It’s been a good while since I have written an update concerning David “Kid” Ramos’ condition. As you may know, Kid has spent the major part of the last 20 months battling a rare form of cancer. After undergoing radiation treatments, major surgery and intense Chemo Therapy, Kid is finally coming up on his last 3 five day sessions of Chemo. Although Kid is a positive and serious fighter and has been reaching deep for the faith to beat this extremely serious condition, the battle has been debilitating to say the least. The doctors have convinced Kid and his family that this is his only window of opportunity to try and kill this thing forever. So Kid fights on but it is becoming increasingly harder to recuperate from the Chemo and it takes longer each time.
We all pray that with the medical help Kid is receiving, his strong faith and his ability to fight, he will come out the other end of this disease and continue to live a good life supporting his family and kids through college. Kid has given us so much wonderful music over the years from his early days with The James Harman Band and Hollywood Fats, to his solo albums and work with his pal Lynwood Slim, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Los Fabulocos and most recently The Mannish Boys. Now is our opportunity to give back to Kid.
So many of you have helped Kid and his family by donating what you can towards his mounting medical bills. The Ramos Family has reached a point where Kid’s disability insurance has run out. A lot is at stake and Kid worries that he will lose all that he has worked so hard for the last 30+ plus years. More importantly he worries that his family will suffer financially. Therefore I am making a personal plea to all of his friends, fans and concerned individuals to reach in your pockets and give what you can to help Kid and his family get through this extremely trying time. Every single dollar counts and it is GREATLY appreciated.
You can go directly to the Delta Groove web site at www.deltagroovemusic.com and donate throughPayPal using our direct donate link, go directly through PayPal at email@example.com or you can send a check made out to David Ramos directly to the Delta Groove office at Delta Groove Music 16501 Sherman Way, Suite 100 Van Nuys, CA 91406 USA and your check will be sent to Kid’s home. Cards and letters with well wishes would also be greatly appreciated.
Hard to believe, but the blues institution that is Roomful of Blues celebrate 45 years as a band, with this sparkling live album, recorded over three nights on home turf in Rhode Island at The Ocean Mist, Nantucket in March of this year. Band leader and long-time guitarist Chris Vachon has chosen songs from the band’s vast recorded and live repertoire and the result is a mix of blues styles that shows their enduring appeal through swing, jump and more.
Apart from Vachon the rest of the band is: Phil Pemberton (vocals), Rich Lataille (tenor and alto saxophone and clarinet), Mark Earley (baritone and tenor saxophone), Doug Woolverton (trumpet), John Turner (bass) Rusty Scott (keyboards) and Chris Rivelli (drums). Amazingly Chris Vachon is only the four guitarist in the long history, following on from Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl and Tommy K . . . other luminaries to have been in the band include Fran Christina, Preston Hubbard, Curtis Salgado, Sugar Ray Norcia, Ron Levy, Lou Ann Barton, Greg Piccolo, Doug James, Al Copley and more . . . a veritable who’s who of the blues!
The personnel may have changed over the years but the band’s swinging, jumping, horn-drenched musical melting pot never has, and here it is lapped up by the home state faithful. The highlights are many, with Hank Williams copper-bottomed classic “Jambalaya”, which was on the second album way back in 1979; and a superb take on Magic Sam’s “Easy Baby”, with Chris Vachon dipping deep with some stunning guitar; the very impressive vocalist Phil Pemberton shines on a great cover of “I Left My Baby” – a tune which hails from the heady days of the 50s, and made famous by The Count Basie band with singer Jimmy Rushing.
From the golden era of ‘proper’ r&b comes “Crawdad Hole” which Roomful originally recorded way back in 1983 on the “Blues Train” album, with Big Joe Turner taking the vocal then. Big Bill Broozy’s “Somebody’s Got To Go” is another gem, the band in the past regularly performed this with sax legend Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson, though it was never recorded.
Needless to say this is a joy from start to finish . . . a magnificent journey through the career of one of the American blues scene’s greatest ever bands, who still sound as fresh and relevant as ever . . . a listening good time highly recommended.
BITNW saw David Ford last year, supporting JJ Grey & Mofro in Manchester, and very impressive he was too. Here’s a little profile of him from The Gig Cartel, with video included – note it’s a little bit of date in places.
He has one North West date later in the year at Sale Waterside Arts Centre on 16th November.
German outfit Cosmic Finger have followed up last year’s live release “Streets Of Fortune”, with a most enjoyable six-track EP, which embraces touches of blues, rock, jazz, funk and more. The all-original songs are excellently structured and played by the band.
The line-up shows a couple of changes since the last release, and now is Jonas Puschke-Rui (vocals), Christopher Timm (guitar), Markus Glossner (keys/organ), Stefan Link (bass) and Sven Fischer (drums) – all fine musicians, who deliver their music with aplomb.
Cosmic Finger were originally formed in 2008 as a Grateful Dead tribute band, but now they are comfortable in their own ‘skin’, and are not afraid to stretch out and takes the music to some interesting places. They definitely have a West Coast ‘jam band’ feel at times with their freewheeling instrumental prowess.
The EP kicks off with “Pockets Full Of Change”, with a laid-back funk groove and highlighted by Puschke-Rui’s fine vocals and the stabbing guitar of Christopher Timm, with Markus Glossner’s keys embellishing everything; the following “Freedom Of That Kind” has a prog-rock feel reminiscent of the great Supertramp, and features a quite superb fluid guitar solo from Timm that never overstays its welcome.
“All You Can See” rides on a nice Hammond groove from Glossner, and it’s another funky tune that is followed by the light and summery “Better Off And Gone”. The last two tracks are the great “Between The Cracks” and the 6:35 of “Rain Slows Down”, with Christopher Timm’s guitar work on the mark again. The rhythm section of Stefan Link and Sven Fischer are right on the mark throughout, enabling the other musicians and singer to put their stamp on top.
This release comes highly recommended from a fine European band, though it might be hard to get hold of.
May 2013 saw the digital release of “Good Things Always”, the long-awaited follow-up EP to Sam Hare’s critically-acclaimed debut “Down To The Sea”. The EP features four brand new originals — the Delaney & Bonnie inspired title track “Good Things Always”, “Never Say Never”, “Distant London” and the haunting instrumental “Low Tide”. It serves as a taster for his next full album release.
Sam Hare is a Londoner who is best known as a blues artist, but as “Down To The Sea” proved, blues can be mixed with southern soul, country, Americana and gospel to provide a melting pot of contemporary roots music. Blues in Britain magazine called the debut “…genre-defying”, while Guitarist magazine described Hare as “…a burgeoning talent…a seasoned pro…one to watch”. And Uncut wrote “…authentic, dense blues & country-soul…an impressive debut.”
“Down To The Sea” was recorded and produced by Simon Law, and then mastered by Giles Martin. It featured a guest appearance from Matt Schofield, as well as a song co-written with Ian Siegal. The album was quickly picked by various global radio stations, most notably BBC Radio London — and especially Robert Elms, who randomly played a song in the middle of a week-day afternoon, and then called Hare in for an interview/live session twice within the next year. Sam Hare was also featured on Jo Goode’s Sunday Sessions on the same radio station.
Renowned music journalist and DJ Paul Sexton was another champion of the album, inviting Hare to play for his Emirates ‘in session’ series, and other around that time sessions included NME’s Selector and Resonance FM, as well as multiple plays on BBC Radio 2.
Sam Hare has come up through the British Blues scene, playing alongside the likes of the fore-mentioned Matt Schofield and Ian Siegal, plus the likes of Jeremy Spencer, Buddy Whittington, Scott McKeon, Lee Sankey and Raphael Ravenscroft. He was also personally invited to guest with Bonnie Bramlett (of Delaney & Bonnie) a few years ago, and has recently opened up for Jack Bruce, Vintage Trouble, Mark Flanegan, James Hunter, as well as Schofield and Siegal. Hare has also worked with Saint Jude and Jet Tricks, having made writing, vocal and guitar contributions to the latter’s last album, as well as being featured in their live band. He has also written or co-written songs for the last three albums by Ian Siegal –” The Dust”, “Broadside”, and “The Skinny”, and co-wrote the opening track “All You Need” with Matt Schofield for his first studio album “Siftin’ Thru The Ashes”.
As well as the clubs and pubs of London, Sam Hare has also toured and played all over the world, from the USA to Russia, plus much of Europe, and has played festivals including Bospop, Bestival and The Big Chill. He can be seen either solo acoustic, or with his full band. For more info and gig dates, please visit www.samhare.com
This arrived at bluesinthenorthwest towers this week.
An exciting release by Indie-Blues-Rock Duo King Pug.
King Pug was a project started by hyperactive English guitarist, singer, producer and songwriter Dave Wilkinson as an outlet for a back catalogue of songs that didn’t seem to fit with his other various musical incarnations.
MaKuini has had a chequered history over the years, singing in venues around the world, from the clip joints in LA to the London Palladium. Hailing from New Zealand and the Maori community, she moved to England in the late 1970′s.
This lady certainly can sing! Backed by seasoned musicians Pete ‘Sarge’ Frampton’s ‘Hoo Doo Men’, the tracks on her album are a refreshing mix of slow, slinky blues and up tempo numbers and I will look forward to see how the EP will be received in the blues fraternity.
The first track on the album, ‘Corporate Man’, a self penned number, has a feel of Tina Turner in MaKuini’s voice. A great track sung with great spirit and enhanced by the guitar work of Pete.
Next on the list ‘Down On Their Luck’, again by MaKuini, is a ‘slinky’ number with a hint of Etta James with a slow jazzy feel, this track shows what a great voice MaKuini has. Again, some great guitar and lap steel.
The next track, written by MaKuini’s sister Heeni, ‘I Am A River’, is a slow tempo blues and gives you a feel for the past in New Zealand. It is well presented with MaKuini’s singing and enhanced by the backing vocals in Maori. It also has a great story to tell.
The forth track, also by MaKuini, ‘Move Over’, is an up tempo blues number in a 1950′s style. Some nice brass adds to the feel and complements MaKuini’s singing.
The final track on the EP is ‘Ko Au Te Awa’, (‘I Am A River’ again) this time MaKuini sings in Maori. What a fitting finale on this excellent EP that has been produced by David Wright. Well done and good luck to MaKuini and to the Hoo Doo Men, I do hope we hear more from this ‘class’ Lady of the Blues.
Just a reminder . . . only a week to go until the Colne festival kicks-off. The Colne Harp Explosion featuring the legendary Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Branch and Sugar Blue takes the eye on the Saturday night. Other main stage attractions include Joe Louis Walker, L’il Jimmy Reed, Ian Siegal, Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings and a host more.
“Barrence Whitfield is the Barrence Whitfield of real R&B.”–Andy Kershaw, BBC
Boston’s legendary Barrence Whitfield & The Savages’ new album Dig Thy Savage Soul is a wealth of atomic-powered, sock it to me R&B and rock & roll hoodoo. Barrence, possessing otherworldly pipes that range from a low feral growl rumbling the nether regions to a scream that would make Little Richard blush, belts out originals and crate-diver covers with the formidable and aptly-named Savages. They keep his back with a punk rock grit and blues ferocity that lives in the frets between Chuck Berry and Jack White. Together, Barrence & the Savages lay down a groovy racket that’s so thick and greasy, you need moist towelettes near the hi-fi.
Dipping their gut-bucket deep into the well of America’s dirty musical soul, Barrence & the Savages’ sound is a sweaty elixir that enlivens, exorcises, and energizes on Dig Thy Savage Soul. “The Corner Man” bursts out of the gate, as much a child of the Sonics as a father to the Dirtbombs; it’s the Savage-Mobile neutral-slamming out of the garage. “My Baby Didn’t Come Home” and the love letter to the iconoclastic Oscar Levant (a man in chaos in search of frenzy…Google it, man.) burn with a roguish swamp mojo; bonus points for the killer jump-soul horn section. On “Daddy’s Gone to Bed” and the badass Jerry McCain tune “Turn Your Damper Down,” Peter Greenberg’s guitar plays like the lost Sun Records collaboration between Howlin’ Wolf and Carl Perkins. “Hangman’s Token” starts as a low-fi hill country shimmy harkening back to the early days of Fat Possum Records that then explodes into a tasty hard rock feast.
AND THE EARLY CRITICS AGREE!
“A punked up reimagination of R&B and Eddie Cochrane-like roadhouse rock, fueled by dirty guitars, honking sax, occasional greasy B-3 organ, Whitfield’s stentorian R&B shouts and growls, and offbeat subject matter.” —The Boston Globe
“Showcases a wild musical abandon.” –USA Today
“Walking the genre splitting tightrope of blues, soul, and rock, with an incendiary vibe that would make Dante himself blush.” —Cool Album of the Day
“Energetic and wild, this album is an all-around ass shaking groove fest.” —The Horn
“One spin of Dig Thy Savage Soul and I was hooked!…[It's] one of the most high energy, butt shakin’, punky-soul-garage-rock records in recent memory. The 12-cut CD doesn’t let up for a minute, from the opener “The Corner Man” to the Yardbirds-inspired “Hangman’s Token.” This is sweaty, dance till you fall down raucous stuff that I imagine could tear your head off live.” –Ink 19
The rides – featuring Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg – will be releasing their debut album ‘Can’t Get Enough’ on 27th August. Here is their premiere lyric video for the first single “Don’t Want Lies.”
Gerry O’Gorman, the frontman of this band, is a talented musician/singer songwriter and has been plying his trade for a number of years and is a well- known figure here in the North West.
This band has a number of musicians who Gerry can call on in an emergency, with the Harries brother’s unavailable, Jimmy Gansler from the band Cheating Hearts stepped in playing guitar, mandolin and vocals and backing vocals – a musician of many talents and an asset to any band; on bass guitar and modern double bass was Frank Brierley, who showed off his own vocal capabilities, and lastly on a mean lead guitar and vocals was Tom O’Gorman.
The band gave us a mix of country, blues, and rock & roll as well as some original works penned by Gerry – superb, something for everyone and the regular dancers were in form as well. Gerry is promoting his new CD entitled “Better to Have Loved”, inspired by the fans and players of Burnley Football Club, with eleven tracks, “A real passionate unique album”, words by BBC Radio Lancashire’s D J Phil Brown.
Gerry will be performing with the Flat Back 4 another arm of Gerry’s band at the Burnley Mechanics Theatre on 31st October, 2013 - www.burnleymechanics.co.uk - for further information.
NEW BILLY BOY ARNOLD VIDEO FROM LIVE LITTLE WALTER TRIBUTE
On December 6th, five of the finest harmonica players on the current blues scene - Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia,and James Harman - gathered to pay tribute to harp virtuoso and innovator Little Walter Jacobs. All are featured on the tribute recording entitled Remembering Little Walter.
Blind Pig Records has just released another in a series of videos from that memorable evening – Billy Boy Arnold’s performance of Little Walter’s “You’re So Fine.” To watch the video, please click HERE.
Arnold, who knew and was friends with Little Walter in Chicago, said, “He was miles ahead of all the other harp players on the scene. No one could touch him. He was creative, innovative, and spontaneous. Little Walter is still the top and most influential harp player that ever played.”
Billy Boy is accompanied in performance by Little Charlie Baty on guitar, Nathan James on guitar, June Core on drums and RW Grigsby on upright bass.
For more info and sound samples from Remembering Little Walter, please click HERE.