'Blues and More' by George Fish


December 29, 2007

Betty Harris
Intuition
Evidence ECD26135-2

With contemporary so-called R&B so dominated by Britney Spears wannabes in blackface, it's so pleasurable indeed to hear the real thing done by a seasoned artist who knows how it's done. Certainly Betty Harris's Intuition fits that bill -- to a tee! It's just an all-around musical pleasure.

Betty Harris perfected her soul, blues and R&B chops from 1958 to 1969, working with singer Big Maybelle and producers Bert Berns and Allen Toussaint, and touring with Otis Redding. Then she retired from music to raise her family, but fan notice posted on the Internet brought her back into performing again in 2005. In December, 2006 she teamed up with producer/engineer/songwriter/musician Jon Tiven to record Intuition, her debut solo CD, released on the well-regarded Evidence blues and soul label.


November 10, 2007

Jerry Lee Lewis
Last Man Standing
Artists First AFT-20001-2
Jerry Lee Lewis, piano and vocal duets with (in order of appearance) Jimmy Page, B.B. King, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger & Ronnie Wood, Neil Young, Robbie Robertson, John Fogerty, Keith Richards, Ringo Starr, Merle Haggard, Kid Rock, Rod Stewart, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Eric Clapton, Little Richard, Delaney Bramlett, Buddy Guy, Don Henley, Kris Kristofferson

***

One of the advantages of being my age is that I had the privilege of growing up in the Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll, from the mid-1950s through the British Invasion of 1964. One of my fondest musical memories is from when I was 11, and just knocked out by listening to Jerry Lee Lewis pounding out "Great Balls of Fire" on the AM radio, back in January, 1958.


November 6, 2007

The Kelly Richey Band
Speechless
Sweet Lucy -- KRB1136

I was first introduced to the Kelly Richey Band in the summer of 2006, when I heard this Cincinnati-based band at Indianapolis's noted blues club, the Slippery Noodle Inn. I was impressed with her vibrant, two-fisted guitar playing from the beginning, and complimented her by quoting what was said of Memphis Minnie: "She plays guitar like a man." This CD, Speechless, by her and her elemental band of only David Clawson on drums and Jimmy V on bass, only confirms and deepens my initial impression.

October 23, 2007

Seven Acres Band
Seven Acres
Seven Acres

Howard Glazer and the EL 34s
Brown Paper Bag
Random Chance RCD-23

“Blues had a baby, and they called it rock ‘n’ roll,” Muddy Waters once noted. Certainly the blues and R&B have been integral parts of creating first, rock ‘n’ roll, then rock, and have been a part of these genres’ history since the mid-1950s, responsible for the genesis of blues/ rock hybrids that have ranged from the sublime to the ripoff. Rock is heavily indebted to the blues, and contemporary blues also indebted to rock, as these two CDs show.

September 11, 2007

Random Chance Records is a small, high-quality blues and jazz record label based in New York City. It has some excellent, exciting issues, as these two reviews below indicate.

Jimmie Lee Robinson
Chicago Jump
Random Chance Records RCD14

Chicago Jump is composed of previously unreleased material from the late Jimmie Lee Robinson, Little Walter's long-time guitarist in the 1950s, that was recorded in November 1995 and February 1996. Coaxed out of retirement in the late 1980s by Scott Dirks, harpman with one of Chicago's leading blues bands, the Ice Cream Men, Robinson hadn't played regularly for over a decade. One of the last remaining traditional 1950s Chicago-style electric blues guitarists, Robinson soon re-established himself as a blues artist of note, playing festivals and recording his widely-acclaimed “comeback” album for Delmark, Lonely Traveler, that was released in 1994.

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