Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Masters - The Blues - Best Live Albums

RtBE loves listening to new music and prides itself on keeping tabs on up and coming artists but in 2019 we are also going to have a monthly spotlight on legendary artists who we really love. We are calling this series The Masters. It will focus on the best albums, live records, transcendent shows and other odd ways we appreciate the artists and their contribution to music, culture and our formation.

For March The Masters focuses on The Blues.

Live music is the best thing out there. Being caught in the moment is religion. Palpable vibes of healing and energy are transmitted and shit...gets...real. For this month's focus, the feeling is really all there is behind a few notes. For a "simple" art form the blues is endless complex and in the live setting this is immediately obvious in the hands of these Masters.

Even more than the studio recordings which we highlighted, these albums seem to evoke the spirit of the heartache, pain, and simmering soul under the guitar strings, horn blasts and drum fills. Recording in seedy clubs, at concert halls, prisons and esteemed festivals, our choices run the gamut of locations and playing styles, but one thing they all have in common is the passion of the live performance.

Your list will probably look different, feel free to share thoughts in the comments below, but now on to the records:

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Album Review: Karl Denson's Tiny Universe - Gnomes and Badgers

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!

It is of Karl Denson's Tiny Universe newest release, Gnomes and Badgers.

RtBE actually digs this outfit, having seen them live and reviewed their last album which was a long time ago. I guess time is on your side when you get picked to replace Bobby Keys in The Rolling Stones...

This is a solid funk record from a band who lives on the live stage. If anyone has any idea what the title means please comment below, even Denson's explanation quoted in the review is confusing.

On the better side of things, the song writing and playing has a heavy NOLA influence with Anders Osborne, Ivan Neville and others helping out, which only improves thing to these ears.

Support the artists, buy the record, read the review, peep some video below:

Monday, March 18, 2019

Dylan Cover #367 The Holmes Brothers "Wallflower"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by The Holmes Brothers playing "Wallflower"
This month we are doing another special focus in RtBE's Dylan Covers series. In the past we have highlighted The ByrdsCoulson-Dean-McGuiness-FlintThe HolliesJoan OsbourneMountain and more. Now the spotlight shines on The Blues for our Masters series with a focus on the Tangled Up In Blues Songs: Songs of Bob Dylan release

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
Written in 1971 but not available to the ears until twenty years after the fact on the amazing Bootleg Vol 1-3, "Wallflower" is a sweet simple ditty that captures Bob in his folk/country phase of Self Portrait and New Morning. While not his deepest or most intense song it is a fine relaxed number that waltzes wonderfully light and free...getting naughty at the finish as well.     


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
The Holmes Brothers loved to meld all genres with gospel, folk, R&B, blues all living comfortably together in their sound. The trio used their voices and sounds to play a variety of songs/styles and was successful doing it until their old age. 

Thoughts on Cover:
An interesting choice but one which makes sense for this group which never met a genre it couldn't help but join. "Wallflower" is more country jaunt, but it shows just haw malleable, Dylan and the Holmes Brothers are.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wishing everyone a happy, safe and fun St. Patrick's Day from RtBE and we might as well throw in a self plug.

Here is Angels & Vagabonds Irish inspired tune, "Queens Boulevard Serenade":

The story goes; in the lead up to our first St. Paddy's Day gig we were working on some traditional Irish songs to play and our lead singer/keyboard player Don McNally realized they were basically all the same chords just re-arraigned.

So the Irish American from Woodside, NY dug into his past and crafted QBS. He brought it to the group and after a few tweaks it was ready for prime time, we actually played it only about a week after it was written. There is a little inside baseball into our process, now go celebrate by hoisting a pint....Happy St. Paddy's!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Full Show Friday: Koko Taylor - Living Legends of Blues 1978

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Koko Taylor!

Our focus this month in our ongoing Masters series are The Blues

Gotta give it up for one of the most powerful blues voices there is, Koko Taylor. This show comes around the peak of her career, and is a hell of a performance.  Coming on the back of The Earthshaker album she nails "Let The Good Times Roll" and makes "Wang Dang Doodle" her own. A hell of a show from a hell of a performer. Pro Shot, Pro Sound, Full Setlist with timing below.


setlist : 00:31 Call my job 07:23 musical introduction to KOKO Taylor 08:29 Let the good times roll 12:35 i'm a woman 18:30 29 Ways to get to my baby 24:10 Baby please don't Dog me 29:45 Trying to make a living 34:00 The Blues never die 39:30 You can have my husband 45:10 Wang Dang Doodle (all night long)

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Album Review: Della Mae - The Butcher EP

Della Mae
The Butcher EP
*** out of *****

The Butcher is a new collection of six songs from the Grammy Nominated Boston based bluegrass band which mixes in covers and originals with playful ease. This self produced EP comes after a four year hiatus for Della Mae, but the bluegrass quartet have always been driven to play more of a hard bluegrass style, mostly the realm of male outfits before, but this female four piece style manages to pick, shine and sing with the best of them.

Celia Woodsmith - vocals, guitar, Kimber Ludiker - fiddle, vocals, Jenni Lyn Gardner - mandolin, vocals, Zoe Guigueno - bass, vocals, start things off with a glorious ode to the brown booze with "Bourbon Hound". The upbeat joyful Western Swing number which cooks with polished energy as brands of whiskey and bourbon get name checked by a real connoisseur of hooch. The groove is laid down beautifully allowing the strings to be plucked and strummed as accents to the rich spirits; a joyful boozy start to the EP.

The talents of all the players and appreciation of the craft comes through in the instrumental "No-See-Um-Stomp" while "Bluebird Blackbird" is a classic sounding uptempo hoedown mountain song with excellent harmonies and fiddle work from Ludiker.  The groups Flatt & Scruggs cover amplifies the Nashville country, honky-tonk vibe for the cheating revenge tune "Sleep With One Eye Open". 

Two other covers grace this EP, the classic "Sixteen Tons" gets a more jazz influenced vocal for the dreary tune and while not matching perfectly it is still a fun listen before the album closing take on The Allman Brothers "Whipping Post" which works much better. This cover is embedded with a sense of power, with the fiddle standing in for Duane and Dickey's famous guitars as the emotional singing from Woodsmith cuts to the heart of the tune.

Della Mae prove immediately that their break has not softened them and The Butcher EP, while sparse, is an exciting breezy jaunt from the talented players. 
Support the artists, buy the album and peep some video:

Album Review: Tedeschi Trucks Band - Live From The Swamp Vol. 1

Tedeschi Trucks Band
Live From The Swamp Vol. 1: Chicago Theatre, January 26, 2018
**** out of *****

At the close of 2018 the Tedeschi Trucks Band announced that they would be starting a fan club called the "Swamp Family" named after the groups home recording studio. To kick off things for fan club members the twelve piece rock and soul outfit released two shows for fans through the club.  Live From The Swamp Vol. 1: Chicago Theatre, January 26, 2018 lead the way for the series and the group themselves stated that this show was selected: "because it is simply one of the finest performances of the band’s career from start to finish". Tough to argue with that as the playing, sound and energy on this live release are all top notch.

The opening set is unique for the band as it contains all original compositions, beginning with "Anyhow" setting the easy rolling stage. While the first song and "Laugh About It" are fine performances from the professional band it is on "Don't Know What It Means" where the magic of this night really starts to seep in. A fiery soulful performance, with Susan Tedeschi lading the vocal way gets the crowd screaming as the group is locked in before an experimental squawking horn closing gets freaky, dripping back into the marching groove of the bright "Just As Strange".

Other first set highlights are the gospel influenced blazing southern rock of "Get What You Deserve" which has everyone cooking with gas as Derrick Trucks has fire shooting from his six strings and the set closing "Idle Wind" which runs almost twenty minutes and shows the wide range of the band from flute solos, to rhythmic drumming to exploratory reflective jams.

The sound on the release is a combination of soundboard and audience and while some past live release from the band haven't sounded great, yet this mix feels like you are in the crowd and enjoying the show with fans as the warm rich mix of the twelve piece.

For the second set the band came out with the full on accelerating road house blues of "Rollin' and Tumblin'" mixed with bubbling horns but it is the closing half of the set which really ignites. The trumpet lead freaked out funk rock of "Volunteered Slavery" and slide blues of Elmore James "The Sky Is Crying" prove the versatility of the band while the cover pairing of John Prine/Grateful Dead with "Angel of Montgomery>Sugaree" is blissfully gorgeous.

The show soars even higher on Signs "Shame" a burning soul shouter inthe vein of "Whipping Post" which fits the band like a glove, increasing the bass rumble while allowing the title couple display their formidable talents on the mic and guitars with horn and keyboard support. Trucks laying on this number is dynamic flashing pieces of inspiration from Jerry Garcia, Duane Allman, John McLaughlin and most importantly/prominently himself.   

"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" is a spiritual set closer before the Tom Petty (who had recently passed away) cover/tribute "You Don't Know How It Feels" started an encore which ended with the call to "Let's Go Get Stoned" whihc Petty obviously would have appreciated. The band wasn't joking; this show is a dynamite display of their talents.

Last month RtBE reviewed the solid new release from the band, but this is a group that lives for the live stage and with this new series they get to showcase the their best moments. While the Signs is fine, Live From The Swamp Vol. 1 will be what is spun much more often in the RtBE clubhouse.
Support the artist, buy the album, and peep some live video of the group from 2018's Lockin' below: