Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

BILLY BRANCH AND THE SONS OF BLUES

BLUES SHOCK

2014-02-26

After a 15 year recording hiatus, Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues (Dan Carelli on guitar, Sumito Ariyoshi on keys, Nick Charles on bass, Mose Rutues on drums) and a host of guests including Ronnie Baker Brooks, Johnny Iguana, the Chicago Horns and numerous background vocalists, have crafted a disc that mixes blues with a bit of a hip-hop twist, "Sons of Blues", traditional blues, "Crazy Mixed Up World", a blues cutting contest between Branch and Ronnie Baker Brooks, "Dog House", a piano and harmonica driven instrumental, "Back Alley Cat", and a few classics including John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom" and Holland, Holland & Dozier's "Function at the Junction". As revealed by this diverse palate of styles, Branch is not content to play the same old shuffles and boogies. His self-penned "Going to See Miss Gerri One More Time" is a folky, Keb' Mo' style homage to Gerri Oliver the long time proprietor of Chicago's 47th Street Palm Tavern who hosted an after-hours scene that attracted the cream of the entertainment world as it passed through town while "Slow Moe" features drummer Moses Rutues bragging up the virtues of moving slow over a stop time beat that plays off the song's title. "Baby Let Me Butter Your Corn" is not only the perfect follow up with its frantic pace highlighting the deliberate pace of Slow Moe but stands on its own as one of the hottest tunes on the disc. Branch's "Song for My Mother" is a tasty, jazzy instrumental that highlights Branch's solid skills on harmonica. With his harmonica chops intact and self-assured vocals, Branch weaves this diverse set of tunes into an enjoyable listen. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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