Samantha Fish the Belle of The West on this Album

Samantha Fish the Belle of The West on this AlbumSamantha Fish is the Belle of The West on her second studio album of 2017. Belle Of The West takes us on a completely different musical journey a complete contrast to Chills & Fever. For this album, Samantha has gone deep into the roots of Blues, country and Mississippi Hill Country music. Samantha Fish has pushed aside preconceptions about her, kicking the door open to break boundaries and let her creativity, artistry and golden talent shine through as she takes the title as Belle of The West.

Samantha travelled to Zebra Ranch to record the album retracing the footsteps taken with Wild Heart (2015)  with the influence of Luther Dickinson and friends shining through but never dampening or curtailing the heady heights and depths of Fish interpretation of the blues her way.

Opening with American Dream the click of drums sticks beat of the drum and life gets the listener marching to Fish’s branded form of acoustic fuelled country blues.  With Luther Dickinson as the producer, we are promised from the first number a studio album that flexes its muscles with a natural fluidity the instruments and vocals find the tone taking the tune and vocals to unfold all the depths of roots music with a story to tell.  The tempo goes down and Sam’s vocals deepen as we find out why there is Blood In the Water. With fiddles and guitar, the story will not be a happy one as Lillie Mae on violin picks up with a haunting melodic riff. Infectious, beguiling as roots of Eastern European folk are entwined into hill country music. The sound is held together by the power and confidence of Samantha’s vocals. This is an original that just demands being heard on repeat.

The storytelling is the theme of the album, not power guitar chords and fast electric sound. The inclusion of the band talking before the music begins gives the album a personal and warm feeling. This is studio music kept close to the live sound. Now we are in another bar another hotel room alone with guitar and violin waiting for a call. Samantha captures the emotions and draws them out on every syllable sung we connect to her as she sings ‘Needing you more than you will ever know. We here all the conversations we have left unsaid’, emotions never shared and loneliness we have experienced as we get up close to the vocal glories that define the Belle of The West.

In between the originals are a trio of carefully chosen covers fitting perfectly as a glove into the tone and feel of the album. With Poor Black Mattie the tempo rises to match the beating of your pulse as the music soars through your soul sending tingles down your spine. RL Burnside feel and magic captured as Fish answers to Lightnin’ Malcolm’s call as gospel captured with some sweet harp lead breaks.  Lillie Mae’s Nearing Home is luscious full curling violin and as Samantha’s vocals take a dreamy air as the melody is woven into the lyrics.  Capping them is the title track from the pen of Jimbo Mathus.  We now are on the river riding the lady we love best. The music and tone shaped by the undulation on the river that like the whole album on every listen you hear another nuance and the deeper meanings behind the songs chosen by Samantha Fish.

With the deep bass, Samantha Fish on No Angels has backing vocals that add to the vibe and gives her something to work on as we find out there is No Angel around here full of deep bass grooves the Mississippi flows strongly through the music that captivates.  Samantha surrounded by quality musicians that add to the tracks, the central role throughout is the vocals that have a depth that colour the lyrics and shapes them with emotional maturity, empathy and understanding. The music is genuine and authentic, this is the sound that Fish wants to define her as 2017 closes. As the album reaches its finale we have Nearing Home percussive full lilting sound from the violin and Samantha poses the question where are we going? With a slowness that builds and weaves throughout the song.  Then the final track Gone For Good, leaving us with a foot tapping number. Gone for Good has a rawness, dirtier sound reflecting the lyrics and a celebration you are gone for good. Raw and dirty leaving you shouting don’t go Samantha Fish. Giving you the perfect excuse to slow down and sit back and rewind back to the beginning. You will cherish the time spent listening to the classy album Belle of The West.

The album is full of songs that just take time to get to know, this is an album that is not the product of the digital Download, listen for a few seconds or once then throw away. Belle of The West is an album to savour, get to know the intricacies of the instrumentation the style of the vocals capturing emotions as the story unfolds. Like friends, invest the time and get to know Samantha Fish, Belle of the West whether this is a pit stop on a journey of a musician maturing and developing her approach to blues. One thing is a certainty that like a good vintage on the sound, it grows in complexity with every tasty listen.

Belle of the West – Samantha FishRUF Records

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

    1. American Dream
    2. Blood In The Water
    3. Need You More
    4. Cowtown
    5. Daughters
    6. Dan’t Say You Love Me
    7. Belle of the West
    8. Poor Black Mattie
    9. No Angels
    10. Nearing Home
    11. Gone For Good


    Samantha Fish the Belle of The West on this Album

Lightnin’ Malcolm Foot Soldier Delivering Roots Delights

Lightnin’ Malcolm Foot Soldier Delivering Roots Delights

Lightnin’ Malcolm Foot Soldier Delivering Roots Delights

Music Soldiers attention! Get your ears tuned in for Foot Soldier. The album is definitely a new chapter in the book of Hill Country Blues. With Lightnin’ Malcolm returning to the one-man-band format.  Yes! He is simultaneously playing guitar, playing drums and delivering vocals with powerful intensity.

Opening with Done Wrong you know instantly that you have done the right thing putting Lightnin’ Malcolm’s latest album on play. This is swampy, deep Hill Country Blues, the album is Lightnin’ Malcolm flying solo. He plays guitar, drums and sings simultaneously. The relentless beat allows the lyrics to unfold. The eleven tracks send you to a different world, your ears and mind are hypnotised and taken back through the mists of time with music that hooks into Africa. This is blues that captures a historical timeline and delivers a sound that is fresh, contemporary and relevant.

Opening with Done Wrong, we start the journey of a musician who has picked up beats and rhythms, a tapestry of blues with threads of funk, soul and rock and those West African beats this has a blues shade and is electrifying. Hero has a deep funky base line that just curls around your ears and then the hill country vibe pulls the track together in its full instrumental delight. Waves is like the sea it washes over you, refreshes your soul with a groovy hill country groove that gets your feet tapping music of the juke joint to get those dancers dancing. The Delta meets the hills with a gritty dark number, Getting’ Dark. The sound is loud, the blues felt in the one-man band reincarnation of Lightnin’ Malcolm. The effect of the Malcolm playing and singing all the parts simultaneously is a live, authentic sound that picks up the forces of nature and feeling that defines the blues. Best Friend’s Wife is reflective a quieter tempo and showcases this multi-talented Mississippi bluesman in another shape of the blues.

Every track counts with textures and tones that keep you dancing and smiling.  Foot Soldier is eleven tracks where Lightnin’ Malcolm entertains you with twists and turns and mighty fine Hill Country Blues. Closing with Big Jack, pure Malcolm sound with big bass sound, churning rhythms you are transported to a very good place as a Foot Soldier of Lightnin’ Malcolm and his dark tribal blues roots in the Hill Country. This is blues music of the world and worldly wise.

Lightnin’ MalcolmFoot Soldier – Shakedown Records

NINE pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Done Wrong
  2. Tree
  3. Hero
  4. Don’t Bitch
  5. Waves
  6. Gates Of Hell
  7. Getting’ Dark
  8. Treat That Woman Right
  9. Best Friends Wife
  10. Good Boy
  11. Big Jack

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)

Ian Siegal & The Mississippi Mudbloods @ The Flowerpot, Derby

Ian Siegal and The Mississippi Mudbloods - Flowerpot - Nov 2013_0347l

For the second night running Rawpromo have a sell-out crowd for the acts they are promoting at The Flowerpot. Tonight the chatter was about Ian Siegal and the many guises he performs in and our favourite – tonight with the Mudbloods it was going to be swampy country blues delivered in Siegal’s own award winning and importantly crowd pleasing style. Tonight the Mudboods are a little bit different as ever Cody Dickinson is the stalwart master drummer full of flare, rhythm and gets the heat of the drums sounding out on the beat and adding a percussive type of sound; joining him on bass, vocals and sometimes lead guitar is fellow North Mississippi Allstar member Lightnin’ Malcolm and the third member Duane Betts on guitar producing a delightful rootsy rock sound the scene is set now for the music; they are described by Ian as the “Golden Ratio”.

It was a medley of the latest tracks from “The Skinny” & “Candy Store Kid” albums, delighting the audience as they love these tracks kicking off with ‘Kingfish‘, ‘I am The Train’ and a real good time ‘Picnic Jam‘; which got the vibe going and told everyone they were here for a good time, of zinging live music that will not be boxed and served up as aficionados of genres expect. It is all the better for that with music that has a free-form; full of great licks, superb lyrics and all instruments complimenting each other, this is live roots, blues country music at its best. Ian, as ever quickly built great rapport with the loud and excited audience and the interaction between the musicians on stage showed they enjoyed each other’s company and were here to play and have fun. Lightnin’ Malcolm took centre stage on lead guitar for a couple of numbers allowing anyone in the audience who has not heard him before to listen to his beautiful vocals, great guitar skills, he is a great songwriter and his solo album, “Rough Out There” is anything but rough! The opening track of the album ‘Workin” really suits his voice and guess who filled the gap as bass player! Why the multi-talented Ian Siegal who now adds another string to his bow as a pretty mean bass player. Ian Siegal and The Mississippi Mudbloods - Flowerpot - Nov 2013_0248l Then another swap round of instruments and the set list played on with the songs we all love including ‘So Much Trouble‘ written by Lightnin’ Malcolm and tonight sung and played by Ian who demonstrated what a great wordsmith Malcolm is. This was a stage of four equally talented musicians and this shone through on every track. Duane’s silky guitar licks added a different tone to the sound with a rocky edge firmly planted in swampy southern blues sound and the interaction between his and Ian’s guitar was special and this duo has the potential of being something exceptional – we want to hear more. Ian Siegal and The Mississippi Mudbloods - Flowerpot - Nov 2013_0294lWhat has now become a bit of a signature number when Ian plays with a band is the tremendous track ‘Hard Pressed’ from his “Broadside” album; he breaks of to do a tribute to Prince with snippets form various Prince tracks around the main thread of ‘Sign O’ The Times‘ then effortlessly back into ‘Hard Pressed’ showing the adept mastery of Ian and the band shaping and re-interpreting the tracks you love so you are always kept on your proverbial listening toes! The music played on and the lyrics washed over the appreciative audience and all too soon they were leaving the stage, an encore and then the stage fell silent and the audience reflected in the stupendous show of live music they had just had the privilege of witnessing. Ian Siegal’s stylish playing reminded everyone who loves the modern blues scene that he is definitely the best Blue’s performer this side of the Atlantic – Ian is the A.P. McCoy of British Blues and we want to see him time and time again in any of his guises, none of them boring as he produces the full spectrum of musical colours and textures for our delight.

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You will not have to wait long as he is back in a new guise Siegal Electric Band
13 Nov – PEER, Belgium @ 8pm 
14 Nov – W2, DEN BOSCH, Netherlands<a href=", AMERSFOORT, Netherlands @ 8pm
15 Nov – De Kelder, AMERSFOORT, Netherlands @ 8.30pm
16 Nov – Porgy en Bess, TERNEUZEN, Netherlands @ 9.30pm
17 Nov – Qbus, LEIDEN, Netherlands @ 8.30pm
18 Nov – Trix, ANTWERP, Belgium 7.30pm
19 Nov – Blues Sur Seine, PARIS, France

20 Nov – Borderline, LONDON, UK – 7pm
22 Nov – Met BURY, UK 8pm
23 Nov – Redcar R&B Club, REDCAR, UK 8pm  
24 Nov – Astor Theatre, DEAL, UK 7.30pm

Mississippi Blues Part 2 – North Mississippi Allstars Gig & CD Review

Mississippi Blues @ St Bonaventures, Bristol 22nd October 2013 Part 2 – North Mississippi Allstars
North Mississippi Allstars - Bristol - Oct 2013_0108bwl
This is another Bluesdoodles combined Gig & CD review

No wonder this was a sell out gig two quality acts for the price of one, no one can call North Mississippi Allstars (NMAS) as subtle, laid back or conventional, what they are is artistic, feeling the beat and shaping the music to create dark rhythms, wild beats and musicality of the top drawer every note that can be possibly be created on a guitar is meshed together to create this unique blues fuelled party. The NMAS create this sound out of a chaotic and at times seeming random connection of melody and lyrics but it works on stage and in the recording studio. It is due to the immense talent and mutual understanding of the Dickinson brothers Cody & Luther who are the backbone and fronts-men of this band with the combination of Luther’s guitar skills with his silky and seductive slide skills combined with energy and at times anger that makes the guitar squeal, sing and weep at you drawing you into the sound reaching deep into your soul; and Cody’s inspired, intuitive and free-form drumming and percussive skills no wonder his boogie sound is the bands trademark!. This is a sound that is driven and the drive makes you want to have fun and enjoy being in their company as much as they enjoy playing for the crowded venue in Bristol. The energy is created by Luther who hardly stays still for a second as he prowls around the small stage looking for an outlet for is pent-up energy, and he does through the music. This is certainly not simply a duo since joining them on stage to provide the bass line is Lightnin’ Malcolm who hardly had time to draw breath from his own opening set and then there is the fantastic interaction and stage craft as they play musical chairs when Cody moves from behind the drum kit out front to for the folksy, ‘Train I Ride’ where he played electro-washboard linked up to a WahWah pedal creating a uniquely Allstars sound; or stomp and boom with the big bass drum held aloft, so Lightnin’ Malcolm now has the drummers role and Luther plays on sometimes with a Coffee Can Diddly Bow. Then it is all change again as the energy rises amongst the band and the excited foot stomping crowd as they all don drums and walk amongst the crowded room making the beat pour out throughout the room wow what a sound as they did their own rendition like you have never heard before of ‘Does Your Dog Bite’ what an atmosphere. Throughout the night all three musicians played multiple instruments sometimes the bass, other times lead guitar or the drums seemingly on a whim but it all made perfect musical sense. Exceptional! This is a unique innovative, and thoroughly enjoyable progressive Blues incorporating sounds from the woods, hills and any genre that feels right in the moment, this is a live sound that you need to have been there to have felt the beat and absorbed the mystery that is the North Mississippi Allstars. The stand out tracks for me played tonight was the opening on the encore ‘Goin’ To Brownsville’, ‘Goat Meat’ and ‘World Boogie’. Fantastic music and atmosphere in a crowded, hot and sweaty bar, all too soon we had a reality check as we stepped into the damp dark evening in Bristol and left the steamy swamps of Mississippi behind us.

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wbic-cover-hp North Mississippi – CD – ‘World Boogie is Coming’

The production of the record is superb and it is novel how the CD is divided into four segments the first three reminiscent of a gig – Set 1, 2 and an encore then the film and bonus track; encapsulating what makes the North Mississippi Allstars so popular and how they always look to do their music a little bit differently. Any album that gets you excited about a version of ‘Rollin’ and a Tumblin’ has to go to the top of the pile in my records and the version on “World Boogie is Coming”; by Mississippi Allstars certainly does, this is a fantastic update of the loved song with use of Luther’s vocal and a Coffee Tin Diddle Bow, a metal resonator that takes you down to the earthy, muddy dirt driven blues of making music from what is available while sitting on a stoop. The whole album is as fresh as a daisy full of verve, vim and vigour, whether revamping old favourites including ‘My Babe’ , that sleazes its way into your musical lexicon with the gentle penny whistle and hypnotic drumming and the contrasting vocals of Luther. The whole album has an anarchic, chaotic frenetic feel as they make music that makes you sit up and listen this is artistry, this is different and with tracks like ‘Boogie’, whilst is using traditional blues rhythm they add a modern direction and freshness so that you want to dance and stomp around the house leaving boredom, the chores and the reality of life behind you. This is an album that has some impressive guests including Robert Plant playing quality harmonica on ‘Goat Meat’ and the compatriots, that have worked with them on myriad projects including Ian Siegal & Mississippii Mudbloods, including Duwayne & Garry Burnside, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Sharde Thomas and many more. There can be no doubt that this is the best album they have released so far, it is an infectious re-configuring of the blues that holds your attention and leaves you wanting more and throughout the album you have a feeling it will be even better live and the gig at St Bonaventure’s confirmed that it is despite losing some of the studio tricks and the loss of the backing singers. The length of the tracks vary some are mere snippets whilst others go on for a glorious ten minutes such as
‘Jumper on the Track’. This is an anthem of a song that should be played at least once a day, bringing the Burnside classic straight into the 21st century with its chugging line, vocals that are as clear as a bell delivering words so relevant for today; the mix is perfect my only complaint is it all too quickly comes to an end – now that is the advantage of CDs so easier to set to replay and on random you get a mix that the studio never intended but then you are becoming part of the NMAS anarchic approach to the blues.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of
pawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inch

Mississippi Blues Part 1 – Lightnin' Malcolm Gig & CD Review

Missisippi Blues @ St Bonaventures, Bristol 22nd October 2013 Part 1 – Lightnin’ Malcolm

This is Bluesdoodles first combined Gig & CD review

Lightnin Malcolm - Bristol - Oct 2013_0003l
Opening tonight was Lightnin’ Malcolm in the guise of a one-man band – what a sound he created swampy blues at its best with a twist of influences from across the genres embedded in world music today. To quote Lightnin’ Malcom himself ‘Do it in the name of the Blues’ how very true the sell out audience were delighted as they warmed to the superlative music and the great repartee and company of Mississippi Bluesman Lightnin’ Malcolm. Tonight Lightnin’ Malcolm did a stellar rendition of his own song ‘So Much Trouble‘, this version was cut down from the Ian Siegal & Mississippi Mudbloods rendition on the album “Candy Store Kid”. The fact that it was still so good demonstrates the strength of the lyrics and melody as the charismatic blues-man delivered the track with verve and vigour wow you wanted to dance, jump up and down – but the space was restricted as the audience packed into this small venue to catch some true artistry. Lightnin’ Malcolm is a true performer having fun himself, engaging with the audience with his warm, smile, cheeky grin and great one liners, he is there so that we can have a great time. The tempo was hot and varied creating a swamy atmosphere as St Bonaventure‘s got warmer and warmer so that the atmosphere of a Juke Joint was replicated on a damp October evening in Bristol. Every track he played was a little bit special and as he referred to himself as a “One Man Mississippi Stomp Sound” he created the perfect storm of sound with the combination of his voice, guitar skills and the rhythmic back line produced by his scaled down drop kit, definitely the real deal. Anyone who has not had the opportunity (and if I was you I would remedy the situation as quickly as possible) can purchase his album ‘Rough Out There’.

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lightninmalcolm1 CD – ‘Rough Out There’ – ReviewThe queue at the end of the gig was long as people wanted to take some Mississippi magic home with them. The album is a contemporary blues sound that shakes, stirs and rattles together a myriad of sounds and styles; there is fantastic slide guitar courtesy of Luther Dickinson on four tracks adding another layer into the mix; two of these numbers ‘Workin’ and ‘So Much Trouble’ were played live in a cut down solo version which worked really well creating that swampy juke joint fill. Whilst the versions on the album have a fuller funkier sound that fill the room and make you stomp your feet and wiggle those hips; what a beat and the lyrics are superb. This album again confirms the wealth of talent in the blues world but this album is a cut above many due to the combination of three layers of tone and sound that is melded together in perfect formation on every track. Firstly the tight back line driving an authentic rhythm giving every track a forward motion; overlaid with clever sympathetic mean guitar, this is no fast paced SRV clones so often heard, but a distinctive sound that draws into the beat and makes you want to squeak and shout. Lastly, the vocals, here we have the melodic, tuneful clear voice of Lightnin’ Malcolm who sings with conviction and meaning he believes in the music and wants you to hear every word and understand the nuances of the song. This magic, and so often rare, combination is demonstrated on ‘My Life is a Wreck‘ when he sings ‘No Place to Stay Baby‘ you are drawn to the melancholy lost sound of the voice and it becomes the truth in that moment. There is never a feeling that solos have been used to pad out they are there to add tempo, feeling and colour to the tracks that all have a twist of different genres with the creation of his own version of bleggae with that Caribbean feel added into the mix on tracks such as ‘Dellareesa‘ and ‘Reality Check‘. These are not reggae tracks they simply use the beat and mix it up and it works. The title track is hidden in the middle of the record and has a lovely spoken intro before the music builds up and the sorry and regret is reflected in the words and the tone of the musicians. This is an eclectic combination of modern sounds that have been woven into the structure of the blues – what a refreshing sound – blues that has escaped the constraints of the past but still true to its roots. The closing track demonstrates this so well with hip hop sound, gospel and blues mixed into a cocktail of delights that makes you believe and reflect on ‘How Blessed You Are‘. There is no doubt that Lightnin’ Malcolm is an immensely talented musician, with all the songs written and produced by himself and the selection of the special guests and the use of backing musicians show the understanding he has of the sound he loves and wants to reproduce for you. This album keeps the beat going and will definitely be on replay for a little while longer.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of
pawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inch