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Kulgan (U.K.)

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Big Boy Blues Session
Big Boy Blues Session
Price: £12.53

5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the Best Blues this year....?, 14 Sept. 2017
This review is from: Big Boy Blues Session (Audio CD)
STOP Right there. Take those other purchases out of your basket. What you are looking at here is probably the best Blues album you will hear this year. O.K. there's no belting, gravelly voices that make statues wince nor are there any wild, screaming guitars or fret burning runs at breakneck speed.
What you have here is an album where the feel and tone is the most important, and boy, what tone. From a B.B.King Big band style to the more intimate roots Bernie has captured pure essence in these sessions, and the musicians he has had around them were not only of the same mind, but at the top of their game. When you listen to the Phil Wiggins' Harmonica led tracks or the acoustic numbers you would think you were right there in the room; the mix is so good you wouldn't believe it's ben through a load of technology to get to your ears - only the heat and the smell of warmed valves from the old amp is missing.
It's unfair to single out any one of the musicians Bernie worked with on this album, but special mention must be made of Marsha Raven; her vocals on George Jackson's Downhome Blues; Peter Green's Loved Another Woman and Bernie's own Place In My Heart; simply inspired.
As for the man himself; awesome. There is no retreating behind the Loud pedal here, Bernie plays it as it should be: he captures the tone and style of BB King then Peter Green or Elmore James and nods to Billy Gibbons without slavish copying. Sure his own style shines through, there are snatches of Whitesnake maybe could have been, but nothing is over done. Indeed, several tracks Bernie is happy to sit back, as if guesting on his own album, happy to let the other guys do their magic; to just be a thread through it all - a carbon fibre thread.....
This style Blues may not be to everyone's taste I'll grant; but rarely will you hear it done so well. Even the bonus disc if you're fortunate enough to get the 2 disc edition, where some of these tracks are in alternate or demo form, is a worthy listen.

The Magpie Salute
The Magpie Salute
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £9.04

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Salute the Magpie, 9 Jun. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Magpie Salute (Audio CD)
4/5th of Black Crows take on 2 originals, 1 Crows revisit ( Wiser Time) & several assorted covers, from Pink Floyd’s Fearless to Bob Marley’s Time Will Tell and turn out a stunning, bona-fide, classic live album.

Things kick off with a powerful new song, Omission with Rich & Marc Ford trading licks while John Hogg delivers the vocals over a gospel style backing and already the hairs are up on the back of the neck. Comin’ Home sounds like a mission statement as the Delaney & Bonnie & Clapton number gets a work over. What Is Home is another original, leading into past Crows glory, Wiser Time, Things get really smooth with a working of the old Bobby Hutcherson & Harold Land number Goin’ Down South (written by Joe Sample) while upping the funk is a cover of War’s War Drums fro 1971. Ain’t No More Cane comes from a traditional prison work song, best known done by The Band. Semingly left-field choice, Fearless comes from Pink Floyd’s Meddle album, but this time round, doesn’t fade into You’ll Never Walk Alone. A more standard choice of cover is The Faces’ Glad & Sorry (from 1973’s Oh La La album) Then rounding off with Bon Marley’s Time Will Tell from the 1978 Kaya album, which the Black Crows covered in 1992.

What we have then is an album that more a statement from a band that’s doesn’t have anything to prove, it’s more like, “you know who we are, this is where we’re from, and we’re probably goin’ this way; if you’re interested”. Lordy! Save me a seat…..

Price: £9.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This will steal your heart, 18 April 2017
This review is from: STOLEN HEARTS (Audio CD)
Erja has taken the approach here to carefully collect a group of songs to take into the studio, in this case Terry Britten’s State of The Ark studios and worked with noted producer Chris Kimsey who’s production CV from the mid-1970’s is astounding. This session allowed Chris to be re-united with an old friend - the sound-desk consul from Abbey Road.
Chris has really pushed Erja in terms of vocal strength, the power really comes through on the 2 rocking openers, Stolen Hearts & Rocking Chair. Taking a breather, Love Laboratory takes a relaxed, jazzy tone. 24 Angels is a smouldering, slow-burner of a number which leads into the slow, powerful funk of Black Ocean, a great showcasing number. Another slow number, but a heavy, bluesy ballad, Slow Burning is a master class of everything Erja; the passion in the voice equal to that in the strings. Lover’s Novels, a great slide number with a hint of Country in the Blues. Keeping it still a little Country, Silver Stones is another gentle ballad, followed by the appropriately titled, catchy Awakening, City of Angels is a song Erja has had in her catalogue since her student days in the US, and with this producer, studio and band, it’s finally found it’s time to bloom. Closing the album is a torch style ballad, Broken Eyes, that invites to press the repeat button as it completes the circle into Stolen Hearts, the album opener.

A great set from Erja, backed by husband Davide Floreno on Guitar. Harri Taittonen on keys, Hammond & piano,
Juha Verona on bass and drums shared by Kai Jokiaho and RUFdays sidekick Miri Miettinen. Very classy, very mature and very much the benchmark for 2017.

Midnight Highway
Midnight Highway
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, but hopeful for the future, 13 April 2017
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This review is from: Midnight Highway (Audio CD)
As soon as you get hold of this, you know there’s something a little off-kilter. For a start, the CD cover is square, meaning it stands 15mm taller than standard - not good for us OCDs….. That’s by-the-by though, you don’t listen to the cover though the booklet does have good biographical detail of the young guitar-slinger.

On first inspection, it bodes well, produced by Tom Hambridge, who did such a bang-up job on Mike Zito’s last album; and Tom co-wrote all bar one of the tracks (While My Guitar Gently Weeps) - while Quinn only has 3 co-writing credits. As well as all that, Hanbridge provides drums & percussion throughout the album. And sadly, that’s my gripe - who’s album is it? For the 1st half, it sounds like Quinn is a guest on his own CD. Something For Me is a great opener, but Quinn’s lead gets swamped by other guitar parts and the keyboards. Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming is a good enough song, but sounds like it’s lifted from a rom-com soundtrack. Things do improve for the title track, the country tinged Midnight Highway and Crazy Into You has it’s moments and Eyes For You is a sweet, acoustic ballad. Rocks, does what it says, except once again, the backing gets too dominant forcing Qiunn’s lead to get too shrill for my ear. Again, things pull back on the acoustic side, this time the ballad Going and really lifts on the funky Graveyard Stone . Two strong instrumentals, the atmospheric Big Sky and flashy Buffalo Nickel flank the While My Guitar cover, which is good, but no Jeff Healey.

No doubt, Quinn is a major talent; anyone with the patronage of Buddy Guy has serious ability, but to my mind this could have been so much more as a debut and I think that’s down to the producer/writer/drummer. The backing on several of the tracks is too busy; it’s like making a ham sandwich, you can buy the best Wiltshire ham but you ain’t going to taste it if you empty the whole jar of mustard on it.

Disappointed, but hopeful for the future - Hell, the lad’s not 20 yet

Make Blues Not War
Make Blues Not War
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Now that's a policy I fuly endorse., 3 April 2017
This review is from: Make Blues Not War (Audio CD)
If you take from the Greyhound album to Keep Coming Back as Mike's shedding his demons; then this is a celebration of his getting clean. From start to finish, the energy and momentum throughout is just infectious; this is a guy who's loving dong what he does best - paying some of the hottest Blues around. Not only that, but the 2nd generation coming though, Mike's son Zach taking lead on Chip Off The Block, and playing to make the ol' man proud.
Caught Mike on tour on Saturday night, and this new material is even more incendiary played live. Just fantastic music from start to finish, from one of the most down-to-earth and humble guys you could meet.

Dirt Blues Ritual
Dirt Blues Ritual
Price: £7.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy Smoke......, 6 Mar. 2017
This review is from: Dirt Blues Ritual (MP3 Download)
This is Troy’s 2nd album, and quite frankly it’s sooo good it’s a wonder it doesn’t spontaneously combust. This is 15 original tracks, coming in at around 55 minutes, but it only takes 30 seconds to give you goosebumps and that’s just the ululations of the brief, opening instrumental Revelator. Then Troy kicks in with Dick Dale-like surf Blues, The Brave which leads into a slice of Rockabilly; Jelly Roll, that would grace The Stray Cats. Guitar-heads would probably nod in silent approval that for this attack, and most of the album, Troy played a ‘58 Stratone through a ‘70s pignose amp: all I can say is that it brings a sort of ferocity of style I haven’t heard since the likes of Link Wray.
I See Love, slows the pace down, but it’s a slow, twangy-riffed monster on the Resonator; apparently, Troy used an old trick of Lee Hazelwood’s and tracked some guitar parts in an old WWII water tower to boost the reverb (when recording Duane Eddy, Hazelwood put a speaker and a mic at either end of a silo and paid a lad 50c per hour to stop birds resting on it during recording sessions). And to give the vocals that distorted feel, using combination of U87 & Shure Green Bullet harmonica mics. Cold light of day is a frantic slide fiff-fest while Ray Gun is a fast twanger. The Line is a steady, Country-ish number. Ain’t No Judgement Day has the more Delta; rootsy feel that builds to a driving tempo leading to the monster that is Sign Of The Times that has distorted slide to die for. Giving what’s the only quiet space on the album since the opener, On The Skin shows Troy really pulling the hearstrings on the Resonator.
Take the most of the quiet break because My Time Ain’t Long and Time’s Gonna Wash You Away are a pair of full-tilt slide rockers and Shine Your Light takes no prisoners either. Born To Lose and Walls Are Falling may be slightly slower, but they’re no less intense.
And here’s something else no less impressive; ALL the instruments are played by Troy, with the majority of the solos done one take. In fact Troy also handles the recording, mixing and production himself. It doesn’t take a trained ear to pick out all the production no-no’s but any sort of polish and the effect of the album would be lost; it’s this raw craftsmanship combined paradoxically with Troy’s superb ear for tone that really sets this album aside. That, and with the songs being around the 4 minute mark, the album has a well-balanced, concise construction. And done without the help or hindrance of a label? As I said, keep this away from any flammable material…...

That Album by Scotty Bratcher
That Album by Scotty Bratcher

5.0 out of 5 stars Stormin' Debut Album, 5 Jan. 2017
So, what’s this album, sorry, That Album all about? Well, as the side-man of choice for Noah Hunt and Jimmy Hall for the past several years, the cover picture suggests that Scotty is ready for his share of the spotlight. Make no bones about it, this “Buckeye” native can shake a mean Les Paul, and he has a strong set of gravelly pipes to back it up. Not only that, 10 of the 13 tracks on the album are self-penned and of them, just take a song like Hard To Feel - it starts like a choice pick of Bad Company then two minutes in, piano picks up and it wouldn’t be out of place in a Lynyrd Skynyrd set. Opener Ain’t No Way I’m Comin Home kicks with a classic ZZ Top style buzzin’ riff overlayed with blazin’ Southern Rock guitar and swathes of full-fat Hammond before Scotty’s gravelly vocals give it the final kick. Disappointing Ourselves follows and starts with a great urgent riff and this rocker does anything but disappoint. Keeping it going, the third successive rocker, Worry No More has a sparser, yet still unrelenting riff as a backbone on which hangs a another Southern Rock classic-to-be.
Tables Turn & Bridges Burn has Scotty easing off the rock pedal and we really get to see not only the full dimension of his guitar technique but what a really strong vocalist he is also. The vocals really shine though, in the slowest track so far, Without Hope. Just when you think though, this is going to be all Southern Rock, a funky blues cover of the evergreen That’s All Right Mama comes in as a refreshing break, and Scotty stands back a gives the vocals to Jimmy Hall while he does some fine power-pickin’ The next track again sees Scotty stepoing back from the mic, this time to make space for the smoother tones of Noah Hunt while he gives the guitar a Hendrix-esque work out on Let Your Soul Give Way. Keeping the funk going, Cold Blooded Killer leans again toward the ZZ Top, but more recent offerings.
The respite from this funkier edge comes from a powerful building ballad, All and Nothing More. Scotty takes the vocal helm and the chorus just builds, but the solo at the end is pure magic. Rollin takes us back into rockin’ Blues: with guest slide from Greg Martin (Rufus Huff & The Kentucky Headhunters) it puts me in mind of BB King jammin’ with Elmore James. The album comes to close with two covers, the first being Albert King’s As The Years Go Passing By, once again Jimmy Hall takes the vocals while Scotty’s guitar work seamlessly marries King’s with the more familiar Gary Moore’s cover; a tribute to both, rather than a copy. The closer totally wrong-foots the listener, Allman Brother’s Whipping Post, but a frenetic acoustic work out.
In all, a great mix of an album, from the raucous to the tender; anthemic to foot-tapping, this guy is a true all-rounder; one of that rare species who can stand as a guitarist or vocalist on equal terms. If this was That Album, can’t wait for “The Other One” coming out.

Philip Sayce Group
Philip Sayce Group
Price: £13.17

4.0 out of 5 stars Crackin' debut, 17 Nov. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Philip Sayce Group (Audio CD)
This one’s been a bit tricky to get hold of, though Philip’s signing to a major label like Warner has seen it re-issued. Biggest surprise is that it’s actually 20 years old! Even as barely 20 years old, Philip Sayce was giving it large on the Toronto Blues Club scene, which is where the live track, Wrong Place, Wrong Time (Ultrasound). even then showing the barnstorming style coming through. As for the rest of the album, the opening songs Grey City Storm & Morning Star (re-appears on the later Peace Machine album)are originals, co-written by Sayce, though by standards today, the production is raw/rough, but show the promise of what was to come.

It’s the next three tracks, each covers that really nail Sayce’s Blues credentials if anyone thinks he’s just another shredder. First of the trio is a Hendrix style cover of Bessie Smith’s Backwater Blues, Paul Butterfield’s You Can Run But You Can’t Hide gets an energetic working over, but then things go acoustic and Philip opens up his voice on the traditional spiritual Were You There, which also includes a restrained but haunting lap steel solo.

Four of the remaining 5 track (including the live) are again Sayce originals, the exception being a cover of an early ZZ Top number, Brown Sugar, giving it some fire, but not disguising it’s origins.

The album does suffer from mixed production as well as “the group” switching between Joel Sacks & Al Cross (bass & drums) then Eric Lyons & Jorn Andersen, however, it stands well as a debut and shows the genesis of one of the most exciting Blues/Rock guitarists around today. (And let’s face it, not long after this, he got the gig with Jeff Healey…)

Revelations of a Mind Unraveling
Revelations of a Mind Unraveling
Price: £15.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkly brilliant., 7 Nov. 2016
When your previous 2 albums were called The Shovel vs The Howling Bones and Exodus of The Deemed Unrighteous; comparisons have been made with the likes of Nick Cave, Tom Waits & Jack White, then you now you’re not in for 40 minutes of light jazz or frothy “pop” numbers. Lincoln’s style is best described as “kitchen-sink” alternative rock, southern gothic, revival punk, psycho blues, Americana. In other words, he’s tapping into that darker side of gospel/blues such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson era, but without the guitar emphasis, though Lincoln is a talented multi-instrumentalist. This is the sort of stuff that makes your skin itch, like eczema. Disturbing, yet compelling.

Scorched Earth (Vol 1)
Scorched Earth (Vol 1)
Price: £18.27

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Postcard from Valhalla...?, 31 Oct. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Scorched Earth (Vol 1) (Audio CD)
Thought at first I’d received a postcard from Thor in Valhalla, must have been the thunderous sounds and the long, blond hair that threw me. Finally my copy of the new Philip Sayce CD came through. A live album, recorded earlier this year at Toronto’s Silver Dollar Room.

Been way, too long, a new album from Philip; even though it’s only a couple of years since Influence came out, that album had been held back almost as long while he was changing labels. Anyway, the core of this live recording is taken from Influence; Blues Ain’t Nothing But a Good Woman….; Out of My Mind, the majority of the tracks come from it’s predecessor, Steamroller. I admit, on it’s release, I was a bit disappointed in the album as a whole, but the way the tracks Aberystwyth, Beautiful & A Mystic are sandwiched in the Influence material gives them the missing polish, and Steamroller itself makes a powerful set opener. That leaves two mighty tracks from the epic Peace Machine, Powerful Thing and Alchemy to book-end this particular, albeit brief set.

This sounds like Philip. Joel & Keil were in blazing form this nights, and it only leaves 2 questions; when do we get Volume 2; and when do we get to see you guys back on these shores; been too long guys.

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