Blind Pig Records releases a triumvirate that will literally blow you away!
By ‘Rebel’ Rod Ames
Harper – “Stand Together”
Peter D. Harper, with his latest record, Stand Together, has written and arranged some of the most soulful, blues-rock filled music I’ve heard in quite some time. The man can blow a harp like no body’s business; and did I mention he has created some of the most soulful, most blues-rock filled music I have heard in quite some time? However, this is just skimming the surface of what this phenomenal artist emits from this 12 song CD consisting of his Michigan-based touring band, Midwest Kind.
Harper enlists the sounds of blues, rock, R & B, and adds a strong element of world music, as evidenced by the use of the aboriginal musical instrument didgeridoo. In fact, Mr. Harper himself plays this incredibly recognizable musical instrument commonly played by the native peoples of the “Outback”.
He intricately weaves its mysterious sound into several of these very uniquely original tunes. His use of the didgeridoo in combination with the more traditional musical instruments (i.e.; electric guitar, drums, Hammond and Wurlitzer, etc.) adds an eerie, wild sound from down under that lures the listener in, and almost savagely places its hooks into the listener’s sense of hearing. He or she is seemingly left dangling there, metaphorically speaking, totally taken into custody by this incredible combination of sounds.
As the listener progresses through the album, it’s as if he or she is trekking through a jungle of musical notes in conjunction with other strange sounds, creating an extremely textured wall of musical vegetation and undergrowth. You can feel and hear the richness growing all around, eventually smothering the listener in a symbolic quicksand of wonderfully strange sounds. It’s a musical jungle one will never want to leave.
John Németh – “Name the Day!”
If it is true that white men can’t jump, that stereotypical rule certainly does not apply to white men possessing large amounts of soul. John Németh on his latest, “Name the Day!” has recorded some of the best blues/R & B I have heard so far this year. He will definitely juke and jive his listeners, getting them up off their posteriors and onto the dance floor. I defy anyone to sit still while listening to this amazing record by John Németh!
Mr. Németh hails from what I would say to be an extremely unlikely place for a blues artist, especially of this caliber, Boise, Idaho. This isn’t meant as a slant for this extremely talented artist, but he did sing in his Catholic church. This is not an environment usually known for its conduciveness to the creation of blues artists. As almost everyone should know, most blues artists are devoutly Baptist. I am just kidding. I simply wanted to take the stereotype to the next level.
However, Mr. Németh has defied the unwritten odds and, in this writer’s opinion, will be, or already is, a force to be reckoned with in the world of the blues. His voice is, with out a doubt, incredible. Then he places the harmonica to his lips and more magic occurs. He sings with so much emotion that the listener will not be able to not think of legends such as James Brown, Percy Sledge, and B.B. King. You can certainly hear components of all three in Mr. Németh’s music.
Mr. Németh has put together one of the best Memphis style blues bands I have heard in quite some time. He has recruited for this particular eleven track endeavor, Bobby Welsh on guitar and piano, Smokey Davis on fender bass, Nick Fishman on drums and percussion, Austin deLone on piano and organ, Jake Smolowe on organ, Jeff Teczon on tenor sax, Frank Bailey on trumpet, Mike Rinta on trombone (horn arrangements), and Steve Willis and Ed Earley on background vocals.
This record is not to be missed!
Magic Slim and the Teardrops – “Raising the Bar”
Veteran blues man extraordinaire, Magic Slim has not missed a beat, skipped a bar, omitted a lick, nor released a bad record in…..ever! His latest is no exception.
As much as I love the blues and as much as I love the Memphis to Chicago Style of the blues, which generally possess amazing horn sections, I also adore the simplicity of the blues. On Magic Slim’s latest, “Raising the Bar”, he does just that. He raises the bar while keeping it simple.
What we have here are four musicians doing what they love. Magic Slim is of course on vocals and guitar. Jon McDonald also lends his expertise on guitar and background vocals. Andre Howard and BJ Jones bind it all together respectively on bass guitar and drums as well as also singing background vocals.
You can hear how much Magic Slim has influenced young blues men along with up and coming rockers. He does it all and he does it all without missing anything. He proves, yet once again, that when it comes to playing the blues, sometimes simple is best. After all, the blues originated with just a guy singing and playing his guitar. This is just like that with the addition of electricity.
This record consists of an amazing compilation of blues songs. Songs such as Clay Hammond’s “Part Time Love”, Al Jackson, Jr’s and Timothy Matthews’ “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home”, Elmore James’ “I Can’t Hold It”, and many others.
Magic Slim’s voice was meant to do nothing else but sing the blues and his fingers were meant to do nothing but pick the blues on his guitar. It is obvious to the listener both instruments are quite simply, an extension of his soul.
This is a record any blues aficionado should have in their library. However, this is also a record anyone with an ear for great music will immensely enjoy!
Blind Pig Records will release all three of these records May 18, 2010. If I were you, I’d grab all three. You will not regret it.
‘Rebel’ Rod says, check ‘em out!