Paul Richell, Blues on a Holiday (Tone-Cool Records)

Finger-poppin’, straight-ahead blues…no frills, just thrills. Richell plays National Steel and electric, and makes you feel like you’re right on the front porch with him. Kick off your shoes and relax to a fine set of acoustic and electric blues with taste and style. My favorite acoustic solo tracks are “Dallas” (written by Johnny Winter), “Careless Love” (with that Leadbelly feel), and “Too Tight.” It’s good to see that Tone-Cool has taken the initiative to keep this great musical heritage alive. You can tell Richell truly loves what he’s doing, and it shines through on this CD. When he kicks in with the full band, it made me feel like I was watching Elmore James at the Zanzibar: hot, hot, hot, with the help of Jerry Portnoy (Muddy Waters’ harp player) and Richard Rosenblatt, a stellar engineer (as well as a great harp player in his own right). This CD has got it all together: roots and rockin’ blues with a feeling. Best tracks are “Talk To Me, Baby,” “Hoodoo Party” and “Like I Used to Do.”