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Norman John Darwen's Blog (97)

SCOTT SHARRARD – Saving Grace (We Save Music)

Recorded in Memphis and Muscle Shoals with the Hi Records rhythm section and the likes of David Hood and Spooner Oldham respectively, it would be difficult not to recommend this CD. Let’s mention too that Scott was Gregg Allman’s musical director for nearly…


Added by Norman John Darwen on September 3, 2018 at 16:00 — No Comments

JOHNNY & THE HEADHUNTERS - That's All I Need (JT 0006)

This is a straight-ahead, no frills club blues set from a Washington DC area band led by veteran singer and guitarist Johnny Ticktin. Here Johnny is backed by a variety of bass players and drummers, Tam Sullivan on piano and organ and guitarist Dru Lore,…

Added by Norman John Darwen on August 28, 2018 at 11:30 — No Comments

LAWRENCE LEBO – Old School Girl (On The Air 9657)

And Lawrence is just how she describes herself… this blues set presents her singing sweet but soulful in an early 50s style, with sentiments, enunciation and sometimes arrangements that hark back strongly to days gone by – try ‘Happy Anniversary, Baby –…


Added by Norman John Darwen on August 24, 2018 at 15:37 — No Comments

TRAVIS BOWLIN – Secundus (Moonbeam)


This is the second album from Indiana-born but currently Nashville-based singer, guitarist and bandleader Travis, hence the title, though it has much more subtler meanings too. Musically, the album is pretty easily…


Added by Norman John Darwen on August 2, 2018 at 16:33 — No Comments

LITTLE FEAT – Live From Neon Park (Floating World FLOATM6353)

Recorded in December 1995 at venues in California and Oregon, this was originally released in June of the following year and is a fine overview of the post-Lowell George group, tackling much of the band’s classic repertoire, though this was the…


Added by Norman John Darwen on July 24, 2018 at 17:33 — No Comments

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


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September 2018

The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
Blue Rose Records
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Locke Creek Records
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Red House Records
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Cn Records

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