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Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials: The Big Sound of Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials

Read "The Big Sound of Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials" reviewed by Jim Trageser

For more than 25 years, Lil' Ed Williams and his three-piece Blues Imperials have been as rock-steady in their roster makeup as they have musically. Since the late 1980s, singer-guitarist Williams has been backed by Michael Garrett (second guitar), James “Pookie" Young (bass) and Kelly Littleton (drums). That kind of longevity in a band can lead in two directions: heightened understanding and interplay, or stagnation. On their new Alligator release, The Big Sound of Lil' Ed ...

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Blind Willie Johnson: God Don't Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson

Read "God Don't Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson" reviewed by James Nadal

As time moves on and the genuine bluesmen slip into historical archives, it is a cause for celebration when someone makes the effort to reconstruct the music of one of the true innovators in the blues genre. Produced by Jeffrey Gaskill, God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson, is a contemporary tribute to this seminal slide guitarist who was also unique in his imaginative vocal interpretations and compositions of gospel blues. Blind Willie Johnson (1897-1945) recorded thirty ...

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Tommy Castro & The Painkillers: Method to My Madness

Read "Method to My Madness" reviewed by Jim Trageser

Few have epitomized the workingman nature of the blues as much as Tommy Castro. A popular staple of blues festivals and cruises, and steadily in demand since he issued his debut in 1994, Castro nevertheless has always somewhat resided in the second tier of blues artists: Popular, well-liked, kept working steadily, but not considered one of the greats. And yet, even as he heads into his 60s, the Bay Area resident keeps growing, keeps pushing --continues to show ...

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Shemekia Copeland: Outskirts Of Love

Read "Outskirts Of Love" reviewed by James Nadal

The Blues. Much has been written about how it has influenced countless artists in a variety of genres, but few can claim to have been born into the blues. Blues singer Shemekia Copeland, as daughter of Texas bluesman Johnny Copeland, has this unique distinction, and has borne this trait with heartfelt integrity. Bequeathed with a dynamic and assertive voice, Outskirts Of Love is an affirmation that she has taken the blues into contemporary territory, while maintaining the raw emotion that ...

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J.J. Grey & Mofro: This River

Read "This River" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Swamp-rock doesn't come much more swampy or rocky than This River. JJ Grey's sixth studio album with Mofro is named for the St. John's River near Grey's childhood home (Jacksonville, Florida) and stewed in a pressure cooker stocked by Tony Joe White, Stax Records, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chess Records and other classic country blues and funk.Grey is a multi-faceted musician --a singer and songwriter who also plays (electric and acoustic) guitar, bass and harmonica--and so This River flows ...

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J.J. Grey & Mofro: This River

Read "This River" reviewed by Doug Collette

Over the last five years, under the tutelage of JJ Grey, Mofro has evolved from a compact little swamp-funk blues band into a full-fledged r&b unit legitimately paying homage to the legacy of its native South. This River continues the evolution in that direction, redolent with all the confidence and authority of its predecessors.The authenticity of “Somebody Else," for instance, is striking as its horns, supplied by saxophonist Art Edmiston and trumpeter Dennis Marion, alternately punch and sway ...

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Michael Burks: Show of Strength

Read "Show of Strength" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Michael “Iron Man" Burks grew up playing guitar. A quick study, he soon began leading the blues, rhythm and blues and soul house bands that backed O.V. Wright, Johnnie Taylor and other stars as they passed through the R&B circuit near his Arkansas hometown. Then, Burks put his own career aside for two decades to make sure his daughter had an attentive, responsive father.Burks resurfaced as a “40 year old newcomer" with his self-produced debut From the Inside ...


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