Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Album Review: Mitch Woods, Gumbo Blues

Artist: Mitch Woods
Title: Gumbo Blues

On his tribute album to “Smiley Lewis and the pioneers of New Orleans Rhythm & Blues” piano player Mitch Woods employs the formidable talents of a terrific band to highlight a wonderful niche of American music. When we look at the many greats that emerged from the New Orleans market, the line of R n’ B piano players is long including; Professor Longhair, James Booker, Art Neville, Dr. John, Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint. It is an area of music that seems to define pure delight by immediately getting fingers and toes tapping. Much like Chuck Berry’s form of blues, the New Orleans R&B piano sound is easily digested and continues to lend its vibrancy to many contemporary players including; Bob Malone, Jon Cleary and Mitch Woods. When it comes down to technical definitions, this sound is firmly rooted in the blues BUT defies the form by being inherently danceable and overwhelmingly joyous.

The latest outing by Mitch Woods is clearly focused on this genre. Titled ‘Gumbo Blues’ Woods and band wheel through some of the genres finest covers including; ‘Lil’ Liza Jane’, ‘Blue Monday,’ ‘I Hear You Knockin’ and ‘Shame, Shame, Shame: ’ a veritable songbook of the legendary Dave Bartholomew. This is a terrific album albeit it all covers.

Throughout his career Woods has looked backwards for inspiration. His interpretations and arrangements are delightful but solidly retrospective. Like all of us, Woods and his band needs to eat – so his efforts to pull the artform forward may have earned less overt reward than this caliber of talent deserves. With a deep catalogue of albums out, Woods, like Taj Mahal, has defined himself as a credible progenitor and musicological preservationist of the first caliber. Unfortunately it is a choice that presents a set of challenges including lower levels of recognition and commercial reward. Radio programmers can virtually “drop the needle” on any track and elevate energy levels with sounds and textures that harkens to the very dawn of rock n’ roll while remaining true to the blues. If there is a god of music, than surely Mitch Woods will receive radio support if for no other reason than the music does the talking and it speaks well.