BARBARA BLUE/Fish in Dirty H2O: You know how sometimes you're just not in the mood for these singers that make the "Star Spangled Banner" take longer to sing than it does to play the game it precedes? If you do, Blue is a blues singer for you. While she's no stranger to belting and wailing, she doesn't do it just to get more screen time, she uses it judiciously in service to the song. With Jim Gaines successfully playing Wexler to her Franklin, this Queen of Beale Street rolls with a vocal vibe that hits you somewhere between B.B. King and Muddy Waters with a breath of fresh air that hits you like a breeze out of tornado alley. This is a solid dose of traditional blues vocals on originals just the way you want it. Killer stuff throughout.
(Big Blue 18)
DENNIS HERRERA/You Stole My Heart: What makes this white boy with the blues different from the rest of the pack is it seems like he's the only one that's heard of stuff like rent parties where the music is closer to rollicking R&B than it is to hardships in the cotton fields. While he does have his share of lyrics that look at things from life's other side, they don't wallow in it as the barroom piano and Texas honking sax chase the gloom away. Fun stuff for fun times for fun people.
ROBERT E. PERSON/Classic Covers: What's really going to get you about this vocalist showing off his jazzy side on an album that takes a journey through the past is the liner notes that lead off with "Dear past, I'm grateful for your lessons". Seriously, it's hard to top that. But top that he does with his music. Punching these chestnuts up to the point that there's even a Supreme doing background vocals, this is one of those non essentials that surfaces as a sweet treat nonetheless. It's easy to point to this and say there's a party going on.
TESLA QUARTET/Haydn, Ravel, Stravinsky: If you're someone that would like to get into classical music but gets intimidated by those who stroke their chins while waxing rhapsodic about pizzicato arpeggio glissandos in descending D minor leaving you to stare and go ‘huh?', this string quartet feels your pain and wants to invite you into their tent. While they have what it takes to soothe the moldy fig's savage breast, they also have what it takes to get you to sink back in a comfy chair and let their music wash over you---even when they pick works by composers not known for comfy canons. Making their recording debut after a decade together, hopefully they got free cars for putting the auto maker's name in such a fine light. Well done.
Number 41/Number 291
August 18, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record
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