Spring 2018

Hello and welcome to this, the springtime edition of the Blues Palace Blog!

Hopefully, this will be a more regular thing than usual.

I’d like to blame Microsoft for cancelling my MS Word subscription for the delay but in reality, It’s mostly my penchant for procrastination.

My bad.

The weather is nearly perfect on this fine Spring morning.

Warm, breezy with a pollen filled scent of early May.

The lavender tree’s fill the air with a gentle aroma of Spring.

Taxes got paid, firewood is almost depleted and the new blues music is shockingly outstanding!

The first release for today is actually from last Winter.

It is Janiva Magness and the CD titled “Love Is An Army”

At the expense of possible cliché”, I believe this is the best of the three releases I have of hers.

 This is a fun recording with some big name artists featured on it. Properly mixed by Dave Darling and engineered by Zack Darling (The Darling Brothers?) makes the sound both perfect for the material, but also compelling to the ear.

This could be one of the best sounding releases in recent memory.

The music is, as you might expect, both fun and danceable.

I may have the stupid white guy moves, but I can’t seem to stop the swaying.

The CD starts with a soul filled tune “Back To Blue” showcasing Janivas’ wonderful voice and expressions. Next up is “hammer”. Charlie Mussselwhite provides the harmonica on this driven’ blues tune. This release continues with a surprise at most every turn. Other notable collaborations include Delbert McClinton vocals on the ballad “What could I do” and Cedric Burnside on guitar on the hypnotic tune “Home”.

As always, I like to listen to the release as I write.

I know I’m the guy who is responsible for the words to describe what I am hearing. But I find myself lacking in enough superlatives to express how much I like this release.

So, that being said, I would like to thank Janiva Magness for the incredible work on this release.

Thank-you, Ms. Magness for bringing this huge smile to my face.

Up next, one of the few guys I feel I can review after listening to Janiva and still maintain a good level of enthusiasm, John Clifton.

His newest release, “Nightlife”, is outstanding. The whole thing reeks of fun. Made me smile out loud when I first listened. I caught my self singin’ along with “Swamp Dump”. “Last Clean Shirt” was so cool, I made lunch, turned up the sound and feasted on a chicken-Avocado sandwich while I felt sorry for Poor Ol’ Brother Bill. Kind of like grabbin’ you by the appendage of your choice and givin’ it shake.

Gets your attention. Keeps your attention.

This is one of those cd’s that seems to almost have feelings. Alright, I know that’s stupid. But I can feel something listening to this cd. Maybe it’s because I got that Blues Guy disease. I am compelled to love this stuff.

Hey, Rip Cat Records!!  Youz guys got a winner here.

As my dad would’ve said, “Good sh*t, Maynerd”.

The last song , a nine minute slow burn just started. Track twelve is generously filled with the subtle but brilliant piano licks floating in the background. Bertek Szopinski, not an easy name to spell let alone say, is the conveyer of those expressive licks. Surrounded by Bassist Matt Moulton and drummer Roman Rivera, they complete the backbone and setting up John Clifton’s too cool for school harmonica licks and vocals.

I can’t believe how impressed I am with this band. I am sure the overall coolness of that last song is a huge influence on my current enthusiasm.

So, on that note, I’m gonna take a break. Regain my senses, maybe drink a few beers… Yah, a few beers, that would do it. Now, I would l  ike to introduce y’all to my constant companion, procrastination.

Coming soon are the latest from Kid Ramos, Dany Franchi and a plethora of other deserving, outstanding blues musicians.


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