Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review "Double Dynamite" -The Mannish Boys

By Malcolm Kennedy
The Mannish Boys new Delta Groove release Double Dynamite is so named because it is a double helping of tough blues and impassioned R&B served up on two platters (2 CD set) filled with generous portions pf 13 selections each. The players, Finis, Randy, Kirk, Frank, Willie and Jimi (most of whom have their own bands and projects) plus the addition of new Mannish Boy vocalist Sugaray Rayford on nine cuts. With 26 selections the menu includes numerous sides like harp players James Harmon, Rod Piazza, Jason Ricci and Bob Corritore; guest vocalists Jackie Payne, Mud Morganfield and Cynthia Manley, guitarists a-plenty with Elvin, Junior, Nathan and the Kid not to mention piano, bass, horn players and various other supporting artists.

Now I have been shouting out for years about this All-Star band bringing their old school meets new school to the cover songs, frequently of under appreciated artists, digging deep into the blues and R&B songbooks for lesser known gems and shedding light on these artists in the process. They are blues miners and here they used Double Dynamite to bring you Atomic Blues and Rhythm & Blues Explosion. As with any Delta Groove release the production, packaging and musicianship are impeccable. Now you know I would just love to tell you something about all 26 cuts on this all you can listen to smorgasbord; but I wouldn’t want you to get stuffed. You might look at the track menu and think, “Mannish Boy,” how can they possibly pull off that signature Muddy Waters song? Well with Mud Morganfield on vocals of course.

Disc 1, Atomic Blues, opens with Son House’s “Death Letter” featuring Frank Goldwasser on bristling slide guitar and Rayford on ardent vocals backed by thundering rhythm breathing new life into this Delta blues crown jewel. The loping shuffle of Little Walter’s “Mean Old World” showcases Piazza’s skill and tone on blues harp with Finis Tasby on vocals, Kirk Fletcher and Frank on rhythm and Elvin Bishop on slide cutting a tasty solo. James Harmon brings the goods to his own “Bad Detective” with Kirk on slinky lead guitar and Rich Wenzel on the ivories flushing out the sound. The Mitch Kashmar/Randy Chortkoff penned “You Dogged Me” from Mitch’s Wake Up & Worry, sounds like a long lost Jimmy Reed tune and features Randy on high end 1st position harp and vocals, Kirk on lead, Frank on rhythm and 2nd position harp. Other selections include song by Robert Nighthawk, Muddy, Frank Frost, Sonny Boy Williamson, Randy, Willie Dixon and Otis Spann.

Disc 2, Rhythm & Blues Explosion, opens with the Albert King staple “Born Under A Bad Sign” featuring Elvin Bishop’s biting guitar, Finis Tasby’s soulful vocals and horns and organ adding punch. Cynthia Manley sings a duet with Rayford on the James Brown soul ballad “You’ve Got The Power.” Nathan James handles the tasteful lead guitar while Fred Kaplan, piano, and David “Woody” Woodford, sax, guide the song with the rhythm section. James Brown’s powerful “Cold Sweat” is rendered here as a percolating instrumental with Fletcher adding stinging lead notes, Goldwasser on rhythm, Bobby Tsukamoto on driving bass, Mike Finnigan master of keyboards on B-3, Woodford on tenor and baritone sax and Lee Thornburg on trumpet and trombone giving this track an almost Tower of Power sound. There are songs penned by James Cotton, James Harmon, Ray Charles, Jimmy McCracklin plus several more. Double Dynamite is double the pleasure and double the fun. Very highly recommended.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2013 Washington Blues Society Best Self Produced CD Competition Announced, Oct. 9th Deadline

The Washington Blues Society (WBS) has announced it is currently accepting submittals from blues artists in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, and Alberta for the society's Best Self Produced CD Award. The winner will represent the Washington Blues Society at the 2013 International Blues Challenge Best Self Produced CD competition. To be eligible, the submitted CD must have a release date between November 1, 2011 and October 31, 2012. Details are below.

Since 2005, The Blues Foundation has celebrated up and coming artists by bestowing an award for the "Best Self-Produced CD" of the year. It will do so again in 2013. Where the IBC, through its panel of distinguished judges, has been the measure of excellence for a band's live performance, the Best Self-Produced CD award honors artists that have achieved excellence in the studio. Acts can be bands, solo acts, duo acts, trios, full choirs or any other combination. The purpose of this award is to assist Blues musicians in the pursuit of their professional goals.

This award complements the International Blues Challenge-the live music component of IBC Weekend. The Foundation believes this award further emphasizes the critical role of affiliated societies in the Blues world and provides another featured award for IBC weekend.

CD Submissions are due by Tuesday, October 9, 2012. 

The following rules govern the national competition and are from www.wablues.org (adapted from the Blues Foundation Best Self-Produced CD Official Rules:
  • Entries for the Best Self-Produced CD are permitted by affiliated blues societies only.
  • Each affiliate is permitted one entry only. 
  • The CD entered does not have to be performed by the band entered in the 2013 International Blues Challenge. 
  • The CD must have been released during the November 1, 2011 - October 31, 2012 time frame. 
  • Interested bands from the states and provinces listed above must submit 7 (seven) copies of their CD to the Washington Blues Society P.O. Box (below). A committee of three will review each CD submitted. Four copies of the winner’s CD will be submitted to the Blues Foundation as the Washington Blues Society’s official entry. The remaining CDs will be distributed by the Washington Blues Society at Blues Bashes, free raffles, or festivals that promote live blues music. 

Send submissions to:

      Washington Blues Society 
       Best-Self Produced CD 
       P.O. Box 70604 Seattle, WA 98127 

Note: Submissions MUST be in the WBS P.O. Box by Tuesday, October 9, 2012 (or delivered to our monthly Blues Bash at the Red Crane on that date). No submissions after this date will be accepted or reviewed. 

The CD Committee will review each CD for the following:
  1. Blues Content 
  2. Musical Performance 
  3. Audio Quality of the Presentation 
  4. Cover Art and Design 
  5. Credits and Liner Information.
A performer who has previously been nominated for a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Blues Award) shall not be eligible for this competition. A CD issued in the name of an otherwise eligible performer which also includes the contributions of a Blues Music Award nominee may be ineligible, depending on the extent of the contribution. A CD on a record label that has been previously nominated for a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Blues Award) shall not be eligible for this competition.

Compilations are not eligible. 

A singer, band, society or local producer may produce the actual CD as long as the performer is a singer, band or other individual entity.

Recordings with established or "known" producers within the industry are eligible as long as the recording is on the artist's independent label and not on an established national blues label.

If a recording was produced independently but an established blues label has purchased the master for distribution, the recording is still eligible until such time as the established blues label releases the recording.

The affiliates are responsible for ensuring that their submission complies with these rules. If you have any doubts or questions, contact the Washington Blues Society.

The CDs honored to date by the Washington Blues Society are:
  • 2005-Crazy, Cryin' Blues by Robin Rogers and Silver Bird by Collard Greens & Gravy (tie)
  • 2006-Back in Bluesville by Roxy Perry 2007-We are Mighty Lester by Mighty Lester Band
  • 2008-Sophisticated Ladies by Sue Palmer & Her Motel Swing Orchestra
  • 2009-Hollerin' by Nathan James & Ben Hernandez 
  • 2010-Crime Scene Queen by The Informants and Fire it Up! by Laurie Morvan Band 
  • 2011-Get Inside This House by Joe McMurrian - Cascade Blues Associatio
  • 2012-Where I'm Comming From... by Dave Keller - Rhode Island Rhythm and Blues Preservation Society