personal way that anyone can relate to. Ivories are rarely tickled so sweetly. Well done.
TERESA JAMES & the Rhythm Tramps/Bonafide: With this her 9th album, if you aren't familiar with this Houston bred, white blues belle, a) the bunch backing her up ought to close the deal for you without looking any farther than the blues pros on board, and b) it's your loss. Smoky, sexy and probably more woman than you can handle, this gal soaked up the blues from a million smoky juke joints on the wrong side of the tracks and knows how to make sure you know there's no place else to focus your attention. Hot stuff that's the definition of after hours.
GONG/Rejoice! I'm Dead: When a prog band can be sampled by djs, even if they were a cult band, you have to admire their universality. With a couple of prog vets stepping in the shoes of the late band's leader, it's clearly a Gong record for now that fans will be sure to welcome. In the Gong tradition but forward thinking at the same time, this is almost a commercial take on prog that's a wild ride from start to finish. A sure bet if you're jonesing for something new and different that won't lead you astray as it leads you to parts unknown.
STEVE HILLAGE/Searching for the Spark: Those Brits are currently delivering the over kill for the real fan. Much like UK's fatly stuff box set, this 22 disc career retrospective covers a bunch of solo sides with loads of unreleased concerts and more. Prog guitar fans and Gong fans are sure to be beside themselves with this motherload of riches, much of which is previously unexplored. Pretty much the John McLaughlin of prog rock, hang on to your hat if you want to step into this fun house of guitartistry. The pressing is limited to 2,500 copies so don't be shy is this is your thing.
MARK CRISSINGER/Night Light: This Canadian white boy with the blues has been plying his trade across Canada for so long you'd figure they'd be using him as a heat source by now. An accomplished pro at the kind of good time choogling blues that skilled folkies know how to do, this sound has been forged over reading audiences at a million shows and he knows how to channel it into fun entertainment. The kind of party album that's perfect for people that like to have fun with a drink or two without getting wasted, it's kind of a special treat to hear something mainstream that doesn't talk down to the audience. This is what smoking journeymen used to sound like when college coffeehouses would rock all night long.
MIKE LEDONNE & the Groover Quartet/That Feelin': Too much of a pro with too much music in his background, the B3 player that held a chair with Milt Jackson forever rounds up Eric Alexander and Vincent Herring to toot their various saxes behind him leaving you not caring if this is an organ date or a blowing date once the joyful noise starts rising. Utterly smoking, swinging stuff that will blow your mind, daddio. Well done.
REBECCA DUMAINE and the Dave Miller Trio with Friends/Happy Madness: The daddy/daughter vocal/piano team are at it again with another sweet set that finds Dumaine breathing new life into the obvious choices and making some smart deep track choices from the American songbook that she has a special way of making her own. A swing jazz vocalist that uses her actress skills to make the lyrics important and show she understands them, this is a real treat for the jazz vocal fan that likes thrushes that know just how to soar. Smoking, swinging stuff that works righteously throughout.
Volume 39/Number 339
October 7, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record
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