DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

CD Pick: John Fogerty/Revival

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on May 23, 2009

john fogerty - revival

John Fogerty
Revival (2007)
Concord Music Group
Genre: Rock

John Fogerty is back, and he is kickin’ butt! I don’t know about you, but I’m a Fogerty fan from way back, and I have sorely missed his unique brand of rock-and-soul swamp blues.

Revival, the new 12-track CD from the former CCR rocker/writer is chock full of the passion, politics and rockin’ and rollin’ that is synonymous with the Fogerty we knew and loved.

Opening track “Don’t You Wish It Was True,” is a tune that harkens back to 60s idealism, but, in spite of itself, still seems hopeful and optimistic. In “Creedence Song,” Fogerty acknowledges his own tremendous impact on a generation with lyrics like “you can’t go wrong if you play a little bit of that Creedence song.”  “Long Dark Night” is a biting recrimination of the Bush administration, the Iraq war and the president’s handling of the Katrina disaster. Those who don’t appreciate Fogerty’s liberal leanings may be tempted to dismiss the CD because of it, but I hope you don’t. This is great rock and roll.

“Long Shot” is the closing track, and it’s classic Fogerty. This CD is truly a revival. A solid Gotta Have. Revival features John Fogerty on vocals and guitar; Hunter Perrin, also on guitar; David Santos on bass; and Kenny Aronoff on drums and percussion. Benmont Tench plays the Hammond B-3 organ on “Natural Thing, “ “River Is Waiting” and “Somebody Help Me;” and electric piano on “River Is Waiting” and “Somebody Help Me.” Singer background on “Don’t You Wish It Was True,” “River Is Waiting” and “Longshot” are Julia Waters, Maxine Waters and Oren Waters.

© Reviewed by Dariel Bendin, Oct. 5, 2008. This also ran in Coast and Alternatives magazines in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Issue Oct. 8, 2008, p. 24.


Piccolo Spoleto Blues in Charleston, S.C.

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on May 21, 2009

Spoleto, Charleston’s art & culture extravaganza runs from May 22 through June 7, 2009. It’s a wonderful festival, but some folks prefer their art a little less formal and, in some cases, less expensive. That’s what Piccolo Spoleto (also in Charleston) is all about and it takes place during the same time period. Since I’m a great lover of the blues, I wanted to let you know what Piccolo Spoleto Blues has in store for you. The following information is from the Piccolo Spoleto website:

Blues On the Dock

Blues Romp in the Swamp

5/23 4PM – 7PM

Blazing guitar blues from two great guitarists, Rev. Dr. Johnny Mac & Booty Ranch and Dr. Kim May, plus the incisive humor and sharp harp of Smoky Weiner & the Hot Links and their high octane blues outfits. Food and drinks available for purchase.
Bowen’s Island Restaurant
1870 Bowen’s Island Rd., James Island

Blues Diva Wanda Johnson & The Shrimp City Slim Band

5/24 4PM – 7PM

Greenville’s Goddess of the Blues, Wanda Johnson, will warm your heart and sear your soul backed up by the originator of Lowcountry Blues, Shrimp City Slim. Food and drink available for purchase.
Bowen’s Island Restaurant
1870 Bowen’s Island Rd., James Island

Mudcat N` Mama

5/31 4PM – 7PM

Georgia showman and his leggy Charleston protégé Skye Paige provocatively mash down home Southern blues with a twist of rockabilly. Food and drink available for purchase.
Bowen’s Island Restaurant
1870 Bowen’s Island Rd., James Island

Early Bird Blues

Cotton Blue

5/27 4PM – 7PM
Gator Rob and Detroit Debbie inhabit the verdant jungles of Edisto Island and emerge to present a spicy program of swampy rock and Geechee blues. Food and drink available for purchase.
Mad River Bar & Grille
32 N. Market Street, Downtown Charleston

Drink Small

5/22 4PM – 7PM
6/5 4PM – 7PM

South Carolina’s iconic 76-year-old blues legend has been on the international scene since the mid-1950s. Razorwire guitar and inimitable basso profundo vocals have made this unique artist a blues favorite for generations of Carolinians. Food and drink available for purchase.
Mad River Bar & Grille
32 N. Market Street, Downtown Charleston

Geoff Achison

6/3 4PM – 7PM

Back by popular demand, Geoff Achison; “Blues Thunder from Down Under,” is a world-class guitarist/singer from Australia who will return to Piccolo on his annual tour of the U.S.A. Food and drink available for purchase.
Mad River Bar & Grille
32 N. Market Street, Downtown Charleston

Jeff Norwood

5/28 4PM – 7PM
Jeff Norwood is one of the area’s best-traveled blues bards, logging in many miles ‘tween here and the juke joints of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Delta blues and Hill Country stomp…latest CD is “Awendaw.”
Mad River Bar & Grille
32 N. Market Street, Downtown Charleston

Juke Joint Johnny & Drew Baldwin

5/29 4PM – 7PM
Juke Joint Johnny has been dubbed “The Harmonica High Priest of the Southeast” while Drew Baldwin has mastered the harp guitar (1910 vintage guitar with added bass strings)-a rootsy, bluesy sound we doubt you’ve heard before. Food and drink available for purchase.
Mad River Bar & Grille
32 N. Market Street, Downtown Charleston

Matt Walsh Duo

6/2 4PM – 7PM

North Carolinian Matt Walsh (slide guitar/vocals/epic hairdo) leads his duo through torrid readings of classic Chicago blues. His dossier includes recent stints with Howlin’ Wolf’s guitarist Hubert Sumlin and Bob Margolin of Muddy Waters. Food and drink available for purchase.
Mad River Bar & Grille
32 N. Market Street, Downtown Charleston

Porkchop Meyer

6/1 4PM – 7PM
Ed “Porkchop” Meyer is a Chicago-bred pianist/singer who has plied his trade all over the world. Funky jazz/blues/cabaret with a nod to Tom Waits and Mose Allison. Food and drink available for purchase.
Mad River Bar & Grille
32 N. Market Street, Downtown Charleston

Skye Paige & The Original Recipe

5/26 4PM – 7PM
Seductive vocals and guitar from one of Charleston’s blueswomen, admittedly influenced by the fabled Memphis Minnie. Paige and her combo specialize in prewar blues, rockabilly and surf music. Food and drink available for purchase.
Mad River Bar & Grille
32 N. Market Street, Downtown Charleston

Blues & Jazz: Piccolo Harbor Cruises
Franklin Ashley Quartet

5/26 7:30PM – 10PM
Enjoy a unique night of original jazz with a renowned theatre professor at the College of Charleston, who has played for several U.S. Presidents. Food and drink available for purchase.
Fountain Walk Dock
360 Concord St., Downtown Charleston

John Tecklenburg & Friends

6/3 7:30PM – 10PM
Join Lonnie Hamilton III, John Tecklenburg, Brian Reed and Frank Cothran as they serve up a night of swinging jazz standards while cruising the Harbor. Food and drink available for purchase.
Fountain Walk Dock
360 Concord St., Downtown Charleston

Rolling on the River Revue

6/4 7:30PM – 10PM
Delighting Charleston audiences for more than three decades, Rivers and Company is known throughout the state as the premier beach music and Motown band.
Fountain Walk Dock
360 Concord St., Downtown Charleston

Smoky Weiner & The Hot Links featuring Nature Boy Nik

5/28 7:30PM – 10PM

Hot blues and swing band that’s sure to get you dancing and laughing with old swing tunes. The Links have played up and down the East Coast, including most recently at presidential inaugural balls. Food and drink available for purchase.
Fountain Walk Dock
360 Concord St., Downtown Charleston

Green Dot Discs: New Label Claims Dance Band Niche

Posted in Music Marketing, Music Stories by darielb on May 20, 2009

GD Discs Logo

After talking, planning and working together for months, Andy Smith, Rick Lee and Jeff Scheible  officially formed Green Dot Discs in March of this year.

Andy owns Green Dot Music, which until recently handled Wilmington band Jim Quick & Coastline. Rick Lee is a co-owner/keyboard player of Charlotte, N.C.-based Too Much Sylvia. Jeff Scheible owned Rock Bottom distributing company in Atlanta, Ga. until he closed the business last year.

According to Smith, the fledgling record label is currently focusing on three groups, all which he considers dance bands: Too Much Sylvia, Mark Roberts & Breeze and the Tim Clark Band.

“Our plan is to put out seven products this year,” he told me. “We’ll release a single for each group; a compilation CD that includes probably four tunes from each; and individual CDs for each band.

redsunglasses“The first CD release is Red Sunglasses from Too Much Sylvia during Myrtle Beach’s Sun Fun celebration in early June. The title track is the album’s first single. It’s a lot of fun.”

Mark Roberts & Breeze, formed  in late 2007, is already a popular live act throughout the Carolinas. At the 2008 CBMA awards, the band was named New Group of the Year.

Formerly with 80s rock band Sugarcreek,which was owned by Rick Lee, Tim Clark is known throughout the southeast for his strong vocals and showmanship.

“We have three regional bands with marquee appeal … that are ‘in’ with the beach crowd, so we will definitely be catering to the shag market as well as west coast swing, bop in the north,” Smith says.

What about the future, I wanted to know. Will you be actively seeking to add artists and will they be dance bands?

Smith’s carefully worded answer was, “We’re not looking to sign great numbers of artists. We want to be selective and find the right ‘fit.’ Will they be dance bands? I expect so. At this point, I don’t see us venturing too far from our original idea.”

Next I asked about distribution. “We will be selling CDs from the stage, and all three bands are on the same page here. They’ll be promoting each other’s CDs. The music will also be in local stores and available for download from the Internet. And last, Green Dot Discs will be offering digital download cards.”

The website isn’t up yet, but will be shortly, so give them a little time and then log onto http://www.greendotdiscs.com. Look for more information about the new recording company to come out soon.

This will also be published in my Beach Newz  column(May 21 – Jun 4, 2009, p. 24) in Coast and Alternatives magazines in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

CD Pick: Ready To Party/Various

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on May 20, 2009


Various Artists

Ready To Party (2009)


Label: KHP Records

Genre: R&B

Ready To Party, the dance-driven offering from KHP Music features 14 tracks designed to get you on your feet and groovin’ to the music. This is the collection produced in conjunction with the National R&B DJ Association and released in time for Spring S.O.S., the ten-day shag extravaganza held in North Myrtle Beach every year. The compilation includes music for shag, line dancing, bop and swing.

Overall I like this disc a lot. The tunes are a nice mix of originals and covers, which happily, are sufficiently obscure that listeners won’t feel as though they’re sifting through the recycle bin. Plus, the production value is consistently good, which isn’t always the case with compilations.

Opening track is Chicago soulman Lonne Givens’ take on “I’m Ready To Party,” which was written by Sidney Bailey and John Ward in the 80s. You may remember versions by both Ollie Nightengale and Billy Scott.  KHP has changed the tempo a bit and added instruments to the arrangement. A great opener, it sets the tone for the whole album.

Band of Oz is in the number two slot with an Al Green tune –  “Build Me Up.” This is already a big hit with shaggers in the Carolinas.

Track number three, “Help Yourself To Me,” is written, produced and performed by Nashville soul-blues artist Rickey Godfrey. Backup vocals are handled by brother Ronnie Godfrey and sister-in-law Kim Morrison Godfrey. The guitar solo is classic Rickey Godfrey. With horns inspired, in part, by Willie Tee’s “Thank You John,” this one is also climbing the shag charts.

Vicki Skinner’s  “See You Later” is track four. If it sounds familiar, Dee De Sharp recorded it in the eighties, but Skinner’s version is sultrier and sexier. A great slow shag.

“Doot Dootsie Wah” from Little Isadore & the Inquisitors is filling dance floors up and down the east coast. It’s doo wop with an edge, hard to resist.

Track six is another tune already shakin’ things up, “We’re Tight,” a duet by the bluesy Rhonda McDaniel and soulman from another planet, Angel Rissoff a.k.a Little Leopold, formerly with Little Isadore. This is a remake of a 1966 Rufus Thomas duet with daughter Carla, on the Stax label.

King Tyrone and the Graveyard Ramblers bring us “You Ain’t Got No Sense,” written by front man and prolific songwriter Jim Quick. KHP recut the original and added some big band sound that will be a surprise to anyone familiar with Quick’s  unique brand of rock and soul.

Mark Roberts & Breeze covers the 1972 tune, “Don’t Ever Be Lonely,” by the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose. It’s been rearranged very successfully with a shag beat. This is another tune that’s filling the dance floors.

“Mr. Zachary,” track nine, from the Taylor Manning Band, was written by Taylor Manning, who penned her first tune at 13 years old. Lead singer for the band, she follows her cover of “Mercy” last year with another hot dance tune.

The Magnificents cover the Aretha Franklin hit “‘Til You Come Back To Me,” which was co-written by Stevie Wonder and hit No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 3 on Billboard in 1973. As usual, the Magnificents live up to their name.

Smoothie lovers, the Out-of-Towners bring you an old favorite, “I’ve Got the World On a String,” made famous by Ole Blue Eyes in 1954. This is dance music.

Track 12, “She Pulled the Trigger,” a kind of funny racy number about being shot in the patooty is by Bobby Smith, of the Poor Souls. FYI, this is the on air mix, no naughty language.

Kenny Vance and the Planotones are up next with “Miss Annie.” Originally performed by doo wop group, the Plurals, in the fifties, this is Kenny Vance’s second mix on this song. According to the record label, he’s fattened it up a bit.

The Fabulous Kays are the closers, with “10 Pounds of Party”, written by the band’s Tony Pace. This uptempo tune is sure to please swing dancers west of the Mississippi.

Ready to Party is a lot of fun and I like it more with each play.

This will also be published in the entertainment section of Coast and Alternatives magazines(May 21 – Jun 4, 2009, p. 26) in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

CD Pick: Written In Chalk by Buddy & Julie Miller

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on May 5, 2009


Buddy and Julie Miller

Written In Chalk (2009)

Label: New West Records

Genre: Roots, Americana


A friend of mine in California just sent me the latest offering from  husband and wife duo, Buddy and Julie Miller. First thing I did was pop it in the car’s CD player, and I’ve been listening to it for a couple days now. Written In Chalk is a fine recording. In true Americana fashion, the disc is steeped in country, jazz and blues. Buddy and Julie Miller somehow manage to be both primitive and sophisticated at the same time.

To give you a little background, this talented pair may not be household names, but they’re well-respected among musicians and roots buffs. They’ve been married for the last 20 years, singing on each other’s solo albums as well as their duo CDs and appearing with a circle of musicians who sing their praises every chance they get.

Buddy Miller is known as a songwriter and co-songwriter for folks like the Dixie Chicks, Lee Ann Womack and Brooks & Dunn. He has also performed with Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams. His 1999 solo release, Cruel Moon (Hightone Records) features harmony work from wife Julie, Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris.

Julie’s Broken Things (1999 Hightone Records) and Blue Pony (1997) CDs have both been acclaimed critically, showcasing her songwriting skills along with her vocal abilities.

Recorded at the couple’s home studio in Nashville, Written In Chalk is a soulful collaboration of the two. Buddy’s guitar work is stellar and the harmonies throughout are right on. Track two, “Gasoline and Matches,”written by Julie and Buddy,  has all the earmarks of  a hit. It’s sexy and fun; plus there’s a driving beat that makes you sit up and take notice.

“Long Time” is a sweet, sad, soulful tune and Julie’s voice just sends it home to the heart.

Flat out the most fun is “What You Gonna Do Leroy,” which was written by Mel Tillis and released by Burl Ives back in 1962. Buddy’s duet with Robert Plant was a great surprise, and definitely adds to the song’s charm.

There are some other guest contributors to the CD as well. Track three features Patty Griffin on “Don’t Say Goodbye” and on the duet, “Chalk.”  Regina McCrary pairs with Buddy on track six, “One Part, Two Part” and again on “Hush, Sorrow,” track nine. The final track, “The Selfishness In Man” includes harmony from Emmylou Harris.

If you’re a fan of Buddy and Julie Miller, you’ll want to add this one to your collection. If you’re just jumping on the Buddy and Julie bandwagon, this is a great place to start.

Reviewed by Dariel Bendin

South By Southeast Gets a Jump From the Cables

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on May 5, 2009
Guitarist Rev. Johnny Mac

Guitarist Rev. Johnny Mac

Okay, you Carolina folks are going to have one up on me here. I wasn’t in this neck of the beach in the eighties, so I didn’t recognize this group by name. I thought the Jumper Cables were, well, jumper cables.

Turns out they’re a rock trio that was based in Charleston featuring none other than Johnny Mac on guitar, Paul Tucker on bass and Steve Kent on drums. They’ll be electrifying the Grand Strand on Saturday, May 16 at 7 p.m. at Myrtle Beach’s historic Train Depot, thanks to my favorite nonprofit group, South By Southeast.

A true jam band, the Jumper Cables always loved playing those long numbers à la the Allman Brothers, and they did … to packed houses all along the beach. Johnny Mac, who had moved to Charleston from Georgia in 1972 had initially played piano and moved over to guitar as a teenager. Influenced by a range of musicians that includes the Allman Brothers, Santana, Albert King and Deep Purple, he liked playing a lot of bluesy rock stuff.

His band mates, both from Georgia, were part of the 70s Macon scene, working with some of the big names, including Sea Level and Chuck Leavell (current keyboardist for the Rolling Stones);Randall Bramblett, Davis Causey, jazz great Joe Taylor, Percy Sledge and others.

According to Mac, the trio, which hasn’t played together  in at least five years, will be performing a number of instrumentals like War’s “The Word Is a Ghetto” plus some Sea Level stuff. “”Don’t be surprised,” he tells me, “if we get into  some jazz, funk and intense rock and roll.”

South by Southeast organizer and jam band fan, Sam Hanneford, is beside himself waiting for these guys to get here. “We are going to have some rockin’ music goin’ on. You are going to be blown away by these guys. The last time they were here, we heard some excellent sets including driving renditions of eclectic material from Derek & the Dominoes, Traffic and even some Stanley Clarke.”

Whatever they play at the SXSE show, rest assured it will be a high-energy, high-octane show, one that folks will be talking about for some time to come.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for anyone under 21, if you’re a SXSE member, $25 if you’re not.

Your price of admission includes not only this every intimate concert, but also a pot luck dinner, wine and beer courtesy of New South Brewery.

About South By Southeast

If I were Warren Buffet, this is where my philanthropic money would go. This all-volunteer group of music lovers is dedicated to preserving and promoting all sorts of American music that normally isn’t performed in mainstream venues. As part of that mission, they also support local music education programs, instrument drives and help out any way they can.

Membership in SXSE costs $25 per year.  If you are interested in joining, visit www.sxsemusic.com and download an application form. For more information call Jeff Roberts, owner of Sounds Better Records at 843-497-3643 or Seth Funderburk at 843-455-6499.

A version of this will also be published in  the Beach Newz music column of Coast magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine and on MySpace.

Cape Fear Blues Fest Line-Up

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on May 5, 2009
Elliott & the Untouchables - Columbia, S.C. group.

Elliott & the Untouchables - Columbia, S.C. group.

Blues Society Announces ‘Carolina-Grown’ Line-Up For July Festival

The annual Cape Fear Blues Festival, number 14 this year, is set for July 24 – 26 in Wilmington, N.C. Events will include the Friday night blues cruise on the Henrietta III; a post-cruise blues party at The Rusty Nail; a daytime concert at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater; a sundown concert in downtown Wilmington at Water Street, the popular blues workshop held at Finkelstein Music; Saturday night shows at 16 Taps and The Rusty Nail; and the always popular all-day blues jam under the tent at the Rusty Nail on Sunday.

A dozen blues acts from the two Carolinas will be rockin’, wailin’ and whisperin’ the blues throughout the weekend. Elliott and the Untouchables from Columbia, S.C. will take the helm for the Cruise Friday evening. Be ready for a hot set of swingin’ blues and some mighty strong vocals. Front man Elliott New will also be conducting the workshop at Finkelstein’s Saturday morning. The Charlotte, N.C.-based Contagious Blues Band will be rockin’ during the sundown concert. They’ll take you from traditional to modern blues in a Memphis minute. No wonder they were named the Beale Street Blues Kings in 2008.

Also performing will be duo winners of the Cape Fear Blues Challenge, ETrain & the East Coast Acoustic Armada, and band winners, Ten Dollar Thrill. Festival goers will also be treated to the R&B stylings of the five-piece Dynamic Therm-O-Tones. In 2004, this Wilmington group took the Cape Fear Blues Challenge by storm and then took their show to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Also on the roster is Tommy B & the Stingers, another southeastern North Carolina group, who, by the way, have been named Beat Magazine’s No. 1 Blues Band three years in a row AND Best Blues Band in the Wilmington area, also three years in a row. If you haven’t seen this rhythmic blues and boogie band yet, it’s time you did!

Add to all this Wilmington’s Spider Mike Bochey, Rick Tobey & the Chickenhead Blues Band, the jazzy guitar of El Jaye Johnson, the Cape Fear Blues Band, the Cape Fear Blues All Stars and the uber-electrified Gypsy Fire. Whether you like your blues rockin’, stompin’, gravelly, smooth, sexy, raw or raucus … you’ll find it at the Port City’s weekend of blues. According to organizer Lan Nichols, the Cape Fear Blues Society is working closely with all of these venues to ensure continuity and a successful staging of each event. Some of the event show times and dates haven’t been finalized yet.

Check www.capefearblues.org for ticket availability, prices and other details. If you’re a blues lover, plan on spending the last weekend in July in Wilmington, N.C. There’s nothin’ like Port City Blues to chase the blues away.

This post is being published in the May 7 – 21, 2009 issue of Coast magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine, Beach Newz column, p. 24.