Review of “Mr. C. & The C-Notes” by Terry Parsons – Maple Blues Magazine – May 2021
This album is one of those marvellous moments in history that come about purely by chance, only every now and then. The live show was recorded at Wally's Tavern, in Guelph, Ontario, sometime in the late 1990's. (The actual date cannot be confirmed) The recording was lost for almost a quarter century until Mike McDonald found it, and passed it on to Jim Casson, who cleaned it up and prepared it for release.
It features Chuck Jackson and members of the Downchild Blues band, notably Pat Carey on Horns and the late Michael Fonfara on Piano and Keyboards. In fact, the album is dedicated to Fonfara, with all proceeds from sales being donated to The Canadian Cancer Society, in his memory. Garth Vogan (Bass) and Jim Casson (Drums) round out the line-up for this lively and diverse set.
A typical live show for the time, the set consisted almost entirely of covers, masterfully performed, including a delight mix of blues, R&B, jazz and good old Rock ‘n’ Roll. The album opens with a wonderfully up beat version of the classic "Pennies from Heaven", followed by an equally perky cover of Chuck Berry's "C’est La Vie". The next two cuts, "Hide & Seek" and "My Baby Just Cares For Me", features the killer duo of Pat Carey's powerhouse sax and Fonfara's brilliant piano; a treat for true fans. Up next is a mind-blowing cover of the Doors classic, "Riders on the Storm". An ambitious cover of a rock classic that might seem out of place performed by a blues band, but in this set, it is right at home. Still, they are a blues band, and the next two cuts are true blues classics, in "My Blue Heaven" and "Kansas City". Then the album turns back to rock with a cool adaptation of the Beatles classic "Lady Madonna." Chuck Jackson is at home in any genre, but when it comes to "Fly Me To The Moon" and "Night Train", it’s like coming home to the familiar, warm and well loved. The set ends with "I Ain't Got Nobody", a fitting end to a show that happened in a different century, a different place in our musical collective, and yet, feels so at home in the new reality.
YEAR END LIST: TOP 30 CD RELEASES FOR 2012 ON BAD DOG BLUES
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NOTE: # in (1) shows peak position in month during the year. Based on airplay January thru December of 2012.
1) MUD MORGANFIELD (MAR #1) – SON OF THE 7TH SON (SEVERN)
2) EDDIE MARTIN (AUG #1) – LOOKING FORWARD LOOKING BACK (BLUEBLOOD)
3) MANNISH BOYS (JUN #1) – DOUBLE DYNAMITE (DELTA GROOVE)
4) BIG FRANK & THE HEALERS (DEC #1) – SPARKY’S LOUNGE (LOST WORLD MUSIC)
5) ELMORE JAMES JR & THE BROOMDUSTERS(DEC #2) – OLD SCHOOL LOVER (WOLF)
6) MICHAEL BURKS (OCT #1) – SHOW OF STRENGTH ( ALLIGATOR)
7) MAGIC SLIM & THE TEARDROPS (NOV #1) – BAD BOY (BLIND PIG)
8) BILLY BOY ARNOLD (JUN #2) – SINGS BIG BILL BROONZY (ELECTRO-FI)
9) JOE LOUIS WALKER (APR #1) – HELLFIRE (ALLIGATOR)
10) TAILDRAGGER & BOB CORRITORE(MAY #1)- LONGTIME FRIENDS IN THE BLUES (DELTA GROOVE)
11) MILTON HOPKINS & JEWEL BROWN (AUG. # 4) (DIALTONE RECORDS)
12) CHUCK JACKSON’S BIG BAD BLUES BAND (AUG #2) – A CUP OF JOE (LINUS ENT.)
13) ENRICO CRIVELLARO (JULY #1) – FREE WHEELIN’ (ELECTRO-FI)
14) RICK ESTRIN & THE NITECATS (AUG #3) – ONE WRONG TURN (ALLIGATOR)
15) CHRIS O’LEARY BAND (OCT #6) – WAITING FOR THE PHONE TO RING (VIZZTONE)
16) MR. NICK & THE DIRTY TRICKS (NOV #3) – OH WOW! (JELLYROLL/VIZZTONE)
17) WILLIE BUCK (JAN ’13 = #1) – CELL PHONE MAN (DELMARK)
18) CHUCK LEAVELL (JUN #6) – BACK TO THE WOODS (EVERGREEN ARTS)
19) DENNIS GRUENLING (JAN ’13 # 2) – ROCKIN’ ALL DAY (VIZZTONE)
20) SMOKIN’ JOE KUBEK & B’NOIS KING (NOV #2) – UNPLUGGED (DELTA GROOVE)
21) LIL RONNIE & THE GRAND DUKES(MAY #2) – GOTTA STRANGE FEELIN’ (ELLERSOUL)
22) EDDIE C. CAMPBELL (MAY #2) – SPIDER EATING PREACHER (DELMARK)
23) LINSEY ALEXANDER (SEP # 3) – BEEN THERE DONE THAT (DELMARK)
24) THE NIGHTHAWKS (JUN #8) – DAMN GOOD TIME (SEVERN)
25) GUITAR MIKEY & THE REAL THING(JULY # 5) – OUT OF THE BOX (EARWIG)
26) AL BASILE (DEC #3) – AT HOME NEXT DOOR (SWEETSPOT)
27) LIL ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS (AUG #5) – JUMP START (ALLIGATOR)
28) SUNNY CROWNOVER (JAN ’13 # 4) – RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW (SHINING STONE)
29) EDDIE TAYLOR JR.(JUN # 3) – SO CALLED FRIENDS (WOLF)
30) OMAR & THE HOWLERS(JAN ’13 # 3) – TOO MUCH IS NOT ENOUGH (BIG GUITAR MUSIC)