The Live Bluesapolooza benefit album was recorded in 2000, and released last year. It features six of the Twin Cities finest blues bands, all coming together to raise funds for Mark DeForrest. Each band gets a brace of tracks on the album, plus there are two bonus tracks at the end by Joe Juliano.
Guitarist Joe Juliano bookends the CD. He kicks things off with Johnnie Bassett's "Cadillac Blues" and Colin Wright's "She's Into Something," each offering something a little bit different, and each showing that Juliano is no mean guitarist. He also gets the last two (unlisted) tracks where the band are augmented by a sax player.
Juliano is followed by another guitar based group, the Keller Brothers, who also perform a couple of covers. Their version of Otis Rush's "It Takes Time" shows that they know their stuff and can certainly play. They are followed by the first of the original tracks, "Beldonia" by the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls. It is an instrumental "Beldonia" which has a strong Muddy Waters influence running through it. They then drop into the party mood with a fun version (is there any other kind?) of "Don't You Just Know It."
Magic Sam's "All Your Love" gets a great reworking from Big Walter and the
Groove Merchants who add a brass section that really makes things swing. They also do a take on Doyle Bramhall's "She's Mine" with some fine guitar from Scott Graves, before passing the baton to the Soulmates. "Mississippi Soupbone" (slang for a fine looking woman) is the best track on the album. Everything about the band just fits nicely into place and special guest Steve Vonderharr contributes the excellent harp. They also add their party bit with "Walkin' The Dog."
Fittingly, the (officially listed bit of the) party closes with local legends Lamont Cranston, still going strong after 30 years. They maintain the party mood with Pat Hayes in top form on harp and vocals as they rattle through "Got My Mojo Workin'," before rounding off with an interpretation of Howlin' Wolf's "Ridin' With Daddy" that is very much their own.
"Bluesapolooza" sounds like it was a lot of fun. There is a good-time atmosphere permeating the album, and all of the featured bands acquit themselves well. In this respect "Bluesapolooza" acts as a good introduction to the local scene, for anyone who has ever wondered about the locally based blues bands in the Twin Cities. Very good all round entertainment, with all the proceeds going to charity.
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This review is copyright © 2002 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
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