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rhythm’n’blues

Jackson Sloan

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/S
Jackson Sloan - the Shack Sessions
Jackson Sloan – the Shack Sessions

Jackson Sloan & the Rhythmtones – The Shack Sessions

Shellac Records {2013}
Don’t Run Away From My Love – Can’t Find A way – My Chance has Gone – Same Old Suit – Across The Border – I Forgot To remember – Kickin’ Up The Dust – Big talk – Small Town Girl – No No Don’t Do It – Why Don’t You Let Me Know – Ghost Train.

I’m always more than pleased to find a Jackson Sloan album in my mailbox. The Shack Sessions makes no exception, far from that, it’s the singer’s strongest effort to date (Rent Party and Oop Bop Sh’ Bam included) and his deep voice has never sounded so good. Coupled with his ability to write originals (all songs are from his pen) and that’s it, another killer.
It takes a few bars of “Don’t Run Away From My Love“, featuring the Metrotones on B-vox (they appear on three more) and hear Pete Cook (tenor) and Alex Bland (Baritone) trading licks to agree with me. If you don’t you must be dead, or at least lost for good music. Next are two more slices of juicy Rhythm’n’Blues. “Same Old Suit”  features Laura B. (who had a records by herself on El Toro, check it out) on duet. It is followed by “Across the Border” a latin tinged tune with a Fats Domino groove with West Weston on harmonica (who played with Sloan in Rent Party). “I Forgot to Remeber” is a fine ballad, but “Kickin’ Of Dust” changes the pace and rocks with the welcome addition of a steel guitar (more like that on the next album please!). “Small Town Girl” and  “Why Don’t You Let Me Know?” see the horn section augmented by Graeme Turner (Drifters, Big Town Playboys and the list goes on…) on alto and tenor and you’re in for some sax madness. With Sloan, you can be sure that Big Joe Turner is never very far and “Ghost Train” the last and best track of the Shack sessions, propelled by Dave Raven’s slap bass proves it with class.

Jackson Sloan – Saturday Clothes

Jackson Sloan

Shellac Records -Shellacrecords001
Jumping On The Kansas Line – Take A Chance On Me Baby – Don’t Make Me Love You Again – I’m No Good Without You – Long As I Have You – Midnight Lover – Saturday Clothes – Saratoga Boogie – ‘Til The River Runs Dry – Love x 2 – Temptation – Lover’s Call.

Rent Party was one of the best British R’n’B/Jive act of the mid 80’s. Their singer, Jackson Sloan later moved on the jazz scene but resurfaced a couple of years ago with Oo-Bop-Sh’Bam, and proved he still had his warm voice. He’s now releasing an album under his own name featuring 12 original numbers. It’s rhythm’n’blues at its best, with a bit of boogie too and even a gospel. He’s backed by a terrific combo made of hot musicians namely Mike Thorne (Big Town Playboys), Richard Studholme (Blue Devils), Pete Pritchard (Flying Saucers, Scotty Moore and the list goes on…), Gunter Kurmayr (Ray Gelato) and Ray Gelato in person who also wrote the arrangements.Do I really need to add something after that to convince you? Well I can say that the sax is juicy when it needs to be, mellow on the slow numbers and it screams and honks like no tomorrow when the tempo fastens. The whole album for me is one of Gelato’s finest performances ever. The guitar is gritty just like it needs to be and the rhythm section sets the perfect groove. And on top of all that, like a cherry on top of a giant cake, you have Jackson’s voice, a true lady’s trap. And when Gelato describes him in the liner notes like a “modern day Joe Turner and Wynonie Harris”, you just need to listen to the first few bars of the first song to fully agree with him.
Now the choice is yours: buy it or buy it!

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Starjays

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/S

The Starjays - Bang! It's the Starjays
The Starjays – Bang! It’s the Starjays

The Starjays – Bang! It’s the Starjays

Rhythm Bomb – RBR5828 {2016}
Who Do You Love The Most? – The Right Girl – Flat Broke – I’ll Wait – Nobody Loves You Like Me – My Wild Girl – Cadillac Of Woman – Keep On Talkin’- One Quick Stop – What’s Gone Wrong? – Turn Down The Lights – Tintarella Di Luna – A Sin Comin’ On – Get Closer

Led by Roy Kay (the Roy Kay trio\Combo, the Margraves) and Angela Tini (Angelatini and the Trebblemakers) and featuring the talents of piano wizard Carl Sonny Leyland, Marshall Scott Warner on drums, Tony Laborie on double bass, Sean Jensen on sax and Mike Geglia on guitar (also from the Roy Kay trio connection), the Starjays are a hot combo that plays rhythm’n’blues and rock’n’roll (and I mean real Rock’n’roll) with, for a song or two, a slight 60’s feel. They reminded me of the Jive Bombers, the excellent and now defunct Austin based band that featured Shaun Young.
Roy Kay and Angela Tini share the vocal duties (solo or in duets) which brings a lot of diversity to this album. As she is probably lesser known than her partner Roy Kay who have quite a few albums under his name, I have to sing here the praise of Miss Tini’s voice who manages to be powerful, subtle and dare I say a bit naughty (Get Closer), all that with a Ruth Brown vibe. Other names come to mind, but it would reduce Tini’s own personnality that is present here from start to finish (understand “she has her own voice and she is no impersonnator”).
All songs but two are originals penned by Kay and Tini. It’s very well produced, recorded, sung (I’ve already said that, but better twice than never) and played, each solist having plenty of room to express himself.
And icing on the cake, it comes in a nicely designed digipack .

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Nico Duportal and his Rhythm Dudes

in Albums/CD/Contemporary artists/Reviews

Nico Duportal & his Rhythm Dudes - Dealing with my blues
Nico Duportal & his Rhythm Dudes – Dealing with my blues

Nico Duportal and his Rhythm Dudes – Dealing with my blues

Rhythm Bomb Records ‎– RBR5844 [2016]
Don’t You See – I Know The Rules – Now Hush – The One To Blame – I Will Unfriend You – Mess And Chaos – Benzola Ascensor – Sometimes – Brand New Day – Junior’s Mambo – Soul Patch – Long Way To Go – Mess And Chaos (Acoustic Bonus Track)

Nico Duportal,French ace guitar player and singer, is not the kind of guy to rest on his laurels. One year after the excellent Guitar Player (that I hope you all own) he releases a brand-new platter that is even better. Once again, the Rhythm Dudes (Pascal Mucci on drums, Alex Bertein on baritone, Thibault Chopin on upright bass, Sylvain Téjérizo on tenor and Olivier Cantrelle on piano and organ.) are here to provide the perfect background to let the many talents of mister Duportal shine.

While his previous album was almost 100% rhythm’n’blues, “Dealing With My Blues” expands his musical horizons and shows the influence of many other genres, including a heavy dose of Soul with, terrific idea, the use of an organ (and if you like Jimmie Va. There’s someTilt a Whirl band, you’ll be delighted) Mambo too with Junior’s mambo penned by  Tim Lelegems ex-Fried Bourbon and Shakedown Tim and the Rhythm Revue, a band recently produced by Duportal. There’s also a bit of of surf (Soul Patch), a hint of Calypso (the One to Blame) and more modern things like Mess and Chaos (that Don Cavalli co-wrote) that shows that Duportal is not a “revival” guy and that his music is not a piece of museum.

All songs are originals mostly penned by Duportal but bass player Thibault Chopin composed two (and co-wrote another). In addition to Junior’s Mambo Tim Lelegems co-wrote I will Unfriend You (facebook friends beware!) and last but not least French blues legend Benoit Blue Boys penned Benzola Ascensor an instrumental on which he also plays harmonic (by the way Nico will appear on Benoit Blue Boy’s forthcoming album, a tribute to French Rock’n’rollers of the of the fifties like Mac Cak.)

Buy it here or if you order from France here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Nico Duportal and his Rhythm Dudes - Guitar Player
Nico Duportal and his Rhythm Dudes – Guitar Player

Nico Duportal and his Rhythm Dudes – Guitar Player

Rhythm Bomb Records  – RBR5800 [2015]
When I’m Gone – Lost In The Game – Polish Woman – Oh Baby – Can’t Afford To Lose Her – She Knows How – Real Good Lovin’ Tonight – Big Mary’s – Guitar Player – Oh Oh – Josh & Slim – Much Later – Polish Woman (bonus track, unreleased version)

If you dig 50’s black rhythm’n’blues, stop what you’re doing right now and run to your local record shop – if it still exists – or go to Rhythm Bomb’s website to buy Nico Duportal’s amazing fourth album. When you listen to it, you’d swear that someone has unearthed a lost recording made for Peacock or Specialty and put it on cd.
The last time I had the same level of enthusiasm for a similar artist was at the turn of the millenium when I listened to Nick Curran’s debut album.
Like Curran, Duportal has the whole package: the voice, a guitar style in which one can hear the influences of Tiny Grimes, T. Bone Walker, Gatemouth Brown and Johnny Guitar Watson and the songs (and he even has the look!). Six out of 12 are originals he wrote or co-wrote and double bass player Thibaut Chopin wrote another one. The cover are well selected coming from the catalog of Jackie Brenston, Titus Turner, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Eddie Bo.
One word has to be said about the Rhythm Dudes without whom this album wouldn’t be such a success. The rhythm section (Olivier Cantrelle on piano, Pascal Mucci on drums and Chopin on bass) keeps a steady beat whith precision and swing (yes, both!) while the horns (Alex Bertein on baritone saxophone and Arnaud Desprez on tenor) are groovy, juicy and hot.
A must have.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Red Peters and her Solid Senders

in Albums/Contemporary artists/R/Reviews

Red Peters and her Solid Senders - Rockin' Out The Blues
Red Peters and her Solid Senders – Rockin’ Out The Blues

Red Peters and her Solid Senders – Rockin’ Out The Blues

Crazy Gator Records ‎– CGRLP003 [1997]
My Man Ain’t Coming Inside – The Big Saturday Nite – Gettin’ High – As Long As I’m Movin’ – Ride Daddy Ride – Rock This Joint – I Ain’t Talkin’ – Hey Everybody – Whole Lotta Shakin’ – Shake That Thing

Red Peters, the girl with the big voice, and her band the Solid Senders (guitar, honkin’ saxophone, trumpet, drums and double bass) and guest Chris Gardner (Stargazers) on piano released Rockin’ Out the Blues, their debut 10″ in 1997. With no concession made to modernity this hot platter is a white heated slab of late 40’s/early 50’s Rhythm’n’Blues and Jump in which one can hear the influences of Ruth Brown, Big Mama Thornton, Big Joe Turner and of course Ella Mae Morse. The band’s originals match with the covers easily. Red’s voice is really impressive, confident and powerful without shouting while the band provides a solid backing.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Billie and the Kids – Jukebox Daddy

in AB/Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

billie-and-the-kids-jukebox-daddyRhythm Bomb Records – RBR 5757 [2014]
Scorched – Your First Kiss – Bumble Bee – Jukebox Daddy – Blueprint Of My Heart – Maybe – It’s Wrong – How Can You Leave A Man Like This – I’ve Got A Feelin’ – Lonely Days – Come On and Fool Around With Me – You’re Gonna Be Sorry – Need You Tonight – Your Love – Tough – I’m Wise – I Thought I Told You Not To Tell ’em

I realised that this one was on my list of record to review for quite a long time and I quickly put it in the player. After a few bars of the first song I thought I had made a mistake, the sound I hear didn’t match the picture I saw on the booklet. How could a strong and “black” voice like that come from such a young and frail lady? I double checked, pinched me (one never knows) but I soon had to admit the reality: Billie & the Kids don’t come from New Orleans but from Zagreb, Croatia and Jukebox Daddy has not been recorded for Savoy or Modern in the fifties but for Rhythm Bomb in 2013.
These boys (piano, guitar, double bass, drums and three saxes as well as a couple of guests) and girl nailed the sound of their favourite records (Etta James, Ruth Brown, Varetta Dillard) perfectly and make it sound natural. It’s due to their musicianship and ease, but mostly to their ten originals penned by Jurica Stelma, the band’s bassist that include ballads, boppers, jumpers and some latin too.
Don’t miss it.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Roy Brown – Saturday Night

in Albums/Reissues/Reviews

roybrownrb_smallEl Toro R&B 112
Hurry, Hurry Baby – Old Age Boogie (Parts 1 & 2) – Laughing But Crying – Grandpa Stole My Baby – Money Can’t Buy Love – Letter From Home – Midnight Lover Man – Mr. Hound Dog’s In Town – Caldonia’s Wedding Day – Trouble At Midnight – Crazy, Crazy Women – Everything’s All Right – Bootleggin’ Baby – No Love At All – Up Jumped The Devil – Don’t Let It Rain – Ain’t No Rockin’ No More – Queen Of Diamonds – Gal From Kokomo – Worried Life Blues – Fanny Brown Got Married – Black Diamond – Shake ‘Em Up Baby – Saturday Nite – Everybody – The Tick Of The Clock – I’m Stickin’ With You – Party Doll – Let The Four Winds Blow
It would be a mistake to summarize Roy Brown’s discography to “Good Rockin’ Tonight”. In addition to Deluxe/King, he cut sides for Imperial, Home Of The Blues, DRA and even Chess and died in 1981 after making a well deserved triumphant return to New Orleans. This mammoth cd (29 songs) presents his lesser known sides recorded for King between 1952 and 1955, and 6 tunes from his Imperial sessions. Brown’s new home had no plan to change a formula that was successful and this sides are in the same vein of his precedent releases, sharing the same arrangements or themes (“Ain’t No Rockin’ No More” is a sequel to his massive hit). “Mr Hound Dog’s In Town” (which is nothing but a adaptation of Hound Dog) is slightly different accompanied by just a guitar-bass-drums trio. The Imperial sides show a different side of Brown with an unexpected cover of Buddy Knox’s Party Doll which saw his return in the charts in 1957 (#13) followed by “Let The Four Wind Blow” (#5). A good addition to anyone interested by Blues shouters and a good replacement to the Classics (1951-1953) cd which is now hard to find.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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