You'll recognise the wonderful Steamy Windows (covered by good friend Tina Turner with TJW backing her) but the awesome opening track Tunica Motel which tells of Tony Joe's return to his blues roots sets the stage for the whole album. Tunica Motel has it all - strong hooks and TJW's strong songwriting which starts as a song about getting away from it all, and becomes, gradually, a gut-spilling account. "I'm so tired of fighting with myself…" confesses TJW. Later, when he's contemplating his musical direction, he "sees the ghost of Robert Johnson" and for me the line brings an involunatary tingle down my spine every time I hear it, which is often. Tony Joe is Back! In this album he reintroduces us to his warm Stratocaster blues in gorgeous tracks: Ain't Going Down This Time and You're Gonna Look in Blues. In some ways these marked a new sound that he'd develop on subsequent albums - moving us closer to his use of Spanish guitar.
The daughter of the popular late R&B singer Donny, husky voiced Lalah Hathaway is the perfect foil for Joe Sample's compelling notion that The Song Lives On. Finding a happy medium between the graceful straight-ahead jazz trio vibe of his Invitation album and the plucky pop energy of Spellbound, Sample provides Hathaway on seven of the 11 tunes with a showcase for her sultry approach.His and Bill Shnee's production approach is generally sparse, not much more than piano and bass, enhanced on occasion by Fender Rhodes and the occasional smoky input of Kirk Whalum. Sample doesn't seem to mind playing second fiddle most of the time, his trademark mix of dark chords and dancing, optimistic improvisations forming harmony lines behind her; often, though, his itchiness to step higher into the mix comes clear and he breaks into extended upbeat improvisations. On a cover of his Crusaders hit "Street Life," Hathaway turns the title into a mantra and Sample echoes her sentiments with sharp, percussive reiterations of the song's main melody. Then Hathaway stops and Michael Thompson steps in with some edgy electric guitar lines.
On British Blues Explosion Live, Joe Bonamassa pays homage to legendary British guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page with his stunning performance of their blues-rock classics. Recorded at Greenwich Music Time at The Old Royal Naval College in London in July, 2016…
If the 10 years these Texas guitarists have spent as a team exploring the world bar by bar has been "research," what they've learned is how to please a crowd. The formula's simple: no-frills songs about women and working for a livin', set to meat-and-potatoes arrangements that leave plenty of room for their guitars to roam. Kubek's six-string snarls the loudest, hitting Albert Collins-style sustains and grinding out beefy chords. King skirts around the fringes with his sweet-toned, jazz-informed fills or works at groove-level, anchoring things with his basic, chopping, R&B-style chording. King's vocals are really his trump card. They're smooth and slinky when he's romancing in "Make It Right" or gravelly as Kubek's fluid guitar when he's a driven man in numbers like "Runnin' Blind." The album ends with the kind of guitar grand finale that sets a crowd on fire just after last call. The tune, "Standing in My Door," lets both six-stringers sting.
Brother Joe May was the male counterpart to Mahalia Jackson, a full-voiced tenor of amazing range and power. Although he recorded prolifically for the Nashboro label for the bulk of his career, this 27-track collection brings together his earliest recordings for the Specialty label. Although many of these tracks feature him working with the Sallie Martin Singers, Sister Wynona Carr, the Pilgrim Travelers, and his daughter Annette May, the real star of the show is Brother Joe, whose voice simply soars no matter what the surroundings.