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NATALIA M. KING/Bluezzin T'il Dawn: Something we can be grateful to the Euros for is they love the classic black ladies like the Billies, the Sarahs and the Ninas and don't scoff at youngbloods that want to pick up the ball and run with it. The Euros are championing this young lass that has the old soul vibe and lets it fly in a set of mostly originals that ends with a Fred Neil classic. This gal is the bomb! Blues/soul vocals with accompaniment to match, this record starts by making the hair on the back of your neck stand up and gets mightier from their out. Killer stuff you don't have to be a genre fan to get, what you do have to do is get it. Records like this don't come around that often. Hot stuff.

AL ATKINS/Reloaded: A veritable greatest hits set of sorts from the original Judas Priest vocalist that had to leave the band prior to them nabbing a record deal to support his family. I'd have ditched the family, but that's why we admire him. Writing and recording these tracks for various projects over the last 40 years, he sounds nothing like a geezer and serves up all that metal he's had stored within for the last two generations. Pure headbang throughout, at the very least, this is a totem for the hipper than thou headbanger. Hot and heavy with no stone left unturned.

SPIRITS BURNING & CLEARLIGHT/Roadmap in Your Head: As we stop for a moment today to note the passing of Greg Lake, prog heads everywhere will cast their gaze in the direction of this prog super group made up of Hawkwind, Gong and Clearlight members along with other prog and hard rockers making up the 35 cats participating on this ambient, space rock joint. A fine set for prog heads to mellow out with, this is meant to be the sound of one day turning into the next. Even Steve Reich heads will get it. Check it out.

DERRICK PROCELL/Why I Choose to Sing the Blues: Here's an interesting anomaly of a record. A Chicago based Americana cat decides it time to give into his love of traditional Chicago blues and debut his blues album. A growler of a vocalist, he enlists other like minded cats to really round up a crew of killer, original generation cats to make an authentic sounding set that doesn't even smack of being done by white boy with the blues. Taking it back to the corner where Butterfield and his bunch met the west side, this is a smoking set that's totally from the heart with loads of Chess loving moves that work. A fine set throughout.

MATT VENUTI/Rhythm of Life: A feast of ambient grooves and touchy feely lyrics, Venuti comes across like a self styled, modern day Rumi which is interesting as his day job finds him kind of far a field from Rumitism. From San Francisco it came and sure to resonate in touchy feely circles, seeker music is alive and well.

STEVIE J BLUES/Back 2 Blues: The cover pic on this cd shows blues cats from Robert Johnson to Jimi Hendrix. While he does tip the cap to the panoply of the masters of the past, Blues's blues are more of a modern mash up variety that includes soul and Curtis Mayfield vibes as much as anything. A solid dose of modern blues for modern times where cotton fields have been replaced urban man's inhumanity to man, this is a fine combination of message and music. A new genus of blues not co-opted white boys is on tap here in fine style. Check it out.

PETER KATER/Resonance: 30 years in and Kater is innovating once again. With his keyboards at the core and very little electronics on the side, he looks within and finds music that reaches him where he is now and is sure to reach you whether you are a long time fan or a newbie. One of the grand practitioners of contemporary, instrumental music, his no fat, cliché free approach to his music always keeps your ears open, ready and receptive. Another in his series of solid works, this is one of those all encompassing releases that could serve as one of the soundtracks to your life. Well done.

RANDY McALLISTER/Fistful of Gumption: An east Texas blues rocker that's yet to play a false note in 30 years of picking them, this high octane set that is loaded with no holds barred moves and is just the thing needed to energize an all night boomer party. Heavy duty stuff that rocks as hard as his debut did, this is pure pizazz for party people that like the heat on high. Well done.

EIGHT O'FIVE JIVE/Swing Set: Remember the swing revival? These cats do but knowing they couldn't improve on the originals by doing them again, this bunch set out to craft a bunch of new tunes in the old school vibe and they hit the target so hard they tore up the whole bulls eye poster. Swinging speak easy music that's so infectious you'll be running to Google to make sure these are originals and not chestnuts you missed. With as much sly humor as chops in all the songs, this is one solid, note perfect collection that will blow your ears wide open whether you are into these sounds or not. Certainly top shelf throughout.

MINOR MOON/What Our Enemies Know: Almost like a sinister sounding Cat Stevens, this project of Sam Cantor and his move to Chicago mixes the atmospheric sound of folkies past with modern cats like Jeff Tweedy in a generation skipping set that younger tastes will enjoy when kicking back at the end of the day on their first real job. If John Martyn were starting out today...

BOB BELAND/Left of Center: A delightfully nutty record from an LA songwriting cat that's been at it 40 years, rubbing elbows with high fliers all the while. When the pressure is off to write a hit and you get the luxury of making a one-for-me record that you invite in anyone who wants to enjoy, this is what you get. Coming on here like a devil may care Randy Newman, this is outsider music for outsiders that don't mind hanging out in the parking lot. Wild.

Volume 40/Number 38
December 8, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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