Thursday, May 2, 2013

On My Mind/In My Heart reviewed by Steve Jones

On My Mind/In My Heart
Jesse Dee
Alligator Records
11 tracks

Okay, I must say right up front and to all to hear that when I saw this album and thought, “What the hell is Iglauer up to now? This kid is from New England and looks like he’s having a poofed up bad big hair day.  What are they thinking”  That’s what I get for judging a book by it’s cover.

I was headed out right after getting the CD to review, so I threw it in the car CD player for a listen.  I listened to it three time through and have listened to it a lot more since then.  My wife said to me in the car that day, “This really is a good CD.  Who is it?”  I answered simply, “Jesse Dee.”  “Wow, what a great singer!  He sounds a lot like Curtis Salgado.  I like this a lot!”  She’s right.  It’s a damn good CD and he does sound a little like Curtis.  This Iglauer guy is smart like a fox!

Dee sings and plays guitar.  Johnny Trama also fill sin on guitar on 5 cuts.  Jim  Larkin on bass and Matt “Pie” Beaulieu om drums offer up a solid backline.  Hammond and B3 are handled aptly by Eli Winderman and Steve Moss does the piano work.  Another half dozen guys fill in on horns and percussive stuff and others do backing vocals and appear here and there; it’s a big cast but they all play together and put on a superb show!  Dee wrote or co-wrote everything served up here.  It’s sort of like Curtis Salgado being back by Room Full of Blues gone wild.  I really enjoyed this one.

The CD opens to the title track, a jumping and swinging song with him hitting a Cab Calloway-like stride in the vocals.  The band swings and Dee floats vocally along with them.  It is impressive.  The horns and brass blare away, the drummer takes charge from time to time, but it is Dee who runs the show.  I was sold on the initial listen based on this song, and another ten that are equally good remained to be heard. 

He can growl down low and hit the high notes; “No Matter Where I Am” follows with more great swinging sounds. “Fussin’ And Fightin’” blends a little reggae into the swing and Dee nails it.  His vocals are expressive and soulful again and again. “I Won’t Forget About You” is perhaps a little more Sam Cooke in style, with Dee swinging and jiving.  “Tell Me (Before It’s Too Late)” starts mellow and Dee builds into a passionate delivery, asking his woman what’s on her mind and to “Tell Me (Before It’s Too Late).”

Rachel Price joins Dee on the early 60’s sound of “From The Start;”  it could be a King/Geffen tune.  Price’s and Dee’s duet hearkens to that era and the band makes the feeling complete.  Dee hits some sweet high notes on “The Only Remedy” as he croons to his lover that, “your love is the only remedy.”  “What’s A Boy Like Me To Do?” continues in that vein.  The temp is taken way down but he is just so soulful and pure sounding.  He wants to leave but can’t; his confusion over his wanting to both love and leave is powerfully expressed.

“Sweet Tooth” has nice retro guitar and organ intro and Dee goes into a surf-swing mode.  Well done!  “Boundary Line” goes back down in tempo as Dee lays out a beautiful and soulful ballad for us.  He finishes with the swinging “Stay Strong,” a nice jump blues cut.  It’s just a powerfully great set of tunes top to bottom, delivered to perfection.

If you like to swing, if you like to hear someone sing with their heart and soul and if you like someone to totally bare their emotions in their music, then you will love this CD (as I did).  If you had to label him I’d have to say that Dee is a new generation of white R&B and soul singer.  Labels do not matter; this CD is a self-contained party.  You will want to dance and sing along more and more with each listen.  This is a fantastic effort (really his second CD, his first being a self released one in 2008) and he has a very bright future!  Jesse Dee is the real deal.  If you like Sam Cooke, Al Green, Curtis Salgado you’ll like this guy, too.  Bad hair day or not, let me repeat that Jesse Dee is the real deal.  Very highly recommended!

Reviewed by Steve Jones

My World is Gone reviewed by Steve Jones

My World is Gone
Otis Taylor
Telarc International
13 tracks

I remember 1987 when George Harrison released his third #1 hit, “Got My Mind Set On You,” the cover of the 1962 James Ray song written by Rudy Clark.  The music “press” commented that Harrison had finally recorded a song someone could dance to.  The critics made such a big deal about it and it irked me to no end; I loved the quiet Beatle’s music, it’s meaning and it’s spirituality.  Why did he need to produce music people in clubs could dance to when his music has so much meaning?

As my wife and I recently were listening to Otis Taylor’s thirteenth album release together, I thought back to those days in 1987 and said to her, “Gee, no one would ever say this music could be danced to.”  Otis Taylor and his trance blues style of music might be danceable to some people, but certainly not those who shake their proverbial money makers in front of blues festival and clubs stages.  However, it does not lessen what Taylor gives us.  His music is interesting, provocative, socially adroit and always topical. 

Here on “My World Is Gone” he takes on the plight of the Native American.  Joined by his friend Mato Nanji from the band Indigenous, Taylor was floored by Nanji’s comment that, “My world is gone,” a reference to the Nakota Nations’ demise.  He produced this album in response to that comment and Nanji play s guitar on half a dozen tracks and also sings  bit here and there.

The album begins with the title track.  Taylor, Nanji, and Harris are joined by Larry Thompson on drums, Todd Edmunds on bass and Shawn Starski on guitar. The thoughtful song alternates the lead vocals between Taylor and Nanji, who bemuse the loss of the Nakota Nation. Nanji’s lead guitar adds punch to the mix and the occasional wail of Starski’s electric guitar echoes hauntingly.  Harris’ fiddle is a constant thread, beautifully running like a river throughout the cut.  Simple lyrics, the traditional repetitiveness of a Taylor song trying to make a point and they succeed.  Taylor, Nanji and Thompson take a more minimalistic approach on the second track as Taylor sings of the Navajo man who says he “Lost My Horse.”  Nanji’s lead guitar is driving and intense while Taylor adds mandolin and slide while Thompson beats out a furious groove. After two tracks I was pretty much emotionally spent.  Wow!

Taylor’s banjo and Ron Miles cornet are featured next on “Huckleberry Blues;” the banjo plucks out a distinctive line as the cornet (Ron Miles) flutters emotionally.  It is a really nice track.   “Sand Creek Massacre Mourning” tells a tale of the Navajo and Arapaho Indian massacre at the hands of Colonel John Chivington and his men on November 29, 1864.  Brian Juan’s organ is introduced here and with Miles’ cornet they provide a funeral-like sound in the background of Taylors’ singing and strumming on top of a military-like marching drum beat.  More powerful and emotional music is on display for us here.  A more traditional electric blues sound is next on “The Wind Comes In.”  Nanji’s lead is impressive and Taylors’ counterpoint on banjo is a striking contrast. “Blue Rain in Africa” tells the story of the sacred and mystical white buffalo as seen on television in the story tellers’ youth.  Nanji, Taylor, and Starski add electric guitar to the mix and the duet by Nanji and Taylor is well done.  “Never Been to the Reservation” tells the story of the rich man who escaped traditional live and has never experienced the hardships of reservation life.  Juan’s organ and Nanji’s guitar drive this one as Taylor blurts out the minimalistic story.

On “Girl Friend’s House” Taylor plucks and moans as he catches his wife in a same sex relationship and then wants to join in.  “Jae Jae Waltz” is a simple Americana-styled tune of a widow being courted.
Ever amazing us with wild topics, “Gangster and Istatoz Chauffer” gives us the story of an Indian woman with cats who chauffeurs a wealthy gangster.  He loves the chauffer but she does not share his feelings. 

“Coming With Crosses” is the story of a mother’s murder by Klansmen who came in the night, as Taylor sings, to “murder his mama.”  Taylor returns on fiddle to help hauntingly build this one up and then slowly draw it to a sad conclusion.  “Green Apples” gives us some cool guitar work and Taylor sings of green apples and lemonade in the morning and red apples and champagne at night.  These are part of his recipe to being treated right.  Miles’ cornet speaks to us here along with Taylor’s voice.  The album concludes with “Sit Across your Table,” a jumpy, swinging cut where Taylor joyfully sings how happy he is to see his wife sitting across the table from him every day.  Three big electric guitar solos are treats here as this amazing album concludes.

Taylor was born in Chicago and moved to Colorado after his uncle was shot to death.  Not a very downtrodden sort of guy, Taylor remains upbeat despite the “heaviness” of the topics of so much of his music.  He joking notes that he is good at dark tones and says "I'd just like to make enough money to buy a Porsche."  Joining Taylor on this album and frequently during live performances is another local Chicago favorite, Anne Harris.  Her ethereal fiddle sounds add to Taylor’s trances and give the listener chills.  I saw them at Buddy Guy’s a couple of years ago doing a version of “Hey Joe” and my skin still prickles at the thought of them doing that cover; it was obviously a memorable performance!!!  If I have any complaints about this album it would only be to feature Anne on more songs!

Taylors’ fans will gobble this new release up; it is another profound set of statements in Taylors’ inimitable style.  Anyone new to Taylor can learn to appreciate the deep roots of his music as it relates to early blues and music from West Africa; hear the listener is also treated to a blending of Native American traditions into the beats and harmonies of Taylors work.  I loved this CD; Taylor has hit another home run with this “lucky thirteenth” release!

Reviewed by Steve Jones

Lorenzo Menzerschmidt reviewed by Steve Jones

Lorenzo Menzerschmidt
Lorenzo Menzerschmidt
Self Released
11 tracks

Lorenzo Menzerschmidt?  Who dat?  Well, it’s really Victor DeLorenzo on drums, percussion and vocalessence, Tony Menzer on bass and backing vocals and “Lost Jim” Ohlschmidt in guitar and lead vocals.  This debut album of six originals and 5 covers is full of blues, rockabilly, swing and other influences. Led by Oldschmidt, produced by DeLorenzo and promoted my Menzer, these Wisconsonites range from humorous to serious, but always interesting.

Jim penned the original tunes and they are pretty darn good. From the opening fun lyrics of “I’m A Mess” to the closing “Since My Baby Left This Town” the tunes are well crafted and solid. The former addressed the singer’s life and it’s problems while the latter bemoans the loss of his woman; topics we’ve heard in many a blues song but given a fresh approach here.  “29’s a Good Road” is a rockabilly number and sort of Wisconsin travelogue of places and roads to travel.  Ohlschmidt picks out some nice guitar here.  “Check The Gage” also rocks and stays with the travel theme.

Always on the lookout for a different sort of cover, “Johnny B. Goode” get a down tempo, swing treatment in a minor key– very cool.  Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” on the National Resophonic screams for an iced tea and a front porch to sit on.

This is a fun CD; traditional blues, a little rockabilly and a whole lot of good music.  The guys take their craft seriously, even when the topic is more tongue in cheek.  This was a very enjoyable debut album and I hope to catch up with these guys to hear more soon!

Reviewed by Steve Jones

Drink Drank Drunk reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis

Drink Drank Drunk
Andy T – Nick Nixon Band
Delta Groove Music Inc.
12 tracks/47:51

Delta groove Music has just released the Andy T – Nick Nixon Band new CD “Drink Drank Drunk”. Andy T.(Talamantez) and James “Nick” Nixon finally came together for this recording after many years  of them both playing and performing the blues  with many other groups. This CD was produced by the legendary guitarist/performer Anson Funderburgh,who also joins the band on guitar on four of the twelve tracks. This recording also features a strong group of musicians playing on various tunes on drums, bass, saxophone, piano and a harmonica on one track. You can go to the web-site for more info on the group for this recording. Also check out Andy T. and Nick Nixon's acoustic video version of “No End Of The Blues”.

Andy T. brings his solid precise style of guitar playing to the forefront on this CD as his influences from Albert Collins, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush and BB King are showcased. It is apparent that he paid attention to them as he developed his own strong unique sound and tone in his playing. Nick Nixon brings his his powerful, heartfelt vocals into the mix of things as he enhances every tune on the CD with his soulful and sometimes primal guttural sound. Also there a the gospel quality to his singing that yanks at your ear. The joining of these two artist on this recording is really a strong match that enhance the feeling of this fine blues CD.

Of the twelve songs on this CD four were penned by Andy T. or Nick Nixon and the rest are strong cover tunes that were really done superbly. This list of tunes is really a good mix that showcase the talent of these two artist. “Midnight Hour” starts out with Andy T. leading ino the song with guitar preparing the stage for Nick's vocals. From the start, we become aware that Nixon is truly a powerful blues singer. Andy takes the stage with some guitar soloing that is strong while not going over the top as some guitar players choose to do. Ron Jones blows some fine sax into the mix of things making this tune a big opening track. Taking the trip into the slow blues  with “Don't Touch Me ( I'm gonna hit the highway)” makes the statement that Andy and Nick know what the blues are all about. This is a favorite for my ears as Christian Dozzler is present on piano behind Andy's guitar line and the vocals of Nick.
“Have You Seen My Monkey”(written by Andy T.), is a solid Cajun influenced tune with interesting lyrics plus the addition of Dozzler jumping in with his accordion and piano. This is another strong tune that also brings out strong guitar solos from Andy T.

Drink Drank Drunk takes the blues road that more recording should do. This recording is solidly entrenched in the genre as it should be. Andy T. and Nick Nixon are a a mix of two blues artist that should keep doing what they have done with “Drink Drank Drunk”. With the fine group of musicians included on the CD this is a great example of what blues should be.

Reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis

Pleasure King reviewed by Rick Davis

Pleasure King
Michael Locke & The Repeat Offenders
Bong Sao Music BMI
CD Baby and Amazon
6 Tracks

Michael Locke hails originally from Florida where he began playing guitar at the age of seven. His dad was a jazz enthusiast, exposing him to jazz legends like Lester Young, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Sonny Stitt. His mentors were American jazz guitar player Joseph Louis Diorio and bop jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist, flautist, saxophonist, and composer Ira Sullivan. As a jazz guitar student at the University of Miami, Michael discovered that blues could offer a better avenue of self expression. After moving to San Francisco in the early 90's, he teamed up with bluesman Johnny Nitro who supported him in developing his own blues guitar style and also in setting up his own blues trio.

Over the years, Locke has played his own brand of raw, high-powered blues guitar across the United States, opening for blues legends like B.B. King, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, W.C. Clark, Coco Montoya, Sonny Rhodes, Walter Trout, Ben E. King, Del Shannon, Little Anthony, Jimmy Johnson, Otis Rush, and Chuck Berry. He and his band, The Repeat Offenders, are now based out of Germantown, Ohio where they have created a large fan base regionally in the state of Ohio. Currently backing Michael Locke on vocals and guitar are Stephen Keith on drums, James Higgins on bass, and Da'Rosa Richardson on keyboards.

Their latest release is Pleasure King is a live recording from the blues venue The Ohio Express in Dayton, Ohio where Michael Locke & The Repeat Offenders play frequently. This all to short live blues set is loaded with solid musicianship from the entire band. The disc is a superb blend of blues, rock, funk, and jazz so addictive that it will never leave your media player! I have been fortunate enough to sample all of Michael's music only to find it absolutely riveting. Pleasure King opens with Michael's own title track "Pleasure King," recreating the guitar style of the late great Freddy King, simmering it with a little Steve Ray Vaughan. You will find yourself completely immersed after listening to the first song. If that is not enough to totally captivate his audience, the follow-up, a rendition of the Willie Dixon tune "Too Many Cooks," is a blend of guitar solos with superb use of the whammy bar creating a haunting sound, some funky rhythm guitar, a Latin beat by Stephen Keith on drums, and jazz infused keyboards by Da'Rosa Richardson. At times it sounds like Ronnie Earl and Wes Montgomery could be standing along side of Michael with their axes in hand. Locke's experience and versatility is prevalent as he tears into Albert King's "I Get Evil" SRV style. Switching gears, the band does "Honky Tonk," the rhythm and blues instrumental classic written by Billy Butler, Bill Doggett, Clifford Scott, and Shep Shepherd.  I think "The King Of The Blues," Riley B. King, would be honored to be there to hear his classic tune "You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now" delivered live by Michael Locke & The Repeat Offenders. The band completes the set with the song "Sick And Tired" written by Chris Kenner and Dave Bartholomew in 1957. On this classic blues number, James Higgins lays down a rockin' groove on bass, along with Stephen Keith on drums, in support of Locke's explosive guitar solos and Richardson's honky tonk piano solos.

Listening to Michael Locke & The Repeat Offenders live will leave you exhausted. My only regret with this CD is the fact that I could not be there to experience this world-class show. Buying the CD is next best thing, leaving you hungry for more! You will be hard pressed to find a blues band that sets the bar this high. They are a band you could listen to live all night long.

Review by Rick Davis

Deal With It reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis

Deal With It
4 Jacks
Eller Soul Records
12 tracks/41:20

“Deal With It” is 4 Jacks new release from Eller Soul Records and a good one it is! This CD features a new band that is only new to the music scene as far as this recording goes. This group consists of four hot musicians/blues artist that have been around for years on their own in the blues world.  Leading this group is the awesome Texas guitarist Anson Funderburgh. We all know him as the front man of the Rockets for over thirty years. Big Joe Maher brings his strong vocals and drums into the mix as well as his ability to write a bunch of great tunes. Filling the two remaining spots of 4 Jacks are Kevin McKendree on piano and B3 while Steve Mackey holds up the bass line. This is really one solid a mix of musicians for a CD.

The opening track, “Deal With It”, is a strong instrumental that features outstanding guitar solos from Anson Funderburg (always did like the name) while showcasing Kevin McKendree wailing away on the B3. Maher runs the drum line in the back as Steve Mackey brings along the bass line. This tune is a neat way to introduce us to this very talented band and also opens up our mind as to what is in store for us on the rest of this recording. “Have Ourselves A Time” is one of those jump, swing type songs that gets the people up and dancing. It is a real treat to be introduced to Big Joe’s vocals on this song. This man sings the lyrics with much feeling, joy and emotion as he pounds out the drum beat. Funderburgh lays out some strong guitar riffs as McKendree plunks away on his piano. It can’t get much better than this. “Ansonmypants”, just by the name, is another song that has to be listened to.

McKendree is showcased again on the piano doing “She Ain’t Worth A Dime”. This twelve bar blues tune with great lyrics and vocals from Big Joe is another top tune on “Deal With It”. “Thunder And Lightning” picks up the pace of the music and just screams the blue at you with Anson’s guitar solos, Big Joe’s lyrics and vocals as Kevin hammers away on the piano keys. Maher’s drum line, as well as Mackey’s bass work, is also strongly present. This is a powerful tune that gets you into a blues mode.

4 Jacks has packed twelve solid blues tunes into “Deal With It”. Although being only 41 minutes in duration, this CD gets your attention right from the start and keeps holding you until the very end. To me “Deal With It” is CD is a real winner and 4 Jacks should just keep going down the road of the blues as they have down with this recording.

Reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis

61 49 reviewed by Diane Mandell

61 49
The Mike Eldred Trio
Rip Cat Records
13 tracks/47:52

"61 49", named after the legendary crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi, was originally released on May 10, 2011 on the small Zoho Roots label.  The L.A. Times called it one of the Ten Best Albums of 2011 while Downbeat Magazine gave it a three-and-a-half star review.   Reissued in January, 2013 on the Rip Cat Records label, the studio-recorded album is clear and crisp with slightly over three-quarters of an hour of eclectic rock, gospel, boogie and blues.  
Mike Eldred, previously a member of Lee Rocker's band, wrote all 13 tracks, a testimony to his creative songwriting skills.  His vocals and lyrics range from the gospel-like "Don't Go Down There" where he is joined by the Emmanuel Church Gospel Choir to "She's a Rocket" and "Jimmy, Jimmy" in Jerry Lee Lewis style with Ike Turner on piano.  His plaintive guitar solo in "Ruby's Blues" contrasts with his boogie licks in "Jake's Boogie".  "This Old Train" combines the Latin-style of Los Lobas guitarist Cesar Rosas with Eldred's crystal clear vocals and first guitar.  Elvis' guitarist, Scotty Moore, plays second guitar in boogie style on "Ms. Gayle's Chicken House".  

The Mike Eldred Trio is Mike Eldred on guitar and vocals,  John Bazz bass and Jerry Angel drums. All tracks were written by Mike Eldred.  Special Guests include Ike Turner on piano, Kid Ramos, Scotty Moore and Cesar Rosas on guitar, Riley Osborn on B3 Organ and Jeff Turmes on baritone sax.  Although this album may not be “blues” enough for purists, the vibrant energy of each well-crafted track kept me happily replaying the album over and over.  Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Diana Mandell

Live At Kingston Mines reviewed by Rick Davis

Live At Kingston Mines
Nick And The Ovorols
Self Released
8 Tracks

The Chicago-based blues band Nick and the Ovorols is establishing a strong fan base in the Chicago area, as they have performed regularly at the legendary Kingston Mines. The Chicago landmark has been a venue for world-renowned artists like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Robert Plant, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and contemporary artists like Eddie Clearwater, Joanna Connor, Sugar Blue, and Studebaker John just to name a few.
Nick Peraino is certainly in good company as this rising star has now been added to the list of celebrities. After listening to his CDs or attending a live show, you will understand why he is gaining notoriety in a city known for it's blues legends. Nick moved to the "windy city" from New England to study music in 1998. After finishing college, he toured the Midwest from 2003-2004 with his band Nick Peraino and Blue Moon Risin' releasing his debut album Noisy Picks and Humbars in 2005. He also started touring with Joanna Connor in 2005, playing nationally and locally at Chicago’s Buddy Guy's Legends, Kingston Mines, and The House of Blues. In 2009 Nick was selected by Grammy Award winning blues artist Sugar Blue to join him on a two week tour of Europe to perform in a number of showcase events.
Nick decided in 2011 to once again become a band leader and this time formed his current group Nick and the Ovorols. As a result of establishing a residence at Kingston Mines from December of 2011 to April of 2012, they decided to release the album Live at Kingston Mines from one of their Wednesday night shows. Nick handles vocals and guitar with Carlos Showers also on guitar, Vic Jackson on bass, and Lance Lewis on drums. They open the show with the Mack Rice tune "Cadillac Assembly Line," injecting one of the funkiest rhythm guitar grooves along with one the most electrifying guitar performances I have ever heard in a live show. The only similar version was done by Stacy Mitchart. With Jackson on bass and Lewis on drums, the opening tune is a hard act to follow until Nick explodes with his superb slide guitar expertise on the Nick Peraino hard drivin' roadhouse blues number "Chitown Via Greyhound." On a modified rendition of the Elmore James tune "Dust My Broom," Nick shows his versatility with this great new arrangement. The band takes that funky groove and energy to whole new level on the Barry White hit "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me" written by Ekundayo Paris and Nelson Pigford. The band excelled on the 1965 R&B single "People Get Ready" done by the The Impressions and written by Curtis Mayfield. Adding to his accomplishments, Peraino creates a more contemporary arrangement of the T-Bone Walker classic "T-Bone Boogie." On the Sam Cooke original "Somebody Have Mercy," Nick performs a more traditional blues version like Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson. The band concludes the set with "Me and My Guitar" by Leon Russell and Chuck Blackwell, reminiscent of Freddie King in his prime. Nick's red hot guitar licks and the band's funky rhythm section make this a night to remember at Doc Pellegrino's Kingston Mines.

After listening to this award winning performance by a very progressive new blues band, Nick and The Overols is a force to be reckoned with. You can add this one to your collection as soon as possible.

Review by Rick Davis

Dr. DuPree’s Love Shop reviewed by Steve Jones and reviewed by Rick Davis

Dr. DuPree’s Love Shop
Stevie DuPree & The Delta Flyers
Soulbilly Music Group
12 tracks

Betsie Brown and Blind Racoon have got to stop sending us stuff like this to review- I just want to listen to it over and over again!  It’s another great CD by lead singer Stevie and guitar player Travis Stephenson.  With Quentin “Q” Calva on bass and Steve Bundrick on drums, these guys blend blues and bluegrass with a little Cajun and country music into a wonderful set of tunes.  Marcia Ball plays piano on one track, Mark Kaz Kazanoff adds tenor sax, harp, harmonies and percussion, Nick Connelly is on keys, and the Texas Horn of Kaz on tenor, John Mills on baritone and Al Gomez on trumpet also add their spark to the set.  DuPree has a hand in the writing of each song here.

The album opens with the jumping cut “Broke Up.”  Derek O’Brien adds slide and it makes for a great sounding performance.  DuPree howls and the band cuts a groove and the guitars wail.  It’s a nice piece to set the stage for the rest of the album.  “First Dance” follows, a bit of a swing/jump tune with Ball on the piano.  The horns add their sound to the mix, too.  It’s nicely done with the keys being tickled so prettily and the horns blazing oh so well.  Up next is the title track.  Alice Stewart sings the lead with help from Lisa Tingle and Stevie.  Stephenson gets funky on the guitar and then Kaz blows a mean horn solo.  At this point I was completely sold and the next nine tracks did nothing to dispel the good feelings.

“St. Paul’s Bottoms” is a big up-tempo tune about the former Ledbetter Heights area of Shreveport.  Harp and guitar solos abound- well done!  They take it way down next with “Angel of Mercy” and DuPree wails how his Angel of Mercy from the red light district gets him through the night.  The boys then get into a groove with “Soulbilly Music” and how it’s uplifting power makes everything alright.  Then “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Dog” gets us up and dancing.  DuPree sings of his relationship reprieve and Stephenson wails on slide.

“It’s My Life” gives us DuPree’s take on life.  Despite being “pitched high and tight” he’s happy with his life as he and the band swing and pick through this song showing us that he finer things in life pale to having a decent ride with your radio playing loud and your baby by your side.  Connelly lays down a nice keyboard solo here, too.  DuPree then testifies on “The Witness Tree” in this scaled down piece with just him and the piano starting off.  The band comes in soulfully after a minute or so as Stevie pledges his lover with his girl “under the old witness tree.”   The tenor sax solo complements the vocals here with its’ own beautiful testimony.

“The Old Mule” pops and percolates with some nice harp work and a cool lyrics as DuPree delivers another great performance; he’s not gonna be some girl’s old mule.  “Lucky Seven” is a rockabilly track  where DuPree likens his lifes’ successes to rolling a lucky seven the hard way.  Stephenson sounds a little like Dickey Betts here on the guitars he layers in.  Connelly takes us to church on the organ as the final track opens, but then it transforms into a love song about a hot number who DuPree is ready to follow around the world.  The organ solo is huge and the band gets into a great groove.

This is a great album.  I loved it from start to finish and just enjoyed the heck out of it.  DuPree and Stephenson are masters at reaching out, grabbing you and keeping you listening.  This is their best effort yet and I highly recommend it!

Reviewed by Steve Jones

Dr. DuPree’s Love Shop
Stevie DuPree & The Delta Flyers
Soulbilly Music Group
12 Tracks

The Delta Flyers started as acoustic duo, playing traditional Delta Blues and incorporating different blues styles into their repertoire. Joining the group later on were Stevie DuPree and songwriter/guitarist Travis Stephenson forming the current group. Their 2007 release On The Levee Road earned the group a trip to the 24th annual International Blues Challenge held in January of 2008 in Memphis to represent the Houston Blues Society. In 2008, the group wrapped up a successful tour of the Southeastern United States with a sold out show in Nashville, Tennessee and an opportunity to attend the 2nd Annual T.A.G. Bluesfest in Mentone, Alabama.

Stevie DuPree & The Delta Flyers will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end with their new CD Dr. DuPree’s Love Shop. This is the fourth CD that the group has released. It is a CD loaded with guest artists like Alice Stewart and Lisa Tingle on lead vocals, Nick Connolly and Marcia Bell on keys,  Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff, John Mills, and Al Gomez of The Texas Horns, and Derek O'Brien on slide guitar. This is in addition to the core group comprised of Steve DuPree on vocals, Travis Stephenson on guitar, Quentin Calva on bass and Steve Bundrick on drums. This should give you an indication of the musical expertise assembled for the release of this new CD.

The album opens with guitar drivin' shuffle "Broke Up" with a hint of John Fogerty style guitar riffs looming throughout. This is also one of many tracks with superb slide guitar work.  Marcia Ball is brought onto the scene along with the fabulous horn section of the The Texas Horns and Stevie DuPree's gritty vocals for the New Orleans flavored "First Dance." After the explosive intro by The Texas Horns, Alice Stewart and Lisa Tingle along with DuPree deliver the soulful vocals on "Dr. DuPree’s Love Shop." Superlative harp solos from Kazanoff and fiery guitar licks engulf  the tune "St. Paul's Bottoms." They slow things down for the ballad "Angel Of Mercy," featuring the soulful guitar solos of Travis Stephenson and the harsh, rough, husky vocals that only DuPree can provide. The spicy soulbilly music label provides the foundation for the tune "Soulbilly Music," mixed with gospel background vocals. According to DuPree the ingredients are simple "you take a roadhouse boogie and a taste of New Orleans and stir in some Texas mojo and a cup of ju ju beans." "Ain’t Gonna Be Your Dog" delivers some of the hottest slide guitar by Stephenson on the entire album. The entire band lays down a steady groove on the juke joint classic "It's My Life." The slow ballad "The Witness Tree," offering brilliant sax solos, could be a page from the Neil Young songbook. His use of the old mule as a metaphor in the New Orleans  tune "That Ol' Mule" expresses DuPree's lighter side. "Lucky Seven" almost conveys an Allman Brothers Southern rock sound throughout the song. The concluding song "A Hard Act To Follow" opens with a Procol Harum style intro and then takes a dramatic about face with an explosive Texas Horns entrance, followed by a high energy finale.

This studio CD would indeed be a hard act to follow with it's all-star cast of award winning R&B, gospel, funk, Cajin, and blues collectively on one CD. You owe it to yourself to pick this one up to enjoy.

Review by Rick Davis