I missed last week’s Blues Power Rankings 6-Pack last week due to circumstances beyond my control. I’m happy to return it this week and again with some new names sprinkled in with albums we’ve been discussing for quite awhile. Here are six songs sure to make you iPod happy from some of the hottest albums at blues radio from the past week.
Bob Corritore feat. Koko Taylor – “What Kind Of Man Is This?:” Talk about an all-star recording with this one. You get the great Koko Taylor on vocals, Bob Margolin on guitar, Bob Stroger on bass, and Corritore blowing some sweet, vintage harp. That collection of talent produces a simmering slab of blues that oozes pure, vintage Chicago. Corritore doesn’t swiping anyone’s licks but he demonstrates a deep, beautiful knowledge of the legacy of the great Walters of Chicago (Little Walter, Big Walter Horton).
Jimmie Vaughan – “Comin’ & Goin’:” Just as Corritore is flourish while assimilating the styles and sounds of those who inspired him, Jimmie Vaughan was able to write a song that fits beautifully alongside a collection of blues standards and favorites from over the years. This instrumental track brings Vaughan’s guitar out front but he isn’t trying to overpower fans with a series of virtuoso chops. “Comin’ & Goin'” is a blues shuffle that’s all about texture and feel.
Albert Castiglia – “Do You Love Me?:” This is a great little number from Castiglia’s Keepin On. Castiglia and his bandmates settle into sly groove and Castiglia offers a lead vocal with just a tinge of twang before he unleashes a furious blues-rock guitar solo. The twang of the voice and tang of the guitar are the perfect seasonings for this spicy number.
Robert Cray – “Love 2009:” Cray’s studio work can sometimes have a little too much sheen and gloss. On stage those qualities dissipate slightly and the presentation sounds more professional than slick. There is also a good chance that Cray will stretch out and play a little more, a little longer, and with just a bit more grit. The studio version of “Love 2009” is pleasing but the live version soars much higher for that very reason.
Walter Trout – “Song For My Guitar:” There’s something very Claptonesque in Walter Trout’s vocal on this cut from Common Ground and I like it. Lyrically this song treads well-traveled ground in the annals of rock but Trout gives a lovely vocal and, of course, the playing is first rate with such rich tone.
Teeny Tucker – “Keep The Blues Alive:” Well that’s what it’s all about then, isn’t it? This title track from the new album from award-winner Teeny Tucker delivers a gospel-infused blues about the blues and in the process reminds us why we love this music so much and why generations have continued to discover it, learn it, learn from it, and pass it on to the next generation. She’s in great voice on this cut – as she is throughout the album – and this soulful blend of gospel and blues is a reminder this music has roots at devil’s crossroads and in the church.