Music Industry News Network [07-18-2017]
Bongo Boy Records Gospel Blues Volume One By Various Artists A Must Have.
Review by – The Grouch | Sweden
July 18, 2017
Record Label: Bongo Boy Records
Godmorgon från Sweden America!
As it is currently morning here in Sweden I thought there would be no better time than now to give a listen and share my thoughts about Bongo Boy’s first Gospel Blues album. As anyone who has read my reviews knows, I really like the blues and growing up in Detroit I was heavily influenced by Motown. Given that the vast majority of the Motown greats learned to sing in church, it stands to reason that I would dig Gospel Blues. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review the first album Bongo Boy has released that is comprised of exclusively Gospel Blues tracks.
1. Big Chris & D'Bare Bones Band - When Your Time Comes 2:48 - I like this song. I have head Big Chris on other Bongo Boy albums and know that he has a great voice for this type of music. There is something ominous, yet very cool about the guitar. This song actually strikes me as clos-er to the Crossroads than the Church, but there is no denying that this band has soul. I am groov-ing to the stings as Chris’ thundering voice tells me that I had better get everything worked out with Jesus before it is too late. This song is a great way to start the album.
2. Barb Maxey - Day by Day 4:14 - Oh yeah! I love that funky walkdown that starts the song. This song is a very standard blues progression and I love it. The thing about Barb is that while there is no doubt her band can smoke, the thing that blows my mind is her voice. I have heard Barb before and can say I am still amazed. When Barb is not singing she lets her band just groove. The guy playing keys really makes me smile! Then the guitar comes in with a huge bolt of lightning and I think it simply cannot get any better, but it does. A second guitar comes in for a duel that ends in a draw when Barb takes the song into the ending with her fantastic voice.
3. Bob Birthisel - Walkin' (To The Beat Of The Lord) 3:46 - The intro is killer! The thump of the bass drum sets the groove while Bob comes in with some fantastically soul filled vocals. Then the band hits its stride and all funk breaks loose. The background singers just add to the utter coolness of this track. All I can say is if Reverend Bob is preaching, I am there every Sunday morning! The Grouchette and I are going to a place about an hour away this afternoon, she doesn’t know it yet, but we will be driving to the beat of the Lord.
4. Mandy Brooks - God Don't Ever Change 3:18 - Man, Oh man I am such a sucker for slide guitar. This song is pure gold. This is a blend of Country and Blues filled with a huge dose of lyrics which are sung in an utterly stunning twang. I have not been this moved by, what I would call old-school Country music since Hank III showed me the light. Well done, Mandy, well done!
5. Terry Fellers - Lay Your Hands Upon The Rock 3:13 - Oh WOW! This reminds me of the old Messiah Prophet Band. Simply put, this is blues based metal that rocks for Jesus. What would Jesus do? He’d rip it up on a Stratocaster with a Marshall stack. I dig this song! Terry sounds like Bon Scott would have, if he had found religion.
6. Terry Fellers - He's Alive He's Alive 2:25 - Terry is back and this time the track starts out with a bit more mellowness, but no less intensity. I am digging the string work as Terry tells the story of the Resurrection. He manages to throw in a little slide and the song just explodes with soul-filled emotion. Terry, you are a very good player! I am truly impressed.
7. Wily Bo Walker - Long Way To Heaven ft. The Brown Sisters of Chicago 4:12 - This track starts out with some beautiful piano and then some angelic voices come in. This is followed by a slow grind of horns, the rhythm section and the prototypical blues voice of Wily Bo Walker.
The only way to describe this song is spellbinding. I am not even moving in time with the drum-mer. All I can do is sit her totally stunned and amazed. If you want to hear soul music the way it should be done - LISTEN to this track.
8. The Rev Jimmie Bratcher - Pray For Me 3:56 - I dig the keys and the organ that start out while the drummer keeps a mellow beat with his brushes. I grew up Lutheran and I always wish our church had music like this. The Reverend has managed to pack an entire sermon inside some very moving, and wickedly played, blues based music.
9. Bill Irwin - Jonah 4:45 - We are back to the funky grind as we swing to the story of Jonah. I just dig this song. The guitar is one bolt of lightning after another as the band moves through a simple blues progression. The blues is not complex, but that does not mean it is easy. Bill has managed to take a story almost everyone in the Western world has heard a thousand times and spiced it up with some really cool licks! Put another way, had the stories in church been presented this way, I might have paid attention.
10. Blind Dawg Ben Miller - I Need To Pray 5:18 - I first heard the Dawg on another Bongo Boy release and I really liked what I heard. I feel the same way about this track. I really like the harp. As an amateur harp player myself, all I can say is this guy is wicked! Then there is the gui-tar which is simply sublime while the bass and drums lock in - combine this with the Dawg’s absolutely killer voice and you wind up with a track that really should go gold. I defy anyone to listen to this song and not be blown away. When they hit that break and the vocals go into the repetition of “I need to pray” at a gradually increasing tempo, all I can think is YES! I’ve got that goofy grin I get when I totally dig what I am hearing. Fantastic work!
11. Gar Francis - God's On My Side 3:30 - Sir Gar chimes in with a funky groove that makes me smile. Gar Francis is one of my favorite musicians and this track is a great example of why. Gar is playing no-holds barred old school rock and roll with a heavy nod to the blues. The slide work rocks and the guy on keys is just jamming! I love it when you can tell the band is playing for themselves. I really dig the drummer’s groove as he tries to take a bit of attention away from the slide guitar and the keys. Then boom the bass pops in and says check this out - all of this leads to the inevitable end. They could have kept going, but in the words of John Belushi “Noooooooooooo”.
12. The Rev Jimmie Bratcher - One Rock 3:34 - The Good Reverend is back with another track. This time he cranks up the volume a bit and lets his ax man blast out some truly divinely inspired licks. The background singers, in combination with Jimmie’s vocals and that wickedly smoking lead guitar make me thing they might just be able to actually move that mountain. Amen brother!
13. The Hallelujah Blues Band - Saved From Hell 3:11 = With a name like this, you know this band is going to rock! Rock they do! Can I get another two string lick for Jesus? Amen! All I can do is smile and think we all own a debt to Chuck. Man, I really want to see this band live. I have a feeling they may be akin of a religious Ram Jam.
14. Mandy Brooks - You Gotta Move 3:15 - Mandy is back with her slide guitar and stunning voice. This is pure and simple heartfelt Gospel Blues. Musically I am in love. The band can jam in a slow smoldering sort of way that really hits me hard. This combined with Mandy’s voice is nothing less than simply incredible! You really *must* listen to this track! All I can say is: WOW.
15. Bill Irwin - Standing On The Rock 4:04 - Bill is back and standing on The Rock. I know the Rock is meant to be Jesus, but it very well could be Jimmy Page. I hear a heavy Zeppelin vibe here. This really reminds me of when Zeppelin did heavy blues. I like Bill’s music; I like it a lot!
I would really like to see Bill’s live show.
16. K.L. Williams and Rebel Soul - If You Don't Have Jesus 4:40 - The old school electric blues is alive and well This is a blues band through and through. I could listen to this stuff all day long. Eric Clapton has nothing on the guitarist from Rebel Soul. The man is fantastic!! If you dig Clapton you will love this band.
So folks, what is the bottom line? The bottom line is this: Bongo Boy has outdone itself. This is, hands down, a fantastic album that is more than worth the purchase price. I am going to keep my promo copy for a very very long time! Thank you Bongo Boy!
Gospel Blues Volume One album by Various Artists release on Bongo Boy Records on 7.14.17 WORLDWIDE WEBSITE: bongoboyrecords.com/gospelbluesvol1/
1. Big Chris & D'Bare Bones Band - When Your Time Comes 2:48
2. Barb Maxey - Day by Day 4:14
3. Bob Birthisel - Walkin' (To The Beat Of The Lord) 3:46
4. Mandy Brooks - God Don't Ever Change 3:18
5. Terry Fellers - Lay Your Hands Upon The Rock 3:13
6. Terry Fellers - He's Alive He's Alive 2:25
7. Wily Bo Walker - Long Way To Heaven ft. The Brown Sisters of Chicago 4:12
8. The Rev Jimmie Bratcher - Pray For Me 3:56
9. Bill Irwin - Jonah 4:45
10. Blind Dawg Ben Miller - I Need To Pray 5:18
11. Gar Francis - God's On My Side 3:30
12. The Rev Jimmie Bratcher - One Rock 3:34
13. The Hallelujah Blues Band - Saved From Hell 3:11
14. Mandy Brooks - You Gotta Move 3:15
15. Bill Irwin - Standing On The Rock 4:04
16. K.L. Williams and Rebel Soul - If You Don't Have Jesus 4:40
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