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Author Archives: Rick Allen

Joel Selvin

Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm & Blues
 
Joel-Selvin

Every garage band owes Bert Berns. Without him 1960s radio would have been almost as dull as it is today. Berns shepherded the early careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond, and his production of the Isley Brother’s hit on his (as “Bert Russell”) and Phil Medley’s “Twist And Shout,” spurred the development of Phil […]

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Johnny A.

Driven
 
Johnny-A

As the liner notes state, Johnny A.’s musical mantra is “melody is king.” And oh, how he proves it here – even when he dusts off his EBow for a side trip into psychedelia on “Out Of Nowhere.” That melodic perspective is extremely important for an instrumental artist. When his technique grabs your attention, as […]

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Justin Currie

Lower Reaches
 
Justin-Currie

The creative team of bassist Justin Currie and guitarist Iain Harvie led the band Del Amitri through several personnel changes over the years. The group was similar to the tough, passionate bantam British bands like Steve Marriott’s Small Faces, the Hollies, and other working-class ensembles on the English club scene of the ’60s. Currie’s now […]

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Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys

Radio Shows
 
Jim-and-Jesse

Jim and Jesse’s music, with signature tunes like “The Flame Of Love” and Paradise,” never crossed over to pop success. But from their first broadcast on a Virginia radio station in 1947 through their many years with the Grand Ole Opry starting in 1964 until guitarist Jim McReynolds passed away in 2002, they were a […]

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Craig Maki with Keith Cady

Detroit Country Music: Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies
 
Detroit-Country-Music

Craig Maki and Keith Cady provide a well-researched look at an overlooked part of Motor City’s rich musical history. They offer new or little-known information about the fertile Detroit scene that influenced people such as Del Shannon and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen with Bill Kirchen. The Motor City nurtured many country and […]

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Paul Asbell

From Adamant to Atchafalaya
 
Paul-Asbell

On Chicago’s south side, Paul Asbell recorded and played with Howlin’ Wolf, Lightning Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, and other legendary greats, including holding down the rhythm guitar chair for the studio side of Muddy Waters Fathers and Sons LP. Moving east, he expanded his scope to work with Big Mama Thornton and folk, soul, and […]

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Port City Prophets

Mule
 
Port-City-Prophets

The Prophets are a blues-rock bar band that brings around a lot of people to music they might not otherwise have heard. The PCPs will remind you of both Grand Funk and ZZ Top. With the opening cut “Close Your Eyes,” they’ll also bring fond echoes of Lee Michaels to those who remember. When guitarist […]

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Sean Weaver

Half Past Midnight
 
Sean-Weaver

Weaver’s album of solo guitar features instrumental treatments that range from “La Alborada (Little Music Box),” a heart-tugging classical piece by Francisco Tarrega, to Rodgers and Hart’s “Little Girl Blue,” to a beautiful working of Don McLean’s “Vincent.” The reflective mood of the album runs through high-stepping versions of Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” W.C. Handy’s […]

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The No Refund Band

The No Refund Band
Self-distributed
 
The-No-Refund-Band

Lead singer/guitarist Ricky Jackson sings with a brassiness and strength that doesn’t come along often in pop music. He’s also an impressive guitarist, partly in debt to the crotch-rock styles of Slash and Joe Perry. A bluesed-up version of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” could have been troublesome. Instead, Jackson and gang take it somewhere between […]

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The Coal Men

Escalator
 
The-Coal-Men-THUMB

The Coal Men – guitarist Dave Coleman and drummer Dave Ray – boast a cowboy romanticism that comes alive on their fourth album, Escalator. Coleman wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on Escalator with Ray, bassist Jay Hitchcock, or other collaborators, creating a definite band identity linking each cut. “Midnight You” and “Lonoke, Arkansas” […]

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