Boz Scaggs NYCB Theatre at Westbury Westbury, NY August 3, 2014 Boz Scaggs first came to prominence as a member of the original and bluesier version of the Steve Miller Band. He secured a recording contract with Atlantic Records in 1968, exited the Steve Miller Band, and in 1969, he released an eponymously titled album. During the past forty-five years, he has recorded as a solo artist and as a member of the New York Rock And Soul Review (with Donald Fagen, Phoebe Snow and Michael McDonald). He has also toured as a solo act, ...read more
Pioneers of the Blues Revival Steve Cushing 400 Pages ISBN: # 978-0252038334 University of Illinois Press 2014 Pioneers of the Blues Revival documents the efforts of a quirky set of researchers who slowly pieced together a version of blues history and meaning. This dedicated cohort, despite their widely different backgrounds, somehow brought together the skill sets necessary to create a literature based on blues research. Some would say that in the process the reinvented the blues in their own image. Regardless, their work affected mass culture perception of blues. For many, this may ...read more
Cowboys and Indies: The Epic History of the Record Industry Gareth Murphy 400 Pages ISBN: # 978-1250043375 Thomas Dunn Books 2014 Revelations: I suppose you've come to see the future? If you wish to believe today's self-proclaimed experts, imagine a system of mobile devices through which music flows as a kind of utility, financed by a subscription similar to public television in Europe. Tomorrow's listeners will, they say, consume music like water..." Songs stored and played as computer files effectively antiqued music for delivery as discreet bundles of entertainment ...read more
Tedeschi Trucks Band Red Rocks Denver, CO July 25, 2014 Never underestimate the power of a cover. A cleverly selected and well executed cover tune can be like a firecracker with a too-short fuse, a shot of vodka when you expected water, a lightning bolt out of a clear, blue sky. The Tedeschi Trucks Band threw a lightning strike with its very first song Friday night, July 25, at Red Rocks, exhuming Traffic's Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring," a rather obscure but tasty tune from its earlier catalog. In a year when both Steve ...read more
Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78 rpm Records Amanda Petrusich 272 Pages ISBN: # 978-1451667059 Scribner 2014 The text for Jonathan Edwards' famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" was based on the Old Testament scripture of Deuteronomy 32:35: Their foot shall slide in due time." But, rather than referring to the Christian unconverted, this admonition applies equally well to those humans innocently taking ownership of a dusty and scratched 78 rpm 10-inch shellac disc from ...read more
Ronnie Earl first gained national attention in 1979 when he replaced Duke Robillard as the lead guitarist for Roomful Of Blues. After spending eight years as the main axeman in that group, Earl decided it was finally time to completely branch out on his own. Though Earl had released his first solo disc, Smokin', in 1983 and followed it with They Call Me Mr. Earl in 1984 (both on Black Top Records), it wasn't until 1987 that he decided to leave the band and his sideline job became his main gig as solo artist and bandleader in his own rite. ...read more
In three decades of professional writing, I don't think I've ever used the word twee." But I'm about to. Look it up. Dictionary.com says twee" means affectedly dainty or quaint." Put another way: Unnaturally cute. That's the celeste in jazz. It's cute and dainty and thoroughly unnatural. What's more, it's a mood killer. I can't understand why anyone would use it. You've heard the celeste, even if you don't know it. It sounds like a toy piano. That's the problem. It's about the most un-serious musical instrument I can think of, except maybe a ...read more
When the multi-talented Lucky Peterson sings of blues in his blood, it's not merely figurative boasting; Peterson's pedigree reads like a partial history of the music. Peterson was born into the blues, growing up in a home where his father--James Peterson--played guitar, sang, and passed on his gifts to his offspring. More importantly, the elder Peterson owned the Governor's Inn--a blues venue in Buffalo where Lucky Peterson soaked up the sounds of the legends who passed through town. The youngster came into contact with a good number of the greats, and many of them helped him on ...read more
Buddy Guy The Paramount Huntington, NY June 11, 2014 On a pleasant Wednesday evening in early June, following a bluesy and soulful acoustic set by opening act Matt Anderson, six time Grammy Award winner and Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame member Buddy Guy brought his unique brand of Chicago Blues to Huntington, NY's Paramount announcing his presence with a flourish. Appearing on stage at precisely 9:08 p.m., resplendent in white pants, his trademark white polka dot shirt and a white cabbie's cap, the 77-year-old bluesman opened with a blistering version of Damn Right I've ...read more
Redoubtable and self-motivated as ever Just shy of his eightieth birthday, John Mayall recorded an album with his current band late in 2013 that suggests in no uncertain terms he remains as potent a blues musician as the members of his group merely half his age. He titled A Special Life with the same knowing understatement he writes, plays and sings (and renders the cover art as well). That's not to say there's much profound in the material itself, but only that the longevity of the man known as the 'Godfather of British Blues' imparts a significance to ...read more
Boz Scaggs The Paramount Huntington, NY May 13, 2014 Boz Scaggs has been producing his own brand of R&B-flavored rock 'n' roll for almost fifty years. Though he recorded an album in 1965 called Boz (Polydor Records), his career didn't take off until he became a member of the original bluesier version of the Steve Miller Band. He exited after recording two albums and in 1969 released an eponymously titled album on Atlantic Records. For the past forty-five years he has recorded and toured as a solo artist and as a member of the New ...read more
A star-studded show celebrating the music of Bob Dylan, televised around the world thirty years after the release of his first Columbia recording, 1962's Bob Dylan, could have been seen as swan song; after all, Dylan was in a period of songwriting inactivity that would last from 1990 through to his potent reemergence with 1997's Time Out of Mind (Columbia) and a less prolific but still impressive period ever since. But at the time, nobody knew if Dylan the songwriter was finished. In fact, nobody even knew if Dylan was going to show up to his own party at New ...read more
Without a doubt, when it comes to blues music and its legacy,guitarist Robert Johnson is its preeminent performer and a key figure. For many, he is the greatest blues man of all time, certainly the most well regarded by modern popular culture. As such, his place in the vanguard of that pantheon has been secured. But his influence involves more than that and was never limited exclusively to blues, but touched all popular music, more so than any other blues figure. As a matter of fact, it was Johnson who laid the groundwork for the forthcoming rock and roll years, ...read more
Pouring old wine into new bottles has become a specialty of vocalist China Moses and Pianist/Arranger Raphael Lemonnier. Rejuvenating classics with a pint of spirited innovation is a landmark of the duet, who, for their first encounter revisited the best of Dinah Washington, This One's for Dinah. For their second collaboration they pay tribute to great dames of blues and soul, and reexamine how 'blues' can be so jazzy. As such, Crazy Blues is unchained and blurs the dividing line between blues and jazz. The powerful presence of Moses, as well as her vocal flexibility, combined with Lemmonier's ...read more
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