Perry Keyes – The Last Ghost Train Home (2007)

peery k front“If he’d been born in the US then Keyes may well have been heralded as the next Springsteen. As it is, he’s something altogether more original.” — Rock ‘N’ Reel, November/December 2007

“This album has everything that any fan of quality song writing could want. Perry Keyes has produced a great album.” — Americana-UK, September 2007

“Like Steve Earle, his world-weary songs stand out as a beacon of truth in a sea of deceit.” — The Age, Melbourne, September 2007

“There is a great deal owing to Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle and Elvis Costello in the sound here but the songs all belong to Perry Keyes and him alone.” —, September 2007

mp3 192 kbps | 77 MB | UL

Chuck Prophet – The Hurting Business (2000)

chSinger/songwriter and cracking guitarist Chuck Prophet breaks the Americana mold on his fifth solo recording, and pops turntablism and noisy Tom Waits-style clanks into his formal songs as an experiment. It works: there’s the bouncy Farfisa-toned title song, and “Lucky” is an absolute hit single right in the minimalist pocket with its guitar, drums, Hammond organ, and falsetto vocals (all certainly atypical on a Prophet-style production). “God’s Arms” has a melodious Eastern hymn spin thanks to swirling Mellotron and mando guitar subbing for sitar. Though Homemade Blood was his high-water mark, new listeners may want to connect with this so-called departure before digging deeper into Prophet’s wealthy storehouse of songcraft.

mp3 320 kbps | 103 MB | UL

David Byrne and Brian Eno – Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (2008)

daThe musical reunion between David Byrne and Brian Eno comes with a fair amount of baggage. After all, they produced some of the greatest records in rock history: the trio of Talking Heads records that Eno worked on, culminating in Remain in Light, and followed by the duo’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, where all manner of funky beats and freaky sampladelic rhythms were wedded to Pentecostal exorcisms and African ceremonial bush chants. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today is a nearly 180-degree turn from the duo’s collective musical past. These 11 songs are loopy pop tunes that wed Byrne’s strange hearing of gospel and folk to Eno’s continually evolving rhythmic and electronic palette — they refer to it as “folk-electronic-gospel.” Granted, Eno’s compositional frameworks are all written in major keys, and Byrne’s poetically funny, sophisticated lyrics express possibility and hope in the middle of cultural darkness, but while it’s clear that the emotional component is shared between the two principals, this is far from “message” music. The set opens with “Home.” Strummed acoustic guitars and drum loops textured by sonic wonkery introduce an elegantly simple melody where Byrne, at his full-throated best, sings: “The dimming of the light/Makes the picture clearer…I memorized a face so it’s not forgotten…Come back anytime/And we’ll mix our lives together/Heaven knows what keeps mankind alive/Every hand — goes searching for its partner in crime.” Brokenness and paradox are also addressed: “Home where my world is breaking in two/Home with the neighbors fighting/Home — were my parents telling the truth?” Likewise, the title track — with its warm, liquid guitars (à la Daniel Lanois), out-of-the-ether sonic architecture, and Byrne’s lyric coming from both dream and reflection — is slower and less jaunty, but poetically moving: “Oh my brother, I still wonder, are you all right/And among the living, we are giving/All through the night….” The backing choral voices give the track its “church” feel, but the message is more human and existential than divinely inspired. Another winner is “Life Is Long,” which evokes remembrance as the continuation of the chain of human events. Its horn section touches on soul and rhythm & blues, but is blanched and diluted wonderfully. The only track that consciously attempts the rhythmic complexity of anything on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts is “Poor Boy,” which is cosmic science-fiction white-boy funk at its best. It’s a warning against following the established order and rampant, empty materialism for their own sake — its guitar riff comes straight outta the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar.” Everything That Happens Will Happen Today is, despite the long odds, a truly inviting, musically adventurous, and mature musical statement. It reveals in spades how willing artists are capable of redefining themselves when they refuse to take themselves too seriously. This is unfettered joyful listening, and in its own small way, even profound.

mp3 320 kbps| 110 MB | UL

Mick Hucknall – American Soul [Deluxe Edition] (2013)

mHere, on the  American Soul, Hucknall pays tribute to, well, American soul, selecting 12 soul standards, most of them from the ’60s. Hucknall bends the rules a bit, allowing the Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” into the mix to flirt with Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me to Do,” but he generally sticks to well-loved standards such as “I’d Rather Go Blind,” “Lonely Avenue,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” and “Tell It Like It Is.” Compared to Tribute to Bobby, this adds a bit of grit to its production in its attempt to sound like old-fashioned soul, and that’s why it’s a better record: it gets closer to the spirit and sound of what Hucknall loves.

mp3 VBR~245 kbps | 193 MB | UL | CL | TB

Al Basile (feat. Duke Robillard Band) – At Home Next Door (2012)


Any doubts as to just how good a Singer, Songwriter, and Cornet player Al Basile is, can quickly be put to rest after only a few moments of listening to his great new release, “At Home Next Door”, his ninth Duke Robillard produced album. Even better news about Al Basile’s new release is that it is also a double album release, with one CD featuring his Blues Songwriting and Performing with his own Label, Sweetspot Records, a tenure lasting now 14 years, and a second CD featuring new songs which are done in the a 60’s Memphis Style.

As with all of Al’s previous releases, Duke Robillard, his former boss when he played in the band, Roomful Of Blues, not only produced but also performed on them, including this one, on all Tracks, as Guitarist. In addition to Duke Robillard, Al has also drawn from a wide area of the Northeast, adding some of the best Bluesmen going, featuring no less than 16 great musicians on “At Home Next Door”.

The first CD is called “At Home With The Blues”, and consists of 14 great Tracks that thoroughly explore not only Swing Blues, but also Chicago Style Blues and a few others. For me, I like a little more of the Bluesier side than the Swing side, and there is lots of great Bluesier side stuff on “At Home With The Blues”, with a few of my favorites being, Track 4, “Termites In My Kitchen”, Track 6, “Just A Heartache”, and Track 14, “80 Bells”.

“Termites In My Kitchen” is a Harmonica laced beauty featuring Ray Norcia on Harp. It also features some great stuff from Bruce Katz on Keys. “Just A Heartache”, another really nice number, with this one featuring Jerry Portnoy on Harp. Duke Robillard also really shines with his Guitar playing especially around the halfway mark. “80 Bells” is the closer for “At Home With The Blues” and is played with a Acoustic Delta flare. According to the CD Booklet, it looks like it was only Al, Duke, and Max Teixiera (Drums) playing on this Track, but really it was the Al and Duke show for sure as the Drums were just to subtle. A wonderful Track to end “At Home With The Blues”.
The second CD is called “Next Door To The Blues”, and consists of 13 Tracks and it seems to cover more ground than “At Home With The Blues” also featuring Swing, Soul, Funk, Jazz, and more, and as the album’s name implies it is truly music that is “Next Door To The Blues”. This one really showed off the other side of Al Basile and shows us all how much of a complete master of music, of many genres, Al is.
Now like I said previously, I enjoy the more Blues Style genres, but I am telling you right now, that I really enjoyed the wonderful potpourri of musical styles other than Straight Blues that Al put together for “Next Door To The Blues”. The singing and the music is just to darn good to not like.
“At Home Next Door”, is my second intro to Al Basile and his wonderfully majestic music, and it was equally good, if not better, this time around. Al has exactly what it takes to capture your attention, regardless of what musical genres you prefer.
5***** for sure for “At Home Next Door”, Al Basile’s amazing double blast of great music.
Favorite Track Overall… “Miss Dissatisfied”… One of the nicest songs I have heard, so far in 2012.

Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)

mp3 320 kbps | 291 MB | UL | TB