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JEREMIAH JOHNSON/Heavens to Betsy: A white boy that knows well how to be a shredding blues rocker decides to take it to the next level and bring songs to the riffs letting them light sparks off each other. Not satisfied to make a set where you can fill in your own blanks, he put in the time so that all you have to do is sit back and enjoy his celebration of all things that made southern rock such a hallmark sound of the 70s. This is a return to how the greats did it.
(Ruf 1277)

TAS CRU/Drive On: This high flying white boy with the blues ups his game by delivering more of a show band sound that is fueled by high octane moves designed to make the night get partied away. Solidly smoking throughout, this decorated ax man is going to keep the awards coming as he keeps the choogling coming as well. Fun stuff that uses the blues to chase the blues away. Well done.
(Subcat 00120)

MANTECA/Augmented Indifference: So here's some funky futurists that have been at it 41 years, copped a Juno and still manage to heat up the frozen North with their view of world jazz that seems limitless. Collecting moves from the past and the future and fusing them into their own version of fusion, this is easily a nu take on jazz as party music--the way the cats in long ago Nawlins originally envisioned it. Space station party music done right.

ALBARE/Plays Jobim: Albare and his compadres play up such a storm on the master that this record feels almost as filled out as the symphonic Jobim sets even though it's a small combo kicking it out. Bringing something new to the Jobim party, you know all the songs inside out, but you don't know them like this---with loads of new pepper and caliente. Not at all easy listening but a store house of great grooves, the guitar in the lead only tells part of the story. A solid bet for world jazz/Jobim fans looking for something that can't miss.
(Alfi 122019)

PURNA LOKA ENSEMBLE/Metaraga: Loka's cover shot makes it look like he's hanging out with Jerry Garcia and Johnny Cash, and in some weird way, this set of improvs based on classical Indian music sounds like he's made it so you hear hippie grooves smacking into hillbilly/Celtic riffs. Not at all what you'd expect if someone told you to check out this Indian music/world set, interesting nu moves are stretching into all corners of the world making exciting new fusions that have yet to be named.
A real gasser sure to tickle open eared fancies, this is must listening to those whose tastes color outside the lines. Well done.
(Origin 82794)

SID WHELAN/Waitin' for Payday: An acolyte of Steve Earle and Woody Mann as well as a compatriot of players and accomplices that are well more than chopped liver, Whelan takes it back to his roots for a roots date that mixes all the stripes of Americana that you can mix together without the whole thing turning gray. A cat that isn't afraid to lead with his heart and soul keeps his things as real and edgy as cats like Eddie Murphy or John Belushi did in their genres. Real stuff that really works.

SHUFFLE DEMONS/Crazy Time: There's more than white boys with the blues in Canada, there's white boys that are keepers of the funk. Keeping things burning on high for almost 30 years and grabbing all due recognition along the way, the only message here is to free your mind so you ass will follow. Kicking it out in fine form right from the start, this is a fine example of it being as good as it gets.
(Stubby 1703)

TERRY OHMS/Cold Cold Shoulder: You might hear dream/psych here but we hear someone shape shifting his way into old school Bowie. Well suited to any nu malcontent ears, there's something here for all of them to get into and dig.
(Cornelius Chapel 47)

WILD RABBIT SALAD/Trouble in Town: One of the great under the radar Americana duos returns shining yet a little brighter than the last go round with a magic that makes even the somber sound celebratory. Mixing southern rock and classical chops, this duo is expert at finding the sweet spot where to all works in ways you wouldn't believe. Even finding the bridge between Hank and Townes, it could only have gestated in Texas. Killer stuff.

VIRGINIA SCHENCK/Battle Cry: If this jazz/cabaret singer sings like a malcontent, she comes by it naturally as her grandmother was protesting for women to get the right to vote while pregnant with Schenck's mother. Actually something of a protest record, this Atlanta based singer uses lesson learned from her vocal mentors to seduce and instruct, often at the same time. Well off the beaten path but a sure bet for anyone ready to sit back an enjoy a performance, the creativity on parade here is a real non stop outpouring---and none of it done for the purpose of being precious.
(Airborne Ecstasy 1114)

Volume 44/Number 76
January 15, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record

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