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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
time, keep enjoying the music!
information on Mitch Woods and his upcoming tour calendar, please visit the
where you can procure Mitch Woods - Friends Along The Way: Mitch Woods Shop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others.
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