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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Newman

December 2021 Wrapup

A great review from Concert Monkey one of the best agendas in Belgium.

The album opens with the quiet 'Over In The Corner', a mix of Americana and blues. Immediately the pleasant voice of Mick Schafer stands out. Ken Scandlyn and Jason Thomas spice the song with fine riffs on the guitar and on the lap steel. Tom Esch helps set the mood with his fiddle. It remains calm in the excellent blues ballad 'If I Win The Blues'. Ken Scandlyn and Jason Thomas both shine on six-string and take 'If I Win The Blues' to a higher level with their instrumental class. 'Virgin Mary' is a plea to the Virgin Mary. It has a Latin rhythm and here too we get very fine and excellent guitar work. The brushwork of drummer Jimi Bott determines the rhythm of 'Rainbow'. Mick Shafer sings the song with great feeling. Instrumentally it is again enjoying the guitars of Ken Scandlyn and Jason Thomas and the sad work on the fiddle of Tom Esch. The latter determines the mood of the song.

Tom Esch is very explicit and excellently present in the uptempo cowboy country song 'Husband Blues', a song that will certainly provide the necessary ambiance during the concerts of The Mick Shafer Band. Timmer Blakely gets 'Astara' going with a great bass intro. 'She Woke Up' is a languid swinging blues song. Then they kick it up a notch for the swinging blues shuffle 'Don't Wanna B Judged'. The catchy sing-along chorus and the handsome guitar solo give the song an extra touch. The album closes with 'Rich Boy', which is spiced up with excellent guitar work. 'Back To The Blues' by The Mick Shafer Band is a pleasant album to listen to. (7/10)

Another great review from France. This time from Fred Zicazic. "The voice assured and the tone always very correct, Mick Schafer comes to us with a superb “Back to the Blues” by using very intelligently impressive power of seduction and indisputable mastery…Nine original pieces for about forty minutes of pleasure." Fred is the President at Blues France, on Board of Directors at the European Blues Union and editor at the Zicazic music magazine.

"This release is so refreshing with its stripped back laconic electric blues style"

Blues Matters Magazine Review written by ADRIAN BLACKLEE

Here's a Christmas song that rings true. Inspired by Cindy Happel, the Christmas muse here on 64th Street and thank you BB King.

One of the best Christmas presents this year came from Beth and Rob Schafer. "Respect Yourself" the book about Stax records in Memphis Tennessee. Can't get enough Memphis Music history!


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