Friday, August 11, 2017

Pam Taylor Steal Your Heart (2017)

Did Bob Dylan sang the Blues? And how about Janis Joplin, or Tom Waits? Well, partly, but they were also singing a lot of other stuff. They were singing what we nowadays call Americana, that is, a mix of folk, country, blues, rock, and jazz, the bulwarks of american music. And that's what South Carolina born Pam Taylor is doing in this new record. You will find echos of all the people above and of a lot more, in the very finest tradition of american singer/songwritter artists. Pam uses the kiss (keep it simple, stupid) formula to great effect. In this age of guitar heros and studio production histrionics it's quite refreshing to hear such a straightforward approach to recording and production. The consequence is that you get to hear the song and vocal expression first and foremost. And that's essential because Pam displays a fine vocal performance on each and every song in this record, complemented by a tight and precise guitar playing.
Pam Taylor Steal Your Heart is a mighty fine effort in producing an all round americana album, with a bunch of excellent songs and professional performance. Go get it right now, punks!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Guilande Guilande EP (international release 2017)

Once again, punks, I find myself dealing with a non strictly Blues release. Yet, this is probably one of the best kept secrets in the music scene today. An obscure band from Portugal which features an almost obscure female singer, also Portuguese but with African roots. And this almost obscure female singer boasts one of the most powerful and soulful voices you've ever heard, punks. And I mean EVER, got it? There are four songs in this EP. Each of them with it's own character, and each of them very well tailored and crafted. My friend Leen tells me that one of the guitar players is Carlos Pereira, the Charlie in Charlie & The Bluescats, and I like his band a lot. He also writes most of the tunes in this EP. But as good as I think he is, Orlanda Guilande is the real deal. A vocal talent like you won't get easily every decade. Orlanda's voice has an incredible range, from baritone to soprano, which is absolutely fabulous for a female singer, and she does whatever she wants with it, always in perfect pitch, except when she decides to go out of pitch, which she does with absolute control. She can overdrive her voice, twist and turn it, go from soft to rough in a split second without blinking. I'm not comparing, but she can go from Mahalia to Houston easily, with all the Vaughan's and Franklin's in between. And I heard she can blow up microphones with a scream. All this delivered with amazing soulful and emotional power too. Follow the lyrics and the emotion and you'll find yourself happy and sad and everything in between according to her wishes. She can make you cry, both of sadness or joy.
Guilande EP brings you fine songs and most of all, reveals a new formidable talent in the international music scene. So you punks, general public, promoters, bookers, get it and get her ASAP. This kind of talent is truly scarce.

Dirty Harry
Nina Massara Watch Me (2017)

Well, well, well. Back from a long travel absence I found myself contemplating this photo from a danish girl with an italian name on the cover of her first album. My friend Leen sent me the stuff to see what I would make of it. Since then, I have heard the music and found out the girl loves places like New Orleans and Nashville. The plot thickened. In fact, the music tells it all and it's a mix of all the above. Sign of the modern times. A perfectly balanced, well performed and recorded album with New Orleans and country influences infused into an unmistakably bluesy atmosphere. Great musicians (I do love the guitar playing). And what about Nina? Well, she's not a blues, gospel, or country singer. And, after all, she's not american. Some would say tipically scandinavian, judging by other known female singers from that part of the world. I agree. But there's something more. Let me guess. I hear naughtiness. And that's why she can sing the blues, punks. Nina is a bad girl, not too much, just enough, that sings the blues from yonder danish fields to the Mississippi waters and Tennessee hills, and she does it in her own way, but just right.
Nina Massara's Watch Me is some twisted sort of a pearl in the blues, I mean, country, I mean New Orleans musical scene. You will dig it, punks, and you will scramble to get it. Right now! Punks!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Donald Ray Johnson and Gas Blues Band Bluesin' Around (2016)

Lawd have mercy! Aleluia Blues brother Donald and fellow Blues preachers in this outfit. The Blues sure is alive, judging by what they brought us punks recently. I never understood why there are so many people talking about keeping the Blues alive. Is the Blues dying? Damn, no, by all means, and this record is the very living proof of it. This record and thousands of others being released every year. The Blues will never die as long as there musicians who want to keep it alive. So stop winnin' about the Blues and book them musicians on your clubs and festivals. Enough preaching, punks. Donald Ray Johnson is a Blues veteran with an impressive curriculum and this wonderful record just adds to the legend. Backed by a first class European band, Donald presents us with a Blues gem. Great soulful vocals and an excellent overall performance in this record. Top shelf in any Blues collection. You can even let your hair down and dance to it, 'cause it sure sounds funky every now and then.
Donald Ray Johnson and Gas Blues Band Bluesin' Around is a must buy, punks. Don't make me chase you with my '44 Magnun. Run and GO get it right now!

Dirty Harry

Sunday, October 23, 2016

AJ Plug Chew Chew Chew (2016)

Here's another record which isn't strictly Blues. But you'll agree with me that it is full of great music, won't you punks? Or else... Well, I'm sure you won't need the persuasion of my powerful .44 Magnum to see the light. AJ spreads through a lot of americana stuff, as they call it these days. There's country, classic rock, blues, psychedelia, you name it. From Grace Slick to Sheryl Crow, with a hint of Lucinda Williams in between. This woman means business, punks. Chew Chew Chew sounds hard and tight, with great guitars and excellent musicians. If this sounds the same live, some of you older punks will dig out again your forgotten pills and grass stash. Hell, Jerry Garcia would have loved this girl. AJ is true to her musical roots and has mastered her own personnal approach to those. A great voice for the present and the future. I don't know if AJ is already the Dutch Blues Queen, punks, but one thing is for sure, Tineke Schoemaker has a lot of competition ahead.
AJ Plug's Chew Chew Chew is a wonderful new record with great music in it and you've got to get it right now, punks!

Dirty Harry

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Charlie & The Bluescats Without You (2016)

Charlie's got the Blues. I'm sure of that. This is heavy stuff, dense, deep, sometimes unfathomable Blues. It's so blunt you can feel his pain through his vocals and guitar. You all have heard the old cliché about living the life to sing about it, right? That is surely true on most of the old Blues Masters, and Charlie produces that same exact feeling. He knows what he's talking about. He's telling us stories of lost love and bad luck and trouble, and you can feel he's been there. This guy is what the Blues are all about. Plain, deep emotion on every note. Although Charlie's music is and sounds totally original, he was of course influenced in his style, and two guys come to mind immediatly in terms of raw emotion and intensity, Freddie King and Buddy Guy. And a hint of early blues-rock masters, like Robin Trower and Rory Gallagher. Devoided of any fast show-off guitar playing, this is a record for those who prefer deep, intense and big sounding old fashioned guitar riffing and in your face solid vocals. I mean, all of you, punks.
Charlie & The Bluescats Without You (2016) is an amazing record from the old new artist on the block, so welcome the return of the southern boy and go get his record as soon as it comes out, punks! Someone told me it will be released in November, in The Netherlands, and the Cats are touring there that very same month. Check it out!

Dirty Harry
The King Brothers Get Up and Shake It (2016)

Having Freddie King in the family never did any harm to a Bluesman. Having said that, I must admit that these King Brothers speak with their own voice. And that's what's expected of any true Bluesman. In particular when you consider that these days there are a lot of clones in the music business, Blues genre not excluded. There's also not a lot of new stuff in this recording. Not that I think that's an issue. The most important thing in this album, though, is that it sounds free, loose and relaxed, and it sounds original, even if most of the tunes are not. Original is good, punks, and the King Brothers score pretty high in that department. This is an album to sit pretty damn good in any Blues collection. Tight and groovy, funky as can be, it's a great all around Blues recording and the bros are on top of their game. I wonder if they are planning crossing the big pond for some live shows in old Europe. If they sound anything close to this live, their's will be a show you punks can't miss.
The King Brothers Get Up and Shake It (2016) is a fine Blues album. You can hear it, you can dance to it, you must go and get it, punks!

Dirty Harry