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Category Archives: Music

Paul Asbell

From Adamant to Atchafalaya

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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Song of the South

Duane Allman and the Rise of the Allman Brothers Band

You’re always taking a chance with a DVD that concerns a band and yet none of the band members take part in the production. That’s the case here. While there are no Allman interviews, we do hear from numerous critics, writers, and more importantly, former friends, bandmates, and Willie Perkins, the Allmans’ road manager during […]

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The Strypes

Blue Collar Jane

Here’s rock and roll like it used to be – ageless, timeless, and ready to count off again. The Strypes are a quartet from Ireland, all just 15 to 17 years old, running on pure raging teen energy, Ray-Bans, and Clearasil. And they play wailing, howling, and strutting R&B with raw force. Yes, this is […]

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Craig Maki with Keith Cady

Detroit Country Music: Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies

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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Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin

The King of Soul The Queen of Soul

First off, neither of these excellent four-CD sets includes personnel listings in their skimpy liner booklets. This is simply unpardonable – especially considering how stylish, how influential, how downright phenomenal the backlines are on most of these songs. But to back up and start from the start, these two new collections are fine, budget-priced sets […]

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João Erbetta & Adam Levy and Panamericans!

Mad Flux and Panamericans 2

A glimpse at João Erbetta’s résumé brings to mind Harry Belafonte’s tongue-in-cheek introduction of Carlos Santana at the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors, begging for immigration reform because the Mexican native had squelched his hopes for a calypso revival. Since ’06, when he moved to the States from Brazil (where he was a member of the […]

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Son House, Willie Trice, Sam Chatmon, and others

Legendary Country Blues Guitarists

“Treasure trove” is a label as overused as “genius,” “virtuoso,” and “Holy Grail.” But, how else can one describe 115 minutes of footage, containing 33 performances by blues legends Rev. Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Bukka White, and others (all long since dead, save Buddy Guy, in an amazing 1968 duet with Son House)? Collectors […]

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Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost

The Stones Gear: All the Stones' Instruments From Stage to Studio

The rest of the world may be titillated by what the Stones smoked, shot, snorted, or ingested. But some of us have our priorities straight; we’re more concerned with what the band strummed and drummed. Noted guitar historian Andy Babiuk is hip to all this. Babiuk is, of course, the author of the phenomenal Beatles […]

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Drive-By Truckers

English Oceans

The DBT tell great stories. That continues to be true on their latest album as well. From the workingman’s stomp of “Sh*t Shots Count” that opens the record to the melancholy but majestic closer “Grand Canyon,” the lyrical content is as good as it gets. Patterson Hood and Mike Colley split the writing and singing […]

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Dave Van Ronk and Oscar Isaac, Bob Dylan, Punch Brothers, and others

Inside Dave Van Ronk and Inside Llewyn Davis Soundtrack

The 2013 Coen Brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, chronicled a week in the life of a Greenwich Village folksinger during 1961, a character loosely based on the late Dave Van Ronk. T-Bone Burnett handled soundtrack duties. His selections often receive lavish, almost automatic praise, yet his work can be sterile and, on period films like […]

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