Beatlejam – Live At The Webster Theater

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UK pressing of this live album from the jam band supergroup consisting of Matt Abs (Govt Mule), Berry Oakley (Allman Brothers), Vince Welnick (Grateful Dead), Slick Aguilar (Jefferson Starship) and Johnny Need (Govt Mule, Allman Brothers, Lonny Mack). Beatlejam are a sort of spin off from the successful US jam band Blue Floyd only this time its Beatles songs rather than the Pink Floyd, given the unique jam spin.

Live at the Webster Theater, Hartford, Ct, 2002

John Mayall – The Turning Point

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This prophetically titled project represents yet another crossroad in John Mayall’s ever evolving cast of prime British bluesmen. This album also signifies a distinct departure from the decibel drowning electrified offerings of his previous efforts, providing instead an exceedingly more folk and roots based confab. The 2001 “remastered & revisited” edition of The Turning Point boasts vastly improved audio — when compared to its previous CD counterparts — and a trio of three “bonus tracks” from the same July 12, 1969 performance at Bill Graham’s fabulous Fillmore East in New York City. The specific lineup featured here is conspicuous in its absence of a lead guitarist, primarily due to Mayall recommending himself out of his most recent string man. After the passing of Brian Jones, the Rolling Stones decided to tour and at the behest of Mick Jagger, Mayall suggested Mick Taylor — who had been with him since Crusade (1967). Mayall gave this potentially negative situation a positive outcome by retooling the combo into an acoustic quartet featuring old friends as well as some vital new sonic textures. Mayall (vocals/harmonica/slide guitar/telecaster six-string/hand & mouth percussion) joined forces with former associates Steve Thompson (bass) and Johnny Almond (tenor & alto sax/flute/mouth percussion), then added the talents of Jon Mark (acoustic finger-style guitar). It becomes readily apparent that Mark’s precision and tasteful improvisational skills place this incarnation into heady spaces. The taut interaction and wafting solos punctuating “So Hard to Share” exemplify the controlled intensity of Mayall’s prior electrified outings. Likewise, Mark’s intricate acoustics pierce through the growl of Mayall’s haunting slide guitar solos on “Saw Mill Gulch Road.” The Turning Point also examines a shift in Mayall’s writing. The politically charged “Laws Must Change,” the personal “I’m Gonna Fight for You J.B.” and the incomparable “Room to Move” are tinged with Mayall’s trademark sense of irony and aural imagery. As mentioned above, the supplementary sides “Sleeping by Her Side,” “Don’t Waste My Time,” and “Can’t Sleep This Night” — which were left off of the original disc owing to the restrictions imposed upon the vinyl medium — are sourced from the same mid-July 1960 Fillmore East set as the main program.

Popa Chubby – The Hungry Years

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Popa Chubby has been described by some as a comic book character, a charlatan, a shameless self-promoter and by others as an accomplished blues musician, showman and entrepreneur. Having followed Mr. Horowitz’s (aka Popa Chubby) career over the past many years, it is easy to understand the controversy. On the one hand he has proven to be a tireless musician with a rather large body (no pun intended) of work for a man with no major label support until his recent signing with Blind Pig. On the other hand, a lot of that early work, produced on his own label and/or oversees recordings, is often of inconsistent quality. This CD takes the pain out of trying to locate early Chubby material that is actually worth listening to. What you will find here is some pretty good original blues rock material put out by Chubby in his early years. The two lone exceptions seem to be “It’s Chubby Time” which has its origins in an early disco number which will readily come to mind from the opening note and “What’s Your Problem/Pipeline” which is a previously unreleased live version which seems disjointed and out of sync with the other selections. Guitarists will be especially happy with the selections as most feature Popa’s bag full of chops and tasty licks. Overall, it’s a pretty good compilation of Popa’s early material.

Getatchew Mekurya & The Ex and Guests – Moa Anbessa

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Moa Anbessa is an album by Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria with Dutch post-punk band The Ex and guests, released in 2006 on The Ex’s subsidiary label Terp. The project came together on the heels of The Ex’s previous studio album Turn, which incorporated elements of Eritrean and Congolese music alongside a tribute to the Ethiojazz anthems of Getatchew Mekuria. The Ex had toured Ethiopia twice and then invited Mekuria to perform at their 25th anniversary show in Amsterdam where he proposed that The Ex be the backup band for his next album. In addition to Moa Anbessa, the collaboration yielded tours of Europe and North America as well as an official live DVD released by Buda Music, producers of the influential Ethiopiques series of ethiojazz compilations.

‘‘A killer combination of sounds – the searing tenor sax of Getatchew Mekuria and the raspy guitars of The Ex brought together here in really unique cross-cultural formation! Mekuria’s influence really transforms the sound of The Ex, bringing their anarchic spirit into a strongly Ethiopian mode, one that’s further underscored by some great guest horn work on clarinet, alto, and trombone used like the kind of horn sections you’d find on Ethiopian recordings from the 70s, which lets Mekuria really do his thing by soloing over the tunes with a great deal of feeling.’’
Dusty Groove America.

 

 

 

Grand Green – Carrying on

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Grant Green (St. Louis, Missouri, June 6, 1935 – New York, January 31, 1979) was a jazz guitarist and composer. Recording prolifically and almost exclusively for Blue Note Records (as both leader and sideman) Green performed well in hard bop, soul jazz, bebop and Latin-tinged settings throughout his career.
Having firmly established himself as the ’60s jazz guitarist second only to the great Wes Montgomery , Grant Green was willing and able to move into something new and give himself up to the emerging funk wave that would seep across the ’70s.
Hypnotically rhythmic and quintessentially grooving, the five tracks on this album are all exceptionally tasty bursts of authentic funk. “Carryin’ On” contains two solid covers, The Meters’ “Ease Back” and James Brown’s “I Don’t Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door I’ll Get It Myself)”.
Neal Creaque’s “Cease the Bombing,” (later covered by Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers ) floats like a smooth sailing trip across the ether with Green majestically at the helm.
Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on October 3, 1969.

 

Innes Sibun – The box set

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Perhaps Innes Sibun isn’t a really familiar name to very many people. As an accomplished sideman playing alongside musicians whose credits listings include backing Bob Dylan, George Thorogood, and Ten Years After amongst others, also one whose extensive touring background has seen his band opening shows for headliners such as Taj Mahal, Johnny Winter, Chris Farlowe and Jools Holland, and who also undertook a full tour with Robert (Led Zeppelin) Plant’s own band, putting together this 10 track mostly live collection probably seemed just like another evening’s work. It certainly doesn’t sound like that though. Innes Sibun is an equally talented, experienced and committed guitarist and his enthusiasms and those of his band are put across with a refreshing clarity and depth on this CD, which was recorded at the Queens Head pub in the Wiltshire, England village of Box, and from which the album takes it’s title.

First track is a cover of a Rory Gallagher song. “A Million Miles Away” begins with a feverishly dextrous wall-of-shredding intro which swiftly mellows into the song itself, an edgy tale of barroom subterfuge taken at midtempo and which wastes no time introducing Innes Subin’s fretboard pyrotechnics to the listener. You might expect an evening dedicated solely to fast paced 12 bar rockouts on the strength of this opener but Innes Subin and his band – keyboardist Tim Blackmore, bassist Steve Hall and drummer Robbie Brian – are playing for more than kicks this evening and while second track “Station Blues” is taken at a near breakneck pace it’s with third track “I Want You Back” that the group really get into their stride, a slower number that echoes some of Eric Clapton’s more laid back moments and wouldn’t sound out of place on an enhanced reissue of 461 Ocean Boulevard. Other numbers such as “Someone Like You” contain some consistently inventive and occasionally remarkable guitar from Sibun himself, whose frenetic riffing might put blues rock enthusiasts in mind of Albert Lee or even Jimmy Page, but there is far more to the Innes Subin band’s music than just reverent recreations of what was the sound of the rock mainstream for nearly two decades. “Desert Rain” is a slow paced instrumental that provides the full band with an opportunity to show what they’re really capable of, and showcases an impressively atmospheric keyboard part from Tim Blackmore. A version of Tampa Red’s “Don’t You Lie To Me Honey” meanwhile, only lacks a harmonica break to remind us all of exactly how downright entertaining Dr Feelgood were, and album closer “Fisherman’s Wharf” is an acoustic ballad that contains more than a touch of proper progrock, such as Yes and King Crimson, about it.

So, a group of highly adept and experienced musicians doing exactly what they want to, and very thoughtfully recording it so that people who weren’t in that English country barroom might also appreciate their verging on masterful performance. If you ever get the chance to see the Innes Subin Band perform live, I would suggest that you take it.