Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fender Japan JB75B-100US Jazz Bass Review


I have always been a big fan of Fender of Japan, and today we are looking at one of their 1975 re-issue Fender Jazz Basses, model JB75B-100US. This model was never intended to be exported into the United States, and my friend Bruce in Tokyo found it for me. This is a fairly recent example, though later ones have been hard to date, as the serial number prefixes do not seem to mean much anymore. I figure it is around 5 years old, for what it is worth.

A casual look might lead you to believer that this is a Geddy Lee artist model, as it is a black Jazz with a black blocked and bound neck, but it is not. It has a conventional bridge, no signature on the back of the headstock, and a normal profile neck. It also has US pickups that are a definite upgrade from the Geddy models I have owned and played.

I have been unable to find specifications on this model, but chances are good that the body is alder, though ash is a possibility as this thing is the heaviest bass I have ever owned. Really – it comes in at over 13 pounds!

The original black poly finish is almost perfect, and there are no signs of playwear. The bound neck and frets are also in great shape, and the frets are level and well finished on the edges. The neck pocket fit is tight, and this is one of the cases where the fit and finish of Fender Japan instruments is indeed better than the US-made ones. With its full-sized chrome tuners, this one has just the right look and it is a doppelganger for Geddy’s 72 Jazz that he picked up from a pawnshop in Kalamazoo, Michigan for $200.

It plays absolutely killer, and sounds incredible. It far outshines any of the Geddy Lee Artist Model basses I have seen and played. These are hard to come by, and I have never seen on in the states. If you are looking for a good Jazz Bass, it would be worth importing one of these. Just be sure that you ask how much it weighs first.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blues Blast Magazine Album Review: Joe Caro and the Met Band – Live in New York City

Good day!

This CD review was originally published in the August 21, 2014 edition of Blues Blast Magazine. Be sure to check out the rest of the magazine at

Joe Caro and the Met Band – Live in New York City | Album Review

Innsbruck Records

10 tracks / 78:27

Even if you have never heard of Joe Caro, if you are a fan of most any genre of music there is a good chance that you have listened to his work before. He is one of New York City’s most in-demand session and touring guitarists, and he took up the instrument when he was eight after seeing the Beatles on TV. He is well versed in blues and jazz, but he has worked with huge pop and rock artists, with credits that include Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Eagles, Stanley Clarke, Bobby McFerrin, Bon Jovi and Clint Black.

But Caro is also an inspirational bandleader, having formed BFD with Late Night’s Will Lee and drummer Steve Ferrone and subsequently tearing up the New York club scene. This group made a name for itself by featuring storied guest artists such as Pat Metheny, Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and the Brecker brothers. And more recently he fronted the Met Band who gigged every Tuesday at the Metropolitan Café over a period of eight years.

Joe Caro and the Met Band’s new release, Live in New York City, was recorded at Drom, which is the epicenter of music in the East Village. His line-up for this show was truly an all-star list of players that included Randy Brecker and Lew Soloff on trumpet, Anton Fig on drums, Blue Lou Marini on the sax, Clifford Carter behind the keyboards and Conrad Korsch on bass. Of course Caro played the guitar and handled the vocals, but he was also the co-producer of this project, along with Roman Klun who took on the recording, mixing and mastering chores.

This album has a wonderful blend of modern blues that makes for a pleasurable listening experience, and it is a joy to hear professional musicians who are at the top of their game. The often-covered “Labor of Love” by Tim Kaihatsu kicks off the set and these guys nail it. Joe’s voice is clear and strong, but this cut is not about the lyrics as each member gets the opportunity to show their chops. After hearing all of the solos it is apparent that this is a very well recorded show as the level is even for the voice and each instrument, and the overall sound is as clear as a bell. Klun did a fabulous job here!

Next up is a killer Denise LaSalle song from 1975, “Someone Else is Stepping In.” It is awesome that 40 years later her lyrics are so convincing that it is easy to picture her new way of wearing his hair now that she is a brand-new woman. Korsch holds down a fat bass foundation on this 10+ minute track with some help from Carter on the organ and Letterman’s Anton Fig on the drums. This one is considerably more complicated than the usual 12-bar blues, and as things move on the listener is treated to an extended guitar solo from Caro as well a trumpet battle between Brecker and Soloff.

Caro penned five of the songs that the band played on this evening, and the first of these is “In the Name of God,” which holds up examples of the excuses that people make for the terrible things they do. This blues song has pop undertones, but also a heavy dose of jazz and the horn section is up to the complicated arrangements. This is followed up by another original: “Upper East Side Blues,” a song of modern worries that hits too close to home in these troubled times. It has a cool layout, as it is a fairly traditional five-minute slow blues song with a six-minute rumba/fusion instrumental interlude in the middle.

An unexpected entry on the set list is a beautiful instrumental version of Lennon and McCartney’s “Strawberry Fields” from the Beatle’s 1967 Magical Mystery Tour album. Caro takes the melody with his guitar, and uses effects to create different textures and feels. Though this is rock, Carter’s piano work lends it a jazz feel, and it all comes together well here. This ends up being the best cover tune of the bunch, which is a tough call because there are also fine versions of Ray Charles’ “Mary Ann” (complete with a sexy Latin beat and a lurid back story) and Willie Dixon’s “Seventh Son.”

One of the standout tracks on Live in New York City is another original, “Love Don’t Bother Me,” a funky rocker which is pretty much a drum solo with a song happening on top of it. The band stays tight throughout despite huge swings in tempo and dynamics, making this an exciting listening experience. But it is not fair to call out a favorite, because there is not a bad song on this disc.

After the final song ends (appropriately titled “Going Home”) it seems like a shame that 78 minutes have already passed and there is nothing else coming. It is undeniable that Live in New York City is an excellent album, and it captures the energy and refined talent that Joe Caro and the Met Band brings to the stage. It would be a fine addition to most anyone’s CD collection, but after a listen it will also make you want to track down one of their live shows. At this point it looks like you will have to go to New York City to see them, but their website says there are plans for a tour. Stay tuned!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Epiphone E212T Sheraton Union Jack Electric Guitar Review


Today we are looking at another great guitar value, and a pretty fun to play instrument – my Epiphone Sheraton that is painted up like the Union Jack.

In the first half of the 20th century, Epiphone was one of Gibson’s biggest competitors, so Gibson did the smart thing – they bought Epiphone in 1957. Gibson kept the brand name and started re-working the product line-up. In 1958 they introduced the thinline semi-hollowbody Sheraton electric guitar.

The original Sheraton was a set-neck twin-pickup model that used the same body as the new Gibson ES models. The big differences were the “Frequensator” tailpiece, multi-ply body binding and lots of inlay work on the headstock and fretboard. The pickups on the originals were New York single-coils.

As time went on there were specification changes, of course. In 1961 mini-humbucker pickups were swapped in and Grover tuners were added, and in 1962 the Epiphone “Trem-o-tone” tailpiece became available.

In 1970 manufacturing was moved to Japan, and full-sized humbuckers became the new standard for the Sheraton. In 1986 the Sheraton II was launched, with a stop-bar tailpiece being the only real change. As time moved on, production moved to Korea, with minor spec changes here and there.

So, the guitar I have was made in China last year, and it was finished by the factory in a gaudy Union Jack paint scheme over Alpine White. It has a laminated maple body and top with a mahogany center block (making it semi-hollowbody), and it is churched-up with single-ply white body binding.

The neck is mahogany,and it has a normal 24.75-inch scale. The 12-inch radius fretboard is bound, and it has 22 medium-jumbo frets hammered into it, as well as v-block pearloid fret markers. The neck profile is a 1960s profile SlimTaper C with a 1.68-inch wide nut.

The headstock is pretty darned big, 3-ply bound, and it has the traditional Epiphone vine of life inlay. Grover tuners are mounted to that headstock, and they are gold-plated, as is the LockTone Tune-o-matic bridge. There is no pickguard...

The electronics package includes a pair of Gibson USA mini humbuckers that are wired through two volume knobs, two tone knobs, and a 3-way selector switch. Did you expect anything different? I didn’t think so…

It is a lot heavier than expected, coming in at 8 pounds, 11 ounces, but it balances well on a strap so maybe that extra bulk prevents neck dive. It is a very easy playing guitar with a good action, and the frets are better than anything that is coming out of Gibson’s Memphis factory. It has good sustain and can achieve a sweetly mellow jazz tone, or can get some bite going for rockabilly or early rock and roll.

I like this Epiphone Sheraton a lot – it looks good, plays well and sounds good, enough so that I feel that it is just as good as a Gibson ES-whatever for a whole lot less money. How much less? These things have a list price a list price of $1349.00 and a street price of around 900 bucks, which includes Epiphone’s lifetime limited warranty, Gibson’s 24/7/360 customer service, and a really nice hard case. Or if you are really cheap, secondhand instruments can be had for around $600. Such a deal!


Blues Blast Magazine Album Review: John Mayall – A Special Life


This CD review was originally published in the August 14, 2014 edition of Blues Blast Magazine. Be sure to check out the rest of the magazine at

John Mayall – A Special Life

Forty Below Records

11 tracks / 44:17

It seems like John Mayall needs no introduction, but there may be a few folks out there that have never heard of the Godfather of British Blues. Maybe they do not know that over the past 50 years he has led the ever-changing members of The Bluesbreakers, which has included other legends such as Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Taylor. Or that in the late 1960s he moved to Los Angeles and never missed a beat as he continued to spread his blue and rock, but this time with a progressive path that took his blues and rock to another level.

John’s work has resulted in over 50 albums to date, and he has played with every blues artist of note while touring nearly endlessly. It appeared that Mayall was hanging up his hat in 2008 when he announced that The Bluebreakers were calling it quits, but that was not the case. Luckily for us he could not sit still and in 2009 he put together a righteous band that in just a few short days cut Tough, a terrific album that spawned a new series of tours.

Mayall’s latest effort, A Special Life, picks up where his last album left off and it is hard to believe that there has been a 5-year dry spell since he last cut a new record. It is a blessing that many of the same personnel have returned, as they are as tight of a crew that a frontman could hope for. This leaner band is made up of Texan Rocky Athas on guitar and Chicagoans Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport behind the drum kit. John was the producer for this project, as well as taking on the vocals, piano, organ, harmonica, and clavinet. Once again, the album only took a few days to record, and it impossible to tell as it is a nicely-produced disc that benefitted from the toils of co-producer, engineer and mixer, Eric Corne.

The first track features special guest C.J. Chenier on accordion and vocals, and this is particularly apt as “Why Did You Go Last Night” was originally written and recorded by C.J.’s father, Clifton Chenier, the Zydeco legend. Mayall used to do this song back when Jack Bruce was in The Bluesbreakers, and it is definitely more blues than Cajun as Chenier belts out his vocals over John’s honkytonk piano stylings.

This is followed up by the straightforward blues rocker, “Speak of the Devil,” which was penned by former Mayall guitarist Sonny Landreth. This version is a bit faster than the original, and we get to hear that John still has a powerful voice as he holds his own again the blazing guitar of Rocky Athas. Davenport and Rzab nail a tight beat under their leader’s Hammond organ chords, and this song turns out as slick as can be. These guys having been touring together for the past few years, so it should be no surprise that they are still in sync. After this, John lets his harmonica fly as he honks out Jimmy Rogers’ classic, “That’s All Right.”

It is true that Mayall has nurtured generations of guitarists, but we have to remember that he is no slouch behind the fretboard either. John takes the lead guitar parts on Albert Kings’ “Floodin’ in California” and on the title track and he plays with poignancy and an artist’s touch. Any blues band out there would be happy to have him sit in on guitar!

John Mayall wrote four of the songs on A Special Life including a re-do of “Heartache” which originally appeared on his 1965 debut album. But his newer songs are stronger yet as he looks into things that are more current to him. The subjects include our terrible political climate in “World Gone Crazy” and the blessings and curses of his career in “A Special Life”. Of course he would not be the Godfather if he did not crank out a broken-hearted blues song, and “Just a Memory” fits this role perfectly, albeit with jazz-influenced piano. This slow-rolling song is powerful, and turns out to be a fitting way to end the album.

A Special Life shows that John Mayall is still able to bring out the best in a talented band, and that he has not been resting on his laurels. It is a well-crafted and personal effort and we can only hope that it will not be another five years before he hits the studio again. In the meantime, check John’s website for details of his North American and European 80th birthday celebration tour, which will certainly be worth your time!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Glenn Frey: November 6, 1948 to January 18, 2016

Rest in peace, Glenn. You will be missed.

Blues Blast Magazine Album Review: Janiva Magness - Original


This CD review was originally published in the August 7, 2014 edition of Blues Blast Magazine. Be sure to check out the rest of the magazine at

Janiva Magness – Original | Album Review

Self Release through Fathead Records

11 tracks / 44:45

When folks talk about the blues they always bring up Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans, but there is also a killer blues scene in Los Angeles. One of the most talented artists in L.A. is singer/songwriter Janiva Magness, who has eleven records in her catalog and more blues awards than you can shake a stick at, including the Blues Foundation B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year (multiple times), and Song of the Year for “I Won’t Cry”!

But it took a long time to get to this point, and Janiva’s life story would make for an incredible book. She was born in Detroit, became orphaned as a young teen, was placed in a dozen foster homes before she came of age, and had to give up her own daughter for adoption when she was 17. This is a grim biography, but fortunately she found support from her last foster mother and inspiration from an Otis Rush concert that helped her set her sights on a career in music. After working as a sound engineer, getting gigs as a backing singer (including Kid Ramos and R.L. Burnside), and forming her own band (The Mojomatics), she made her way to Los Angeles, where she self-published her first album in 1997.

Magness’ latest CD is the self-released Original, her finest work to date. This is her first album on her own after six years with Alligator Records, and Janiva is treading new ground by stepping up and co-writing seven of the eleven tracks on the disc. This project was produced, recorded, and mixed by Dave Darling, who worked on her three previous albums as well as with an impressive list of artists that includes The Stray Cats, Brian Setzer and Glen Campbell.

From the first track the listener will know why she did not have a blues label make this record. There is blues foundation to everything she does, but this music expands into soul, roots and Americana, so it is impossible to assign it to any one genre. “Let Me Breathe” gives heartbreaking insight into the feelings of emptiness and guilt following a hard break-up, accompanied by sultry and soulful lyrics with hard blues guitar riffs. This contrasts well with the message of hope found in “Twice as Strong” an upbeat pop/soul song with neat background harmonies and the tight backline of Gary Davenport on bass and Matt Tecu on drums.

“When You Were My King” is one of Janiva’s collaborations with the Australian songwriting team of Lauren Bliss and Andrew Lowden, and they definitely clicked on this one. This bittersweet R&B tune slows things down and serves a vehicle for Magness to display her softer side. Jim Alfredson sets the background with his keyboards, and Darling contributes a sweet guitar countermelody. After mourning the loss of her love, for the next track she opines that that void needs to be filled. “I Need a Man” is an upbeat rocker with a Bo Diddley-esque beat that gives the lady a chance to tear loose and her emotion proves to be contagious.

One would think that with her tough upbringing and plenty of bad turns in recent years (divorce, deaths of friends and family, and a major surgery that could have taken her singing voice), that this could be an album of pain and bitterness. Janiva somehow puts all of this into perspective and provides a healthy dose of introspection and hope, as seen in the standout track “With Love,” which features Dan Navarro of the hit songwriting team, Lowen and Navarro, on backing vocals.

The album’s closer, “Standing,” is another group effort from Magness and Bliss/Lowden with a pretty melody (Alfredson’s piano and Zach Zunis’ guitars are lovely counterpoints) and poignant lyrics of loss and strength. Though this is a very slow rhythm and blues track it is far from dull as it builds drama throughout, even as it slowly rolls to a close. This song is the final reminder that Original maintains good pacing throughout and it is helped along with slick production, good musicians and classy arrangements. There is nothing to find fault with here, and Dave Darling fulfilled his role as producer handily.

Original is a stunning album in its honesty and craftsmanship; Janiva Magness has a hit on her hands and surely there will be a few more awards coming her way. But her live show is exceptional too, and these songs will make the transition to the stage very well. So buy the CD, but also make plans to see her on the tour as she has a staggering number of stops before the end of the year and there will surely be one near you!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

2008 Spector NS-2JA-R Bass Review


Today we are looking at a pretty cool Spector NS-2JA-R, a 25th anniversary re-issue of the 1983 Spector NS-2JA. This is one of only 83 of these basses that were finished in glossy black. Only 83, because this is a re-issue of the 1983 model (clever). They made 83 each in glossy white and natural, so there were only a total of 249 built in the Czech Republic. To be honest I have only seen black ones up for sale, so the other colors must have been more popular.

Pretty much, this instrument ends up being a bolt-on neck version of the Spector Euro series basses. This is a 34-inch scale bass with 24 frets, and seven years later the frets are still level. There are simple dot inlays on the rosewood fretboard, and check out that kicking brass nut! The tuners are first-rate chromed Schaller machines.

The maple body is carved into the traditional Spector contoured shape with a oddly erotic upper horn. There is a chrome-plated Leo Quan Badass bridge, which has always been a favorite of mine. The body is loaded with a pair of active EMG pickups, which are wired with EMG BT active tone controls (2 volume and 2 tone). The lower cutaway goes pretty far into the neck joint, so there is good access to the upper frets.

This bass is a real winner. The neck is very thin and fast, and the tone is super punchy with tons of mids. There is plenty of sustain too, if that is what you are looking for. Another bit of good news is that this bass is relatively light, despite its maple body, coming in at 8 pounds, 9 ounces.

These basses had a list price of $2099 when they came out (no bag or case included!), and a street price of $1575. They did not sell very well, and today gently used ones sell for around $800. You could certainly do a lot worse for your money!


Monday, January 11, 2016

Stewart MacDonald Thread Detective for Guitars Review


When you work on guitars that come from the North America, Asia, and Europe, chances are good that you are going to want to replace a fastener and you will have no idea what size to buy, or even if it is metric or standard thread. Thread Detective has been in the business of making thread checking tools for years, and they are popular in craft and repair industries. The folks at Stewart MacDonald saw this tool and liked it, and asked Thread Detective to put together a set of these tools that is specifically tailored to the fastener sizes that are encountered in luthier work.

When you by this set you get two sets of tools, blue for metric and red for standard threads. These chrome-plated steel nuggets are designed so that they can measure both male and female thread dimensions, and the individual bits are held together by cables so they do not get scattered in your toolbox. They will let you measure 11 metric thread sizes and 13 standard sizes.

There is not too much else going on here, and the tools work exactly as they are designed. These are not tools that you will use very often, so they will probably never wear out, but they are a definite time and frustration saver.

If you want to pick up a set of Thread Detective for guitar tools, there is only one place in town to get them ,and that is Stewart MacDonald, The powerhouse luthier supply company. They are not cheap, at $49.98, but they are truly awesome.


David Bowie: January 8, 1947 to January 10, 2016

Rest in peace, brother.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Inventory Update: 1st Quarter of 2016

Hi there!

Another three months have gone by, and here is the quarterly list of what is stacked up in the studio. The pile has grown since last time, but things are always coming and going. If you see anything here that you cannot live without, drop me a line. It is all good stuff…

First off, the basses:

∙ EBMM Stingray 5 (right…)

∙ EBMM Stingray 4

∙ 1974 Aria Telecaster Bass

∙ MIJ Fender 1970 re-issue Precision Bass

∙ MIJ Fender 1975 re-issue Jazz Bass

∙ ESP Phoenix-B (2 of them)

∙ ESP Original Series Amaze AS

∙ 2008 Spector NS2JAR

Electric Guitars:

∙ MIJ Fender ‘62 re-issue Stratocaster

∙ MIJ ’52 re-issue Telecaster

∙ 1990 Gibson Les Paul Standard

∙ 2001 Gibson SG Special

∙ 2010 Gibson Explorer with custom pimp paint job

∙ Epiphone 212T Union Jack

∙ Memphis Cigar Box Guitar by Matt Isbell

Acoustic Guitars:

∙ Martin D-18 Golden Era (the King)

∙ Martin Backpacker steel string

∙ Martin S1 soprano ukulele

∙ Kala solid mahogany soprano ukulele (on loan to a friend)

∙ Epiphone PR 150 NA

∙ 1990s Sigma SDM-18


∙ 1967 Acoustic 260 Guitar Head

∙ Genz Benz Shuttle 9.2 with Aguilar GS112 and GS112NT Cabinets

∙ Fender Acoustasonic 30 DSP

∙ Fender Champion 300

Check in again on April Fool’s Day to see what is still around. As always, you know it will be different!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Blues Blast Magazine Album Review: Craig Brenner – Live at the Old Mint


This CD review was originally published in the July 24, 2014 edition of Blues Blast Magazine. Be sure to check out the rest of the magazine at

Craig Brenner – Live at the Old Mint |Album Review

Self Release 14 tracks / 53:15

There is just not enough good boogie-woogie music being recorded anymore, and fortunately the drought has ended with Craig Brenner’s first new album since 2009, Live at the Old Mint. He has assembled a collection of blues and boogie-woogie tracks from his live shows that will surely lift your mood!

Craig is one of the best-educated pianists around; after attending college in Florida he moved to the Hoosier State in the mid-1970s to study at the Indiana University School of Music and he never left. Since then, Brenner has studied classical, jazz and boogie-woogie piano with the masters of each genre, and has received multiple grants from the Indiana Arts Commission. He is serious about his craft, and it shows in his performance.

This certainly is a live album, but this is not just a recording of one show at the Old US Mint in New Orleans (and it really is an old mint, in case you were wondering). This CD is actually a collection of 14 songs culled from 5 different performances spanning seven years. Included are 10 songs from two shows at Old US Mint, three more from two shows from Artsgarden in Indianapolis, and a track from a radio show that he and his wife did in 2013. This set avoids being a hodgepodge thanks to the wonderful job of mixing and mastering done by Jacob Belser of Primary Sound Studios in Bloomington, Indiana – for the most part there is a very consistent sound, feel and flow to the music.

Brenner produced this album himself, and it includes six compositions that he wrote as well as a nice collection of songs that could easily be the final exam for a musician that is seeking a doctorate in blues and boogie-woogie piano. One of these is the first song in the set, “I Stepped in Quicksand” written by the legendary jazz and blues pianist, Charles Brown. Craig takes this one on his own, and there is a fun jazz influence on this one that goes well with his thin, yet pleasant, tenor vocals. The piano sounds clear on this one and there is only a hint of hiss and sibilance, which is to be expected on a live recording of this type.

From there he heads into one of his own compositions, “To Boogie or Not to Boogie,” one of the eight songs on this disc that he recorded with Alfred “Uganda” Roberts on congas. I would never think of combining congas and hard-hitting piano music, but it works on this straight-up boogie-woogie tune, probably because of the talent behind those drums. Roberts is a Crescent City native who turned his percussion work into a career that included performing and recording with heavyweight artists that include Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, The Meters, Snooks Eaglin, Gatemouth Brown, Willie Tee and Dr. John.

The covers are all super-cool! They include gems like “Train Blues”, a faithful rework of Lux Lewis’ “Honky Tonk Train Blues” which has a glorious saloon piano sound. Or Brenner’s version of Pinetop Smith’s 1928 seminal hit “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie,” his joyous hammering of Professor Longhair’s “Hey Now Baby,” and the familiar sounds of Jimmy Forrest’s “Night Train.” But the standout of these has to be “Mess Around,” a song written by Atlantic Records president and founder Ahmet Ertegün which was one of Ray Charles’ first hits in 1953. The audience really gets into this song and claps along as Craig hoots the vocals and Roberts keep the beat with his congas. This must be something to see live, and of course everyone can commiserate that they don’t want their little girl to mess around.

One of the more fun tunes is Brenner’s original “Crawdad Shuffle” that he performed with his significant other, Lori, at the Indiana University Radio-Television Center in Bloomington in 2013. This instrumental features Mrs. Brenner on a rubboard which is placed far forward in the mix, and Craig almost takes a supporting role to its hypnotic scrapings. The rubboard and congas are not ordinarily leading instruments, and it is fascinating that Brenner can pair up with these percussion instruments and allow them to shine.

The tunes on this CD go by quickly, and before you know it the final track, “Carolina Shout,” will be coming through your speakers (or headphones). Recorded at Artsgarden in 2011, this James P. Johnson song from 1921 has no vocals or accompaniment, just Craig showing incredible timing on what has to be one of the most difficult songs to play correctly. This ragtime song has some jazz influence with a tremendous dynamic range and rhythms that are as tricky as they come. Craig totally nails it, and it is the perfect way to close out the set.

Live at the Old Mint is a good effort from Craig Brenner and a fine showcase of his piano and songwriting skills. If you are not a fan of boogie-woogie, do not let this one scare you off. There is still plenty of blues, ragtime and even jazz to be found on this disc, and you will certainly find something that you like!


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Rex and the Bass 2015 Year in Review

Happy New Year!

This wraps up my 6th year of blogging, and Rex and the Bass is still a labor of love (and ego). I appreciate the support of my readers, and I read all of the comments that you post on this site. If nobody looked at these pages, I would lose motivation and move on to something else.

2015 had a few milestones: the blog now has over 800 posts, and Rex and the Bass is approaching 800,000 hits. Wow!

This side project of a blog has led to a few other side projects – writing gigs for Blues Blast Magazine and Chicago Blues Guide. Many thanks to their editors for having faith in me! Also, I have been getting so many CD submissions from artists that I started a blog just for music reviews, so if you want your music reviewed, feel free to mail me a copy of your work. And lastly, I have kept up a blog detailing my travails with going back to graduate school (one more semester to go!).

As in years past, here is a list of the top ten most read posts of all time for Rex and the Bass:

1. Apple A1121 iPod Hi-fi

2. Fender Jazz Bass Special Re-issue

3. Crystal Castles (2010) Album Review

4. Philip Kubicki Factor Basses

5. Memory Lane: Pulp Fiction Soundtrack

6. Little Dot Mark III Headphone Amplifier Review

7. Art and Lutherie Ami Cedar Parlour Acoustic Guitar

8. Honda EU2000i Portable Generator Review

9. Gallien-Krueger 400RB Bass Amplifier Review

10. 1970s Ibanez Les Paul Custom Guitar Review

I have always said that I would stop writing this blog when it is no longer fun. Well, I am not there yet, so I look forward to another year of sharing with you!