Asylum Street Spankers

Asylum Street Spankers

The Last Laugh

(Yellow Dog Records)

There are many bands that integrate humor with their songs, but few who do it so well or without detracting from the music as the late, lamented Asylum Street Spankers. This, their final recording (allegedly), is taken from their final gig (allegedly). It emphasizes their strong points: the way they play together on acoustic instruments, [...]

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Adam Schroeder

Adam Schroeder

Let's

(Capri Records)

As a longtime admirer of Harry Carney, Gerry Mulligan and Serge Chaloff, I welcomed this opportunity to hear another talented baritone-saxophone artist. Adam Schroeder, a native of the Midwest and now based in Los Angeles, is one of the rising stars on this mighty anchor of the saxophone family. Schroeder is joined here by an [...]

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Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood

Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood

Juice

(Indirecto Records)

Medeski, Martin and Wood have a good thing going with 20-plus years of being both a groovy and avant-garde organ trio. Adding John Scofield to their tight chemistry could have been disastrous, but Scofield knows his way around soul and funk, and his presence has broadened their sound. This is their third collaboration, every bit [...]

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H.G. Breland

H.G. Breland

No Rhyme or Reason

(Independent)

H.G. Breland is one of those seasoned music-business vets you’ve never heard of, a roots-rocker from the Mississippi Delta who made the scene on both coasts in the very unfolky ’70s without ever breaking out. But it’s just seasoned him to perfection—not only does he possess a big, booming baritone that variously evokes The Man [...]

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Luther Dickinson

Luther Dickinson

Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues

()

Guitarist and singer Luther Dickinson’s new solo record has a retrospective aura to it. Both musically and lyrically, Dickinson is looking back at his past exploits and reflecting upon them. The sound of the record is simple and a little raw. It’s all acoustic guitar, upright bass, drums, and some fife. It is more in the [...]

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Various Artists

Various Artists

Boppin’ by the Bayou: Made in the Shade

(Ace)

The ninth, 28 track release in the “By the Bayou” series, Ace has once again assembled an impressive showcase of early Gulf Coast music. The majority of the rockin’ and rollin’ repertoire here was recorded at J. D. Miller’s Crowley studio. (To the unenlightened, J.D. Miller was the Bayou State’s equivalent of Memphis’ Sam Phillips) [...]

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Peter Stampfel

Peter Stampfel

Better Than Expected

(Don Giovanni Records)

As Mark Bingham began the process of closing down Piety Street Studio he began lining up the projects he would work on in the future. His impact as a producer overshadowed his considerable skills as a musician, so one of the things he had in mind was to play more. Better Than Expected is a [...]

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Billy Boy Arnold

Billy Boy Arnold

The Blues Soul of

(Stony Plain)

The number of Chicago blues artists that were active in the ’50s, and that are still out there today, can be counted on one hand. Besides Billy Boy, off the top of my gray head, the only other one I can think of is Henry Gray. Arnold, a harmonica player by trade, made his mark [...]

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Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer

Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer

Bass and Mandolin

(Nonesuch Records)

At the top of the heap of the “Americana” genre are some genuine stars: banjoist Bela Fleck and fiddler Mark O’Connor in particular. Equally as eminent on their instruments are mandolinist Chris Thile and acoustic bassist Edgar Meyer. One would imagine an album of bass and mandolin duets to grow old quickly, but these guys [...]

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Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires

Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires

Dereconstructed

(Sub Pop)

It seems that every smart band from the South has to make their southern statement record. Tom Petty, Jimbo Mathis, and the Drive By Truckers have all made great and provocative records on that theme. Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires now have done theirs, and it’s fantastic. This record rocks hard. Bains III [...]

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