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G. E. Harrison (Cheltenham, UK)

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Live In 1967
Live In 1967
Price: £9.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live recordings featuring blistering guitar playing from Peter Green, 20 April 2015
This review is from: Live In 1967 (Audio CD)
These tracks were recorded on a one channel reel-to-reel tape recorder in 1967 in various London clubs by a young Dutch fan Tom Huissen who was living in London at the time. If you are looking for hi-fidelity recording this probably isn't the album for you, although the sound has been restored to a remarkably good level by Eric Corne of Forty Below Records seeing as they were left for nearly fifty years on the original tapes. If you are looking for highly atmospheric recordings featuring the burgeoning guitar genius of Peter Green then look no further. The band features John on vocals, keyboards, guitar and harmonica, Peter on lead guitar and the future Fleetwood Mac rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.

Peter Green replaced Eric Clapton in the Bluebreakers and these recordings show him still playing some of the 'Beano album' repertoire, such as "All your love", as well as some of the songs from his own Bluesbreakers' album 'Hard Road' - "The Stumble" and "Someday after awhile". There is a great rocking version of Johnny 'Guitar' Watson's "Looking Back" which was later issued as a single complete with brass section and a jazzy reading of Tommy Tucker's "Hi Heeled Sneakers" which I don't think John recorded anywhere else. The other tracks are mainly guitar-led songs by Otis Rush and Freddie King, with Peter stretching out on "Have You Ever Loved a Woman", "Stormy Monday" and "Someday After Awhile", which all last for over eight minutes and also tackling Freddie King's instrumental "San Ho Say" (at the time associated with Stan Webb of Chicken Shack).

Peter's playing is wonderful throughout, lyrical and sinuous, with great tone and attack and with the real deep feeling that he was always able to bring to his work. The rest also play their part, John's under-rated Hammond really fills out the sound and his singing is also OK, while the rhythm section powers the whole thing along in fine form - allowing the spotlight to fall on the ones out front. I was lucky enough to see the band at this time and this record really brings it all back - an essential purchase for all bluesers who remember that it wasn't all just psychedelic music in 1967. Also, I believe that Tom Huissen has other recordings from this period and I would love to see those released as well.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 20, 2015 7:28 PM BST

Suddenly I Like It
Suddenly I Like It
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Paul stretches out..., 10 April 2015
This review is from: Suddenly I Like It (Audio CD)
As well as presenting BBC Radio 2's R&B show Paul also fronts The Blues Band and The Manfreds, as well as playing in an acoustic duo with Dave Kelly, which all show his versatility and professionalism. This record is more varied than 2009's solo album 'Starting All Over Again' but again showcases different sounds from his other projects - it is slicker, more sophisticated - in the main still blues-based but including nods towards rock (the title track), jazz "Straighten Up and Fly Right" and soul "Soul to soul".

Paul welcomes guests including Joe Bonamassa who provides stinging guitar on the rocking "Beggar for the Blues" and Jools Holland who plays on two instrumentals "Mountain Boogie" and the traditional "Trouble in Mind" which also feature Paul's harp playing and which I thought were a bit throw away. Paul's harp playing does crop up throughout the album and is, as always, first class - as are his vocals, he still has a strong and versatile voice. Production by Carla Olson is very good, as is the band but for me it is all just a bit too diverse and random. My favourite track was the Jools Holland-penned "Remember Me" a rocking gospel song with great Hammond organ.

Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new previously unreleased original tracks, 9 April 2015
This review is from: Bonetime (MP3 Download)
From the minute this records starts with the title track you know that you are in the hands of a master, a great harmonica player and singer with a swinging band, which on this track features guitarist Junior Watson. James is also joined on the album by former members of his Icehouse Band including the wonderful pianist Gene Taylor, guitarist Kid Ramos, drummer Stephen Taylor Hodges and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Turves, not to mention other guests such as Kirk Fletcher, Candye Kane, Sonny Leyland, Alan West and Mike Tempo.

The album features 12 previously unreleased original tracks which all have that immediately recognisable 'Harman sound', featuring his relaxed southern vocals and killer harmonica playing, but also manage to offer variety in the form of different styles of blues and great instrumental contributions from the guests. Many tracks also feature humorous lyrics, as can be seen seen from titles like "Blue Strechmark Tatoo", "Skirt" and "(I Am) The World's Badluckest Man" - which features outstanding rocking piano from Taylor and slide guitar from Harman's current collaborator Nathan James. Elsewhere Kid Ramos plays Elmore James-style slide on "Skirt", which also features Jeff Turmes on tenor sax, and the 7-minute slow blues "Coldfront Woman" is a standout track, with great piano from Sonny Leyland and guitar from Kid Ramos. "Leavin' Fire" is a nice 'semi-acoustic' track with more superb piano from Taylor and subtle guitar from Nathan James and "Bad Feets/Bad Hair" is brass-led rocking West Coast R&B. This is a really good album from a great artist who has never got the attention he deserves.

Offered by HitsvilleUK & more
Price: £10.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Bettye is Worthy..., 31 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Worthy (Audio CD)
Bettye seems to have launched a new career with her recent records and seems to have invented a new genre, with her wrecked husk of a voice reinterpreting a series of classy covers accompanied by tasteful arrangements which transcend soul or blues and are on a par with the best jazz song stylists. Here the covers here are more obscure - I hadn't heard Dylan's "Unbelievable", Lennon and McCartney's "Wait" or Jagger and Richard's "Complicated" but Bettye does a great job on them all making them all sound very personal. There are also covers of songs by Mickey Newbury, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Mary Gauthier (who wrote the title track) and the production by Joe Henry is spot on, with all the focus being put on Bettye's amazing voice. In some respects Bettye is repeating what she's done on her previous four records but they were superb and if this isn't quite up to the same standard its still bloody good.

This Is From Here - with Colin Linden
This Is From Here - with Colin Linden
Price: £13.27

4.0 out of 5 stars Harrison's best album to date?, 31 Mar. 2015
When I reviewed Harrison's last album 2013's 'Soulscape' I said it was OK but 'There are some really good blues musicians in Canada and I think that Harrison should utilize some of them to back and produce him." I'm glad to see that he has taken my advice:-) In comes Jesse O'Brien as joint producer and keyboard player, ace guitarist Colin Linden and also Chris Caddell, Brian Griffith, Terry Wilkins and the Blackie and the Rodeo Kings rhythm section of Gary Craig and John Dymond. So the record sounds really good and the playing is first class and I think that Harrison himself sounds better now that everything isn't on his shoulders. The album isn't as acoustic as 'Soulscape' but there are acoustic elements in songs like "Walkin' or Ridin'" and "Shake the Hand" with Colin Linden's lovely acoustic slide but both songs also have Hammond organ and churchy piano. This is a really nice original mix of down-home acoustic blues, smooth soul, gospel and roots rock that I think is easily Harrison's best record to date.

Harrison does a nice version of Ray Charles' "I've got news for you", which perfectly suits his voice, and he belts out "Milk Cow Blues" in perfect 'blues shouter-style' over O'Brien's rolling boogie piano. "You, Me Or Us" is a beautiful, restrained soul ballad and the final track "Judgement Day" sounds like something from a 1920s field recording featuring Harrison's vocals and harmonica. So this is a very varied album with some great playing that supports Harrison and shows off his rich, expressive voice to great effect. Great work from all involved.

If You Think It's Hot Here
If You Think It's Hot Here
Price: £16.79

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mike carries on from where his 90s albums left off..., 30 Mar. 2015
Mike Henderson and his band the Bluebloods had a couple of great rocking' blues albums out in the 90s but although he plays regularly in Nashville at the Bluebird Cafe he hasn't recorded again in that genre until this record. Indeed I most recently heard him playing harp on Joe Bonamassa's Muddy Wolf record. Here he's backed by a new band of Kevin McKendree on keyboards (Kevin also produced the record), Michael Rhodes on bass and Pat O’Connor on drums, the sound is simple and straight forward - rocking' blues based around McKendree's pounding piano work and Mike's slide guitar.

I really liked the title track, a real Stax-style soul ballad with swelling Hammond organ, gospel piano and Mike's impassioned vocals, which is followed by the slow blues "Weepin' and Moanin'" with biting slide guitar. Elsewhere Mike covers two Hound Dog Taylor songs “Send You Back to Georgia” and “It’s Alright” as well as Muddy Waters’ “Mean Red Spider”, Sonny Boy Williamson II’s “Unseen Eye” and a nice version of Robert Johnson’s “If I Had Possession (Over Judgement Day)” which starts off with just Mike's acoustic slide until the band slams in. "Matchbox" is delivered at a breathtaking pace and 'Lil Son' Jackson’s “Gambling Blues” is mid-tempo blues with more pounding piano and slashing slide, while we
have to wait until the final track to hear Mike playing harp on a throw-away instrumental "Rock House Blues". Mike has carried on from where he left off in the 90s, this is music that is nothing new but is well-played and sounds great but I'd really like to see him writing more of his own songs and incorporating some of his country/bluegrass influences and his harp playing into the mix.

A Fool To Care
A Fool To Care
Price: £10.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars From Memphis to Nashville..., 30 Mar. 2015
This review is from: A Fool To Care (Audio CD)
Boz's last record 'Memphis' was recorded in Memphis and featured a mixture of smooth uptown soul and also blues, this new one was recorded in Nashville and starts very much with the sound of early rock and roll with "Rich Woman" (recently covered by Robert Plant) and Fats Domiono's "I'm a Fool to Care" and later on we also get Huey 'Piano' Smith's "High Blood Pressure". The smooth soul is also back with "Small Town Talk", "There's a Storm a Comin'" "I'm So Proud" and "Full of Fire" and we also get a very catchy Latin-infused "Last Tango on 16th Street" a hymn of praise to San Francisco's Mission District. The ballad "Love Don't Love Nobody" sounds a bit like "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and perfectly shows off Boz's understated, affecting soulful vocals.

He's also joined by guest Bonnie Raitt on the only song he wrote for this record "Hell To Pay", a mid-tempo rocker which sounds like one of Bonnie's own songs and sees them trading vocals and also features Bonnie's trademark slide guitar. Lucinda Williams also drops by to join Boz on vocals for a lovely version of the Band's "Whispering Pines", which with its steel guitar is probably the most 'Nashville-sounding' track. The record was done in four days on analogue equipment in the Blackbird Studios with a core band of Ray Parker, Jr. on guitar, Willie Weeks on bass, Jim Cox on keyboards and Steve Jordan (who also produced) on drums and sounds great. This is a very accomplished, professional record but I'm afraid that I didn't think that it was quite as good as 'Memphis', mainly because it didn't have enough really good songs - three and a half stars.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 14, 2015 7:04 AM BST

Into The Sun
Into The Sun
Price: £11.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A more contemporary, rocky album from Robben, 30 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Into The Sun (Audio CD)
Robben's last two albums 'A Day in Nashville' and 'Bringing it Back Home' seemed to show him moving towards jazz but this new record sees him gravitating more towards rock, with a much more contemporary feel. It's a varied sounding record, starting with the slow, bluesy "Rose of Sharon", the following "Day of the Planets" is choppy funk, as is "Same Train", while "Rainbow Cover" and "Howlin' at the Moon" are both very rocky.

The guests also bring variety - it was nice to hear a different vocalist in ZZ Ward on "Breath of Me" (although Robben's own vocals are fine) Warren Haynes adds nice slide guitar to "High Heels and Throwing Things" (great title!) ditto Sonny Landreth on "So Long 4 U". I'm afraid that I thought that "Justified", featuring Keb' Mo' and Robert Randolph, was a bit of a mess and didn't really work but the final track "Stone Cold Heaven" featuring Tyler Bryant has some of the album's best guitar with Robben and Tyler trading biting licks with each other. All Robben's guitar work is up to his usual high standard throughout and while there are no straight blues tracks here his guitar playing still has that core blues sound. The band are also excellent matching him all the way with tight, snappy playing on the sometimes tricky arrangements but never loosing the beat. An enjoyable and different record from Robben.

Panasonic ALL1 Network Audio Connector
Panasonic ALL1 Network Audio Connector
Price: £199.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Works well but rather expensive for just an interface, 23 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Panasonic ALL1 Network Audio Connector is the cheapest in a range of Panasonic AllPlay products, this being just an interface while the others comprise both an interface as well as actual speakers. You therefore have to connect this device to you existing hi-fi system. I was quickly able to install the Panasonic Music Streaming App on my iPad and from the quick set-up guide again I was fairly quickly able to configure it to my home wi-fi network but it then needed to update and had to be turned off for 15 minutes?!? The box is compact and seems solid and well made, it connects to your stereo via the supplied standard RCA phono connectors or via an optical digital cable (not supplied) and it also has a connection for an ethernet cable. When it had updated I was then able to play music from my iPad via the Panasonic App (which is fairly straight-forward and user friendly) through the stereo and the quality is surprisingly very good.

However, the majority of my music is on my iMac computer and my iPod, not on my iPad, and unfortunately there is no way to link the ALL1 to either the iMac or the iPod therefore £200 just to play the limited collection of music on my iPad through my stereo seems a tad expensive. Also, although the ALL1 supports Spotify I couldn't use the device to access Spotify and play my playlists etc. - possibly because I use the 'Spotify Free'?

I think that if you use a smartphone (I don't) and an iPad to store music you'll find this device very useful and I was certainly impressed with the sound quality. However, it does seem rather expensive for what is just an interface.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 25, 2015 10:55 PM GMT

Muddy Wolf At Red Rocks (2cd)
Muddy Wolf At Red Rocks (2cd)
Price: £11.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You will be satisfied..., 23 Mar. 2015
For me Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf were the two zeniths of Chicago blues both great front men and leaders but what made their records so good was great ensemble playing from their ever changing bands and great songs from the likes of Willie Dixon. I was interested to see how Joe Bonamassa would approach this tribute to the two Chicago legends filmed at Denver’s famed Red Rocks venue. He’s backed by a band including second guitarist Kirk Fletcher, Reese Wynans on keyboards, Michael Rhodes on bass, Anton Fig on drums and a brass section of Lee Thornburg on trumpet, Ron Dziubla on sax, Nick Lane on trombone and finally Mike Henderson on harmonica. They cover various songs from both bluesmen’s repertoires and towards the end throw in some of Joe’s own popular songs such as “The Ballad Of John Henry” and “Slow Gin”.

Joe doesn’t try to recreate the singing of either Muddy or Wolf or indeed the sound of either man’s band and his heavily-featured guitar solos are typically fast and frantic and will no doubt delight his many fans. I particularly liked his biting slide playing on “My home is in the delta” and “I can’t be satisfied” and the funky takes on “Hidden Charms” and “Killing Floor”. The band is very good and support him perfectly and for a live recording the sound is also excellent. I love all these songs and as someone who was brought up on the originals I am always going to prefer those but I can appreciate these modern takes on these classics and you can clearly hear Joe’s own love and his respect for these blues heroes.

(After a quick look at the DVD I felt that the Muddy Waters songs recorded when it was still light didn’t look as good as the Wolf songs recorded later under the house lights and feeling much more atmospheric.)

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