In modern day blues one thing is for certain, "them that gots, gets." That old line is an appropriate descriptor for the duo of Paul Rishell and Annie Raines. They won a W.C. Handy Award for their 1996 CD "I Want You To Know" (TC 1156), and they have returned with another excellent album, "Moving To The Country."
Paul and Annieís latest release features mid-tempo blues, some upbeat swamp pop and a Django Rienhart piece. Paul and Annie are heard as an acoustic duo on about half the tracks. The marriage of Paulís Piedmont style guitar and Annieís rich and tasteful harp playing sounds great. This is some fine traditional blues. The album only gets better when Paul and Annie "plug in" and play with a backing band. Tunes like "Moving To The Country," "Good Women Have Bad Days," and "Turning Corner" (on which Annie lays down a great Fender Rhodes piano groove) are highlights on a very solid album.
I refer to this recording as an "album" because thatís exactly what it is. These tunes sound like they were written and produced as singles, collected and then released as an album. Think of traditional Chicago Blues. Chess originally put out singles by Little Walter and Muddy Waters. It wasnít until the advent of the LP in the late 50s that we started seeing albums (collections of singles) by these artists. The point is, this album flows very nicely. The acoustic tunes fit in well with the band tracks. None of the songs over powers the others, but it makes for an enjoyable 45 minute listen. Iíve spun this record countless times trying to find that ONE SONG that sticks out, but it always comes out as one consistent body of work.
It looks good too. The graphics are well designed and not too busy. Jerry Portnoy adds some fine liner notes and refrains from the usual hyperbole. Plus Annie and Paul add their two cents on the individual tracks. Hats of to Tone Cool for releasing a fine CD by this award winning duo. If thereís justice in the music business, Paul and Annie will continue to get.
To find out more about Paul Rishell and Annie Raines, or to Order "Moving To The County" log onto Tone Coolís website at: www.tonecool.com or www.paulandannie.com
This review is copyright © 1999 by Ryan Reardon, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.