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rhythm’n’blues

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

Hot Lips Page – Roll! Roll! Roll! The R&B Years

in Albums/Reissues/Reviews

hotlipspageEl Toro R&B 110. [2009]
In A Daze – Miss Larceny Blues – Roll, Roll, Roll – Gimme Gimme Gimme – Jeety-Boat Joad – Florida Blues – Ashes On My Pillow – Open The Door Richard – Birmingham Boogie – I Want To Ride Like The Cowboys Do – Let Me In – Strike While The Iron’s Hot – The Jungle King – The Cadillac Song – Blow Champ Blow – Chocolate Candy Blues – The Hucklebuck – Pacifying Blues – That’s The One For Me – Sharp Little Sister – Main Street – I’ve Got The Upper Hand – Moanin’ Dan

Hot Lips Page could have been a serious rival to Louis Armstrong both as a vocalist and a trumpet player. Sadly, it never materialised due to bad moves and mistakes from his management (though it may have been deliberated as Page shared the same manager than Armstrong). But Page became a sought after session man, playing with Billie Holiday, Artie Shaw, Pete Johnson and Wynonie Harrie with whom he recorded “Good Rockin’ Tonight”. He also assembled various small jump blues combo under his own name and recorded sides for labels like Columbia, RCA, King, Harmony, Circle etc. With those hotter than pepper bands he pionneered the pre-rock’n’roll era in a genre similar to the great Louis Jordan (whom he admired). This compilation gathers 27 of his best sides recorded between the 40’s and his death in 1954, including unissued material and duet with female singers like Little Sylvia, Pearl Bailey and Mildred Anderson.
Absolutely and totally essential.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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