WOMEN & CADILLACS - CD Reviews
Blue Suede News no 65
Mike Sanchez with Knock-Out Greg & Blue Weather
Women & Cadillacs (doopin01)
It’s weird sometimes, I love this record so much I dreaded having to review it because I felt there’s no way I could do it real justice. It’s one of those albums you want to listen to over and over again because everything is just right. Okay, here we go. It’s a fantastic jump blues recording. There’s Mike Sanchez’s expressive and big voice (always the main focus), a fantastic rhythm section, the big fat black sound and feel of the blues shouters, boogie woogie kings and best black Rock’n’Rollers possessed, and a production value with an explosive live atmosphere and an amazingly clean and full sound that even the little computer speakers make go over big time. Every horn is in the right place, every piano note, every bluesy guitar lick and the few wailing blues harp solos are simply great, too.
“Cadillac Baby” is a strong opener and rocks and rolls and swings and there are more in the same vein. Think Amos Milburn, Wynonie Harris, Jimmy Liggins, Billy Emerson, Junior Walker (covered here). But Mike Sanchez also writes his own and those songs are just as convincing, ranging from slow, soulful blues like “I Need A Woman” to hot rockers and bluesy swinging tunes. Did I mention Mike Sanchez is a member of Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings (besides traveling with his own vintage R&B band) and Knock-Out Greg & Blue Weather are based in Sweden? If vintage blues beat is your thing and you enjoy “newcomers” like Little George Sueref and Nick Curran and masters like Ike Turner, you HAVE to get this jewel. It not only comes with the 16 tracks listed but has 5 more bonus songs filling the CD to almost capacity among them a wonderful ballad “Just Because” (Larry Williams/Lloyd Price) and the ultra cool rockers “Yama Yama Pretty Mama” (in two takes) and “King Kong” (out of this world!). And the artwork is ultra fine with hot pin ups!
TALES FROM THE WOODS,
Issue No. 34 - OCTOBER 2003
Well, where do I start? I’ll just begin by saying that this new album by Mike Sanchez and Knockout Greg and Blue weather is truly something special.
But I can’t let it rest at that; let’s clue you a bit more. Greger Andersson and the band who make up Blue Weather hail from Sweden and although I’ve not managed to catch them live so far (that will however be remedied at the upcoming Rhythm Riot) I’m familiar with an excellent album released on Tail records in 2000 entitled “The Wig Flipper”, so should you be too, they are great.
Mike’s been a fan since the late 90’s and in his brief note within the wonderfully packaged CD (digipack form) he states that work on this album commenced at the end of 2001.
So to the music; their version of Big “T” Tyler’s “King Kong” is quite remarkable, your jaw, dear reader, will fall to the ground and your tongue will hang out; Tyler’s original reigns supreme, but only just. The sound engineering by Per Anghvist on this and the rest of the CD deserves special mention; just listen to the sound of Wynonie Harris’ “All She Wants To Do Is Rock”, one wonders if this was recorded at the King studio in Cincinnati rather than Real Music studios, in Bromma, Sweden. It’s noticeable that Mike tries and generally succeeds, in replicating the singing styles of his idols (e.g. Roy Brown on “Cadillac Baby” and Percy Mayfield on “The Voice Within’”) and does a particularly good job on Billy Emerson’s “If Lovin’ Is Believing” (how about “Shim Sham Shimmy” on the next one, Mike?).
Jimmy Liggins’ “Drunk” impresses mightily, as does the title track, originally recorded by the Nite Riders and issued, I think, on Apollo. The version of Leiber & Stoller’s “Hot Dog” owes more to Young Jessie than Elvis Presley, while Bad Weather go it alone on a tasty T-Bone stroll. Five of the set’s songs emanate from Mike’s pen, all strong compositions, particular favourites being “Easy Boogie” and “You Gonna Win”, the latter bearing a Chicago influence.
By the way, as an added bonus, there are nearly 20 minutes of out-takes which, apart from alternative takes of “King Kong”, and “Strollin’ With Bones”, include two great stabs at Richard Berry’s classic New Orleans rocker “Yama Yama Pretty Mama” and a fine version of Lloyd Price/Larry William’s “Just Because”. Congrats to all on a terrific CD which I unreservedly recommend.
BLUES IN BRITAIN - Women & Cadillacs - Issue 21
This release sees Britain’s much admired pianist and singer team up with a fine Swedish band of six to eight pieces, as seen at the 2002 Burney Blues Festival. There are a generous sixteen tracks, all less than four-and-a-half minutes. Five are from the Sanchez pen, with the remainder probably all being older than any of the musicians involved.
Sanchez dives right into the deep end from the start, with borrowings from three of the greatest singers of early R&B -Roy Brown, Wynonie Harris and Percy Mayfield. These, and all the other covers, are all given highly credible and authentic readings, while the original fit nicely into the retro programme. Despite his star billing, Knockout Greg Andersson’s own contribution is just harmonica on two of the new songs. Guitarist Anders Lewen does a fine job throughout and is showcased on Mr Walker’s “Strollin’ With Bones”, while saxmen Tobbe Elliason and Tore Berglund get plenty of solo space which they use to good effect.
As as revivalist set it cannot be faulted. Nice digipack presentation too, from this artist-owned label.
Rating: 9 -Jon Taylor
RED LICK Records - Women & Cadillacs - September 2003
We didn’t have room in the last catalogue to give this the mention it deserves but long time Sanchez fans bought it by the ton and are loving it. Now we want to persuade you folks who aren’t familiar with his work that you should be giving him a go.
Mike Sanchez is simply one of the best R&B musicians around. It’s obvious when you hear him play that rockin’ hard- boppin’ piano or shouting out the blues in that superb voice, that his art is a tribute to the true innovators and stylists who first breathed life into this great music. And if you’re lucky enough to catch a live show, you’ll be raving about it for weeks.
He made some cracking records in the past few years but this must be the daddy of ‘em all. Recorded with the Swedish band led by Knockout Greg, a group who live and breathe vintage R&B, this one sheer ball-bustin’ blast of hard boppin’blues at its best.The thing never lets up for a minute –it’s hard rockin’ all the way from Roy Brown’s “Cadillac baby”, Whyonie’s “All She Wants To Do Is Rock” to Jimmie Liggin’s “Drunk” with some tremendous self-penned gems in between. If there’s a bad track on this, I can’t find it. I like stuff like the big bopper “Hot Dog” that feature some tremendous tenor sax from Tobbe Eliasson and there’s a really dynamite version of Billy Emerson’s “If Loving Is Believing” that includes a real nasty, smokin’ guitar solo.
Sanchez’s piano playing is as spectacular as ever especially on the bompin’ “Gamblin’ Woman Blues” and listen to him burn up those bass notes on “Easy Boogie”. He’s played with some great groups in the past –Big Town Playboys, Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings among others but this collaboration with Knockout Greg and the boys has an authenticity and dynamism that makes me think this is the best yet.
If you go for blues with a bounce, this is for you –and if you’re an old-died-in-the-wool R&B freak, here’s a
contemporary band that certainly captures that special 50’s magic. Five star stuff.
NOW DIG THIS – Issue No 245
Women & Cadillacs
Always guaranteed to deliver quality product, Mike Sanchez’s latest project finds him teaming up with Swedish outfit Knock-Out Greg & Blue Weather for rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’, rhythm ‘n’ bluesin’ tour de force. Just one look at the deluxe fold-out cover and you know this is the business -and that’s even before you split it in your machine. When you do -whoa! Roy Brown’s “Cadillac Baby” shuffles out at you and sets the scene for what the press release aptly describes as “a potent cocktail of vintage-style West Coast rhythm and blues, New Orleans rock’n’roll, Texas blues and Mike Sanchez boogie woogie”.
In Knock-Out Greg & Blue Weather, Mike has found the perfect foil for his oh-so-authentic brand of rockin’ music, the result of this marriage made in heaven being one superb album that’s bound to please his growing legion of fans. His ability to breath new life into the songs of Wyonie Harris, Percy Mayfield, Billy Emerson, Larry Darnell, Jimmy Liggins et al never ceases to amaze, and in most cases he has the uncanny knack of being able to sound just like his heroes -but at the same time you’re always aware you’re listening to Mike Sanchez.
There’s no point in trying to select standout tracks because just about every track is a highlight. But as an example of what you can expect, try the following on for size: Leiber & Stoller’s “Hot Dog”(done Jessie style, not Elvis), the so smooth “The Voice Within”, a cracking take on Wynonie Harris’ “All She Wants To Do Is Rock”, a terrific romp through The Nite Riders’ “Women And Cadillacs” and Big T Tyler’s tailor-made-for-Sanchez “King Kong”. The whole band -guitar, bass, drums, trumpet and two saxes -cook up a storm on the T-Bone Walker instrumental “Strollin’ With Bones”. And that’s only the covers. Sanchez contributes a selection of original songs that include the rockin’ blues numbers “You gonna win” and “Poor boy” together with the delicious “Easy Boogie” -all of which sit easily alongside the vintage toons.
And just when you think it’s all over there’s a bonus selection of “hidden extras” -20 minutes worth of “too-good-to-waste left overs”. These include Lloyd Price’s “Just because”, two goes at Richard Berry’s “Yama Yama Pretty Mama”, another version of “King Kong” and other goodies that are easily too good to be “buried” in this fashion.
Yup, this is one cracking little album -just the sort of thing you’d expect from the most charismatic performer on the scene today. Buy with confidence from Mike’s new on-line store, Doopin’ Music, at www.doopin.com, or drop him a line at P.O. Box 143, Kidderminster, Worcestershire DY10 1YU.