Roadhouse Album Review: Billy Price presents very soulful “50+ Years of Soul” — while baring his own

Billy Price — 50+ Years of Soul — Get Hip Recordings

Billy Price may well be one of the best-kept secrets in soul music, unless you live in the Pittsburgh-Washington D.C. music axis or happen to be one of his many appreciative fans in Europe.

Since I’m from the Pittsburgh area, I’ve known Billy Price, and watched him perform, for many of the 50+ years in the title of this excellent career retrospective.

So it’s no surprise to me that this 3-CD set packed with 41 delicious songs that span his thankfully ongoing career is full of sweet, satisfying soul music.

It’s not like Price had to work very hard to fill this exemplary set. With the Keystone Rhythm Band, then the Billy Price Band, plus solo projects, he has released 20 albums, CDs, and DVDs. Not to mention the live shows he’s performed over the years.

To give you a brief overview of the man’s credentials: “This Time for Real”, an album with the late Chicago soul singer Otis Clay, received a 2016 Blues Music Award in the category of Best Soul Blues Album of 2015. His 2018 album “Reckoning,” produced by Kid Andersen at Greaseland Studios for Vizztone, was nominated for a 2019 Blues Music Award in the category of Best Soul Blues Album of 2018. His 2019 album “Dog Eat Dog,” also produced by Andersen, was nominated for a 2020 BMA for Best Soul Blues Album of 2019. He was also nominated for a 2020 BMA for Best Male Soul Blues Artist. Oh, and early in his career he recorded as a vocalist with the late and very great guitar wizard Roy Buchanan.

And at this writing, Price is preaching to European audiences while touring with Anthony Geraci the Boston Blues Allstars.

The nature of soul music is that so much great music has already been written and sung, and much of Price’s early works covered the greats — Al Green, O.V. Wright, Bobby “Blue” Bland and more. But that’s just fine. There’s nothing wrong with being an interpreter of great music (there are still hundreds of cover orchestras interpreting Mozart!). And Billy worked hard to fill his bands with crack musicians and arrangements that always honored their source.

The first of the three discs here highlight some of that work, with a sprinkling of original material. Discs two and three sort of reverse that, adding more originals with a sprinkling of covers.

Price’s music ranges from tender to tough, hitting all the nuance in between, matching soulful vocals and ever-sharp horns, a soul music feature that Price has absorbed, polished and makes shine in everything he does.

An excellent microcosm of just how all of this works can be found on track 14 of Disc One. It’s a medley of three great songs, starting off with the Bobby Bland classic, “Cry, Cry, Cry,” moving into a Price original, “BP’s Dream,” then the O.V. Wright chestnut “Eight Men & Four Women,” and finally wrapping it back into “Cry,” all filled with passionate vocals, complete with the soulful pleading and testifying that mark Price’s style.

I’m not gonna write about all of those 41 tracks, except to testify myself about their scope and quality. This an exciting set of music by Billy Price. His vocals preach and plead, his bands crackle with kickass horns and sharp guitar work (some of the sharpest from the late Pittsburgh guitar great Glenn Pavone). Old fans will find great music to revisit, newcomers will just find great music.

Make that great soul music.

If you want to see a complete list of all those song credits, including composers and musicians (they’re not in the excellent CD notes by Price on his musical history), you can enjoy yourself with this comprehensive list from Price’s web site.

Here’s a great live performance of one of the cuts, “It Ain’t a Juke Joint Without the Blues”:

Track list:

Disc 1
1 I Know It’s Your Party (I Just Came Here to Dance) (Live Version)
2 Why Can’t We Be Lovers
3 Lifestyles of the Poor and Unknown
4 This Time I’m Gone for Good
5 When the Lights Came on
6 Absolute Love
7 Nothing Stays the Same Forever
8 This Magic Hour
9 It Ain’t a Juke Joint Without the Blues
10 No Matter How You Turn or Twist It
11 Soul Sailin’
12 You Don’t Exist No More
13 You’ve Got Bad Intentions
14 The Jury of Love: Cry Cry Cry – BP’s Dream – Eight Men & Four Women

Disc 2
1 Real Time
2 Let’s Get Married
3 Free
4 Under the Influence
5 Is It Over?
6 Power of Love – I Didn’t Know the Meaning of Pain (Live Version)
7 My Love Comes Tumbling Down
8 One and One
9 Slipped, Tripped, and Fell in Love
10 The Big Show
11 Since You’ve Gone Again
12 The Hard Hours
13 Something ‘Bout ‘Cha (Live Version) – That’s How It Is (Live Version) – Blind Man
14 39 Steps

Disc 3
1 Let’s Go for a Ride
2 Beautiful Feeling
3 Part Time Love
4 Your Time to Cry
5 Can I Change My Mind (Live Version) – Is It Something You’ve Got
6 Don’t Leave Me Starving for Your Love
7 I Can’t Lose the Blues
8 Mine All Mine All Mine (Live Version)
9 Love Ballad
10 Who You’re Working for
11 I Betcha Didn’t Know That
12 Ain’t It Funky Now – Back from the Dead
13 Dangerous Highway

Roadside Album Review: Duwayne Burnside brings the blues back to its roots with “Acoustic Burnside”

Duwayne Burnside — “Acoustic Burnside” — Dolceola Recordings

There is so much new music floating around these days that’s based on the blues, incorporates the blues or updates the blues, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Much of it is inspired, exciting music.

But sometimes, you just want to hear the blues. In this case, the North Mississippi Hill Country blues.

That’s why I love this new album by Duwayne Burnside, son of the late, legendary R.L. Burnside — it’s the blues in raw and primeval form, its roots nurtured in the fertile Mississippi blues soil that Burnside calls home.

It’s just the power of Burnside’s rich, rugged vocals, propelled by his acoustic guitar, exploring vital, classic blues material.

He’s been an exciting electric guitarist for decades, but this is his first new album in 17 years, recorded almost like field recordings in the area around Burnside’s home in Holly Springs, Miss., in 2018 and 2019.

“Although I’ve never stopped playing shows, this album is a rebirth for me,” Burnside says. “It puts me in the game again, but it’s perfect, too, because playing stripped down like this, you can hear this music come right out of my heart because that’s where my daddy put it.”

The album kicks off with the hypnotic messaging of “Going Down South,” “Jumper on the Line” and “Poor Black Mattie,” three of his father’s songs. “When I play them,” he says, “I’m doing my best to show respect and love for him and the music. When I play on acoustic guitar, especially, it goes back even further, because this music started without electricity. I think about all the musicians who came up from the early days, out of the Delta and the hills, and took their music to the big cities and all around the world. It makes me feel like I’m a part of all that history.”

Next, he shows his respect and creativity with his own “She Threw My Clothes Out,” followed by “Alice Mae,” written by R.L. Burnside for Duwayne’s mother. That’s followed by Burnside’s rhythmic version of the very traditional, very classic Robert Johnson song, “Dust My Broom.”

Those are followed by “Meet Me In the City,” “Stay All Night,” an alternative take of “She Threw My Clothes Out,” the Roosevelt Sykes chestnut “44 Blues,” “Bad Bad Pain,” and the album closer, “Lord Have Mercy On Me,” by Burnside’s neighbor Junior Kimbrough, one of the founding fathers of the hill country style.

They all combine to create a unique recording of earthy, gritty blues that’s filled with authentic, soulful music. And that feel requires a shoutout to Pinkie Pulliam on bass and Dan Torigoe on piano, who complete the sound on these sessions.

Torigoe, not incidentally, is the founder of this record label, Dolceola Recordings. He says that his label is “focused on analog field recording of American traditional music, with love and adoration for the great field recorders. I love R.L.’s first recordings made in 1968 by George Mitchell and wanted to make a sort of modern version of it with the current generation. So, while Duwayne is renowned for his solid electric guitar playing with influences from modern blues, the musical tradition of his father and his community is rooted very deep in his body and soul, and we wanted to capture that in a more primitive way.”

And they have done just that, recording the blues the way they were meant to be heard. If you watch the video at the end (I hope you do!), you’ll see Burnside on his front steps with some of that recording equipment, catching the music exactly as its created.

It may indeed be primitive by today’s digital standards, but so is the blues. If you’re a fan, don’t miss this album. If you haven’t been, listen to some of the origins of American popular music.

Here’s Duwayne Burnside with “Dust My Broom”:

Track list

  1. Going Down South
  2. See My Jumper Hanging on the Line
  3. Poor Black Mattie
  4. She Threw My Clothes Out
  5. Alice Mae
  6. Dust My Broom
  7. Meet Me in the City
  8. Stay All Night
  9. She Threw My Clothes Out (Alternative Take)
  10. 44 Pistol
  11. Bad Bad Pain
  12. Lord Have Mercy On Me

Roadhouse Album Review: Robert Hill & Joanne Lediger celebrate gospel and blues in their joyous “Revelation”

Robert Hill & Joanne Lediger — “Revelation” — Self release

Blues music in all of its forms has always been intertwined with the music of the church.

Older blues musicians have often told stories about how, as youngsters, they learned that the blues was “the devil’s music,” and encouraged to engage in more sacred musical forms.

Fortunately, they didn’t always follow that advice, and we have been enjoying various takes on the devil’s music for generations.

Some blues musicians found their calling by combining the sacred and the secular in their music, strapping a blues-styled guitar behind a sanctified message. Artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Son House, Blind Blake, Rev. Gary Davis, and Blind Willie Johnson (a featured artist here) were blues and gospel performers as well as evangelists. The 1920s blues and hokum singer/songwriter Georgia Tom emerged in the early ’30s as the Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey, who almost single-handedly created modern gospel music, and is sometimes referred to as the “father of gospel music.”

In the ’30s and beyond, gospel and jubilee quartets (Blind Boys of Alabama, Blind Boys of Mississippi, Soul Stirrers) carried the same message, while Tharpe gave gospel music an early rock and roll twist with her electric guitar.

All of this is a long-winded introduction to a fine new album by Robert Hill and Joanne Lediger that offers a contemporary look at gospel blues with six covers of traditional songs, one masterful Tom Wait adaptation, and four originals by Hill. He and Lediger have been performing together for the last fifteen years; Hill a slide wizard and Lediger a passionate vocalist. Hill’s daughter Paulina also joins on vocals.

That’s just the right combination for this fascinating selection of powerful songs. The opener is the dramatic call and response of the traditional “John the Revelator,” first recorded in 1930 by Blind Willie Johnson, and in the ’60s by Son House. Lediger’s intense vocals are backed by the visceral fire of Hill’s National Resophonic guitar.

That’s followed by “Run On,” an almost raucous, guitar-driven religious critique with an R&B flavor, then “Soul of a Man,” from another Johnson recording, with a very soulful vocal turn by Hill, backed by Lediger, in a strikingly passionate version.

That’s followed by a terrific bluesy version of Tom Wait’s “Way Down In the Hole,” with Paulina’s vocals leading Hill’s guitar on a wicked journey. Some of you may remember it as the theme from the excellent HBO series “The Wire.” The show highlighted a different version of the song in each of its five seasons, from 2002-2008.

Two Hill originals follow — “Jesus by the Riverside” and “Pay One Way or Another” — both nicely crafted to fit the classic context of the album. “Pay” is an especially tough, rhythmic creation on how “nobody gets out of this world for free,” driven hard by Ed Alstrom on the Hammond B3.

“Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is another soaring Blind Willie Johnson tune, and “A Devil’s Fool” is another original that shuffles joyously into the blues again, this time using Robert’s vocals and some piano to kick everything along.

There’s still more Johnson coming with “Samson and Delilah,” this time a rocking version with tough Paulina Hill vocals. “Preacher’s Blues” is another Hill original, with foot-stomping rhythm and old-timey feel. “Jesus On The Mainline,” based on the Mississippi Fred McDowell ’50s version, is a fitting closer for this session, as all three vocalists join in a mini-choir version. Once again, Hill’s sublime guitar work lifts this song out of the ordinary and into instant classic status.

And that’s typical of the entire album — it’s a joyous effort to polish up some great traditional gospel blues, add some new ones, and produced a smartly crafted set full of lyrical and musical wisdom. The playing and singing are inspired. Don’t be deterred by the “gospel” label. This is not heavy-handed religious music, but music that highlights the intense historical connection between blues and gospel; between the sacred and the secular, and how they both shine when their worlds collide.

It’s all a devil of a good time.

Here’s a 2019 live version of the track “Soul of a Man”:


Joanne Lediger: vocals
Paulina Hill: vocals
Robert Hill: guitar, vocals, harp, keyboards
Steve Gelfand: bass
Frank Pagano: drums
Ed Alstrom: Hammond B3 on “Pay One Way or Another”

Roadhouse Album Review: Rory Block celebrates women of American song with musical perfection in “Ain’t Nobody Worried”

Rory Block — “Ain’t Nobody Worried” — Stony Plain Records

I’ve seen Rory Block perform many times. I’ve listened to her albums even more. I’ve never ceased to be amazed at her talent.

For decades, she’s been a one-woman force in the preservation of traditional county and acoustic blues music. She’s done that with power and authenticity and an obvious passion for the music she performs. Despite her faithfulness to this great American music, her voice and guitar style are unique and instantly recognizable as her own.

She does all of those things on her latest album, “Ain’t Nobody Worried,” but with a twist. This is the third album in her Power Women of the Blues series, and the first two — “A Woman’s Soul: A Tribute to Bessie Smith” and “Prove It On Me” — were pretty much traditional blues, all expertly done.

This time out, Block pays tribute to more contemporary women of American music, from Mavis Staples to Koko Taylor. Why? As she puts it: “I do these songs because I play the music I love the most.”

All are done with her distinctive acoustic guitar and vocal work. Where she wanted something extra, she recorded additional guitar and percussion herself. And did her own backup vocals.

She opens with a spirited version of the classic Staples Singers gospel-flavored “I’ll Take You There,” then turn sensuously secular with “Midnight Train to Georgia,” the soulful Gladys Knight hit, and then layers her distinctive style onto “My Guy,” the Smokey Robinson opus given wings by Mary Wells.

Then she adds eight more tracks that range from Tracy Chapman’s groundbreaking “Fast Car” to the Etta James masterpiece “I’d Rather Go Blind” to Bonnie Raitt’s glorious “Love Has No Pride” to Koko Taylor’s deeply tough blues, “Cried Like a Baby” to some serious Motown on “Dancing ln The Streets” by Martha and The Vandellas.

Block also includes her own “Lovin’ Whiskey,” the song she says launched her career, plus a cover of “Freight Train,” by the very talented and influential guitarist Elizabeth Cotton.

(You can find the complete track list, with Rory’s comment on how and why she chose each song below the video at the end of the post.)

Those few paragraphs above don’t really do justice to this excellent Rory Block album. You know, “words can’t begin to describe,” and all that. The results are impressively imaginative, highly creative and, best of all, thoroughly enjoyable.

Here’s “Cried Like a Baby”

Track Listing and Comments by Rory Block
“I’ll Take You There” — The Staple Singers (featuring Mavis Staples)
Not much explanation needed. This is one of the all-time great and powerful crossover gospel songs
with an immense rhythm track, graced by the matchless voice of Mavis Staples. Mavis proved that
gospel is a force in pop music. “I’ll Take You There” was the first track we recorded and is the first track
on this CD. It just felt right.

“Midnight Train To Georgia” — Gladys Knight and The Pips
Who can say “Midnight Train to Georgia” wasn’t one of the most soulful songs of its time, and who
didn’t try to learn to sing listening to Gladys Knight’s superlative rich vocals? Who didn’t try to learn
backup vocals and dance moves from the Pips? This song was a must-do, and the second track we

“My Guy” — Mary Wells
Mary Wells nailed this perfectly crafted song by Smokey Robinson, giving it passion, charm, and a wry
sense of humor. I recorded it in the same key as the original, but then was dismayed to find my natural
vocal range was deeper, so I thought about slowing the track or re-recording it. In the end,I sang it in a
somewhat jazzy head voice and went with it. I could have given it a bit of growl in a deeper key, but
maybe it didn’t need growl. After all, it is a spirited and fun song, and I had a great time singing,
especially on the outro.

“Fast Car” — Tracy Chapman
Remember when this song came on the radio and blew our minds? lt was a trendsetter, with a
stereotype busting, cutting edge approach that was almost unheard of at the time. It was, however, (if I
can pat myself on the back), an idea I had always cherished -taking an acoustic song and suddenly
applying an earth shaking drum track when least expected, taking the song, with its emotionally honest
and arresting story, to another level altogether. Tracy was one of the first to really turn this approach
into pure gold.

“Cried Like A Baby” — Koko Taylor
I met Koko Taylor on the road in Germany. I opened for her and her tighter-than-ever band for several
shows on that tour, including a TV show that ended up as a laser disk (remember those)? She dubbed
me `’Little Miss Dynamite,” a name I deeply appreciate and cherish. No one could nail the power of a
sexy full-out blues wail like Koko. On the outro,I ad lib one of my conversations with her, including her
worldly wisdom and advice.

“Love Has No Pride” — Bonnie Raitt
Greenwich Village in the `60s was a hotbed of immense musical talent, with the likes of Bob Dylan living
just two doors away from The Allan Block sandal shop, Joan Baez performing in local venues, Bonnie
Raitt making waves with her heart wrenching blues, and the list goes on and on. My first boyfriend,
Stefan Grossman, was friends with many of the pivotal players in the burgeoning scene. One of his good
friends was a great songwriter and musician named Eric Kaz, who, together with Libby Titus, wrote
“Love Has No Pride.” We always thought it was the best song ever written, performed by Bonnie, the
best singer on earth.

“I’d Rather Go Blind” — Etta James
This song led the way for the concept of this recording, establishing the theme celebrating great women
of song. I just kept saying, “I can’t wait to sing `l’d Rather Go Blind.” This song is one of the most
haunting and moving portrayals of heartbreak ever written, sung by the amazingly gutsy blues voice of a
woman who meant every word she sang. Etta, we got the tissues out.

“Lovin’ Whiskey” — Rory BIock
This is the song I thought no one would care about. This is the song that got me on an airplane. This is
the song that launched my career. This is the song I didn’t want to put on the record. This is the song
that earned me a gold record and has remained my most popular and requested song for over 3
decades. I have heard repeatedly that it’s because it’s about the hidden struggles of the heart, and
knowing we are not alone. More people say that it helped them through the hardest times of their lives
than any other I have written. Murphy’s Law, you never know. Oh yes, great guitar player Bud Rizzo
played the original heart-wrenching solo. I decided to follow it note for note, for better or worse, on my
acoustic version. I also stuck with the original drum pattern that I somehow constructed on one of the
first drum machines ever invented. It made no sense in that it wrapped around so the “one” beat was in
a different place every verse, but it somehow worked… and you know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

“Dancing ln The Streets” — Martha and The Vandellas
Great song, great performance from Martha and her Vandellas, great groove, solid gold, what’s not to
love? Had to do this one for the pure joy of it.

“You’ve Got A Friend” — Carole King
This song came on the radio in one of the hardest periods of my life. Waking me from a deep sleep in a
state of despair, hearing the vulnerable and unpretentious voice of Carole King made me sit up straight
in bed and say “Maybe I can do this!” lt was a life changing moment. She was the voice of every woman

“Freight Train” — Elizabeth Cotton
This could be the most influential guitar style ever created. Libba Cotton once was Nanny to the Seeger
children, until she was overheard sitting in another room singing this haunting tune. I celebrate her, not
because this song became gold, but because in the most unassuming way, quietly and without a lot of
fanfare, her guitar picking became one of the most influential guitar styles of all times.

Roadhouse Album Review: Buddy Guy still going strong with powerful “The Blues Don’t Lie”

Buddy Guy — “The Blues Don’t Lie” — RCA Records

What can you say about George “Buddy” Guy that hasn’t been said many times over? Even saying that he has a fine new album isn’t exactly big news. He’s created plenty, if you think 50 is plenty.


The living legend turned 86 this year, and he still sounds great at the peak of his blues powers. (Okay, the album was probably recorded when he was a mere 85 or so.)

An abbreviated list of his accomplishments: The recipient of the 2015 Grammy Lifetime achievement Award, Buddy Guy’s incredible career spans over 50 years with just as many albums released. Career highlights include 8 Grammy Awards, 38 Blues Music Awards, the most any artist has had, a Kennedy Center Honors, NARM Chairman’s Award for Sustained Creative Achievement, Billboard Music Awards’ Century Award for distinguished artistic development, Presidential National Medal of Arts, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, plus, more.

And that doesn’t include his status as a major influence; as one of the last of the great bluesmen still standing.

And also, this is a magnificent album of 16 songs (yes, that’s 16 — finally, someone fills a CD with great new music, thank you very much).

It all kicks off with the rich and powerful sound of “I Let My Guitar Do The Talking,” which probably sums up his entire career. Then the title track continues that thought with the philosophical “Blues Don’t Lie” (“Life is gonna happen, whether you’re ready or not….”). “The World Needs Love” follows, the only track written by Guy alone; it’s a scorcher with a wicked guitar solo and a heartfelt vocal pleading of his case.

The next tracks bring in some of the supporting cast assembled here. “We Go Back” is a haunting reminiscence featuring Mavis Staples; the churning rhythms of “Symptoms of Love” adds Elvis Costello and producer Tom Hambridge (much more on him later) on background vocals, and “Follow the Money” adds James Taylor in a sly critique of dollar daze.

The songs here seem to dig deeper into the blues as they move along. “Well Enough Alone” evokes the mojo hand and a black cat bone smothered in stinging guitar, and “What’s Wrong With That” brings in Bobby Rush for a playful look at their good old days: “I like my bacon crispy, my pancakes cooked up right….”

The music takes a topical turn with the plaintive “Gunsmoke Blues,” featuring Jason Isbell, in an anthem to a litany of shootings (“A million thoughts and prayers won’t bring back anyone….”). Then the mood shifts back to a rocking “House Party” with Wendy Moten joining in the vocals as the band shuffles into a traditional blues groove.

The album closes with a few covers and more tough blues. (“Sweet Thing” is classic B.B. King, “I’ve Got a Feeling” is a bluesy take on the Beatles chestnut, “Backdoor Scratchin’,” “Rabbitt Blood” and “Last Call” add even more down-home feel, until Buddy closes with a deep blue cover of the Slim Harpo classic, “King Bee.”

Put all of that together, and it makes for a truly excellent Buddy Guy outing. The original songs, mostly co-written by the ridiculously talented Tom Hambridge are sharp and incisive, contemporary and timeless, and just plain good blues. (Hambridge also plays some drums. Check the full credits below to get the complete picture.)

When the songs are topical, they’re not oppressive. When they are solid blues, they are the real deal. It’s hard enough to write this kind of music, it’s even harder to make it feel like it’s been dredged from the depths of the blues — and having Guy sing and play guitar doesn’t hurt either.

Sure, there are many, many fine Buddy Guy albums that you can listen to. But this is one of the finest — traditional and contemporary, surrounded by choice Buddy licks.

“The Blues Don’t Lie” is living proof that the blues still don’t lie.

Here’s the leadoff track:


  1. I Let My Guitar Do The Talking
  2. Blues Don’tLie
  3. The World Needs Love
  4. We Go Back (featuring Mavis Staples)
  5. Symptoms Of Love (featuring Elvis Costello)
  6. Follow The Money (featuring James Taylor)
  7. Well Enough Alone
  8. What’s Wrong With That (featuring Bobby Rush)
  9. Gunsmoke Blues (featuring Jason Isbell)
  10. House Party (featuring Wendy Moten)
  11. Sweet Thing
  12. Backdoor Scratchin’
  13. I’ve Got A Feeling
  14. Rabbit Blood
  15. Last Call
  16. King Bee

If you’re interested in the complete track credits, with all those crack musicians, down to which guitar Buddy played, here they are:

(Tom Hambridge, Buddy Guy)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Mic Shau Music/adm. By BUG Music (BMI)
Buddy Guy – BG Signature Blonde Strat, Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums
Reese Wynans – B3
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar
Max Abrams & Steve Patrick – Horns

(Tom Hambridge)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP)
Buddy Guy – BG Signature Blonde Strat, BG Sunburst Strat, Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums, Tambourine, Background Vocals
Reese Wynans – B3
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar
Michael Saint-Leon – Low End Guitar
Mike Hicks – Background Vocals
Max Abrams & Steve Patrick – Horns

(Buddy Guy)
Published by Mic Shau Music/adm. By BUG Music (BMI)
Buddy Guy – BG Blonde Strat, Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums
Glenn Worf – Bass
Kevin McKendree – Piano
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

WE GO BACK (featuring Mavis Staples) (4:40)
(Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Richard Fleming Music (BMI)
Buddy Guy – BG Blonde Strat, Vocals
Mavis Staples – Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums, Percussion
Glenn Worf – Bass
Kevin McKendree – Wurlitzer, B3
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

SYMPTOMS OF LOVE (featuring Elvis Costello) (3:37)

(Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Richard Fleming Music (BMI)
Buddy Guy – BG Blonde Strat, Vocals
Elvis Costello – Background Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals
Glenn Worf – Bass
Kevin McKendree – B3
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

FOLLOW THE MONEY (featuring James Taylor) (3:42)
(Tom Hambridge, Gary Nicholson)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Sony-ATV Cross Keys Publishing/Gary Nicholson Music (ASCAP)
Buddy Guy – Martin Acoustic Guitar, Gibson J-200 Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
James Taylor – Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums
Reese Wynans – Wurlitzer
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

(Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Richard Fleming Music (BMI)
Buddy Guy – BG Signature Blonde Strat, BG Signature Blue Polka Dot Strat, Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums, Background Vocals
Reese Wynans – B3
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT? (featuring Bobby Rush) (5:26)
(Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Richard Fleming Music (BMI)
Buddy Guy – BG Blonde Strat, BG Signature Blue Polka Dot Strat
Bobby Rush – Vocals, Harmonica
Tom Hambridge – Drums, Tambourine
Reese Wynans – B3
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

GUNSMOKE BLUES (featuring Jason Isbell) (3:09)
(Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Richard Fleming Music (BMI)
Buddy Guy – BG Signature Blonde Strat, BG Signature Blue Polka Dot Strat, Vocals
Jason Isbell – Vocals, Electric Guitar
Tom Hambridge – Drums
Reese Wynans – Piano, Wurlitzer
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

HOUSE PARTY (featuring Wendy Moten) (3:00)
(Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Richard Fleming Music (BMI)
Buddy Guy – Guild Starfire, Vocals
Wendy Moten – Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums
Reese Wynans – B3
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

(BB King, Joe Josea)
Published by Universal Music Careers (BMI)
Buddy Guy – BG Signature Blue Polka Dot Strat, Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums
Glenn Worf – Bass
Kevin McKendree – Piano
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

(Tom Hambridge, Gary Nicholson)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Sony-ATV Cross Keys Publishing/Gary Nicholson Music (ASCAP)
Buddy Guy – BG Blonde Strat, Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums
Glenn Worf – Bass
Kevin McKendree – B3
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

(John Lennon, Paul McCartney)
Published by Sony/ATV LLC (ASCAP)
Buddy Guy – ’58 Sunburst Strat, Sitar Guitar, Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums, Percussion
Reese Wynans – Fender Rhodes
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

(Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Richard Fleming Music (BMI)
Buddy Guy – BG Blonde Strat, Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums
Glenn Worf – Upright Bass
Kevin McKendree – Piano
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

LAST CALL (3:33)
(Tom Hambridge, Bill Sweeney)
Published by Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Bill Sweens Music (ASCAP)
Buddy Guy – BG Blonde Strat, Vocals
Tom Hambridge – Drums
Glenn Worf – Upright Bass
Kevin McKendree – Piano, B3
Rob McNelley – Electric Guitar

I’M A KING BEE (2:44)
(James Moore)
Published by Embassy Music Corporation (BMI)
Buddy Guy – Martin Acoustic Guitar, Vocals

Roadhouse Album Review: “Acoustic Blues” is another gem from Doug MacLeod — fine acoustic blues, of course

Doug MacLeod — “Acoustic Blues” — Sledgehammer Blues

Doug MacLeod is, simply put, one of the best at what he does — a masterful storyteller and an elegant picker and singer of the blues.

This fine little album is just six songs long, but that’s a lot of blues storytelling from MacLeod, who writes all of his own material (with a minor exception on this session).

It also doesn’t seem to be available as a “real” album, but as a collection released Sept. 9 by the Sledgehammer Blues label, found on streaming services. I recently ran across it on my Amazon Prime Music Unlimited service, gave it a listen,

If you’re familiar with his work, these songs will be instantly recognizable. Doug’s style is uniquely and unmistakably his own — from the folksy drama of his lyrics to the eloquence of his acoustic guitar work.

The songs are: The deeply hopeful despair of “Mystery Woman,” and “Come to Find,” “Bring it On Home,” the slyly salacious “One Good Woman,” the wistful “Old Country Road,” and the loving memory-driven “Norfolk County Line.”

Digression: MacLeod’s cover of Willie Dixon’s “Bring It On Home,” is an exception here to his preference for his own songs. But it’s an excellent take on the old Sonny Boy Williamson II version. (Just for the record, and because it’s one of my blues pet peeves, Sonny Boy was actually born Aleck Miller, and later took the name of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson as his own. I’ve always thought that this was deeply unfair to the real Williamson, as his harp work was prolific and influential.)

But no matter. This is a fine sampling of Doug MacLeod’s literate, painfully honest approach to music. For more, there are many other albums available, and he’ll be sailing and singing on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues cruise next January (#38). See you there.

Roadhouse Album Review: Bob Corritore plugs in talented friends for old-school “You Shocked Me”

Bob Corritore & Friends — “You Shocked Me” — VizzTone

Sometimes, when you want to hear some blues, you want to hear some blues.

That’s when musicians like harpmeister Bob Corritore and some of his old-school friends come in handy. Corritore has spent decades recording some of the best traditional blues artists, and often pulls those sides from his copious musical vaults to produce excellent albums.

For his latest release, “You Shocked Me,” Corritore put together the best of 12 recording sessions between 2018 and 2022, featuring 10 stalwart blues talents on 17 tracks (Yes, 17 songs on a CD! Too often, CDs don’t have much more music than two sides of an LP).

Those stalwart blues talents include vocalists Alabama Mike (with four songs), John Primer, Johnny Rawls, Bill “Howl-N-Madd” PerrySugaRay RayfordDiunna GreenleafJimi “Primetime” SmithOscar WilsonBob StrogerFrancine Reed, and Willie Buck.

Corritore underlines the music of all these fine artists with his considerable harp talents, blending magically into every song and style.

The album kicks off with John Primer’s tough “Hiding Place,” with fierce guitar and deep-blue vocals. That’s followed by another scorcher, “Squeeze Me Baby,” from Alabama Mike. The title track follows, a bluesy explosion from a supercharged vocal by Diunna Greanleaf.

Johhny Rawls offers a soulful take on the socially prescient “The World’s In A Bad Situation,” and a couple of softer blues offer a respite from the raw toughness on many tracks: “That Ain’t Enough” by Willie Buck and “Blue Blue Water,” a plaintive slow blues from Oscar Wilson a,re good examples.

One of my favorites is a lyrical play on the “down at the crossroads” and hellhound on my trail” themes: “Back to the Crossroads” from Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry turns it all around as he hunts for relief — “Goin’ back to the crossroads to try to reverse my deal, you can never be happy when hellhounds are on your heels….”

That’s just a handful of the fine tracks included here. There’s more of the same throughout. Gritty blues, soulful vocals, tough music-making all around.

The words “real deal” are overused to the point of being trite — but I think they apply here. If this isn’t a satisfying package of real-deal blues, I don’t know what is.

“The World’s in a bad Situation” by Johnny Rawls:


1 Hiding Place (feat. John Primer)
2 Squeeze Me Baby (feat. Alabama Mike)
3 You Shocked Me (feat. Diunna Greenleaf)
4 The World’s In A Bad Situation (feat. Johnny Rawls)
6 Somebody Stole My Love From Me (feat. Alabama Mike)
7 Blinded (feat. Jimi “Primetime” Smith)
8 Josephine (feat. Sugaray Rayford)
9 Blue Blue Water (feat. Oscar Wilson)
10 Train Fare (feat. Bob Stroger)
11 Don’t Need Your Permission (feat. Francine Reed)
12 That Ain’t Enough (feat. Willie Buck)
13 Soul Food (feat. Jimi “Primetime” Smith)
14 Back To The Crossroads (feat. Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry”)
15 Work To Be Done (feat. Alabama Mike)
16 Sunny Day Friends (feat. Diunna Greenleaf)
17 Blues For Hippies (feat. Alabama Mike)

Roadhouse Album Review: Derrick Procell has it all working for him on “Hello Mojo!”

Derrick Procell — “Hello Mojo” — Catfood Records

I’m traveling back in time a couple of months again for another album I don’t want to overlook.

It’s from a veteran musician (singer, songwriter, harp and piano player) who spent decades creating music for others, and with the launch of his “Why I Choose to Sing the Blues” album in 2016, has returned to remind us of his special talents.

Procell is a soulful, big-voiced singer who knows his way around a lyric (he wrote or co-wrote all the original songs here), surrounded himself with excellent musicians, and turned over the producing pleasures to talented bluesman Zac Harmon, who also calls Catfood Records his musical home, and who contributes tough guitar work.

Not incidentally, Catfood owner and bassist Bob Trenchard wrote three of the songs with Purcell. Four were written with Grammy winner Terry Abrahamson, who’s known for his work with Muddy Waters, and has been Procell’s writing partner for the last 10 years.

The result of all this talent is a very tasty album, filled with exuberant music, even in its more tender moments (“Color of an Angel” and the passionate closer “Bittersweet Memory” are fine examples of that combination).

From the lyrically delicious up-tempo opener, “Skin in the Game,” through the sharp, horn-laced title track and the toughness of “The Contender,” the yearning of Procell-harp led “Broken Promises,” and the slyness of “A Tall Glass of You” (“I’ll have tall glass of you, and leave the bottle…”), this album offers a thoroughly satisfying session filled with soulful vocals, fine-tuned lyricism, and precise musical production that pulls it all together.

Give Derrick Procell a listen. You’ll be glad you did.

Here’s “Skin in the Game”:

Roadhouse Blues News: Here are the winners of the 2022 Blues Blast Magazine poll

More than 10,000 Blues Blast Magazine readers and blues fans voted in the 2022 Blues Blast Music Awards. The winners in the fan voting, with the nominees, are listed below.

Winners are shown in bold.

Contemporary Blues Album
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram – 662
Anthony Geraci – Blues Called My Name
Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters – Mercy Me
Tommy Castro – A Bluesman Came To Town
Altered Five Blues Band – Holler If You Hear Me
Carolyn Wonderland – Tempting Fate
Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames – Nightwalk

Traditional Blues Album
Diunna Greenleaf – I Ain’t Playin’
Duke Robillard – They Called it Rhythm and Blues
Kenny Neal – Straight From The Heart
Sue Foley – Pinky’s Blues
Louisiana Red & Bob Corritore – Tell Me ‘Bout It
Bob Stroger & The Headcutters – That’s My Name

Soul Blues Album
Sugaray Rayford – In Too Deep
The Love Light Orchestra – Leave The Light On
Wee Willie Walker & Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra – Not In My Lifetime
Trudy Lynn – Golden Girl
Zac Harmon – Long As I Got My Guitar
Robbin Kapsalis and Vintage#18 – Soul Shaker

Rock Blues Album
Tinsley Ellis – Devil May Care
Beth Hart – A Tribute To Led Zeppelin
Eric Gales – Crown
Levee Town – Trying to Keep my Head Above Water
Big Al & the Heavyweights – Love One Another
Chickenbone Slim – Serve It To Me Hot

Acoustic Blues Album
Eric Bibb – Dear America
Corey Harris – The Insurrection Blues
Hector Anchondo – Let Loose Those Chains
Catfish Keith – Land of the Sky
Big Creek Slim & Rodrigo Mantovani- Stone In My Heart
Tas Cru – Broke Down Busted Up

Live Blues Recording
Rodd Bland and the Members Only Band – Live on Beale Street
Hurricane Ruth – Hurricane Ruth Live at 3rd and Lindsley
The BC Combo – The Garage Sessions
Ann Peebles and The Hi Rhythm Section – Live In Memphis
Peer Gynt – Live In Hell
The James Harman Band – Sparks Flying Live In 1992

Historical Or Vintage Recording
Mark Hummel Presents East Bay Blues Vaults 1976-1988
Paul Oscher – Rough Stuff
Lowell Fulson with Jeff Dale & The Blue Wave Band – Lowell Fulson Live!
Big Jack Johnson – Stripped Down in Memphis
Bob Corritore & Friends – Down Home Blues Revue
Dave Specter – Six String Soul

New Artist Debut Album
Hogtown Allstars – Hog Wild
Memphissippi Sounds – Welcome To The Land
Malcolm Wells and the Two Timers – Hollerin’ Out Loud
Horojo Trio – Set The Record
John Winkler – Juke’s Blues
Buckmiller Schwager Band – To Memphis and Back

Blues Band
The Love Light Orchestra
Tommy Castro & The Painkillers
Altered Five Blues Band
Wee Willie Walker & Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra
Kilborn Alley Blues Band

Male Blues Artist
Sugaray Rayford
John Németh
Eric Gales
Tommy Castro
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
Tinsley Ellis

Female Blues Artist
Diunna Greenleeaf
Sue Foley
Carolyn Wonderland
Vaneese Thomas
Beth Hart
Trudy Lynn

Sean Costello Rising Star Award
Gabe Stillman
Ben Levin
Jose Ramirez
Memphissippi Sounds
Robbin Kapsalis and Vintage#18
Kat Riggins

Producer Of The Year
Tom Hambridge
Kid Andersen
Tony Braunagel
Mike Zito
Jim Gaines
Eric Corne

Electric Guitarist Of The Year
Eric Gales
Ronnie Earl
Duke Robillard
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
Chris Cain
Albert Castiglia

Acoustic Guitarist Of The Year
Doug MacLeod
Eric Bibb
Guy Davis
Hector Anchondo
Catfish Keith
Corey Harris

Slide Guitarist Of The Year
Sonny Landreth
Derek Trucks
Gabe Stillman
Dave Weld
Michael van Merwyk
Catfish Keith

Bass Guitarist Of The Year
Bob Stroger
Rodrigo Mantovani
Danielle Nicole
Willie J. Campbell
Scot Sutherland
Jerry Jemmott

Keyboard Player Of The Year
Anthony Geraci
Kenny “Blues Boss Wayne
Ben Levin
Jim Pugh
Victor Wainwright
Kevin McKendree

Percussionist Of The Year
Derrick D’Mar Martin
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel
Kenny Smith
Alan Arber
June Core
Cedric Burnside

Harmonica Player Of The Year
Bob Corritore
Jason Ricci
Dennis Gruenling
Kim Wilson
Billy Branch
Pierre Lacocque

Horn Player Of The Year
Jimmy Carpenter
Vanessa Collier
Marc Franklin
Vince Salerno
Doug Woolverton
Terry Hanck

Vocalist Of The Year
John Németh
Sugaray Rayford
Diunna Greenleaf
Beth Hart
Vanesse Thomas

Roadhouse Album Review: “May Be The Last Time” is a joyous session from John Németh and friends

John Németh — “May Be The Last Time” — Nola Blue Records (Sept. 16, 2022 release)

“I recorded this album before my jaw amputation surgery, which took place in late May. It’s called “May Be The Last Time” because I didn’t know then and I still don’t know, if I will ever sing or play again like I used to. I have to say the magic of this performance is beyond this world and maybe the greatest of my life.” — John Németh

John is correct. There is a magic about this album that you can feel in every track. In the passionate vocals, in the sparkling musicality — the joyous spirit of life that infuses the entire session.

It’s ironic that all this musical pleasure is rooted deep in the unfortunate circumstance of a medical condition known as ameloblastoma (a benign but aggressive tumor in the jaw) in John’s Jaw, as he’s whimsically called it in his GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds for treatment. But that’s typical of the blues — music that can turn bad luck into good times.

John makes the opening and title track, “The Last Time,” a personal statement. He reworks the classic gospel tune, already handily reworked by the Staple Singers and the Rolling Stones, as an enthusiastic counterpoint to the poignancy of his predicament.

Elvin Bishop is one of John’s guests here, and they combine on “Rock Bottom,” a Bishop song from 1972. “Sooner or Later” is a Németh original, from his “Memphis Grease” album, and the first taste here of his considerable songwriting skills. “Feeling Good” reaches back to 1966 and J.B. Lenoir with a tough bass line.

Bishop not only contributes another song, 1974’s “Stealin’ Watermelons,” but handles the vocals, perhaps to give John’s Jaw a little rest.  “I Found a Love” is a stunningly soulful duet with Willy Jordan and a splendid take on Wilson Pickett’s 1962 chestnut.

One of my favorite tracks, since it is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite R&B groups, is the salaciously delicious “Sexy Ways,” from Hank Ballard and the Midnighters in 1954.

One of John’s earliest influences was Junior Wells, and his rendition of 1960’s “Come On in This House” is steamy and soulful, with magical harp work. “Elbows on the Wheel” is another John original from “Memphis Grease.” If you listen closely, there’s a throwback reference to “Junior’s Hoodoo Man.”

“Shake Your Hips” is vintage Slim Harpo from 1965, and John gives his voice and harp a workout.

Notice the trend here: John has picked older songs to cover with the classic feel that has been his musical trademark since he stormed out of Boise, Idaho, with his harp and a fine sense of older blues and soul that had been his sweet inspiration.

 The closer is “I’ll Be Glad,” another Bishop song with chunky rhythms and a raucous old-timey feel, and a message appropriate for the motivation behind this excellent album: “I’ll be glad when I get my groove back again.”

So yes, John is right. This is a great album. Filled with wonderful music, expertly done by John and the Kid Anderson (who also produced) studio band, plus friends. John’s vocals are their usual potent self, his harp work razor-sharp. If musicians can be loose and tight at the same time, here’s how. It’s also filled with the enthusiasm and spirit generated by fine music.

And yes, I love this album. You should, too. It just may be John’s greatest.

Read about John’s surgical journey here on the American Blues Scene.

Read about the Go Fund John’s Jaw effort here.

Here’s the title track:

Track list and credits:

As a sign of John’s sometimes whimsical approach to his surgery, here’s an illustration from the album cover. My only question is, “Where are the shades, man?