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MATT BAXTER & JAKE SAMPSON/Haunted: Here's a change up for you, two old pals that think they're Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee. And they pull it off. A driving vocalist and a guitarist that matches the vocalist move for move know their way around the delta and Piedmont but manage to navigate the landscape without affectation. They just do what they do. A shining example of cats that can play and swing for the fences but aren't worried about fitting the format or having mass market hits. If you're willing to take that dusty, back road detour, this is the place to do it. Killer stuff and just about the whole record is just these two doing their thing.

LISA BIALES/I'm Singing in My Soul: If Maria Muldaur hadn't lost her Warner Brothers mojo at the end of the 70s, this sounds like the album she would have recorded next. A high water mark for records that fly high under the radar, Biales replaces the Woodstock all stars with a blues band from Paris and struts vocals a little smoother than Muldaur's, but other than that, the song list, the vibe---it all could have come from Muldaur's first two solo albums. Not that we say this as a complaint, mind you. A sassy, white girl that respects the past enough to keep it in tact while bringing it forward, this is what you need to turn the drive home after work into a trip to the saloon you always wanted to hangout at. Check it out.

MIGHTY MOJO PROPHETS/Flyin' Home From Memphis: Anybody under 30 that's getting their blues at blues bars in good neighborhoods probably doesn't know the difference between west coast, Chicago, Memphis, and other kinds of blues other than delta and Piedmont (the ones with the most bitching). So, it really makes no never mind that this crew is genre hopping within the genre kicking out a sum total that makes them sound like a first rate chitlin circuit show band. Maximizing the heat that came with their auspicious debut, this sophomore set shows they know how to kick it. They serve up another first class blues romp that keeps the joint jumping.

JOHN PRIMER & BOB CORRITORE/Knockin' Around These Blues: Back in the day, Primer was on stage and Corritore was in the audience with Primer inspiring Corritore to live the life of a bluesman. Many years and changes later, the two are finally recording together in a set of purist, south side Chicago blues. It's certainly atavistic but with the cats playing from the heart backing a cat that was part of the original scene, it all works and it all cooks. In the pocket and in the tradition, this is a solid set of blooz what am. Check it out.

MIKE ELDRED TRIO/Elvis Unleaded: An interesting career move for this member of the Stray Cat extended family and his Blaster pals. After two sets that had him flying like a bat out of hell right into the faces of cats that really know the wheat from the chaff, he's going for the jugular with a fatly tracked set of Elvis classics. With the Elvis tribute/impersonator world such a big industry, the purists won't have a problem with Eldred and his pals shaking it up as they shake the tree. The big question will be whether or not the punky children of the original punks will glom onto the 50s retro iconography to raise this flag one more time or will they ignore it as their form of rebellion. On musicality alone, the kids would be nuts to pass it by. The real tribute here is to the trio as the acquit their judgment with every hip-hep note that issues forth. Hot stuff throughout and you already know the terrain.

RON DZIUBLA/Nasty Habit: We've certainly riffed rhapsodic about the crème of the crop whorehouse piano players in these missives over time, but make no mistake, we love stripper jazz just as much. Dziubla loves stripper jazz just as much a we do. We also like records with a cover girl that has their ass hanging out and songs with names like "Bordello" Apparently so do cats like Pete Curry and James Intveld who dropped by to lend some hands as well. With only a few welcome journeys through the past on board, the set is mostly originals that take you right back to the leopard print covered banquettes in smoky 50s b-girl netherworlds far away from the rumpus rooms of the era. The places like Don Draper would have no problem with saying things like "Hey, baby, how about a quick suck?" Killer stuff that makes you think about where cats like King Curtis really learned their moves. Check it out.

BROWN BIRD/Fits of Reason: Holy Modal Rounders did a song about dying and going to hell. My mother heard it, didn't pay close attention to the lyrics and thought it was pretty toe tapping music. This set of pomo electrified acoustic blues might be the greatest freek folk to come along since then. A killer record that colors way outside the lines and is sure to be a dividing line between white kids that think blues belongs in frat houses and white kids that are open to anything, this is blues, but it also has roots pulled from world beat and lyrics inspired by Dante. And that's just the two opening tracks. Well past weird for the sake of weird and hipster for the sake of hipster, this utterly cool fusion of just about everything will fuck you up as well as a dozen chronics. The lo-fi babe and the Unibomber simply know how to deliver. If you're proud of your outsider tastes and lean toward organic sounds including blues, old timey etc, you have to check this out pronto.

CASSIE TAYLOR/Out of My Mind: On the road since she was 16, at the ripe old age of 26, this blues princess is planting her own flag and staking her own turf. With the sound and fury of an all out, back in the day arena rocker, she mixes music with a message and songs from the heart into a powerful program that can't help but blow up big. Whether solo or in various groupings, Taylor has been building an impressive discography, but if this record was really made with the proceeds of her husband selling his car, she's learned how to scale gargantuan heights will very little underpinning. With a multi culti set of influences in the mix giving it that extra helping of special sauce, Taylor proves herself to be a force of nature to be reckoned with. Hot stuff that has Tina Turner's classic balm of nice n easy/nice n rough at it's core.

Volume 37/Number 157
April 7, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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