Savoy Brown - Barbara Blue - Mose Allison - John Primer
We spin new blues releases including the 42nd and likely last album from stalwarts Savoy Brown.
Savoy Brown - Blues All Around
Short of live recordings and other material that might be in the band's archives, Blues All Around
brings the Savoy Brown story to a close. Group founder, lead guitarist and singer Kim Simmonds passed away in December of 2022 after 55 years of rocking the blues; he and drummer Garnet Grimm and bass man Pat DeSalvo worked on completing Blues All Around
during Simmonds' recovery from his initial cancer treatment. Kim wrote all the songs here and he opens the album in a Muddy Waters mood with the brief (less than a minute) "Falling Through" before getting a little swampy with the slide guitar-filled "Going Down South," the Robin Trower-recalling "Gypsy Healer," the guitar growl shuffle of "Texas Love" where he also plays harmonica, and the reminiscence "California Days Gone By" where he references playing guitar in the shadow of the Hollywood sign and "Rockin' with Humble Pie." The album closes as it started, in a Muddy Waters mood, with the full version of "Falling Through," "Falling Through the Cracks." Blues All Around
is not only a fine album, it is a very nice bow on the gift that Savoy Brown has given for so many years.
Barbara Blue - From the Shoals
Known as the "reigning queen of Beale Street," Blue left her Memphis realm and headed to Muscle Shoals, Alabama where she recorded most of this album. Appropriately the effort begins with the funky strut of "The Shoals," an homage to the famed musical hot spot, name-checking associated personalities like The Swampers, Aretha Franklin and Clarence Carter along the way. Blue also pays tribute to the vaunted Nutthouse Studios in Shoals-adjacent Sheffield with "Nutthouse Blues" where she laid down the self-penned track with Jimmy Nutt engineering and famed Swamper David Hood on bass. Somewhat amusingly, Barbara sings about being driven to the Nutthouse, which the listener can very easily interpret from the song's tenor as being driven to the nut house, or being driven crazy. Having been recorded in The Shoals provides a great enhancement here but Blue, who co-wrote most of the songs, is the real star. Her husky voice oozes sadness on the broken relationship song "Severed" and she's feeling frisky on "Slide Man," which is about sex not slide guitar, (although slide is the song's lead instrument.) Sax flavors the slow and smoldering "Too Far" where Blue portrays a woman dismayed by how hard it is to please her man. Blue's vast experience shows on this impressive outing, her 13th overall.
Mose Allison - Live 1978
Allison had a style that is often described as relaxed and he must have lived his life the same way he sang; the blues pianist passed of natural causes in 2016 having lived for 89-years. This live recording was captured during a time when Allison's studio output had waned; he only recorded one studio album from 1973 through 1981 so this release offers a rare treat for fans. Recorded at the Showboat Lounge in Silver Spring, Maryland backed by bass man Tom Rutley and drummer Jerry Granell, Allison begins the show with a take on Percy Mayfield's "Lost Mind." About flipping out over a woman and including the line "If you would be so kind as to help me find my mind," the cut is the perfect lead in to Allison's own "Wildman on the Loose" with its mischievous lyrics and manic piano playing. Other highlights include the odd way to compliment a lover that is "Your Molecular Structure," the humorous (and yes, absolutely swinging) "Swingin' Machine" where Mose admits "Sometimes it gets a little hard to start..." while pumping out an unstoppable rhythm on piano, and a cover of the Willie Dixon chestnut "I Live the Life I Love." Dixon's more familiar "Seventh Son" is another included cover as is the Hank Williams standard "Hey Good Lookin'." Allison displays more of his impish ways on the closing cuts "Wildman" and "Your Mind is on Vacation," songs that mirror the two songs that started the show.
John Primer - Teardrops for Magic Slim
Guitarist Primer was a member of the Teardrops, the backing band of late blues man Magic Slim (real name Morris Holt) for 13 years; here he teams with the surviving members of the Teardrops and, on a couple cuts, Holt's son Shawn for a 12-song tribute. Recorded live in late 2022, the set features songs associated with Magic Slim, including some that will be very familiar to many listeners like Bo Diddley's "Before You Accuse Me" and Elmore James' "It Hurts Me Too," both famously covered by Eric Clapton. Right in the middle of all the other covers ("The Things I Used to Do," "Look Over Yonder Wall," "Let Me Love You Baby," "Mama Talk to Your Daughter") is the Magic Slim original "Trouble of My Own," a long and slow jam that lyrically typifies the blues while giving Primer and Teardrops guitarist Jon McDonald plenty of space to let their guitars weep and moan. Primer has a husky voice that fans of Muddy and Hooker in particular will love.