Nothing Fail, but a try by Terry Mullins, Sports Editor en-us Note By Note - Jason Ricci Jason Ricci & The Bad Kind Approved By Snakes Some works of art are easily sorted, labeled and stuck into categories, while others seem to defy explanation and refuse to be pigeon-holed, no matter how hard one tries. Approved By Snakes (EllerSoul Records), the newest album from harmonica virtuoso Jason 'Moon Cat' Ricci and his red-hot combo, The Bad Kind, most certainly fits into the latter category. Sure, it's the blues … but it's the blues played... Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:09:29 -0500 Note By Note - Left Lane Cruiser Left Lane Cruiser Claw Machine Wizard Ever fell headfirst down a flight of stairs, then had the staircase fell in on top you? While I would certainly hope not, be fore-warned that giving a spin of Claw Machine Wizard, the latest offering from Left Lane Cruiser is highly-capable of leaving one in traction, just like the aforementioned tumble could. Wow. Call it blues, call it punk, call it gutter-inspired rock-and-roll … whatever you call it, Claw Machine Wizard hits... Mon, 15 May 2017 12:20:51 -0500 Note By Note - Eric Gales Eric Gales Middle of the Road It may be titled Middle of the Road, but there's nothing intermediary, medial or halfway about Eric Gales' latest studio album. Rather, Middle of the Road (Provogue/Mascot Label Group) is an exceptional new album from an extremely-gifted musician that at this point in his career, should be a household name. Unfortunately, the Memphis born-and-raised Gales - who was a rising star and tagged as the 'next Jimi Hendrix' with a major label recording contract when... Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:57:34 -0600 Note By Note - Ronnie Baker Brooks Ronnie Baker Brooks Times Have Changed It really is funny how time slips away ... It's hard to believe, but it's been 10 years since the blues-loving public has been treated to a new album from Chicago's Ronnie Baker Brooks. But my, oh my, has Brooks (guitarist, vocalist, songwriter) ever made up for that decade-long absence with Times Have Changed (Provogue/Mascot Label Group). Brooks has long been known for his modern take and twist on the Chicago blues and he's finally been able to... Sun, 12 Feb 2017 11:07:59 -0600 Note By Note - Blue & Lonesome The Rolling Stones Blue & Lonesome Question: What do you get when you take a rock-and-roll band that's seemingly been around longer than the earth itself, lock the members in a room for a couple of days and push 'play' on the recording console? Answer: You get Blue & Lonesome, the most consistent - and best - album The Rolling Stones have issued since 1978's Some Girls. Granted, Blue & Lonesome is a covers album, made up of Chess-era Chicago blues tunes originally done by the likes of... Fri, 30 Dec 2016 09:53:02 -0600 Note By Note - Kansas Kansas The Prelude Implicit This may sound like a back-handed compliment - and for that, please forgive me for saying so - but The Prelude Implicit (Inside Out Music) really had no business being made. I mean, a classic rock band that enjoyed its biggest success way back in the 1970s huddling together in a studio to record a batch of brand-new original songs for the group's first studio album in 16 years? In 2016, when most bands with the pedigree of Kansas are content to simply just tour... Sun, 18 Sep 2016 16:10:30 -0500 Note By Note - Radio Moscow Radio Moscow Live! In California I've never been to The Satellite club in Los Angeles, so my knowledge of the building's architectural construction is somewhat limited. But being somewhat familiar with the basic theory of physics, I'd say that The Satellite must be constructed of Titanium walls and the roof is probably fortified with Kevlar, while three-foot thick concrete reinforces the perimeter of the night club. That's the only conceivable reason that The Satellite could have... Thu, 07 Jul 2016 11:07:05 -0500 Note By Note - Steve Porcaro Steve Porcaro Someday/Somehow Knowing the rich musical history of the Porcaro family like I do, I should not have been surprised. But yet I was. Someday/Somehow, the debut solo album from the incomparable Steve Porcaro is one true gem. The fact that Porcaro has been working on this album on-and-off ever since the early 1980s makes it that much more special to be able to listen to Someday/Somehow in 2016. I've been a card-carrying member of the Toto fan club ever since the stylus made it... Sat, 11 Jun 2016 14:16:23 -0500 Note By Note - King Mud King Mud Victory Motel Sessions If you were to utter the phrase 'super-group,' within their earshot, they'd probably laugh hysterically right back into your face. But don't let that change your mind, because King Mud is very much a 'super-group,' especially to fans of the seedy underbelly of roots-related music affectionately known as 'punk blues.' Comprised of Left Lane Cruiser guitarist/vocalist Freddy J IV and Black Diamond Heavies' drummer Van Campbell, King Mud is the definite... Fri, 11 Mar 2016 19:22:39 -0600 Note By Note - Supersonic Blues Machine Dr. Z Presents Supersonic Blues Machine West Of Flushing South Of Frisco It was almost with a sense of relief when I reached track number five - "Bone Bucket Blues" - on West Of Flushing South Of Frisco (Provogue/Mascot Label Group). By the time track number eight rolled around - a superb cover of "Ain't No Love (In The Heart Of The City)" - I was downright giddy, to the point of being ecstatic. This album smokes from beginning to end and is done the way that all hard-charging... Sat, 05 Mar 2016 10:26:28 -0600 Note By Note - Rollin' 'n' Tumblin' Rev. Keith A. Gordon Rollin' 'n' Tumblin' To say that the good Reverend Keith A. Gordon knows a thing or two about the blues is akin to saying that a duck likes water. Duh! A quick glance at the Buffalo, New York-based journalist's impressive stat-sheet confirms as much. Over the past four decades, Gordon has penned essays, interviews, features and album reviews on rock-n-roll, as well as blues and all kinds of roots-related music, for publications such as Creem, The Blues, High Times,... Sat, 13 Feb 2016 12:32:38 -0600 Note By Note - Jaco Jaco 'Give me a gig, you know ...?' Simultaneously, that's one of the most hilarious and thoroughly heartbreaking phrases ever uttered by a master musician. Opening the 1985 Jaco Pastorius Bass Guitar Instructional video, host Jerry Jemmott (a legend in his own right) heaps praise upon Pastorius for his one-of-a-kind style and his revolutionary approach to the bass guitar, only to hear the response of: 'Give me a gig, you know ...?' Roughly a decade earlier, Pastorius, the self-proclaimed... Sat, 19 Dec 2015 12:00:51 -0600 Note By Note - Joe Louis Walker Joe Louis Walker Everybody Wants A Piece Since first seeing Joe Louis Walker (JLW) up close and personal on a bandstand in California back in the early 1990s, I've been a pretty big supporter of the immensely-talented bluesman. That experience, however, also led me to believe for many years that the only true way to fully absorb all that JLW was laying down was in a live concert setting. His albums were certainly sturdy enough, but somehow they just didn't deliver the real-deal JLW... Fri, 09 Oct 2015 08:16:22 -0500 Note By Note - Ian Siegal Ian Siegal When he talks, it's a dead giveaway that he's from near Portsmouth (population 205,400), on the south coast of England. But when Ian Siegal sings the blues and plays guitar, one would swear that the Englishman hailed from near Potts Camp (population 494), deep in the heart of Marshall County, Mississippi. So just how does Siegal -- who now calls Amsterdam (the Venice of the North) home -- pull off that impressive feat? "Well, I guess it's just that I've really immersed myself... Sun, 04 Oct 2015 11:34:41 -0500 Note By Note - August '15 Sonny Landreth Bound By The Blues Welcome back, Sonny Landreth. We've missed you. Actually, the Mississippi-born, Louisiana-raised slide guitarist supreme has not really been gone. But his latest album -- Bound By The Blues -- is a welcome return to form for the mighty Landreth, who's previous album, 2012's Elemental Journey, was marked with something of a jazzy/classical approach. While it was certainly enjoyable to hear the virtuosic Landreth step outside his normal operating zone for... Sun, 09 Aug 2015 15:58:32 -0500 Note By Note - Neal Schon Neal Schon Vortex Having sold darn-near 90 million records (let that sink in for just a second; 90 million!!!) as a member of Journey, you could forgive Neal Schon should he decide to never pick up a guitar again. Thankfully, Schon - who is long overdue for his rightful spot in the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame - doesn't seem content to just lay around on the beach all day and let his royalty checks pile up. He's heavily involved in the reunion of the original Santana Band (circa 1972), along... Fri, 12 Jun 2015 13:47:00 -0500 Note By Note - Black Oak Arkansas Black Oak Arkansas The Complete Raunch 'N' Roll Live I fear that there may be a generation of music aficionados out there that view Black Oak Arkansas (BOA) as merely a one-hit wonder. Judging from the limited output that one hears from BOA on classic rock radio these days, you could hardly blame them. But there has always been a lot more to the band that famously called Oakland, Arkansas home in the 1970s than just their version of LaVern Baker's 1956 tune, "Jim Dandy" (BOA's cover reached... Fri, 22 May 2015 09:57:59 -0500 Note By Note - John Mayall's Bluesbreakers John Mayll's Bluesbreakers Live in 1967 I don't have a vote, but if I did, I would make it a personal mission to see that Tom Huissen is inducted into the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame. Who is Tom Huissen, you ask? A semi-obscure guitarist or maybe a pioneering drummer? Nope. Huissen was a big-time blues fan from Holland who had a tape recorder in the right place at the right time way back in 1967. A devout fan of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Huissen craftily snuck a one channel reel-to-reel... Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:04:39 -0500 Note By Note - Toto Toto Toto XIV Bittersweet might not be a totally accurate way to describe Toto's first studio release in almost 10 years, but it has to hit pretty close to the mark. Not because of the music contained within Toto XIV -- it's spectacular. Rather, because Toto XIV's release date of March 20 comes less than a week after longtime bassist Mike Porcaro passed away at age 59 after a lengthy battle with Lou Gehrig's disease. Although he hadn't been an active member of the group since 2007,... Sat, 21 Mar 2015 07:27:38 -0500 Note By Note - Leo Bud Welch Leo Bud Welch I Don't Prefer No Blues Junior Kimbrough. R.L. Burnside. T-Model Ford. Even though I have never been officially recognized as president of the Fat Possum Records' Fan Club, I respectfully submit another entry into the Holy Trinity of bluesmen that have made the legendary outfit from Oxford, Mississippi into one of the most important and essential record labels in the modern blues era. Leo Bud Welch. The 82-year-old Welch is cut every bit from the same weathered and... Sat, 14 Mar 2015 10:01:46 -0500