This is the first installment in a series of reviews of historic and
noteworthy blues recordings from the Northwest's recent and distant past.
It will be of a shopping list, of sorts, for the musty used record bins,
garage sales, and junk store excursions that draw us record collectors like
a free chicken and beer sign.
LIVE AT THE ROADHOUSE
Criminal Records Label #CR33-02
Originally available as an LP and cassette
Recorded live at the Jolly Roger Roadhouse, Seattle, Washington in February, 1984
Isaac Scott - Guitar and vocals, Steve Bailey - Harp, guitar, and vocals, Mark Oslund - guitar, Tony Thomas - bass, Rick Howell - drums, Sadie Goodwin, Diane Copeland, and Shirley Mann - backup vocals
Curtis Salgado - harp and vocals, Lloyd Jones - guitar and vocals, Joel Foy - guitar, Eddy Campy - bass, John Moore - drums
Tom McFarland - guitar and vocals, J. W. Moore - drums, Mark Dalton - bass, Perry Welsh - harp
Paul deLay - harp and vocals, Dave Stewart - vocals and organo, Jim Mesi -
guitar, Don Campbell - bass, Paul Jones - drums
Now, this is a hefty package! There are great performances all over these sets. I'm going to single out three. Isaac Scott, the rightful heir to the title, Seattle's Bigtime Bluesman, is stunning here on Gene Barge's I Don't Know (What the World is Coming To). Gene Barge is a fine blues sax player from Chicago, and oftentime gospel record producer. I presume he wrote this song for a gospel project, and Isaac definitely takes us to church on this one. Isaac makes great use of his big emotional voice and the "amen" backup singers. Steve Bailey blows terrific accompanying harmonica.
Tom McFarland absolutely shreds his own driving shuffle, I Am a Witness! His convincing singing completely eclipses Sting's pop parallel, I'll Be Watching You. Tom's tumbling guitar figures propel this remarkable song to embarassingly personal heights for anyone who has brooded in darkness at the end of a former girlfriend's street to catch a glimpse of the girlfriend and her current squeeze....did I say too much....oh, never mind.
Lloyd Jones wasn't even billed for this project. He's just a sideman to Curtis Salgado in the band In Yo' Face. But, Lloyd stole the show for me with his utterly devastating reading of Hudson Whittaker's Cryin' Won't Help You.
Believe me, there's more here. Enough to make this one worth $50.00 in near mint condition; on vinyl that is. On vinyl you can appreciate Kim Field's fine artwork and Roberta Penn's liner notes.
Hats off to the Fatcat and Harmonica Plowboy...er, I mean Playboy for putting this project in the files for future listeners.
BROWN SUGAR BLUES BAND (GREATEST HITS)
Brown Sugar Blues Band Label
Available as a 33 1/3 EP only
Recorded at Recording Associates, Portland, Oregon in 1974
Paul deLay - harp and vocals, Lloyd Jones - guitar and vocals, Jim Mesi - guitar, Bob Lyon - drums, Al Kuzens - bass, and Rick Aldrich - sax
This is a must for the Northwest blues fan. Here are three of the most important figures in the current Northwest scene plying their craft in their early years of development. The recording quality and musicianship is remarkably good. The four songs are originals with a gritty old timey quality. I know it's a left handed compliment, but they sound like they could be covers of some blues great's tunes. Paul deLay's singing is raw and emotional, while his harp work sounds far more mature than it should have at this stage in his career. Lloyd's singing is exuberant, relaxed, and fun.
The EP is worth almost any price for the obligatory group photo of five young blues banditos gathered around the pool table swathed in polyester, rayon, and Stacey Adams finery.
In very good to mint condition, I'd pay up to $30.00 for this gem.
The sleeve features the band standing around a Caddy limo in an alley. If you have it, contact:
Uncle Ray Varner