Roadhouse Album Review: Bob Stroger steps out front with classic blues in “That’s My Name”

Bob Stroger and the Headcutters — “That’s My Name” — Delmark Records

After playing as a sideman on more than 30 Delmark record releases over the years, bassist Bob Stroger finally gets his chance to strut his bluesy bass work as a band leader for the label, at the age of 91, on the album “That’s My Name.”

He does so in front of the Headcutters, a snappy blues quartet from Brazil.

Stroger’s vocals are still smooth and ripe with his feelings for the music. The Headcutters sit back behind the vocals and make their own tough statement, but don’t overwhelm. It makes for fine blues listening.

The Headcutters are Joe Marhofer (harmonica and vocals), Ricardo Maca (guitar), Arthur Catuto (acoustic bass) and Leandro Cavera (drums). They add the special talents of guests Luciano Leaes on piano and organ,, and Braion Johnny on sax.

Stroger has written five of the 13 tracks; the rest are covers of some fine blues chestnuts. The opener is “What Goes On In The Dark,” with its a down-home vibe, followed by Eddie Taylor’s sturdy “Just A Bad Boy,” with a punchy harp, and then the classic “C.C. Rider.” All vintage blues that go down as smooth as good whiskey.

Then Stroger adds a pair of his own: the slow-dragging “I’m A Busy Man,” followed by the bluesy bounce of “Come On Home.” Then Stroger’s version of another classic blues, “Move To The Outskirts of Town,” followed by Jay McShann’s “Keep Your Hands Off Her.”

There are more, all featuring Stroger’s still warm, almost honeyed voice that lends the authority and presence of his 91 years.

He pulls it all together at the end with his own track as some Hammond B3 walks in the closer, “That’s My Name” — “You can call me Bob Stroger, you can call me anything you choose, but my real name is the blues…… I am the blues…”

It’s a shame we had to wait so long to put Stroger out front with his classy, classic blues vocals, but this is an excellent set of good old-fashioned blues from one of its oldest living practitioners. It’s also a tribute to the universality of the music that a Brazilian blues combo seals this real deal.


Here’s a short live take of one of the album tracks, “Pretty Girl”

Track list:

01 What Goes On in the Dark 3:49 (H.PARKER JR.)
02 Just A Bad Boy 3:19 (EDDIE TAYLOR)
03 CC Rider 4:19 (MA RAINEY)
04 I’m A Busy Man 4:34 (ROBERT STROGER)
05 Come On Home 3:44 (ROBERT STROGER)
06 Move to the Outskirts of Town 5:32 (CASEY BILL)
07 Keep Your Hands Off Her 3:25 (JAY McSHANN)
08 Something Strange 3:21 (ROBERT STROGER)
09 Stranded in St. Louis 4:55 (H. PARKER JR.)
10 Pretty Girls 3:05 (EUGENE CHURCH)
11 Talk to Me Mama 4:07 (ROBERT STROGER)
12 Just A Dream 4:54 (BIG BILL BROONZY)
13 That’s My Name 4:18 (ROBERT STROGER)


Libation note: This review was, of course, inspired by this great music, but partially fueled by some excellent Old Grand-Dad, laced with a lovin’ spoonful of Benedectine.

Roadhouse Album Review: “Tell Me ‘Bout It” from Bob Corritore’s vaults features the greatness of Louisiana Red

Louisiana Red — “Tell Me ‘Bout It” — VizzTone

It’s always a pleasure to find a new release from harp-master Bob Corritore’s treasure trove of great old blues music — his “From the Vaults” series.

This time he celebrates the unique blues guitar stylings and prolific songwriting skills of the too-often overlooked Louisiana Red.

Red, whose real name was Iverson Minter, was something of a blues vagabond, although in his younger years, he lived where his family took him. He was born in Bessemer, Ala., and his mother died of pneumonia shortly after his birth. His father was lynched by the Ku Klux Klan in 1937, when he was five.

He was then raised by relatives in various places, including Pittsburgh, where he reportedly learned to play the blues. The Pittsburgh Music History website describes those years:

“In his teens Iverson moved to Canonsburg, Pa., (south of Pittsburgh) to live with an aunt and uncle.  He moved into the city of Pittsburgh with his grandmother in the late 1940’s. One day in Pittsburgh, Red heard blues guitarist Crit Walters playing on his porch.  Walters (also known as Boy B) serenaded passers-by every day with down home blues. Red asked Walters to teach him the blues. Red also studied wtih another Pittsburgh bluesman named Mr. Cash.  After learning the basics from Walters and Cash, Red and his friend Orville Whitney formed a three-piece band composed of a washboard player, a washtub bass player, and himself on bottleneck guitar.  They performed on the streets of Pittsburgh for pennies, earning $5 dollars on a good night. Red’s 1995 release “Sittin Here Wonderin'” features his song “Pittsburgh Blues.”

And in an interesting sidelight to that, I remember seeing Red at the The Decade, a long-gone but musically vital club in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, probably in the late ’70s, shortly before he moved to Hanover, Germany, in 1981, where he lived until his death in 2012.

Red’s music was usually an old-style acoustic, down-home blues with a fierce slide and lyrics that told stories often taken from his past, if not his wonderfully fertile imagination. He lived a little too late to be considered with the early pre-war acoustic players, and he didn’t adopt the electric blues combo style that came to dominate the post-war blues years. So his creative songwriting and stinging slide often got lost in the blues world. But Red recorded 50 albums and carried his music around the world until he died.

This album was recorded at seven different sessions between 2000 and 2009 with Corritore, who became Red’s close friends during their Chicago years. Other musicians involved in these tracks include Chico Chism, David Maxwell, Bob Margolin, Little Victor, Buddy Reed, Johnny Rapp, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey.

All this is to introduce, or re-introduce you to the music of Louisiana Red. This album is tough, old-fashioned blues, played by Red with a passionate guitar attack combined with an evil-sounding slide, which could range from angry to ethereal.

About that name: It was a nickname given to him as a child by his grandfather because he really liked “Louisiana Red” hot sauce.

This is truly classic blues material, a hot sauce in its own way. Enjoy it and thank Bob Corritore for preserving it.


“New Jersey Blues,” from the new album:

“Thirty Dirty Woman” from a concert in Switzerland in 1986, to give you an idea of Red’s guitar work:

Track list:

01. Mary Dee Shuffle (05:01)
02. Early Morning Blues (03:59)
03. Alabama Train (03:32)
04. Caught Your Man And Gone (04:55)
05. New Jersey Blues (05:30)
06. Freight Train To Ride (03:56)
07. Tell Me ‘Bout It (04:09)
08. Earline Who’s Been Foolin’ You (03:24)
09. Edith Mae (04:29)
10. Bessemer Blues (04:51)
11. Bernice Blues (06:15)

Roadhouse Album Review: John Németh and The Love Light Orchestra revive big-band swing with luminous “Leave the Light On”

 The Love Light Orchestra and John Németh — “Leave the Light On” — Nola Blue Records

John Németh — big band singer.

And why not? He’s covered just about every bluesy style from old-school Chicago to heart-wrenching soul to thoroughly greasified funk ‘n’ stuff.

What makes it all sound so good is that he doesn’t just cover the music, he creates it, after filtering it through his finely tuned musical sensibilities honed as a young man growing up in Boise, Idaho, not normally known as fertile soil for the blues.

To be fair, this isn’t the first pairing of Németh with the very fine Love Light Orchestra. They recorded a set at Bar DKDC in Memphis in 2017 that crackled with all the electric enthusiasm that a live show generates.

Now they’ve released this excellent studio recording, and it’s still electric. This group (you can find its impressive membership list at the end of this post) is big-band sound at its best. It stomps, it swings, it jumps with style and substance from the opening bars to its final echoes. And when you wrap this glistening sound around Németh’s stunning vocals, the result is a magical visit to a musical era that once defined the shape of American music.

The music itself is almost all original, composed by Németh or guitarist Joe Restivo or arranger/ trumpeter Marc Franklin. And the thing is, they’ve created new music that reflects all the great qualities of the original, performed to perfection. And the one cover they do, the scorching blues of “3 O’Clock Blues” by Lowell Fulson, fits right in.

But the most notable work here might well be from Németh himself, who hoses away most of that funky grease to reveal pipes that sparkle and shine with the essence of the big-band shouter.

From the swinging opening notes of the first track, Restivo’s “Time Is Fading Fast,” Németh’s vocals open up with a richness, depth and soulfulness usually associated with the likes of Jimmy Rushing or Big Joe Turner. Fast company, for sure, but John sounds like he was born into this family. “Come On Moon” by Németh swings up next, soaring on the wings of a pulsating Love Light rhythm section. “Give Me A Break” by Franklin follows, driven by the punchy riffs of the band’s razor-sharp horns.

There are seven more fabulous tracks here, each one a minor masterpiece of vocal prowess and musical invention by masters of their craft. I could tell you how much I like each one by name, but then you would just have more stuff to read before you get to listen to this music.

So yeah, I love this album. It’s damn fine music; some of the most enjoyable I’ve heard in a long time.

By the way, Bobby “Blue” Bland’s 1961 hit “Turn On Your Love Light,” was the inspiration for Restivo and Franklin giving the band its name.

Here’s “Come On Moon”:

Tracklist and credits


Artist Highlights
· John Németh – 2-time Blues Music Award winner and 23-time nominee; soul blues vocalist, songwriter, harmonica player and international touring artist.
· Joe Restivo – international recording and touring artist with the Bo-Keys; jazz DJ on WEVL, performed regularly with Mose Vinson (RIP) and Charlie Wood,
· Marc Franklin – co-founder of The Bo-Keys, arranger, and trumpet player; (session artist for Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, William Bell, Booker T & The MGs; performed with Bobby “Blue” Bland, Gregg Allman).
· Paul McKinney – trumpeter and member of Memphis R&B Allstars,
· Jason Yasinksy – trombonist on both albums,
· Art Edmaiston – international performing saxophone player (Bobby “Blue” Bland, Levon Helm, William Bell, Hi Rhythm Section, Jason Isbell, The Bo-Keys, Dr. John, The Allman Brothers Band).
· Kirk Smothers – international performing saxophone player (The Bo-Keys, Buddy Guy, Don Bryant, Jason Isbell, Vaneese Thomas).
· Tim Goodwin (RIP) – University of Memphis Professor Emeritus, recipient of Memphis Chapter NARAS’s Premier Bassist Award (2002).
· Matthew Wilson – international touring artist (Nick Moss Band, John Paul Keith, The Blue Dreamers),
· Gerald Stephens – U of Memphis masters in piano performance; professor of Jazz Piano at Rhodes College; 20+ year Memphis area performer.
· Earl Lowe – U of Memphis alum; drummer on both albums.
· Al Gamble – Hammond B3 organist and pianist (The Bo-Keys, Marc Broussard, John Paul Keith, St. Paul and The Broken Bones) (NOT BAND MEMBER).
· Scott Thompson – GRAMMY-winning trumpet player (Robert Cray, Otis Rush); U of Memphis masters in jazz pedagogy; session and touring artist (Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Rufus Thomas) (NOT BAND MEMBER).

Roadhouse Album Review: Angela Easley’s powerful vocals lift up “Rise”

Angela Easley — “Rise” — Class A Records

Angela Easley’s vocal style covers a lot of fertile ground, rooted in her native Mississippi and blooming now in Nashville.

It can be a smoldering orchestral tapestry with a touch of gospel, as in “I Can Let Go,” the album’s opener led by Easley’s piano, with the sweet harmonies of The McCrary Sisters rippling around her. Or it can be the smart and sassy “Runnin’ Out of Time,” laced with horns and bouncing with a danceable beat. Or it can be a soaring duet with Shelly Fairchild on emotionally powerful title track, “Rise.”

Then there’s the tough rocking of “Don’t Let the Devil Down,” followed by the plaintive soul in “One More Last Time.” It’s all wrapped up in the country-comfort of the smooth “Crazy Rain.”

Easley is a co-writer on all the tracks except “One More Last Time,” which is hers alone, and all of them display an intelligent feel for elegant lyricism and musical arrangements.

Easley’s voice, style and songwriting sensibilities evoke both the tenderness and toughness of Southern soul, with enough blues to make your heart ache in just the right places. The band provides its own emotional support system.

There’s only one big problem with this album — it’s only six songs long. I guess it’s what passes for an EP these days (the concept having been created by RCA in 1952 for the 45rpm format. There were 28 Elvis Presley EPs, for example, some of which I confess to having owned).

But I digress.

Easley’s voice just demands much more listening pleasure than you can get here. Check her out at the Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar in Nashville, where she’s been a regular for four years. Or take a look at her YouTube channel.

Tracklist and credits:

1 I Can Let Go (Featuring The McCrary Sisters) 4:00
Written by Travis Bowlin, Herb Aaron, Angela Easley
2 Runnin’ Out Of Time 3:48
Written by Russ Harkins, Angela Easley
3 Rise (Featuring Shelly Fairchild) 4:55
Written by Dave Isaacs, Angela Easley
4 Don’t Let The Devil Down 3:31
Written by Lori Kelley, Angela Easley
5 One More Last Time 4:18
Written by Angela Easley
6 Crazy Rain 5:26
Written by Dave Isaacs, John Miner, Angela Easley
Produced by Walter Scott & Angela Easley
Mixed & Mastered by Bob Olhsson
Photography by Bryan Collins
Angela Easley, Piano / Walter Scott, B3 Organ / Calvin Johnson, Bass
Brian Czach, Drums / Marcus Finnie, Drums (Track 2)
Randy Peterson, Guitar / Billy Contreras, Violin (Track 5)
Matthew Gros, Saxophone / Micah Holman, Saxophone (Track 4)
Garen Webb, Trombone / Roy Agee, Trombone (Track 2)
Kiran Gupta, Trumpet / Jim Williamson, Trumpet (Track 2)
Shelly Fairchild, Background Vocals
Heidi Burson, Background Vocals
The McCrary Sisters, Background Vocals (Track 1)
Beverly McCrary / Deborah McCrary

Roadhouse Album Review: Prakash Slim gives new meaning to the country blues in “Country Blues From Nepal”

Prakash Slim — “Country Blues from Nepal” — DeVille Records

Ram Prakash Pokharel, or Prakash Slim, living in his native Nepal, is proving what all blues music lovers instinctively know — that the music of the blues has no borders.

In his case, the music that’s crossed his border and captured his spirit is the very distinctive acoustic country blues, essentially the classical music of the blues genre.

Prakash has just released his first album, very appropriately titled, “Country Blues From Nepal,” featuring seven classics from the style as well as six of his own compositions.

The classics he picks here show off the strength of Prakash’s vision and talent. There are covers of “Jitterbug Swing” (Bukka White), “Moon Going Down” (Charley Patton), “Me and the Devil Blues” and “Crossroad Blues” (Robert Johnson), “You Gotta Move” (Mississippi Fred McDowell), “Police Dog Blues” (Blind Blake).

That’s an ambitious undertaking, but Prakash pulls it off nicely. His interpretations flow easily, and his guitar work is excellent — traditional country with the added touch of a hint of Nepalese influence. It gives his music a sort of ethereal quality that makes for a welcome counterpoint to the harshness of some country blues.

Prakash has also added six of his own songs in the same style, but based on his own experiences — his life in Nepal. I think these are even more interesting than his covers. It takes a genuine sensitivity to the musical style and its origins to create your own versions and still have sound original. The guitar work on these tracks displays a little more of Prakash’s unique flavor. The tracks include “Blues Raga,” “Living for the Memory,” “Villager’s Blues,” “Corona Blues,” and “Poor Boy.”

The two final songs — “Bhariya Blues” and “Garib Keto” — are sung in Prakash’s Nepali language. He explained them in a recent email exchange:

“Those two songs are in my native Nepali Language. “Garib Keto” is a Nepali version of “Poor Boy” and lyrics and meaning are the same too. “Bhariya Blues” is about a porter’s life, and it says every morning the porter needs to go downtown carrying heavy loads by crossing a dark forest and wild stream.”

“People dominate him by saying porter all the time but he says he hasn’t done any wrong although people tease him, saying beggar. He takes breakfast at a tea shop on the way and he says he will pay money before dying if owner asks him. He dreams about to buy new clothes for his son, but he can beg for himself. He says he writes a letter to his father and mother with love and greetings, and says he sends mail by the air because he doesn’t have money for post office. He can only breathe by putting heavy loads somewhere on the way but he gets full rest remembering his family all the time.”

All in all, this is a very interesting, very enjoyable take on the country blues style. Prakash’s vocals are uniquely his own, but still reflect their heritage, tinged with some international intrigue.

It’s all just another way of testifying that the blues is indeed a universal language.


Here’s Prakash’s very interesting biography.

Here’s an Interview with Prakash from the Blues.Gr blog by Michael Limnios

Here’s an endorsement of Prakash’s country blues style from Rory Block, who has her own impeccable credentials in acoustic country blues — she’s simply one of the very best.


Prakash Slim’s version of “Police Dog Blues,” also found on this album:

Tracklist and credits:

The Blues Music Award nominees for 2022 have been announced

The Blues Foundation will reveal the winners in Memphis on May 5, following the Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony May 4.

Here are the nominees:

B.B. King Entertainer
Tommy Castro 
Eric Gales 
Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman) 
J.P. Soars 
Sugaray Rayford

Album of the Year
Holler If You Hear Me, Altered Five Blues Band 
Not In My Lifetime, Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra 
Pinky’s Blues, Sue Foley 
Raisin’ Cain, Chris Cain 
Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town, Tommy Castro

Band of the Year
Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra 
J.P. Soars and the Red Hots 
Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials 
Sugaray Rayford Band 
Tommy Castro & The Painkillers

Song of the Year
“Fragile Peace and Certain War”, written and performed by Carolyn Wonderland
“Holler If You Hear Me”, written by Jeff Schroedl & Mark Solveson
(performed by Altered Five Blues Band)
“I’d Climb Mountains”, written and performed by Selwyn Birchwood
“Real Good Lie”, written by Christine Vitale, Larry Batiste, & Anthony Paule
(performed by Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra)
“Somewhere”, written by Tommy Castro & Tom Hambridge
(performed by Tommy Castro) 

Best Emerging Artist Album
GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor: Try It… You Might Like It!, GA-20 
Just Say The Word, Gabe Stillman 
Live On Beale Street: A Tribute To Bobby “Blue” Bland, Rodd Bland and the Members Only Band 
Welcome To The Land, Memphissippi Sounds 
You Ain’t Unlucky, Veronica Lewis

Acoustic Blues Album
Dear America, Eric Bibb 
Land of the Sky, Catfish Keith 
Let’s Get Happy Together, Maria Muldaur 
Let Loose Those Chains, Hector Anchondo 
The Trio Sessions, EG Kight

Blues Rock Album
Alafia Moon, Damon Fowler 
Dance Songs For Hard Times, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band 
Resurrection, Mike Zito 
Tinfoil Hat, Popa Chubby 
Unemployed Highly Annoyed, Jeremiah Johnson

Contemporary Blues Album
662, Kingfish 
Damage Control, Curtis Salgado 
Holler If You Hear Me, Altered Five Blues Band 
Raisin’ Cain, Chris Cain 
Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town, Tommy Castro

Soul Blues Album
Let’s Have A Party, Gerald McClendon 
Long As I Got My Guitar, Zac Harmon 
Not In My Lifetime, Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra 
You Get What You Give: Duets, Dave Keller 
You Gotta Have It, Tia Carroll 

Traditional Blues Album
Be Ready When I Call You, Guy Davis 
Bob Corritore & Friends: Spider In My Stew, Bob Corritore 
Boogie w/ R.L. Boyce (Live), R.L. Boyce 
Little Black Flies, Eddie 9V 
Pinky’s Blues, Sue Foley

Acoustic Blues Artist
Eric Bibb 
Kevin Burt 
Guy Davis 
Doug MacLeod 
Keb’ Mo’

Blues Rock Artist
Albert Castiglia 
Tommy Castro 
Tinsley Ellis 
Ana Popovic 
Joanne Shaw Taylor

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Vanessa Collier 
Thornetta Davis 
Ruthie Foster 
Danielle Nicole 
Carolyn Wonderland

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Selwyn Birchwood 
Chris Cain 
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram 
Kenny Neal 
Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman)

Soul Blues Female Artist
Annika Chambers 
Trudy Lynn 
Terrie Odabi 
Kat Riggins 
Vaneese Thomas 

Soul Blues Male Artist
William Bell 
Don Bryant 
John Nemeth 
Johnny Rawls 
Curtis Salgado

Traditional Blues Female Artist (Koko Taylor Award)
Rory Block 
Sue Foley 
Rhiannon Giddens 
Diunna Greenleaf 
EG Kight

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Cedric Burnside 
Super Chikan 
Taj Mahal 
Sugar Ray Norcia 
Jontavious Willis

Instrumentalist – Bass
Willie J. Campbell
Larry Fulcher
Jerry Jemmott
Danielle Nicole
Scot Sutherland

Instrumentalist – Drums
Danny Banks 
June Core 
Tom Hambridge 
Derrick D’Mar Martin 
Chris Peet

Instrumentalist – Guitar
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Chris Cain
Laura Chavez
Anson Funderburgh
Eric Gales
J.P. Soars

Instrumentalist – Harmonica
Billy Branch 
Bob Corritore 
Jason Ricci 
Brandon Santini 
Kim Wilson

Instrumentalist – Horn
Mindi Abair 
Jimmy Carpenter 
Marc Franklin 
Regi Oliver 
Nancy Wright

Instrumentalist – Piano (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player)
Eden Brent 
Mike Finnigan 
Dave Keyes 
Veronica Lewis 
Jim Pugh

Instrumentalist – Vocals
Thornetta Davis 
Ruthie Foster 
John Nemeth 
Sugaray Rayford 
Curtis Salgado