Blesok no. 22, August-September, 2001
It's a common fact that future of the blues depends on work of smaller, independent record labels whose dedication to the idiom will make this musical form continue its existence. These labels are run by blues lovers, musicians often struggling day by day to bring their goal to wider public that can appreciate their work. A lot of, by today standards, succesful bluesmen would not make it if there were not these independents, they would not get a chance elsewhere with some big name labels. One of such distinguished labels is French company Dixiefrog Records. In recent years this company has became a houshold name among lovers of quality blues, but also rock and some other musical genres. Each released project carries a trademark of quality, be it their own production or licensed material, so when a music lover gets any of Dixiefrog releases he knows what to expect: quality name, excellent performance and strong production. I have heard many Dixiefrog releases and never heard a bad one, be it a blues release, rock or whatever. That speaks volumes about Philippe Langlois and his colleagues who are in charge of Dixiefrog material. A lot of Dixiefrog releases can be regularly heard on Second Programme of Macedonian National Radio 94,1 FM and on Mojo Blues 103 FM Radio.
Herebelow is the latest batch of Dixiefrog releases which deserve your interest:
Tommy Castro Band – Guilty Of Love DFCD 8524
“The blues is in good hands. Tommy has the voice, the sound and the right intentions to touch everyone's heart”. This is what Carlos Santana said of Tommy Castro and he knows a good musician when he hears it, right? “Guilty Of Love” is Tommy's best effort so far which should go down well with lovers of blues. It mixes variety of styles like R & B, funky swamp rock, Memphis soul, gospel tinged soul of Al Green, but there's blues in Tommy's every note.
Larry McCray – Blues Is My Business DFCD 8522
Larry is right: blues is his business and he's a good businessman! His latest project will undoubtely bring him more fans as it's more mainstream oriented and a perfect example of contemporary blues production. Larry has been on a scene for some time now and it's about time he gets what he deserve: bigger exposure and recognition by critics and music lovers alike. His material is varied and divided between his five originals and six covers by well-known people like Teenie Hodges, Jerry Ragovoy, Warren Haynes, Bowe & Cerney, Todd Wolfe and Dave Steen. Some excellent slow blues spiced with funky rockers and a legendary producer Mike Vernon guarantees for repeated listening. With his searing guitar work Larry will probably please also a lot of rock fans.Well done Larry!
Popa Chubby – Presents New York City Blues Again DFCD 8523
After his last CD “Flashed Back “ (DFCD 8520) where he performed his favourite sixties stuff, Popa Chubby is back with his recent project, second in a series of presenting current New York blues scene. This time he has gathered some fine company of excellent musicians who deserve much wider exposure and with this CD they will hopefully achieve it. Irving Louis Lattin, Zach Zunis, Lewis Gatewood, Joe Taino, Steve Logan and Matt Smith probably mean nothing to blues lovers outside New York, but these guys definitely deserve to be heard and thanks to Popa Chubby a lot of blues fans will have a chance to check this guys out! New York City blues is not a blues in a traditional sense, it's based on the idiom but upgraded with a lot of contemporary sounds including Latin influences, rhythm and blues, rock, hip hop and everything in between. This spicy stuff will surely get you on a dance floor, of course, if you're alive!
Masey Cason – Soul On Fire DFCD 8521
Mason Casey is not a household name so far, but after heaing his “Soul On Fire” CD, things may well change. If you like your blues funky, spiced with excellent harmonica, smoking vocals and fine guitar work courtesy of Popa Chubby and Zach Zunis, than this CD is for you! First track “Voodoo Boogie” is fine indication what to expect, it starts and never let go until the final notes of frantic version of Little Richard's “Lucille”. This is some serious party stuff! Mason Casey is a fine harmonica player and author of most of the songs on this CD, showing his writing capabilities. Thanks to Dixiefrog, Mason will be exposed to European blues fans and if we're lucky enough some European tour might follow!
Bill Perry – Fire It Up DFCD 8519
Bill Perry's latest CD will definitely confirm his stature on contemporary blues scene. Michael Hill's favourite guitar player has come up with a collection of tunes which should please all broadminded blues lovers. Featuring songs made in collaboration with felow guitarist Jimmy Vivino plus a song by Popa Chubby and and one by Sammy Davis, Bill Perry has done a great job, this is an exciting collection of fine material that should take place in any collection of serious blues fans. If you're in for strong songs performed with verve and passion look no further, you'll get it with Bill Perry's “Fire It Up”!
Tino Gonzales – Modern Day Hobo DFCD 8515
It's about time blues fans all over the world take notice: Tino Gonzales is the name to have your attention! His latest CD on Dixiefrog is full of great songs, excellent guitar playing and heartfelt vocals. Title of his latest CD aptly showcase his recent musical ideas. Tino is an avid world observer expressing his views through his blues coated music. This CD was recorded in Germany, deals with some European history (Dancing With Angels, Blues For Mary), features tribute to Grover Washington (Grover's Groove), our Mother Earth (Mi Tierra with hints of Santana) and his blues roots (Born Under A Bad Sign). Using an great band and fabulous horn section, Tino Gonzales has done it again! Great stuff and everybody should take notice!