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TOMMY DARDAR/Big Daddy Gumbo: With the entire Braunagel/Schell musical family on board, you don't need to know any more about this set than to crack open the plastic wrap ASAP. A rollicking white boy with a case of the swamp blues and a crew that knows how to play anything on board, this is a killer adult party on a platter. A sure bet to let the good times roll, this is a disc loaded with good vibes that just don't quit. A winner throughout.

MUSIC ACTION COLLECTIVE/What if: They might sound like millennials from a clueless commercial made by suits trying to appeal to the youngsters, but they aren't. They might have a malcontent or two among their membership but these kids have chops to spare and they know how to deploy them in forward thinking fashion that's to be taken seriously. A tomorrow kind of set, this is hot stuff that's probably a year to two a head of it's time but it's ready now for anyone ready for it. Check it out.

JEMAL RAMIREZ/African Skies: A Bay area educator that jealously guards his after school hours to keep them free to follow his muse as a high octane drummer shows why major acts like to rub elbows with him. Jumping jazz that comes right down the middle but is anything but vanilla, he knows the tradition and he's up for charting the future. Smoking stuff from a cat with real passion.

KARNEY/No Mercy: This hard rocking woman who music/politics mix is just right for #metoo times makes no bones about delivering a message with her music. Even revisiting some moves from the past along the way, you can hear this playing at rallies even before they begin. Hard hitting stuff for hard hitting times. Yep, she's come a long way from making video game soundtracks.

DAN BLOCK/Block Party; A delightful sax led date by a family centered band that doesn't think straight ahead is a bad concept. Easy going, easy to take, this is several cuts above dinner music even if you can picture these sounds coming from the corner of your fave eatery. A great way to spend an hour, you just don't have to change the world every time out.

ENOCH SMITH JR/To Houston With Love: Proving that just because you're a New Yorker doesn't mean you don't care about the tempest tossed in Houston, Smith makes a soulful charity record to aid the displaced. Loaded with heart and soul, this is how you do well by doing good. And he brings the church to the fore. Well done throughout.

LULLAPOP LULLABIES: Today's hits with the sugar taken to so you don't make your kids overly hyper when you play them this set of kid sized versions of today's hits. And being cast as lullabies, that'll add up to at least one less glass of wine mom will have to work off later.

ALEXANDRA JACKSON/Legacy & Alchemy: You can play this samba/funk record to get a load of what's going on or you can Google it to see what's going on in the grooves and how you'd better get in the groove. Loaded with the final performances by too many jazzbos, this caliente set of south of the equator sounds is a most delightful mind blower. Settle in and have a gas with this gasser.

EVA SALINA & PETER STAN/Sudbina: Anybody out there know who Vida Pavlovic was? Hmm, didn't think so. She was the Yugoslavian queen diva of smoky bars and back alley music joints, reigning with the kind of passion Marlene Dietrich would have if she wasn't such an ice queen. We don't know if Salina is nailing it or not but on this vocal/accordion set, the duo sounds like something you would have heard in back alley clubs away from where either the Hot Club or Piazolla were holding court. A delightful indigenous ethnic set that doesn't need more than these two carrying on to make it's point, if you aren't versed in Roma sounds, this is fine jumping in point, especially for the armchair traveler looking for new kicks.

MIKE MONTREY BAND/John Street: A vet rocker that located the sweet spot where Petty meets Springsteen, Montrey and his pedigreed rock crew deliver that kind of under the radar performance that blows you away. Hot and hard charging, this is commercial rock without being commercial. Fans of music with some meat on it's bones with love chewing in this.

Volume 41/Number 116
February 24, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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