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DUNCAN STREET/Baptized by the Blues: This white boy duo with a few years under their belts have real southern blues in their souls. With years of paying the dues and getting the acclaim, they have gotten to the point where they can turn out all the magic on their own and create compelling originals as well. Back porch music that is anything but laid back, their hearts are in the roadhouse at the edge of town that was there before the malls moved in. Killer stuff that has the eclecticism and cojones to remind you why you first started digging music after your tastes left top 40.

JOHNNY CLEGG/Best, Live & Unplugged at the Baxter Theatre Cape Town: Still as feisty as when he was fronting integrated bands in apartheid South Africa, the world music vet with 40 years under his belt comes in with an omnibus look at the high spots of the past, present and future with an eye toward world music and world politics. It's always a gas when a vet shows no sign of slowing down or resting on his laurels and Clegg is rewriting the book on all that here. Hot stuff that you don't have to be a listener that needs music with a conscience to enjoy. This is world wide music for everyone. Well done.

JACKIE ALLEN/My Favorite Color: It's been a long enough while since we last heard form jazz thrush Allen and it's nice of her to come back into our orbit with a one for me record we can all enjoy. Loaded with things she wants to do and doing them her way, we get everything from Zawinul to Hendrix with some Bacharach and originals in between. Not exactly an off the clock/after hours set, this is a good to be alive set that shimmers, bubbles and spreads the good vibes from a bottomless well. A solid return of a real pro.

ELIAS HASLANGER/Live at the Gallery: Here we find a super sax player going back to his native Texas and tearing it up in the tradition of all the great Texas sax players of the past, even if this cat is a white boy. Loaded with double barrels of soul and funk, this is the kind of smoking, after hours date that makes converts out of sax novices. Simply a killer player that loves his work, and probably doesn't consider it work, this is a joyful ear opener that is as saxy as they come. Hot stuff.

KAVITA SHAH/Visions: Recording for Greg Osby's label, this world/jazz vocalist comes on strong right out of the box. With Osby's first call jazzbo pals lending a hand, we're witnessing the auspicious debut of a singer with boundless energy and boundless vision that has been waiting all her life to hit one out of the park like this. This is a fine slice of nu world music taken to the next level of the game and should be required listening for all armchair travelers. Killer stuff.

SUIT TY THURRSTY/People in the Street: A little blues, a little message, a big dose of what the 60s felt like when white boys formed integrated blues bands bringing the suburbs some authenticity. This set, recorded over the last decade, recalls all of that at once, and you can spot gray hair on one of the players so you know the old school cred is in the bag as well. A solid dose of old school, post war, west side Chicago blues as they migrated north to blues bars for frat boys that didn't want to go to Viet Nam, there's plenty of au currant references and moves to keep this from being a museum piece. Fun stuff for when you need some blues to chase the blues away.

THOM DOUVAN/Brother Brother: When a white boy form Detroit has music in his soul, you know it's only a matter of time before law school makes his eyes glaze over and he spends the rest of his misspent youth hanging with the waning days of the Funk Brothers and getting his blood reinvigorated. Lo these many years later, jazz guitar man Douvan gives back, corralling some of the remaining Detroit greats and serving up some tasty instrumental soul. Influenced by all the modern jazz guitar greats, Douvan is no manqué serving up what we've already tasted. Sassy stuff that's right in the pocket of all the wonderful old school instrumental records. Well done.

GAETANO LETIZIA & THE UNDERWORLD BLUES BAND/Voodoo Doll & Other Blues Lessons: Blues/rock, lite rock and roots meet up in Cleveland under the hand of guitarist Letizia who looks like he's got the years under his belt to appreciate them all and is enough of an entertainer to fuse it all into a nice thing people want to hear. A dandy, easy rolling record bottomed by real talent, he knows his ax inside and out in a relationship that has blossomed over 50 years. Tasty stuff sure to be appreciated by any listeners that don't need to follow fashion. Check it out.

JOE BECK/Get Me: There ain't no Jeff about it and it's undeniable that Joe Beck was one of the jazz guitar greats of modern times. Recorded shortly before his 2008 passing and playing like he knew the end was coming, just like late recordings by everyone from John Hurt to Lenny Breau, this is a gift from the great beyond that Beck left listeners. Recorded at a Berkeley jazz club laying out a set card that sounds like cocktail hour music, Beck brings the chestnuts to an open fire to really toast them nicely. This is a gorgeous capper to a career filled with nothing but high notes.

Volume 38/Number 166
April 15, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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