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When I first started the CD Review section on this website, I thought that I would have some help. That was not the case and for the most part I have been the Lone Ranger. Life and my other duties for the GNBS (which are many) limit the time that I have to write reviews. I listen to everything that I receive, as I work on the road and have the time to listen while working. The answer to this is the Ratings/Review page that I have started. This format will allow me to update several times a week in a short format that I will convert from my audio recorder right after I listen to a CD. I will from time to time link in a full review from this page. This will be delegated to the best of the best CDs, the ones that really move me. This will get more information into the public's hands and more feedback to the artists. I hope you like this format.

Ron Hoerter
Great Northern Blues Society CD/DVD Reviewer and
Presidential Committee/ Treasurer/Website Managing Editor

Bluesmasters Featuring Mickey Thomas

I give this CD a 9 out of 10 ranking. The only old Elvin Bishop song that I was familiar with, that Mickey Thomas sang on was Fooled Around and Fell In Love.  So needless to say, I was a little skeptical about how he was going to pull off the vocals on this CD.  I still wasn’t sure after the first the first track Cherry Red but I knew they had worked on that song.  I still was not sure about the vocals after Muddy’s Rock Me Baby but by the time I got to Sick And Tired, I was convinced.  With Magic Slim chiming in on Can’t Get No Grindin’, I felt like I was in Chicago.  The duet was fantastic.  With the basic band being seasoned veterans and a handful of additional players, the musicianship was never going to be and issue for me.  Mickey deepened his voice and growled a little on Stranger Blues.  Another duet with Slim on Get Your Business Straight, what a treat! This CD was a like unexpected fast food for lunch.  I loved it and I swallowed down every last morsel.
Release Date: March 23, 2009
Label: Direct Music Dist.

Reclamation by The Vincent Hayes Project

I give this CD a 10 out of 10 ranking. Full Review can be found hereHit Me High, Hit Me Low comes bellowing out of the gate and I am taken to Chicago in my mind.  I am listening to this CD again as I write this and it is putting a big smile on my face, with a great mix of piano, strong guitar and clear vocals (Mr. Hayes). Insecurities is up next and it has that kind of Take Me to the River groove to it.  Not vocally but musically I am reminded of the Commitments version of that classic. Middle Man has a kind of Robert Cray feel to it both vocally and in the guitar playing with a slight hint of a Reggae tone to some of it.  My 23 year old daughter is digging it right now. They are all great songs, here are a few more to sample. Some Kind Of Fool, I Just Want To Get You High Tonight and  You Can Take Your Troubles. You better trust me on this one and go get yourself a copy.
Release Date: 2010
© Copyright-Vincent Hayes 
Record Label: North 61 Records & Productions

Voice of the Heart by The CSL Jr.Band 


I give this CD a 9 out of 10 ranking. Greg Lefholz vocals are a combination of Omar Kent Dykes and Jim Dandy from Black Oak Arkansas fame.  Big As Texas kicks things off here; this is a real growly rocker.  The Jim Dandy sounding vocals really come out on All InBluzin It is a guitar driven bluesy rock instrumental that conjures up all kinds of images of Rock and Blues past.  Check out New Loving for a little harp infused Blues track. The last track on the CD is Mason and it is kind of a slower Allman Brothers like, bluesy stretched out instrumental.  I know that I am a little late to the party getting this review out but they have a new CD in the works and I wanted people to find out about them before it hits the street.
Release Date: 2009
© Copyright-Chuck Lancaster
Record Label: lancaster records

Preacherman by Avey Brothers

I give this CD a 9 out of 10 ranking. These guys impressed me right off the bat with One More Thing, it managed to groove and swing at the same time.  These guys have that Mississippi Hill Country feel to some of their music; Get Away is an example of that, with great guitar and harp. The vocals brought Tab Benoit to mind a little on this one. That stuff reminded me of the songs that Buddy Guy did on Sweet Tea. I Got To Know is another fine song, with a heavy guitar edge and I still hear Tab.  There is a drum fest on Rather Be Drunk.  Right after I said into my recorder that I would like to hear background vocals on She’s My Baby, they magically appeared.  This CD impressed the hell out of me, nice job guys and thanks for the listen. 
Release Date: February 27, 2010
Copyright: 2010 Avey Brothers
Label: Avey Brothers

Stealin’ the Soul by Will Tucker

I give this CD a 8 out of 10 ranking. Your Sacrifice (the only original song) kicks things off with a funky little groove fueled by some great organ and guitar work.  Muddy Water’s Walkin’ Thru The Park is a fast paced version here and it sounds great.  Once again great guitar and organ with some nice harp work thrown in.  Will’s vocals are similar to another relative new comer and that is Shane Dwight.  The last four songs are done live. I really like When The Levee Breaks which is done is the original Memphis Minnie style.  Will really holds his own on Hendrix’s Little Wing. I rated this CD higher because of the great musicianship and the fact that there was some fresh life injected into these worn out classics.  However I also marked it down because of the old worn out classics.  This kid has talent; I can’t wait to hear some new and most importantly original stuff.
Release Date: September 25, 2009
Copyright: 2009 Stealin' the Soul

Label: Stealin' the Soul

Stripped Down at The Bang Palace by Todd Wolfe Band




I give this CD a 8 out of 10 ranking. Stranger Blues is an upbeat rockin’ version of this classic.  There is some great guitar soloing here.  On Bad Boywe can really feel the funk from the drums and the guitar.  Come in My Kitchen stretches out and incorporates some female backing vocals.  It turns into a real nice slide fest.  The acoustic slide guitar work really blues up the rock classic, Mountain’s Mississippi Queen.  Bobby Womack’s It’s All Over Now was a nice choice to cover.  Its dirty guitar groove keeps you right in the game, until the slide solo with a familiar riff locks up this choice for you.  Three of the songs are original here and once again I look forward to hearing more original stuff in the future.  However the worn out classics were done well.  This is a talented group of musicians and Mr. Wolfe’s guitar playing is inspired.
Release Date: November 11, 2009
Copyright: 2009 Blues Leaf Records
Record Label: Blues Leaf Records

Lucky Room by Rick Taylor
   I give this CD a 7 out of 10 ranking. I’m not going to write much when it comes to stripped down acoustic stuff.  However if you like that stuff this CD is for you.  Mr. Taylor is a talented musician and singer.  The tracks that stood out for me are Tough Times, Rattlesnake, Drop Down Mama and Baby Please Don’t Go.
Release Date: January 18, 2010
Record Label: 
2010 Rick Taylor 

I Need A Hat by Downchild Blues Band

I give this CD a 9 out of 10 ranking. Kicking this thing off is This Must Be Love is a nice upbeat jump tune.  Next up is I Need A Hat.  This song features a little more guitar work and has some nice piano.  Somebody Lied features some lyrics that reflect the times that we live in.  This CD features Colin James, Colin Linden, Dan Aykroyd and Wayne Jackson of The Memphis Horns.  These Thoughts Keep Marching is a song that features a way cool groove and some computer sounding spoken word that also reflects the times that we are living in.  The drum beat keeps you marching on and the rest is heaven for your ears.  This CD features stellar musicianship and a great mixture of song styles.  This veteran outfit from Canada, has been putting out stuff this strong for years and let’s hope they continue to do so for many more.
Release Date: 2010
Record Label: Linus Entertainment Inc.

© Copyright-2009 Linus Entertainment Inc.

How Much Woman Can You Stand by Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers

I give this CD a 7 out of 10 ranking.  If you like powerful female vocals, understated keyboard and harp playing with a lot of B.B. King sounding guitar playing, this CD is for you.  Things do get mixed up a little as you move through the CD but for me much of it sounded the same.  Here are the songs that I liked best because they mixed it up a little.  Put Your Name On It, It Ain’t That Easy, I Can Tell, How Much Woman Can You Stand and Mr. Devil.  This last song had some slide guitar in it which was a nice departure.  There is a little Funk and a lot of Soul here, overall a nice release.
Release Date: October 4, 2009
Copyright: (C)
2009 Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers
Label: Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers

Blue Skies & Black Shoes by Jason King Band

I give this CD a 8 out of 10 ranking. The slow Blues of Cryin’ Shame reminds me of Clapton’s Double Trouble in the song structure department and Stevie in the guitar.  Nice company to be in.  Mean & Nasty kicks off with some nice Hammond B3 by Jason Stanton, then some strong sax work by Rick Metz kicks in.  The vocals here remind me of Lee McBee minus the growl.  Heavy on the sax, with a nice guitar solo, there is a lot to like here.  I feel much the same about the second track, I’m Your Man. The Allman Brothers surrounded by Hendrix come to mind when listening to the instrumentation on the title track Blue Skies & Black Shoes.  Funked up Blues with rockin’ vocals is how I would describe Soul Shaker.  The rockin’ boogie of My Little Baby is alright with me.  There is a lot to like here for us, especially if you appreciate great guitar playing, like I do.
Release Date: May 23, 2009
© Copyright-2009 Jason King Roxas 
Record Label: Hip-Rox Music

Eastbound 80 by Storybook Road

I give this CD 8 out of 10 for the Blues tracks but 5 out of 10 ranking over all because of the lack of Blues.  Joe from Storybook Road warned me by giving me a list of the top Blues songs on the CD.  He was right, those five songs definitely were.  The rest were Pop and 70’s Rock, Folk and maybe a little Country.  I assume that Joe plays the guitar and does the singing.  If so, he does a fine job of both.  The liner notes are a little sparse so I’m not sure who does what.  The Blues tunes to check out are Ain’t Got The Blues, Hey Boss, The Loneliest Eve,(which I really like the lyrics on) and No More Games
Release Date: February 18, 2010
© Copyright-2010 Hey Boss Records
Record Label: Hey Boss Records



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