Marva Wright – Marvalous (1995)

FrontCover1Down in Louisiana, Marva Wright is called the Blues Queen. Fans of her energy-filled performances, both live and recorded, call her a lot of other things, too, like “Marvalous Marva.” The “bluesiana” numbers she favors are a strong showcase for her dynamic, gospel-rooted voice. One listen would be enough to convince any newcomer of her strengths, which is surprising in light of the fact that the vocalist was a late bloomer who didn’t turn professional until 1987, when she was creeping up on 40. Even then, she only began singing as a way to support her family with a second job. Bourbon Street in the Big Easy led to more than she had dreamed, ultimately landing her gigs in Europe and across the world, with stops in France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Russia, Norway, Sweden, and Brazil. Her appearances in the U.S. include Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York, as well as Texas, California, Vermont, Colorado, and Florida.

Although she made a career out of music late in life, Wright actually began to sing much earlier, when she was nine years old. Like many artists, her first public singing efforts were heard in church, with her mother as her accompanist.

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Top honors in a school-sponsored singing competition followed. Later in life, she credited her mother, a piano player and singer in a gospel quartet, as one of her main influences. Mahalia Jackson, the esteemed gospel singer, was an early friend of the family. Early in 1989 during a live set at Tipitina’s in New Orleans, Wright made her first recording, “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean.” She made her debut on national television in 1991 when her hometown was the setting for a special that revolved around the Super Bowl. Heartbreakin’ Woman, Wright’s first full-length release, appeared later that year and garnered honors from the Louisiana Music Critics Association as Blues Album of the Year. The Times-Picayune placed it among the year’s Top Ten albums in the city. She has sung backup for such artists as Allen Toussaint, Glen Campbell, and Joe Cocker. The long list of others Wright has performed with includes Harry Connick Jr., Bobby McFerrin, Aaron Neville, Fats Domino, Lou Rawls, and Marcia Ball. (by Linda Seida)

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Marva Wright, who sings in clubs in New Orleans, has previously released a cassette tape from Tipitina’s (club), but this better-quality production shows what the lady can do. Big, belting gospel sound is burnished by wit and finesse. Her anthem “I Aint Built for Comfort, I’m Built for Speed” is here, along with some Irma Thomas and Koko Taylor covers (“It’s Raining” might make you forget Miss Thomas’s version) and more. “Members Only” (new to me) is great. Marva Wright deserves a national audience…she follows boldly in the footsteps of the queens of the blues, with her signature upbeat touch. Marvalous!!!!! (by an amazon customer)

A real superb blues & soul album from the blues queen of New Orleans !

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Personnel:
Thomas Bingham (guitar)
Lannie McMIllian (saxophone)
Lester Snell (keyboards)
Staff (bass, drums)
Marva Wright (vocals)
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background vocals:
Bertram Brown – William Brown – William C. Brown – Mashaa

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Tracklist:
01.  Members Only (Addison) 4.21
02. I Had A Talk With My Man (Davis/Caston) 4.18
03. Shake A Hand (Morris) 3.52
04. Driving Wheel (Burnett) 3.54
05. Further On Up The Road (Robey/Veasey) 3.29
06. Mr. Big Stuff (Broussard/Washington/Williams) 3.59
07. Built For Comfort (Dixon) 3.43
08. Wang Dang Doodle (Dixon) 5.14
09. You Can Have My Husband (LaBostrie) 3.06
10. Down Home Blues (Jackson) 4.04
11. (Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean (Lance/Singleton/Wallace) 3.03
12. You Send Me (Cooke) 3.54
13. It’s Raining (Neville) 4.02

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… but her website is still alive and well … great !

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Canned Heat – The New Age (1973)

FrontCover1The New Age is the ninth studio album by Canned Heat, released in 1973. It was the first album to feature the talents of James Shane and Ed Beyer. Clara Ward also appears on the album in her very last recording. Influential Rock Critic Lester Bangs was fired from Rolling Stone for writing a “disrespectful” review of this album upon its release:

Hey, kids and bluesbusterbrowns of all ages, guess who’s back? No, not the Plaster Casters Blues Band – it’s Canned Heat! The originators of Boogie in the flesh! And it sure is refreshing to see ’em too, what with all these jive-ass MOR pseud-dudes like John Lee Hooker ripping off their great primal riffs and milking ’em dry.
How did we love Canned Heat? Let’s count the ways. We loved ’em because they scooped out a whole new wrinkle in the monotone mazurka; it wasn’t their fault that a whole generation of ten zillion bands took it and ran it into the ground sans finesse after Canned Heat had run it into the ground so damned good themselves. We loved ’em because they’ve always held the record for Longest Single Boogie Preserved on Wax: “Refried Boogie” from Livin’ The Blues was 40-plus minutes of real raunch froth perfect for parties or car stereos, especially if they got ripped off – and a lot of it was even actually listenable. We loved ’em because Henry Vestine was an incredible, scorching motherfucker of a guitarist, knocking you through the wall. And we loved ’em because Bobby Bear was so damned weird you could abide his every excess.

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But Canned Heat disappeared from the sets for awhile there, just sorta flapped up and boogied into the zone and what was really sad was that nobody missed ’em. Even though they were always real fine journeymen, they never made a wholly and entirely good album, of course, but they’ve consistently had their moments. And The New Age, which of course is no new age at all, has just as many of ’em as any of the others. There’s “Keep It Clean”, a happy highho funk churn like unto their cover of Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together”, which means it could very well be hitbound. There’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music”, Bear Hite’s obligattortilla in deference to the traditions, his utter lack of imagination, and all that. He’s been listening to some old New Orleans R&B this time, so it’s OK even if he does still sing like a scalped guppy.

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“Framed” is just a reprise in new drag of their classic about being busted in Denver that was on Boogie with Canned Heat, and that was just a new-drag on old Bo Diddley and “Jailbait” riffs. “Election Blues” is the required slow blues chest retch. “So Long Wrong” is one more low down blackboned gutgrok funk-lurking album-closer boogie just like lotsa their other yester highlights. Vestine still knows how to play so’s to make you feel like ringworms are St. Vitusing in your heartburn, and Hite scrapes your intestines widdat bass good as Mole Taylor ever did. “Lookin for My Rainbow” even has Clara Ward and her jive bombers just for a tintype taste of authenticity, but it’s boring as old View Master slides and most of the rest of the songs are just some kinda nondescript clinkletybonk tibia-rattling in pursuit of yeehah countryisms so let ’em dry rot in the grooves.
Buy this album if you’ve gotta lotta money or don’t care much what you blow your wad on, but don’t pass up any of the really cosmic stuff like the Stooges for it or the shadow of Blind Lemon Jefferson will come and blow his nose on your brow every night. (Lester Bangs – Rolling Stone # 136)

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Bob Hite proved fat was really where it’s at for good rocking white men who play blooze’n’boogie. Okay, all that bulk killed him in the end, but the output of Bob and the varied Canned Heat line-ups, particularly through 1966 to 1974, proved even more substantial than The Bear’s waistline.

New Age was a pretty ironic title even on its release in 1973. Don’t be fooled, even though this is a pretty mellow album by Heat standards, it’s not lift music for stressed-out executives.

Even if the Great White Blues Boom had already disappeared up its own bottleneck, New Age’s roots are very much 12-bar, though most of the tracks are self-penned and confident enough not to be imitative of the Chicago style that originally brought Canned Heat both fame and infamy.

Instead, New Age is framed by the opening whip-crack pace of “Keep It Clean”, and ends with “Election Blues”, all slide and bar-room keyboards. The former is a song of hope that Richard Nixon would get thrown out of power, the latter a bitterly laidback post-election blues. The boys knew then the New Age wasn’t gonna come, but even big Bob didn’t know just how bad it would get. (by Randy Bones)

Clara Ward

Personnel:
Ed Beyer (piano)
Bob Hite (vocals)
Richard Hite (bass)
Adolfo de la Parra (drums)
James Shane (guitar)
Henry Vestine (guitar)
+
Clara Ward (vocals on 05.)

Inside1

Tracklist:
01. Keep It Clean (B,Hite) 2.46
02. Harley Davidson Blues (Shane) 2.38
03. Don’t Deceive Me (B.Hite) 3.12
04. You Can Run, But You Sure Can’t Hide (Beyer) 3.15
05. Lookin’ For My Rainbow (Shane) 5.24
06. Rock And Roll Music (B.Hite) 2.29
07. Framed (Leiber/Stoller) 5.07
08. Election Blues (Beyer) 6.04
09. So Long Wrong (Shane) 5.36

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Amar Sundy – Live And Blues (2001)

FrontCover1The blues have been brought to France by singer/guitarist Amar Sundy. Affectionately known as “the bluesman of the desert,” Sundy masterfully combines American blues, traditional French music, and music from the Sahara to create what Blues Sur Seine called “one of the most beautiful successes of inbreeding and a new path for the blues.”

A native of Tuareg, Sundy honed his craft as a busker in the Parisian subways. Moving to the United States in the 1980s, he learned the blues from the masters, working with such influential bluesmen as Albert Collins, B.B. King, James Cotton, Jimmy Johnson, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and Albert King, with whom he toured the United States twice. Sundy began to develop his unique approach to the blues after returning to France at the beginning of the 1990s.

His recordings include 2000’s Homme Bleu; 2004’s Najma and 2009’s Sadaka, the latter issued on the French label Dixie Frog. (by Craig Harris)

Amar Sundy

Amar Sundy in his childhood moved from the desert of Algiers to Paris,
and was admitted among the Parisian street musicians. His special “Desert Blues”
blends music from Sahara with traditional French music and American blues.

For a number of years he played in the US with legends like Albert Collins, B.B.
and Albert King and Screaming Jay Hawkins.
The inspiration from these legends is obvious, but it is still the desert-blues and
his native African roots, that makes Amar Sundy a unique blow of fresh air at
the international blues scene. (by copenhagenbluesfestival.dk)

And here´s his rare “Live And Blues” lbum from 2001. What an exciting mix between these different music styley … from the Sahara to the Mississippi Delta (listen to “Najma”) … WOW ! And the blues was the bridge over all these continents.

Unbelieveable and exciting !

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Personnel:
Thierry Jasmin Banaré (bass)
Latabi Diouani (drums)
Amar Sundy (guitar, vocals)
+
Cyril Barbessol (piano on 02. – 04. + 08.)
Mehdi Bennani (piano on 05., 06. + 10.)
Eli Chemali (piano on 01., 07. + 09.)
David Mirandon (percussion on 02. – 04. + 08.)
Olivier Monteils (drums on 05., 06. +10.)

Booklet03+04

Tracklist:
01. Sky Is Crying (James) 8.09
02. As The Years Go Passing By (Malone) 8.37
03. Rahala (Sundy) 4.31
04. This Morning (Sundy) 6.35
05. Najma (Sundy) 5.56
06. Ouhalache (Sundy) 4.38
07. Rahala (instrumental version) 9.02
08. If My Baby (Sundy) 7.52
09 Quelqu’un A Aimer (Sundy) 6.00
10. If My Baby II (Sundy) 6.44
11. Now I Know (Sundy) 2.48

CD1

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Hubert Sumlin – Healing Feeling (1990)

FrontCover1Hubert Sumlin arguably did his best work during the 23 years he was Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar player, and his ragged, angular guitar style was a big part of Wolf’s rough-and-ready sound. The perfect sideman, Sumlin was by all accounts somewhat shy and reticent about taking center stage, and Healing Feeling, his second album for Black Top Records, much like his first, Hubert Sumlin’s Blues Party, is really more of an all-star blues jam than it is a fully realized project. Recorded May 5 and 6, 1989, at Southlake Recording Studios in Louisiana, with two additional tracks coming from a live show at Tipitina’s in New Orleans earlier in the day on May 5, the sessions were once again organized by guitarist Ronnie Earl, whose band the Broadcasters is used on most of the cuts. The vocal duties were shared by James “Thunderbird” Davis and Darrell Nulisch, with Sumlin singing on “Come Back Little Girl,” “Honey Dumplins,” and the set closer, “Blues for Henry,” all of which gain poignancy because of Sumlin’s somewhat fragile, whispered vocal approach.

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A clear highlight is Sumlin’s solo electric guitar version of “Down the Dusty Road,” which is focused, clear, and intimate. The sound of the album is a little thicker and punchier than Blues Party, but once again Sumlin pulls off the difficult task of sounding like a sideman on his own album project, which is a shame, since when he does step forward, things really start to take on a distinct character. The two Black Top albums (this one was originally released in 1990) are really like blues jam holding patterns recorded when Sumlin was still trying to figure out how to make the transition from ace sideman to revered bandleader. Both suffer a bit from not having a truly assertive Sumlin on board. (by Steve Leggett)

Originally released in 1990 on Black Top Records (BT-1053)

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Personnel:
James “Thunderbird” Davis (vocals on 01., 03., 06. +  08.)
Ronnie Earl (guitar)
Steve Gomes (bass)
Per Hanson (drums)
Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff (saxophone)
Darrell Nulisch (harmonica, vocals)
Richard “Dickie” Reed (keyboards)
Hubert Sumlin (guitar, vocals on 04, 10., 12. + 13.)

Booklet1

Tracklist:
01. I Don’t Want To Hear About Yours (Nulisch/Gomes) 3.30
02. Healing Feeling (Sumlin/Kazanoff/Hanson/Earl/Gomes) 2.35
03. Just Like I Treat You (Burnett) 3.56
04. Come Back Little Girl (Sumlin) 4.46
05. Play It Cool (King) 5.12
06. Without A Friend Like You (Nulisch/Sumlin/Earl) 3.22
07. I Don’t Want No Woman (Veasey) 3.22
08. Blue Shadows (Fulson) 4.31
09. Down The Dusty Road (Sumlin) 2.50
10. Honey Dumlins (Sumlin) 5.30
11. Blues For Henry (Sumlin/Earl) 4.07

CD1

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Billie Joe Becoat – Reflections From A Cracked Mirror (1969)

FrontCover1Becoat made a little-known 1969 folk-rock album for Fantasy that leaned closer to folk than rock, although it did use a light rhythm section. Reflections From a Cracked Mirror was an apt title considering the rather scrambled, earnest reflections of the singer/songwriter. His vocal delivery is like a cross between Van Morrison and Dino Valenti, as odd as that combination might sound. Although there are full-band arrangements, the impression is that of a folky troubadour being dragged into the modern era, with bluesy and reasonably tuneful, well-sung compositions whose lyrics are considerably more downcast than the relatively upbeat music. The songs are those of a man approaching the edge, hounded by some internal demons and an external society with which he’s finding hard to cope. It wouldn’t have been at all surprising to come across him a few years later, scraping a living on the street as a busker, unable to adjust to any other job, after his album sold virtually nothing.

“I’ve got everything I need to drive me on out of my feeble mind,” sings Becoat in “I’ve Got Everything I Need,” and that’s a fair signal that we’re dealing with a fellow whose worldview is both self-aware and skewed. Becoat sings — without undue self-pity, it should be noted — about crumbling relationships, the failure of anyone to take responsibility for inner city rioting (“Who Struck the Match?”), chaotic domestic situations, and the inability of educational and social institutions to meet his needs and expectations.

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It’s the sound of a man who could be just a few months away from becoming a junkie or dropout, fleeing his wife and children, or suffering a nervous breakdown, but managing to keep a fairly level if anguished head for the moment. It’s a peculiar and somewhat interesting recording, but not so musically excellent as to merit a belated cult following, on the order of other cracked late-1960s acid folkies like Skip Spence or Dino Valenti. It’s also not as fully served by the production as it could be, the skeletal arrangements favoring acoustic guitar, the accompanying bass and drums tentatively running through and adjusting to the offbeat tunes, rather than confidently complementing them. (by Richie Unterberger)

What a great album from one of these loosers of music history … lisen to “Caledonia, The Second” and you´ll know what I mean … a singer/songwriter with such a strong blues and soul power in his voice …

Memories

Personnel:
Billie Joe Becoat (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
+
unknown bassplayer and drummer

BackCover1
Tracklist:
01. And I Was Gone 2.43
02.  Caledonia, The Second 4.09
03. Hi Fiddle Dee Fee 2.11
04. Hold On, Boy 4.14
05. I Guess I’ll Have To Learn To Fly 2.55
06. I’m A Good Man, A Sweet Man 2.58
07. I’ve Got Everything I Need 3.32
08. Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep 2.46
09. Sheepskin Blues 2.59
10. Who Struck The Match? 2.09

All songs written by Billie Joe Becoat

LabelB1* (coming soon)
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VA – Muddy Waters – All-Star Tribute To A Legend (2011)

FrontCover1A number of Blues artists exerted a huge influence on the development of modern popular music, collectively characterizing the approach to amplified music in the late 1940s and early ’50s.

The single most influential one was undoubtedly Muddy Waters. From 1948 until 1955 he pioneered and guided the way, in style, substance and sound, eloquently defining the aggressive, swaggering, Delta-rooted sound with his declamatory vocals and piercing slide-guitar attack, releasing a great number of groundbreaking and timeless, classic records.

His inspired and fundamental music continues to reverberate as excitingly and forcefully through the music of today as it did 50 years ago. (by spincds.com)

And here´s a real great tribute album:

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Recorded on October 11, 1997 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C., an impressive All-Star cast of Blues musicians, including Muddy’s own son Bill Morganfield, turned out to pay homage to the Legendary Muddy Waters, the King of Blues. Features special guests, John Hiatt, Peter Wolf, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Charlie Musslewhite, Robert Junior Lockwood, Big Bill Morganfield, Nick Gravenites, Mem Shannon and Phoebe Snow.

What a concert, what a line-up !

Musselwhite

Personnel:
Barry Goldberg (keyboards)
Tom Cosgrove (guitar)
Steve Holley (drums)
Johnnie Johnson (piano)
Bob Margolin (guitar)
Charlie Musselwhite (harmonica, vocals on 04.)
Paul Ossola (bass)
G.E.Smith (guitar)
+
Robert Gravenites (vocals on 06.)
Buddy Guy (guitar, vocals on 03.)
John Hiatt (guitar, vocals on 08.)
Keb’ Mo’ (vocals, guitar on 09.)
Big Bill Morganfield (vocals, bass on 12.13.)
Robert Junior Lockwood (vocals on 11.)
Mem Shannon (guitar, vocals on 07.)
Phoebe Snow (vocals on 10.
Koko Taylor (vocals on 01. + 02.)
Peter Wolf (vocals on 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. Koko Taylor: I’m Ready 3.57
02. Koko Taylor: Long Distance Call 3.00
03. Buddy Guy: She’s 19 Years Old 7.49
04. Charlie Musslewhite: I Got A Rich Man’s Woman 4.47
05. Peter Wolf: Rollin’ & Tumblin’ 2.33
06. Robert Gravenites: Forty Days & Forty Nights 3.36
07. Mem Shannon: Gypsy Woman 3.15
08. John Hiatt: The Same Thing 4.44
09. Keb’ Mo‘: I Can’t Be Satisfied 3.44
10. Phoebe Snow: Just To Be With You 4.48
11. Robert Junior Lockwood: Mean Red Spider 4.13
12. Big Bill Morganfield: Hoochie Coochie Man 5.01
13. Big Bill Morganfield: Got My Mojo Working 2.51
14. Muddy Waters: Trouble No More 2.43
+
15.Hidden track (musicians talk about Muddy Waters)

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Muddy Waters

McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913 – April 30, 1983)
better known as Muddy Waters

Dion (DiMucci) – Tank Full Of Blues (2012)

FrontCover1When Dion DiMucci was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional Blues category for 2006’s Bronx in Blue, an excellent collection of blues standards, it was an official affirmation that he was “back.” In truth, he’d never left, and had been recording all along. He issued a stellar follow-up in 2007’s Son of Skip James, a collection of revelatory blues covers and fine new material. The third album in this blues trilogy is Tank Full of Blues. Recorded in a trio setting, Dion produced the album, wrote all but two selections, and played the hell out of all the guitars on it. Tank Full of Blues is a slippery, street-smart, utterly inspired album of blues and roots rock tunes that are free of nostalgia and drenched in history. Truth be told, any of the current era’s bluesmen would be hard pressed to come up with lyrics near as profound as those found the in the harrowing “Ride’s Blues (For Robert Johnson).” The track offers a new myth about the great bluesman; it delves deep into spiritual matters while addressing the terror that lies in the heart of anyone lost to her or himself.

There’s a redemptive twist that’s as surprising as it is free of cliches. The meld of acoustic and distorted snarling electric guitars tells its own story — the story of the blues itself — to underscore the narrative. The title track, offered in swaggering Chicago blues style, offers a familiar and bitingly humorous tale of the life of an itinerant musician to be Dion01sure, but in a larger sense, also speaks to the conflicted nature of the human heart. “Two Trains” is a beautifully executed medley of Muddy Waters’ “Still a Fool” and Johnson’s “Ramblin’ on My Mind.” “My Michelle” pays tribute to Jimmy Reed’s enduring musical influence and sense of humor.

The strutting, updated rockabilly in “I’m Ready to Go” lays out Dion’s sense of purpose in this world and the next. Finally, in “Bronx Poem,” a spoken word piece that closes the disc, Dion speaks the unvarnished truth about where he’s been and, perhaps even more bravely in this cynical age, where he stands — without flinching. He possesses a rhyme skill set that would make any rapper jealous. Accompanied by his own haunting guitars and Robert Guertin’s quietly shuffling drums, Dion celebrates humanity in the light of his spiritual convictions. In doing so, he comes full circle to meet himself as a street corner poet in the 1950s, and reveals his wisdom as the result of his experiences in the past and the present. He has no need to romanticize or apologize; he remains the keen-eyed, tender-hearted observer he has always been. Tank Full of Blues may be the late entry in a catalog of great work by Dion, but it stands with his best recordings. In fact, it is the album he’s been waiting an entire career to make. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Dion DiMucci(guitar, vocals)
Bob Guertin (bass)
Robert “The Hurty Gurty Man” Guertin (drums, percussion)

Inside

Tracklist:
01. Tank Full Of Blues (Aquilina/DiMucci) Dion 4:14
02 I Read It (In The Rolling Stone) (Aquilina/DiMucci) 3.57
03. Holly Brown (DiMucci) 3.35
04. Ride’s Blues (For Robert Johnson) (Aquilina/DiMucci) 4.41
05. Two Train Medley
05.1. Still A Fool (Morganfield)
06.2. Ramblin’ On My Mind (Johnson) 4.06
06. You Love Me Baby (Mooney Dion) 3.49
07. You Keep Me Cryin’ (DiMucci) 4.24
08. My Michelle (Aquilina/DiMucci) 3.52
09. My Baby’s Cryin’ (DiMucci) 3.40
10. I’m Ready To Go (Aquilina/DiMucci) 3.13
11. Bronx Poem (DiMucci) 5.04

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