Eric Burdon & The War – The Best Of


Eric Burdon, the white singer with the most privileged black voice ever born established during the brief time together (1969-1971) with WAR a true halo of musical fluency and literally opened a gate for the necessary exit of so many encountered rhythms that were in baling point at that moment. On one hand, Santana and his fusion elements, the Soul as the most genuine expression from the sixties, was in decay.
This fortunate blending of jazz elements and the Latin swing (alas Poncho Sanchez- Dizzy Gillespie and Manteca) was much more than a simple ensemble with successful results as Chicano for instance.
Burdon knew wisely to arrange famous versions of the hard rock and could harmonize them through his potent voice and a memorable team of notable musicians. Lonnie Jordan recalled with admiration these revealing opinions: 2 Eric taught me a lot – we were able to improvise with him in ways that I had not thought were possible before. Sometimes we’d play for 45 minutes nonstop on stage, improvising all the way through. He really amazed me.”
Tobacco road and Paint in black were two anthological themes that literally received a new treatment and shone with own light. On the other hand you should take into ccou8nt the fantastic blues “Mother earth” and “Home dream”, two track many times forgotten and even neglected at the moment to consider the most representative pieces of this famed ensemble.
Nevertheless “Spill the wine” would become the main presentation card and practically its hymn through the world.
In this sense this ensemble marked a landmark and not simply a transition vehicle as you could suppose, around the richness and future source of inspiration to many future ensembles that found and still on determining clues to create new possibilities of expression.



Putumayo – Cover the World


This album offers 12 enlightening cover versions of Western pop tunes, as performed by artists from places like France, Spain, South Africa, Germany, and Mali. It’s always instructive to glimpse how one culture’s music is perceived by another, whether through a funhouse mirror, from under a microscope, or even face-to-face. The performances gathered here range from misguided (Albert Pla’s bizarre Spanish language take on Lou Reed’s “Take A Walk On The Wild Side”) to hilarious (Fatal Mambo’s salsa interpretation of Mungo Jerry’s “In The Summertime”) to a delightful breath of fresh air (Malian girl group Les Go’s version of Hall & Oates’ “I Can?t Go For That”). Nenes’ earnest Japanese-language rendition of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” is laced with plangent plucked samisens and is somehow extremely touching. Other attempts are less effective, but at least none of them come across as cynical and all are worth a listen. 



B.B. King – Deuces Wild


This cd again proves that it is great fun to play with B.B. King. The man loves his music and brings out the best in people he performs with. On this cd they are all superb musicians on their own . There are some wonderful duos here. The first cut with Van Morrison If You Love Me is the kind of soulful and moving vocal that Morrison can do so well. Hearing Tracy Chapman do The Thrill is Gone is worth the price of the cd. I could listen to it over and over. There isn’t a song on here that’s a throwaway. I even enjoy Keep It Coming with Heavy D and Rap is definitely not my thing.
This cd would be a good introduction to the blues. We can see how many of these popular musicians have been influenced and moved by the blues.

Amund Maarud – Ripped Striped And Southern Fried


When Amund Maarud got his first guitar at the age of six, he knew he was going to be a musician. Along with younger brother Henrik on drums – age four at the time, they started their own band. After 10 years of practicing and playing gigs all over eastern Norway, the brothers were signed to Tylden Records and released ”First Blues” in 1998 – only 14 and 16 years old!
With ”First Blues” came more gigs at both clubs and festivals as the brothers started making waves on the Norwegian blues scene. When the Maarud brothers moved to Norway`s capitol, Oslo in 2001, they started playing at the well known ”Muddy Waters” blues club in Oslo with New York bass player Bill Troiani, and became a regular feature there as the club`s house band. They played gigs as Amund Maarud Band, and played backup for national and international artists such as Brian Setzer, Tom Russel, Larry Burton, Bill Sims, and Mark Hummel.
Amund`s second album ”Ripped, Stripped and Southern Fried”, released on Blue Mood/BMG, was a big success both artistically and commercially by Norwegian standards with around 7500 units sold and nominated for the Spellemann (Norwegian Grammy Award) in the country/blues category in 2003. The following tour consisted of over a 100 shows in Norway, the U.S and Russia.

Carlos Del Junco – Steady Movin’



Look no further than the woodcut styled painting of a flaming harmonica on the cover of Carlos Del Junco’s album to get the gist of his approach. Unlike such “more notes per second” harp players as John Popper, Del Junco uses his dexterity as a means to an end. He developed his distinctive style on the ten-hole diatonic harp to play it chromatically, basically sounding like a far more bluesy Stevie Wonder. That gives him a unique sound on an instrument that seldom gets taken as seriously as it should. Here he uses it to terrific effect on Tiny Bradshaw’s big-band standard “Jersey Bounce,” a song Del Junco has already tackled on his 1999 live album. The disc jumps out of the blocks with three terrific instrumentals that mix blues and jazz. The surfy “Dull Blade” even finds Del Junco’s harp tackling the James Bond theme for a few notes. But the momentum hits a snag when Del Junco’s somewhat strained vocals appear on his own “Mashed Potatoes Canada,” a tribute to James Brown, according to the liner notes. Fellow Canadian Kevin Breit is also along for the ride here and his contributions on guitar and occasionally banjo push this already adventurous music almost into experimental territory. But this is truly Del Junco’s showcase, especially on the unaccompanied pieces such as a cover of Sonny Boy Williamson ll’s obscure “Movin’ Down the River Rhine” and a take on “Will the Circle be Unbroken” that starts out traditional before moving into blues and beyond until the initial tune is nearly unrecognizable, then circling back, ending with his harp sounding like bagpipes. The closing stripped-down walking bass, percussion, and banjo accompanied “Doodle It” could well be the theme for the Andy Griffith Show until Del Junco shifts into jazz mode, diving into his nimble solo, followed by Breit’s banjo. As you can tell, he’s all over the place stylistically, but it’s a classy collection and Del Junco is moving steadily in directions most other harmonica players don’t even consider.

Captain Beefheart – Unconditionally Guaranteed


The most reviled album of Captain Beefheart’s entire career, 1974’s ironically titled Unconditionally Guaranteed unfortunately largely deserves its negative reputation. Recorded in the U.K. as the first album of Captain Beefheart’s contract with Virgin Records, it’s also the last album that features any members of the Trout Mask Replica-era band, notably guitarists Zoot Horn Rollo and Alex St. Clair, plus former Mothers of Invention percussionist Art Tripp. Rather like Van Morrison’s later album, A Period of Transition, Unconditionally Guaranteed is clearly a deliberate attempt by the Captain to restrain his more peculiar tendencies in search of a wider audience. As might be expected, the wider audience didn’t show up, and his longtime fans were put off by the album’s more commercial facets. It’s not an entirely useless album, as the tunes do have some of the blues-rock punch that’s at the root of Beefheart’s work, and the lyrics, mostly declarations of love for his wife, Jan Van Vliet, who receives co-writing credit with producer Andy DiMartino on all ten tracks, seem heartfelt enough. The problem is that DiMartino’s production and arrangements are flaccid and dull, and Beefheart (purposely) sings as if he’s half asleep throughout. Even Captain Beefheart himself disowns this record.

Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters – Language of the Soul


Language of the Soul is a wonderful change of pace for guitarist Ronnie Earl. The record is the first all-instrumental album Earl has recorded and, if anything, it’s even more successful than his full-fledged, band-oriented records. Working without vocals has given him the freedom to try all sorts of new things, whether it’s the jazzy interludes of “Indigo Burrell” or the gospel-flavored “I Am With You.” Earl’s compositions aren’t memorable in and of themselves (he wrote all but two of the cuts), yet they give him the opportunity to play freely. He comes up with some truly remarkable solo passages, offering definitive proof that he’s one of the best contemporary blues guitarists of the ’90s.