Self-Made Man contains nearly 80 minutes of all original steamy blues and smokin’ blues-rock, incorporating Chicago, boogie, swamp, swing, and harmonica blues, all recorded with a live-in-the-studio sound that is true to Studebaker John’s stage performances. For more than 25 years, John has been writing, recording and performing only original compositions, along with continuous touring throughout the US, Canada, UK and Europe in support of his music. His songs have been featured in major motion pictures and prime-time TV commercials. Many articles have been written about John in various publications including Guitar One magazine US, Blues in Britain, and a cover story in Back to the Roots magazine in Belgium. His music can be heard on blues radio shows every day around the globe. As a songwriter and musician, Studebaker John has emerged as a major creative force in the world of the blues today. If “Alternative Rock” is a meaningful description of progressive variations of this style of music, then John has laid the foundation for “Alternative Blues”. Ahead of the pack, with vision and foresight, creating a new standard and landscape for this music’s future… with John at the wheel, the future is now.
John Fogerty pulled himself out of the game sometime after his 1976 album Hoodoo failed to materialize and he sat on the bench for a full decade, returning in the thick of the Reagan era with Centerfield in 1985. For as knowingly nostalgic as Centerfield is, deliberately mining from Fogerty’s childhood memories and consciously referencing his older tunes, the album is steeped in the mid-‘80s, propelled too often by electronic drums – the title track has a particularly egregious use of synthesized handclaps – occasionally colored by synths and always relying on the wide-open production that characterized the ‘80s…
Other than being their first platinum-selling album, The Grand Illusion led Styx steadfastly into the domain of AOR rock. Built on the strengths of "Come Sail Away"'s ballad-to-rock metamorphosis, which gained them their second Top Ten hit, and on the high harmonies of newcomer Tommy Shaw throughout "Fooling Yourself," The Grand Illusion introduced Styx to the gates of commercial stardom…
This recording of Der Rosenkavalier captures the intimacy of the Glyndebourne opera house preserving what is, without doubt, an engrossing performance with notable contributions from key soloists at poignant stages of their careers. This 1965 production, first staged by Glyndebourne in 1959, was not without its casting complications. Baron Ochs was to be Manfred Jungwirth but only sang two performances due to ill health and was replaced by Otto Edelmann.
After many years in the music business, saxophonist-bandleader-composer John Lurie has created a musical identity all his own. Best known for his mercurial work with the Lounge Lizards, Lurie has found a pleasant niche recording soundtracks for films like Get Shorty and Stranger Than Paradise. Accompanied by a number of talented musicians, including Marc Ribot, John Medeski, Calvin Weston, and other assorted Lounge Lizards, Lurie displays an impressive ability to create lively and evocative film music. While Lurie only performs on half of these compositions, his sonic vision is both distinctive and eclectic. Bouncing stylistically from downtown funk and progressive soul to chamber jazz, rock, and tribal percussion workouts, Lurie's mood-inducing orchestrations are witty, passionate, and consistently engaging.
A bluesman from Chicago who doesn't perform any covers is a rarity indeed, but John Grimaldi, aka Studebaker John, has stuck to his guns throughout his career, and this 2001 release is a good indication why. While his melodies are serviceable, the guitarist/harpist/singer writes sharp, smart lyrics that are far more provocative than what most contemporary bluesmen churn out. Add tough vocals that place him between Darrell Nulisch and Stevie Ray Vaughan and a sizzling attack that never seems phoned in for a 50-minute set, and you wonder what more it would take for this gutsy, obviously inspired bluesman to get traction, even in a market saturated by talented players. Along with his other talents, Grimaldi also produced this disc, and the stripped-down yet full sound is raw and driven yet accessible. Songs such as the opening "Burned by Love" and "Rich Man" boast melodies that are far more creative and dramatically arranged than the genre exercises most bluesmen work in. He blows serious Little Walter-inspired amplified harp on the "Juke"-styled instrumental "Harpology," and the driving Bo Diddley beat of "Nothing Comes Easy" pushes this disc into the red zone. The slow, sexy grind of "Lock & Chain" gives Grimaldi a chance to display his impressive vocals and a slide guitar tone with Elmore James nuances.
Long John's second album for the Alligator imprint is even more potent than his first, Texas Border Legend. This time around, Hunter's sly, drawling vocals and stinging clusters of guitar are well to the fore, keeping the spotlight firmly in place on this Texas guitar legend. The record was cut in Austin and Abilene, Texas, and as such boasts Lone Star talent like Derek O'Brien, who plays rhythm guitar on this disc and solos on "I Don't Care" and "V-8 Ford." Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff blows saxophone on eight tunes and harmonica on "Locksmith Man." For his part, Hunter contributes 10 of the 14 tunes, co-writing with various members of his Walking Catfish Band or his co-producers, Tary Owens and John Foose. Long John's no-holds-barred approach literally screams Texas blues, letting you know you're listening to an originator, not an imitator.