Time for a Shot of Blues

Every now and again I like to do that blues thang. I haven’t done one of these since May, so, yeah, it’s time. 

Eric Gales is one of those guitarists where you say to yourself, How come I don’t know this guy? Brief bio: 43 years old, from Memphis, Tennessee. He started playing at four (!) and has been recording since 1991. He performed with Carlos Santana at Woodstock ’94 and played on a Jimi Hendrix tribute CD. (Not much more I can say about him as his website points to his Wikipedia page for bio.)

Anyway, here’s the smokin’-out-of-the gate tune, “Cut and Run” which has some of that “La Grange” vibe:

Spotify link

Here’s maybe another new name for ya, Thornetta Davis. Wikipedia says she is “an American Detroit blues and rhythm and blues singer. She has opened for Bonnie Raitt, Gladys Knight, and Etta James, and sang backing vocals on Bob Seger’s 1991 album, The Fire Inside. She also worked with Kid Rock and Alberta Adams and has released two full-length solo albums.”

In 2017, she was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Best Emerging Artist Album category, for her latest album, Honest Woman. I don’t recall exactly where I first heard her, maybe on the Sirius blues channel.

In this song, “I Need a Whole Lot of Loving (To Satisfy Me)” she lays out exactly what she needs from her man:

Hey all you fellows come and gather round
This big-lovin’ mama’s gonna break it down
It takes a whole lot of man to give me what I need
If you ain’t packin’ baby just turn around and leave

Whew! Is it hot in here or is it me?

Spotify link

By the time he recorded the album, Go My Way, in 2000, Robin Trower had been playing – in Procol Harum or solo – for the better part of forty years. I’ve featured Procol Harum here and a live Trower concert here.

I really dig this song, “Long Hard Game.” I remember hearing it and thinking, boy the singer sounds like he’s on Quaaludes or something. But it kinda works. Then it turned out it was Trower singing. This song has a lazy feel with some scorching guitar and I just wish it went on longer (Alas, no Spotify):

Levi Parham is from McAlester, Oklahoma. I don’t know exactly how old he is but he claims to have raided his father’s blues collection more than once. As to his influences, in his own words, “I’ve always been an admirer of the music that’s come out of Muscle Shoals, from Aretha Franklin to The Allman Bros.

After visiting a studio there last year while on tour, I got the idea to bring a group of Tulsa musicians, still carrying the torch of the legendary Tulsa Sound, and toss them in that iconic space and setting along the Tennessee River and see what would happen.”

What happened is some funky, laid-back blues that sounds like Delaney and Bonnie as much as anybody else. Here’s a slinky little tune called “Boxmeer Blues” that reminds me of “She Caught the Katy.”

Spotify link

Here’s a blurb from Ronnie Baker Brooks’ website: He was born in Chicago, and started playing guitar around age six. At 19, he joined his father (Lonnie Brooks), who by then had influenced some of the most well-known bluesman of our history: Jimmy Reed, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Johnny Winter, and Junior Wells. For 12 years the two would tour together, putting Ronnie out front with Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Koko Taylor. In 1998, when he was 32, his father told him to go solo.

This tune, “Show Me.” is from his album Times Have Changed. Not only does this song feature the legendary Steve Cropper but the album also features Felix Cavaliere and Bobby Blue Bland. This tune has some of that soulful Stax blues feel. Maybe this is Brooks’ answer to Thornetta:

Spotify link

19 thoughts on “Time for a Shot of Blues

      1. All of these tunes are cooking! I that dirty guitar sound on the Robin Trower song – reminds me a bit of Buddy Guy. Also like that Ronnie Baker Brooks song and agree it has a great Stax vibe. The Levi Parham tune also grabbed me. I’ll be further checking out these guys!

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  1. I’ll check out these links. Robin Trower is maybe my favorite electric guitarist. He was once on top of the world, and has been toiling in clubs for decades (I saw him four times), but he never loses his passion and heart. Just last week I revisited his first live LP, and it still blows me away.

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      1. I’ve heard his singing a couple times on other songs, notably “Song For a Dreamer” on Procol’s “Broken Barricades” album. Not too good. But much better than Roy Buchanan!

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        1. I think a lot of these guys think they’re not “real” bluesmen if they don’t sing. Plus, frankly, it’s just cheaper to go on the road and sing the tunes than hire a singer. As good as Trower is, he’s not exactly filling Madison Square Garden. I’ve seen a lot of bands that travel on shoestring budgets.

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        2. Just listened to the song. Age has really seasoned his voice! He sounds SO much better and bluesier than when he was young. (And of course his guitar-playing still crunches.)

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        3. As to the album that song comes from, Go My Way, I don’t know if it’s on par with his classic albums but there’s some pretty good stuff on it.

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        4. By the way, my wife downloaded “Party of One.” She read part of it and said it was “disgusting.” Of course, that piqued my interest. I read the first chapter and thought it was great. Very Scorsese “Mean Streets” atmosphere. I like how one gets the impression the main character is a bit confused, angry, mixed-up, but is still a decent sort who’s uncomfortable with these Philly heavies. Look forward to reading the rest! (Gotta fly now.)

          Liked by 1 person

  2. No surprises just what you advertised. I really like Trowers guitar sound. The vocals suit it. I always like that last cut and Brooks and Cropper nail it. You sure can hear the distinct guitar styles. Can’t go wrong with this stuff.

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