Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater – Cool Blues Walk

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Produced by Duke Robillard and utilizing his band as the backing unit, Cool Blues Walk is tightly focused from note one, making a marvelous framework for “The Chief” to do exactly what he does best. With the exception of the covers “Sen-Say-Shun,” “Stranded,” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” Eddy Clearwater wrote every tune aboard in his usual wide range of styles from the rocking “Very Good Condition” to the country-ish “Nashville Road” to the shuffling “Boppin’ at the Top of the Rock.” Clearwater continues to surprise with a rare appearance playing piano and singing the decidedly non-blues-like ballad “I Love You” which also features Marilyn Mair and Mark Davis adding mandocello and mandola to this distinctive tune. Robillard  shares solo space with Clearwater throughout the album, and their exchanges on the moody “Blues for a Living” is solid blues playing in two contrasting styles. Perhaps Clearwater’s most focused album to date, this 1998 outing captures a ’50s West Side bluesman still at the peak of his abilities.

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Joe Bonamassa – Blues Deluxe

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New York guitar phenom walks tall in the blues tradition with this third album, jettisoning fiery riffs inspired by John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Elmore James, and Albert Collins into the future with furious playing, a hard-rock sensibility, and a grizzled voice that owes a debt to Gregg Allman. Equally inspired by the Delta blues and the mid-’60s British blues boom, the young firebrand–who titled this CD after a Rod Stewart song penned while in the Jeff Beck Group–is able to fuse those two schools together, creating edgy blues rock.”

 

Van Morrison – A Night In San Francisco

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Van Morrison’s third commercially released live album takes a show format that frequently spotlights the backup band, led by organist/singer Georgie Fame and featuring singers Brian Kennedy and James Hunter, as well as saxophonist Candy Dulfer and blues singers John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells, and Jimmy Witherspoon. Even Morrison’s daughter Shana comes on to sing his “Beautiful Vision.” The material is not limited to Morrison compositions, either. In fact, it isn’t so much that Morrison and company cover a variety of rock, pop, blues, R&B, and jazz standards as that many pieces are medleys that contain complete songs and quotes from others, rather in the way that a jazz soloist will suddenly throw in a few bars of a familiar tune. Those who want to see Morrison as an esoteric singer/songwriter rather than a showman may find this album a mongrel creation, but it’s undeniably lively, and that’s the first requirement of a live album.

Stomu Yamashta’s Go – Go Live from Paris

Stomu Yamashta - Live From Paris - Front

2008 reissue of this album from the master percussionist who studied Jazz drumming at Berklee School of Jazz. In the 1970’s he recorded a string of innovative albums for Island records which utilized the talents of such leading musicians as Hugh Hopper, Maurice Pert, Steve Winwood, Michael Shrieve and Klaus Schulze, fusing his percussion talents with Jazz, Electronic and Classical music to create an ambient form of music all of his own. His music has been used by the Royal Ballet.
The album Go, released in April 1976, was a fine achievement and Yamashta assembled a band featuring collaborators Steve Winwood, Michael Shrieve, Klaus Schulze and Al Di Meola to deliver a series of stunning concerts. The Parisian concert was captured by Island Records and was released as Go! Live From Paris in 1977. Esoteric.