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RAY FULLER & the Bluesrockers/Long Black Train: 40 years after picking up his first guitar, this Ohio white boy with the blues still knows how to deliver that Texas how-how-how like he's a kid picking up his first guitar for the first time----just with a lot more chops and smarts than the typical teen would have. Smoking hot blues/rock that keeps the juke joint jumping all night long. Check it out.

BIG DAVE McLEAN/Better the Devil You Know: One of the cats that can lay claim to being a tent pole of Canada's white boys blues scene, McLean decamped to Nashville to tear it up with a bunch of other white boys with the blues as well as some top roots cats. With his whisky soaked voice tearing it up even further, every note sounds as authentic as it gets. Add some resonator and you have a cat that's dug delta, Chicago and more really getting to step back and have a great time while being right in the center of it all. Really hot stuff from a really cool cat.

JAMES YOUNG/Songs They Never Play on the Radio: And just how much of a Velvet Underground fan are You? This is a reissue of a 1994 album by Nico's 1980s sidekick that takes you from when they first in Berlin to her death at the end of the 80s. It's also has some snippets that take you even farther back in time to really Nico-ize you. Goth before there was Goth, twee, wan and almost at times scary, this is for the deep, down and dirty Nico fan that isn't afraid of how real it can get.

LORRAINE KLAASEN/Nouvelle Journee: You win a Juno for best world album, you get to take your time about how to top it. A few years consideration worked well for Klaasen. You might not know what Mandela's fave singer is singing about, but you know it's coming from the heart. A richly produced African world session, even the kalimbas are miced close and hot to give you all the flavor packed in the bytes of this session. This is no indigenous solo outing---it's big, bustling and wide open. She might be a vet performer but Africa has a new musical ambassador that delivers the goods. Hot stuff.

BRIAN KASTAN/Roll the Dice on Life: This electric guitarist finds the corner where fusion and improv collide with each other but resolves the conflict with making this a two disc set so you can appreciate the opposite ends without the middle turning brown. A hypnotist by day, Kasten has a lot on his plate and is certainly down with the art for arts sake side of the ledger. If you like your fusion with that unbridled Euro edge running through it, this massive spontaneous set might just be your cup of tea.

FELIX PEIKLE & JOE DOUBLEDAY/It's Showtime: A jazz oldies crew that took shape at Dizzy's Coca Cola Club, this duo fronted crew plays old time jazz but they play it at break neck modern speeds. Not a bunch of revivalists in zoot suits, this is a bunch that play like their axes are on fire and they want everyone to feel the heat. Two new luminaries taking their places on the horizon, they deliver fun stuff that does lots more than just clear the jaded palette. It's a wild ride any jazzbo can enjoy.

LEVEE TOWN/Takin' & Givin': Heartland white boys with the blues, this sixth album by the house band at Kansas City's Knuckleheads shows why the locals keep coming back between stops by the headliners. Party blues on tap here, there's a shuffle in the air even when they tackle the weighty subjects like woman's inhumanity to man. No reason not to attend a fun party like this one.

RYAN MEAGHER/Mist Moss Home: After a decade in New York, the jazzy guitar man moved to Portland with his family and found the joys to be had in the Portland, Oregon jazz scene. Playing like he doesn't miss the mean streets at all, Meagher plays like he's back in the company of the rising modern jazz stars he rubbed elbows with back it the closed in, cramped spaces. A bright, breezy head bobbing kind of date, jazz guitar fans have a dandy treat on their hands here. Well done plucky playing that hits all the right notes without needing one extra. Check it out.

IAN FAQUINI & PAULA SANTORO/Metal na Madeira: Two Brazilian music vets join forces for a guitar/vocal date that is freed from the bonds of commercial dictates but still colors within the lines so not as to lose you as it takes off on flights on fancy. Simply a wonderful world beat date for gringos that don't want to wander too far from home, you might not know what Santoro is singing but you'll welcome her singing it for you. Solid stuff that hits the target without traveling the tried and true routes.

LARA DOWNES/America Again: Once the notes leave her fingers, by the time they hit your ears they might sound like something different from what was intended. The only constant is they sound great. Inspired by a Langston Hughes poem, the acknowledged extraordinary artist of her generation takes you on a musical tour de force of American music, jazz, classical, pop and all being a most savvy tour guide by herself from her perch on her piano bench. The kind of well presented recital your grandparents used to go nuts for, it might well be time for you to sit down and shut up and hear what an extraordinary artist sounds like. An absolutely smoking piano recital of the highest order----and even with her multi culti background, there ain't a tiger mom in the background making her play like this. Well done throughout.

Volume 39/Number 342
October 10, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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