More Blues CDs To Look For - by J. Blake

Posted on 9/07/2010 by J. Blake

(New York, NY)

Want to know what’s out there that is worthwhile and might be slipping under your radar?

With BIG ROCKIN’ BOOGIE (on Underworld Records), Becki Sue & Her Big Rockin’ Daddies deliver a fun and energetic collection of blues, mixed with a healthy dose of good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. The band is in great form and as “tight as drum”; with Jim King deserving the MVP award for his sax and harmonica-work. The song selection is strong, the production values are above average for a band at this level of popularity and the musical arrangements are actually quite good. BIG ROCKIN’ BOOGIE is a lot of fun…check it out!!!

With their latest release the Mike Hallal Band gives audiences a taste of contemporary blues-rock; for the lack of a better term. A nice mix of originals and choice covers, HATCHET BLUES is not confined to one specific style; seemingly pulling from influences that include Cream, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Beatles and even contemporary country…among others. The album is definitely not for everyone, but it does provide an interesting listening experience. By not limiting themselves to 12-bar blues progressions, they have run the risk of alienating the blues purists, but deserve “props” for attempting to stretch a form that is getting a little bit tired in many other people’s eyes.

The bulk of HATCHET BLUES is not particularly my taste, but I respect what the band is going for. With this studio effort, they seem to be held back by a less than ideal budget and slightly mediocre production quality. I am curious to see what the future holds for this band, because given the right circumstances and the room to spread their wings in the studio, the Mike Hallel Band has the potential to make a really killer album. In the meantime this one is, at the very least, definitely worth a listen.

Floyd McDaniel was a staple of Chicago’s blues scene in the 1980s that sadly died two days after his 80th birthday in 1995. Thankfully two years after his passing, Delmark Records released WEST SIDE BABY; a fantastic live album recorded in Europe in 1994. It exhibits McDaniel delivering his signature brand of jazz-driven blues; backed by the exceptional Dave Specter and the Bluebirds.

With shades of Wes Montgomery, Nat “King” Cole and B.B. King, WEST SIDE BABY is a delightful change of pace for today’s rock-heavy blues scene and an absolute must for all fans longing for a tasteful display of superior musicianship…or just looking for some really great blues.

Ron Hacker and the Hacksaws’ BURNIN’ (from 2003, on Blue Skunk Music) is a pretty straight forward contemporary electric blues album; with just a hint of blues-rock added for flavor. It contains few (if any) surprises and Hacker’s vocals aren’t the strongest in the business, but it is still an enjoyable and fun listening experience. The band is tight, the grooves are strong and Hacker’s guitar playing is top notch. In an age of copycats, Hacker has managed to find his own style and for that alone he deserves some recognition. BURNIN’ may not be groundbreaking or mind blowing, but it contains some fun and competent blues that definitely deserves to be heard.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy: Blues CDs To Look For

Thanks and keep reading American Blues News and also check out Media Wah Wah for more of this writer’s thoughts and opinions about Movies, Music, TV & More.

Copyright © 2010 - J. Blake. All Rights Reserved

American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

Mon: Memphis Correspondent - Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
Nighthawk is our resident globetrotter and man behind the scenes, as he tours with the Reba Russell Band.

Tues: New York Correspondent - J. Blake
Blake is the American Blues News review and interview guru. You may catch him out and about in NY playing the blues.

Wed: National Correspondent - Monica Yasher
Monica is our executive director and artist interview specialist. You can catch Monica singing the blues around Pittsburgh or working on some country music songs in Nashville.

Thurs: Washington, DC Correspondent - Virginiabluesman
Geraldo offers inteviews and reviews. You may have seen him at an Ana Popovic concert or conversed with him on her websites, as he offers administrative support with her music.

Fri: Northeast Photographer - Nelson Onofre
Nelson offers a Friday column of blues photography and pictorial support for the interviews covered by the team.

Jim Stick in Colorado
Jim will be focusing on the Blues Festivals in the beautiful state of Colorado, and the artists that live and visit there.

Maureen Elizabeth, our resident art correspondent, will be focusing on blues art as she explores the creation of CD covers, or speaking with artists who also have a love of creating pictorial art in addition to their music! She may also feature some of her good friends in the Pittsburgh area. In her love of art, you may find Maureen's photography accompanying writer's articles on our pages. Maureen is also our marketing director.

Pittsburgh correspondent and photographer, CR Bennett, will share the Pittsburgh scene with all of you. You may also see CR's pictures accompanying other writer's articles.

We head to the big state of Texas! Abby Owen, our Texas correspondent.

Another big area to cover, the West Coast with Casey Reagan, Casey will feature many artists and events on this ocean's shores.

Lastly, we have our roving blues entertainment writer,
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And of course, we will surprise you sometimes!

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