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Blues CDs New Releases - October 2013

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The labels have begun winding down their release schedule moving towards the lean holiday months of November and December, but that doesn't mean that there's no good music to be found in October! The month boasts a wealth of new blues and blues-rock tunes from talents like Anders Osborne, Harrison Kennedy, Leslie West, and Seasick Steve, among others, as well as archive releases from Ten Years After and Robin Trower. No matter your taste in blues, here's what you'll be listening to in October...

Anders Osborne – 'Peace' (Alligator Records)

Anders Osborne's Peace
Photo courtesy Alligator Records

Recorded at Dockside Studios in Louisiana and produced by guitarist Anders Osborne and Warren Riker, Peace finds Osborne backed by an all-star collection of New Orleans talent, including bassist Carl Defrene, keyboardist John Gros, and drummers Eric Bolivar and Brady Blade with backing vocals by Susan Cowsill and Justin Tocket. Musically, the album features plenty of Osborne's slash 'n' burn fretwork laid across eleven songs while lyrically, the songs move forward from the emotional turbulence of Osborne's previous two albums to find a sense of inner peace. If you liked Osborne's Three Free Amigos EP, released earlier this year, you're going to want to hear Peace. (Release date: 10/08/13)

Del Bromham – 'Nine Yards' (Angel Air Records)

Del Bromham's Nine Yards
Photo courtesy Angel Air Records

Cut from the same blues-rock cloth as Eric Clapton's Cream, Leslie West's Mountain, or Paul Rodgers' Free, England's Stray never found the same level of success as those aforementioned outfits. Stray did earn "cult band" status over the course of the ten albums they released during the free-wheeling decade of the 1970s, the band fronted by singer, songwriter, and guitarist Del Bromham. Spending much of the 1980s in the hinterlands, Bromham reformed the band as Del Bromham and Stray in the '90s, but it wasn't until the 2011 release of his solo effort Devil's Highway that people began paying attention. Returning to his blues roots proved to be a good move for Bromham, whose latest album Nine Yards offers up 14 original tunes that run the gamut from the lively Piedmont blues-inspired title track and the roots 'n' blues vibe of "Everybody Has To Sing The Blues" to the blistering blues-rock of "What Comes Around." Bromham's Nine Yards is well worth checking out for Anglophile blues fans... (Release date: 10/01/13)

Eric Clapton – 'Unplugged: Expanded Edition' (Rhino Records)

Eric Clapton's Unplugged: Expanded Edition
Photo courtesy Rhino Records

After better than a decade of making commercial lite-rock and ready-made beer commercials, six-string legend Eric Clapton partially redeemed himself with blues fans with the 1992 release of Unplugged, the album documenting his appearance on the popular MTV program. The live-in-the-studio recording mixed mainstream rock songs like "Tears In Heaven" and "Layla" with raw, energetic acoustic performances of vintage blues material from the likes of Big Bill Broonzy, Bo Diddley, Robert Johnson, and Muddy Waters. Rhino's Unplugged: Expanded Edition is a deluxe version of Clapton's most popular and acclaimed album, a three-disc set of two CDs and a DVD that include the re-mastered original album and an accompanying bonus disc featuring six previously-unreleased rehearsal outtakes from the TV broadcast. The DVD offers up the original MTV Unplugged television performance, newly restored, as well as 14 previously unseen rehearsal takes all in an attractive box set. (Release date: 10/15/13)

Harmonica Shah – 'Havin' Nothin' Don't Bother Me' (Electro-Fi Records)

Harmonica Shah's Havin' Nothin' Don't Bother Me
Photo courtesy Electro-Fi Records

The heir to John Lee Hooker's throne as the King of Detroit Blues, Harmonica Shah's trademark style of blues is as raw and gritty as his bankrupt metropolis hometown. Since 2000 Shah has released a half-dozen overlooked studio and live discs, but with Havin' Nothin' Don't Bother Me the singer and harp player kicks up his game with a dozen scorching new blues tunes that document Detroit's ills and are dedicated to the resilient residents of the Motor City. Shah is accompanied by guitarist Jack De Keyzer (King Biscuit Boy), Juno Award-winning pianist Julian Fauth, and drummer/percussionist Bucky Berger on this Alec Fraser produced disc. (Release date: 10/15/13)

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Harrison Kennedy – 'Soulscape' (Electro-Fi Records)

Harrison Kennedy's Soulscape
Photo courtesy Electro-Fi Records

A vastly-underrated member of blues music's middle class, Harrison Kennedy's excellent 2012 release Shame The Devil earned the singer, songwriter, and guitarist a Blues Music Award nomination as "Acoustic Artist of the Year." Best known as one of the founding members of the 1970s-era soul supergroup The Chairmen of the Board, over the course of the past ten years and six albums, Kennedy has forged a respectable career in the blues as an innovative guitarist, insightful songwriter, and soulful vocalist. Soulscape is Kennedy's follow-up to Shame The Devil, thirteen new original tunes and an updated cover of his signature Holland-Dozier-Holland R&B gem "Chairman of the Board." If acoustic blues is your cuppa tea, you owe it to yourself to check out Harrison Kennedy. (Release date: 10/15/13)

Johnny Rawls – 'Remembering O.V.' (Catfood Records)

Johnny Rawls' Remembering O.V.
Photo courtesy Catfood Records

Southern soul-blues giant Johnny Rawls follows up on his Blues Music Award nominated 2012 album Soul Survivor with this heartfelt tribute to his late friend and mentor, and soul legend O.V. Wright. Rawls, who was Wright's bandleader in the early days of his career, is accompanied on three songs on Remembering O.V. by Blues Hall of Fame vocalist Otis Clay, who was a labelmate of Wright's on the acclaimed Hi Records imprint. Rawls takes on nine songs associated with Wright during his lengthy career, including such soul treasures as "Ace of Spades," "Nickel and A Nail," "Precious, Precious," and "Blind, Crippled and Crazy" and provides a new soul classic with the album-ending "Blaze of Glory." Rawls is honest about his motivation in making the album, writing in the liner notes "I want people to re-discover O. V. Wright and find out what a great singer that he was. They don’t make people like that anymore, like O. V., Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding.” Amen to that! (Release date: 10/15/13)

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Leslie West – 'Still Climbing' (Provogue Records)

Leslie West's Still Climbing
Photo courtesy Provogue Records

Misfortune struck in 2011 as blues-rock guitarist Leslie West was preparing to release that year's Unusual Suspects, a showcase for the guitarist's trademark blend of roaring jet engine vocals and Godzilla monster-styled riffs. West had to have emergency surgery after developing a life-threatening infection in his foot due to Type 2 diabetes, losing part of his right leg when doctors were forced to amputate. West has since bounced back and has recorded Still Climbing, his 15th solo album, its title a sly reference to the 1970 debut album by West's legendary power trio Mountain. Still Climbing offers up eleven new guitar-driven performances, a mix of original songs and covers, including a soulful take on the Percy Sledge soul gem "When A Man Loves A Woman" that features a duet with guitarist Jonny Lang. Although not as heavy on the guest stars as Unusual Suspects, West has friends like guitarist Johnny Winter drop by to lay a little wicked slide guitar on "Busted, Disgusted or Dead" while singer Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) assists on the well-worn Traffic song "Feeling Good." (Release date: 10/29/13)

Lou Pride – 'Ain't No More Love In This House' (Severn Records)

Lou Pride's Ain't No More Love In This House
Photo courtesy Severn Records

Soul-blues legend Lou Pride passed away in June 2012 in his hometown of Chicago, but not before he had laid down his vocals for what was sadly destined to become his final album, Ain't No More Love In This House a powerhouse collection of classic blues-drenched soul music. Featuring Pride's still-powerful vocals on eleven tracks, the album offers a mix of four original songs an an inspired selection of cover tunes including British R&B band Simply Red's "Holding Back The Years," Ann Peebles' Hi Records classic "I Didn't Take Your Woman," the reggae gem "Never," and "I Gotta Move On Up," best known as recorded by Luther Allison. Although not as well known as contemporaries like Bobby "Blue" Bland and Johnnie Taylor, Lou Pride left behind an enormous legacy as a singer and songwriter, his reputation for excellence sealed by the swansong that is Ain't No More Love In This House. (Release date: 10/15/13)

Robin Trower – 'State to State: Live Across America 1974-1980' (Rhino Records)

Robin Trower's State to State: Live Across America 1974-1980
Photo courtesy Rhino Records

Featuring two-dozen previously-unreleased live performances by British blues-rock guitar legend Robin Trower, the State to State: Live Across America 1974-1980 album documents the best of the artist's bluesy, arena-rockin' glory years. State to State offers up performances from various American concerts throughout the decade, including ten songs from Philadelphia and California from 1974; six songs from Illinois in 1976; three Oklahoma performances from 1977; and five songs from Missouri in 1980, among them scorching live takes on "Bridge of Sighs," "Too Rolling Stoned," "Day of the Eagle," "Rock Me Baby," "Messin' With The Blues," and many more. (Release date: 10/22/13)

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Seasick Steve – 'Hubcap Music' (Third Man Records)

Seasick Steve's Hubcap Music
Photo courtesy Third Man Records

American expatriate and U.K. blues legend Seasick Steve seems to have found a patron in fellow musician and Third Man Records owner Jack White, the former White Stripes' frontman signing the eclectic bluesman for his 2011 album You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks. Now Seasick Steve and White have teamed up for Hubcap Music, the new album named after the singer's Morris Minor guitar, which is fashioned from two hubcaps and a garden hoe (?). White lends his talents to the recording, as does North Mississippi Allstars frontman Luther Dickinson, while Led Zep's John Paul Jones provides bass, mandolin, and keyboards to several tracks. Musically, expect Hubcap Music to showcase Steve's wry lyrics and dust bowl vocals above entertaining, minimalist Delta-inspired blues music. If you haven't yet succumbed to the charms of Seasick Steve, you should check out Hubcap Music. The guy is huge in Merry Ole England, selling out the Royal Albert Hall, his four Gold albums receiving multiple awards. (Release date: 10/08/13)

Ten Years After – 'Recorded Live' (Rhino Records)

Ten Years After's Recorded Live
Photo courtesy Rhino Records

Originally released in 1973, Recorded Live found Ten Years After still riding the wave of success created by the unexpected commercial tsunami that was their A Space In Time album released a couple years earlier. Recorded Live was pieced together with performances from concerts held in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Paris during the band's 1973 European tour and the album's original tracklist was more blues than rock, featuring covers of the Sonny Boy Williamson gem "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and Al Kooper's "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes" as well as a brace of Alvin Lee's guitar-driven original tunes. The upcoming Rhino reissue features seven previously-unreleased performances by the band, including raucous covers of Lightnin' Hopkins' "I Woke Up This Morning" and Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen." (Release date: 10/22/13)

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Various Artists – 'Delmark: 60 Years of Blues' (Delmark Records)

Delmark: 60 Years of Blues
Photo courtesy Delmark Records

Six decades down the road, Bob Koester's esteemed Delmark Records continues to roll right along, recent releases from Lurrie Bell and Toronzo Cannon continuing the label's long-standing reputation for musical excellence. To celebrate Delmark's 60th anniversary, Koester is releasing Delmark: 60 Years of Blues, a collection of previously-unreleased performances and new material that has as its centerpiece an unissued Junior Wells song from the South Side Blues Jam session with Otis Spann; a 1968 live track from guitarist Magic Sam (previewing an upcoming CD release); and a rare studio outtake from the Little Walter Trio featuring the great Muddy Waters. If that isn't enough to separate the cash from your wallet, Delmark: 60 Years of Blues offers up newer jams from talents like the aforementioned Bell, Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire, Studebaker John, Quintus McCormick, and others. For those of you who also walk on the jazz side of the street, Delmark has a lengthy history in jazz music as well, and an accompanying 60 Years of Jazz CD features rare tracks from folks like Sonny Stitt, Red Holloway, Ernest Dawkens, and more. (Release date: 10/15/13)

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