Debbie Bond & The Tru Dats That Thing Called Love

Debbie Bond and the TruDats That Thing Called Love.jpeg

Submitted By Iain Patience

Alabama-based blueser Debbie Bond’s latest offering is a balanced, mostly self-written effort featuring her partner, Rick Asherson, on keyboards and harp.
Bond has been around a while now. Formerly running the Alabama Blues Project, she also played with the late great Johnnie Shines for many years until his death, before joining another goner, Willie King, as one of his backing band, The Liberators. Here she came to prominence and toured extensively in both the USA and Europe gradually building a following for her fine, oft-understated guitar work and vocals.

This album, produced by Bond and Asherson and recorded in Nashville, is a triumph and well worth a careful earful. It’s definitely a slow-burner and a few  spins will bring out the beauty of the material and the production.

Kicking off with ‘You’re The Kind Of Trouble’, a particularly notable version of this Adam Wright classic, it roars through ‘Steady Rolling Man’, Feed My Soul’ and an old Willie King favourite, ‘I Like It Like That’. All played with soulful feeling and verve.  Two versions of  ‘Tarragona Blues’ – one an extended mix – highlight her love of the Catalonian Tarragona Bluesfest where she featured in the Autumn of 2013.

The Mighty Bosscats: Boiling Pot

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Submitted by Iain Patience

This is about the seventh release from a British band led by Richard Townend, who wrote all of the eleven tracks that feature on the album. Townend's guitar work and voice figure prominently throughout, with a strong blues flavour and at times light-rocky undercurrent.

An album of real quality, the Mighty Bosscats are a good-value, bang-for-your-buck bunch of musicians. Every track on this CD oozes quality and strength, with brio and power bubbling to the fore. Townend's lyrics are well-honed, polished, while the musical arrangements are always dynamic and assured.  This is a guy who clearly knows what he wants to say and has the vocal and instrumental ability, and backing, to say it.

'Boiling Pot' is an album that gives immediate pleasure from the very off; fortunately, it also stands up well to repeated returns.  Indeed, if anything, it demands reruns on a regular basis, with a positively winning formula.

Herman Brock Jr.: The Old World

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Submitted By Iain Patience

This is simply a sparkling, jangling, barnstormer of an album. And, if perhaps you generally think Bluegrass and Americana is best left to US-bred, native Appalachian musicians, then this release should open your ears and force something of a rethink.

Brock is a Dutchman and the album's title comes from his interest in the sweeping new world emigration of his compatriot Netherlanders to the Americas in a bid to secure a better life in the early 1900s.  Recalling both his father and  grandfather's tales of this mass movement of  the time, many tracks echo his thoughts and curiosity for their welfare, hopes and dreams.

All sixteen tracks feature Brock's multi-instrumental and songwriting talents. At times, the influence and sounds of  Ralph Stanley seem to shine here. Brock himself plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, autoharp and dulcimer. He is accompanied by an excellent backing band that includes most of the finest bluegrass and country musicians performing today in Europe. Brock has played and toured Kentucky and Texas in the recent past, taking his European brand of bluegrass music back to its home roots with great, deserved success, if this album is anything to go by.

Steve Lury & Andres Roots: Live In Lerwick

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Lerwick, the main town in Scotland's furthest outpost, the Shetland Isles, hosts a fine Blues festival each late-summer, where this album was recorded live in 2013.  The ten tracks comprising this release include a few lesser-known blues cuts and many old favourites plus an Andres Roots original, slide-guitar-led instrumental.

The general sound and quality of the recording is surprisingly good for a small-scale 'live' work, and Estonian guitarist Roots clearly enjoys his role with some mighty fine acoustic and electric slide fretwork shining through.  The Harp and vocals of his partner here, Lury, are also strong and well-balanced with further support from Peeter Piik on Bass and Paul Archibald on Drums.

Covers include  a solid take on Robert Jnr Lockwood's 'Take A Little Walk With Me'; Johnson's 'Walking Blues' : Muddy's 'You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had' and the whole rounded off by closing track 'What's The Matter With The Mill' from Memphis Minnie - here fuelled with very fine electric slide work by Roots.

This is a very good, sound album with a fine range of material, varied in texture and tempo and featuring rock-solid guitar and Harp work throughout.  A recommended release.

Markey Blue Hey Hey

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Submitted by Iain Patience

A fabulous release from a true quality outfit with 'Hey Hey', a debut offering of enormous promise and class.

All twelve titles have input from Markey herself illustrating her strong song-writing abilities together with her deeply soulful, spiritual vocal range. The album is at once both blues and soul with a full horn section blasting throughout.  Recorded in Nashville, it bears the hallmarks of slick, solid production know-how and skill.

Tracks are varied in feel, tempo and style but all share a common strength in Markey's excellent vocal delivery and the support of a truly talented bunch of backing musicians, including former Allman Brothers Band member Jack Pearson on guitar.  Legendary Stax singer-songwriter Steve Cropper  - 'Midnight Hour', 'Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay' etc.,  - also lends his support and weight to the project, ensuring this is an album that really does deserve wide exposure and discovery.

Viewed in the round, for me, there is nothing to fault in this release. It is without doubt a triumph and should appeal to lovers of traditional, electric-led blues of the full-throttle, roaring high-energy but decidedly soulful kind.

Otis Clay & Johnny Rawls Soul Brothers

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Submitted by Iain Patience

A perfect pairing here with Clay and Rawls, rootsy, blues-at-heart and super soul. If you like soul music, this is one for you. For me, this is an absolute triumph; a ten-track release of immense quality with great songs, arrangements and vocals. Hard though it is to select a single track, 'Voodoo Queen' (co-written by Rawls and co-producer, Bob Trenchard) and the classic standard 'What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted'  together with 'Living On Borrowed Time' (again from Trenchard and Rawls) are simply outstanding numbers.

This is one of those near-classic soul albums with shades of 1960s and 70s Motown and Stax central to its sound and themes. A full horn section smacks of Stax while the songs and music hold more than a hint of Motown's renowned lyric-factory genius.

Clay is one of those guys who has been around a long time, (forty years or more) learning his craft with solid, superb skill and deep soul. Rawls, a bit younger, is no less talented and experienced. This is a great album and hopefully marks the creation of a new major duo with loads more to come in future years. In reality, this is as good as it gets.

Hans Theessink Wishing Well

Hans Theessink Wishing Well.jpeg

Submitted by Iain Patience

Theessink is probably the finest European acoustic bluesman out there and this, his latest album, is a cracking 14-track example of both his abilities and assurance.
Originally from the Netherlands, Theessink has been based in the Austrian capital, Vienna, for many years from where he tours extensively across UK, Europe and Scandinavia, where he is a firm favourite and a stalwart of the wonderful annual Danish Tonder Festival - a folkie/blues/Americana mix of sterling artistic quality.

Most years he makes it out to the US where he has a fine growing following. This album marks his 18th release and showcases his writing and guitar-picking talents to great effect. Like most of his recorded material it contains a blend of self-written songs and blues classics. Perhaps most surprisingly, it also features Theessink's takes on the late, troubled Americana/Country genius Townes van Zandt's 'Snowing On Raton', and Dylan's 'Ballad of Hollis Brown'.

Theessink includes an excellent version of the classic 'Wayfaring Stranger' in the mix, a number that he once had the privilege and pleasure - as he says - of playing on-stage with Johnny Cash and June Carter in the early 1990s.

If you've yet to discover Theessink, "Wishing Well' is a perfect place to begin. A masterful release from a genuine acoustic blues master.

Iain Patience

Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors Medicine

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Holcomb is no newcomer to the Country music table with around eight previous albums already under his belt and a crippling US touring schedule.  This latest release (release date: January 26, 2015) is jammed with 12 tracks of quality modern country music/Americana, mostly self-written with a solid sound and light-rocky background underpinning the mix.

Originally from Memphis, Holcomb is now Nashville-based and has clearly soaked-up the soul and atmosphere of his adopted hometown, pouring it into this cracking tin of polished music soup.

Holcomb plays Guitar and his vocal range is impressive and powerful; wife, Ellie also features on Guitar and vocals with Nathan Dugger on Keys and guitar, the band completed by the addition of Rick Brinsfield on Bass. Recorded at Middletree Studios in popular/trendy East Nashville the overall sound is well-rounded and slick. In essence, a very Nashville production.

Medicine is an album that grows in stature the more it's listened to.  A positively quality addition to the world of modern Americana and Country music, this guy is worth discovering.

Iain Patience

Charming Christmas Concert Courtesy of David Myles

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Submitted by Lee Fraser

David Myles always wears a suit. With three older brothers who all turned out to be doctors, Myles promised his Dad that even though he chose a career in the arts, he would wear a suit every day. 

For his Christmas show, Myles one-upped himself and came out in a tuxedo and bow tie. The real deal:  he’s even got a YouTube video explaining how to tie the finicky adornment.  Myles’s counterparts, Alan Jeffries on guitar and Kyle Cunjak on stand-up bass, were also decked out in suits and Christmas-coloured ties.  Their entrance alone spoke of celebration, a special night.

Fans of David Myles are accustomed to his tales of writing love songs and meeting Al Green.  Although the stories are familiar, they are a delight to hear every time.  Myles’s show is part concert and part stand-up.  The vignettes are enriched by Myles’s gleeful method of telling.  On this night, stories about his wife and growing family were added to the mix, making everyone feel like a part of the family.

Empire Roots Band Music From the film Harlem Street Singer

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Fabulous album of raw roots music with strong, driving guitar-led punch from New York master, Woody Mann, this release is a first - hopefully not a last - from a marvellous ad-hoc outfit who come together to re-interpret the music of legendary New York acoustic blues-gospel man, the Rev Gary Davis. There is also a scattering of originals in the stew.

Mann is largely responsible, as co-producer, for the recent/current documentary film based on the life of Davis, and the film and album title comes from one of the late Rev's finest albums, 'Harlem Street Singer.' Woody Mann is a former guitar student of Davis's from the 1960s, a guy who certainly knows the man and his music better than most. He has also played and recorded with other huge former blues-men including Son House and Bukka White back in the day.

On this excellent release he is supported by Dave Keyes on piano (ex-Bo Diddley, Odetta, Gladys Knight, Lou Rawls, etc); Brian Glassman, Bass (ex-Kenny Burrell, Lionel Hampton etc); and Bill Sims Jr, vocals. The overall result here sparkles with the very essence of Gary Davis and his positively enormous, undiminished contribution to blues and gospel music worldwide.

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