Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
The biggest, baddest blues band in the land is back with a live recording to commemorate its 45 years as one of the top purveyors of the little big band sound of the likes of earlyB.B. King
and theBuddy Johnson Orchestra
. While it has had more turnover in membership than the French fry slot at McDonald's on a soccer Saturday, (over 50 to date including the likes ofDuke Robillard, Lou Ann Barton, Curtis Salgado, Sugar Ray Norcia, Ron Levy, Al Basile, Bob Enos, Al Copley, Porky Cohen and Ronnie Earl
) the band has always recruited great talent and maintained its wailing, horn-driven sound despite the tough economics of putting eight or more musicians on stage each night. This set features the current version of the band working its way through 14 cuts selected from throughout its career including such gems asBig Bill Broonzy's Somebody's Got to Go
which it often performed withEddie "Cleanhead" Vinson
which it recorded originally withBig Joe Turner
andIt All Went Down the Drain
which it recorded withEarl King
. As great as these tunes are the band shines brightest on originals such asDressed Up to To Get Messed Up,
guitarist and band leaderChris Vachon'sJust Keep Rockin'
andTurn It On, Turn It Up
as well as longest serving memberRich Latille's
horn driven instrumental tour de forceStraight Jacquet.
The band also breathes surprising new life into the Hank William chestnutJambalaya
leading the way on clarinet. While renowned for its sparkling horn section, which provides both background spice and attention grabbing solos, the band has always also had top notch guitarists starting with founding memberDuke Robillard
. Current guitaristChris Vachon
continues that tradition with his incendiary soloing onMagic Sam'sEasy Baby
and his ownBlue Blue World.
While the vocalist slot probably has the largest alumni club,Phil Pemberton
acquits himself extraordinarily well on this recording with his big lunged vocals that provide a perfect foil for the swinging groove of the horns. This is a top notch release that every lover of classicR & B and blues should own. SMITTY
Until They Lay Me Down to Rest
Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat
Live At The Kessler
BRAD VICKERS & HIS VESTAPOLITANS
Various Artists -
The Champions of R&B
If You Should Ever Fall On Hard Times
CHRONIC BLUES PARTY
The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.