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Mitch Woods - Friends Along The Way PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   
Mitch Woods - Friends Along The Way
The latest release from Bluesman pianist Mitch Woods - Friends Along The Way, features a stellar cast of Blues friends that have been a part of his life "along the way" namely Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Ruthie Foster, Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop, John Hammond, Joe Louis Walker, Maria Muldaur, Kenny Neal, Cyril Neville, Marcia Ball, John Lee Hooker, and James Cotton. With friends like that, I thought this release was going to be good before I even gave it a listen; after listening to it, I knew it was great! Released on the Club 88 Records label, this Double CD Deluxe Edition is a must for Blues collectors.

 

Mitch Woods - Friends Along The Way

Mitch Woods - Friends Along The Way 

Mitch Woods - Friends Along The Way: Disc One: C. C. Rider, Take This Hammer, Keep A Dollar In Your Pocket, Singin' The Blues, Mother-In-Law Blues, Cryin' For My Baby, Nasty Boogie, Empty Bed Blues, Blues Mobile, The Blues 

Mitch Woods - Friends Along the Way: Disc Two: Saturday Night Boogie Woogie Man, Blues Gave Me A Ride Chicago Express, Never Get Out Of These Blue Alive, Midnight Hour Blues, In The Night, Rules For New Orleans, Don't Dip In My Bizness, Southbound Blues, Mojo Mambo, Worried Life Blues 

Mitch Woods - Friends Along the Way was produced by Mitch Woods and released on the Club 88 Records label. 

One of the things that captured my attention for this release was not only Mitch's talent, but his accomplished friends along the way, many of whom Luxury Experience had the pleasure of experiencing perform in concert, reviewing their releases, or interviewing them. Listening to Friends Along the Way was like taking a fabulous nostalgic musical trip down "memory lane." 

Disc One of the Double CD Deluxe Edition opens with the Gertrude "Ma" Rainey song that she wrote in 1924, C. C. Rider, featuring Taj Mahal on guitar and vocals, Van Morrison on vocals, and Mitch Woods on piano. This interpretation takes it nice and slow, and the result is spectacular. 

Taj Mahal, Van Morrison, and Mitch Woods continue their trio work on the Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter (1888-1949) song entitled, Take This Hammer. Keep A Dollar In Your Pocket is a great Jump Blues piece written in 1947 by Oliver Perry and features Elvin Bishop on vocals and guitar, Mitch Woods on piano, and Larry Vann on drums. I love the message on this one, about making sure you keep a dollar in your pocket for a time when you may need it. 

Next on the playlist is Singin' The Blues written and performed by Ruthie Foster who lends her stunning vocals and plays guitar, with Mitch Woods on piano, followed by the Don Robey (1903 - 1975) song, Mother-In-Law Blues featuring John Hammond on vocals and national steel guitar, and Mitch Woods on piano. 

Mitch Woods shows off his songwriting prowess on the next song, Cryin' For My Baby. The lyrics are pure Blues, "Cryin' For My Baby...but is my baby cryin' for me..." Charlie Musselwhite seasons this song with his harmonica to complement Mitch Woods on piano. 

The next song, written by Champion Jack Dupree, entitled, Nasty Boogie, was first recorded in 1958. Joe Louis Walker is the featured friend on this one playing guitar and lending his vocals to Mitch's who also plays piano. Maria Muldaur is the featured vocalist on the J.C. Johnson song entitled, Empty Bed Blues, first recorded by Bessie Smith in 1928, with Mitch Woods on piano. Interesting to note about Maria Muldaur is that she knows old-time Blues and first introduced me to the music of "Memphis Minnie" (1897-1973), when I interviewed Maria in 2012. Her vocals on this one are bang on fabulous! 

Kenny Neal wrote the next song, Blues Mobile, and plays guitar and harmonica, and adds his vocals as well, and is joined by Mitch Woods who adds his vocals to Kenny's, and plays piano, with Larry Vann on drums. Disc One closes with the Taj Mahal, Norman Caesar, and Cyril Garrett Neville song, The Blues, with Cyril lending his vocals to Mitch's vocals and piano. 

Disc Two has eleven well-crafted songs beginning with the Jimmy Liggins song Saturday Night Boogie Woogie Man with Mitch Woods' vocals and piano, Elvin Bishop on guitar, and Larry Vann on drums. 

Next on the playlist is the Charlie Musselwhite song entitled, Blues Gave Me A Ride, with Charie providing vocals, guitar, and seasoning the song with his harmonica, and Mitch Woods on piano. The release continues with a Mitch Woods original, Chicago Express, with James Cotton on harmonica and Mitch Woods on piano and vocals on this Chicago Blues song. 

There is so much great music on Friends Along The Way, including the John Lee Hooker song, Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive with John Lee adding his vocals and guitar to Mitch Woods' piano. Mitch takes the listener back to the year 1932 with the next song, Midnight Hour Blues written by Leroy Carr (1905-1935) and features Taj Mahal on national steel guitar, Van Morrison on vocals and harmonica, and Mitch Woods on piano. 

Henry "Roy" Roeland Byrd aka "Professor Longhair" (1918-1980) wrote the next one, In The Night which features Marcia Ball on piano and vocals with Mitch joining her on vocals and piano. The release continues with a series of previously unreleased songs beginning with another Cyril Neville song, Blues For New Orleans, with Cyril Neville on vocals and Mitch Woods on piano. I had the pleasure of meeting Cyril Neville after a Royal Southern Brotherhood performance back in 2013, and he is a dynamic performer, and Luxury Experience has enjoyed reviewing his releases throughout the years. 

Kenny Neal contributes another song, Don't Dip Into My Bizness and adds his vocals and guitar to Mitch Woods' piano. Next up is the W.R. Calaway song, Southbound Blues featuring John Hammond on vocals and guitar and Mitch Woods joining him on piano. Coming into the home stretch of the release is the Mitch Woods song MOJO Mambo featuring the celebrated vocals of Maria Muldaur and Mitch joining her on vocals and piano. 

The release closes with the Samp Hopkins song, Worried Life Blues, with Joe Louis Walker on guitar and vocals and Mitch joining him on vocals and piano. The release, Mitch Woods - Friends Along The Way is like a Blues lesson with Jump Blues, Boogie Woogie Blues, Chicago Blues, Honky Tonk Blues, and New Orleans Blues. This Double CD Deluxe Edition is one for Blues collectors to add to their collection. 

Until next time, keep enjoying the music! 

For more information on Mitch Woods and his upcoming tour calendar, please visit the website: www.MitchWoods.com 

Websites where you can procure Mitch Woods - Friends Along The Way: Mitch Woods Shop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others. 

Social Media:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mitchwoods88
Instagram: www.instagram.com/mitchwoods88
YouTube: https://youtube.com/@MitchWoods88
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mitchwoods88
 

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