By, Tom Baldino
Last month we let our members know that Robert Hill and his band featuring vocalist S.JĀ were self releasing a cut on the forthcoming Blind Raccoon and Nola Blue Collection Volume 5. Well, a copy of this two set CD featuring the work of 30 artists and bands, either self-released or on indie blues labels, arrived in my mailbox last week. If you like good blues, you will love this collection. It’s a revelation for the casual listener as well as those steeped in this music. It allows you to sample many terrific artists who you may not be familiar with but trust me, you will want to hear more of, after a listen to this set. It is packed with great songs done in many different blues styles, from an instrumental interpretation of the Ramsey Lewis hit, “The In Crowd,” to the smoldering “I’d Do It for You,” by Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps, the country “Honky Tonk Blues” of Jimmy Bratcher and the church inspired blues of “Good Shepherd” by Reverend Freakchild. Robert Hill’s standout track, “Maybe You Will Someday,” features the soulful vocals of S.JĀ along with some stellar guitar courtesy of the author, and that’s only some of the first disc.
I enjoyed the packaging with the discs looking like vinyl records with what appears to be breaks between the songs. Disc two kicks off with a great barrel house blues by Anthony Geraci, “Haven’t Seen My Baby.” The third cut is by someone well known to the Jersey blues scene, John Ginty, who played some fabulous Hammond B3 at our events with Bob Lanza and is now with the Allman Betts band. He gives the organ a real workout on the instrumental, “Switch.” Frank Bey offers up a powerful rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” while another New Jersey bluesman got my undivided attention with his self penned blues rocker ”Trouble To The Core.” Anthony “Big A” Sherrod, featuring “The Cornlickers,” hales from the cradle of the blues, Clarksdale Mississippi, and is represented on this with his hard driving cautionary tale, “Everybody Ain’t Your Friend.” Look for him to help, “New Jersey Get the Blues,” as part of our Community Outreach program, with date and time to be announced.
No matter what your blues preference is, there’s plenty on these two discs to like, especially the cut “Cielo,” by Carlos Elliot, sung mostly in Spanish. A beautiful guitar in this song speaks the universal language of the blues. It’s available at www.blueheartrecords.com as well as on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.