Here is a review of some of the music I have been exposed to during my recent jaunt from Chicago, to the Bluescruise and Caribbean, to Memphis and finally back home.
Mr. ‘Sax’ Gordon Beadle is an amazing sax player and walking knowledge bank of saxophone history. He is the consummate professional, exciting, talented and his abilities make everyone better. We spent time together in Chicago and I got to know this man and I am just flat out honored to have had the opportunity to share words, food and music for a short time with him.
Bobby Lindstrom’s music appeared one day in the mail, with a note to someone else so I was not sure I was supposed to get it. So time passes and he is on the Bluescruise, we meet – laugh at the mix up. Seems another person got my mail with my note in it – it’s all good. So as the cruise goes on one day I pass where Chris Gill is playing guitar, and he motion me over to play, I push back not wanting to offend the ears of cruisers gathered. Chris insists, and Bobby offers up his gorgeous Breedlove Acoustic/Electric guitar ‘Belle’ for me to use. What a sweet lady she was, and thanks to Bobby for allowing her to play me.
Ms. Sunday Wilde and I became friends on Face Book a few short years ago, in that time she has won the 2011 Jimi Award for Best International Recording (http://blues411.com/blues411-the-jimi-awards-for-2011/) as well as high praise from those in the know. I finally met her on the streets of Memphis at the IBC this year where she was part of the first Blues Women International recording in Clarksdale, MS. Look for this historic very soon.
Sax Gordon: Showtime! (Continental Blue Heaven)
Showtime! INDEED. Mr. ‘Sax’ Gordon Beadle goes for the throat and then never lets go. One of the most entertaining and able saxophonists in the world today. With this release he flat out kills it and the title says it all.
So let’s start with ‘Showtime!’ Strap on the seat belt and lock the doors because Sax starts in high gear leaving tire tracks on the pavement and takes the curves at warp speed. Blowing, honking and super charged attacks fill this track and is an apt description of what you get with Mr. Gordon. Who better than Mr. Jr. Watson to play guitar and match Sax’s pace and energy and he does so with equal passion and verve – a great pairing.
Slowing it down (phew) we get treated to the Sonny Knight tune ‘Coldest Cat in Town’. With the opening horns recalling Junior Parkers’ ‘Driving Wheel’ we hear the lament of one who was loved and too cool for school to quickly becoming the one left aside as things turn sour, yet there is the last verse which warns of his remembering how ti was and is now but when the good times roll again he will still be the ‘Coldest Cat in Town’. Matt Stubbs provides tasty and appropriate guitar work with just the proper amount of R&B feel to the track as Mr. Beadle shows his range musically and artistically here.
Let’s give an ear to ‘Big & Hot’ with it’s vintage stroll feel and lyrics that are as sweet as a Carolina Pine. Penned by Mr. Ed ‘Duato’ Scheer, this geographical and subtle love song is kept together perfectly by the assembled band members with Mr. Scheer on the background vocals testifying that she is all that.
Mr. Gordon gives all the posers and others fair warning in his wonderful tribute to the badness of himself with ‘Don’t Mess with Me’. Rolling trombone by Jeff Golindo then add some baritone sax from Mr. Tino Barker makes this a track a dance master for any time of day. Citing all the things in the world that are just too bad to mess with, Mr. Beadle adds his name to the list and then mentions that Mr. Jr. Watson may be the only one who can really mess with him. Mr. Jr, then proceeds to establish that as truth as he just tears apart his guitar solo and them relinquishes it to Sax for his turn.
One last track – for straight out blaring killer rock and roll listen to ‘That Girl’ featuring Mr. Matthew Stubbs coercing the guitar into giving him everything and more that it could offer.
Great fun, tasty sax music – tribute to but keeping it alive and thriving is what Mr. Beadle is about. His understanding of the instrument and of how to coax the very most out of it is a study course for all artists follow. See this cat live, he will slay ya.
Bobby Lindstrom Band: Between A Rock and A Blue Spot (independant)
There is so much rock in the blues these days it seems like the paradigm has shifted, child is now father to the man (thank you Al Kooper BS&T). So upon putting this release in system, I was pleasantly surprised to hear ‘Corrina’ to the strains of some beautiful acoustic guitar. Reminescent of Ry Cooder & Taj Mahal back in the early days of Blues rediscovery this version is refreshing and very pleasant on the ears.
‘Come In M y Kitchen’ offers up some Robert Johnson in a nice combination of acoutic and electric fireworks. Mr. Lindstrom seems at home when he massages ‘Belle’s’ neck and gets her to sing wonderful notes that would fit in anywhere in any genre.
Another RJ tune, ‘Steady Rollin’ Man’ starts in a nice spot, tight riff work on the frets and a not to distant acknowledge to some of the blues that came out of the Delany & Bonnie camp (along with Mr. Clapton). It is solid, well mixed and has enough beat to it to make us understand why they be steady rollin’.
Mr. Lindstrom approaches Willie Dixon’s ‘I Aint Superstitious’ in a funky way. Bobby has a way of approaching riffs that are at once familair but not quite overworn. With the help of his band they are clean and tight and offer what one should hear when hearing a band play. No over domination by onen instrument – but a nice almagam of all instruments and talents working for the better good.
On a disc of ten covers ranging from Little Walter, Sonny Boy to Paul Butterfield and a very nice version of Peter Green’s ‘Long Grey Mare’. We were just discussing when and where Mr. Green’s name would pop up. It seems as we move forward we also look back and Mr. Green’s contributions are slightly underappreciated these days. I hope this is a good sign.
Mr. Lindstrom is an accomplished guitar player who knows the hows, whys and wherefors of his chosen instrument. He is a true example of where the blues is most dear, hard working, self-employed musician where every day and every night the blues is so much more than music – it is a way of life. Whether he is volunteering at a juvenile detention center, or waking up each new day clean and sober, Mr. Lindstrom is a case in point of how the blues can get ya down and the redeeming power that they possess.
Sunday Wilde: He Gave Me A Blue Nightgown (Socan)
Oh Canada, ya surely now how to nurture Blues artists. Especially lady blues artists. Here we re-visit a friend Sunday Wilde and it’s like old friends getting together again, good times guaranteed.
First off I am drawn to ‘No Matter How Far’. From the wilds of Northern Ontario we hear traces of Patsy Cline, as the band works it’s melancholy mood over the music as Ms. Wilde thickly vocalizes the depths of the love for her man and in spite of the distance, that it still is strong and burns hot inside her.
A short while later we hear the other side of the life with ‘Tell Me To Hush?’ Opining about why should a man tell a women like her to ‘honey hush hush’ as she counts the ways that he is out of line and how he has no need to confront her about anything. Smoky, haunting guitar work perfectly fills in the dark corners with just enough light but not too much. After all some things are better with less than more light.
The eternal appreciation of how her chosen man does what he does is apparent in ‘He Thrills Me Up’. Ms. Wilde’s vocals provides a jaunty ride down the country road as the acoustic and slide guitar play about like two cabbage moths dancing in the breeze. There is a feel good tone to this track that just makes one smile.
We get to take a peek ‘down the alley’ and into the world of obsession and the total commitment that it takes to live and appreciate it. Shadows of Billie Holiday and the many other Blues Ladies stir to greet Ms. Wilde as she sings of having not eaten, or taken care of herself since she found this love. She is on a ‘Love Bender’. The similarity to serious drug addiction is not lost on Ms. Wilde as she rides the waves of ecstatic emotions – yet wonders why it fades so fast, and at what final cost. ‘Love Bender’ is, simply put, an amazing song.
Thirteen tracks, twelve originals of remarkable depth and feeling with the only cover being a totally unique version of ‘Amazing Grace’. I have never heard such an approach to this song. It is often said that when an artist covers a standard (or any song) they should add something of their own self to it, to make it their own, well here it is in spades. Give this ‘cover’ some ear, you won’t believe how fresh and new it sounds, it’s totally Sunday and totally great.
So there ya have it. There was so much that I didn’t report on, review or give ‘props’ to during this stretch, but the best way is to get yourself out to these events and become part of it.
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease,
Where Blues Thrives