Winter 2018

Doug Collette By

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Blues Deluxe is a regular column comprised of pithy takes on recent blues and roots-music releases of note. It spotlights titles in those genres that might otherwise go unnoticed under the cultural radar.

Logan Magness
Memphis On My Mind
Wolf River Records

The core four musicians on Logan Magness' album move right in stride with each other as they sing and play, thereby elevating the natural flow of the original material that fills this album. The ensemble has an easygoing gait, but there's a definite sense of this ease as the hard won result of distilling the author's West Coast experiences prior to the return home referenced in the album's title. Josh Yenne's steel guitar, like Scott Foreman's organ, maintains the continuity of this music, bridging country and blues in a contemporary fashion that still preserves the link to those root genres. Yet, as tunes such as "Thin Red Line" so strongly suggest, it is with his songs that Logan Magness forges that stable connection.

Sue Foley
The Ice Queen
Stony Plain Records

Produced by a principal of Jimmie Vaughan's Trio, keyboardist Mike Flanigan, the Canadian blues chanteuse manages to combine the sultry—her voice—and the guttural—her guitar—then make those two qualities complementary with her sly, insouciant attitude. Not surprisingly, Flanigan's Hammond B3 organ is prominent in the mix, but he never distracts from Foley herself, and neither do such name players as drummers Chris Layton (Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble) and George Rains (Doug Sahm and Boz Scaggs) or guitarists Jimmie Vaughan (Fabulous Thunderbirds) and Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top). And while Sue doesn't belie the name of this album, even on its title song, the solo cuts near the close end the record on beguiling notes indeed.

Mud Morganfield
They Call Me Mud
Severn Records

Larry "Mud" Morganfield is the oldest son of Muddy Waters and bears a striking resemblance to his father both vocally and physically. So it only makes sense that among these twelve tracks, he includes at least one tune authored by his iconic father: "Can't Get No Grindin.'" It should come as no surprise either that this music is as burly as the man himself, but like his silken voice, his nimble bass-playing belies his girth as much as his unself-conscious approach liberates him from his lineage. He is courageous to be sure—as he sings in the title song, "the blues is my birthright"—but it is Mud's humility that allows his long roster of collaborators to participate in the session with all the joie de vivre he himself displays. Listen the horns and harmonica pirouette around each other on "48 Days."

Patrick Coman
Tree of Life

The presence of bonafide bluesman Peter Parcek here nurtures the mood as much as the methodology, insuring the atmosphere crystallizes and retains an almost tactile sensation on tracks as spooky as "Heartbeat" as well as the high-stepping likes of "Don't Reach." And it's that fundamental immediacy that renders so much of this record as accessible as "Trouble #2." Co-producer (with engineer Marco Giovino) Parcek's lead guitar on that track draws the listener even closer than the sly lead voice of Coman accompanied by the cooing of Abbie Barrett and Kylie Harris. Coman might well allow the mysterious side of his persona to even more fully dominate his work. As portrayed so vividly on the title track, the mysterious approach sounds more natural than the upbeat demeanor for which Coman (too) often strains on this album.

Robben Ford
Made To Last
Sweetwater Studios

A handful of tracks recorded with a quintet in the heartland studios are a bit antiseptic, as befits the guitarist's longstanding career as a session-musician, but Ford's guitar-playing displays a vicious edge when it combines Jeff Coffin's sax work and Nick D'Virgilio's drums. Two slightly different quintets appear on the album, and each exhibits a grasp of the earthy nature of the blues. Both quintet's approaches mesh nicely with Ford's own, a crucial element of which is the humor he injects into "Automobile Blues." It does no disservice to Ford's vocals to declare the instrumental track "The Champion" the pinnacle of Made To Last. Even more so than the previous four numbers, this closing cut whets the appetite for a full-length outing comprised of more of the same.

Tracks and Personnel

Memphis On My Mind

Tracks: Don't Leave Me Alone; True Love; Bed of Nails; On Certain Days; Melt Like Wax; Thin Red Line; Someplace Else; Another Leaving Song; Thanks For Choosing Heartbreak; Lorna; Memphis On My Mind

Personnel: Logan Magness: vocals; acoustic guitar, harmonica; Tommy P: guitars, piano, organ; Scott Foreman: organ; Josh Yenne: steel guitar; Amanda Salguero: vocals, bass; Cole Bailey: drums.

The Ice Queen

Tracks: Come To Me; 8; Run; The Ice Queen; The Lucky Ones; Gaslight; Fool's Gold; If I Have Forsaken You; Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair; Death of a Dream; The Dance; Cannonball Blues.

Personnel: Sue Foley: vocal and guitar; Jimmie Vaughan: vocal and guitar; Billy F Gibbons: vocals and harmonica; Charlie Sexton: guitar; Mike Flanigin: organ; Billy Horton: upright bass; George Rains: drums. .

They Call Me Mud

Tracks: They Call Me Mud; 48 Days; Cheatin' Is Cheatin'; Who's Fooling Who?; Howling Wolf; 24 Hours; Who Loves You; Oh Yeah; Can't Get No Grindin'; Rough Around the Edge; Walkin' Cane; Mud's Groove.

Personnel: Mud Morganfield: vocals; bass; Rick Kreher: guitar, backing vocals; Billy Flynn: guitar, backing vocals; Mike Wheeler: guitar; Studebaker John: harmonica, backing vocals; Sumito Ariyo Ariyoshi: piano, backing vocals; Anne Harris: violin; Phil Perkins: trumpet; Michael Jackson: sax; Billy Branch: harmonica; E.G. McDaniel: bass, backing vocals; Melvin "Pookie Stix" Carlisle: drums, backing vocals; Bryant "T" Parker: percussion; Lashunda Williams: vocals.

Tree of Life

Tracks: Heartbeat; Don't Reach; Trouble #2; The Judge; 9-5ers; Tree of Life; Rock When I Roll; Dirty Old Bedbug Blues; Chelsea Street; Magic Mirror; Keep My Soul; Let It Ring.

Personnel: Patrick Coman: vocals, rhythm guitar; Peter Parcek: lead guitar; Neal Pawley: guitar, lap steel, baritone, tuba, trombone, mandolin; Tom West: organ, keyboard; Lorne Entress: synth;Marco Giovino -drums & percussion; Joe Klompus: bass; Abbie Barrett: vocals; Kylie Harris: vocals.

Made to Last

Tracks: Good Times; Crazy For My Baby; Somebody's Fool; Automobile Blues; The Champion.

Personnel: Robben Ford: guitar, vocals; Casey Wasner: guitar; Jeff Coffin: saxophone; Dave Martin: bass; Brian Allen: bass; Wes Little: drums; Nick D'Virgilio: drums

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