This is the first studio release in 30 years for blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Bill Blue. He learned his chops playing for many years with Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup who wrote the classic “That’s All Right, Mama” most famously done by Elvis. What I dig most about this CD is the raw energy of the guitars and the red hot brass courtesy of the Funk In The Middle Horns. The exceptional guitar work is done by Bill and his backing team of Michael McAdams; who was Reba McEntire’s guitarist and Larry Baeder; who was James Montgomery’s gun-slinger for years. This is a guitar album basically, done in an uptempo r&b style, with horn and organ arrangements that make this project more Memphis than Chicago or Detroit. Tunes like “Sing Like Thunder”, the traditional “Poor Boy Blues”, the opener “It’s Gotta Change”, “Guitar Whore” and “Who Let That Stranger In?” really knock me out. Great guitar work and I think the slide on the closer “On The Road For Big Boy” is killer too. The recording is fantastic with the guitars sounding clean and loud -just the way I like it. And Bill’s growling vocals are perfectly suited for his style; they sound like he eats nails. When the words come out it sounds like he’s remembering with his heart and that he knows what he’s talking about. Authentic and rock solid. This almost 70 year old hard-working artist is REAL good.
LONG TALL DEB
Raise Your Hands
By A.J. Wachtel
Long Tall Deb’s voice growls and lectures, and since she co-wrote ten of the twelve cuts on this great debut solo release; it reminisces too. And you can hear these qualities in every note in every song. She is a talented artist on the rise, a transplanted Texan now based in Ohio, and her style blends Soul, Gospel and Americana into her own unique sound. And I love it. The killer opener, “What Would A Good Woman Do” is more R & B than Blues, “Married To The Blues” is soulful, the title track “Raise Your Hands” is Gospel influenced; and Americana flavored songs like “Train To Tucson”, “The Last Time”, and “To Find His Home” all showcase her tight band and great vocals. I really dig her version of Tom Waits’ “New Coat Of Paint” where she turns his folkie snarl into a bluesy memory; real cool. John Popovich on keys, Melvin Powe on the low notes and guitarist extraordinaire Sean Carney are joined by a bunch of artists including Roomful Of Blues’ Phil Pemberton and Stevie Ray Double Trouble vet Reese Wynans and keep things very interesting and solid behind Deb’s beautiful voice. This should be in everyone’s cd collection if you have ears.