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Samuel James -- For Rosa, Maeve and Noreen (NorthernBlues Music)

Samuel James – For Rosa, Maeve And Noreen (NorthernBlues Music).

I reviewed Samuel James’ first album and proclaimed it to be one of the best debuts that I have heard so when his new release fell through my letterbox I wondered how he was going to deal with the difficult second album. Bigger, Blacker Ben opens that difficult second album. He’s certainly maintained his guitar playing standard and his knack for being a sublime storyteller is still there too. Cryin’ Blind shows a man out of his time yet strangely contemporary. He’s not trying to be a 1930s Delta bluesman but he could fit in there very well. His laconic delivery is beautiful on this more traditional song. Joe Fletcher’s Blues is slightly more up-tempo and is another gentle track. A Sugar Smallhouse Valentine continues the slightly quicker pace as James revisits a character from his first album. A good country blues. I’ll Break Your Promise is intimate and if you are looking for fireworks then Samuel James is not your man. However, if finely crafted tunes and expert playing such as Rosa’s Sweet Lil’ Love Song is more your bag then come on down. With the correct backing I can see Samuel James doing the same for acoustic blues that Joe Bonamassa has done for the electric genre. Darlin’ Maeve is again a bit more up-tempo but also goes to confirm that James doesn’t really conform too often.

The prize for pun of the year has to go to I’ve Haddock Up To Here. This easy going country blues is played in such a way that makes you believe that you could pick up a guitar and join in. This is one of James’ qualities – he makes everything sound so easy. He turns to the banjo for the rambling, stomping superb Miss Noreen. Trouble On Congress Street Rag is an instrumental that showcases his not inconsiderable finger picking talent. He varies the tempo well and the guitar is reminiscent of a train at times. John Ross Said is low key and moody, the opposite of many of the others on the album. The mood doesn’t hide the consummate storytelling however. Those who bought his first album will know his propensity for a long title and The Waters Always Changing But The River… is the latest in that line. This is his strongest vocal performance so far. Wooden Tombstone will have you making sure that the pills and razor blades are out of arms reach. This is simple in its execution with only his voice and foot taps present – superb! The ambling country blues of Path Of Ashes finishes things off well. Difficult second album? Done!


Listen to Northern Blues player here http://www.northernblues.com/sounds/radio.html

www.sugarsmallhouse.com
www.northernblues.com

David Blue. http://flyinshoes.ning.com/profile/DavidBlue

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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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