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Norman John Darwen's Blog (104)

DAVE KELLER – Every Soul’s A Star (Catfood)


This is the label debut for this talented singer/ guitarist/ songwriter, originally from New England. Dave thanks label mate and frequent touring companion Johnny Rawls on the sleeve, and that’s as it should be. Dave has obviously learned a lot from the older man, not least how to make very impressive…


Added by Norman John Darwen on December 5, 2018 at 15:30 — No Comments

PETER V BLUES TRAIN – Shaken But Not Deterred (Independent)

Peter V Blues Train | Shaken but Not Deterred


Singer, guitarist and bandleader Peter Veteska was born in Manhattan in 1959 and started playing guitar round the age of 12, learning through listening to the likes of Derek & The Dominoes and The Allman Brothers. Almost a decade later, he packed up playing and only returned to it after a quarter of a century had elapsed. As he puts it, “I was the new kid on the block yet I was in my…


Added by Norman John Darwen on November 22, 2018 at 16:00 — No Comments

SANDY CARROLL – Blues & Angels (Catfood CFR-027)

From Memphis, Tennessee, singer, keyboards player and songwriter Sandy’s previous albums have focussed on Americana and country music, but now she returns to the blues – and, given the lyrics of many songs – Angels. There are still elements of Americana – try the heartfelt love song ‘Mississippi Me’, with…


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



Recorded in Beaver Creek Brewery in Wilbaux, Montana, this CD finds Maryland-born, Los Angeles based, bluesman Dennis drawing on his previous five albums for his material, before he signs off with a storming version of the Albert King classic…


Added by Norman John Darwen on November 9, 2018 at 15:24 — No Comments

DELTA MOON – Babylon Is Falling (Jumping Jack 12018)

This band is a nice swampy rock and blues outfit out of Atlanta, Georgia, with a sometimes spooky sound. This is their tenth studio album, and uniquely southern tracks such as ‘Babylon Is Falling’ and ‘Little Pink Pistol’ feature some fine slide guitar…


Added by Norman John Darwen on November 1, 2018 at 17:53 — No Comments

JOE LOUIS WALKER, BRUCE KATZ & GILES ROBSON – Journeys To the Heart Of The Blues (Alligator/ Munich)

Just a few seconds into the opening tracks of this CD, and UK harmonica ace Giles Robson has already supplied some lovely train licks, pianist Bruce Katz (check out his CV!) is playing beautifully controlled boogie-woogie, and the great Joe Louis Walker is singing…


Added by Norman John Darwen on October 29, 2018 at 18:02 — No Comments

Frank Bey – Back In Business: The Nashville Sessions (NOLA Blue NB006)

Back in Business


Georgia-born Frank is one of the best blues and soul singers around these days, having started out as a teenager as driver and sometimes  opening act for Otis Redding for several years (billed as "Frank Bass")– his roots are obviously in the gospel music he sang as a youngster. He stopped singing for 17 years, but the albums he has made since his comeback have all justifiably been highly praised.…


Added by Norman John Darwen on September 10, 2018 at 13:50 — No Comments

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


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December 2018
Malford Milligan
75 pts.
Life Will Humble You
Royal Family Records
JD McPherson
61 pts.
New West Records
Rosanne Cash
50 pts.
She Remembers Everything
Blue Note Records
Ad Vanderveen
45 pts.
I Was Hank William
Blue Rose Records
John Hiatt
44 pts.
The Eclipse Sessions
New West
The Yearlings
41 pts.
Lonely Sounds Records
Tip Jar
40 pts.
Nathan Bell
39 pts.
Loves Bones & Stars
Angry Stick Recording Co.
The Brother Brothers
38 pts.
Some People I Know
Compass Records
Richard Dobson
30 pts.
I Hear Singing
Brambus Records
Steve Forbert
29 pts.
The Magic Tree
Blue Rose Music
J.P. Harris
28 pts.
Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing
Free Dirt Records
The Bottle Rockets
24 pts.
Bit Logic
Bloodshot Records
Rodney Crowell
23 pts.
Christmas Everywhere
New West
Christian Kjellvander
22 pts.
Wild Hxmans
Erin Costelo
21 pts.
Sweet Marie
Compass Records
Colter Wall
20 pts.
Songs of the Plains
Young Mary's Record
The Hillbenders
19 pts.
The Hillbenders
Compass Records
Eric Bibb
18 pts.
Global Griot
Stony Plain
Karine Polwart
18 pts.
Laws of Motion
Hudson Records
Carson McHone
17 pts.
Nine Mile Records
Malcolm Holcombe
17 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
Ben Bedford
16 pts.
The Hermit's Spyglass
Cavalier Recordings
Craig Moreau
16 pts.
A Different Kind Of Train
David Olney
16 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music

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