Album review overview 2023 week 29

Photo (c) Jorge Fakhouri Filho

Every week dozens of new albums arrive at the editors of Maxazine. Far too many to listen to them all, let alone review them. A review every day ensures that too many albums are left behind. And that’s a shame. That’s why this Sunday we publish an overview of albums that arrive at the editors in short reviews.

Walk That Walk – Big World Of Trouble

Walk That Walk has been part of the Boston blues scene since 1992. Already in the first year of their existence, the band ended up in the finals of the local “The Battle Of The Blues Bands”. Walk That Walk was inspired by Chicago Blues and rock ‘n roll from the fifties. Their training consisted of guiding artists such as Bo Diddley, Carey Bell and Johnnie Johnson and this has done them no harm. Their eighth album was recently released, titled “Big World Of Trouble” and covers nine songs, six of which are their own compositions. The covers are blues classics by John Lee Hooker (“Boogie Chillen”), Muddy Waters (“Still A Fool”) and Johnnie Johnson (“Good Woman”). The album features Poppa C DeSnyder (vocals, guitar, dobro), Randi Laak (drums), Ted Hastings Armstrong (keys), Tim Gartland (harmonica, vocals) and the late bassist Dirk van Gulden. The album is dedicated to him as a tribute. As a basis, the five musicians have their feet firmly in the blues, with small trips to e.g. country and rock not being avoided. The album starts quietly acoustically with “Roof Got A Hole”, which is followed by a neat version of the JLH classic “Boogie Chillen”. Highlights for me are the raw “Mississippi Jukin’ ” and the beautiful title track “Big World Of Trouble”, which was written by van Gulden and DeSnyder. Another wonderful album from Walk That Walk with pure, raw blues. Recommended. (Eric Campfens) (7/10) (Own production)

Cher – It’s a Man’s World (Deluxe Edition)

There will be few who have never heard of style icon and pop goddess Cher, although by now
It’s been over a decade since she released her last album of original work (her record
with appetizing ABBA covers so disregarded). However, the chief diva and Warner will come
Music in 2023 with a “deluxe” remaster of “It’s A Man’s World”, released in 1995. A
somewhat underrated album with catchy pop and ballads, including pearls
like the amazing Marc Cohn cover “Walking In Memphis”. With some subtle nuances and
enrichments that unfold during a listen, this deluxe remaster sounds special
sparkling and fresh. Throw in some alternative mixes as a bonus, and you have a good reason to
rediscover this forgotten jewel! (Rik van den Heuvel) (8/10) (Warner Records)

Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip – Colors Of Jealousy

Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip is a Finnish blues band that, since its foundation in 1991, has received increasing recognition both domestically and internationally. In 2014 they represented their country at the IBC in Memphis. It seemed to be quiet around the band for some time – after all, their last studio album was released in 2015 with a live snack in 2018 – but nothing could be further from the truth. In addition to Blue Strip, Micke was busy enough with Micke & Lefty, an acoustic blues duo with Lefty Leppänen. But finally, a new studio album has been released with Blue Strip. It was actually planned for 2021, but due to the well-known pandemic, some things had to be postponed. On the album we find eleven compositions written by Ville Leppänen, one of which is in collaboration with Seppo Nuolikoski. The band is known as a blues rock formation and this is basically correct, but they are more versatile than that. Influences from soul, funk and country can also be found in their music. Micke Bjorklof’s voice fits perfectly with the music presented. The heavier songs are bursting with power, such as “Missing My Woman”. Immediately afterwards the band contrasts with the ballad “Are You Real” with beautiful slide work and sensitive vocals. Also “Get Out” is one of the songs with a slower tempo. Here too the vocals and the solid slide guitar are of great class. Songs that deserve a special mention in my opinion are “Thought You Were Mine” and the rocking “Into The Fire”. “Colors Of Jealousy” is blues from the top shelf. (Eric Campfens) (8/10) (HokaHey Records)

Atomic Symphony – Nemesis

Atomic Symphony is a relatively young band from Zurich, Switzerland. As you can read from the name, the band makes symphonic metal with progressive influences interwoven here and there. On this new “Nemesis” the band shows its potential with good instrumental work and ditto vocals. Jasmin Baggenstos’ vocals are a bit like Beyond The Black singer Jennifer Haben. This “Nemesis” is no enemy to the ear and with that Atomic Symphony delivers a solid game of prog symphonic metal. A band to keep an eye on for fans of the genre. (Rik Moors) (7/10) (Own production)

Nigel Mack – Back In Style

Born in Canada, Nigel Mack has been living in ‘The windy city’, Chicago, for twenty years. He has toured North America and Europe, headlined many a festival and shared the stage with artists such as Eddy Shaw, Phil Guy and many others. His first album “High Price To Play” was released in 1996, followed five years later by “Road Rage” and in 2012 “Devil’s Secrets”, which was awarded in Canada as the best blues CD of that year. His fourth album, titled “Back In Style”, was recently released. A great title, it’s been twelve years since his last album, and ‘in style’ he certainly is. Nigel Mack (formerly Mackenzie) sings and plays guitar and harmonica. He is accompanied by a variety of musicians, including several keyboardists, bassists, drummers and horn players. On the album, we find twelve songs, all written or co-written by Mack. The album starts with the swinging “Travellin’ Heavy” and leads the listener to the closing track “Just One Man” through the best of contemporary Chicago blues. Uptempo songs are interspersed with ballads, shuffles follow funky songs, and there’s no shortage of variation. Songs that deserve a special mention are “Highway 69” with beautiful slide work by Mack, the sad “Graveyard Gate” with a leading role for the harmonica, and the title track “Back In Style”, in which Mack excels on both guitar and harmonica. A great album with excellent old-fashioned contemporary Chicago blues. (7/10) (Blues Attack Records)

Michael Bolton – Spark of Light

What happened to Michael Bolton, the man behind the fantastic album “Soul Provider” from 1989? The hunk with the voice of gold that made all women melt is still active in music 35 years later, but his new album “Spark of Light” hasn’t caused much attention. His voice is still there, although he now leans much more on falsetto than on his dark brown chest voice. But those songs. They would not have been possible in 1989 either. Lots of ProTools, little real music. A low-budget production, so it seems. Only on “Beautiful World” do you hear a distant echo of the Bolton of years ago. And then the hair is no longer there. Unfortunately. (Jan Vranken) (5/10) (Montaigne Records)

To share this article:

Don't forget to follow our Spotify Playlist: