Joe Juliano and
A Hot Cup Of Rhythm & Blues
"Fightin' The Blues" CD Review
Independent Release, 11 tracks, 54 minutes

Joe Juliano's second CD in less than a year is a continuation of the very nice R&B/blues offerings that were found on his 1997 release "A Hot Cup of Rhythm & Blues." All the songs on this new release were written by Joe except for the Sam & Dave (Hayes-Porter) R&B classic "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" (a favorite request from his live shows) and two songs co-written with Twin Cities' keyboard player Andy Bailey. What makes this CD so enjoyable is the strong R&B stylings of Juliano’s voice, his excellent guitar playing and the superb backing of his band. Juliano’s guitar features some of the best R&B rhythm and lead guitar sounds I have heard in a long time. Just listen to his wonderful guitar on "Lock On My Heart" and you will know what I mean. He has that Stax/Volt/Muscle Shoals/Memphis sound down pat. He said he has been playing this music so long the sound is just second nature to him. His distinctive voice is also right out of the 1960’s R&B songbook. There is a little bit of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Picket, James Brown, and many obscure soul/R&B musicians in there, all combining to make a very appealing sound. Juliano’s current stage band members are also the musicians on this CD, along with a few guests. Young Toby Marshall is featured on keyboards and is joined on several cuts by Andy Bailey. Leon McCormick on bass, Kevin Nord and Merlin Brunkow on horns and Craig Gallas on drums make up the rest of the group. These guys can play the hell out of this music.

With song titles like "Play The Blues," Fightin’ The Blues," "Epidemic Of The Blues," "12 Bar Blues," and "Paper Boy Blues" you start to get the impression this guy sings the blues, plays the blues, has the blues, and lives the blues. Which all may be true but this can be a little misleading because the overall sound and flavor of this CD is definitely upbeat and solid Rhythm and Blues. There is also a gritty, Koko Taylor like, blues-shout of a duet with Joe and Grana’ Louise on "12 Bar Blues." Then there is a funky groove on "Answer My Ad" that is sure to get the lead out of just about anyone who listens to it. The semi-instrumental "Cappuccino" features some Latin sounds and has a distinct "The Girl From Ipanema" flavor.

There is some additional help on the CD from Clint Hoover on harmonica, Dave Wiegert on piano, Rubin Adan on bongos, Marcos Romero on congas and Jennine Johnson adding some enticing vocals and harmony with Joe on "You’re So Cold." I like one of the lines from that song "you’re so cold, you’re like a winter in Duluth." Those of us from the frozen northern tundra know what he is talking about. If you liked Joe’s last CD you will have a great time with this new one. If you haven’t heard that one, get them both. These guys deserve a break on a record or distribution agreement.

You can order Joe's new CD "Fightin' The Blues" by going to this web site:

See the live review in this issue.

E-mail Joe at:

Visit Joe’s Web Page at:

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at:

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Copyright © 1998 by Ray M. Stiles
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