Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Hard Rock: Modern Blues
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B, Rock, Metal
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WARNING - This album may not be for the blues purest!
Jake Spar | Visalia, CA USA | 02/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For the rest of you, this is a pretty good compilation of modern blues, electric blues & blues-rock. With contributions from blues masters, from blues-rock pioneers, and from many of the artists that have shaped the blues in their own unique styles over the last 40 years, this CD has something for everyone who enjoys "modern blues".
Cream's rendition of the classic Robert Johnson tune "Crossroads" opens up this collection. If this rockin tune doesn't get your head bobbing or your foot tapping, than perhaps this album isn't for you... Jimmie Vaughan then slows it down a tad with a funky number "Just Like Putty", which has a slight R&B feel and his signature Texas twang. Jimmie's little brother is next with another slow number "Ain't Gone 'N' Give up on Love". This beautiful sad tale showcases Stevie Ray Vaughan's phenomenal string bending abilities, and should leave no doubt as to why he is considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time. The Allman Brothers bring the tempo back up with "Ain't Wastin' Time No More". This is a great song, and it demonstrates their immense musical talent, but it's not particularly bluesy. I think a song like "It's Not My Cross to Bear" would have been a much better choice for this album.
Albert Collins continues the up tempo flow with a 3:08 minute instrumental "Ice Pick", which makes it clear why his playing was an influence for many artists, including several in this collection. The next song "The Super-Natural" by John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers is another instrumental with a slow haunting sound. Kenny Wayne Shepherd brings the tempo back up with a hard rocking number "Born With a Broken Heart". I like this song, but it's probably not the first one that I would have picked to present his interpretation of the blues. Bonnie Raitt continues the upbeat mode with the classic Del Shannon song "Runnaway". While I prefer her version to the original, it wouldn't be my top pick to illustrate Bonnie's slide guitar playing and singing abilities. Even in the loosely defined boundaries of "modern blues" that makes up much of this CD, this song doesn't quite fit in.
Relative newcomers Storyville continue this set with another hard rocking number "What Passes For Love". I wasn't familiar with Storyville until recently (when I decided to write this review), even though I've owned this CD for many years. I've always liked this song, and I'm now considering purchasing more of their music - now that I know that Storyville was made up of Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon (two members of Stevie Ray Vaughan's band Double Trouble). The Robert Cray Band continues the fast pace with "Phone Booth". This typically wonderful Cray number highlights his smoking guitar and soulful voice. I've seen Robert live three times, and he remains one of my favorite musicians. Albert King's signature tune (and blues standard) "Born under a Bad Sign" follows. This great number has been covered by many artists from Cream to Hendrix. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band follows with their take on the Elmore James tune "Shake Your Money-Maker'". This is my least favorite tune of the bunch. It's the song, not the band (I don't really care for the original either); I just find it repetitive and slightly irritating.
Buddy Guy then slows things down with a smoldering number "Damn Right, I've Got the Blues". I saw Buddy once in 2001 at a concert that also featured B.B. King, John Hiatt and Tommy Castro. I enjoyed every act that night, but when Buddy strutted onto the stage and began wailing... everyone else paled by comparison. The "Queen of the Blues" Koko Taylor's song "It Took a Long Time" is up next. With its snappy, almost Cajun rhythm and Koko's captivating gravelly voice, this song is a treat. The second to last tune in this collection is a swinging number "Blues of the Month Club" by Joe Louis Walker. Walker has been recording for over 20 years, and has been performing for twice that long. Over the years, he's played with the likes of John Lee Hooker, Buddy Miles, Otis Rush, Willie Dixon, Charlie Musselwhite, John Mayall, Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix. His blues sound incorporates influences of gospel, jazz, soul, funk and rock. I experienced JLW live a few years ago at "Biscuits & Blues" in San Francisco, and he ROCKED the joint! I'm not sure why he's not better known... This album closes with the classic B.B. King number "The Thrill Is Gone". Although I'm still fond of that tune, perhaps the Hard Rock Café could have chosen something that hadn't already gotten so much airplay. With over 50 years of recordings there are certainly plenty of great B.B. King songs to choose from.
SUMMARY: I like almost every song on this album, and if that were my only criteria I'd give this CD a 4.5 or 5 star rating. However, I feel that the HRC could have easily come up with a better representation of some of the artist's bluesy material. Because of this I'm lowering my rating to 4 stars. Overall, this is a good starting point for someone that wants to discover (or broaden your familiarity with) modern blues, electric blues, or blues-rock.
I'm including a complete track listing, because (for some crazy reason) Amazon has listed the song writer (rather than the artist) on 9 of the 16 tracks.
1. Crossroads - Cream
2. Just Like Putty - Jimmie Vaughan
3. Ain't Gone 'N' Give up on Love - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
4. Ain't Wastin' Time No More - The Allman Brothers Band
5. Ice Pick - Albert Collins
6. The Super-Natural - John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers
7. Born With a Broken Heart - Kenny Wayne Shepherd
8. Runaway - Bonnie Raitt
9. What Passes For Love - Storyville
10. Phone Booth - Robert Cray Band
11. Born Under a Bad Sign - Albert King
12. Shake Your Money-Maker - Paul Butterfield Blues Band
13. Damn Right, I've Got the Blues - Buddy Guy
14. It Took a Long Time - Koko Taylor
15. Blues of the Month Club - Joe Louis Walker
16. The Thrill Is Gone - B.B. King"