CD Review: D.A. FOSTER ~ The Real Thing

the real thingBlues that is sung with skin tingling emotional depths, that is what D.A. Foster defines in this album as The Real Thing as he sings blues and rhythm & blues. Having learnt the blues from some of the greats along with starting at the age of 19 and all through his twenties as the co-owner of the legendary Connecticut roadhouse, the Shaboo Inn. This is the Inn that introduced newcomers to the wider music scene including Elvis Costello, ACDC Dire Straits and then hosted a lexicon of the blues greats Willie Dixon, BB King, Freddie King, T-Bone Walker, Bonnie Raitt and many, many more. The Real Thing is a carefully crafted album the musicians fold their music around the vocals with a flash of colour from the stinging high pitched clarion clear guitar chords from Johnny Lee Schell and tonal interest from Joe Sublett on Saxophone and the witty shadows from Mike Finnigan’s Piano and B3.
The album opens with a big band sound of horns and guitar taking third slot to the vocals on Good Man Bad Thing this is a track that hooks you to the music leaving you intrigued as to how the album is going to shape up. Following with the title track the guitar, rhythm section and vocals take you down through the song with its impeccable phrasing and timing you now just expect for the album to be as big and melodious as the sax on this track. Contemporary lyrics with even Facebook getting a mention is full of funky driven drumming and horns there is a dark menacing beat that drives the message on as he says Super Lover this track has hidden depths. Change of tempo as horns and drums kick up a rocking and rolling approach to Smack Dab in The Middle as your feet just want to dance. Now we have a Flugelhorn joining the party along with Trombone and Trumpet, Lee Thornberg stamps the sound of horns on You Can’t Just Smile It Away combined with elegant B3 Hammond this is a song that is full of musical melancholy. The Real Thing is a dozen tracks that is contemporary blues never guitar driven it has a harmonious mix of horns, keys and the old six-string all dancing to the tune of the vocals from D.A. Foster. There is nothing retro in the fifties styling of the music that is as full of contemporary crunch and hits the blues hotspot.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

D.A. Foster – The Real Thing – Vizztone

Track Listing CD

1. Good Man Bad Thing
2. The Real Thing
3. We All Fall Down
4. Ain’t Doing Too Bad
5. This Time I’m Gone For Good
6. Super Lover
7. I Need A Good Woman Bad
8. Smack Dab In The Middle
9. You Just Can’t Smile It Away
10. Lie To Me
11. Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You
12. Down Home Blues

CD Review: Coolhand ~ Coolhand

coolhand cover


Coolhand play the blues on a self-titled debut album that delivers a dozen self-penned numbers that shine a light on the many talents in the band both musically and lyrically and there are times when this up and coming band show a hint of the dragon fire they can deliver. This is an album full of potential with its crisp, perhaps at times too studio driven, production by Luke himself combined with the obvious musical skills within the band with Luke Bradshaw’s stylish electric guitar, Darren Edwards vocal prowess and the stylish piano playing from Gareth Kedward.

Opening with Virtual Love with a look at living outside of life in a virtual world lyrically hitting the spot and showing the blues credentials. Summertime Shuffle is upbeat but needs more foot tapping ‘get up and dance’ energy to let the sun melt the cool exterior of the bands controlled musicianship. Deadman’s Hand has a touch of country in the twang of the guitar suiting the lyrics and the story of Wild Bill Hickok, this is a track that you want to listen to again. Half way through the album we have some drama on the intro to Hardly The Time with the piano a perfect fit in the instrumentation with the guitar solo maintaining an energy and drive.

If the intent is to bring blues with meaning for a contemporary audience they are close to achieving this goal as the lyrics are beautifully sung by Darren and the words tell a story that is worth listening to; we need some passion and modern twists to really get contemporary blues the Coolhand way delivered. The guitar needs at times to zing a bit more to punctuate the message, though it is great to see a band that is not depending on power guitar to fill out the tracks. Give Love A Chance is a change in tempo and sits well on the album showing the depth and understanding Coolhand have for the music they are producing.

The album does work well, and is listenable and worth returning to again and the gems sparkle melting the cool of the hands that are making blues and the flow of the album works though personally I would have ended the album with a different track J&J is just too subdued a great piece of music for earlier on with its dedication to Luke’s two boys and personal message as it ends the album with a whimper rather than a shout for me Stand Up would have been a great closer as there is an energy that makes you take note of the name Coolhand.

As the band develops we will see a little less stylised blues riffs and more dragon fire to make Coolhand really standout from the crowd.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD SIX doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

Track Listing

1. Virtual Life
2. Summertime Shuffle
3. Dead Man’s Hand
4. Everything
5. Such A Fool
6. Hardly The Time
7. Looking Back
8. Give Love A Chance
9. Stand Up
10. Pretender Love
11. J&J

CD Review: Danny & The Champions of The World ~ What Kind Of Love



Danny & The Champions of The World
What Kind Of Love
Loose Music



You could spend hours trying to pigeon-hole Danny & The Champions of The World into a particular genre and as you listen you pick out an array of influences and styles from early on including Van Morrison, Staple Singers; Sam Cooke and so many more have fun pick out where it reminds you but do not over-analyse this is a British band delivering music that fits. Why waste the energy just sit back and enjoy the music Danny Wilson and his band play on this his fifth studio album. What Kind of Love lights up your Summer it is full of energy, it is no saccharin sweet love album it is 10 tracks exploring love through music and lyrics that connect on so many levels.
Opening with a sound full of soul and clash of drums and horns cascade from the speaker as you sit up and take notice and then the voice melds into the guitar that Clear Water has a full infectious sound and like Clear Water you want to dive in and swim and just immerse yourself in the pleasure. Recorded at the bassist Chris Clarke’s London Studio Reservoir we have ten songs exploring love written and developed while on tour they chew over the many types and aspects of love that are delivered with Danny’s crone that explores the words re-shapes them and sends them out as musical poetry. We have mockery in the title This is Not A Love Song, on an album exploring love “…and what went right and what went right… This is not a love Song” he sings with the full choir coming in on the title creating a deep melodic rootsy sound. There is a country feel from the intro on What Kind Of Love and this is full of yearning and like the musical influences woven through the instrumentation finds the questioning lyrics, it is as if the music and words are trying to find the right path to finding love; and it works as the whole arrangement is harmonious with the odd jarring interlude as we despair we can’t get it right echoed by some stylish saxophone. The vocal tone changes with a hint of Rod Stewart on Just Be Yourself, this is a slow dance that flows into a track that has southern funky guitar licks It’ll Be Alright in The End and again the horns swell with the vocals leaves you up-lifted. The Sound of The Train co-written with Ian Siegal ends the journey we have shared with drums and guitars that encircle through the lyrics, a lyrical picture is draw of a train in the distance and that nervous buzz of anticipation as you wait for the train drawing the album to a wondrous end. Feel bereft, love lost as the note fades away for the last time, do not despair the solution is simple put it on repeat this is an album that does not tire your musical soul however many times you play in fact as you get to know the songs the full depth of the lyrics and the exploration of love becomes clearer.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

1. Clear Water
2. Precious Cargo
3. This Is Not A Love Song
4. Can I Change My Mind
5. What Kind of Love
6. Words On The Wind
7. Just Be Yourself
8. It’ll Be Alright In The End
9. Thinking About My Friend
10. The Sound Of A Train

U.K. Tour Dates 2015

9th June Cambridge Junction
10th June Bristol, Louisiana
11th June London, Islington Assembly Hall
12th June Reading, South Street Arts Centre
13th June Oxford, Bullingdon Arms
16th June Colchester, Arts Centre
17th June Norwich, Waterfront
18th June Wakefield, Hop
19th June Preston, The Continental
20th June Glasgow, Broadcast
21st June Nottingham, The Maze
26th June Brighton, Bleach

CD Review: Guy Tortora ~ Bluesman In A Boneyard



Guy Tortora
Bluesman In A Boneyard
Turtledove Records


There can be no argument that Guy Tortora is a musician, songwriter and singer of the highest calibre so my expectations were high when through the letterbox dropped Bluesman In A Boneyard and I was not disappointed the music drove the outstanding story-bound lyrics creating a mosaic of poetry with a beat that stirred and connected. There is nothing jaded, overworked every word and note has been honed and shaped and then included within the tapestry of sound for a reason. This is stripped back blues full of every emotion with a true authenticity that fits the twenty-first century.

The two covers have been carefully considered and fit the tonal and lyrical shape of Bluesman In A Boneyard, The first is a Blind Willie Johnson number What Is A Soul Of A Man with a searing trumpet that gives the music a spiritual edge with Guy’s vocals picking up the beat that just gets you tapping those feet to the beat.; followed by Going To Brownsville. This classic Sleepy John Estes number is re-worked with the magic of Guy and the slide guitar and harmonica giving a tonal depth that the original does not have thanks to Ben Tyzack.

The other seven tracks are self-penned nuggets that have been created by picking over fruitful bones in the graveyard of the blues lexicon, Boneyard opens with Pete Hedley on drums, no rock crescendo but a steady beat to allow Guy’s vocals to curl around as we reach the Church of Little Zion; and the tale of a Reverend not happy to have a bluesman in his boneyard and strangers visiting. The description builds a picture that is full of heat, devil, whiskey and music down to detail of six-strings laid on the gravestone. This is a blues narrative of memories and dreams that has the power in the words and beat and then the embellishment from Janos as his fingers skip along the keys. Ballad of The Boll Weavill is a story of cotton and the Boll Weavill spreading out over the land. It is a story of greed and destruction by an evil force that can be found in a variety guises a clever morality tale. The addition of Gemma’s violin, as Guy explores work and stress in Live Fast; as the tale unfolds there is no frantic music it is the words that shape the frenzy and seeming inevitability of modern lifestyle. The album finishes with an upbeat number Les Bon Temps with Phil Underwood playing accordion giving this a New Orleans Cajun infused party feel that leaves you with only one choice it is the right time to go back to the beginning and listen again so the meanings and undercurrents are not missed.

Bluesman In A Boneyard proves that there is no need for complex licks, raised volume when they are delivered with this class it is the words simply encased and protected by clever instrumentation every time with Guy Tortora’ quality blues out of California via London and a deep understanding of the scars that created blues in the Southern States.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

1. Damage Was Done
2. What Is The Soul Of A Man (W. Johnson)
3. Boneyard
4. Going To Brownsville (Estes)
5. Ballad of Boll Weavil
6. Live Fast
7. One Way Ticket
8. From The Heart
9. Les Bon Temps

Guy Tortora: Guitar, Vocals, Mandolin, Foot Stomp
Janos Bajtala: Piano, Hammond Organ
Costa Tancredi: Bass
Pete Hedley: Drums

Additional Musicians
Ben Tyzack: Slide Guitar/Harmonica (Going To Brownsville)
Giles Hedley: Harmonica (Damage Was Done)
Gemma Sharples: Violin (Live Fast)
Phil Underwood: Accordion (Les Bons Temps)
Tim Burns: Percussion
Graham Pike: Trumpet (Soul Of A Man)
Frankie & Bex: Backing Vocals

CD Review: Doug Adamz ~National Steel

Scan0004Doug Adamz
National Steel
Magi Productions

This is the third solo album from Doug Adamz, who delivers seventeen tracks of fingerpicking National Steel a journey of blues that on the road full of heartfelt pain in the vocal tones as the guitar fingers its way through a background melody. The tone is folksy blending music in the roots of the heritage of the National guitar as he explores the hard times that have come again during this recession with the collapse of the banks and social cohesion picking up on the legacy of Woody & Arlo Guthrie.

Doug Adamz vocals are distinctive they have a knowing tone as he tells the tale with no embellishments it is the truth of the world as he sees it full of bleakness. The apocalyptic strains are seen throughout the tone poem that is Business As Usual; Mr Huffin Puffin, obvious why the track is called this with a flurry of harmonica that shapes, turns and twists as the notes float through the air on an instrumental show casing this stalwart of delivering blues and roots musical tone with a fiery flourish. This is an album that has tempos that bounce and those that reflect Cholly & Molly is an eccentric ditty suiting the couple at the centre of the tune. The National and Doug’s vocals are the centre piece of an album that will be enjoyed by those who enjoy word loaded songs with the finger picking tones of a National; played with confidence and delivered with feeling and expertise. House of Curiosities is as it says as we meet Cecil a diesel driver whose rig’s name is the title of the song. Ending with Can’t Complain Coda leaves you with the ringing tones of a master of finger-picking steel. An album for lovers of traditional National Steel guitar tones with lyric poems that tell a story every time; I do feel that some editing so that less tracks becomes more as then the differences between track would be more noticeable. That must be the reason that despite the capacity of a CD the majority of albums have around a dozen recorded tracks.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD SIX doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

1. High Roller
2. Move Along
3. Buisnesss As Usual
4. Why You Wanna
5. High Class Lady
6. Stranger On The Street
7. Mr Huffin Puffer
8. Cholly & Molly
9. Ode To An Old Guitar
10. Little Bitty Woman
11. Good To See You
12. Rock Bottom
13. The House Of Curiosities
14. Only The Wolfman
15. A Time for Peace
16. I Can’t Complain
17. Can’t Complain Coda

CD Review: Beth Hart ~ Better Than Home


Beth Hart
Better Than Home
Provogue/Mascot Label Group


Beth Hart pours out blues from her soul, the album is a tribute to a survivor who has come out the other side and can feel the warmth of sunshine in their life. The eleven tracks are retrospective that refuses to drown but floats in musical glory that defines Beth Hart the performer. Better Than Home is a celebration of life’s stony road every person that Beth has walked across as she has faced many difficulties including Bipolar disorder and her sister’s death she has studied polished and turned into a gem of a track that reaches out deep into the listeners own psyche. Be expected to be hit by an onslaught of emotionally charged lyrics when you least expect it as Better Than Home gets under your skin.
Every track is a glittering jewel that is pretty on the surface but underneath there are lyrics as gritty as the earth gems are pulled from, the mix of her sultry vocals that squeal and spit out the words, with melody lines played by tuneful piano and rhythmic bass lines. Opening with Might As Well Smile the tone is set with the big horn introduction that gives Beth the foundation to build with the voice that is pure emotion that spills out and captivates. Followed by nine more tracks before closing with the Bonus track Mama This One’s For You, with the perfect combination of Beth on Piano and her voice reaching out to her Mama in a deeply personal song that touches your heart as the album draws to a close the journey is at an end emotions and experiences picked over as Beth shares her personal demons, fears and shining hope.
In between there are songs that nestle in and belong to the album as a whole, including Tell Her You Belong to Me a song of love and desire, her voice takes on an aching tone of simmering lust in this stripped down number as she sings an entirety to her lover, all pride set aside. The title track, is a promise “I am not afraid or lonely / I am not chasing the ghost of the past” and is the centre piece of the album. The piano is perfect as the intro to St. Teresa and the gentle uplifting vocals that rise above the piano as the story unfolds in this deeply reflective number as a funky soulful number The Mood That I’m In. This is a track where the emotions are thrown to the wind and the band has fun, but the shape of the album is maintained with, instead of a guitar solo, a change of vocal tone and a vocal solo then the tempo is picked up letting her stretch her powerful and flexible tubes. We have a letter that allows Beth explore love in Mechanical Heart, this has a wonderful orchestral background , the lushness of the strings tugging at your heartstrings as the words tumble out this is Beth at her cathartic best as her voice stretches higher and higher.

Better Than Home, is a musical onslaught of power, charged feelings, souls bared on this is, a journey that shines with the glittering hardness of a polished diamond. Beth is a singer and musician who writes what she wants to say, takes no prisoners as her onslaught through music delivered by a tuneful sledgehammer of power combined with poetic lyrics that takes your breath away and leaves you energised with hope. Beth continues to grow and this is an album that soars above her contemporaries delivering blues that touch the heart.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

1. Might As Well Smile
2. Tell ‘Em To Hold On
3. Tell Her You Belong To Me
4. Trouble
5. Better Than Home
6. St. Teresa
7. We’re Still Living In The City
8. The Mood That I’m In
9. Mechanical Heart
10. As Long AS I Have A Song
11. Mama This One’s For You

CD Review: Brad Absher & Swamp Royale ~ Lucky Dog



Brad Absher & Swamp Royale
Lucky Dog
Montrose Records


This may be his fifth album but a new name for me, and the music flows throughout Lucky Dog, it is a bright and breezy sound that will never displease and brighten up any moment with its full sound, there are some weak tracks and there should be more self-penned that sits his approach to music better than some of the covers chosen.

The band is drummer Mike Patton & Barry Seelen on keys; the vocals and guitar work ably delivered by Brad and Larry Fulcher co-producer and Bassist, this sound is augmented by Saxophone, pedal steel, backing vocals that enhance the tracks ensuring a varied mix of tones. The combination of lyrical backing vocals and searing saxophones gives the album a soulful feel that has been swirled with a ripple of blues.

Lucky Dog is a mix of self-penned, covers and traditional that create a patchwork of dynamics giving the music energy and a shape that is perfect for the style being delivered. Second track in I Need A Drink tells you this is an album that will assert its style so that the rocky soul blues is the bedrock for Brad to deliver the story he has to tell through the lyrics. Opening with crystal clear guitar work and instrumentation Miss Your Water is a blues number that cries to every person who has lost love a beautiful track full of class with the timing sharp and crisp. The version of Rather Go Blind has a Jazzy edge and upbeat and for me this doesn’t work for me ditch the classic Leon Russell cover and put in your own song that would suit this arrangement and style of music. The following track a country infused blend with lap steel, Not Tonight, works so much better the album is back on track.

Lipstick Tracks, is stripped down allowing for the band to interact with the funky bass line running across the lyrics and drumming that adds to the rhythm making this Alan Toussaint number have a funky feel with the lyrics shining through with Brad full of wistfulness. The traditional gospel number Jesus On Mainline, starting off with traditional A Capella, before the beat picks up and we join in clapping with slide guitar making this Gospel with a funky edge.

Closing with his own number Memphis On The Way, we are treated to a saxophone delight that gives a depth of tone acting as a counterpoint to the gritty vocals that are Brad Absher. The tracks that are strongest on the album are not the re-workings but his own material, on these the music, lyrics and shape of the songs really work, there is no compromise Brad Absher & The Swamp Royale’s can deliver the sound they love to play, that makes good listening.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of SEVEN ….pawprint half inch

1. Woman Who Loves Me (Brad Absher)
2. I Need A Drink (Brad Absher)
3. Same Love (Bill Withers)
4. I Can’t Wait (Brad Absher)
5. Miss Your Water (William Bell )
6. Wanna Be Your Man (Brad Absher)
7. Rather Be Blind (Leon Russell)
8. Not Tonight (Brad Absher)
9. Lipstick Traces (Allen Toussaint)
10. Jesus On The Mainline ( Traditional)
11. Trouble (Larry Fulsher & Tony Braunagel)
12. Memphis On The Way (Brad Absher)

Brad Absher: Guitar & Vocals
Mike Patton: Drums
Barry Seelen: Keyboard
Larry Fulcher: Bass)
Andy Saad: Tenor Sax
Anthony Terry: Bbaritone Sax

Additional musicians are:
Kyle Turner: Tenor Sax
Nicoya Prolar: Backing Vocals
Ed Starkey: Bass Vocals
Samantha Banks: Percussion
Brian Thomas: Pedal steel

CD Review: Samantha Fish ~ Wild Heart



Samantha Fish
Wild Heart
RUF Records


This is the album that will definitely place Samantha Fish at the top; she has achieved a double accolade on her third studio album with vocals full of energy and precision in her delivery combined with guitar playing that lifts the roof off and shows this is a woman who relishes being a Wild Heart of the blues. It is a fitting follow-up to Black Wind Howlin’ which we said was “ …a weather vane of sound as the wind changes direction the tonal range shifts”.

The whole album has a vitality and energy that pours out of the speakers brightening up the room where the music cascades this is a feel good album from Sam; who has a natural talent that is fuelled by deft fingers and vocal chords that shape and deliver the song.

Opening with Road Runner; this is no cartoon character but music with a country blues twang that is being delivered by a musician who just has to play her music, powerful chords and impeccable timing, and wild licks starts the Wild Heart a listening experience that continues over the next eleven tracks. The blues women and guitars can trace their lineage back to Rosetta Thorpe; through to the greats of now Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi and in the U.K. Joanne Shaw Taylor with her searing guitar breaks, and now into the mix is most definitely Sam Fish with her superb slide and cigar box guitar adding a distinctive tonal cadence. Added into the mix is the accomplished band of musicians that she has gathered around her including a rhythm section, Luther Dickinson on Bass & Grammy Award winning drummer Brady Blade, together they combine a rhythmic dexterity that keeps the shape of every style of roots music being delivered on the album.

What sets the album apart from many is that it is so listenable with the combination of vocals that drag every meaning out of the lyrics whether on a cover, a track penned by herself or co-written. from the country rootsy feel of Blame It On The Moon with her vocals howling with a wildness that has to be moon fever; or Go Home a gentle melodic sitting on the porch tale as she sings “Wrapped those secrets around a telephone pole” this is a reflective song on how families and home shape you. Then there are tracks like Turn It Up where the heat is turned up the guitars and vocals wail in a Southern Rock swampy number that gets the adrenalin going; it is a breathtaking number that for me defines the very bluesy greasy groove that is the essence of Samantha Fish’s appeal.
This is a superbly and sensitively produced album, demonstrating what a master Luther Dickinson (north Mississippi All Stars /Black Crowes) is when it comes to understanding what is required in the process of creating an album drenched in the complexity that is music rooted in the fertile musical lexicon that is American roots music. Luther has distilled the essence of Samantha through her pulsating fingers on the frets, lyrical singing resulting in a perfume of musical depth and complexity flowing wild and free from your speakers it is truly on every track a Wild Heart.

What an album… for me the music was… Simply Addictive

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

Samantha Fish: Vocals/Guitar
Luther Dickinson: Bass Guitar/Lap Steel/Mandolin/Lead Guitar
Dominic Davis: Bass (Track 8)
Lightnin’ Malcolm: Guitar (Track 6)
Brady Blade: Drums (Tracks 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10,11)
Sharde Thomas: Drums (Tracks 6)
Shontelle Norman-Beatty: Vocals
Sisse Norman: Vocals


1. Road Runner (Samantha Fish)
2. Place To Fall (Samantha Fish / Jim McCormick)
3. Blame It On The Moon (Samantha Fish)
4. Highway’s Holding Me Now (Samantha Fish / Jim McCormick)
5. Go Home (Samantha Fish)
6. Jim Lee Blues Pt. 1 ( Charley Paton)
7. Turn It Up (Samantha Fish)
8. Show Me (Samantha Fish / Jim McCormick)
9. Lost Myself (Samantha Fish)
10. Wild Heart (Samantha Fish / Jim McCormick)
11. Bitch On The Run (Samantha Fish / Jim McCormick)
12. I’m In Love With You (Junior Kimbrough)

CD Review: The Black Tongued Bells ~ Every Tongue Has A Tale To Tell

The Black Tongued Bells - Every Tongue Has A Tale To Tell - (CD COVER)

The Black Tongued Bells
Every Tongue Has A Tale To Tell

Many an album then there are the emails with a link that arrive at Bluesdoodles; some are a disappointment, many are interesting BUT Every Tongue Has A Tale To Tell, the debut album of Los Angeles based band The Black Tongued Bells was a delight. The musical journey the album takes you includes all the influences of Rock n Roll recorded on a modern rock blues album, it is a cocktail for your musical taste buds. Explore the tracks as they roll by with roots, rock, blues, soul and gospel not a cacophony of styles , these have been mixed with a musical black magic resulting in a sound that is a true pleasure. The album is jam-packed with creativity and free-thinking approaches to their music. The result is an earthy sound that shapes and then breaks the mould to create a sound that is in your face and authentic, with steamy guitar work, awesome vocals and a percussive force that makes you take notice. The baritone vocals are delivered by the band’s guitarist D. Miner has timbre that appears to have been soaked in bourbon to quench the fire in his throat resulting in at times a smooth mellowness as he sings the lyrics other times raw emotion.

The fourteen tracks spread across the music of the USA, opening with a funky number that pulls you down down deep into the tones and musical textures that epitomizes the band, Comin Back For More is certainly prophetic because this is an album I will keep revisiting.

We have a slower tempo as the tale unfolds of the long road ahead until we reach the Pearly Gates, with some fine guitar playing creating a long winding road on Long Way To Go. Kingbee Jam is a Rock N Roll number that would have delighted the teenagers and scared the adults back in the days; the music has a high rev danger pulsating through every beat. The version of Merle Travis Land, Sixteen Tons is finger clicking good.

Ending with Hello Misery with the chatting in the background we have a live number we are now truly in the Juke Joint, with a bluesy number that rocks with attitude and the howling horns and she sucks me like a vampire… We are deep in the bayou with this classy closing track with another welcome for Mary Stuart’s vocals this is a great number to close the album leaving you wanting to hear more.

The Black Tongued Bells refuse to be categorised and have distilled the finest licks, riffs, phrasing and approaching of American music since recordings began… To quote their website the band has created in the album Every Tongue has a Tale to Tell “Gothic-Gospel Juju anyone?” This is an album that deserves your attention.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

The Bells CD Insert and Tracklist

CD Review: The Billy Walton Band ~ Wish For What You Want



The Billy Walton Band
Wish For What You Want
Vizztone Records


The album opens as it means to go on with a wall of sound full of harmonies and the mixing of tones that makes the New Jersey based The Billy Walton Band stand out from the crowd; they have energy, fire and the ability to make you smile. The album is blues that rocks your socks and warms your soul of with songs that attract the ear and vocals blending in with the instrumentation throughout the album. The glowing guitar work from Ex- Southside Johnny guitarist Billy Walton, the rhythm section who ensure the shape of the tracks has a flow they control the fluidity of the music with a gentle reining in,with bassist William Paris & drummer Johnny D’Angelo added into the mix is the horn section Sean Marks and Ian Gray adding that layer of brass colour. The album also has two special guest Southside Johnny on harp and renowned organ player Mike Finnigan.

This is an album that delivers tracks that appeal with some rockier numbers, soulful tunes and quality blues. Opening with the title track you are invited to listen by a gravelly spoken voice then straight into an upbeat number. Half way through the album is a blues delight with mournful harp shaping the tone from Southside Johnny; Blues Come Knockin’ is a complete number with tough vocals and slide guitar that is delicious to listen too.

The sound gets heavier and the tempo raised with Come On Up a track full of urgency and  there is a tauntness in the playing that is the perfect intro into a stylish Billy Walton solo full of clean licks and riffs and the saxophone answers so the whole timbre is that of a conversation through the music.

As the  album approaches  the end we have a trio of tracks to take us home starting with,  Walk That Little Girl Home which is a ballad that is reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen from the same New Jersey shore as Billy, the vocals are full of warmth and tenderness an exquisite track full of elegant playing followed by change of tempo with the  soul drenched It Don’t Matter, with Joey Stann guesting on saxophone creating a soulful number that you just have to tap your feet to and is the perfect number to lead into the closing track  Hudson County, again opening with spoken conversation and laughter it is a real live sound this is a fun track with an air of madness and the piano from Mike Finnegan and the horn section having fun. This is an album that just invites you to yes, listen again but also to get out and hear the band play live.

Wish For What You Want is delivered full of confidence; the production is kept light showing the talents of Tony Braungel so that a live sound is achieved with all the colour and energy you would expect from any performance of The Billy Walton Band.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch