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Blues CDs New Releases - October 2009

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Another strong month for blues CDs looms on the horizon before the winter holiday season, including some great new music from blues and blues-rock veterans like Darrell Nulisch, Tinsley Ellis, and Sean Chambers, as well as cool live discs from folks like Tail Dragger and Jack Bruce and Robin Trower. You'll also find some essential archive releases, and a few vital reissues; here's what you'll be listening to in October!

1. Big Bill Broonzy – 'Key To The Blues' (Blues Blvd.)

Big Bill Broonzy's Key To The Blues
Photo courtesy Blues Blvd.
There have been plenty of compilations featuring the work of this Chicago blues pioneer, but Key To The Blues is something else entirely. A two-CD set, the first disc features 25 of Big Bill Broonzy's best songs, taken from his long and storied career. The second disc is comprised of the obscure The 1955 London Sessions album, ten songs taken from a handful of Pye/Nixa label EPs and 10" LPs that Broonzy recorded in London during October 1955. Blues Blvd. sweetens the pot by including a rare interview with the bluesman to accompany the long-out-of-print album. (Release date: 10/13/09)

2. Coco Montoya – 'The Essential Coco Montoya' (Blind Pig Records)

Coco Montoya's The Essential Coco Montoya
Photo courtesy Blind Pig Records
Coco Montoya is a vastly underrated blues guitarist that doesn't get nearly as much love as contemporaries like Duke Robillard and Ronnie Earl, though he should. The veteran bluesman, who has played with Albert Collins and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, The Essential Coco Montoya features a dozen tracks culled from Montoya's three excellent mid-1990s albums recorded for Blind Pig Records. (Release date: 10/20/09)
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3. Darrell Nulisch – 'Just For You' (Severn Records)

Darrell Nulisch's Just For You
Photo courtesy Severn Records
Following his Blues Music Award-nominated 2007 album Goin' Back To Dallas, a stripped-down rootsy collection of Texas blues, Just For You is said to be a return to Nulisch's soul-blues roots. Produced by Nulisch with David Earl and bassist Steve Gomes, Just For You includes contributions from current Fabulous Thunderbirds guitarist Johnny Moeller and a full horn section with arrangements created by the legendary Willie Henderson. (Release date: 10/20/09)

4. Gwyn Ashton – 'Two-Man Blues Army' (Fab Tones)

Gwyn Ashton's Two-Man Blues Army
Photo courtesy Fab Tones Records
Aussie blues-rock guitarist Gwyn Ashton has been called Australia's own Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the talented fretburner has won numerous awards and toured the globe opening for folks like Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy. Two-Man Blues Army is exactly that, Ashton smacking out some wicked blues notes while drummer Kevin Hickman not only keeps the beat, but cranks out some odd noises with various electronic delays and loops and other gimcrackery. (Release date: 10/27/09)
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5. Jack Bruce & Robin Trower – 'Seven Moons Live' (Ruf Records)

Jack Bruce & Robin Trower's Seven Moons Live
Photo courtesy Ruf Records
Former Cream bassist Jack Bruce and guitarist Robin Trower first joined forces in 1980, recording a pair of critically-acclaimed albums. The two would get back together in 2008 to record Seven Moons, a well-received collection of original blues-rock tunes penned by the pair, featuring Bruce's mournful vocals and fluid bass lines, and Trower's shimmering fretwork. Seven Moons Live was recorded in February 2009 in front of a raucous, enthusiastic audience in Nijmegen, Holland and features eight songs from the pair's 2008 studio album and new versions of three classic Cream songs. Music Video Distributors will also be releasing a DVD of the performance. (Release date: 10/13/09)

6. John Lee Hooker – 'Live At Soledad/Never Get Out Of These Blues' (BGO Records)

John Lee Hooker's Live At Soledad/Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive
Photo courtesy BGO Records
British reissue label BGO (Beat Goes On) Records delivers a very coolio two-fer, pairing John Lee Hooker's Live at Soledad Prison with Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive, both originally released in 1972. On the latter, blue-eyed soulman Van Morrison joins Hooker to duet on Morrison's eerie "T.B. Sheets," while guitarists Elvin Bishop and Steve Miller and harp wizard Charlie Musselwhite drop by to pitch in. As for the former album, recorded live at Soledad Prison in California, this is the first time the performance has been released on CD. U.S. blues fans will pay import prices, but it's well worth it! (Release date: 10/27/09)

7. Magic Slim – 'Rough Dried' (Wolf Records)

Magic Slim's Rough Dried
Photo courtesy Wolf Records
Rough Dried collects fourteen songs recorded by Chicago blues guitarist Magic Slim between 1986 and 1992 for Wolf Records, as well as a number of previously unreleased live tracks. Magic Slim has some mighty fine accompaniment on these tracks, including guitarist John Primer and drummer Jerry Porter. Longtime fans of Magic Slim and the Teardrops will want this import disc, 'cause you never know what sort of guitar-driven blues the legend will drop on the listener. (Release date: 10/13/09)

8. Sean Chambers – 'Ten Til Midnight' (Blue Heat Records)

Sean Chambers's Ten Til Midnight
Photo courtesy Blue Heat Records
Although he's a relative newcomer to the blues world as a recording artist – Ten Til Midnight is just guitarist Sean Chambers' third album release – the talented musician is no new kid on the block. A seasoned road warrior, Chamber has toured as an opener for giants like Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, and B.B. King in his home state of Florida, and he spent five years as former Howlin' Wolf sideman Hubert Sumlin's guitarist and musical director. Ten Til Midnight promises seven scorching blues-rock originals, as well as choice covers of tunes from ZZ Top, Luther Allison, and Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones. This is the Reverend's pick for the sleeper CD of the month! (Release date: 10/13/09)

9. Stevie Cochran – 'Live At Montreux' (Blues Blvd.)

Stevie Cochran's Live At Montreux
Photo courtesy Blues Blvd.
Blues-rock guitarist Steve Cochran is a huge star in Europe and Japan, everywhere but in the U.S. basically, where he unfairly plies his trade largely in obscurity. Cochran is a talented singer and songwriter, and he has a red-hot hand on the fretboard, and although you many not have ever heard of him, he's been playing for nearly 30 years and has released a dozen discs since '95. Live At Montreux captures his 2003 performance at the notable jazz festival, thirteen scorching tracks from one of his five crowd-pleasing festival appearances. (Release date: 10/13/09)

10. Tail Dragger & His Chicago Blues Band – 'Live At Rooster's Lounge' (Delmark)

Tail Dragger & His Chicago Blues Band's Live At Rooster's Lounge
Photo courtesy Delmark Records
You can find Chicago blues favorite Tail Dragger putting His Chicago Blues Band through their paces every Saturday night at Rooster's Lounge in the Windy City, the talented outfit flexing its muscles on some good ole-fashioned down-n-dirty blues. This is Tail Dragger's second live CD/DVD for Delmark, the first winning universal acclaim for its energy and authenticity. Live At Rooster's Lounge captures one of those weekly rave-ups on tape, the March 21, 2009 show featuring guitarists Rockin' Johnny and Kevin Shanahan and harpist Martin Lang, along with the indomitable Tail Dragger; released as both an 11-song CD and a 12-song DVD. (Release date: 10/20/09)
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