- R E V I E W S -

 

Package Deal - 2005
Achilltown Records

Little Milton, Bobby "Blue" Bland and Artie "Blues Boy" White have been the big three when it comes to genuine soul/blues music for quite some time - that is, the few that still use live musicians. Little Milton has left us and BBB records sparingly so Artie's carrying the torch now. This is his fourth album in as many years and it's a faithful mix of Southern Soul and soulful blues. The 10-song set leads off with a shuffle-bumping dancer called "Chinese Shuffle", the most overtly commercial track Artie's done in quite some time. Written by co-producer Walter Wells, it has serious hit potential - especially in Southern juke joints. Wells wrote 4 more tracks, including the swingin' "Can't Watch A Pussycat" and "Package Deal", a tasty slice of Southern Soul on the upbeat. It features synth horns - a rarity for an Artie album but seemingly essential for radio play in the chitlin circuit. The best cut is Travis Haddix's (erroneously printed as "Travel Hattie") "Bag Lady", a hard blues shuffle with some tart guitar licks by Chico Banks, a shining star on most "Blues Boy" albums. Blues is Artie's habitat but he can sing deep soul too on the tragic "Breakfast On The Table", a Don Bryant song previously done by Otis Clay (correct title is "I Can't Take It"). More meaty blues is found on "How Long Has This Been Going On" and "When You Leave Don't Take Nothing", both by Sam Mosley and lifted from the 1999 Waldoxy disc "Can We Get Together". There's also a staunch take on Albert King's muscular "Truckload Of Loving". It must be noted the sound and production is cleaner and fuller on "Package Deal" than his last two discs and that's a bonus. Visit artiewhite.com to grab a copy.
BluesCritic.com

 

First Thing Tuesday Morning - 2004
Achilltown Records

Resplendent in his powder blue outfit on the booklet of this release, Artie "Blues Boy" White is a bluesman through and through. I have followed his career from the early days on Ronn Records, through a good number of high quality CDs on Ichiban Records, a few on Waldoxy (Malaco), and now this his third self-produced release, First Thing Tuesday Morning (Chill Town Records).

There are several cover tunes, three songs penned by excellent songwriter and performer Travis Haddix, and several new ones from his band members. The CD opens with a fine version of Bobby Bland's "Love To See You Smile," which is the equal of the original. "First Thing Tuesday Morning," the first of the three by Haddix, is a slow burner that immediately establishes itself as the class track of this release. Z.Z. Hill's "She Hit Me From The Blind Side" is a worthy song that deserved to be resurrected. "Trying To Hoodoo Me," the second by Haddix, is another slow very deep soulful blues that allows lead guitarist Chico Banks a chance to cook. It is the kind of tune you expect to hear in a smoky Chicago club. An interesting choice is Albert King's "Crosscut Saw," which doesn't really hold up to King's version, but does allow Banks another chance to shine on guitar and White to take a different approach on vocals. My favorite track is "I Promise,"
newly written by band member Stan Banks, but could have come out of one of O.V. Wright's recording sessions.

Great stuff on an album that features White's soulful vocals, real musicians and production that is a considerable improvement over his last outing. His best outing in many years.
Blues Bytes



Blues In The Past - 2003
Achilltown Records

"True To His Name"

Yes, he is Artie "BLUESBOY" White and he can ALWAYS be counted on for real blues & soul played on actual instruments by actual humans (a great relief from the machine programmed production that most artists rely on). This is now his second independently released CD on his own Achilltown label (the other being the fabulous CAN'T GET ENOUGH.  While that gem was heavy on "soul blues" with plenty of horns, 2003's BLUES IN THE PAST is all blues - mostly Chicago-style. Only the fantastic lead cut "Breaking Up Somebody's Home" would classify as "soul blues" and it is the only cut with horns. Of the many remakes of this classic Ann Peebles song, perhaps only Albert King has done a better version! Artie's phrasing and vocal inflections add something to what could have been a hoary cover.

Other highlights include two classics by Fenton Robinson ("Somebody Loan Me A Dime", "Make My Get Away") that Artie tears into brilliantly as does the band (someone named "Max" plays a mean guitar on all the tracks).

Perhaps the ace on the hole is one of two cuts from one of the best and most underappreciated blues writers (and performers) in the business, Travis Haddix. Artie does a great version of his cheeky "Jawbreaker".  BLUES IN THE PAST does contain a couple cuts that come across rather routine ("I Don't Know", "I'm A Man (Mannish Boy)".  It would have been nice if Artie made them more his own as he did with other tunes.  Nevertheless I highly recommend this release.
Dylann DeAnna, Carlsbad, CA
for Amazon.com


Can't Get Enough - 2002
Achilltown Records

I have awaited the release of Can't Get Enough (A Chilltown Recording) ever since I knew Artie "Blues Boy" White was leaving Waldoxy and starting his own label. It was worth the wait. The quality of this new venture immediately places it at the top of my best releases for 2002.

From the start you appreciate the real musicians and great sound engineered by Paul Serrano. It has none of the programmed sound that was so prevalent at Malaco/Waldoxy. The horn arrangements are by the veteran arranger Willie Henderson and really lift this release to a level that had not been achieved on White's last few releases.

The set opens with a Mosley and Johnson tune, "Can't Get Enough," and the great horns jump right out at you. The bluesy "Not The Same Person" is dedicated to Johnnie Taylor, with fine guitar by Greg Miller. "Love You Don't Know About" is another horn-driven tune and a White original. "My Best Friend" tells the tale of Artie's best friend having taken his wife and his woman, and now he's after Artie's girlfriend and Artie just won't have that.

There are several great cover tunes here as White covers the double-entendre O.V. Wright song "Monkey Dog," a hilarious romp that will get you up dancing. It is followed by a fine version of Denise LaSalle's "Trapped By a Thing Called Love," just called "Trap" here. A fine version of the Joe Simon chestnut, "My Adorable One," is sandwiched between another fine Mosley and Johnson song "I've Been Down So Long," with a fine lead guitar by Chico Banks, and ends with another original, "I'll Make It Better." The great horns and female backup singers leave you wishing there were more than 10 cuts.

In summation, this is a great release and one that I hope will show that the dedication to fine songwriting, production and real musicians can achieve a level of quality most new releases cannot hope to. Visit Artie's site at www.artiewhite.com and buy a copy of this release. A project of this quality should be rewarded with critical acclaim and high sales.
--- Alan Shutro, Blues Bytes

 

 


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