Bluesdoodles Album Picks First Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks First Quarter 2017

 

 

What a start to 2017 – two festivals and some fantastic live gigs, memory box of 2017 filling up fast. Adding to the mix of delights is a cascade of albums arriving through the letterbox both the electronic format and the traditional front door.

First thirteen weeks, I have listened to many and thirty-three have been reviewed Bluesdoodles keyboard warrior loves the listening, enjoys the typing. The hard part is deciding the number of doodle paws for the superb musicianship and variety of styles we listen to. At the end of the first quarter of 2017 from the 1st of January through to 31st March 2017: EIGHT albums shone bright, thus ten doodle paws were stamped on the cover.

Clicking the album cover takes you to the review:-

Bluesdoodles Album Picks First Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks First Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks First Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks First Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks First Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks First Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks First Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks First Quarter 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Ruth – Ain’t Ready For The Grave – Hurricane Ruth Records  “Hurricane Ruth delivers blues with gritty determination. She sets the music going and raises the tempo and heat until a perfect storm is created, with energised, swirling blues that are fueled with high-octane rock.  ….  The album is delivered with passion and determination the lyrics are set free by Hurricane Ruth’s vocal interpretation.” Read the rest of the review HERE

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion – This is The Life I Choose – 33 Records: “With three studio albums under Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion’s belt the fourth is definitely not running out of steam, it is full throttle blues. The blues are stylish, a mix of pathos and humour, reflections and looking forward, sadness and hints of joy”  Read the rest of the review HERE

Thunder Rip It UpearMUSIC: “Rip It Up will never be a boring listen.  Why? … Thunder’s eleventh studio album they a have definitely roared out of the studio with Rip It Up. An album for Thunder fans who have followed them over three decades and for those discovering them at today. …..  Rip It Up as new fans come under Thunder’s rock spell.”  Read the rest of the review HERE

Erja Lyytinen – Stolen Hearts –  Tuohi Records.  “The only answer as the last notes fade is listen and explore Stolen Hearts again. Why? Stolen Hearts is an album of musical maturity that will remain a firm favourite for years to come in collections of lovers of contemporary blues without boundaries.” Read the rest of the review HERE

Jo Harman – People We Become – Independent:The ten track, superbly crafted album closes out with piano and voice as Lonely Like Me with deep melody and a song that is timeless as we feel the hurt of loneliness and understand the begging for forgiveness as it is part of our own life’s journey. It is why we are the People We Become”. Read the rest of the review HERE

Catfish – Broken Man – Independent:Broken Man is definitely not Broken giving contemporary British Blues that resonates curling around your speakers with sparkling class. …  an album early on in the year that has to be a contender for Blues Album of 2017. This is a blues gem that is multi-faceted and a prism of blue hues that hits you from every direction.” Read the rest of the review HERE

Matt AndersenHonest ManTrue North Records: … The music has a freshness, with a twist of retro and crosses across genres if you love a good song, superb vocals and interesting melodies then Honest Man will be a much-loved addition to your collection of music that is personal and political.” Read the rest of the review HERE

Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado – Change My Game – RUF: “…a studio album that sets down clearly the intent that Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado have once again picked up the baton of creativity and the game has changed for them building on their previous catalogue …. full of freshness as all the skills, dexterity and feel of the eight musicians are used to maximise the blues, rocking funky sound that flows through the album.” Read the rest of the review HERE

 

Check out the albums reviewed by Bluesdoodles by clicking  Recorded Music Link

 

This Is The Life I Choose Says Zoe Schwarz Latest Album

This Is The Life I Choose Says Zoe Schwarz Latest Album

 

 This Is The Life I Choose Says Zoe Schwarz Latest Album

 

 

With three studio albums under Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion’s belt the fourth is definitely not running out of steam, it is full throttle blues. The blues are stylish, a mix of pathos and humour, reflections and looking forward, sadness and hints of joy.

With hundreds of gigs notched up on the road, the miles piling up all shows on an album that reflects the lifestyle of the band This Is the Life I Choose, making music that pleases and makes you sit up and listen. Zoe and the band are getting noticed, the blues is distinctive, fresh and modern without gimmicks and bells but some excellent guitar work from Rob Koral, The pairing of Pete and Paul on Hammond and Drums respectively providing the deep grooves that allow Zoe’s vocals to sparkle. The whole album has a fiery energy and the addition of Sax from Ian Ellis and Andy Urquhart on Trumpet on some of the tracks makes those three tracks pop with a burst of brass power.

Zoe opens with Hold On, and yes we will as she and the band are going to take you on a musical high-ride experience blending blues, jazz and soul into an explosive musical experience.  The whole album has a relaxed feel of a singer and band in harmony with the music they are playing.  The music has a freedom and sense of purpose from the off with the instrumental breaks a listening delight and then the sultry distinctive vocals that are Zoe pulls the track together with lyrics that have something to say.

The second track has a cheeky acoustic beat with lyrics delivered with ironic humour as Zoe sings “high-ho life is sweet because my baby said so” despite being broke, no money to get to a gig, the sax adds to the feeling of desperation of swimming against the tide but we will get there with the support of people we love. The infectious beat and movement through the music continues with People with a dancing/marching beat as the percussion drives the melodic vocals forward with purpose. Every track has a nuanced turn of phrase the fun of delivering the music comes through with the up-lifting I Wanna Get Something Started With You, blues shuffling adds textures and optimistic tones fitting in with the lyrics that ‘Today Is going to be a good day’.

The title track is a reflection of the life of artists, the drive and dedication required to make a success with your own artistry in a corporate environment. Zoe Schwarz Blues Commotion have chosen the blues they want to play, remained true to it and this is an album that delivers. No song is constrained by a set length some are shorter others longer depending on the feel of the music. The feel for me is very very good.

The album has a deep connection with all sides of humanity the eleven originals drawing lyrics from in the main the winning partnership of Zoe Schwarz & Rob Koral with others written by other sources including Pete Feenstra, with his words shaping No Money In My Pocket and Call Of The Night. The mood changes with a harder edge, the riffs are strong raw with anger reflected in Zoe’s snarl as she spits out the lyrics. This number may be surprising for some but as Zoe says “but they shouldn’t be; I was a big Clash and Stranglers fan”…  The poetic shaping of the Call Of The Night is reflected in the stripped down acoustic tone. The poem is allowed to be the star as a hypnotic melody pulls you deep into the night. Stunning.

The album closes with two bonus tracks, first Jack Bruce’s We’re Going Wrong and closing with Feeling Good, summing up perfectly how you feel having listened to Zoe Schwarz Blues Commotion. A commotion everyone will enjoy.

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion – This is The Life I Choose – 33 Records

 

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Hold On
  2. My Baby Told Me So
  3. People
  4. Broken
  5. I Wanna Get Something Started With You
  6. Free From You
  7. This is the Life I Choose
  8. Exit
  9. I Can’t Live like That
  10. No Money In My Pocket
  11. Call Of The Night
  12. We’re Going Wrong
  13. Feeling Good

This Is The Life I Choose Says Zoe Schwarz Latest Album

Livewire describing Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

Livewire describing Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

Livewire describing Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

The depth of material available at Zoe Schwarz’s fingertips is demonstrated in Livewire building on the 2015 live album I’ll Be Yours Tonight. Recorded at Chaplin’s Bar, Boscombe, Livewire is alive with passion and emotion as Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion deliver twelve tracks a mix of covers and songs written by Koral and Schwarz. We are in for a treat as we can share the evening with an audience obviously thrilled to be in the presence of a band that will always entertain.

The energy kicks off as Zoe and the band reveal that The Blues Don’t Scare Me. As on previous outings a true statement, Zoe Schwarz vocals give the blues a textural tone distinct and pure whilst the Blue Commotion harmonise around the lyrics. The two Pauls combine to give the album rhythm and punctuation that acts as a springboard for Zoe’s vocals and Rob Koral’s stellar manipulation of the six-strings. We are in for a treat as an original number gives ways to applause and a Portishead cover Glory Box. The reworking is stylish, accomplished slowing down as stripping back the number and re-forming with the tone of the blues and Zoe’s voice suits the re-working. The other covers have been carefully selected, fitting in with the tone of Livewire and showcasing Zoe’s instantly recognizable voice that purrs, growls and hits the top notes on Jay Hawkins’I Put A Spell On You. This is seductive, alluring and spellbinding. Into the mix we Move Over for Zoe as she takes on the mood and inflections of Janice Joplin, whilst not slavishly copying. The reworking of Bobby Parker’s Blues Gets Off My Shoulder, is slower more considered and suits the Commotion’s style. Into the live mix we have eight originals, penned by the partnership that is at the heart of the band Rob Koral and Zoe Schwarz. The songs all reflect the sound and shaping of the blues to their own unique style. Blues that has a feel of jazz and the clubs that were smoky and down some stairs, mysterious and a hint of something naughty. This though is not blues of the past the lyrics and delivery are contemporary and the fans just love what they do to the Blues. The audience and listeners are definitely In The Mood to sit back and enjoy the music that is grooving all night long. The beat picks up and the feet join in as Rob’s guitar introduces Heartbreak Tears and the vocals that are sung with sultry sadness by Zoe, compelling listening and a clever track drawing the album to a close. Not like all live performances we have an encore, in the shape of a bonus track. They say you can have Too Much Of A Good Thing, well not in the case of Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion, this is blues that doesn’t rock with electric overkill, it is smooth and has a style that has one foot in a bygone age and the other foot firmly in the here and now. The closing track has humour and a sense of playfulness as Zoe’s vocals plays tag with guitar and we know there is more of this good thing to come. Zoe once again moulds her voice to suit the tempo, pitch and feel of the blues they love to perform and share with the audiences.

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

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion – Breaking and Entering – 33 Records

Track Listings

  1. The Blues Don’t Scare Me (Koral/Schwarz)
  2. Glory Box (Portishead)
  3. There’s Only You (Koral/Schwarz)
  4. I Put A Spell On You (Hawkins)
  5. Move Over (Joplin)
  6. I’m In The Mood (Koral/Schwarz)
  7. Come Home Sweet Baby (Koral/Schwarz)
  8. Blues Get Of My Shoulder (Parker)
  9. You Knock Me Out (Koral/Schwarz)
  10. I Won’t Cry Over You (Koral/Schwarz)
  11. Heartbreak Tears (Koral/Schwarz)
  12. Bonus Track – Too Much Of A Good Thing (Koral/Schwarz)

CD Review: Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion ~ I’ll Be Yours Tonight

FolderThe live album opens with verve with a distinctive and instantly recognisable sound and then Zoe’s vocals hit the airwaves and you can only be listening to the Blues Commotion’s jazz, funk and soul inspired blues that has hints of rocky fire as on the opening number Your Sun Shines Rain. The band creates a sound that zings and every instrument has a role to play creating a carpet of tonal textures for the vocal clarity that is Zoe with a voice that caresses the music making it bend to her emotional will. This is their fourth album, and to ring the changes a live album recorded by Richard Dunning at Tuesday Night Music Club; was this the result of months of careful planning… no it was a snatch opportunity so this lively performance can be enjoyed by the many rather than the lucky few who were at the London club on a November night.

As with any live performance we hear songs that have been recorded in the studio and tonight is no different with Angel Of Mercy, Smile, Let Me Sing The Blues from the acclaimed Exposed album and Liberated Woman, Your Sun Shines Rain, I Believe In You from The Blues Don’t Scare Me.

There is no argument and this album nails it Zoe and the band adore playing live and there is a fluidity in the delivery that can be missed when being recorded in the studio. The rendition of Billie Holiday’s Fine and Mellow; the arrangement by Zoe and Rob Koral slows the pace and adds the jazz to the proceedings that suits Zoe’s approach to singing. Not one of the tracks is just about the vocals the interludes from Peter Whittaker on Hammond are wonderful lightening up the verve as seen on many of the tracks then another layer of six-string magic from the stylish guitar tones from Rob with Paul Robinson on Drums laying down a deep groove that allows everyone to explore the musical map they are creating and have fun. The addition of Si Generao on harmonica ad tenor saxophone from Ian Ellis and trumpeter Andy Urquhart means that around every musical bar there is a gem of sweet blues.

This is Zoe and The Blue Commotion sharing the music they love and connect to and the crowds enjoyed every moment we know because the warm applause can be heard reflecting the warm deep emotional tone that Zoe brings to every song she sings coming towards the end of a balanced live album is Beatitudes that is full of gospel soul driven emotion that will always make you sit up and listen.

Live music has that special edge and you can have Zoe and her band playing live where ever you go with this album that captures the heart and soul of the blue Commotion.

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

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion ~ I’ll Be Yours Tonight – 33 Records
Track Listing

1. Your Sun Shines Rain (Koral/Schwarz)
2. Fine and Mellow (Holiday arr. Koral & Schwarz)
3. Let Me Sing The Blues (Koral/Schwarz)
4. Smile (Koral/Schwarz)
5. Angel of Mercy (Koral/Schwarz)
6. Liberated Woman (Koral/Schwarz)
7. We’ll Find A Way (Koral/Schwarz)
8. Say It Isn’t So (Koral/Schwarz)
9. I Believe In You (Koral/Schwarz)
10. I’ll Do Anything (Koral/Schwarz)
11. Beatitudes (Koral/Schwarz)
12. Take Me Back (Koral/Schwarz)

Zoe Schwarz & Blue Commotion ~ Exposed – CD Review

exposed-fcZoe Schwarz Blue Commotion
Exposed
33 Records

This is an album crossing the genre river and flows with quality as the band and Zoe dip into Jazz, Blues, Soul and Rock. It is Zoe’s voice that drives the shape of every track, this she is able to do as the musicians that surround her can up the beat, slow it down or just give a subtle accompaniment. This is demonstrated in the opening track Angel of Mercy – where Zoe’s voice is that of a loving kitten and then with the flick of the drum stick the volume and passion rises as she shapes the music around the lyrics.

This is an album that like all fine music gains another dimension every time you listen to it and you hear another shade, or appreciate the hidden majesty of the harp playing on Let’s Explain, this because the first time you are captivated by the lyrical story being told as Zoe gives almost a perfect response to Billie Holiday’s Don’t Explain. Rob’s guitar playing gives this track a real Blues-Jazz edge that leaves you swirling with emotions. .. Formidable & So Strong Zoe sings a description of her own vocal talents.

This is an album where Zoe and her Blue Commotion have honed their immense skills to produce an album that has a mixture of a soothing hand on a hot forehead on You’re Not Alone through to the dragon’s fiery vocal breath when Zoe opens up her voice and delivers on tracks such as Let Me Sing The Blues.

I’m Glad is full of soul and is a party tune that gets you up and dancing and will bring a smile to your face as the instrumentation drives the vocals along.
You Knock Me Out has an amazing mix of organ and harp that sets the feel of an imp up to mischief that is followed through by Zoe and then finishing the album with a stylish clap along live blues number Broken Heart Blues. Zoe is queen of the vocals and the Blues Commotion build up the stylish and at times stormy accompaniment making Exposed an album where they all want you to have a fantastic time while listening to their shaping of the blues in delivering thirteen stylish tracks, their most accomplished yet.

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

BAND
Zoe Schwarz – Vocals
Rob Koral – Guitar
Pete Whittaker – Hammond Organ
Si Genaro = Harmonica/Backing Vocals
Paul Robinson – Drums/Percussion

Guests
Ian Ellis – Tenor Saxaphone
Andy Urquhart Trumpet (Tracks 5, 7, 10 & 11)
Carl Chamberlain – Backing Vocals (track 3)

Track Listing
Angel Of Mercy – (Koral/Schwarz)
Smile – (Koral/Schwarz)
Let Me Sing The Blues – (Koral/Schwarz)
Let’s Explain (Blues For Billie) – (Koral/Schwarz)
You Knock Me Out – (Koral/Schwarz)
Heroes – (Sue Hawker/ Rob Koral)
If I had Wings – (Koral/Schwarz)
I No longer Feel Blue – (Koral/Schwarz)
You’re Not Alone – (Koral/Schwarz)
I’m Glad – (Koral/Schwarz)
I Wonder Who My Next Man Will Be – (Koral/Schwarz)
Fifteen Days – (Koral/Schwarz)
Broken Heart Blues – (Koral/Schwarz)