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Barrelhouse Chuck - Slowdown Sundown (2006)

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Barrelhouse Chuck - Slowdown Sundown (2006)

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01. I Keep On Drinking - 3:15
02. Mt. St. Helens Blues - 3:45
03. B3 Boogie For Steve Winwood - 1:06
04. Searching For My Baby - 3:01
05. Viola's Stomp - 2:09
06. Iza Mae - 1:28
07. Depression Blues #2 - 3:26
08. What's Wrong - 4:09
09. You Told Me Baby - 5:53
10. Ain't Got Nop Money Now - 2:10
11. Ain't Nobody's Business - 3:42
12. Nutty Boogie - 1:29
13. Walk Don't Run 69 - 2:10
14. B.B.Q. Girl (Live) - 7:24
15. Gigolo - 6:06

Barrelhouse Chuck – Piano
Ben Andrews - Guitar
John Carpenter - Drums
Steve Cushing - Drums
Willie J. Davis - Guitar
Billy Flynn - Bass, Guitar
Erwin Helfer - Piano
Rick Holmes - Bass (Acoustic)
Robert Hunter - Vocals
Calvin "Fuzz" Jones - Bass
Willie Kent - Bass, Vocals
S.P. Leary - Drums
Todd Levine - Harmonica
Josh Miller - Guitar
Leslie Milton - Drums
Johnny B. Moore - Guitar
Kenny Smith & The Loveliters - Drums
Otis Smokey Smothers - Guitar, Vocals
John Tanner - Harmonica
Larry Thompson - Drums
Rich Yescalis – Bass

 

This is what Chicago blues used to sound like back in the old days. Barrelhouse Chuck should get lots more credit than he gets for his fine work! Who else does what he does? He never over plays. His playing is so lowdown and blue. I love your voice and the songs you write! Thanks for staying true to the music. Buy this to hear the way blues piano should sound like! --- Lee Thomas, cdbaby.com

 

With the recent loss of Detroit Jr. it becomes more acutely aware than ever that the piano blues is a dying art form. There's only a handful of old timers keeping the tradition alive such as Pinetop Perkins, Big Joe Duskin, Henry Gray and Ernest Lane. Barrelhouse Chuck represents one of the few younger generation pianists (he's 48) and has been well schooled in the art as he demonstrates on the fabulous "Slowdown Sundown."

Chuck has paid his dues the time honored way by apprenticing with piano masters such as Sunnyland Slim, Pinetop Perkins, Lafayette Leake and Little Brother Montgomery. Chuck spent 10 years studying with Sunnyland who he calls "the great-granddaddy of all the blues piano players." He also formed a special bond with piano legend Little Brother Montgomery. He honed his craft working and recording with a who's who of Chicago legends like Louis Myers, Jimmy Rogers, Jimmy Dawkins, Billy Boy Arnold, Detroit Jr. and Big Smokey Smothers and many, many others. Along the way Chuck has released several fine recordings under his own name such as 1999's fine "Salute To Sunnyland Slim" and 2002's strong "Prescription For The Blues." "Slowdown Sundown", on his own Viola label, finds Chuck in peak form playing both solo and with an all-star cast of Chicago bluesmen.

Whether playing solo or with a group Chuck is a terrific two fisted piano player steeped in the Chicago tradition of guys like Otis Spann, Little Johnny Jones, Big Maceo and of course Sunnyland and Little Brother. He also happens to be a very good vocalist. Chuck's piano playing is best appreciated on solo numbers like the wistful Little Brother number "Keep On Drinking" where he sounds uncannily like his former mentor both on piano and vocally, the storming boogie-woogie of "Viola's Stomp" just backed by fleet fingered Ben Andrews on guitar, the heartfelt tin pan alley sounding original "Iza Mae" and goes back to 1934 to revive Leroy Carr's depression era classic "Ain't Got No Money Now." For the band numbers a stellar cast has been assembled for some great Chicago blues, particularly the tough standout "Mt. St. Helens Blues" featuring the powerhouse vocals of Robert Hunter who equates his woman with the volcano ("If she keep on blowing and swelling/People ain't no telling when she might blow") and some hard blowing from John Tanner on harmonica. Other highlights include the chugging "Searching For My Baby" featuring guitar and vocals from the under appreciated Otis Smothers and pounding piano from Chuck, "What's Wrong" has a raw "Dust My Broom" feel with the booming vocals of Silas McClatcher backed by Billy Flynn, Calvin Jones and Willie Smith and "You Told Me Baby" with soulful vocals from Willie Kent and tough guitar work from Johnny B. Moore. An intriguing bonus is the addition of a slew of answering machine message left for Chuck by Sunnyland Slim, John Brim, Jimmy Rogers, Smokey Smothers and others that makes for odd but fascinating listening.

While the great era of Chicago blues piano is past we hear the ghosts of those greats in the marvelous playing of Barrelhouse Chuck who keeps the flame burning bright on the thoroughly satisfying "Slowdown Sundown." --- avxhome.xyz

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