Sunday, February 04, 2007

FolknBluesGrass - Folk'n Around At The Focal Point

This offering from FolknBluesGrass (Brian Curran’s band) was recorded live on the River City Acoustic Program on KDHX Radio on 06/24/06. The first nine tracks were recorded at the Focal Point and the final two tracks were recorded in the KDHX studio with DJ Drea. For those who like acoustic blues you will love this offering.

FolknBluesGrass is:

Brian Curran – National and International Guitars and Vocals

Steve Bauer – Rock Star Mandolins and Vocals

Travis King – Dog House Upright Bass and Vocals

Fred Altiere – Kitchen Sink Percussion, Kazoo and Vocals

This offering opens with the introduction of the band, and each member introduced by Brian Curran. Next is Diddy Wa Diddy/Shouldn’t Do That by Blind Blake & Casey Bill Weldon. I love the original sounds they manage to get from unorthodox instruments in the percussion section. Their sound reminds me of the back porch tunes of the south in the early 1900’s. Next is Let’s Get Drunk Again by Bo Carter. These guys would have made Bo pretty proud at the way they deliver his song as well as the fact that there is someone who is keeping his music alive in a traditional sound. Next up is Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me and is credited to Swanstone-Carvon-Morgan. Brian adds a nod to the Jim Kweskin Jug Band as well. They next tackle the prohibition era song by Tampa Red titled Can’t Get That Stuff No More and do a superb job. Next up is a little ditty called the Saint Louis Rag written by Brian Curran himself. I love these old style ragtime songs and these guys really do an outstanding job in the delivery and show some great harmony as well. Jail House Blues by Robert Wilkins is next. I enjoyed hearing the music of Robert Wilkins covered here as to the best of my knowledge he only released two albums before getting religion and stopped playing blues. Another Brian Curran original is next in The Gambling Man. I enjoy the stories preceding some tracks on this cd as well as the banter between Brian and the other band members. It makes for a fun time. The Hank Garland song Sugar Foot Rag ends the Focal Point portion of this offering and is done in fine style as with the rest of the material covered. Next is the Play’n with Drea at KDHX Studios segment and I found myself laughing at this as Brian and the band show their sense of humor in the interview that precedes the song Street Walkin’ Woman written by Sonny Boy Nelson.

Brian tells me that both himself and the band are ready to hit the road and play for people wherever and whenever. If you know of a place that would like to host either Brian solo or with FolknBluesGrass please let me know and we will do our best to get him there.

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RX Blues - I Hate My Boss

Here is an excellent release from St. Louis based RX Blues. This offering showcases the outstanding talent of this group both in their performance and songwriting. All thirteen tracks were penned by either Dr. Jose Diaz (lead/rhythm guitar) or Jeff Davis (lead/rhythm guitar). This cd was released in 2001 and recorded at Music Masters in St. Louis, Missouri. I found these original tracks to be well written and delivered. The current band lineup is:

Jose Diaz - Lead Guitar
Joe Kennedy - Bass and Vocals
Tim Compton - Saxophone, Keyboards, & Vocals

They open with I hate My Boss, a swinging shuffle that makes you start moving from the start. This is followed by Problems No More. Here again they come at you with a beat to get you moving, and the lead guitar smokes. Next is Memphis, Beale Street, The Blues And Me, here is a great swingin tune that you just can’t sit still to. They follow with a great song and one of my personal favorites from this cd titled Sad Bad Lovin’ Blues. It is a bit of a funky style tune that just stuck a chord with me. The sax on this song is really great too. Next they deliver another shuffle in the St. Louis Shuffle, a great tune with a 50’s shuffle swing sound. Eat Good Eat Bad is next, and as with the rest will keep you moving. A well written and arranged song I enjoyed very much. Neon Jungle is next and is a pretty neat set of lyrics. It seems to Describe the club scene pretty well in my opinion. Big Daddy is next and shows us a more conventional blues sound. It is written and delivered as as slow shuffle. Hit It Twice is next and continues the dance beat very well. We are treated some nice horns and a great bass to anchor the song as well as some real nice lead riffs from the guitar. I really enjoyed the way the bass and drums work with each other which will make or break a great song. Blacklisted is next and is a return to a slow shuffle in true blues form. The vocal work on this entire cd is just great as well. Next is another favorite of mine in The Wolf Is At Your Door. This is a set of lyrics that everyone can relate to. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t felt that the wolf was at the door at one point. The organ on this is outstanding also. This next song I could hear all night and is titled Middle Of The Road. It is a slow song which I think is just great. For me it is one of those songs that if heard once just stays in your head all day for some reason. They close out this offering with Empty Pockets, a really nice bit of slide guitar combined with great lyrics.

I understand after hearing this music why they have been fortunate enough to open for some top acts, including:

Long John Hunter
Little Charlie And The Nightcats
Tommy Castro
Chuck Berry
Buddy Miles (Legendary Drummer For Jimi Hendrix)

Tab Benoit

James Solberg

Visit their web site at:

Try I Hate My Boss here: