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AMY CERVINI/Digging Me Digging You: Cervini digs Blossom Dearie, has the voice and attitude to pull off a tribute album and does so in fine fashion. With a load of first call downtown and Anzic label cats in tow, Cervini has way it takes to make you think twice about getting those English public domain cds of Dearie's catalog and go for the shiny new stuff that fills the bill just as well. Check it out.

LITTLE G WEEVIL/The Teaser: So, here we have white guy Weevil standing outside a tattoo shop with a sexy window. What do we have under the cover? How about a white guy that sounds like one of those ‘how how how how' blues men? How about a white guy that sounds like he fell in love with the sound of John Lee Hooker first hanging out with the hippies in 1970 when he could never get out of the blues alive? Not tribute, not homage, not rip off, not atavistic. Weevil loves his work. Plain and simple. If you weren't around 40 years ago, you'll dig this blues rocky set on it's own terms. If you were around, you'll smile and be glad they are making albums like they used to back in the day. This guy really has it on the ball, and a year from now when this is grabbing blues award nominations and awards and you're one of the few that knows about it, you'll see just how small the blues world has become and why it needs your support. Hot stuff.

DEBBIE BOND/Hearts Are Wild: A California girl that's lived all over the world but settled in the south, Bond has a real knack for replicating the Southern Soul show band sound and vibe. Even though she's been at this for a while, her voice and vibe remind of a young Bonnie Raitt who's sound had a whole lot of blues mama swagger even if she was only 21 and sounded like it. With red hair of a shade actually found in nature, Bond plants a flag, pitched a tent and does all those other things that indicate she's marked her territory. Fun stuff that's easy to take but as serious as a heart attack. Well done.

LEVEE TOWN/Pages of Paperwork: First class blues vocal group that leaves nothing to chance shows they are here to deliver the goods and then some. Brimming with hometown Kansas City verve, this is an sweet, update on northern migration blues with out the jack hammer beat pounding it out in the background. Surely a late night record that makes the empty hours less so, you don't have to be a blues fan to flip for this as it has a certain something that everyone can relate to. Killer stuff.

GREGORY PORTER/Be Good: This jazz vocalist knows how to maximize his chops for the marketplace as he's lassoed Brain Bacchus to produce the follow up to his Grammy nominated debut. Already totally revered in hipper Euro circles, this story telling singer goes for the wrap around session rather than the hit single with no bench strength behind it. A showy kind of date, Porter encourages you to sit back and enjoy one of the great sitting down jazz dates to come along in a while. A winner throughout.

TANIA MARIA/Tempo: Yep, it really was 30 years ago that people would confuse Maria with Teena Marie on paper. No confusion this time out as Maria is the one that's still alive. Living in France, she's got he Piaf/cabaret vibe down solidly as she faces off here with bassist, Eddie Gomez. Tightly focused but not claustrophobic, Maria sings for the grown up that knows the difference between JWB and quarter beer night. Fire up a smoke with your Dunhill lighter, sip your brown liquid slowly and listen to this pro understand your mind state, even if you don't know what she's singing.

CHURCH OF THE NEVER WRONG: Suppose you wandered into your fave Chicago folk bar around 40 years ago and would be told that most of everyone you came to see would gather again in the next century for a combination revival/AA meeting, would you have even known what anybody who told you this would be referring to? Pre-eminent Chicago folk trio, Sons of the Never Wrong, round up all your old pals for a set that leans heavily on Jesus and pulls no punches. Wronger Bruce Roper even sounds like Steve Goodman at his sardonic best, even vocally, at times. If you were there then, you can be there now, baggage and all, and still find the old fires are burning, even as everyone comes to grips with fates that were never envisioned (i.e. getting older and still being here). While it seems like it fit's the format, it colors outside the lines but never punches you in the face with religious messages. Existing very much in it's own time zone, this is a newly seminal work for contemporary folk fans.

Volume 35/Number 74
January 13, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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