Discussion

Best Blues Albums of 2014

Gary Burnett did a good job setting up the Best Blues Albums of 2013 discussion so let's get 2014 going.

The first one that comes to mind is THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by Tommy Castro and the Painkillers.  A lot of great songs, many of which are in the straight blues format instead of his usual r & b and soul type offerings.  Of particular note are "Two Steps Forward" (And One Step Back)" and "I'm Tired".  I have played these songs over and over on the iPod and they are two of the best guitar-driven blues rock songs of the last few years.

Talking about great guitar work, try Joe Louis Walker's HORNET'S NEST.  The former preacher not only has the usual outstanding axe work, but his vocals shine.  A sense of humor on "Stick A Fork In Me" and "Not In Kansas Anymore". 

I highly recommend John Hammond's Timeless, which is a solo live album.  He's one of my favorite people to see in concert  and this album does an excellent job in capturing him live.

Gary, I hope I did not encroach on your territory on this chat and I hope you'll do the year end version.  Another one for the list through July might be COMMON GROUND by Dave and Phil Alvin.

Of this year's releases so far, I'm enjoying Ian Siegal's live album, Malaya Blue's Bourbon Street, Walter Trout's Blues Came Callin' Thorbjorn Risager's Too Many Roads and Keb Mo's return to form on BluesAmericana. Have still to check out releases from Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Janiva Magness. and a few others

Anything else you'd suggest at this 1/2 way stage?

An Italian soul blues band, Morblus, has a 2014 re-issue of a 1997 studio album and a 2000 live CD.  The twofer is called TWO LIVES-ONE SOUL.  While essentially all of the songs cover American blues, r & b, and soul standards, this horn-based band gives new life to the classics.  My favorite is the 11-minute version of Albert King's "I'll Play The Blues For You". 

Gary Clark Jr. just released live album with a lot of 6-8 minute songs.  Good stuff, though he has a tendency to do the same songs over and over.  This is a good starting point for Gary's work as it has almost every major song he has released and is longer than the iTunes session live CD.

Now that we are well into 2015, here are my final favorites for all of 2014, not necessarily in order

Low Society  YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD WOMAN DOWN

Dave and Phil Alvin  COMMON GROUND tribute to Big Bill Broonzy

Gary Clark Jr.  GARY CLARK JR. LIVE

Morblus  TWO LIVES, ONE SOUL

John Hammond Jr.  TIMELESS

Walter Trout  THE BLUES CAME CALLIN'

Joe Bonamassa/Beth Hart  LIVE IN AMSTERDAM

Tommy Castro  THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

Joe Louis Walker  HORNET'S NEST

Ruthie Foster  PROMISE OF A NEW DAY

John Mooney  A TRIBUTE TO SON HOUSE

Eric Clapton  THE BREEZE:  AN APPRECIATION OF JJ CALE

Kenny Wayne Shepherd  GOIN' HOME

Dana Fuchs  SONGS FROM THE ROAD

Joe Bonamassa  DIFFERENT SHADE OF BLUE

In addition, Bonamassa released four live CD's from various London concerts under the heading TOUR DE FORCE:  LIVE IN LONDON.

Finally, some fine blues songs were captured by the following roots artists on their 2014 releases

  Lucinda Williams DOWN WHERE THE SPIRIT MEETS THE BONE

  Jerry Lee Lewis  ROCK AND ROLL TIME

  Levon Helm Band  THE MIDNIGHT RAMBLE SESSIONS, VOL. 3