JOHNNY BURGIN/Live: You wanna be overly politically correct and call this cultural appropriation? Go away. Burgin might be a white boy with the blues but he's doing all he can to keep the real post war stuff alive and breathing. With several decades and a ton of miles under his belt, this live set that is really a high wire act in that the songs are original and the players are skilled cats that don't often play together. Through all that, it sounds well oiled and cohesive. The gone greats are alive and well in Burgin.
BREEZY RODIO/If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It: Screw the zeitgeist. How can you call music from the true vine like this dated? Combining James Brown show pyrotechnics and Otis Day and the Knights down home soul, often in the same song, this is killer stuff throughout. With a vibe and energy that just doesn't quit, this is a&r the old fashioned way, he's the guitarist in another, already established label act. This is a guitar slinger that will win in any shoot out. Killer stuff.
DEAVE SPECTER/Blues From the Inside Out: In which we find that this old dog has 35 years under his belt but he's still up for learning new tricks. One of the Chicago way's staunchest defenders, he's opened his lens to take in other scenes and sounds, cooking them all up into a mighty stew where the flavors compliment and never clash. Letting time and tide roll the waves organically, this is a white boy with the blues that never let them get appropriated by the Limeys to sell them back to us. Well done throughout.
GRANT DERMODY/My Dony: What a deceptively simple cat we have here. Back in the hippie days, you'd probably see this cat in the campus coffee shop singing about how he's got the blues because he paid his dues. You didn't think it was too profound then either. But that was then. A singing harmonica player that keeps it real and keeps it down home, he serves up something that sounds like he did to amuse himself while catching his breath after escaping Maggie's farm. Killer Louisiana stuff from a time before genre splicing became the norm, any real music fan will drop their jaw in amazement here. Killer stuff throughout.
CRYS MATTHEWS/These Old Hands: If you think you know Matthews, this set shows you don't. While her songs have always been personal, given where she's at during that time, this set is long on real personal stuff that takes all the external influences away and leaves the soul. A nu Americana record that sets new standards, this is a monumental bag breaker set that opens the ears mightily.
(New Song 1902)
SI KAHN/Best of the Rest: This fatly tracked sampler culled from the recent 5 cd box set of his European recordings finds Kahn at 75 still full of piss and vinegar knowing how to present it in a way that's never strident or preachy. An American songwriting treasure that's more Pete Seeger than John Prine, especially vocally, it's smart to accept the invitation to celebrate with him and really take care of your folkie, singer/songwriter sweet tooth. A solid set that really makes you wan tot dig in and have it all.
(Strictly Country 82)
SUE DECKER/Outskirts of Love: If somebody wants to pop for the Ancestry.com fee, I think we have the proof here that Ry Cooder and Lucinda Williams once hooked up. Singing/writing/playing talent like this has to be as much genetic as it is God given. An organic record that's so much more, Decker is a mind blowing talent that has this under the radar vibe that makes you think you're the only one that knows about her since she's making this music just for you. Simply not to be missed.
POLLY NILES/Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind: It's no surprise this lost 50 year old session sounds so right on today. On the cover, she looks like a Puritan waif even though she had been married to Ramblin' Jack Elliott and was featured in "Superfly". That's talent that adds up to some serous showmanship. While at the mercy of the producer and his whims, Niles shines through making this previously unreleased set stand as tall as the early 70s schmatta queen records that have survived without turning into parody. Draining at the vaults for all they are worth, this set expands her original album to a two record set that feeds the great digital garage sale with everything it's got. A real find for the hard core music geek that's long heard about this record but came to doubt it's existence or quality.
TRISTAN ISRAEL/Out Into the Midnight: Nice surprises certainly keep things fun. Normally we get records from lawyers and doctors on busmen's holidays--here we get a politician that's moving on after a long career in the trenches. Helped out by a brother who's played with Joe Bonamassa, Norah Jones and Iggy Pop(?), Israel comes across as a Jimmy Buffet type good time Charlie except he sings about vibes from the north Atlantic, not the south. If you live someplace where summer isn't a year round thing, he's the perfect cat to go with your summer drinks. Fun stuff that must have been bubbling under for a long time because it's never less than authentic.
CHELSEA McBRIDE'S SOCIALIST NIGHT SCHOOL/Aftermath: Using jazz big band as a vehicle for social protest, McBride puts her name front and center on this second set by the crew probably in an attempt to defect blowback from moldy figs inured to the status quo. This record ain't for them anyway. Steeped in the kind of chops that make this music so engaging and engrossing, sometimes you just have to open your ears to the nu and the new. A wondrous talent whose rise is still just barely out of the gate, this is a supreme talent to keep on ear on. It's that good.
RUDY ADRIAN/Woodlands: Suppose Eno didn't have the kind of name you could keep trading on at the major label level and had to sign with North Sound. This is the kind of ambient nature music we could probably have expected as a result. With nature inspiring an inspired New Zealand botanist, Adrian isn't afraid to explore some of the darker sides of nature veering away from airier sides of the new age takes on this. An ambient record with many moods, a little this, a little smoke...
(Spotted Peccary 2603)
YELLOWSTONE season 2: This delightfully violent modern western rolls in and out of season two with guns blazing and extras for all. Tight and taut, this ten episode season about the travails of protecting the family ranch and legacy find Kevin Costner enlarging the small screen with his big screen presence making him feel present throughout. The cast is up to matching him step for step and somebody beat me to the quote this is "the Godfather on a ranch". High faluting action and drama, plus the extras, will make the real fan pop for this after they've already popped for it on cable. A real furtherance of the new golden age of television.
Volume 43/Number 356
October 22, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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