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Archive for the ‘English pieces’ Category

Where are you, Mac?

maandag, februari 4th, 2019

What is going on with you, Mac? You have not performed since 2016, neither in your beloved Nola nor outside of it, and there is only old news on your site, except for a twitter photo.

That one picture shoud be the evidence that you are doing fine, Mac, that you are still Dr. John, the high priest of sophisticated New Orleans funk, pretty much the last living link with the fifties, the time that the rhythm ‘n’ blues in your city slowly began to change.

You are pictured with all the regalia that fit your part, Mac: the walking stick, the strings of beads around your neck, the proverbial silly hat of latter years that undoubtedly has to hide your bald head and the tightly braided pony tail that must compensate that fact, but mostly the ironic grin: Look, here I am, Dr. John, I am still here!

It is posted on January 31 and therefore suggests to be recent. You are on it with Steve Gleason, one time American football player with the New Orleans Saints and these days a tireless fighter for innovations that can give other ALS patients a richer life despite (or maybe thanks to) his slowly, but ever increasing ALS.

However, I have not been able to find the date of that edition of the New Orleans Legends Awards where you posed together, Mac.

That one of the hashtags in the picture is Throwback Thursday, is not encouraging either, (more…)

Trouble holding back – Helen Rose

maandag, februari 4th, 2019

lively old soul

There are ten songs on singer-saxophonist Helen Rose’s first full-length album, of which she only co-wrote three. Marvin Etzioni was one of the other writers, whereas the original Lone Justice bass player also was the (co-)composer of four other songs. He arranged the traditional ‘When the levee breaks’ too, together with Rose and Ben Peeler.

While he is important behind the scenes, the 24 year-old Rose is exactly that in the spotlights: she proves to be a versatile and extremely convincing singer in different genres.

One of the highlights is the musically careful ‘Flatlands of North Dakota’: that song is a direct reference to Bobby Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Jo’ because of the string section’s ominous countermelody and the thematically related lyrics of a woman who wants to escape North Dakota no matter the cost.

There are parallels with Rose’s life: (more…)

For the loss of divinity – Rich DePaolo

zondag, december 30th, 2018

undiscovered treasure

Because the American singer-guitarist Rich DePaolo released his eleven song debut himself in 2003, it did not ring any bells here, although he has built a solid reputation in his hometown Ithaca by playing with others and producing them.

After the only 48 seconds long, but depressing sound collage ‘One gun salute’, with which his album opens, DePaolo impressionistically recalls the assault on flight PanAm 103 in 1988 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. He makes that huge tragedy poignant by his personal, pessimistic point of view.

Striking too is the solemn melody, (more…)

Killed for kings – Rich DePaolo

donderdag, december 27th, 2018

treasure trove

The first of the twelve songs on singer-guitarist Rich DePaolo’s second album is ironically called ‘More of the same’. DePaolo’s debut ‘For the loss of divinity’ contained comparable songs, but was already self-released in 2003, so few will know that. Apart from that fact, in that song he sings about stars that want to remain stars whatever the cost, something he clearly does not dream of, nor can dream about: above all he is a producer, an engineer and a guitar player for others.

That song is an ideal prelude for his album, because (more…)

All that’s left – Michelle Lewis

maandag, december 17th, 2018


Michelle Lewis already recorded the first of her two albums and two EPs in 2004, but she is still unknown, alhough the American singer-songwriter also performed in Europe.

That is surprising for anyone who listens to the ten carefully arranged songs on her third album, because she mixes (more…)

Goin’ gone – Kat Danser

maandag, december 17th, 2018

Black Hen BHCD0087

living blues.

Canadian singer-guitar player Kat Danser planted her feet even firmer in the blues than on predecessor ‘Baptized by the mud’, a title which is exemplary for her rootsy approach.

On that album from 2013 Danser already worked together with master guitarist/producer Steve Dawson and they continue that co-operation in the eight songs she wrote and two covers by Sam McGee and Mississippi Fred McDowell.

Dawson did not only produce the album, he also played the guitar, something he did on her previous one too. He also brought along drummer Gary Craig, bass and mandoline player Jeremy Holmes, fiddler and mandoline player Matt Combs and saxophone and harmonica player Jim Hoke. They accompany Danser’s (more…)

Malford Milligan & the Southern Aces – Life will humble you

woensdag, oktober 31st, 2018


Stagger Lee/Royal Family Records RFRCD-29083


Malford Milligan’s masterpiece.


The Afro-American Texan singer Malford Milligan and guitarist-singer Jack Hustinx have known each other for more than twenty years.

Milligan’s solo album Sweet cherry soul from 2002, produced by Hustinx, sealed their friendship and was the start of leading Dutch roots band the Shiner Twins, founded by Hustinx.

Hustinx also produced Milligan’s thirteen new songs and played both the acoustic guitar and rhythm guitar again. They also wrote five new songs for it.

They completed the rootsy collection of (country) soul songs with two songs from Hustinx’ own album Over yonder and six ballads from their friend Stephen Bruton and Charlie Rich, amongst others.

At Milligan’s request, Hustinx brought Over yonder’s Southern Aces back together again.

Drummer Nicky Hustinx, bassist Roelof Klijn, keyboardist Roel Spanjers and guitar players Hustinx and Eric van Dijsseldonk leave each other room, but their singer too, with (more…)

Kara Grainger – Living with your ghost

woensdag, augustus 29th, 2018

Station House Records SHR 0101


For her fourth album singer-guitar player Kara Grainger recorded twelve songs with New Orleanian Anders Osborne as her guitarist, plus a grooving rhythm section consisting of drummer J.J. Johnson, bass player David Monsey and keyboardist Ivan Neville, while hornsmen play in two songs.

Grainger wrote six of the songs alone and five with others, four of which with Osborne. Together they produced the album, deliberately choosing a direct sound.

Her sensual, lazy vocals are at the centre of it, accompanied by Nevilles hovering and wailing organ, but most of all by her guitar and Osborne’s, because both of them play electric and slide solos.

The two of them shaped the album like a gig: (more…)

John Lester – Fathers and sons

maandag, oktober 2nd, 2017

Ambit Acoustic Records 974005


Layered diary.


Singer and bass player John Lester’s fourth solo album is an alternative family tree: the ten songs deal with his relationship with his two sons, his wife, his father, his mother and his grandfather.

Lester recorded the songs with drummers Tim Bulkley of Michael Orbano, guitarist Paul Tiernan and occasional keyboard players. He played various basses and acoustic guitars and ukulele for the first time.

The latter instrument led to a fictitious conversation between the grandfather Lester did not know and his mother. In Through your eyes  Lester wants to see the world like one of his sons, who has a serious eye malfaction, and in The beautiful princess of never come true he wonders why expectations about boys and girls are so deeply embedded.

The text got shape after a performance by his other son in a dress at a school party. That Gretchen Peters sings along and her husband Barry Walsh plays the piano, is logical: Peters’ son was born a girl, but changed sexes in the end.

Just because of his family Lester lashes out hard in a supple way to president Trump in Train song (Don’t let freedom fade away): Everything we are tomorrow/comes from the stance we take today.

Once again, he shows his talent for beautiful and equally catchy melodies, in which virtuosity is secondary to ambiance. His singing is just as swinging as it is enjoyably hoarse in lyrics about themes that are autobiographical and universal at the same time.

That way Lester makes supple, layered songs for grown-ups with influences from jazz and singer-songwriter





Paul Batto –Lonesome road

donderdag, april 10th, 2014


Paul Batto is a songwriter who says to be influenced by John Lee Hooker, Mahalia Jackson and Frank Sinatra. That already is an unlikely combination for someone who interprets country blues in a personal way, but this entirely American sounding singer-songwriter was born in Ljubjana, Slovenia too.

That he turned into to a travelling blues musician, was no so logical: the guitar that he got when he was five years old, stood untouched in a corner for seven years.

Meanwhile he has already travelled Europe for twenty years and he plays wherever he can. His gigs must be impressive, because his playing and singing sound just as sparse as committed in the eleven songs on his new album. For conjuring up a lot of ambiance Batto needs no more than a good melody, an acoustic guitar and his voice.

His melodies stick in your memory without exception and his guitar playing is diverse in style. Batto especially feels at home in the South of the US, but also absorbs influences from Spain and India. His acoustic and slide guitar sound emotional continuously in the first place, while his vocal does not only add a melody to his playing, but also a lot of intensity.

Batto proves that he can reach maximum results with minimal means, because not only does every song form a logical whole, his inspiration is also clear every time. That way he convincingly evokes a world of endless roads, which indeed are lonely sometimes, but maybe yield many beautiful songs just because of that.