First of two double CDs exploring the substantial contributions to American music by the amazingly talented Henry Glover who was one of the first African-American executives and producers in a white owned record company. Glover did it all - he was a producer, arranger, songwriter, publisher, talent scout, trumpet player and label owner. He started off playing with the Lucky Millinder band in the early 40s and quickly became arranger for the band and songwriter for the band's many great vocalists. Soon he was writing and producing for Syd Nathan's King label and in 1948 was put on staff by Nathan and the majority of the recordings here are from King along with some covers of King hits by artists on other labels.
Female blues singer and songwriter Zola Moon was born in San Jose, CA, but her powerful song stylings might mislead listeners to guess that she was raised in the Deep South of Louisiana or Mississippi on grounds better known for producing great blues artists. She is self-taught, though she does mention numerous musical influences, ranging from B. B. King and Muddy Waters to Hank Williams and Tina Turner. Even with all of those wonderful influences, Zola Moon has worked hard to keep her sound all her own. Lost in the BluesZola Moon began her career in blues about 1983, in the San Francisco area. After seven years of performing, which helped her grow a large fan base, she finally released a debut album in 1990. It was titled Dangerous Love and recorded under the BareMoon Records label. Five years later, and with a new label, she finished work on an enjoyable sophomore offering, Lost in the Blues. It was followed in 1998 by Almost Crazy and then in 2000 by Earthquakes, Thunder, and Smiling Lighting. Some of the original blues tunes fans can sample on Zola Moon's albums are "Doll House," "Lucky Me," "I Look at the Fool," "Imagination," "Alley Cat," "Hollywood to the Hood," and "I Don't Think So."
Gold is right – after gradually building their reputation a series of nine LPs, the Climax Blues Band finally enjoyed a serious hit single with "Couldn't Get It Right," which hit number three on the American charts and led to this album and then two years of almost constant touring. The group is at its most laid-back here, slipping more into a funk than a blues groove for most of Gold Plated's length. They keep some elements of their earlier sound, such as Peter Haycock's searing guitar solo on "Mighty Fire," but those looking for the group's unabashed older style will have to content themselves with just three numbers here: "Berlin Blues," with its chiming overlaid and over-amplified guitars, or the slow, Chicago blues-style "Rollin' Home," and the high-energy "Extra."
On this excellent release from the World Music Network's ever-reliable Rough Guide series, a host of unknown early blues artists get their due. While Robert Johnson, Son House, and a handful of other greats from the 1920s and '30s have become widely recognized icons of the pre-war blues era, so many lesser-known, though no less talented, players have slipped through the cracks. Opening with Henry Thomas' spirited "Fishing Blues" (complete with a pan flute solo), The Rough Guide to Unsung Heroes of Country Blues winds its way through a series of wonderful and obscure country-blues gems.
Led by Colin Cooper, the former frontman of the R&B unit the Hipster Image, the Stafford, England-based Climax Chicago Blues Band were one of the leading lights of the late-'60s blues boom. A sextet also comprised of guitarists Derek Holt and Peter Haycock, keyboardist Arthur Wood, bassist Richard Jones, and drummer George Newsome, the group debuted in 1969 with a self-titled effort recalling the work of John Mayall. Prior to the release of 1969's Plays On, Jones left the group, prompting Holt to move to bass. In 1970 the Climax Chicago Blues Band moved to the Harvest label, at the same time shifting toward a more rock-oriented sound on the LP A Lot of Bottle…
Although drummer Pete Magadini is the leader of this set (which was reissued on CD in 1996 with a previously unreleased second version of "Freddie Freeloader" added), it is tenor saxophonist Don Menza who really dominates the music. Menza (along with Magadini, pianist Wray Downes and bassist Dave Young) stretches out on such numbers as "Old Devil Moon," "Solar" and his own "Bones Blues," tearing into the music but also showing senstivity on the ballads. Don Menza should really be recorded much more often.
Heavy on the kind of blues-rock favored by Humble Pie, this is a live outing in front of a too-loud New York audience. Sax player Colin Cooper helps to separate these English midland lads from the heads-down no-nonsense boogie competition, although the emphasis is squarely on guitarist Peter Haycock. His solo electric slide showcase "Country Hat" is a marvel. The band's pop leanings featured so strongly on their studio recordings come through in "I Am Constant." It's a solid outing, and much meatier than subsequent offerings.