Texas Queens 5
Dialtone Records/Vizztone Label Group
Bloodest Saxophone; is a horn driven R n’ B band, from Tokyo Japan. They were formed in 1998 by Koda Shintaro, who formed the band “to rule the world with the saxophone”. They have played with the great sax icon Big Jay McNeely and also with vocalist Jewel Brown. They have eleven previous recordings.
The six piece band is a Japanese version of Roomful of Blues. The band includes Koda “Young Corn” Shintaro, tenor sax; Coh “Colonel Sanders”, trombone; Osikawa Yukimasa, baritone sax; Shuji “Apple Juice”, guitar; The Takeo “Little Tokyo”, upright bass; and Kiminon “Dog Boy”, drums and congas. Don’t you love those nick names. Nick Connolly, who has played with Gary Primich, Long John Hunter, W.C. Clark, R.J. Mischo and Omar Dykes among others, is added on piano and organ. The album was conceived and produced by Dialtone Record’s Eddie Stout and recorded at the Wire Recording Studio in Austin, Texas. The idea was to record the retro band with some big Texas voices; so they named the album “Texas Queens 5”.
The album opens with “I’ve Got A Feeling” written by Sidney J. Wyche and first recorded by Big Maybelle in 1968. It is sung by Diunna Greenleaf, a three time Blues Music Award winner who won The Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Artist of The Year), in 2014 and again in 2017.
Austin’s powerhouse vocalist Jai Malano takes a turn on three chestnuts. “Walking The Dog” written and recorded by Rufus Thomas in 1963; Charles Sheffield’s “It’s Your Voodoo Working” recorded in 1961; and Amos Milburn’s “I Done, Done, It” from 1954.
Crystal Thomas sings on both Dr. John’s “A Losing Battle” recorded by Johnny Adams in 1962; and on gospel singer Roscoe Robinson’s “Don’t Move Me”.
Both Lauren Cervantes and Angela Miller sing with the Austin based Soul Supporters and can be heard on the band’s 2017 self-titled debut. Cervantes sings on Louis Jordan’s “Run Joe” from 1948; and again on Lucky Millinder’s “The Grape Vine” written by band member and trumpeter Henry Glover. Miller sings on Mable John’s “Don’t Hit Me No More”; interestingly she was Little Willie John’s big sister. Cervantes and Miller also contribute the background vocals heard throughout the recording.
Two instrumentals are included. “Pork Chop Chick” was composed by Shintaro and features special guests Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff on saxophone, and Johnny Moeller on guitar. “Cockroach Run” from Lafayette Thomas once again includes guitarist Moeller.
All five Texas divas share the vocal on Willie Dixon’s “I Just Want to Make Love to You” first recorded by Etta James in 1961. This ambitious outing would be just ordinary if “Bloodest Saxophone” weren’t a great band. However this turned out to be absolutely fabulous. If you like old school R n’ B you just have to own this album.