This is a must have for your Blues collection
These guys are guaranteed not to disappoint. All these songs present a wonderful medley of instrumentation and vocals, as tight as you can get. Makes you happy, gets your feet movin, makes you want to boogie. Some wonderful hot guitar licks, foot stompin fun , boogie down home soulful harp that wails, mellow subtle sax with all the right tones at the right moments, lifts you up and takes you down slow and funky. Suberb blend of multiple talents. This is a must have for your Blues collection that’s gonna make you feel Good!
Steve Seymour, rocknrollgraffiti.com
Reverend Raven throws blues party
Nobody has accused Reverend Raven of rushing to get new product released.
Since his "Slow Burn" debut with the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys in 1998, Raven took his time to issue "Live at Blues on Grand" in 2004, while "Big Bee" arrived two years later.
Just out, "Shake Your Boogie," Raven's new CD, is well worth the four-year wait.
The fresh disc features an hour-long program of well-honed originals and a hot batch of lesser known covers.
Raven put the disc together from two live shows--performed years apart-- at Milwaukee's Miramar Theater.
The older recordings spotlight Madison Slim (harmonica and vocal), Andre Maritato (bass), Spencer "Kid" Panosh (drums) and the late Mickey Larson (keys) putting their all into four cover songs, including a terrific version of "She's Murder."
Current Chain Smokin' Altar Boys, including Big Al Groth (saxophone), P.T. Pedersen (bass) and Bobby Lee Sellers Jr. (drums), demonstrate their powess on the originals, penned by Raven and Chicago-area songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gerry Hundt.
Raven opens the disc with his own "Looking For Love," before tackling Hundt's "Stomping And Shouting."
The singer and guitarist follows with another original, "You Didn't Even Say Goodbye," with a lyrical surprise and the end.
With drummer Sellers taking lead vocals, the band puts an insistent groove on Little Milton Campbell's "Count the Days," augmented by keyboardist Danny Moore.
Madison Slim combines harmonica playing with singing on St. Louis Jimmy Oden's "She's Murder," also known as "Murder in the First Degree."
Sellers returns to sing Robert Nighthawk's gritty "Bricks In My Pillow."
Slim takes on Sonny Boy (Rice Miller) Williamson's "Like Wolf," delivering an awesome vocal along with tasty harp breaks.
Raven delivers the vocals for "The Woman I Love," apparently adapted from "She's Gone," the opening track on Hound Dog Taylor's first album.
The lead guitarist continues with the original, "I Can Do You Right," pleading: "Honey, you said some man done you wrong, well I can do you right."
Next, the band shines on the instrumental work-out "P.T.'s Home Cooking," credited to Pedersen.
Then, Madison Slim makes another appearance to lead the band through Slim Harpo's "Mail Box Blues."
Midwest bluesman Gerry Hundt also composed "Walking to Chicago," which Raven sings with conviction.
Raven's blues get-together concludes with an exhuberant rendition of the title song, "Shake Your Boogie," which starts with Slim's harmonica. The band cooks on this country blues song written and recorded by Big Joe Williams in 1965.
The CD runs seamlessly despite alternating between the two different line-ups and three different singers.
Raven's flawless Gibson guitar work ties the two shows together in fine fashion. Although Raven shares lead vocals on this album, he's a distinctive blues singer in his own right.
Long-time band cohort Bill Stace engineered the sessions for the new CD, which were done without an audience, and with minimal overdubs.
If you want a blues party, go to a live Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys show. Or, listen to "Shake Your Boogie."
You'll have fun either way.
More Wonderful Music to Keep Your Feet Moving
Yeah... Mmmm... The next best thing to seeing the Reverend and his band live is to slip one of their CDs into your CD player. This new CD is just what the doctor ordered -- makes you want to dance, laugh, cry, get mellow, and more. Great vocals, wonderful guitar riffs, tight band. It's nice to be able to always count on that! Big Al's sultry, subtle sax on track 9 is some of his best. Thanks, guys, for another great CD!