Today was a mixed blues day, I started by going to the Roots Music Report and looking at the Blues chart. A couple of musicians with new albums stood out one I knew Coco Montoya and the other not so much, one of those artist, where I know the name not the music, Guitar Shorty. So I downloaded both the albums and started the day with Coco Montoya’s new CD I Want it All Back. I first heard Coco Montoya’s guitar on John Mayall’s album Chicago Line, which is an outstanding album and Montoya’s guitar playing is one of the reasons. Since then I’ve picked up a couple of his albums, generally, I like his guitar playing more than his vocals and on first listen that is the way I feel about this album. Generally, the songs are just ok, not really all that straight up blues but more rhythm and blues. One of the tracks stood out because it was a more straight blues number “Fannie Mae”, was one of the few tracks with some nice blues harp in it and it is my favorite track. You know there’s jazz and then there’s smooth jazz on first listen this album is smooth blues! But again, I do like Coco’s guitar work! Overall it’s like a 3 out of 5 for me.
Now the second album, Bare Knuckle by Guitar Shorty (aka David Kearney) is a blues album! Any album that starts with the artist singing: “Please, Mr. President, lay some stimulus on me, cause I’m just a working man trying to feed my family” is singing the blues! The album goes on from there to deal with normal blues song topics like leaving your woman because it’s “Too Hard to Love You”, because all you want is money and I can’t make enough money for you, or cheating in the song “True Lies”, which is my favorite track! Overall Guitar Shorty’s voice is a great blues voice and his guitar work is great! Overall for me this is a 4 to 4.5 out of 5.
I ended the morning listening to several cuts off of a Little Walter collection of his best work. I liked what I heard and will go back and listen to more of his blues harmonica!
After lunch I listened to another great album by a second generation blues man Bernard Allison, son of blues great Luther Allison. Now I had picked up one of Bernard’s albums Across the Water (his 2000 release), several years ago and I gave it a few listens and wasn’t really that impressed, then one day a year or so ago I downloaded the live album Kentucky Fried Blues and became a Bernard Allison fan! This is a great live blues album recorded at the W.C. Handy Festival, Henderson, Kentucky in 1999 (hence the name of the album). Some of the best tracks on this album include a version of Luther’s song “Bad Love” that is as they say “knock your socks off” good! Not only is Bernard’s guitar work great but there’s some great keyboard work by Mike Vlahakis. On other tracks like “”Life’s a Bitch” again from father Luther the horn section Trevor Newman on trumpet and Richard Martinez on trombone shine. Another great track is Buddy Guy’s “Leave My Girl Alone” where Bernard pays homage to two of his idols Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King. Again Mike Vlahakis piano work is great. Overall this is a favorite album of mine and rates a 4.5+ for the total package! So if you never heard Bernard Allison and don’t know where top start this is the place!!
I ended the day with a quick listen to Bernard’s 2007 release Chills and Thrills but I didn’t get a real good listen so there’s no rating yet but I look forward to listening again.
Here’s Bernard with a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child”