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Raoul & The Big Time - Hollywood Blvd (2014)

24-04-2014, 15:45
Music | Blues

Raoul & The Big Time - Hollywood Blvd (2014)

Artist: Raoul & The Big Time
Title Of Album: Hollywood Blvd
Year Of Release: 2014
Label: Big Time Records
Genre: Chicago Blues, Harmonica Blues, West Coast Blues
Format: MP3
Quality: 320 kbps, 44.1 Khz
Total Time: 44:50
Total Size: 104 Mb
Covers: Front

01. Nothin' Gonna Take Me Down (Feat. Rick Holmstrom, Donny Gerrard) (4:49)
02. Hollywood Blvd (Feat. Junior Watson, Fred Kaplan) (3:53)
03. Someday (Feat. Franck Goldwasser) (5:10)
04. Amphetamine (Feat. Rick Holmstrom) (2:49)
05. Get Out Of My Life Woman (Feat. Rusty Zinn) (3:32)
06. Left Coast Fred (Feat. Fred Caplan, Junior Watson) (3:27)
07. Why Am I Treated So Bad (Feat. Rick Holmstrom, Donny Gerrard) (4:17)
08. Tired (Feat. Junior Watson, Fred Kaplan) (5:50)
09. Spoken For (Feat. Junior Watson, Fred Kaplan) (4:33)
10. Curtis Charm (Feat. Curtis Salgado) (2:58)
11. In The Shadow Of The Pine (Feat. Johnny Sansone, John Showman) (3:28)

"American roots music is like a big stew. Blues, Rock and Roll, West Coast Swing, Jazz and even Bluegrass are just some of the spices in the mix. Raoul and his band The Big Time, with help from some friends have cooked up a winning recipe for their new disc “Hollywood Blvd”.

Raoul Bhaneja is the catalyst for this fine music. He and his Toronto band, The Big Time, are among a number of talented Canadian musicians who haven’t had the chance to be heard extensively in the US. Raoul is a singer, harmonica player and talented songwriter, having written eight of the twelve tracks on this disc. He is also a busy actor both on stage and in front of the camera. The Big Time is all about creating original music for today, inspired by the genius of the past. This is their tribute to the music he and his band love — the Chess Blues sound of the 50s and contemporary West Coast Jump Harmonica Blues. He has enlisted some of the best West Coast players including former members of The Hollywood Fats Band, Canned Heat, and The Mighty Flyers, along with most of the current members of Mavis Staples’ band: all musicians Raoul has admired and learned from over the years. It brings an authentic sound to the project.

There are four instrumentals here and each of them adds to the flavor of the album. Two are recorded with Los Angeles-based greats Junior Watson, Fred Kaplan, Richard Innes, and Larry Taylor. “Left Coast Fred” is a West Coast jump swing number and the title track “Hollywood Blvd” sounds as if Slim Harpo and Ramsey Lewis were working together. The third instrumental “Amphetamine” finds Raoul working with Jeff Turmes, Rick Holmstrom and Stephen Hodges, to create a sound that feels like it could have been recorded by Little Walter and The Aces back in the 1950s.

The last instrumental “Curtis Charm” features Curtis Salgado blowing harp with Raoul while The Big Time provide in the pocket backup. There are four covers along with eight original songs. “Get Out Of My Life Woman”, written by Alan Toussaint and done first by Lee Dorsey is performed by Raoul and The Big Time with additional guitar work by Rusty Zinn, another fine California-based guitar player, who has worked with Kim Wilson and Mark Hummel as well as recording his own solo releases.

“Someday” is a Bobby “Blue” Bland tune that features guitarist Franck Goldwasser laying down some very tasty guitar licks. My favorite cover is “Why (Am I Treated So Bad)” done by The Staple Singers in 1967. Here Raoul is backed again by current members of Mavis Staples’ band, a perfect pairing for the tune. Lastly is a cover of a very early Bluegrass tune “In The Shadow Of The Pine” with New Orleans musician Johnny Sansone and fiddler John Showman playing behind Raoul.

Sounding just as strong as the covers, the other four tracks “Nothin’ Gonna Take Me Down”, “High Roller”, “Spoken For” and “Tired” are original songs written by Raoul that exhibit some very clever lyrics. For instance, “High Roller” has the chorus “Fortune’s smiling upside down, I’m a high roller with a frown”.

Grab a bowl and a spoon and have yourself a huge helping of this wonderful musical dish that Raoul and The Big Time have created for us. It’s good to you as well as good for you." ~Blues broadcaster Bill Wax

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