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John Mayall- Dalannah and Owen- Mick Kolassa

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John Mayall
Find a Way to Care

Forty Below

This album may be called Find a Way to Care but Mayall's fans will find it effortless to care about the new record from this most legendary of British blues players. The title song actually is a commentary about how mankind needs to be more compassionate but the storyline is tempered with images of relaxed good times and a melody that ultimately conveys the message that everyone should just chill out and enjoy life. Of course, there's the appropriate amount of angst driving Mayall's vocals on "Mother in Law Blues" and on the Muddy Waters missing-my-baby moan of "Long Distance Call." The funky strut of "Ropes and Chains" features a popping bassline from longtime Mayall band member Greg Rzab as well as some of the album's most interesting harp work from Mayall, while "Drifting Blues" gives Mayall a chance to showcase his piano playing. "War We Wage" with Mayall on the Hammond organ and the piano boogie of "Crazy Lady" are included as bonus cuts.

Dalannah and Owen
Been Around a While

Quest

Both have careers that stretch past the 40-year mark but this album marks the first time that Dalannah Gail Bowen and Owen Veber have recorded music together. A bit different from the usual blues record, the songs here feature only Bowens big, gutsy and sassy vocals sung over Veber's bass playing. For his part Veber plays rhythmic melodies while Bowen wails on strong original cuts like "That Ain't It," Billy Eckstine's haunting "Blues Mother of Sin" and a stunning cover of Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues." The music of Son House is a particular inspiration for the duo and they pay homage here with a take on Son's "Walkin' Blues;" a super-slow version of the Robert Johnson chestnut "Come on in My Kitchen" is also included.

Mick Kolassa
Ghosts of the Riverside Hotel

Swing Suit

Kolassa has a wonderfully weather-beaten voice that's perfect for the interpretation of Hank Williams' "Ramblin' Man" that opens this effort, a set that also includes the swingin' blues of "I Always Meant to Love You," the bucolic "If I Ain't Fishin'" and the Allman Brothers-ish jam "Whiskey Woman," all of which are Kolassa originals. Other self-penned highlights include the wary-of-my-lover sentiment of "Mama's Got a Mojo" and the Delta blues tribute "Delta Town" while Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me Not to Come" sounds really good totally blues-afied, complete with a harp solo from Brandon Santini and backing vocals from Reba Russell.

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