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Norman John Darwen's Blog (92)

SWEET ‘N’ SALTY – I Done Told Ya (Independent)

This duo consists of Libby Rae Watson from Pascagoula, Mississippi, who was mentored in the blues by the late, great Sam Chatmon, the last surviving member of The Mississippi Sheiks (of 1930’s ‘Sitting On Top Of The World’ fame), and hence the reason behind the…


Added by Norman John Darwen on July 12, 2018 at 17:02 — No Comments

Steven Troch Band/ “Rhymes For Mellow Minds” (Sing My Title SMT-009)

Harmonica player, singer and Hohner-endorsed Steven Troch fronts this four piece Belgian outfit on this rather nice CD. It has a richly varied sound, ranging from the Slim Harpo flavoured blues of ‘The Short End’, the Sonny Terry inflected ‘Rabbit Foot Trail’ and the "Otis…


Added by Norman John Darwen on July 9, 2018 at 17:42 — No Comments

ARTUR MENEZES – Keep Pushing (Independent –"

The fourth album by this Brazilian singer, guitarist and bandleader opens with a couple of nicely traditional-sounding blues numbers; that perhaps isn’t not too surprising…


Added by Norman John Darwen on July 9, 2018 at 16:00 — No Comments

Yuri Apsy –“Nothin’ But The Blues” (Own label )

Brazil seems to be something of a developing hot-spot for the blues these days, but I was still more than a little surprised at this album - in the best…


Added by Norman John Darwen on July 3, 2018 at 12:00 — No Comments

WILY BO WALKER – Almost Transparent Blues (Mescal Canyon MCREX053)


With a name you might expect to encounter on a trip through the southern States, and a set of electric blues, gospel, soul and Americana that seems strongly rooted in tradition, you…


Added by Norman John Darwen on June 25, 2018 at 16:36 — No Comments

WAYDOWN WAILERS – Backland Blues (WoodstockWR62)

From upstate New York, where the locals refer to their border area as “the backlands”, four-piece Waydown Wailers have a very…


Added by Norman John Darwen on June 22, 2018 at 12:24 — No Comments

THE FURIOUS SEASONS – “Now Residing Abroad” (Stone Garden SGN 688)

Out of the Los Angeles hills, The Furious Seasons is an acoustic trio, generally two guitarists with David Steinhardt (Pop Art, Smart Brown Handbag) the main composer and melancholy vocalist, Paul "P.A." Nelson adding delicate acoustic and electric…


Added by Norman John Darwen on June 5, 2018 at 16:49 — No Comments

PHILIP MARINO – Chasing Ghosts (Independent –


This American singer/ songwriter currently lives in Suffolk in the east of England, and he follows up his very well-received…


Added by Norman John Darwen on May 14, 2018 at 16:00 — No Comments

GRAND MARQUIS – Brighter Days (independent

Out of Kansas City, Grand Marquis open this CD with the Stax flavoured soul of ‘Another Lover’ and follow it up with the jazz flavoured title track, complete with a vintage Duke…


Added by Norman John Darwen on May 9, 2018 at 18:00 — No Comments

BLIND LEMON PLEDGE – “Evangeline” (Ofeh Records)

Is he named in honour of a multi–purpose cleaner? Whatever, San Francisco based singer/ songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist and producer James Byfield took on the persona of Mr. Pledge in 2008. He plays blues and Americana according to the front sleeve of this release,…


Added by Norman John Darwen on May 2, 2018 at 13:31 — No Comments

J.J.VICARS – Irreverent Dissident (Annie Gator AGRCD 106)

Originally from Virginia, guitarist, singer, and bandleader J.J. has a strongly rocking approach on this album; after a brief guitar interlude, he launches into the ferocious, Chuck Berry inspired ‘Long Way From Home’ and mines a blues furrow with the likes of ‘Wang Dang Doodle’,…


Added by Norman John Darwen on April 16, 2018 at 17:05 — No Comments

KATHY & THE KILOWATTS – Premonition Of Love (Nola Blue NB005)


There is a lot of blues-rock around these days, but not too much of the “real” blues. This set helps to rectify that, and comes endorsed by bass player and label-mate, the acclaimed Benny Turner, who contributes to four tracks of this excellent release. Singer Kathy…


Added by Norman John Darwen on April 16, 2018 at 16:58 — No Comments

LAUREN ANDERSON – The Game (Independent)

Originally from Chicago but now based in Nashville, singer and guitarist Lauren opens this set with ‘Make A Mistake’, a roots rock number that hints at The Rolling Stones and southern rock, though with a soulful, gutsy vocal that recalls Etta James and Janis Joplin. The…


Added by Norman John Darwen on April 12, 2018 at 15:20 — No Comments

TIM WOODS – Human Race (Independent


The opening ‘Can You Feel It?” is very much in the vein of West Side Chicago blues great Magic Sam, a…


Added by Norman John Darwen on April 11, 2018 at 17:00 — No Comments

PETER V BLUES TRAIN – Running Out Of Time (Independent )

This is the third album by this four piece outfit under the leadership of Manhattan-born singer and guitarist Peter Veteska. It is a…


Added by Norman John Darwen on April 10, 2018 at 16:00 — No Comments

MEG WILLIAMS – Maybe Someday (Independent Release – www

Meg Williams | Maybe Someday

This all-original six track CD EP, a minute short of twenty, was recorded in singer and guitarist Meg’s adopted hometown of Nashville, Tennessee – she’s been there since July 2016, though she was originally from uptown New York State. Giving her infleucnes as Bonnie Raott and Susan Tedeschi, it is perhaps no great surp[rise that this is a strong, no-nonsense blues and rock set, opening with a bluesy, funky ‘Not My Problem’, a…


Added by Norman John Darwen on April 9, 2018 at 16:11 — No Comments

KRIS LAGER BAND “Love Songs & Life Lines” (Own label )


There is a rather nice, good-time vibe to this release, with a sound pitched somewhere between an easy rock groove and an Americana approach – try ‘Sweet Magnolia’ for a good example. Kris’ own warm vocals, concise guitar playing and piano playing are able backed by a small combo of bass player Aaron Underwood, young saxman Lefever, and Scooby Sha Bo Bo (or John Fairchild to his mum) on drums. Mixed by the highly regarded Jim…


Added by Norman John Darwen on April 9, 2018 at 15:30 — No Comments

GUITAR JACK WARGO: Keepin’ It Real (Wargod)

Guitar Jack has been around for quite a while, and in that time he has recorded with the likes of Ray Charles, The Jacksons, Billy Preston, Solomon Burke and Thelma Houston among others (who include Kelly Z – he appears on “Rescue”, recently reviewed on this website), as…


Added by Norman John Darwen on March 1, 2018 at 15:44 — No Comments

THE BUSH LEAGUE – James RiVAh (Independent Release – <a href=""></a>)

Out of Richmond, Virginia, (hence the specific text of the album title), four piece band The Bush League here offers some wonderfully stomping blues such as the opening, Howling Wolf inflected ‘River’s Edge’ and the cover of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s ‘Kokomo Me Baby’. Then…


Added by Norman John Darwen on February 21, 2018 at 16:54 — No Comments


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May 2018

John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Continental Song City
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Columbia Records
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Eight 30 Records
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Bloodshot Records
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2

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