Thursday, December 12, 2013

REVIEW: Poe Boys: A Baker's Dozen: 13 Poems and Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

Something different for your ears today a little Edgar Allan Poe...

recently came across a CD called Poe Boys: A Baker's Dozen which is simply 13 Poems and Tales by Edgar Allan Poe. It's an audiobook, co-produced by Scott Colburn and Richard B. Panzer, recorded and edited by Scott Colburn, and narrated by Richard B. Panzer. 

Edgar Allen Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career. 

I remember being made to read him in high school therefore I never really wrapped my head around it. Then again in a Lit class in college at that point I was able to see what his world was all about and found myself wrapped up in his mystery. 

This narrated disc was daunting! I remember reading "The Haunted Palace"  because I heard it was nearly impossible to comprehend. Kudos to the choice of narrative voices that were chosen on this disc. I felt drawn in even more to the stories merely due to the voices!

If you have never done POE this is a great place to get hooked!
"Never to suffer would never to have been blessed" - Edgar Allen Poe


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CD REVIEW: Leo Welch - "Sabougla Voices"

Leo Welch - Sabougla Voices
Release Date: January 7, 2014                                 
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Label: Fat Possum Records/Big Legal Mess

Gospel Blues Debut Album by 81 year old Mississippian Leo Welch. The story of his discovery is amazing. The music is special. The album is one of this year’s best, among all genre's, exceeding all expectations.

The phone rings at the Oxford, Miss.-based label Big Legal Mess. An intern tells the caller, “Oh, we don’t really do blues here anymore.” One of the company’s principals overhears this and grabs the phone. On the other end of the line is one 81-year-old Leo “Bud” Welch from Mississippi’s Calhoun County. He’d heard about the label that brought you Junior Kimbrough’s First Recordings, Jack Oblivian, Reverend John Wilkins, Water Lairs and Bishop Manning and the Manning Family, and he wanted to know if there’d be interest in recording his debut album of downhome gospel and blues. It was then that Big Legal Mess’s Bruce Watson invited him to come to the office and play a few tunes. He was signed on the spot…as the story has it.

Even after further research into Gospel, I'll be the first to say, my roots are not in Gospel. I've been touched by Gospel singers and music, but not brought up with it. However, my roots are indeed in soul. No I'm not referring to soul music, but the human soul. Leo Welch's Sabougla Voices touched my soul.

This album is authentic, sincere, and poetic. Lyrically he speaks everything you would expect to hear in a church. Musically, well I guess you'd expect to hear it in a church too, but let me tie this into modern music. I see Leo Welch finding a home in today's music space and playing to all ages including the "hipsters.” Musically, Track #1 "Praise His Name" hooked me immediately with its rock n' roll blues vibes and #7 "Somebody Touched Me" is a dancy gospel jam with sweet and sincere female backing harmonies. 

I put this in between Worldly African artist Bombino, blind Mali couple Amadou and Mariam, and gospel feel of Mavis Staples (yes I know they are different genders; that's not the point though, it's a musical comparison). I hear Dan Auerbach's guitar riffs layered in there. They aren't, but they could be.

This album is perfect for fans of Blues, Gospel, Americana, Rock n’ Roll, World music, and Soul...both Soul's...your soul and soul music. He closes the album with "The Lord Will Make A Way". It sums up the album. A miracle brought Leo Welch and Fat Possum together 81 years later, and we get to feel it!

~ Michael Ari

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

S.F. duo behind Sweet Felony

    Christa DiBiase (left) and Amanda Guilbeaux created Sweet Felony in June. Photo: Cynthia Anderson

Christa DiBiase and Amanda Guilbeaux were backup singers in various bands over the years; Guilbeaux also sang in Turbonegra, an all-female band that played songs by the Norwegian band Turbonegro.
The San Francisco duo decided to take guitar lessons in February and in June, after they had composed a half dozen songs, they recruited other band members.
DiBiase is the main songwriter and composer.
Lineup: Christa DiBiase, guitar, vocals; Amanda Guilbeaux, guitar, vocals; Mike Ingram, lead guitar; Hugh Caley, lap steel guitar; Carl Horne, bass, vocals; Jefferson Marshall, drums.

Was there a band you heard when you were young that inspired you to become a musician?

CD: I was blown away when I saw Van Halen the first time. I loved the sword dance that (David Lee Roth) did; he was jumping off the drum riser and swinging the sword all around. That's when I realized: You have to entertain on many levels and try to wow the crowd and draw them in.

How does living in the Bay Area affect your music?

CD: The people here are open-minded and diverse. They are into everything. I take the best of what I hear and mix it up. You aren't pigeonholed into being a certain genre. I like the blurred lines because you can truly make your own "sound."

Which of your lyrics best defines your band, and why?

CD: "Us Again." It was the first song that we wrote together. The song tells the story of a couple that has unbridled love for each other but gets caught up on the small stuff, which ultimately breaks them apart. It's hard to control a passion like that. We are a passionate bunch, and that's what makes for good songs.

How did you name your band, and what does its name mean to you?

CD: I met a guy with a beautiful female silver pit bull back in the '90s. He named the dog Felony. I thought that was so clever and cute. I love taking a word with bad connotation and turning it into something sweet.
Check it out:
Next gig: 10 p.m. Friday. With Sugar Ponies, Demimonde. $10. The Connecticut Yankee, 100 Connecticut St., S.F. (415) 552-4440.