Although one of the world's best-kept secrets at the time, this was John Lennon's declaration of independence from the Beatles, the document of a concert appearance at Toronto's Rock and Roll Revival festival about a month after the conclusion of the Abbey Road sessions. Thrown together literally on the wing (they rehearsed only on the flight from England), the ad-hoc band consisting of Lennon, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton on guitar, Klaus Voorman on bass, and Alan White on drums hit the stage to the surprise and delight of the thousands who packed Varsity Stadium…
East Texas has produced yet another formidable young guitar player with award-winning, Ally Venable on her newest Connor Ray Music release, Puppet Show. Powerhouse singer and guitar player, Ally Venable was the 2014 and 2015 East Texas Female Guitarist of the Year, and the Ally Venable Band won 2015, 2016, and 2017 honors as East Texas Blues Band of the Year. Ably backed by drummer Elijah Owings and Bobby Wallace on bass, along with some thrilling and enthusiastic guest appearances by guitarists Gary Hoey and Lance Lopez, and Eric Steckel on keys, Puppet Show features eight originals and two covers. It is another solid step forward in the early stages of what will likely be a long and interesting career for the still teenage blues sensation, Ally Venable Band.
First off, Kenny Wayne Shepherd was 33 years old at the release of this album, so he’s not a kid playing hot guitar anymore, he’s a grown man doing it. And he does play a hot lead guitar – that, in a nutshell, is what he does. But over the years he’s also learned that the blues isn’t just about blazing lead licks, it’s also about letting the song say its say – and on Live! In Chicago he does that. This is a concert full of songs and not just a bunch of guitar leads broken up by someone singing for a bit. Shepherd is also fully aware of the history of the blues and he honors some of his heroes here by playing with blues legends like Hubert Sumlin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Bryan Lee and Buddy Flett and he doesn’t step all over them with his guitar playing – he supports them. The concert grew out of the tour Shepherd put together in support of 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads project, a DVD/CD documentary that featured Shepherd traveling around the country on a ten day trip interviewing and playing with icons from the blues world, including the surviving members of Muddy Waters' and Howlin' Wolf's bands, making this show, recorded at the House of Blues in Chicago, a kind of culmination.
While most of their contemporaries in London were into the ideals of love & peace in the late sixties, the Edgar Broughton Band anticipated the virago of punk rock. Rob Edgar Broughton offered the following as a reason for their latest comeback. We always were a political and socially aware band, and in many ways the world today is similar to the world back in the sixties. The time has come to stand up and do it again. Well put. 40 years after it's formation, The Edgar Broughton Band features the original line up plus a new generation of Broughton with the addition of Edgar's son Luke. The music still has the hard, rebel edge it always had and Out Demons Out is as relevant today as it was in 1969 as you can hear on this concert recorded by the Rockpalast at the Crossroads Festival March 24nd, 2006 in Bonn, Germany.
Concerts with Maria Schneider are something special. They are stylistically not only out of the ordinary, they also manage to bring large orchestras to perform artistically at high voltage, with an energy and at a creative level which is otherwise known only in much smaller ensembles. It is not the music alone that drives the participants, but rather the serene seriousness of a band leader who demands a maximum of intensity from her compositions and passes this premise on to their interpretation. It is impossible to conceive of compositions for jazz orchestras more stringently. The instrumentalists know this too, and therefore feel called upon not only to reproduce the charts accurately but to work out all the contained hints, implications, and visions of sound down to the deepest levels. This original recording was made in May 2000 when Schneider appeared alongside the SWR Big Band. And for the SWR Big Band, those days in May 2000 are some of the highlights of their orchestral history.