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181. Natch'l Blues
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182. Presumed Innocent
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183. Friends
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184. Stages
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185. Wicked Grin
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186. Loud Guitars Big Suspicions
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187. Homeland
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188. So Many Rivers
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189. Electric Mud
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190. 20th Century Masters: The Best
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191. The Door
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192. Live As I'll Ever Be
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193. Best of the Blues
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194. Live at the Sands
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195. Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go (And
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196. King of the Blues [Box]
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197. Raisin' Hell
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198. So Many Roads: Live in Concert
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199. Blues Lounge
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200. Sean Costello

181. Natch'l Blues
list price: $11.98
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Asin: B00004XSUU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7080
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Taj Mahal's been chasing the blues around the world for years, but rarely with the passion, energy, and clarity he brought to his first three albums. Taj Mahal, The Natch'l Blues and The Real Thing are the sound of the artist, who was born in 1942, defining himself and his music. On his self-titled 1967 debut, he not only honors the sound of the Delta masters with his driving National steel guitar and hard vocal shout, but ladles in elements of rock and country with the help of guitarists Ry Cooder and the late Jessie Ed Davis. This approach is reinforced and broadened by The Natch'l Blues. What's most striking is Mahal's way of making even the oldest themes sound as if they're part of a new era. Not just through the vigor of his playing--relentlessly propulsive, yet stripped down compared with the six-string ornamentations of the original masters of country blues--but through his singing, which possesses a knowing insouciance distinct to post-Woodstock counterculture hipsters. It's the voice of an informed young man who knows he's offering something deep to an equally hip and receptive audience.

Soon, Mahal turned his multicultural vision of the blues even further outward. The live 1971 set, The Real Thing, finds him still carrying the Mississippi torch, while adding overt elements of jazz and Afro-Caribbean music to its flame. But it's overreaching. His band sounds under-rehearsed, and the arrangements seem more like rough outlines. Nonetheless, these albums set the stage for Mahal's career. (For a condensed version, try the fine The Best of Taj Mahal.) Today, he continues to make fine fusion albums, like 1999's Kulanjan, with Malian kora master Toumani Diabate, and less exciting but still eclectic recordings with his Phantom Blues Band. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good follow-up to a magnificent debut album
Henry St. Clair Fredericks' first album, the eponymous "Taj Mahal", was a stripped-down collection of superbly produced acoustic Delta blues, and his second album, "The Natch'l Blues", opens with more of the same.
But the scope quickly broadens, as Al Kooper is added on organ, and the album then moves on to a much bigger sound, as Taj Mahal is backed by a full electric combo on songs like "The Caught The Katy" and "The Cuckoo", and a soul-rendition of "You Don't Miss Your Water".

Depending on your taste, this album is either better than its predecessor because of its greater variety, or slightly lesser because it lacks some of the originality and the sparse, "bluesy" feel of "Taj Mahal".
The slightly stereotypical soul of "You Don't Miss Your Water" and "Ain't That A Lotta Love" may not be to everybody's liking, but Taj Mahal's rendition of "She Caught The Katy", and his own "Corrina", "I Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Steal My Jellyroll", "Going Up To The Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue", and the jazzy "Good Morning Miss Brown" are all excellent, as is the band and the clear, uncluttered production.

5-0 out of 5 stars AT HIS NATURAL BEST!
'THE NATCH'L BLUES' is a Taj Mahal masterpiece, yet ironically, this 1969 treasure seems to be one of the most under-rated blues records of all time, subsequently making it the early Taj album that's been the most difficult to find over the years. This re-issue momentarily solves that problem, but grab it while you can, 'Natch'l Blues' historically goes 'out of print' at record speed. The humorous conversation of 'Good Morning Miss Brown' slides along a sensual grooving bass-line while Taj on his 'National' guitar courts a rolling piano, interjected with some very tasty licks from Jesse Ed Davis. 'Corinna' is simply down to earth country blues at it's best, and 'I Ain't Gonna let Nobody Steal My Jellyroll' is a sexy delta-blues strut if you ever heard one, and watch your skirts while that guitar sizzles! 'Going Up To The Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue', is classic Taj, written around the time he moved to Topanga Canyon, this song captures a feeling and mood of the late '60s, when so many were drawn to the rural counter-culture enclave in the Santa Monica mountains, yet the message is timeless & more than relevant today. Besides fine writing and arranging, 'Mailbox' features nice harp by Taj and a righteous Jesse Ed Davis solo. 'Done Changed My Way Of Living' is a punchy percussive delta-flavored dance among bass, drums, symbols, and Jesse Ed Davis' guitar work, another example of Taj's considerable competence at reworking traditional blues components and making them his own. 'She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride' cuts Taj loose on harmonica, cooking up a nice resurrection for this old Yank Rachel tune. I saw this band perform many times, from the very early days on the back of an old flat-bed truck in the Topanga Shopping Center, through their many gigs a the 'Topanga Corral', and for me, 'The Cuckoo' most powerfully demonstrates how these guys could gel into a single voice pulling you right into the groove, crank it up & check out the jam at the end of this tune, it's as close as you're going to get to being there. On 'You Don't Miss Your Water' and 'A Lot Of Love' Taj dives into the kind of soul music more associated with Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, or Marvin Gaye, horn sections & all, showing us another facet of his ample abilities. I write this review from an out of print Edsel edition of this album (ED CD 231), so I can't comment on the bonus tracks included on the Sony/Columbia re-issue, but this top notch album needs no bonuses to earn five stars. Nothing could be more natural, cue it up early some Saturday morning, roll over in bed, kiss your honey on the lips, and have yourself a very nice day.

5-0 out of 5 stars Newport69.....were learning..
back in the late sixties if you were a music fan in So. Cali you got wind of Taj Mahal...he was an underground radio staple but you only heard his commercial sounding blues/rock stuff...when this album came out it was a shocker because it was so eclectic in the sense it was a blues primer 101....it was honest and most of all not blantly commerical...everything except "aint that alot of love" and "and your gonna miss your water"...is stripped down to the basics...you feel the emotion and care given to these songs....listening to these songs now is not a trip down memory lane but a cultural experience of the highest musical order....endulge yourself...alot of us "so cals" did

5-0 out of 5 stars 'Lighthearted' blues, but great music nevertheless
I first bought this (early spring 1969) probably more for the astounding-looking cover (both front and rear) than for any other reason; but I had an idea that the music was going to be really good, and I was right. The breezes would be blowing through open windows, and listening to this made me feel like I was already outside, someplace way out in the country.

Taj Mahal plays/sings the blues with an uncharacteristically light, almost happy manner [despite what many would consider to be out of character], and in doing so, makes these tunes his own. Many of the songs mine the sub-genre of blues which uses more emotionally upbeat melodies and whose often humorous lyrics include plentifully adroit turns-of-phrase.

"My baby she long . . . my baby she tall. She sleeps with her head in the kitchen and her big feets out in the hall. So crazy 'bout that hard-headed woman 'o mine!"

Maybe that coterie of listeners which persists in honking about how the blues have to be down, dirty and depressing won't like this, but I'd say they might be missing something. If, as people who know the blues say, one sings it in order to better survive, there must be times when the blues uplifts into a comedy zone, or else music like this collection wouldn't have a genuine reason to exist. Myself, I'm very grateful it's here, intact.

2-0 out of 5 stars Professional, Commercial, NO Passion
There's lots of competent musicianship here but I keep waiting to hear the passion that the blues signify for me. The tunes are occasionally catchy but otherwise these songs smack of covers of songs that have been made more palatable for a mass audience. The originals say a lot about the African-American experience, this album appears to eliminated most of that identifying emotion. There is more soul and passion in John Hurt's Corinna, Corrina than in this whole album. I don't hear anything "natch'l" and I don't hear the "blues". If this album turns others on to wanting to hear authentic blues, then it will have served a purpose, otherwise it's just a precursor to someone like Keb Mo. ... Read more


182. Presumed Innocent
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Asin: B00005B1DL
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 11008
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Raised near the border of Texas and Louisiana, Marcia Ball continues to claim dual citizenship for her music, forging a rollicking roadhouse groove that has never sounded richer or more vital than it does here. With her piano style steeped in the soul of New Orleans, Ball and coproducer Doyle Bramhall enlist the Cajun accordion of Pat Breaux and the bluesy Texas bite of Pat Boyack's guitar and Gary Primich's harmonica on a collection that holds its own with the classics that inspired her. Highlights range from a duet with Delbert McClinton on Allen Toussaint's "You Make It Hard" to the supper-club sophistication of "She's So Innocent" to the album-closing homage to Huey "Piano" Smith, "You Make Me Happy." Though uptempo rhythm & blues dominates the selection, the open-hearted balladry of "Let the Tears Roll Down" and "I Have a Right to Know" brings out the best in Ball. --Don McLeese ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Marcia as good as ever
Marcia has been influenced by many different styles of music, predominately blues and roots rock but also including R+B, country and jazz - even some Cajun. You can find elements of all these in this album though some are more obvious than others. She has never been a prolific recording artist but her albums are all of the highest quality. This wonderful album, mostly of good-time music, shows Marcia singing as good as ever and backed by plenty of great musicians, although she only occasionally shows her dynamic skills on the piano.

The songs are mainly original (often written by Marcia) but also include covers of You make it good (a cover of an Allen Toussaint song featuring Delbert McClinton as duet vocalist), I have the right to know (originally written and recorded by Brenda Burns and also covered by Francine Reed) and I'm coming down with the blues (a Don Covay song from 1960).

Among the original songs, I particularly like Louella (on which Marcia makes more use of her piano than usual for this album), Thibodaux Louisiana (with a touch of Cajun). She's so innocent (an outstanding ballad) and You make me happy (a great song to close the album) - but every song here is brilliant.

If you like great rock music with a variety of other influences, this is for you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Strong material, variable production
It's refreshing to hear music that's sung and played by a serious musician: Marcia Ball's exciting New Orleans-styled piano and her committed vocals are a happy invitation to an uplifting listening experience. This album sounds like it was recorded...in an actual *recording* studio? Yes, the air is a little tight around the mike, but do I hear a real acoustic piano?
The highlight of the album is "She's So Innocent", a kind of album sub-title, a mello and sombre ballad beautifully rendered by Marcia. This is the quietest slow number here and the most impressive. "I Have The Right To Know" is reminiscent of the best of Percy Sledge, with a dash of Domino (as in Fats). Like many of the selections, however, it runs about one minute too long. The Don Covay co-composition "I'm Coming Down With The Blues" is a great addition. It's a lesser-known slow number and it's soulful throughout.
The best uptempo item is "Fly On The Wall", actually a mid-tempo. The arrangement is perfect with backing vocals well mixed. A contender is the Ball composition "Louella", somewhat reminiscent of Frankie Ford's "Roberta" [aka "Loberta"], a fun lyric about some chick's penchant for making private business public. Must make a nice *set* entry.
"Count The Days" has an entertaining hook, but the arrangement is third-rate. With lyrics presumeably derived from the Presley-related "Milcow Blues Boogie" and a chorus possibly based upon The Beatles "All Together Now" you'd think this track would cook, but the mindless repetition of "...one, two, three..." and the length of the tune leaves one perplexed by a poorly integrated novelty effect. Maybe a fun after hours sing-along but not a number to hold the third position on an album by an esteemed artist.
The CD closes with Marcia's "You Make Me So Happy", an engaging track which directs you right back to Track One. Perhaps by leaving off a few numbers and simplifying a few more the album would really cook. Still a notable effort.
[Marcia is included on the Island Visual Arts video "Let The Good Times Roll - A Film About The Roots Of American Music"].

5-0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars Ain't Enough But It Is All That I Can Do
I am a long term Marcia Ball fan. Her music and piano boogie really energizes me. Recently she appeared in concert locally (Norman OK). I took my two daughters who are in their early 20s and who were not familiar with Ms Ball. They were both mesmerized by the talent and the music of this lady. Any of her CDs are a bargain. All of her stuff is fun. All of her music is hot ... hot ... hot!

5-0 out of 5 stars "talent in the purest form...Marcia Ball"
Think of boogie woogie, zydeco, piano skills unmatched and a great expressive style...the result is Marcia Ball...memories of past releases come to mind ~ "Hot Tamale Baby", "Gatorhythms", "Blue House", "Let Me Play With Your Poodle" and "Sing It", all on the Rounder label, composer of blues with lyrics pouring straight from the heart...I'm a big, big fan, and this latest release from Alligator Records ~ "Presumed Innocent", spells a winner.

From ballads to New Orleans blues, Marcia keeps them coming straight at you, entire CD is a must have...don't pass this one up...Can't say enough, except...we need more of the same...so spin this, sit back and enjoy, cause' Marcia's so happy when she's with you...you're going to have a ~ BALL!

Total Time: 52:53 on 13 Tracks ~ Alligator Records ALCD-4879 ~ (2001)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, but I like it
I was shopping in the Amaxon's Alligator web site and I saw Marcia Ball, I bought it on a wim. Not hard blues but good, fun rythm and blues. Great stuff. I don't have any others, but I will. Great Piano by Marcia, and great guitar, especially on Thibodaux, Louisiana, A great rocking tune. Delbert McClinton stops by on Scene of the Crime. If you like old fashioned fun Rythm and Blues this is great stuff... ... Read more


183. Friends
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Asin: B0002HAERU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7442
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184. Stages
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Asin: B00023B1GW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 13066
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185. Wicked Grin
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Asin: B000059T5O
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 14426
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com's Best of 2001

Wicked Grin is wicked indeed, just as sharp and clear and perceptive as you'd expect of an album of Tom Waits songs performed by veteran bluesman John Hammond. That basically sums up what Wicked Grin is all about; only one song on the album, the traditional "I Know I've Been Changed," wasn't written by Waits. This gorgeous recording should appeal to fans of both artists: Waits's songwriting is as incisive as ever, and Hammond explores each song to its fullest potential as he makes it his own. Waits produced the album as well. Between them, the two musicians achieve a kind of synthesis that makes for a damn fine collection. The first few songs kick things off nicely, evoking urban images, specifically of New York City, that stick in the mind like a tune running through your head that won't leave. Then there's "Shore Leave," with a sort of dark harmonic drone behind everything that makes the whole song downright spooky; the bittersweet "Fannin Street," which almost sounds like one of Johnny Cash's sweeter songs; and the Spanish-inflected "Jockey Full of Bourbon," which is capable of raising goose bumps. The format of this collaboration is perhaps a bit unusual--though there's a long history in the blues of artists covering other artists' work, it's usually done after the artist being covered is safely dead and can't object--but it works so well that it makes an excellent argument for continuing the practice, even if it's doubtful that most such pairings could be as successful as this one. This may well be one of the best releases of 2001. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Blues Album in Years!
This is one of the best blues albums of the past 20+ years, combining John Hammond's gutty vocals and guitar with the quirky settings of producer Tom Waits (who also wrote or co-wrote all but one of the songs). It's a dirty concoction of mean streets and gutted dreams, yet elevated by the power and redemption of the blues.

The song most emblematic of the album's superiority is Track 2, "Heart Attack and Vine." This is an almost unbelievable recreation of Muddy waters' Chicago blues, thick with deep, raw, Boomy guitars and Hammond's Louisiana vocal accents. Wonderful lyrics, and an incredible sound; it has the ambience of a live set... somewhere in Chicago 45 years ago! It also features great work on the Hammond organ by Augie Meyers. I haven't heard anything like this in years.

Tracks 1 and 3 also merit special praise. Hammond's quick and cutting riffs on "2:19", coupled with Larry Taylor's thundering bass is head-shaking stuff. His playing somehow combines the power of electronic sound with the intimacy and personal touches of acoustic.

Track 3, "Clap Hands" fills a blues groove with the sinister spirit of a church with secrets, due, in large part, to Charlie Musselwhite's sinewy harmonica brewing darkly underneath. (It's so good to hear Musselwhite and his buzzsaw sound reminiscent of James Cotton.) The other songs take various blues routes and are uniformly excellent, including the John Lee Hooker flavor of "16 Shells...," Hammond's steel guitar on the country blues " Buzz Fledderjohn," the soulful "Shore Leave," and Musselwhite on "Big Black Mariah" Of special note is the gentle "Fannin Street," a folk-songish acoutic piece which, for some reason, reminded me of some of Traffic's (rock group) acoustic work.

There are annoying too-kewl liner "notes' by T. Bone Burnett, but no matter: This is a must have for all blues lovers.

5-0 out of 5 stars What A Wicked Grin
That is exactly what this disc did to me when I first heard it. I have not stopped grinning yet. John Hammond has taken songs that most of us thought only Tom Waits could do justice to and made them songs that you cannot get out of your mind. From the first cut "2:19" to my favorite cut "16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought 6," these songs take on the personality of Hammond. With help from some great musicians like Charlie Musselwhite, Augie Myers, and Tom Waits as well as superb production from Waits this is one of the finest recordings of Hammonds in his now 5 decade long career. If you are a fan of Hammonds, this recording will please you. If you are a fan of Waits, you will wonder what took him so long to have Hammond record his songs. If you like the blues, you will have a hard time taking this out of your cd player. If you do not know if you like the blues, this will put a "Wicked Grin" on your face.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential postmodern blues--
Since the day this disc came into my life, it's consistently been one of my faves for those "what's it all mean" kinda moods. There is true wisdom in Tom Waits's wordplay, and true power in the thumping, thudding skronk that backs it up. It's heavier than rock and deep as Dylan. I can picture John sitting in a half-lit bar somewhere in the middle of a crowded city on a rainy night, howling these offbeat blues poems to an audience of a dedicated few hipsters. I could only hope I'd be worthy enough to get a seat in there.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tom cat yowling in the nicotine dark.....
If you're familiar with both John Hammond and Tom Waits, you've probably guessed (correctly) that this album was not going to contain the average coverage of Waits' song catalogue. It's the bizarro bluesy side of Tommy the Cat that gets covered here, as opposed to Waits the jazzbo or Waits the down-and-out saloon crooner. Hammond and band give a earthy kick to such Waits growlers as "2:19," "Get Behind The Mule" and "Buzz Fledderjohn." With Waits himself in the producer's chair (and adding guitar and, on one track, a harmony vocal), Hammond makes these sound as earthy as Howlin' Wolf (city) or Charley Patton (country), and gets you as psyched about his interpretations as, hopefully, you'd get about Wait's own versions. The only less-than-stellar track is "Shore Leave," which doesn't cut it put side-by-side with Waits' version on his album, SWORDFISHTROMBONES. But that's a minor gripe with the rest of the album to consider. I hope Hammond will think about a sequel to this album, as there's lots of Waits in them thar hills just waiting for the right kind of venue. This album is a good start

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy it and buy it now
This is possibly one of the best albums ever made. Combine an amazingly soulful and well developed bluesman with one of the best song writers of all time, and it can only mean good things. This album surpasses even the ideas I had of what the two could do together. You really can't describe this album in words, so perhaps I should stop trying. If you have 15 dollars to your name, and you are hungry but you also have a cd player, use that money to buy this album. Go to your favorite record store and buy this album right now. You won't regret it. ... Read more


186. Loud Guitars Big Suspicions
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Asin: B00001NTQZ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 11565
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (115)

5-0 out of 5 stars This album should put all the teen pop queens to shame!
Shannon Curfman doesn't have bleached blonde hair, she doesnt sing songs like "Candy" or "Genie in Bottle", she doesn't have all the "hot" dance moves so how does she pull it off? It's a little something called TALENT! Shannon sings from her soul, she makes your believe every song on her album, she co-wrote 7 songs on her CD and believe it or not, she plays an instrument. This is real music, whether her songs come from experience or not, she puts everything shes got in it. From the bluesy sounds of "No Riders" and "Few and Far Between" to the radio friendly ballads "I dont make promises I cant break" and "If you change your mind" to rockin' songs like "True Friends" and "Playing with Fire" to the two cover songs "The Weight" and "Hard to Make a Stand" Shannon covers it all! This is one of the most rounded albums I've ever listened to.

If you like the CD, you HAVE to see her live, she'll blow you away! She is sooooooo much better live plus she is a nice person!

Overall, this CD was worth every dollar!

5-0 out of 5 stars Screaming Guitars, Huge Vocals
Shannon Curfman has to be ranked with Jonny Lang both stylistically and in the heavily talented department. Her virtuoso guitar ability ranks in a dead heat with Jonny Lang, both on this CD and in her live performance. She captures the crowd with her stage charisma, blazing guitar solos, and amazing vocals, exhibiting technique rarely found in a singer in their late 20s, let alone someone who's only 14.

I've been playing some serious guitar for more than 20 years (and playing in and producing local bands in the Baltimore/DC area) and given a year or two of honing her chops onstage, she'll be among the most expressive and passionate guitarists around...period! I saw her perform in a small club a few nights ago, and I was simply blown away by the level of talent she exhibits...I don't believe in reincarnation, but if I did, I'd swear the soul and spirit of Muddy Waters is tucked away somewhere inside Shannon! I can't even imagine how much better she can possibly get.

She can already smoke Bonnie Raitt on guitar and Melissa Ethridge on vocals. Her songwriting skills are so advanced, one wonders how a 14 year old can even appreciate some of the concepts of love gone awry and standing up for oneself.

Her catchy guitar riffs will mesmerize you to the point you'll have them buzzing around in your head all day. She also demonstrates quite a bit of range stylistically...from smooth, sultry ballads like "Never Enough" and "If You Change Your Mind" to straight ahead blues-rockers like "Playing With Fire" and "True Friends", which is beginning to get much deserved radio airplay.

If you even remotely enjoy the blues, you've got to have at least 2 copies of this CD...one for home and one for the car.

If Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions doesn't receive blues CD of the year status, then I am convinced that there is no one out there actually listening anymore!!

p.s. also take a listen to Sean Chambers "Strong Temptation"

5-0 out of 5 stars 30 year-old Teen Sensation!!
I happened upon Shannon's CD while browsing around the local library and decided to check it out. This is one of the most wonderful musical discoveries I've ever made! I'd never heard of Shannon before and was amazed to found out she recorded the album at such a young age!! She sings with such conviction and soulfulness!! So much so that while listening to the CD for the first time, I swore I was listening to a 30/40 yr-old woman wailing about experiences that I've never had. She truly has a voice beyond her years.

I dont know quite how to label her music, but that never bothers me when I listen to music. For those expecting to hear a high-pitched, song bird girl (typical voice of most teens), you'll be disappointed. Shannon bellows deeply and purrs with a raw, grungy tone. The melodies on certain songs complement her voice quite well. When you hear her for the first time, I swear you'll never know she's just a teen. In fact, I may never be convinced of that until I see her live!

In retrospect, I'm really glad I didn't know anything about her (including her age) before I heard her music. It makes you more objective when you hear it for the first time. Shannon's set such a high standard (relatively speaking) on her first album, I can only hope she'll be able to improve on this for her second album. Anything less will definitely be dissapointing. Regardless, I'm now a fan for life!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great New Talent
Great album from a strong new talent. Shannon has strong voice with plenty of feeling. She is a talented new comer who is making an name for herself as a guitar player and singer. The entire album is a great listen.

5-0 out of 5 stars BLUES ROCK
This a terrific disc. Shannon Curfman has a great voice. Powerful, accomplished, and very emotional Great band. Great blues in a rock scenario. If you like John Mayall you will like this. The music is standard stuff, but her voice is fantastic. Oh, that's not mentioning how she plays the guitar. All good here ... Read more


187. Homeland
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Asin: B0001HAIWC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 35903
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Amazon.com

Crescent City keyboard virtuoso Henry Butler has electrified and energized his recent recordings, mixing large portions of funk into the proceedings. The sound is a far cry from the sublime acoustic simplicity of his classic Blues After Sunset, but it has its own attractions, and producer Dave Pirner, a fellow New Orleans resident best known as the frontman for Soul Asylum, exhibits them well. Tunes like the acidic "Casino," a hard-edged, guitar-punctuated protest of the tourist focus that is slowly strangling NOLA's music scene, serves to illustrate Butler's musical abilities outside his signature syncopated piano artistry. Veteran guitarist Vasti Jackson, who has worked with everyone from Z.Z. Hill to C.J. Chenier, provides the perfect foil for Butler's keyboard work while also deftly reinforcing his R&B-flavored vocals on songs like the live-set favorite "I Stand Accused." Butler reverts to his earlier style for several keyboard excursions, such as "Ode to Fess," his tribute to New Orleans piano legend Professor Longhair, and "Henry's Boogie," a sparkling showcase for his percussive piano approach. --Michael Point ... Read more


188. So Many Rivers
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Asin: B00008NG59
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5098
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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If Bonnie Raitt played piano and had a little more New Orleans in her, she'd be proud to claim the soulful sincerity of this release as her own. Producer Stephen Bruton (long Raitt's lead guitarist) polishes this groove-laden set with rich arrangements of horns and harmonies, as Cajun accordionist Wayne Toups, former Storyville vocalist Malford Milligan, and blues guitarist Pat Boyack provide additional sonic spice. Though the second-line syncopation of "Foreclose on the House of Love," the buoyant swamp pop of "Honeypie" (with Toups), and an acoustic, mandolin-driven transformation of the funky "Three Hundred Pounds of Hongry" find the veteran blueswoman in playful spirits, she shows her depth as a balladeer on originals such as "Give Me a Chance" and "The Storm," as well as a revival of Arthur Alexander's classic "If It's Really Got to Be This Way." Between the river towns of New Orleans (Ball's musical homeland) and Austin (where she's based), these 14 cuts cover a lot of ground. --Don McLeese ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars More like it.
I was disappointed with Marcia's last album, "Presumed Innocent", as it had a somewhat antiseptic sound for this most organic of performers. "So Many Rivers" sounds much more vibrant and closer in feel to her best album: "Let Me Play with Your Poodle". Her playing and that of her band is solid and rollicking. The mix between rockers and ballads is perfect. However, to experience Marcia at her best you need to see her in concert. This album should provide some excellent fodder for her current live set. A live album would really do Marcia justice. ... Read more


189. Electric Mud
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002OCP
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 21523
Average Customer Review: 3.09 out of 5 stars
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This is the infamous "somebody-put-something-in-the-Waters" LP from 1968. A relative hit for Chess, it features the exalted bluesman bellowing over psychedelicized arrangements that owe more to Steppenwolf than Willie Dixon. Waters himself complained that the drums were too busy and the lead guitar sounded like a cat's meow. Not a bad critique. --Steven Stolder ... Read more

Reviews (22)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not excactly horrible, just superflous
With the exception of a terrible rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Let's Spend the Night Together", "Electric Mud" isn't unbeararble to listen to, it's just not particularly good either.
Muddy Waters' vocals are fine, sure, but the psychedelic arrangements and aimless guitar wailing doesn't suit the songs.

Guitarists Pete Cosey, Ronald Faulkner and Phil Upchurch, who back Muddy Waters on these eight songs, are probably quite talented players, but Muddy's brand of tough, downhome electric blues suffers greatly at the hands of extended fuzzy solos, manic drumming, and occasional wailing soprano saxophones which bounce around aimlessly like loose basketballs.

If you're really into 60s psychedelia, you might like "Electric Mud" just fine. If you're into the blues, don't waste your money on this album, which is neither original nor particularly well executed; rather it's a classically wrongheaded, crass update of the blues for a supposed "modern" audience, and everything here is readily available in much, much better versions.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Crime Against Humanity!!
The reviewers below must be joking. This is an abomination - probably the worst album I've ever heard. I'm not a purist, just a lover of good music - and even Muddy recognised that this was awful. Much maligned? It really can't be maligned enough. By any standard this is truly dreadul - an attempt by an ill-informed record label to make Muddy Waters more accessible to white audiences. How? Who knows. Do yourself a favour, if you're after "Electric Mud", go for either "Hard Again" or "I'm Ready" (both produced by Johnny Winters). Poisoned chalk and an epicurist's cheese!

4-0 out of 5 stars Flower Power Mud!!
A great combination of Muddy's powerful blues growl, and the musicianship of some of the best psychedelic players-Phil Upchurch, Pete Cosey(who later played with Miles Davis), etc.. Howlin' Wolf did an even wilder album at the same time(1968), with the same musicians, which I would like to see released on cd. I know a lot of people consider this a stinker, but I like this strange compelling mixture of tradition and modernism. FOUR STARS!!

2-0 out of 5 stars I Don't Get It. This Sure Ain't The Muddy I Know & Love
Just a lot of fuzz-tone and reverb...over-done, over-produced...over rated.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as the critics say it is.
Aside from the pointless meandering of "She's Alright," this isn't a bad album. It certainly isn't the Holy Grail of blues, but it isn't as bad as Waters or the critics say it is.

In case you don't know, Muddy Waters, in 1968, wasn't making any more hits. In a desperate attempt, Chess Records decided to put him with some avant-garde jazz musicians and make a Jimi Hendrix like album.

It's not that bad. I Just Want To Make Love To You fits in perfectly with Are You Experienced, and I really like Mannish Boy. Let's Spend The Night Together is quite good, even though everyone disagrees with me. The only song I hated was She's Alright, which went on and on with pointless soloing, and an instrumental version of "My Girl."

I'm sure Muddy was really pissed off that he couldn't make a real blues album, but this is ok. Then again, I always liked the electric blues of the 60s. Listen first, then buy it if you like it. ... Read more


190. 20th Century Masters: The Best Of Etta James (Millennium Collection)
list price: $9.98
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Asin: B00000I9CK
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6533
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Few vocalists can muster the power and sass of Etta James when she's rocking the mike on classic R&B tunes like "Tell Mama" or "Something's Got a Hold on Me." But James also had a way with a ballad, and her sensitive readings of songs such as "At Last" and "All I Could Do Was Cry" made her a fan favorite in the early '60s. Had she not been sidelined for a while by an addiction to heroin, today we might think of James, not Aretha, as the Queen of Soul. Because this set offers only 11 cuts, it's generally inferior to Her Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection, which boasts 20 tunes. Still, it's a satisfying intro to the delightful "Miss Peaches" nonetheless.--Daniel Durchholz ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Queen of Soul that even outdoes Aretha Franklin
Personally, I love Aretha, but Etta did it all first and most of the time better! The first song I heard was "Trust In Me" and I loved it. "At Last" was next and I loved it better! I didn't want to jump right into the 2-CD anthology, so decided to buy this as a sampler. It compiles some of her best material and takes glances at every little piece of her soul. If you want a sample of Etta just to see if you like her, this CD will make you come crawling back for more! Every song on here is classic, but my personal faves are "At Last", "Pushover", "Don't Cry Baby", "Trust In Me", "Tell Mama"...oh, I give in! They're all my personal favorites!!!!! A must-have!

5-0 out of 5 stars AT LAST I FOUND THIS FABULOUS ALBUM!
I first bought this album at the record store and due to unmitigating circumstances, it slipped away from me. I am all of thirty years old but I know Etta's music. She had an edginess to her delivery that no one in her circle really had yet she could deliver a smoothed out ballad also. My favorite song is "Trust In Me". I love this particular song because of its simplicity in structure and also in lyric. What shines on this is Ms. James emotive voice which is lush and spare all at the same time. Thanks again for coming through Anmazon!

5-0 out of 5 stars Love it! Love It! Love It!
Etta is my favorite Lady Of Blues by far. I bought this cd for the song,"At Last," but my favorite is, "Trust In Me." It WILL be played at my wedding.

She is amazing. Order this cd now!

5-0 out of 5 stars WAIT! WAIT! STOP THE WEDDING!
After hating Etta's "Seven Year Itch," album, a friend gave me a copy of this CD for my birthday. I listened to it several times all the way through and was won over. I listen to it all the time now. "At Last," appears in several different movies including Father of the Bride 2. But I'd have to say that my favorite song on the entire album is "Stop the Wedding."

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Etta James Collection!
Although brief,this is a very good disc,it contains all great songs.I highly recommend it. ... Read more


191. The Door
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Asin: B00004Z3TX
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 15783
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Singer-guitarist Kevin Moore, known by his slangy abbreviation Keb' Mo', has already enjoyed commercial success. He's cut radio hits like "I Was Wrong," toured with Bonnie Raitt, and won Grammys for his last two albums. Yet this time, Moore's truly nailed his blues-pop ambitions with a warm mix of sonics and songcraft. The Door wraps spare arrangements around Moore's bone-deep slide guitar and the slow-granite foundation of drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Reggie McBride. They catch the spirit of the music's simple country roots, but spin savvy moves like updating Elmore James's "It Hurts Me Too" with a hip-hop groove that flies. Moore has also penned wise, sweetly emotional lyrics. He weaves themes like class-consciousness (the star-crossed love ode "Anyway") and poverty of the spirit ("Change") into heart-tugging ballads colored by the chocolate-y Mississippi moan of his voice. Add in flourishes of electric jazz guitar and some nasty rock tones, and this tallies up as his most ambitious, balanced CD. But shouldn't he have called it The Do'? --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (30)

4-0 out of 5 stars Keb' Mo' Is A Changin'
If you are looking for a modern day Elmore James or Howlin'Wolf, this CD will disppoint you. But if you like the direction Keb' took in his last record, you will enjoy his newest, too. Speaking of Elmore, Keb's version of "It Hurts Me Too" on this CD is my favorite cut, and I admit to playing it over and over in my car. The rest of the offerings lean more toward standard r&b and pop fare, but are generally very enjoyable albeit somewhat reminiscent of earlier Keb' compositions.(That can be said about most singer-songwriters, I guess). In summary, Keb' Mo' is truly unique , and his music is as varied as any contemporary artist on the scene today. Keb', you are changin' , but I am willing to change along with you.

4-0 out of 5 stars Superb again.
With his new album 'The Door', Keb' Mo' has given us a fourth great album of his unique brand of contemporary urban blues. While this is perhaps a tighter, more restrained effort than past offerings there is certainly no drop in quality. For starters there is his stunning makeover of Elmore James' 'It Hurts Me Too' which retains the charm of the original but updates it with a soulful backbeat and wash of synthesizer not unlike that of Bruce Springsteen's 'Streets Of Philadelphia' - a powerful spin on traditional blues. 'Come On Back', an enjoyable ballad, is in the same vein as 'That's Not Love' and 'Everything I Need' from previous albums. 'Change' is a fantastic song combining social commentary with a very memorable hook, again reminding me of a song like 'More Than One Way Home'; it deserves to be heard more and will hopefully be released as a single. Tethered neither to blues purists or the charts, Keb' Mo' continues to carve out an impressive career by playing what comes naturally to him, and providing the listener with an accessible, credible form of blues.

5-0 out of 5 stars Contemplative Lyrics
Just as you get used to rolling along with the music, Kevin Moore gets downright funky. These are slow dreamy contemplations with occasional kick.

"When I die
I won't be gone
I'll be living in
The Everlasting
And while I'm here
I hope that I can find
The answers to the questions
Life keeps asking."

Through the lyrics we can also ask and answer our own questions. Some songs are stories about being lonely or needing love. There are also a few wakeup calls and deeply intimate revelations.

Blues that feels upbeat and make you feel good.

Kinda sexy really. ;)

4-0 out of 5 stars Keb Mo continues to entertain
This is my third Keb Mo (a/k/a Kevin Moore--how about that for tongue in cheek humor--in his name, as well as his music) CD. His best was the self-titled CD "Keb Mo". His lyrics and his rockabilly, kicked back blues are always enjoyable. The 2nd or 3rd listening and you are singing along! When I saw him in concert here in Charleston, SC, it was hard to not sing or hum out loud.

Pick any CD by this masterful blues man, but only his first CD would get 5 stars from me--call me picky.

5-0 out of 5 stars My First Time
I can honestly say that this has been the only CD I have listened to for the past week. I was not a big "Blues" fan until I heard the cut "It Hurts Me Too."

I realize that a lot of people may not like the way Keb' Mo' has intergrated so many musical styles into his interpretation of the "Blues", but for me that's what make it so appealing. For those of us out their that are searching for something a little different, this is just the ticket. There is just enough variations in tempo, style and emotion to keep you from getting bored.
The song " Mommy Can I Come Home" is a real tear jerker and the clarity on my SACD player lets you hear every breath he makes, every stroke and slide on his guitar so well that you can close your eyes reach out and touch him. This realistic sound quality adds to the emotional involvement, which for me is one of the main reasons to purchase music in the first place.
My girlfriends daughter who listens mostly to "Rap" even asked me to borrow it. The adminstrative assistant for our office who who listens to country was bouncing in her seat when I played it for her and begged me to get her a copy.

This is clearly a CD everyone seems to identify with and after all, is that not what "Blues" is all about? ... Read more


192. Live As I'll Ever Be
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Asin: B00004U02M
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5646
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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The accomplished Smither, after 30-odd years of performing and recording, has carved out a distinctive musicality and a close relationship with his audience. This live record makes letter-perfect use of both attributes. A far cry from 1999's excellent but instrumentally diverse Drive You Home Again, this is a spare, intimate recording featuring just guitar and voice. But what a guitar, and oh, what a voice. Gravelly, light, and tuneful, with a plaintive nasal pinch that bleeds wisdom and salvation, he rhymes his storylike lyrics around effortless guitar twangs and a simple tap meter, entertaining very lucky and appreciative live audiences with guile and an astute sense of observation. Songs like "Cave Man," from 1997's Small Revelations, find an easy soulfulness in their unadorned settings, and show off just how skilled Smither's songwriting has become. Other tunes leave an endearing impression of hopeful whimsy, as tracks like "Winsome Smile" trace a lover's almost pathological grip on his precious melancholy. Smither's deserved popularity has landed him in larger and larger venues for the last several years, but this disc reveals the musician's heart is still grounded in those intimate coffeehouses, bars, and sidewalk cafés, where acoustic songcraft has always flourished. --Matthew Cooke ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars the man with the blue guitar
Chris Smither live is amazing. Just one guy with an acoustic guitar, apparently. But the way he plays that guitar! Over many years he has honed a truly accomplished folk-blues style that has more density than many bands I've heard. Plus, you notice that board under his feet? He pounds out a rhythm with both feet, adding drums! Of course his songwriting is up there with the best, and his singing is intense and affecting. And funny? He had the crowd cracking up between songs just about every time when I heard/saw him at USU in Logan last fall. This album is the next best thing to Smither live. It also brings together a great sample of his recent work, pointing the listener to his series of 90s Hightone albums (my favorite is "Up On the Lowdown," and "Happier Blue" is marred by synthesizers). What do you miss from his live show? The stories, for one. You get one, just a taste, the story of the New Orleans produce man. You also miss some of his great covers -- Lowell George's "Rock and Roll Doctor," and John Hiatt's "Memphis in the Meantime." So check out this awesome live album, and go see/hear him live the next time he's within 100 miles of you!

5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST LIVE SOLO ACT AROUND
You really haven't heard Chris Smither until you've heard him live. He's simply an amazing artist, and one of the best solo acts performing today. The best way to describe his music is it pretty much straddles the fence between folk and blues. All done with acoustic guitars and his two tapping feet he uses as a rhythm section. Believe me when I say, this is all this guy needs. He is a full sounding one man band. Some of my favorite songs off this album are the bluesy "LINK OF CHAIN" and "CAN'T SHAKE THESE BLUES", along with "UP ON THE LOWDOWN", and one of his best songs "I AM THE RIDE". All these songs come from his studio album "UP ON THE LOWDOWN", which I'm partial to because he had a cd release party for this album the night he came through Oklahoma City back in 1995. I got to hear all these songs for the first time in a live setting, which made it that much more special. There was a lot of electricity in the air that night, and that was a concert I will not soon forget. Smither came through the city again in 1996 for the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Concert. Although it was a sad ocassion, when Chris Smither came on that big stage with just him and his guitar, he played the most inspirational set of any of the big name acts that appeared that night. And it made everybody who walked out of the Civic Center Music Hall that night, feeling a little bit better about everything. Everyone should get to see Chris Smither live at least once in their lives. In the meantime, I highly recommend getting this new "live" cd. This guy is a great songwriter, and there isn't a bad tune on here. And it's the next best thing to seeing him live.

5-0 out of 5 stars Live Smither...sort of
As almost any of the other reviewers will say, you haven't truly experienced the full genius of Chris Smither until you see him live, but "Live As I'll Ever Be" is very much what the title sounds like: an excellent live disc of the living, toe-tapping wonder with the blue guitar. With no intention of prejudice, one might ask in jest, "A middle-aged white guy playing the blues? It can't be!" But Chris Smither's brilliant lyricism and sturdy voice certainly extend beyond all boundaries. Song lyrics that strive for (and acheive) an ethereal sense of grounding glide between the harmonies of fingerpicking that defies comparison. Few recordings can delve as deeply into the psyche as Smither's "Cave Man" or his moving cover of Roland Salley's "Killing the Blues."
Smither himself states it best in his song "Help Me Now": A one man band to the bone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Concert in a box
My wife introduced me to Chris Smither via his studio albums a number of years ago, but it wasn't until 2001 that I got to see him live. I was absolutely blown away! Although I disagree with the reviewer who doesn't like his studio albums, the live experience is definitely better. A man, a mike, his blue guitar, and his tapping feet - that's all you need!

As someone who grew up on rock rather than blues it really struck me how much better a musician Chris Smither is than anyone else I have seen live (which includes Rush, Primus, and AC/DC as well as Moxy Fruvous, Eddie From Ohio, and Janis Ian - all of whom I like!) He is very charismatic, but what I found most amazing is that while playing these incredible licks he totally ignores his guitar, as opposed to the stereotypical rock guitarist who looks like he is examining the grain on the neck of his guitar during a solo. It's as if C.S. is just twiddling his thumbs, so much is the guitar a part of him.

Do yourself two favors: buy this album, then go see him in person (or vice versa!)

5-0 out of 5 stars Seems So Dumb to Get So Excited
I've been a fan of Chris Smither since his 1972 "Don't It Drag On" LP. When he blasted "Statesboro Blues" and "Friend of the Devil," it was like having an old friend I never met in my living room. I went back and picked up his "I'm A Stranger Too" from 1970, then he disappeared as a recording artist until 1984 with "It Ain't Easy." These were albums to which I continually returned. If I understand correctly, he was battling his own personal devils with alcoholism. Then he returned in 1991 with his live CD "Another Way to Find You" that covered his recordings to that point. Throughout the 90's he consistently put out excellent CDs, followed recently by the classic "Train Home" that came out this year. "Live As I'll Ever Be" was my #1 CD for the year 2000 on my "Class of 2000" list here on Amazon, but I never reviewed it. I also had never seen Chris live, until last Friday night in Chapel Hill. Chris is the quintessential live performer.

What comes across so amazingly live is the great humor in his songs. When he sings, "Seems so dumb to get so excited," on "Can't Shake These Blues," it's not that it's a comedy song, but just that you get the humor of his great spirit. His facial expressions contort to often express a humble self-effacing guy with wry wit. On Friday he related singing at prison where the inmates were a little wary of him at first. Then after a couple of songs "they figured I just hadn't been caught yet."

This disc is a great representation of his live show. All of the songs on this disc are so strong that it's hard to pick highlights. "Hold On" is a great opener. When he did "The Devil's Real," he said his friends showed up at his concert worried that he'd gotten religion. He assured then he hadn't; and they all left. His closer in Chapel Hill was "Link of Chain" which is a great song with his great penchant for lyrical twists, "Fly me like a kiteline smilin' like a goldmine, I don't need to be right." "No Love Today" with its intro about the vegetable man makes you think this will be a funny song about a street seller until the song hits its great pathos, "I could not love to save myself from lonesome desperation, everything I thought was love was worthless imitation." "Cave Man" boasts a gorgeous melody about the supreme loneliness. Chris' guitar on "Small Revelations" is about as expressive as a guitarist gets balanced by his wistful vocals, "Passion is feeling in motion, compassion is standing still." When Chris adopts a song like Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom," he encompasses it so completely that it's hard to tell that it from his self-penned pieces. There is also a great universality and worldly wisdom that comes through in Chris' songs like, "I'm not the passenger, I am the ride." One of my favorites is "Up On the Lowdown" with its insistent beat and they great rise in melody when Chris sings "That's what's so surprising."

Chris' set "Live As I'll Ever Be" is a great recording of a man in his element. His guitar is so distinctive that just like I can recognize James Taylor's or George Harrison's guitar as individual as their vocals, so too is Chris' guitar unique. I thought this was the best recording of 2000. Enjoy! ... Read more


193. Best of the Blues
list price: $20.98
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Asin: B00005TZJX
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 13278
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars FINALLY!!! It's Here!!!
Yes, Gary Moore fans, the blues best of CD you have been waiting patiently for has finally arrived... and it's NOT a CD-R! Virgin has put out a whopper too, as the CD times in at just under 70 minutes and, if you are fast, the first pressing includes a 77 minute bonus disc of absolutely [fascinating] live stuff! The material on the regular CD is all previously released from the After Hours, Ballad & Blues 1982-94, Blues Alive, Blues for Greeny, and Still Got the Blues albums offered by Virgin during his popularity heyday. "Still Got the Blues" is in the better full version while both "Story of the Blues" and "Need Your Love So Bad" are the single edits. My one gripe is I wish they'd used the remaining eight minutes of space to include the long version of "The Loner". Then again, that would have made it a six-star CD! Buy it, and BUY IT NOW!!! Don't miss the first pressing live bonus CD! One listen and it's like a 77 minute full cardio workout of air guitaring! It's not cheap, but it's well worth it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Gary Moore: "King of the Blues!"
Without a doubt,Gary Moore is the most shreddin guitarist on the planet! This album is the finest in guitar expression. He makes that old 58 Les Paul wail with incredible feeling. Moore gets the sound that every guitar player only dreams of coming close to! If you want to groove to the blues, this album is truly the absolute best rockin blues ever! Long live Gary Moore...King of the Blues!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Indeed!
Fans of Gary Moore will most likely already own his individual albums, which renders this set pretty much obsolete except for collection purposes. For the unitiated, this album is a must.
Other than Peter Green in the late 60's, no other "white boy blues" guitarist can match Moore's technical prowess and sheer energy; well Johnny Winter does, so lets add "British" to the adjective list.
True this is more of a blues-rock affair, but let's not split hairs. From straight out blues, to boogie, to blues-rock 'n' roll, Moore can do it all. So if you enjoy the music of performers like Savoy Brown, Johnny Winter, Ten Years After, and early Fleetwood Mac you will thoroughly enjoy this album guaranteed. Gary Moore doesn't just "honk" on bobo, he literally blows bobo away!

5-0 out of 5 stars Moore and Collins Is there anything better?
This is a double-cd, the first cd being a studio set compiled from previous albums. It is good, even though I've heard the tracks on other albums.
The second cd however is, in my opinion, a bit special.All LIVE tracks, teamed up with blues legends like Albert King, B.B King and last and certainly not least THE ICEMAN, Albert Collins. Wow this stuff is dreamy. From the first track "Caldonia" right through to the last track "Midnight Blues" this will not disapppoint.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I read the reviewers here and felt compelled to purchase this CD. It just didn't do it for me as it did the other reviewers. Gary Moore voice isn't a blues voice. He should just let his guitar sing for him. And I'm not a fan of "speed" guitar mixed with the blues. If I want "speed" guitar, I'd listen to Satriani and others. The only attractive tracks were tracks that featured other vocals !
I have to say this one won't stay in my collection. ... Read more


194. Live at the Sands
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Asin: B000009D1P
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 19808
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars a classic
a powerful collection of live sounds from one of the greats, commanding respect and infinite hours of listening.

5-0 out of 5 stars One word: Wow!
Though I prefer the early Basie sound of the 30's, this album is remarkable for its clarity, sound quality and sheer presence. Basie also sounded better live than in any studio, and this disc exemplifies this phenomenon. Unlike many other live recordings, there is very little, if any, background noise, superfluous pops and buzzes or anything else to mar the magnificent sound. Incredibly, Basie was relegated to being a warm-up act for Sinatra in the Copa Room in Vegas and these songs were recorded as Basie and the boys swung before the Chairman hit the stage.

The highlights of this album are undoubtedly One O'Clock Jump and the swingin' Jumpin' at the Woodside. It's impossible not to become a Basie convert if you listen to just these two cuts. The brass section really cuts loose and you'll find yourself wanting to get up and just cut loose. That's what Basie is for: smiling, swingin' and having a great time. What a master musician and bandleader he was. Enjoy this collection!

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb - The best of BASIE
I never got to see Count Basie "Live". But, in listening to his "live" recordings it amazes me that people are talking while the band is playing. These musicians should have had total attention and a standing "O" at the end of every song! What a powerful band! Perhaps some of these folks at the show see them every night? Listen to this CD and you will see why Count Basie was so incredible. You can't go wrong.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow!!!
One of the many great albums by the Count, this one has it all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Basie Swings B4 Sinatra Sings
This album was "put together" during a joyous 5-day gig where the band opened for (and then backed) "Ol' Blue Eyes" in the Copa Room at the Sands Hotel/Casino, in Las Vegas, in 1966. The band did a short set each night, and the reissue producers picked various tunes from each set to make up one LONG set. The tunes included are some of the BEST charts the band ever did, recorded by one of the BEST BANDS the Count ever had. The personnel included Basie stars like Sonny Cohn, Al Aarons, Al Grey, Marshall Royal, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Sonny Payne...if you are a Basie fan, that tells it ALL...and if you're NOT, buy this and you'll BECOME A FAN!!

This is really PART ONE of a great two-part session. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you also get PART TWO, "Sinatra At The Sands," so you can enjoy the wonderful combination these two music legends made working together. (Check out the interplay between Frank and "Lockjaw" on the other disc, when they do "I've Got A Crush On You" and try to tell anyone they were not having FUN doing these sessions!!) The band plays with all the energy and creativity musicians bring out when "the room" is full of people who are really tuned-in to what they're doing...and the magic continues when Francis Albert is introduced and does his thing with the band!! Both of the CD's are really enjoyable for anyone who even "likes" music!!

Anyway, this fits right into the "BURIED TREASURE" category. Buy this (and the Sinatra disc, too!) and enjoy Basie classics like "Splanky," "Foo Birds," "I Can't Stop Loving You," "Makin' Whoopee!" and "Corner Pocket" done on a live session with great playing. This will surely become one of your favorites. ... Read more


195. Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go (And Soledad Prison)
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Asin: B000002P4B
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 22603
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Simply one of the greatest live blues recordings ever. Hooker plays alone at Soledad, yet the real thrill is hearing him backed at Greenwich Village's Café Au-Go-Go in 1966 by Muddy Waters and his band, including pianist Otis Spann, unsung harmonica giant George Smith, Francis Clay on drums, and guitarists Sammy Lawhorn and Luther Johnson. All are at the height of their abilities, but it's Hooker who works like a hoodoo conjurer, making misery rain down in "Seven Days" and "When My First Wife Left Me." This August night's reading of "I'm Bad Like Jesse James" ranks among the most intimidating vocal performances ever taped. His guitar and baritone singing sink to rarely heard depths of the blues--that secret place in the music (known only to its absolute masters) where it becomes an elemental force. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic, Must-Have
Miles Davis once told John Lee that, "You sound like you're buried up to your neck in mud" (that's a good thing if you tell the blues). This CD is deep. Raw. Painful. In fact, "I'm Bad Like Jesse James" hits so hard that you get scared just listening to the song. This live compilation, especially the 8 tracks from the Cafe au Go-Go which are backed by Muddy Waters band (yeah, THAT Muddy Waters), is a must-own for anyone who wants to experience the depth and power of John Lee Hooker. This is the blues in its finest 70 minutes. Awesome.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Live
This is my favorite live recording of early John Lee Hooker material. The CD has two different live recordings. The first eight tracks were recorded at The Cafe au Go-GO in in 1966. The last five tracks were recorded inside Soledad Prison in 1972. The last song on the CD, "Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang" which was changed later in his career to "Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom", is probably the best recording of this song that I have heard on any of Hooker's CDs. This recording is raw, rough, and powerful, just like the man himself!

John was right, way back in 1966, when he first sang the song (also on this CD) "I'll Never Get Out of These Blues Alive." Rest in Peace, I drink one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer to you.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Real Transformation
Despite Hooker being in his prime and having a great band at the Cafe Au Go-Go, I found the tracks from his performance there tepid. It sounds like he was trying to tone down his act for an ofay audience. Really - it's not a lively performance. So, that part of the disc gets three stars.

However, the tracks from Soledad Prison are scalding. "What's the Matter, Baby", "Boogie Everywhere I Go" and "Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang" in particular absolutely cook. That part of the disc gets five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb, gritty live blues
This CD reissue combines John Lee Hooker's "Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go" album with five songs from his "Live At Soledad Prison" LP (the other two songs from that LP had John Lee Hooker, jr. doing lead vocals, which is probably why they aren't included).

The eight Café Au Go-Go-tracks feature Muddy Waters and his band backing John Lee Hooker, and Hooker performs some of his best songs in rough, tough arrangements, topped by his hoarse, expressive baritone voice.
It's a little bit unusual to hear John Lee Hooker backed by a full band, but the arrangements work exceedingly well, and Hooker is in no way overwhelmed by the presence of three more guitarists (Muddy Waters, Sammy Lawhorn and Luther Johnson), and pianist Otis Spann.

Highlights include a truly menacing "I'm Bad Like Jesse James", a swaggering, swinging "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", a tremendous, slow "I'll Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive", and a soulful "When My First Wife Left Me", to which Otis Spann adds some truly magnificent piano playing.

On the Soledad tracks, which are also band-backed, Hooker lays down great renditions of "What's The Matter Baby" and "It Serves Me Right To Suffer", with the twin lead guitars of Luther Tucker and Charlie Grimes smouldering behind him.
"Lucille" is a great, mid-tempo boogie, and "Bang Bang Bang Bang", an alternative version of "Boom Boom", which rocks every bit as much as the MTV version did twenty years later.

If your idea of what the blues should sound like is latter-day B.B. King or Robert Cray, this might not be your thing...these recordings are far from polished and very much full of grit, but if you like your blues raw and ragged, this is indeed the real deal. One of the finest, most autenthic live blues records I have ever heard.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Classic John Lee. Worth it just for "Bad Like Jesse James".....gives me chills.... ... Read more


196. King of the Blues [Box]
list price: $59.98
our price: $53.99
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Asin: B000002OMC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6101
Average Customer Review: 4.92 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

This four-CD box set remains the absolutely definitive B.B. King collection, with 77 recordings and a biographical book that contains the great singer-guitarist's own remembrances of his decades-long career. It samples every stage of his development, from his days struggling to craft his music in the shadow of influences like T-Bone Walker and Lonnie Johnson to his latter-day pairings with rockers like Bonnie Raitt and Gary Moore. The one constant is his open-hearted singing and the soulful, contemplative solos he squeezes from his beloved guitar Lucille. These discs, of course, embrace all his essential hits, from his first--1951's "Three O'Clock Blues"--to his 1970 smash "The Thrill Is Gone," which took King to the pop charts and made him a household name. If this package is too lavish for the budget, try the excellent Best of B.B. King, Volume 1, which collects many of King's great early works. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars You Need This Set
I was on the line of whether I just liked B.B. or really liked B.B. After I bought this box set I upgraded to loving B.B. This is one of the greatest collections of tunes I have ever heard. Muddy is still the king of blues in my book but B.B. definitely deserves to wear a crown too.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Box Set fit for a King
I grew up on His Music thanks to My Family I became aware of Blues Music&also B.B King.this Box Set Highlights His Career Between Him&Lucille.His Voice&Playing are something else no matter what time period.on Guitar for me B.B. King has always had a Sound that no matter where you are in the World you know that it is Him.B.B. King is One of the Baddest Cats Ever to Make Music.His Story telling&VIbe is very Addictive.

5-0 out of 5 stars "He paid the Cost , To be the Boss"!
I just bought this box set last week and have been enjoying it like no tomorrow. I have many records of the top Blues singers going back to Robert Johnson and Bessie Smith, but I do believe that this is the best "complete" set on one artist! Man can them songs take you back. If I knew that this collection was this good I would of bought it years ago when it first came out (1992). No matter what your Budget is ,if you are really into the Blues you should buy this set - even if it means eating half lunches for a week or two, you won't be sorry. After hearing these tunes "The Thrill is Back"!

4-0 out of 5 stars A really like it but...
Due to some unfathomable screw-up, the 90 second guitar intro was cut off of Gambler's Blues! This is a great intro and you can find the whole song on the 2-CD Anthology or Classic Live Performances.

This set needs to be remastered and songs added to fill-er-up to near 80 minutes per CD. Though there is already 72-74 minutes per CD, there is enough other good BB to easily add 20 minutes more of music for the 4 CDs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
BB King is an amazing artist and this box set is a must for whoever can get their hands on it. Now I know where the title Lucille came from for his guitar, which he so eloquently describes for us in the song, just great storytelling. The second disc is simply awesome with a great start with "Going Down Slow," an extremely well done live performance! You can completely imagine exactly what BB is talking about thinking about a young man coming up to Chicago and blowing all of his hard earned money on a good time, and being abandoned by all his "friends" when the money runs out. BB knows the blues, and he sings like he was right next to you during the hardest of those times, and somehow you don't feel so all alone and your problems don't seem as miserable. I can't imagine a more talented performer, he really captures your whole undivided attention. There are simply too many highlights to name, but get this set and find out a great artists' work! And this box set doesn't just take it slow, there are rockers (She's Dynamite), jazzy ballads (try "Don't Get Around Much Anymore"), smokey blues, blazing guitar, cool guitar, the whole gamut. This is entertainment as fine as can be found. Take your time with this set and really get to know it, you'll be really glad you did. ... Read more


197. Raisin' Hell
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000009D6B
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 56901
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Elvin's best from 1978, and live
I owned this double-live album back in the 1970's- its great, sort of a live greatest hits as it has the best songs from Elvin's previous studio albums that he recorded during the mid 1970's.
Elvin was guitarist with the Paul Butterfield Blues band in the 1960's. This album is a mix of country and blues. Its great to see they were able to fit the entire album on a single disc- over 70 minutes of music!

4-0 out of 5 stars sure feels good, feeling good again
saw elvin on sunday 5/19 great live renditions of cuts on this cd
he has new members in the band,but does the numbers exceedingly well, a giant of the blues scene , with a trombone player and new lead guitarist that he does duets with

5-0 out of 5 stars GEM of a live album
The guy who said Elvin couldn't sing doesn't have an appreciation for joyous noise delivered straight from the heart. I happen to love Elvin's gritty southern-style drawlin' 'n' twangin' vocals, but if that's not enough for you, Mickey Thomas is also here, as well as the obligatory black female background singers belting out the soulful "Yes Sir's" and "halleluja's" in fine fettle.This album, predominantly recorded in California theater style venues in '76, has it all in Elvin's inimitable style of country, boogie, blues, rock, gospel, and soul, all rolled into one, complete with bold brass, funky keyboards and superb slide and blistering lead guitar, all supported by a solid rhythm section.Included in the selections is a 6+ minute Muddy Water's blues tune, "Brown Bird," masterfully rendered, and a medley including the Sam Cooke blast from the past, "A Change is Gonna Come."This is a definite MUST for Elvin lovers, and for the uninitiated, this good time rock and soul live album rates with the best of them for pure pleasure and near perfect quality.5 Stars all the way!

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Album To Listen To
I first bought this on 8 track in 1978 when it came out. I saw Elvin in concert in 1980 and had a blast. He's a great guitar player and it's displayed throughout this album. Travelin' Shoes, Raisin' Hell, Sure Feels Good, and Struttin' My Stuff are the best songs on this CD. I'm so glad this is back in print on CD because haven't been able to find it for years.

4-0 out of 5 stars Better late than never...
This CD is a great study not only in Elvin Bishop's song library, but in the awesome sounds which characterized the halcyon days of the early 70's. Whether it be the gratuitous Moog solos on "Rock My Soul", or the "whacka whacka geetars" of "Stealin' Watermelons", these sounds will transport you into an LA club of the early '70s. I was particularly happy with the improvement in the quality of the horn section (F.Y.I- sitting in from Tower of Power...) which were tinny on vinyl. ... Read more


198. So Many Roads: Live in Concert [CD Bonus Tracks]
list price: $14.98
our price: $14.98
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Asin: B000004BJP
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 42923
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars OOOOOOOTTTTIIIS RRRUUUUSSSHHHH !!!!!!
This album is a must have for fans of blues guitar, or just great blues music. Otis Rush is a force to reckoned with on this album, his guitar is alive in his hands and sings, squeals and grunts at times. His singing is powerful, and always tasteful.
Right from the opening track his 'blue guitar' hits the mark and never waivers. All Your Love is well done, and I also loved that he did a version of Kenny Burrell's Chitlin's Con Carne !!! very cool !
Otis Rush is awesome and certainly lives up to his nick-name as 'King of Singing String.'

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome Blues Power
Here is some of the most perfect blues guitar playing you will ever hear. There's even a smokin' version of Kenny Burrell's Chitlins Con Carne. You can hear the warmth & slight crackle of the tubes in Otis'amp. Tone to the bone. Majestic vibrato. Spine tingling singing. Otis' only living equal in this music (that I can think of right now) is Buddy Guy. I have several Otis Rush CD's. Highest recommendation to this one, Right Place, Wrong Time, and Cold Day in Hell (if it's still in print, I'm not sure). Blues Power.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy this CD. The sound is superb. There are no clunkers here
You can feel his guitar sing beautifuly on every track. His vibrato is second to none. If you like it, get "Right Place Wrong Time".

5-0 out of 5 stars You can almost hear Otis breath through the speakers!
This is one of the most Raw in your face Blues recordings I have ever heard! Otis sings with deep conviction and plays with a passion and makes every note count! The crowd is very enthusiastic and this adds to the excitement! One of my all time favorites at The Crazy Coyote Blues Power Show at 1490 KOTY AM (1490koty.com) Yakima Nation Reservation station in southcentral Washington state.

5-0 out of 5 stars Otis Rush is the Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Otis Rush is just sometimes with me another dimension. Otis has influenced every major Blues artist playing guitar since the 60's. This is easily one of his best listening Cd's with the performance and selection of songs here. He is one of the VERY few who are still alive from the 50's cutting edge consisting of Otis,Freddie King,Magic Sam,Luther Allison,Buddy Guy and Eddy Clearwater of the West Side Chicago sound. He is in Japan here where some of his best performances have been recorded. He is scheduled to go back to Japan to tour in May 2001. Hopefully someone will have the foresight to record him on audio and video. I rank this CD in my Top Ten of alltime Blues CD's. Its a must for any lover of the blues! ... Read more


199. Blues Lounge
list price: $15.98
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Asin: B0002VGSCQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 12845
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Album Description

Blues Lounge is an innovative collection of traditional blues tracks remixed and reinterpreted by cutting-edge electronica DJs and producers.The combination of modern electronica with the soul and spirit of the blues blends seemingly incongruent worlds to create a fresh and exciting new sound. Blues Lounge joins World Lounge, Euro Lounge, and Sahara Lounge as the latest addition to Putumayo’s Lounge series, a successful collection of releases that explores new directions in world and roots music. It is also Putumayo’s fourth blues-themed release (Mali to Memphis, Mississippi Blues and American Blues).

Electronica superstar Moby was one of the first to reveal the exciting results that come from fusing the soul of rootsy blues with modern electronica and dance music. His gospel-flavored track "Run On" is featured on Blues Lounge. European DJs/producers Mo’ Horizons and Boozou Bajou from Germany and Belgium’s Gare du Nord have used samples of older blues recordings and worked with contemporary blues and soul singers and musicians to produce their accessible club music.In the United States, the Fat Possum label from Oxford, Mississippi has been teaming up blues musicians with innovative producers such as Britain’s Adrian Sherwood and Atlanta’s Organized Noize.Tracks on Blues Lounge featuring the vocals of Little Axe and Johnny Farmer represent these bold new directions in blues music. The New York City DJ collective Organic Grooves derives its inspiration from a wide variety of roots and world music sources. Blues Lounge also includes two tracks from Tangle Eye, a team of New Orleans-based remixers who use samples of original vocal performances collected by musicologist Alan Lomax in the American South of the 1940s and 1960s. ... Read more


200. Sean Costello
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B0002WZSLW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 32131
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sean Costello is better than Eric Clapton.
What is everyone missing? Sean Costello has got it all. He's got the voice, and the chops! His new album is just a little taste of how well he can cover the soul of the blues. All of his albums are great, he is definitely the next Blues/Soul great!

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Still The Blues
This is Sean's first major label release and he fills every song with all the excitement and drive his independent releases offer. The new originals show maturity and style, it's his best all around effort to date.

I've got to say, if you don't think this is Blues, then you don't understand the genre. Check Sean and his band live and you'll get it, it's all Blues.

5-0 out of 5 stars A modern classic!
This is an excellent record from Sean Costello. He's in his mid-20's now and has made some outstanding Chicago blues styled records and a great swinging blues disc (his first one). He's clearly maturing as an artist and this record has roots deep in the blues that he mastered so long ago. But its obvious that he's not stuck for the rest of his life trying recreate the Chess blues style recordings. The songs on this record clearly show that he also bears some influence from soul and R&B artists like Al Green, Sam Cooke, Bill Withers, and others. There are a couple of good blues cuts done only the way that Sean could do them. The originals are excellent and provide us with a glimpse into Costello's life. There is a lot of passion and soul from a great young blues artist. This one's bound to win some serious attention. The production is excellent and has a great warm, full sound like so many great recordings from the 60's and 70's.

But if you're looking for another album of Chicago style blues, this isn't it. Its got a mean streak of soul and R&B mixed into those Chicago blues. A classic album!!!

The other review saying this is pop music is completely off the wall. If you want to know what a young blues artist sounds like who's gone the pop road then check out Johnny Lang's or Kenny Wayne Sheppard's newest disc, total commercial pop-rock-blues.

I highly recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Cool New Blues!!!!
I love this new Sean Costello record!
It's a cool hybrid of Soul and Blues. I especially like his version of Simple Twist of Fate (with Levon Helm from The Band on drums) and No Half Steppin' reminds me of a classic Stax song.
A great songwriter and his singing and blues guitar playing remain first rate. I highly recommend it!

2-0 out of 5 stars Sorry, not my cup of tea...
I was really impatient to receive this CD that I ordered months in advance as soon as it was published on the Amazon's catalogue. The main reason being that I am a big fan of Sean Costello and I own all his previous albums that I rate, without doubts (all of them!) 5 star. Unfortunately for some reason that I cannot understand this one is not a blues album, but a sort of soul-pop-rock (with a hint of blues) - radio friendly, kind of music that is just not my favourite gender. So if you are expecting, as I was, to buy something in line with his previous works, I strongly suggest you should give this CD a listening before buying. Having said that, it could be that soul - pop audience will love this album. Sean playing is still top-notch and I hope that he will come back playing the "blues" very soon. ... Read more


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