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DWANE DIXON/Betting on a Gambling Man: The Canadian blues rocking guitar man is coming on strong and stronger with his third set where he decides to cut close to the bone lyrically. A four on the floor, hard charging guitar slinger, this cat is a solid party animal that loves to see the good times rolling. Hot stuff for rocking party people.
(DDP 719)

WORKS FOR ME/Reach Within: Incubating another new jazz collective, the label gets some rising young lions to get personal in scope with a set that's more about what you can do off the clock than on the clock. With well used creative freedom at the wheel, this cats use their freedom wisely to turn in a date that isn't pretty music for the people but never rolls off the rails either. Chops abound and new heights are hit by all.
(Posi-Tone 8202)

MATTY T. WALL/Transpacific Blues V. 1: Yeah, they've got award winning guitar slinging white boys with the blues in Australia too. Here we find the leader of a power trio shredding his way through a bunch of classics that represent the basics with a boatload of guest stars to inflame this to heights frat boy blues could never match. Hard, hot and heavy, this is for real deal cats that know this classic sound can never be dated, especially in hands like this.
(Hipsterdumpster 19)

SUGAR BLUE/Colors: The Chicago harp slinger that parlayed west side smarts into a gig with Rolling Stones takes it back to his roots with Bo Diddley beats, call and response blues and loads of post war choogling that's high octane all the way. Never becoming a dusty history lesson even when it easily journeys through the past, this is smoking show in itself that could easily lent itself to a multimedia presentation. Masterful stuff from a well traveled master.
(Beeble 805)

BLACK CAT BONES/Tattered & Torn: Hard charging duel guitar rockers that comes from that part of the south where you aren't really sure of they're playing blues or rock. Regardless, they do keep the ball in the air. A nice, tight crew that delivers the goods handily and makes sure to get those fists pumping in the air.

JIM ROBERTS & the Resonants/Month of Sundays: A nice dose of roots/Americana from a slide guitar ace that knows how to get his crew to deliver a show. The kind of stuff that keeps you in your seat only because you don't want to miss a step, this return after two years out of the studio is a more than welcome return. Delightfully hot stuff that reminds you what the heartland is all about.

LOCAL TALENT/Higienopolis: Award winning hydra of a Canadian piano man shows off his solo side here indulging his jazz with an infusion of 90s nostalgia as well as angular and busy sounds. Clearly nu jazz for nu ears, this is a cat that refuses to be pinned down and keeps delivering surprises as often as your Amazon delivery man shows up. Leading the way for a nu generation of wild and wooly playing, he's located that magic spot where he can be out there without being abstruse. Fun stuff that opens the ears nicely.

ANNIE HASLAM/It Snows in Heaven Too: Haslam is one of those singers that could sing the phone book and register great acclaim. Here, we get an even better side of her as she deigns to let us spend the holidays with her. A tour de force performance on holiday music she loved in her youth, this is a high water mark for traditional Christmas music. Originally a limited pressing 20 years ago, this mass release is a great way for all of us to enjoy it. With this playing in the background, you could even put up with your drunk uncle at a family gathering.
(Esoteric 2703)

STRAWBS/Deep Cuts: Adapting to an arena rock sound after an acrimonious break up, their star was rising in the US while declining in Blighty and a mess ensued for these hard luck boys. Meanwhile, this set is largely the keys to their canon as they don't sound like sell outs while adapting to bar codes, sheds and other artifacts that gave the record biz a left turn in the nascent multi platinum age. The sound of English folk rock shooting for the stars, this set with added bonus tracks that help tell the whole story, deserved a much better fate than becoming a cult item.
(Esoteric 2702)

DAVE COUSINS/Two Weeks Last Summer: With more songs than Strawbs could record up his sleeve, Cousins went solo in the studio rather than wait around for the opportunity. Rounding up Jon Hiseman, Roger Glover and Rick Wakeman, this English folk rocker followed the path popular with his peers at the time, sowing the seeds for Goth to later come. Loaded with gloom and doom lyrics that would make a modern emo rocker jealous, the chops here easily elevate this beyond curio into a spot of it's own. Very much a product of it's time, you could easily out this on an ELP play list and not notice the difference.
(Esoteric 2701)

Volume 44/Number 43
December 13, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record

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