Eddy Clearwater is equally talented as a bluish singer and as an improvising guitarist. On Reservation Blues, he ranges from Chicago blues to rock & roll, throwing in a couple instrumentals too. His repertoire includes both socially relevant lyrics and good-time music, featuring some of the latter when the former gets a bit too somber. Although there are some solid solos from his supporting players (including three guitar spots for Duke Robillard, two fine solos from tenor saxophonist Dennis Taylor, and a guest appearance by Carey Bell on harmonica during "Find Yourself"), Clearwater is the main star throughout. Fortunately, he is heard in prime form, whether happily jamming "I Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down" and "Blues Cruise" or singing in a more serious mood on "Winds of Change" and "Everything to Gain." A gem.
On her stunning sophomore album, Central Reservation, Beth Orton slips free of the electronic textures that colored her acclaimed 1996 debut, Trailer Park, stripping her music down to its raw essentials to produce a work of stark simplicity and rare poignancy. With the exception of a pair of Ben Watt-produced tracks ("Stars All Seem to Weep" and a remix of the title cut), Central Reservation rejects synthetic sounds and beats altogether in favor of an organic atmosphere somewhere between folk, jazz, and the blues; the focal point is instead Orton's evocatively soulful voice, which invests songs like "Sweetest Decline" and "Feel to Believe" with remarkable warmth and honesty. It's a risky move creatively as well as commercially – after all, the club culture was the first to champion Orton's talents – but it pays off handsomely; for all its brilliance, elements of Trailer Park already feel dated, but the new material possesses a timelessness that recalls the best of Nick Drake or Sandy Denny, with a haunting beauty to match.
The Blues Masters series, much to Rhino`s credit, adopts an expansive definition of blues, allowing the likes of Count Basie, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Muddy Waters and even Louis Prima admission. There is none of the purist`s quibbling over strict 12-bar form or the relative significance of prewar and postwar styles.
What Rhino delivers instead is the blues in all its myriad guises. This music is old and new, black and white, acoustic and electric, folksy and jazzy, performed by women and men, and yet it is all still blues at its core.
The House Of Blues at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas hosted a reunion concert of the classic Santana lineup on March 21. The performance featuring Carlos Santana (guitar), Gregg Rolie (keyboards, lead vocals), Neal Schon (guitar, vocals), Michael Carabello (percussion) and Michael Shrieve (drums) onstage together for the first time since 1973 was recorded for an officially produced entitled Santana IV: Live At The House of Blues Las Vegas…
Digitally remastered two-fer containing a pair of Chess Records albums from the Blues great: 1966's Muddy, Brass And The Blues and 1973's Can't Get No Grindin'. Muddy, Brass And The Blues was a massive undertaking in direction which a couple of years later John Mayall.
Two classic Hooker LPs, all digitally re-mastered, 22 solid slabs of dark, leathery, brooding nostalgia. This is the electric blues at its very roots. If there’s still anyone out there reading this magazine who hasn’t at least one Hooker album in their collection, then you’re still a long way from qualifying as a blues aficionado. So this is a good place to start. This stripped-bare, one man and a growling electric guitar (on most tracks) music is the stuff those guys who fled the south for the auto production lines in the north used to listen to.