Archive for November, 2010

Junior WELLS – Calling All Blues (1957-1963) 2000

Posted in BLUES, Junior WELLS on November 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Junior WELLS – Calling All Blues (1957-1963) 2000


Following his recorded debut as a leader for States Records, Junior Wells signed with Mel London, producing a number of sides for the producer’s Chief and Profile imprints. Perhaps best-known for his spectacular harmonica playing, this period, documented on Calling All Blues, saw Wells emerging as an outstanding vocalist as well. A consummate performer with a firm grasp of the range of emotions the music can produce, Wells wrings every drop of feeling out of the lyrics. The singer growls, shouts, howls, moans across these 24 tracks including two versions of his great “I Could Cry” and other classics like “Little By Little,” “Cha-Cha-Cha in Blue,” and “Lovey Dovey Lovey One.” While it has a great deal of overlap with the collections from Paula Records, Calling All Blues remains a fine introduction with no glaring omissions. The bulk of the compositions come from three sources: his employer, London; the “poet of the blues,” Willie Dixon; and Wells himself. While the recording quality may be shaky at times, it’s to be expected and in fact only adds to the feeling of authenticity emanating from the music. It’s like stepping inside a hot, sweaty room for a forbidden peek at a late-night jam session. Wells and company imbue the material with such intensity, it can almost be overwhelming at times. For the most part, the singer leaves his harp alone, but the handful of harmonica moments are memorable. On the instrumental title track, he lays into his instrument, battling for space amongst piercing guitar and piano leads. Only when the music is tempered by the more popular forms of rock & roll and R&B on songs like “I’ll Get You Too,” “One Day (Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone),” and “I Need a Car” does it begin to lose its potency. Leading up to the sessions that produced Wells’ classic 1966 album Hoodoo Man Blues, this is electric blues at its fiery best.
By Nathan Bush, All Music Guide.
These late-50s and early-60s recordings for Mel London’s Chief, Profile, and USA labels are available in a number of different guises. The Paula label has one, P-Vine has one, and Fuel Records released this rather handsomely pacakaged and nicely annotated collection back in 2000.

There is no major difference between any of them, though. The P-Vine disc (titled “Messin’ With The Kid”) has a couple more tracks, alternate takes to the masters, but it’s basically all the same stuff.
Producer Mel London provides some of the songs himself; the rest is mostly Wells’ own originals, with a few covers of songs by Willie Dixon and Tampa Red added to the mix. And there’s some juicy prime rib here, or prime Junior as it is. The sizzling 1961 single “Messin’ With The Kid” is one of Wells’ very best and most intense vocals performances, and the title track is a smouldering instrumental featuring slide guitarist Earl Hooker (and it’s one of the few to really feature Wells’ harp as well). And we get a terrific, gritty cover of “It Hurts Me Too”, too, and a powerful slow blues, “I’m A Stranger”.

It’s a shame that London decided to downplay Junior Wells’ harmonica, though, especially when he does it in favour of a hideous-sounding organ. Wells was a terrific, powerful singer, and this set presents Junior Wells the singer rather than Junior Wells the harpist, which is certainly good enough. But we could have had both his singing and his harmonica playing, which would have been better!
Songs like “You Don’t Care”, “I’ll Get You Too,” the too-sweet “One Day”, and the inane “I Need a Car” are too much pop and mainstream rock n’ roll for me, and probably for most other blues fans as well, which means that this set doesn’t match Wells’ earliest and much tougher recordings, the phenomenal early- and mid-50s sides gathered on “Blues Hit Big Town”.
By  Docendo Discimus.
“Calling All Blues” is, first of all, a veritable savior (it has been awhile since anything I hadn’t heard before came out by Wells). This disc offers a look at Wells prior to the release of his incredible “Hoodoo Man Blues.” There is a lot of great material here, including several originals of songs which would become staples in Wells’ performances. The bands backing Junior are very good. If there’s one area I fault this album (besides the fact that it’s not “Hoodoo Man.” But what other album is?) it’s the lack of harp playing. Wells had one of the finest tones ever achieved on the instrument, and there is precious little of his phenomenal vibratos on this disc. That complaint aside, this is definitely Junior Wells and he is definitely in good form as far as the quality of music goes. I recommend it, but know that this is not Junior Wells the harmonica player. This is Junior Wells the singer.
By Alex Harpskier.
01. Two Headed Woman 2:41
02. Lovey Dovey Lovey One 2:12
03. I Could Cry 1957 Version 3:10
04. Cha Cha Cha in Blues 2:22
05. Little by Little 2:33
06. Come On In This House 2:22
07. You Don’t Care 2:20
08. Prison Bars All Around Me 2:28
09. Calling All Blues 2:34
10. Galloping Horses A Lazy Mule 2:34
11. Messin’ With The Kid 2:15
12. You Sure Look Good To Me 2:25
13. So Tired 2:13
14. Universal Rock 2:31
15. I Could Cry 1961 Version 2:53
16. I’m A Stranger 2:41
17. The Things I Do For You 2:19
18. Love Me 2:08
19. It Hurts Me Too (When Things Go Wrong) 2:40
20. I Need Me A Car 2:21
21. I’ll Get You Too 3:04
22. One Day (Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone) 2:51
23. She’s A Sweet One 3:01
24. When The Cat’s Gone The Mice Play 2:20

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Etta JAMES – Rocks the House 1963

Posted in BLUES, Etta JAMES on November 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Etta JAMES – Rocks the House 1963
1992 Issue.


Rocks the House was recorded live on the night of September 27-28, 1963 at the New Era Club in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hot with the releases of At Last! and The Second Time Around, Etta James Rocks The House became the artist’s first recorded live album under Chess Records. The concept was to catch James in a raw and fiery performance outside the recording studio. This album is among Etta James’ finest live recordings.
This album rivals B.B. King´s Live At The Regal for best live blues album ever. (Although, ironically, I think the weakest cut on the album is Sweet Little Angel, which nobody, not even Etta James can sing with the passion of B.B. King) The high points are Baby What You Want Me To Do and Woke Up This Morning. Her singing is so tough, so ballsy on these songs, I canÕt think of another singer to compare her to. She could make even Wilson Pickett and James Brown sound like wimps. She finishes both songs off with some scatting you have to hear to believe. She just takes my breath away. And several more songs on this album are almost as good.
Besides the incredible singing, the other thing that makes this album a joy is the audience. The excitement is palpable. On a couple of songs, she gets a thrilling call and response going with them, and their excitement seems to feed her. You can actually hear her getting energy from the audience. The album is the next best thing to Etta James in person.
Simply one of the greatest live blues albums ever captured on tape. Cut in 1963 at the New Era Club in Nashville, the set finds Etta James in stellar shape as she forcefully delivers her own “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” and “Seven Day Fool” interspersed with a diet of sizzling covers (“What’d I Say,” “Sweet Little Angel,” “Money,” “Ooh Poo Pah Doo”). The CD incarnation adds three more great titles, including an impassioned reprise of her “All I Could Do Was Cry.” Guitarist David T. Walker is outstanding whenever he solos.
By Bill Dahl, All Music Guide.
Though the studio albums Etta James made for Chess in the 1960s usually had the blues singer surrounded by lush production and string-heavy arrangements, this live date finds her performing with only a rhythm section, organist, guitarist, and tenor saxophonist. The singer seems to respond to both the stripped-down setting and the enthusiastic audience with noticeable abandon. In fact, James the classy balladeer, a role she sometimes plays on her studio albums, is nowhere to be found on this blazing set. The only time the band slows down is on the tearjerker story-song “All I Could Do Is Cry” (though what the tune lacks in tempo it makes up for in emotional intensity).

The rest of the set is straight-edged blues and R&B, including covers of some hits of the day, like “Money (That’s What I Want)” and Ray Charles’s “What’d I Say.” Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me To Do” (on which James does a growling, harmonica-imitating vocal solo) steps up the blues quotient, as does the band’s finale of Willie Dixon’s “I Just Want To Make Love to You,” with James’s gospel-drenched pipes wailing all the while.
Etta James Rocks the House indeed.
Etta James- (Vocals);
David Walker- (Guitar);
Gavrell Cooper- (Tenor Sax);
Vonzell Cooper- (Organ);
Marion Wright- (Bass);
Freeman Brown, Richard Waters- (Drums).
01. Something’s Got A Hold On Me 5:02
02. Baby What You Want Me To Do 4:14
03. What’d I Say 3:15
04. Money (That’s What I Want) 3:22
05. Seven Day Fool 4:20
06. Sweet Little Angel 4:14
07. Ooh Poo Pah Doo 4:04
08. Woke Up This Morning 3:38
09. Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby* 2:51
10. All I Can Do Is Cry* 3:21
11. I Just Want To Make Love To You* 3:40

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Dr. JOHN and the Lower 911 – Sippiana Hericane 2005

Posted in BLUES, Dr. JOHN on November 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Dr. JOHN and the Lower 911 – Sippiana Hericane 2005


Doing what he does best, Dr. John lays down some serious piano and organ grooves, and his backing trio (dubbed “the Lower 911” in tribute to New Orleans’s hard-hit Lower Ninth Ward) anchors the vocalist/keyboardist expertly, whether he’s navigating through blues, jazz, or gospel passages. In fact, the latter style lends itself to SIPPIANA’s finest moment, the soulful eight-minute number “Sweet Home New Orleans,” which ends with the heartening lyrics “We’re gonna be back; twice as strong.”

One of New Orleans’s favorite sons, Dr. John (aka Mac Rebennack) came to the aid of his beloved hometown after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina by issuing this thoughtful EP, which benefits Louisiana-based organizations such as Voice of the Wetlands. While clocking in at only 25 minutes, SIPPIANA HERICANE has the potency of a full album, establishing the mood with the bluesy opener “Clean Water” and then digging into its centerpiece–the four-part “Wade: Hurricane Suite,” a composition aimed at providing an air of hope for the devastated city.
Dr. John and the Lower 911 lay out this short (25:25), hastily recorded benefit for the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, the Jazz Foundation of America and the Voice of the Wetlands. Musically, it’s Mac in his laid-back mode, but the band crackles a fair bit throughout. The centerpiece of this seven-track set is the “Wade: Hurricane Suite” consisting of the old spiritual “Wade in the Water,” improvised and extrapolated into four parts revisiting the levee breaks, storms, and catastrophes that have visited the Crescent City since history has been written. Mac plays his best jazz piano and organ as it has been influenced by deep blues, second line and old-school gospel and funk. The band, which includes John Fohl on guitar, bassist David Barard, and drummer Herman Everest II, sits tights with Mac’s strolling and sometimes dramatic groove. The tunes are fine though the production feels sterile, too clean for the music, and that’s a drawback. One would have liked to hear this band stretch out more and really click in a rawer setting on the suite because the blues are so prevalent in its construction and ripe for improvisation. But this mini album was recorded in New York and not at home, as has been his wont for a few years now. That’s not to say that Sippiana Hericane is a disappointment, but it’s not fully satisfactory either. The heartbreak and desperation are pervasive, but the rave-up sections don’t quite climb out on the limb or out of the emotional basement either. The dissonance on “Storm Surge,” is wonderful, as each player follows Mac’s lead into some angular yet no less vamp-based playing. The record feels ambivalent throughout, and perhaps it should, because the grief is genuine, but the rage that is touched on here, as well as the hope for a New Orleans that will be back “twice as strong,” feels reined in, and not allowed its full expression.
By Thom Jurek. AMG.
Dr. John- (Vocals, Piano, Organ);
John Fohl- (Guitar, Background Vocals);
David Barard- (Bass, Background Vocals);
Herman V. Ernest III- (Drums, Background Vocals).
01. Clean Water Wade: Hurricane Suite 2:31
02. Storm Warning 3:18
03. Storm Surge 3:49
04. Calm in the Storm 3:28
05. Aftermath 3:40
06. Sweet Home New Orleans 8:13
07. Clean Water – (Reprise) 0:25

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Charlie & The BluesCats – Live at Stª Maria Açores 2007

Posted in BLUES, Charlie & The BluesCats on November 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Charlie & The BluesCats – Live at Stª Maria Açores 2007
July 20 2007


If you think blues does not exist in a country like Portugal you are wrong. Charlie & The Bluescats are lead by 43 year old singer and guitar player Carlos Pereira who has become a real reference to all portuguese blues lovers. When he was only a teenager he was strongly impressed by Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Hendrix but soon totally got into the blues world when he discovered Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf and other blues icons, although in this cd his real sound influences can be found in B.B. King, Freddie King and Albert King. If you want to discover the best blues that is being made in Portugal do not hesitate and get a cd copy. You will be surprised.
Charlie and the Bluescats is much more than just another Blues band.
From the origins in the southern states of the U.S., deeply rooted in Africa and crossing the european scene, their’s is an unique perspective over old and contemporary Blues.
For nearly a decade, Carlos and his band mates have played in several european stages developing their own sound and were lucky enough to cross paths with B.B. King, Carey Bell and Eddie Clearwater as well as with a number of relevant european musicians. They are the most representative, experienced and international Blues band from Portugal.
In 2005 the band released their first cd but live is their natural habitat so expect the unexpected when you hear and see them perform.
Carlos Pereira- Guitar and Vocal
João Luís Lobo- Drums
Fernando Sousa- Bass
Tiago Machado- Piano and Hammond
01 Messin With The Kid
02 Two To None
03 Corina Corina
04 Fine As You Are
05 Woke Up This Morning
06 Long Time No See Blues
07 Pipeline
08 Love in Vain
09 Lucky Star
10 Going Down

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Big Joe TURNER – Sun Risin´ Blues 2002

Posted in Big Joe TURNER, BLUES on November 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Big Joe TURNER – Sun Risin´ Blues 2002


Big Joe Turner (born Joseph Vernon Turner Jr., May 18, 1911 – November 24, 1985) was an American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri.According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, “Rock and roll would have never happened without him.”Although he came to his greatest fame in the 1950s with his pioneering rock and roll recordings, particularly “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, Turner’s career as a performer stretched from the 1920s into the 1980s.
Say No More..
Said; *themonk*
Musicians are unknown.
01. Roll ’em Pete 2:49
02. Goin’ Away Blues 2:40
03. Cherry Red 2:56
04. It’s all Right Baby 2:40
05. Careless Love 2:50
06. Piney Brown Blues 2:56
07. Blues on Central Avenue 2:39
08. Sun Risin’ Blues 2:50
09. I’m a Lovin’ Man 4:52
10. My Gal’s a Jockey 3:15
11. Sally Zu-Zazz-Blues 2:58
12. New Oo-Wee Baby Blues (Wee Baby Blues) 3:07
13. Hollywood Bed (Cherry Red Blues) 2:47
14. Radar Blues 2:46
15. Tell My Pretty Baby 2:49
16. Wine-O-Baby Boogie 2:36
17. Jumpin’ at the Jubilee 2:49
18. Still in the Dark 2:50
19. Chains of Love 3:23
20. The Chill Is On 2:46

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Horace PARLAN – Us Three 1960

Posted in Horace PARLAN, JAZZ on November 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Horace PARLAN – Us Three 1960
(with George Tucker and Al Harewood)
BN 4037


On this recording made in 1960 during his tenure with Lou Donaldson, pianist Horace Parlan is situated nicely alongside bassist George Tucker and drummer Al Harewood. The trio had its own gig on Sundays at Minton’s in Harlem, and had established a repertoire and reputation for being able to lay down both hard bop and soul-jazz stylings with equal verve. (And yeah, that jazz/hip-hop group from the 1990s was named after this disc.) The proceedings here are straight-ahead with some cool soul-jazz touches. Parlan’s “Wadin'” moves the off-minor key of “Wade in the Water” and funkifies the rhythm, paraphrasing and improvising as the rhythm section struts it out. On the title track, there is a gorgeous lilt in his playing that corresponds to a behind-the-beat walk by Tucker that makes Harewood slip and shimmy constantly on the cymbals with his brushes. There and on “I Want to Be Loved” as well as “Return Engagement” (another Parlan original), something else starts to creep into his playing: the spacy, spare feel of Ahmad Jamal, who Parlan cited as a contemporary influence. The economy of touch, which stands in stark contrast to the hard bop he played with Donaldson and the energetic music he played with Mingus, is in some ways more complex harmonically, and more emotionally satisfying. This is a fine effort from an underappreciated trio.
By Thom Jurek, All Music Guide.
Us Three, featuring pianist Horace Parlan, bassist George Tucker, and drummer Al Harewood, is one of Blue Note’s greatest trio albums. The piano-bass-drums three-piece has long been the most compact of all jazz combos, a complete orchestra with just ta few pieces. The trio on Us Three is a bit different than most as it features three superior jazz men who constantly play off of each other, communicating immediately and telepathically in sensitive yet funky interactions.
Parlan, already well-known at 29 and a member of the Lou Donaldson Quartet, was perfect for the trio format in 1960. His soulful chordal style matches seamlessly with the subtle contributions of Tucker and Harewood. They create very memorable originals, and the trio also makes some superior standards sound as if they were written for them. The minds behind Us Three think as one, and the resulting music, which now has sonics never before realized on any other pressing, is classic.
Horace Parlan- (Piano),
George Tucker- (Bass),
Al Harewood- (Drums)
A1. Us Three 4:32
A2. I Want to Be Loved 4:49
A3. Come Rain or Come Shine 6:25
A4. Wadin’ 5:51
B1. The Lady Is a Tramp 7:08
B2. Walkin’ 7:05
B3. Return Engagement 4:49

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Dexter GORDON – Blues A La Suisse 1973

Posted in Dexter GORDON, JAZZ on November 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Dexter GORDON – Blues A La Suisse 1973
P 10079
Montreux Jazz Festival, “Casino De Montreux”, Switzerland, July 7, 1973


This is a fantastic set. The last disc is taken from the album “Dexter Gordon – Blues a la Suisse”, which
was only available on vinyl until the release of this box set. In my opinion this album is unbelievable, it is fantastic!!! Some of Dexter’s best playing. And the reviewer’s comment that the electric piano doesn’t soundright, this is ridiculous. Hampton Hawes totally KILLS IT! So in summary,don’t listen to this reviewer(John Kelman) when he says; the last disc is weak. It is just the in the set!!!!
By Fred Phone.
Thanks for writing Fred. I’m certainly no Luddite, so the idea of electric piano in and of itself is by no means a problem for me, but when I reviewed this box (gee, nearly three years ago, I’d almost forgotten I’d written it!), I felt that it kinda stuck out like a sore thumb. I’ll have to go back and listen to it again to see if I still feel that way.

One of the perils of doing large box set reviews like this is that you immerse yourself in such a large volume of music over a relatively short period of time (if you want to get a review out in a timely fashion, you don’t have the luxury of “living with it” for a period of weeks or months), that certain things seem apparent that might not otherwise, were the music to be absorbed in smaller chunks. So it’s certainly possible that, taken on its own and not in the context of all the other music in the box (and it *was* a lot of fine music!), I might find myself feeling differently about it.

In either case, thanks – a differing opinions is one of the reasons why we have MY AAJ, so readers can post their own views on a review and, in some cases, even kick the reviewer’s ass! 🙂
By John Kelman.
How about that?????
Dexter Gordon- (Tenor Sax)
Hampton Hawes- (Piano, Electric Piano)
Bob Cranshaw- (Electric Bass)
Kenny Clarke- (Drums)
A1. Gingerbread Boy (Heath) 12:48
A2. Blues a la Suisse (Gordon) 10:29
B2. Secret Love (Fain, Webster) 6:05
B1. Some Other Spring (Herzog, Jr.,Kitchings) 14:30
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