You've gotta love the CDs issued by Washington, D.C.-based Right On Rhythm. This is a "mom and pop" outfit at its best, just a serious blues fan putting out the music he loves. Wayne Kahn has been traveling around the D.C. blues circuit with a mobile recorder for the past few years, and he's got a real knack for capturing great live performances. His second collection, The Blues You Would Just Hate to Love, Vol. II, is excellent. Sound quality is good throughout, and the music is top-notch. My favorites are the slow blues jam of "Wabash Blues" by keyboardist John Coccuzzi and horn players Joe Stanley and Chris Watling. Big Joe Maher and the Dynaflows contribute a strong version of "Okie Dokie Stomp," with hot guitar from Ivan Appelrouth. Joe Stanley shows up again with a hot sax solo on "Flip Flop & Fly." Doug Jay, backed by the Blue Jays, plays excellent blues harp on the instrumental "Slinky." These are just a few of the highlights on the CD. Hard to find, but worth the effort.
Bill Mitchell BLUES BYTES
DC Blues Society
Blues Hate to Lose Vol. 2
The long-awaited latest installment of Wayne Kahn's documentation of D.C.'s blues and jazz scene. The Blues You Hate to Lose, Volume 2, has just been issued on Right on Rhythm. Like the prior volume, this one collects a number of mostly live performances, although there are some unissued studio tracks. Given that many of these performers have documented recordings, this is not as a valuable release perhaps, but Wayne Kahn's booklet provides a detailed discussion of a slice of DC's music history. And then there is the music. Plenty of first rate stuff to be heard including the opening Be Bop Girl, by Robert Lighthouse, a rocking band performance with Kevin McKendree on keyboards. It is followed by a nice Cathy Ponton King vocal on Tore Up. John Cocuzzi is not an unknown name in jazz circles, and his Wabash Blues with Big Joe, Joe Stanley and Jeff Sarli is a nice jazz blues vocal with Chris Watling adding a strong baritone solo after Stanley's solo ends.
Bruce Ewan displays his chops on the studio cut. Blues in the Dark, showing why he is such a highly regarded harp player, followed by Honey Joe Brown, a new name to me, with his ballad singing on the lament You Don't Know What Love Is. The Nighthawks, Linwood Taylor and Tom Principato are heard on representative cuts, while the version of Okie Dokie Stamp, by Big Joe and the Dynaflows allows guitarist Ivan Appleruth to shine. More top harp is heard on Doug Jay's Slinky, while Artie Sherman on keyboards and Steve Jacobs conjure up Jimmy McGriff and Albert Collins on Left Overs. Other selections feature the J Street Jumpers and Joe Stanley. In all, there is plenty of terrific music here, excellent annotations, and the sound seems better than the earlier edition. Wayne has received plenty of praise for the first volume in this series, and this new one will certainly earn him more well deserved kudos.
Blues Scene Quarterly
The Blues You Would Just Hate to Lose, Vol. II
The Washington, D.C. blues scene is obviously alive and well and this 13 track compilation proves it. Although these artists may not (yet) be household blues names, they do cover a wonderfully wide range of styles, while keeping a common area sound intact. Honey Joe Brown stands out with a midnight jazz fueled take on "You Don't Know What Love Is" which is pretty well countered in rhythmic power by Big Joe's "Okie Dokie Stomp''. Doug Jay and the Blue Jays shuffle and hop to "Slinky" while crooner Mariana Previti attains an authentic big band girl singer vibe on her track with the J Street Jumpers "Blow Top Blues". Some of the artists featured have released their own albums on the R.O.R imprint and this is a good thing. If you can't take the long walk to D.C. this disc will deliver their steaming scene to you.
Puts D.C. on the Blues Map., February 8, 2001
Reviewer: A music fan from Washington, D.C.
You thought D.C. was all about suits, news or the Redskins? This is what the town sounds like after sundown.
This superb collection of samples of a long-neglected Blues scene is both an eye-opener and an ear-opener for the uninitiated, including me. That this is Vol. II shows the unsuspected richness of this natural resource. The art and craftsmanship, the licks and riffs, the thumps and howls of these unrecognized musicians and vocalists pour out of the speakers and become the air in your lungs and the fever in your blood; only being there live tops it.
Wayne Kahn has reserved himself a table in Heaven's Blues Club.