This week's column kicks off with a new album from former Muddy Waters bandleader Bob Margolin, followed by a DVD examination of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's career. The week winds up with a 2015 DVD/CD featuring a performance from the Rolling Stones' 1982 "Tattoo You" tour.
'My Road,' Bob Margolin (Steady Rollin' Records/Vizztone Label Group, HHH)
This Jan. 8 CD is the latest from a hard-working guitar player most famous for being in Muddy Waters' band, but who has worked with many famous folks from Levon Helm to Johnny Winter. Joining guitarist/vocalist Bob on this Michael Freeman-produced album are drummer/vocalist Chuck Cotton and guitarist/harmonicat Tad Walters. There are six Margolin original songs plus two co-writes, and four others by friends/bandmates.
They're in stripped-down, almost-demo form, and I can let you know that even a less-is-more guy would've enjoyed more instrumentation. My favorites are "Heaven Mississippi" (a "blues heaven" fantasy), "My Whole Life," the fuller-sounding "More and More" and the up-tempo "Low Life Blues."
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Blues fans who want things basic will dig this one.
'The Ritchie Blackmore Story,' (Eagle Rock Entertainment, HHHHH)
This Jan. 22 DVD/Blu-Ray/digital release, which is also available in a deluxe two-DVD/two-CD edition, tells the story of one of the most skillful yet enigmatic guitar heroes, Ritchie Blackmore. This great program includes interviews with Ritchie's band mates over the years from many projects, from Deep Purple through the personnel-go-round of Rainbow to his current Renaissance-flavored band Blackmore's Night.
His wife and BN collaborator Candice Night, the late Jon Lord, Rainbow/Purple vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, Ian Anderson, Brian May and Ritchie himself are part of the program and bonus interviews. Many musical snippets from various bands and line-ups are included, along with critical examination of some things, like the "Highway Star" solo.
This is an excellent presentation that Purple and Blackmore fans will enjoy.
'From the Vault: Live in Leeds 1982,' The Rolling Stones (Eagle Rock Entertainment, HHHH)
This DVD + two-CD/ Blu-Ray +two-CD/digital release dates from Nov. 20, and was the last concert of The Stones' 1982 European tour. It contains many songs from 1981's acclaimed "Tattoo You" album, plus other tunes from across their career, including a few that had yet to see album release. It was the last show for boogie pianist Ian Stewart and the first for Allman Brothers pianist Chuck Leavell.
The Stones were in 1980s fashions: Mick was wearing what looks like bicycle tights plus various toppings, and headbands and Nikes abound. His live vocals hadn't degenerated into barking by that point, so there are lots of cool songs here.
My favorites are "Let's Spend The Night Together," "Just My Imagination," a concise "Twenty Flight Rock," a lengthy "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Angie," "Tumbling Dice" and a few more.
Stones archivists and fans will dig this one.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.