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Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Hollywood Blue Flames 2004 Est. A Long Time Ago



Genre: Blues
Rate: 234 kbps VBR / 44100
Time: 00:49:21
Size: 79,82 MB

United States

Album-Notes:

With no fear of fashion in an industry where fashion is king and perception is marketed daily as reality, the music of the Hollywood Blue Flames remains ever so reverently rooted in the bedrock ideals inherent to classic Blues music.

Those ideals, Authenticity, Modesty, Substance and Principle, are the values that The Hollywood Blue Flames resonate to and have clearly associated themselves with since their inception. During one recent conversation, Al Blake took this point one step further, asking; "If you don't make every effort to create Blues grounded in these ideas, how can you truly even recognize and value them...?" Blake went on to say, "We have often been dismissed as being too traditional, but the truth is that calling this band 'too traditional' is like calling the Pope 'too Catholic'..."

Today, the 'Flames continue to explore and expand upon their incredibly eclectic approach to Post-Modern Blues. As such, and with almost three decades under their belt, the Hollywood Blue Flames are a band with a rich and distinguished history. It is a history of definite importance and unique vision in the development and preservation of Blues music.

It was during the mid-1970's, as the Hollywood Fats Band, that they laid the groundwork for a style of blues now known as West Coast Jump Blues. Today this popular brand of Blues has many practitioners that were highly influenced by the groundbreaking music created by the Hollywood Fats Band. Their self-titled, self-financed LP was released on PBR Records in 1979 (although recorded between 1976-1979). That incredibly visionary set of recordings documents the establishment of this new music form and shows a band that was ahead of their time interpreting classic Blues while bringing the music into the post-modern era. It has since been hailed as one of the true milestones of Post-Modern Blues music by critic and fan alike and has been reissued in many formats over the past twenty-four years. Original pressings have demanded as much as $400 from collectors.

Their goal was (and remains to this day) to be the best of the New-Traditionalists. This single-minded determination drove the young band and afforded them unique opportunities to play with, learn from, and hone their musical skills with so many of the great masters of the Blues. The 'Fats Band was routinely required to perform in a myriad of urban Blues styles, backing such diverse West Coast Blues artists as Roy Brown, Big Joe Turner, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Lloyd Glenn, Percy Mayfield, George "Harmonica" Smith, Smokey Wilson, and Lowell Fulsom and their Chicago brethren; Jimmy Rogers, Freddie Robinson, Otis Rush, Louis Myers, etc., as well as Texan, Albert Collins. They also backed such deep country blues artists as Joe Willie Wilkins, Johnny Shines and Lightnin' Hopkins. As a result, the young band forged an identity and stature as one of the truly finest Blues band of their time.

Tragically, as has been the case since the genesis of this music, few Blues artists found financial success in the 1970 s and early-1980's. Despite their obvious talents, the Hollywood Fats Band was no exception. Steady, payable gigs were often hard to come by and there was little public awareness and support in that age of disco, glamour rock and punk. After years of struggle to gain broader acceptance, Hollywood Fats sought work elsewhere. Although he toured and recorded with other bands, his heart always remained with his band and the magic they created together.

By the mid-1980's, a new wave of Blues popularity had picked up momentum, driven into the mainstream conscience by Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Robert Cray. Encouraged that a world audience was finally ready to hear their timeless music, the original members decided it was time to reform the Hollywood Fats Band full time. What would have certainly brought wider recognition would not come to fruition. Tragically, Hollywood Fats died in the early morning hours of 12/7/86, following a momentous reunion gig at the Music Machine in Los Angeles.

Michael "Hollywood Fats" Mann, born on March 17, 1954 in Los Angeles, is a key figure in the development of the new school of Post-Modern Blues guitar playing. An incredibly gifted musician, he reportedly had a photographic memory and the quickest of ears with the facility to hear and play anything almost instantaneously. Fats began playing guitar at age 10. By age 14-15, he was mentored by Magic Sam, Buddy Guy and Freddie King. It was Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells who began calling him "Hollywood Fats". He would regularly sit-in with visiting Blues men at clubs around the L.A. area and his reputation grew rapidly during the many tours and performances with John Lee Hooker, JB Hutto, Albert King, Jimmy Witherspoon and Muddy Waters. In Art Ti pa Id i s excellent book "Children of the Blues", guitarist Duke Robillard relates that Muddy Waters once boasted that he could "rule the world..." if only he had "Duke and Fats in his band..." (p213). Fats' premature death at age 32 left a large void in the world of Blues guitar and his stature as one of the founding forces in modern Blues guitar cannot be overstated. His immense influence continues to cast a long shadow over Blues guitar and his spirit remains a constant and guiding influence for the remaining members.

A reformatted release of the original PBR recordings called "The Complete 1979 Recordings" on Europe's' premier blues label, Cross Cut, contained many never before heard alternate takes. Reaching #2 on the European Blues charts in 2002, the set re-established the importance of the Fats Band and their classic sole recording of that era as a seminal event in Post-Modern Blues.

Also in 2002 came the release of "Dr Blake's Magic Soul Elixir" (Soul Sanctuary label), the first new recordings since 1996, from the band formerly known as the Hollywood Fats Band. Now christened The Hollywood Blue Flames, the members sought to further explore their classic urban, jump, and pure country Blues influences.

Between 2002 and 2003, the Hollywood Blue Flames again entered the studio and began work on the recordings heard on this latest release. To my knowledge, the scope and stylistic variety found in these songs has not been attempted before by any Blues artist in the format of a single release. A statement that is not to be taken lightly. The 'Flames easily jump between varying genre styles with consummate ease. Most striking of all is this band's incredible taste in the selection of, composition and ultimately, the performance and production of the tunes presented. Urban blues, Country Blues, funky, greasy, deep, real and pure with more than a few bonus surprises...the history of the Blues is all here.

Check out Al's superb harmonica work and you can hear why those who know this music say that he has his own style with the best tone and taste in the business. His excellent country blues guitar playing on "You Don't Know My Mind" and "Miss Nitroglycerite", reveal yet another side to his musical talents that are deeply connected with the traditions and bedrock ideals of the Blues. Special attention should also be called to Al's singing and writing talents. It is his habit of reshaping old, often obscure Blues tunes into refreshing new songs, all the while adding vital new verses and/or arrangements that is a personal favorite about his musical abilities. His lyrical development brings to mind many of the best storytellers of the Blues. His ability to marry both old and new times together with such attention to detail is certainly a rare talent in modern blues. The fact that the discs consist of mostly original tunes shows the depth of this artist and the talent of the Hollywood Blue Flames as a band.

Dig Fred's deep Blues and gospel piano stylings as well as his inspired B-3 organ playing. His piano playing beautifully frames a number of time periods long since past. The ultra-hip B-3 work on songs such as "Takin' Care of Business", "Coco Puffin'" and "Jo Angelyn" shows a dimension of this musician that has seldom been recorded. He is an extremely talented player possessing a style all his own that harkens back to a time when the piano had more personalities than it's guitar-cousin. Fred is that rare breed of player who's playing covers a broad range of colors and emotions. He possesses that rare talent which allows him to fill the role of accompanist and/or soloist with equal ease. His gifted ability to listen and improvise off of the other musicians around him is indeed a rare talent in today's Blues scene and is obviously the mark of a great player in Blues as well as Jazz.

Larry and Richard continue to demonstrate on cut after cut just why they are widely considered to be the best rhythm section in modern Blues. Larry's pioneering bass work is a yardstick for the modern Blues bass player to aspire to and he holds the bottom together effortlessly on each cut. Richard's fusion of classic Jazz and Blues drumming styles has long been considered among the very best in modern Blues, always playing exactly what the song calls for and nothing more or less. As individual musicians and as a unit, they operate more like a Jazz rhythm section than a standard Blues rhythm section.

At 25, Kirk (aka "Eli") is the youngest member of the Hollywood Blue Flames, yet his playing continues to amaze with a musical talent that belies his young age. He has recorded some of the hippest ensemble guitar playing since the seminal work of Scrapper Blackwell, Joe Willie Wilkins, Robert Lockwood/Luther Tucker, Louis Myers and others, while his lead work shows his debt to modern masters such as "the three Kings" (Albert, BB and Freddie), Earl Hooker, Magic Sam, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, T-Bone Walker, Johnny Moore, Junior Watson and Hollywood Fats. That he is so young, possessing an intense dedication to the preservation of this classic music and yet so talented reassures us that the future of the Blues is in indeed in very good hands.

As with all of the truly great Masters, the music of the Hollywood Blue Flames retains those same values that firmly tie their music to its roots, yet remain fresh and visionary. How ironic in 2003, this Congressionally anointed "Year of the Blues", that the Hollywood Blue Flames have chosen to release a limited edition of this recording that champions this music and it's values, while further proving that classic Blues is anything but a museum piece.

Here then, you will find the latest release by the Hollywood Blue Flames, the greatest of the Post-Modern Blues bands and five men who have dedicated their lives and talents to champion the Blues. In the end, it is the music itself that will draw those parallels better than any words ever could.



Tracklist:

01 - Flambe'd 01:54

02 - Soon Forgotten 04:00

03 - Nit Wit 02:20

04 - Bunk's Blues 02:16

05 - He's A Blues Man 04:24

06 - Coco Puffin' 07:15

07 - Takin' Care Of Business 04:00

08 - Jo Angelyn 05:13

09 - I'm A Lucky, Lucky Man 02:59

10 - Black Cat Bone 02:33

11 - Soul Sanctuary 03:20

12 - National Inquirer Blues 02:43

13 - You Don't Know My Mind 02:10

14 - Miss Nitroglycerite 04:14





The Hollywood Blue Flames here:

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