David Bromberg Band

The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues

Red House

bromberg2“The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues” is the best of David Bromberg’s four studio albums released since ending his 17-year recording hiatus 10 years ago — and also among his best ever.

His excellent previous three releases (2007’s solo acoustic “Try Me One More Time,” and the 2011 and 2013 band efforts “Use Me” and “Only Slightly Mad”) were just setting the stage for this superb compendium of standards and obscurities.

Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues” is fully electrified by Bromberg’s slide guitar and also features an ultrafine solo by second guitarist Mark Cosgrove.

Bromberg handles all solos — slide and otherwise — on the rest of the songs except for “Delia,” a guitar duet between Bromberg’s acoustic and producer Larry Campbell’s acoustic slide. The traditional song is reprised from Bromberg’s 1972 eponymous debut.

Other exceptionally noteworthy standards include Sonny Boy Williamson II’s “Eyesight to the Blind,” graced by Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne’s nimble fingers on the organ as well as a quick fiddle solo by Nate Grower; and “Yield Not to Temptation,” a Deadric Malone (aka Don Robey) composition that was a hit for Bobby “Blue” Bland but which, as pointed out by Bromberg in his liner notes, received an inspiring treatment by Tracy Nelson, Marcia Ball and Irma Thomas on their 1998 summit, “Sing It!”

In the Obscurities Department, a bone called “How Come My Dog Don’t Bark When You Come ‘Round?” has been dug up — rare because it’s not the Prince Patridge number that Dr. John covered to great effect. Many have recorded and taken credit for songs going by that or similar names, including Memphis Slim, Lorraine Ellison and even Buck Owens. Bromberg says he doesn’t know who wrote this one, but learned it from a lead sheet while considering songs for a ’70s album: “I think the album I was doing was “Reckless Abandon,” he told Good New Music by email.

Another obscure gem is the sexual-innuendo-laden “You’ve Been a Good Ole Wagon,” a Bessie Smith tune written by John Willie (aka “Shifty”) Henry, with Payne on piano, Grower on fiddle and Cosgrove on mandolin.

And then there’s the title song. “We thought that we’d finished recording the album,” Bromberg says in the liners, “which was already titled ‘The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues,’ when (manager) Mark McKenna found this song by Gary Nicholson and Russell Smith. Of course we had to go back to the studio and record it.” The song originally appeared on an album by Memphis R&B group Fish Heads & Rice in 1994.

Bromberg concludes “Blues” with two new original compositions: the humorous “This Month” (“The first time that woman left me — this month — I couldn’t even tell you why”) and “You Don’t Have to Go,” whose lyrics are a mashup of several Chicago blues numbers including “Sweet Home Chicago” and “The Sky Is Crying.”gnm_end_bug

Tracks
1. Walkin’ Blues
2. How Come My Dog Don’t Bark When You Come ’Round?
3. Kentucky Blues
4. Why Are People Like That?
5. A Fool For You
6. Eyesight To The Blind
7. 900 Miles
8. Yield Not To Temptation
9. You’ve Been A Good Ole Wagon
10. Delia
11. The Blues, The Whole Blues And Nothing But The Blues
12. This Month
13. You Don’t Have to Go

Total time: 57:42

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Hans Theessink and Terry Evans

Delta Time

Blue Groove

Dutch bluesman Hans Theessink’s laid-back baritone perfectly complements Mississippi-born Terry Evans’ gospel-informed tenor. In the same vein as their first collaboration (2008’s “Visions”), “Delta Time” is all voices and guitars (Theessink on acoustic, Evans on electric). Ry Cooder adds fretwork to three tracks, and Evans’ singing mates Willie Green Jr. and Arnold McCuller harmonize with Evans on five selections.

Theessink, with four decades of touring and recording under his belt, is finally starting to make a name for himself outside of Europe. Evans, before becoming a solo performer, was a session vocalist for countless artists (Eric Clapton, John Fogerty, Pops Staples, Boz Scaggs, Maria Muldaur) and formed a duo with Bobby King that appeared on several of Cooder’s finer albums.

Serendipitously, the National Association of Music Merchants convention was happening in nearby Anaheim while “Delta” was being recorded in Los Angeles, leading to the National Reso-Phonic Guitars and Deering Banjo companies loaning some of their instruments. Theessink had a field day overdubbing National guitar, National mandolin and Deering gutstring banjo.

Top-notch recording and mixing to tape by Andrew Bush at Grandma’s Warehouse further enhanced the front-porch vibe, and mastering by Gavin Lurssen put the icing on the cake.

Tracks
1. Delta Time
2. Blues Stay Away From Me
3. It Hurts Me Too
4. How Come People Act Like That
5. The Birds And The Bees
6. Build Myself A Home
7. Down In Mississippi
8. Shelter From The Storm
9. I Need Money
10. Heaven’s Airplane
11. Pouring Water On A Drowning Man
12. Honest I Do
13. Mississippi

Total time: 58:18

External links
Hans Theessink’s website
Terry Evans’ website
amazon.com
iTunes Store

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Ana Popovic

Unconditional

Eclecto Groove

For her sixth studio album (counting her 1998 debut as a member of Hush), Yugoslavian singer-songwriter-guitarist Popovic left her Amsterdam base for three months to descend on the Crescent City and craft her finest release.

With help from Grammy-winning producer John Porter, some of New Orleans’ best musicians and a vocal coach, Popovic takes her formidable blues-rock skills in more of a traditional blues direction while maintaining her jazz and soul propensities.

The core backup band consists of Jon Cleary on keyboards, Calvin Turner on bass and Doug Belote on drums. Louisiana great Sonny Landreth challenges her to a slide duel on “Slideshow,” the sole instrumental. Jason Ricci, a recent New Orleans transplant who’s among the vanguard of blues harp players, wails on “Count Me In.” Keys maestro David Torkanowsky, of jazz improv group Astral Project, replaces Cleary on two cover songs: the Nat Adderley standard “Work Song” and Koko Taylor’s “Voodoo Woman,” which holds what might be the record’s best slide solo.

“Unconditional” opens with an acoustic-slide gospel number, “Fearless Blues.” The title cut is a blues shuffle, containing yet another killer electric-slide solo. “Reset Rewind” again approaches gospel territory, throwing in a one-two keyboard punch of electric piano and organ. “Business as Usual” is blues all the way.

Other highlights are “Your Love Ain’t Real,” entering the realm of funk/R&B; and “Summer Rain,” which is pure R&B.

The set closes with two more covers: Mercy Dee Walton’s “One Room Country Shack” and Sugar Pie DeSanto’s big Chess hit, “Soulful Dress,” written by Maurice McAlister and Terry Vail.

Tracks
1. Fearless Blues
2. Count Me In
3. Unconditional
4. Reset Rewind
5. Slideshow
6. Business As Usual
7. Your Love Ain’t Real
8. Work Song
9. Summer Rain
10. Voodoo Woman
11. One Room Country Shack
12. Soulful Dress

Total time: 50:53

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amazon.com
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Elvis Presley

Elvis 75: Good Rockin’ Tonight

RCA/Legacy

PresleyThe King finally has a box set fit for a king. After years of such multidisc compilations as “I Believe — The Gospel Masters,” “The Complete ’68 Comeback Special,” “The Music of Elvis Presley — The 1950s,” “Elvis at the Movies” and “The Country Side of Elvis,” Legacy Recordings commemmorates what would have been the Mississippi Tupelo Flash’s 75th birthday with a career-spanning chronological sampler of 100 songs (incorporating the entire “30 #1 Hits” release) that keeps the singer’s forays in proportion to his artistic success.

An excellent perq to “Elvis 75 – Good Rockin’ Tonight” is the sessionography included in the 80-page booklet, which makes it possible to group tracks according to their respective guitarists, such as:

Original guitarist Scotty Moore. Beginning with the Sun single that gave birth to rockabilly, “That’s All Right,” Moore barnstormed through a 14-year parade of flat-out rockers including “Mystery Train,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog” and “All Shook Up.”

Hank Garland, quintessential Nashville studio guitarist. Garland got the call several times to come in for sessions from 1958 to 1961, when Presley was looking to expand his sound. It wasn’t long before Garland and Moore became a double-guitar team, exemplified by cuts such as “It’s Now or Never,” “Reconsider Baby” and “Little Sister.” Unfortunately, in 1961, a near-fatal car accident ended his career.

Southern soul guitarist Reggie Young. Before settling in Nashville, Young played in former Presley bassist Bill Black’s combo and then became house guitarist at Chips Moman’s American Studios, where the legendary single “Suspicious Minds” and the comeback LP “From Elvis in Memphis” were cut.

James Burton, “chicken pickin’ ” guitarist. The former Rick Nelson guitarist couldn’t play on the “Comeback” television special because of a prior commitment to Frank Sinatra, but a year later he agreed to assemble the Taking Care of Business band to play Vegas and ended up staying with Presley until the end. Some of The King’s best Americana is from this period, including versions of Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie,” Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away,” Joe Babcock’s “I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water,” Mickey Newbury’s “An American Trilogy” and James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues.”

Sprinkled throughout the box are performances by Jerry Reed, Grady Martin, Harold Bradley, Tommy Tedesco, Al Casey and others.gnm_end_bug

Tracks
DISC ONE (1953-57)
1. My Happiness
2. That’s All Right
3. Blue Moon Of Kentucky
4. Good Rockin’ Tonight
5. Baby Let’s Play House
6. Mystery Train
7. I Forgot To Remember To Forget
8. I Got A Woman
9. Heartbreak Hotel
10. I Was The One
11. Blue Suede Shoes
12. My Baby Left Me
13. One-Sided Love Affair
14. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)
15. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
16. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
17. Hound Dog
18. Don’t Be Cruel
19. Love Me Tender
20. Love Me
21. Paralyzed
22. Too Much
23. All Shook Up
24. Mean Woman Blues
25. (There’ll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)
26. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear
27. One Night
28. Jailhouse Rock
29. Treat Me Nice
30. Blue Christmas
31. Don’t

DISC TWO (1958-62)
1. Hard Headed Woman
2. Trouble
3. King Creole
4. Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
5. I Need Your Love Tonight
6. A Big Hunk O’ Love
7. (Now And Then There’s) A Fool Such As I
8. Stuck On You
9. A Mess Of Blues
10. It’s Now Or Never
11. Thrill Of Your Love
12. Such A Night
13. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
14. Reconsider Baby
15. Doin’ The Best I Can
16. Pocketful Of Rainbows
17. Surrender
18. Crying In The Chapel
19. I Feel So Bad
20. There’s Always Me
21. Judy
22. Can’t Help Falling In Love
23. (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame
24. Little Sister
25. Good Luck Charm
26. Suspicion
27. She’s Not You
28. Return To Sender

DISC THREE (1963-69)
1. Bossa Nova Baby
2. (You’re The) Devil In Disguise
3. (It’s A) Long Lonely Highway
4. I Need Somebody To Lean On
5. Viva Las Vegas
6. It Hurts Me
7. This Is My Heaven
8. Adam And Evil
9. How Great Thou Art
10. Tomorrow Is A Long Time
11. Guitar Man
12. Big Boss Man
13. Too Much Monkey Business
14. U.S. Male
15. If I Can Dream
16. Memories
17. Don’t Cry Daddy
18. In The Ghetto
19. Suspicious Minds
20. Stranger In My Own Home Town
21. Kentucky Rain
22. Only The Strong Survive

DISC FOUR (1970-77)
1. Polk Salad Annie (live)
2. The Fool
3. Funny How Time Slips Away
4. I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
5. I Just Can’t Help Believin’ (live)
6. I’m Leavin’
7. An American Trilogy (live)
8. Burning Love
9. Always On My Mind
10. Steamroller Blues (live)
11. Loving Arms
12. Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues
13. Promised Land
14. T-R-O-U-B-L-E
15. For The Heart
16. Hurt
17. Way Down
18. Unchained Melody (live)
19. A Little Less Conversation (JXL radio remix edit, 2002)

Total time: 4:35:03

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John Fogerty/The Blue Ridge Rangers

Rides Again

Fortunate Son/Verve Forecast

fogertyOn “Rides Again,” John Fogerty revisits the concept of his 1973 country covers LP, “The Blue Ridge Rangers” — this time minus the one-man band and with his name attached.

Opting to play acoustic guitar almost exclusively, he defers lead electric duties to the amazing Buddy Miller. The rest of the new Blue Ridge Rangers are Greg Leisz (steel guitar, mandolin, dobro, lap steel), Jason Mowery (dobro, mandolin, fiddle), Jay Bellarose (drums) and Dennis Crouch (bass). “Garden Party” and “When Will I Be Loved” have a different rhythm section (bassist Chris Chaney and drummer Kenny Aronoff), as well as a third guitarist (Hunter Perrin).

Whereas the first album contained classic and obscure country/folk/gospel tunes, “Rides Again” expands the range to include country-leaning songs by rock and pop artists.

An example is Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party,” easily the best track here. Nelson once covered “Almost Saturday Night,” and Fogerty’s reciprocation is made even sweeter by vocal assists from Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit, since it was Nelson who helped paved the way for the Eagles’ country-rock success.

Other rock and pop covers include Delaney & Bonnie’s “Never Ending Song of Love”; the Everly Brothers’ “When Will I Be Loved” (with Bruce Springsteen); “Moody River,” the Gary Bruce (aka Chase Webster) song that Pat Boone rode to No. 1 in 1961; and the disc’s second-best number, John Denver’s “Back Home Again” — a rendition so fine it carries the listener like a flying cloud.

Country-standard highlights include the Kendalls’ 1977 No. 1 hit, “Heaven’s Just a Sin Away”; and “Fallin’ Fallin’ Fallin’,” a Bud Deckelman hillbilly love song that Ray Price did well by.gnm_end_bug

Tracks
1. Paradise
2. Never Ending Song Of Love
3. Garden Party
4. I Don’t Care (Just As Long As You Love Me)
5. Back Home Again
6. I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)
7. Change In The Weather
8. Moody River
9. Heaven’s Just A Sin Away
10. Fallin’ Fallin’ Fallin’
11. Haunted House
12. When Will I Be Loved

Total time: 39:46

External links
artist’s website
amazon.com
iTunes Store

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