B.B. King – Makin’ Love Is Good for You

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On this thoroughly enjoyable outing, the elder blues statesman does not stray from the formula that made the Grammy-winning Blues on the Bayou such an artistic and commercial success. Recorded at Dockside Studios in Lafayette, Louisiana, and once again produced by B.B. himself, the disc features a similarly rough and tumble electric trad-blues style. The five new songs are up to his usual standards, and all 14 tracks benefit greatly from the lithe, assured support of B.B.’s touring band, the B.B. King Blues Boys. His voice and guitar playing are supple and slinky; if only we all could be doing such vital, wonderful work at the age of 74.

Beau Jocque & The Zydeco Hi-Rollers – Check It Out, Lock It In, Crank It Up!

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Easily the biggest zydeco star of the 1990s, Beau Jocque heralded the rise of the genre’s new, urbanized style; infusing his high-octane sound with elements of rock, soul, hip-hop and even reggae, he bridged the gap between traditional Creole culture and contemporary music to create a funky, bass-heavy hybrid calculated for maximum mainstream appeal. Rounder has released some prime examples of contemporary zydeco, as this release from Beau Jocque and the Zydeco Hi-Rollers makes evident. Beau Jocque and company pound out some high-energy music here. This is not meant for relaxed listening; this is party music. Good-time classic “Keep a Knockin'” is given the full treatment, including a killer Hammond B3 solo. “Slide and Dip It” comes in two mixes: one zydeco and one “party dip.” Both are guaranteed to get your house rocking. “Going Down to the Country,” on the other hand, is a raw swamp blues while “She Wants to Sell My Monkey” is all but indescribable. Top these off with an outrageous cover of funk standard “Tighten Up” and you have a nonstop winner. These guys put the “Z” in zydeco!

Charlie Musselwhite – Tennessee Woman

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The addition of jazz pianist Skip Rose gave a new dimension to the ensemble sound, and provided a perfect foil to Charlie’s own soloing — especially on the re-take of “Cristo Redentor,” extended to 11 minutes, shifting to double-time in spots. Rose’s instrumental, “A Nice Day for Something,” is a welcome change of pace, and Musselwhite’s “Blue Feeling Today” compares favorably to fine covers of Little Walter and Fenton Robinson tunes.

Hannah Williams & The Tastemakers – A Hill Of Feathers

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The daughter of a musically gifted minister, Hannah Williams AKA Deep Soul’s Funkiest New Diva was immersed in soulful music from the day she was born. Her first single, an independently released 45 on Mondegreen Records, reached out into the soul scene and drew praise from Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Charles Bradley, Craig Charles on his BBC radio show and various labels and promoters. Within weeks of the DIY vinyl release, the London based 9-piece were snapped up by Italy’s renowned Record Kicks label. Whilst recording the anticipated debut LP, out October 15th, the outfit have made several trips to Europe to headline festivals and have wowed domestic audiences with a mainstage performance at Shambala and two consecutive headlines at Larmer Tree’s second stage.
Hannah Williams and the Tastemakers have become increasingly dominant in the domestic club scene; a highlight was their headline at the legendary 100club and a headline at Manchester’s Band On The Wall for the Craig Charles clubnight. They have become the go-to band for supporting big name acts like soul frontrunners Sharon Jones & Charles Bradley as well as hip hop legends like AfrikaBambaataa& The Sugar Hill Gang; a testament to the modern influence that goes into their groove making. In fact, the band often collaborate live with MC’s who are drawn in by the band’s instrumental work. A tour in May helped convert the band’s studio tightness into a blistering live show. The first single and video from the debut album is out on September 10th with a launch party on the 12th @ London’s Floripa venue. The LP, titled “A Hill of Feathers” will be out on Record Kicks on October 15th 2012 with an extensive tour booked in October and November.

 

Bo Marley – B Is For Bob

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Another Marley album… produced by Ziggy Marley!… for which he took the original masters of eight classic songs and revised the instrumentation and arrangements, even using some of his father’s alternate vocal tracks”It’s a very different vibe,” says Ziggy, “but still real Bob. It’s not like fake Bob. It’s still the real Bob…It’s Bob singing and I’m playing, like an acoustic session almost. Anything I did on this record is soulful and musical. There’s no gimmicks. I’m keeping true to the spirit of my father, to the spirit of his music.