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 There is no sophomore slump on the second release from Peter Karp and Sue Foley. “We”re Gonna Make It” kicks this thing off with Foley’s unique voice jumping out at you and Karps vocals sounding a little like Delbert McClinton’s on this upbeat duet.  We get the whole band experience here, with the Swingadelic Horns adding some great sound.  Things get stripped down but just a little on “Analyze’n Blues” with Foley’s vocals taking center stage over the top of the keyboards and slide work.  Karp”s slide solos on the National Steel are impressive.  Karp takes over on the vocals on “Beyond The Crossroads” a song that has a very familiar feel to it.  Maybe it is the background singers that give it a little Gospel feel along with the inspirational lyrics.  This tune has a great hook and feel to it.

“Fine Love” has a Mark Knopfler feel to it and more of the great background vocals. I’m imagining a slow march down the streets of New Orleans when I listen to “At The Same Time.”  The horns really set the tone on this one with Karp and Foley’s vocals batting cleanup.  On “Take Your Time” Foley’s sweet but laid back vocals take you back in time.  This tune would be an excellent sit around the fire sing along song.  “Resistance” has an Allman Brothers feel when you first hear the slide guitar but it morphs into something else.  Foley takes charge on this original by singing lyrics like “My resistance against myself keeps me yearning for something else.  And I get so close but I’m still so far away.  And it’s not going to get better until I wake up and find, this is all inside my mind.”

A humorous little piano and acoustic guitar diddy that calls the weatherman a liar is what awaits on is a “Chance Of Rain.”  “Plank Spank” is a high energy guitar fueled instrumental that made me bounce in my chair. “You’ve Got A Problem” is a Karp penned, piano driven song that reminds me of something that the Reverend Billy C. Wirtz would do.  Piano and lead vocal are by Karp with Foley adding some nice guitar work.  These last two songs really wrap up this CD with a bang!  Now what do I do with this tapping foot?  Press play again and I just did!

This CD has a familiar and warm feeling to it, call it comfortable. The extreme talent of both Karp and Foley along with the high quality musicianship of the additional players and singers on this CD make it a must add to your collection.


Ron Hoerter


Dennis Jones


My Kinda Blues 

 It seems like just yesterday that I reviewed Dennis Jones “Pleasure and Pain” CD it was over three years ago.  Man, time flies when you are gettin’old!  Let’s dig into his latest.

 “Jesus or the Bottle” starts off with a Funky/Reggae groove that turns into a high speed, in your face rocker. Lyrically, the past news scandal audio clips from our religious leaders asking for forgiveness, is an interesting twist. The acoustic track “Same Train” grabs my attention not only because of the great musicianship but also because of the great lyrics, “I like drinkin’ beer, you like drinkin’ wine. I wake up at midnight, so I can see the moon shine. I’m good in the kitchen, you’re good in the sack,” ending each verse with the hook “Same train, different track.” Anyone who’s been in a long term relationship knows that rings true. The title track “My Kinda Blues” says it all, Mr. Jones likes his Blues rocking!

On the shuffle “Text Us Girl,” we are told about the phenomenon many of us older people are having issues with these days.  If I have to get a hold of somebody, I have to text them, because they’ll never answer the phone.  Jones sings, “We use to have sex, now we just text dirty words all the time. I get so bitter, every time you twitter, you drive me out of my mind”  “You never talk to me, cause you can text for free.” I agree whole heartedly. “You Took My Baby” is a Chicago style Blues tune featuring Guitar Shorty on a couple of blistering guitar solos, that literally gave me the chills. The lyrics on “I Want You” tell me that Mr. Jones is still having his share of women problems. I wrote about this in my review of “Pleasure and Pain” three years ago and it seems that not much has changed in that department.

Funky guitar riffs with a monster solo are what you will find on “Never Go Away.” “Best That I Can” is a Jazzier reflective tune about life on the road.  The lyrics on “They Say” are current social commentary and the music will make you want to get off your butt and dance.  On “Good for Me” Jones sings about his bad boy side, the guitar playing is literally dizzying. Trouble is brewing on “One More Dance.”  “Devil’s Nightmare” throws a little more Funk on the fire.  This CD wraps up withBaltimore Blues” which is a rather lengthy slow Blues instrumental that builds like a freight train leaving the station and when it stops, you’re left wanting more!

As stated in my review of “Pleasure and Pain,” Dennis Jones once again makes me listen to lyrics more than any other Blues artist that I know of and I can’t help but think that is because the lyrics really hit home for me. Drummer Michael Turner and bassist Samuel Correa are so locked in that you think you are listening to a live recording.  That is proven on the DVD that is released in conjunction with the CD. “Dennis Jones Band: Live at Temecula Theater.”  I have never had an opportunity to see Dennis Jones live but this 18-song retrospective performance will hold me over until I do.  Just awesome!


Ron Hoerter

 Mary Bridget Davies


 Wanna Feel Somethin’

 The powerful vocals of Miss Davies smack you right in the face coming out of the gate on “Your Kinda Love” and you know that you are going to be in for a real treat! “Won’t Pay You Mind” is an upbeat chord cruncher that shares the spotlight with Pete Carroll on Trumpet, Nick Rowland on Sax and Dave Hayes on guitar.  Some give and take vocal shout outs round out this toe tapper.  A tradition slow Blues tune with understated guitar laid over an organ bed is what you will find on “Same Ol’ Blues.”  Miss Davies and the band bring the funk big time on “Real Thing.”  “Gettin’ Stronger” is a slide guitar driven song about a relationship breakup.  The slide guitar and vocals are so strong that you feel like you want to pop Miss Davies ex boyfriend in the mouth just to keep him away.

Hard rockin’, guitar and organ driven with an out of this world singing performance is what is in store for you on the title track “Wanna Feel Somethin’.”  “Take It To the Limit” is a slow and sexy cover of the old Eagles tune.  The powerful voodoo infused “Trick the Devil” is just what Halloween ordered, vocals and slide guitar mix for an awesome groove. The Oasis tune “Wonderwall” penned by Noel Gallagher has a fresh breath of life blown into it, in this slow and Jazzy, organ infused version.  Needless to say, I am shocked by this!  Chi Coltrane’s “Thunder and Lightnin’” closes out this CD and let me tell you it has all the power of the original and more!  Other contributing artists are Gary Roberts on bass, Joe Voye on drums, Aaron Thomas on tambourine and all but Aaron contribute on vocals. Mary Bridget Davies is a new artist for me and I can’t wait to hear more!


Ron Hoerter


 Oli Brown


 Here I Am

 “Here I Am” has a heavy feel to start out this CD.  I immediately get a Led Zeppelin vibe and lyrically we are told that Oli Brown is going to be who he wants to be, not Jimi or Stevie, he wants to be his goddamn self.  I have listened to this CD several times and let’s get this out up front, this is Blues tinged Rock and I love it.  Oli can say what he wants to but the influences are there. On “Thinking About Her” you will hear a little Stevie and a lot of other stuff blended together to make this one of the more Bluesy songs on this CD.  “Manic Bloom” is guitar and organ driven rocker that made me think about how to describe the vocals.  I haven’t figured out the description yet but I will tell you that the vocals work and they work well.

“You Can Only Blame Yourself” has a Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam feel to it Rock with a slight taste of Funk is on the menu for “Start It Again”   There is an excellent almost Reggae type groove to “Devil In Me” and this is an example of where Oli’s vocals do more of the heavy lifting than his guitar does. “I Love You More Than You Will Ever Know” is a slow Blues song with some lengthier guitar solos and it made me think of the late Gary Moore in both the playing and vocal passion.

I think the title “Remedy” had me thinking of the Black Crowes and then I went no, that’s just dumb.  As I listened to the song further, I couldn’t get a handle on it, then I started to hear in the song structure, that this very well could have been something that the Crowes would have done.  It rocked and I liked it.  You might want to listen to the lyrics on “Mr. Wilson” just so you can say that you have done something positive with your day, while thinking about how your selfish actions might be affecting someone else.  A little Funk, a little guest vocal by Danni Wilde and dare I say a little Rap will have you bouncing around like I was on “Like A Feather.”  Guest Harmonica by Paul Young opens up “Solid Ground”  a real bouncy Blues tune that is perfect to close out this CD.  The song title says it all, solid ground is where Oli Brown is standing on with “Here I Am.”

The guitar playing is great throughout but the guitar solos for the most part were not extended and because of that, I feel that there was more of a focus on the vocals carrying this project.  The band is rounded out by Scott Barnes on bass, Wayne Proctor on drums & percussion and Joel White on organ; they all played their parts to perfection.  Look, I came from Classic Rock to the Blues and I will always mix some of that type of stuff into my reviews.  Good music is good music, so all you Blues purists get over it, think about where your roots came from and how things must evolve.  Maybe think about how things actually go full circle sometimes and we get to hear some great Classic Rock again because of the Blues!


Ron Hoerter

 Paul Mark & The Van Dorens


 Smartest Man In The Room

 “Smartest Man in the Room” hits you like a sucker punch. Church bells, organ, groove, growling vocals and great lyrics. Mark sings “When I was young my momma made me vow…To hitch a ride with the fast-taking crowd…So I scratched a few backs and I licked a few boots…Now they’re calling me the smartest man in the room.” Turn up the sirens, extra studio sound effects are all over this thing and it’s awesome!  The lyrics are so smart and I dare you to try and sit still!  The Texas shuffle “Time Will Tell” makes you think of the great Omar Kent Dykes of Omar and the Howlers fame.  The growling and haunting “When God Finds the Time” might make you think again about your blind trust in god.

“One More Coat of Paint”  talks about trying to get out of the house that you have been in for years when the bank is closing in and knowing it ain’t what you made it up to be after years of neglect.  The guitar work is spectacular and boy can I relate to this!  More underlying TV/Radio background noise starts off “Barrio Stroll.”   This instrumental has a cool and Jazzy/Calypso feel. “U Must Come 2” starts off with slow growling vocals and if you don’t hear Omar in this song, I can’t help you!  The guitar solos are precise and sweet.  The organ fills things out to the point of thinking this must be a classic that I have not heard before!  “Wrist Rocket” and” Choke Hold” are both great guitar instrumentals in the vein of Ronnie Earl.  The piano, acoustic guitar and vocals remind me of a combination of Jimmy Durante and Leon Redbone on” Can’t Remember Nothing.”   Jimmy Durante…how old am I? 

The Bob Dylan song “Don’t Ya Tell Henry” is a sing a long and my favorite song on the CD.  It sounds like it is recorded in a live setting (More studio tricks?).  The laughter, background noise and singing are intoxicating.  I guarantee you will be singing it and bouncing in your seat by the time you are 20 seconds in to the song.  More studio tricks are added throughout“40 Ft. of Rope” Take what you want from the lyrics “But the world’s been wrong before” says it all for me. “The Creature Walks Among Us” is of the same vein “The creature walks among us…Dark water on the rise…The creature is you and me…You and me” Where are my headphones?  A hidden track, if that’s what I should call it, (it’s at the end of the CD and not listed) features the scratch of album play, church organ and Stevie Ray Vaughan style guitar. This is a cool little gift at the end with a few other familiar guitar riffs mixed in!

I have been aware of this band for awhile but this is the first CD that I have ever listened to.  All the little studio tricks, with the adding of the additional sounds is pretty cool and makes you think that you should listen to this through headphones. Get me my Pink Floyd CDs now! Wow I haven’t said that for a while.  This is a must own CD and Paul Mark just might be the smartest man in the room! 


Ron Hoerter - P.S. I didn’t say this sounds like Pink Floyd, dummy!!




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