blues Archive

Before the (so-called) Beginning: Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Then Play On’ at 40

In 1969, eight years before a later lineup of the band began its reign as kings and queens of slick, corporate-approved FM radio soft rock, Fleetwood Mac was still a boundary-pushing blues band. Launched a little more than a year before that, the group was originally known as Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, a tacit acknowledgment

The Marcus King Band: All in the Family

Though he’s a mere 23 years old, Greenville, S.C.-born guitarist and songwriter Marcus King already has three albums and an EP to his credit. In the space of just a few years, the southern rock/blues artist has progressed from relative anonymity to best-selling artist. All three of his albums have reached the Top Ten on

Album Review: Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers – Heart of Memphis

For musicians, one upside of the internet and its associated technological innovations is that the old barriers to entry are largely gone; anyone can make an release an album. Unfortunately, that reality is also a downside for the listening public: anyone can make an album. As such, self-released albums are greeted with a certain skepticism.

Album Review: Hollywood Fats Band — Blues by the Pound Vol. 1

Hollywood Fats (Michael Mann) was a West Coast blues guitarist who died in 1986 at age 32; as the liner notes for Blues by the Pound Vol. 1 assert, he left this earth before earning the fame he deserved. Those uncredited liner notes do lay it on a bit thick, wanting readers to believe that

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2019, Part 2

More capsule reviews! New music! Vinyl titles are noted with the designation (LP). Fastball – The Help Machine If you’re a certain age, you remember “The Way.” If you were especially sharp in those days, you might know the even better “You’re an Ocean.” Fastball’s approach struck me as a kind of American answer to

Black Joe Lewis: Avoiding Obsolesence

Black Joe Lewis knows that he musical path he has chosen is a difficult one. In the face of machine-generated pop and a society that seems increasingly afflicted with attention deficit order, the soul-funk-blues of Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears can seem out of place. But the Austin musician follows his muse wherever it

Welcome to Cadillac Baby’s Show Lounge: The Bea & Baby Boxed Set

From the perspective of crate-diggers – amateur and professional music archivists alike – one of the great benefits of the digital age has been the rescuing of obscure recordings. Against the backdrop of the recently revealed 2008 Universal fire in which countless audio masters were lost, it’s some comfort to discover that the catalog of

Album Review: Reese Wynans and Friends — Sweet Release

In the liner notes for Sweet Release, producer-guitarist Joe Bonamassa poses a rhetorical question: “How do you make it a Reese record as opposed to an album of guitar players with Reese?” His solution, he explains, is to give the keyboardist the first solo on each song. Whether that approach achieves the goal is up

Hundred Word Reviews for August 2019, Part Two

Ten more reviews. All new music, covered in the space of 100 words each. Jazzmeia Horn – Love & Liberation I love instrumental jazz, but I have to admit that vocal jazz resonates less strongly with me. Thus, you’ll find remarkably few reviews here that cover jazz vocalists. This is well worth an exception; very

Shemekia Copeland: Not Like Everybody Else

The singing daughter of blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, Shemekia Copeland is a Blues Music Award winner and critics’ favorite. On America’s Child, her 10th album, Copeland delivers a set of heartfelt songs, many built around themes of racial prejudice, xenophobia and greed. Songs like “Ain’t Got Time for Hate” are message-driven, but the music is