I’m Not Alone
Holy crap! This kid blows doors! 16 years old and rips harder than 90% of the guitarists I have seen in the last 20 years. Serious business. And I have seen my share of all genres. If Kingfish is the new Buddy, If Carson Ludford is the new Jimi, Nathan Pope is definitely the new Stevie. The first time I heard this guy I thought I was listening to someone else, and I said to myself “man this guy has gotten really good!” only to realize it was a whole new guy. Nathan Pope has guitar skills that any 50 year-old would be proud of, so if he keeps on his current path and trajectory there is no telling how far this guitar-slaying ripper will go. The CD is a tight little disc from start to finish, opening up with a blistering “I’ve Tried” which has a fast beat and nice guitar riffs. He slows it down on track 2 with “I’m Not Alone” and expresses his feelings that something bigger than all of us is driving the goings on of the world. “Crossroads” starts out with a slow electric guitar version of Amazing Grace but then kicks into the traditional song Blues fans know so well, and Nathan gives it his own personal take and does a fine job. A great CD from start to finish, keep your eye on this young man because he has nowhere to go but the top.
Blues Legend Mojo Collins adds another solid release to his repertoire of roughly 30 full-length releases and 300 original songs to his name. This cat has been turning ‘em out since the year I was born and hasn’t stopped pumping in over 50 years. Mojo has worked with some of the best, including Janis Joplin, Fleetwood Mac, Steve Miller, Grateful Dead, Ike & Tina Turner, Muddy Waters, Leon Redbone, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and many, many more. Just like Mojo’s opening cut, you will have a “New Gladitude” after listening to this multi-award-winning performer. My favorite song is “Raynor Shine” which he wrote for his grandson Bo Raynor who is one hot rippah mon and on his way to some major surfing stardom and ranking Number 4 on the WSL Junior tour. Mojo is all about the “Laissez les bons temps rouler” and you will be too after listening to this powerful display of Blues mastery. So let the good times roll and rock this fresh disc as you roll through great jams like “Blue Carolina Day”, “Mr. Reflection”, and “Living in the Spirit”. As a man, you will appreciate Mojo’s dedication to preserving our coastline and our landmarks. As a musician, you will appreciate his preservation of the Blues. Keep up the good work Mojo. Go out and get this CD as a treat to yourself and a great addition to your collection.
A Woman’s Soul: A Tribute To Bessie Smith
This is one of those CDs that took me a few times to get the hang of. The more I got to listen, the more I liked the CD and the artist. Rory has been putting out CDs for almost 40 years, and began playing “Old Time” music as a young teen. Many years of touring, playing, and racking up awards and this lady is still blazing a path. This release of covers of one of The Blues’ Female Pioneers has many high spots as Rory takes her picking style and combines them with Bessie’s risqué double-entendre lyrics and the result is an above average CD with many great cuts. Classic Bessie jams like “Do Your Duty”, “Kitchen Man”, and “Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer” do justice to “The Empress of The Blues” as these classics from the 20’s and 30’s are given a modern-day twangy twist as Block puts her signature spin on these jams to make each and every one her own. If you are a lover of Women In Blues then this is one CD you have to add to your collection as this 5 time Blues Music Award Winner delivers. The good news is this is Rory’s 1st in a series of her “Power Women of The Blues” tribute series. Keep your eyes open for the next release!
Calypso Vinyl Flashback
John L. Nichols
Here In The Virgin Islands
One of my most prized possessions, this vinyl here ranks in my top 10 of all-time, and I am sure that you have never heard of him. I scored this gem at a garage sale for a dollar about 15 years ago. I thought the cover was cool, and figured it might be reggae. Boy was I wrong. The self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest Calypsonian-Composer”, John L. Nichols died before I got a chance to meet him. I went all over St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, etc. and no one ever even heard of the guy. Their loss. This LP boasts some of my favorite songs, and they all tell stories. “Washer Woman” was my first favorite as he sings of a woman who hand washes clothes all day, breaking her back in the hot sun. At the end of the song you discover the woman is actually his mother. “Green Christmas” is a great song that proclaims Santa came to the VI in a donkey cart, sweating and fretting with water in his eye. John L proclaims he doesn’t want a White Christmas with plenty of snow; he wants a Green Christmas with Steel Band and Calypso! Now that’s what I’m talking about! Llevame a San Tomas is the tale of a woman wanting to get away from it all and escape to a Caribbean paradise. Count me in! Every song on this LP is good with great horns, drums, and lyrics. This release led me to seek out other John L. releases like “Stay Up!” and “Press On” which are much more politically charged. This release, however, is all about fun, dancing, and the opposite sex. A great song, “Enjoy the Sea”, tells of how he met a girl, did the deed, fell asleep, and woke up to find all of his stuff stolen. Another, “Cutie”, tells of a girl who had 12 guys paying child support for one baby when in fact the baby was John L.’s and he wasn’t paying anything. Funny songs from a great performer who unfortunately I would later find out died in 1980 so my plans of finding him were all in vain. A very rare release you will have a hard time finding, but Green Christmas is on YouTube so look for it. Virtu Records, a division of John L Enterprises, is now defunct and no further information is available.