gary clark jr. - story of sonny boy slim

Gary Clark, Jr.: The Story of Sonny Boy Slim (2015)

Day 24 of the #mayvinylchallenge takes a look at etchings, whether it’s the weird title messages scratched into the dead wax of a record or a full side sketch for those albums that don’t fit a double album format. Thinking about that brought me back to The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, the chameleon rock second record from Gary Clark, Jr. At 53 minutes it more than fits on a CD, but the vinyl version only takes up three sides, allowing for a gorgeous scratch design on Side D. So it fits the category; now let’s talk about the music.

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all them witches - nothing as the ideal

All Them Witches: Nothing as the Ideal (2020)

My shying away from a lot of modern metal doesn’t mean I’m shying say from modern (or more accurately, current) rock. All Them Witches was a revelation to me back in 2016 when I discovered their Lightning at the Door album through some mutual friends. Over the years the band has expanded and contracted, moving in subtle directions where the emphasis can fall on multiple genres – some more successfully than others. Trimmed down to a trio, Nothing as the Ideal locks everything into place, creating am monster of a rock album that feel simultaneously timeless and of every time. It’s a banger, in other words.

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beasts of bourbon - black milk

Beasts of Bourbon: Black Milk (1990)

It took album #3 for The Beasts of Bourbon to fall prey to what we’ll call for lack of a better word “safe” music.  Which is not to say that Black Milk is a bad album; on the contrary, it’s a terrific amalgam of everything that was present on the previous two records (their debut The Axeman’s Jazz is a terrific gnarled album, but I don’t own a physical copy, so no review).  But that amalgam is tempered, somewhat.  There’s a tunefulness and restraint that doesn’t have the vital spark of Sour Mash, but is sweet just the same. Continue reading “Beasts of Bourbon: Black Milk (1990)”

beasts of bourbon - sour mash

Beasts of Bourbon: Sour Mash (1988)

We all have those people in our lives who act as our musical sherpas, guiding us on paths we would not have otherwise taken to discover aural delights that reverberate in our souls and ears.  Over the last six or so years the largest of those people has been Henry Rollins, via his weekly KCRW radio show (seriously, listen here) as well as his collection of Fanatic books where he provides liner notes for every radio show.  Through him I discovered the hotbed of great music that’s been coming out of Australia for years, specifically the swerving, booze-drenched blues insanity of  The Beasts of Bourbon, here represented by their second album,  Sour Mash. Continue reading “Beasts of Bourbon: Sour Mash (1988)”

bb king - live at the regal

B.B. King: Live at the Regal (1965)

There are live albums, and then there are live albums.  Some of simply documents of a band or artist at a point in time; others are a snapshot of a comet, a fragile glimpse of the celestial heavens that will never come again.  Sam Cooke’s Live at the Harlem Square Club.  James Brown’s Live at the Apollo.  Hell, I’m more than happy to throw in Iron Maiden’s Live After Death…”Scream for me Long Beach!” indeed.  When it comes to blues, you can take your pick of classic live documents, but one that has always stood out as a a testament to the form is Live at the Regal, the 1964 recording of the great, the singular, B.B. King. Continue reading “B.B. King: Live at the Regal (1965)”