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Author Archives: Eric C. Shoaf

Julius Pittman & the Revival

Bucket List
Julius Pittman thumbnail

Southern soul singer Julius Pittman, whose smooth vocal style brings to mind Al Green or Teddy Pendergrass, is a key performer, songwriter, and vocalist for the band that features Randy Moss on guitar. In a time when it seems singers from “American Idol” finalists to Michael Bolton apparently believe a song has to be sung […]

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Raisin’ Cain: The Wild and Raucous Story of Johnny Winter

Backbeat Books

The biographer has a duty to get close to the subject in order to relay all the facts and get first-hand accounts of events while at the same time not getting so close that a story becomes sanitized and historically reinterpreted. In this bio on bluesman Johnny Winter, author Mary Lou Sullivan gets close enough […]

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Downchild – I Need A Hat

Linus Entertainment

Downchild is a Canadian blues band driven by blues maestro Donnie Walsh. Their new release is made up of originals written by Walsh that are tough and gritty in the best blues tradition, with stellar production.  Special guests include bluesman/celebrity Dan Aykroyd, blues-rocker Colin James, and Stax Records legend Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns. […]

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D.A.D. – No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims

Wounded Bird Records

On their first major label release, the band formerly known as Disneyland After Dark (changed after a threatened lawsuit by the Disney Co.) was poised for a breakthrough in the U.S. with backing from Warner Brothers, and video in heavy rotation on MTV, and a melodic approach to metal that featured big guitars and no […]

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Duke Robillard – A Swing Lesson with Duke Robillard

Stony Plain

Duke continues his impressive output with a nod to his swing roots. Among guitarists, Robillard is known as a do-all, as he can be at home in almost any musical style, not only mimicking lines and copping phrases from the best of the genre, but adding deft touches to the finished product. His knowledge of […]

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Jack Bruce – Can You Follow

Esoteric Recordings

Jack Bruce may be best known as one third of Cream. A brilliant and prolific composer who dabbled in jazz, rock, folk, and world music, Bruce was more known for his busy approach to bass playing. Equally at home on piano, where he composed much of his recorded output over the years, and adept at […]

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West, Bruce, & Laing – Why Dontcha


When one third Cream and two thirds of Mountain joined to form West, Bruce & Laing in 1972, expectations were not exactly high. This, their first album, was a decent effort and enough to appease fans of both bands. But how does the music hold up now? Not badly at all! True, time has been […]

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Robben Ford – The Art of Blues Rhythm


Robben Ford has been a prolific artist since the early ’70s and is as much a teacher as a recording artist. His impeccable soloing techniques, phrasing, and tone have been the subject of several books and videos. Mixing jazz influences into a rootsy blues stew, Ford brings his smooth and tasty rhythm playing to the […]

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Les Paul

The Legend and a New Book

The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy, 1915-1963 Les Paul is an acknowledged musical icon who influenced so much and many in his 92 years, yet he still has an amazing enthusiasm for the guitar. A new book, The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy, 1915-1963 (see review in this month’s “Hit List”), […]

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Mike Morgan & the Crawl – Stronger Every Day


Texas-born Mike Morgan returns with his 13th album of original songs, layering blues with a funky rhythm that captures the essence of Muscle Shoals and Beale Street all at once, and does a credible job. Morgan has a strong voice and develops rich melodies that stay true to blues structures and context, but also bring […]

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