Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne
Go, Just Do It!
Stony Plain Records
Spokane, Washington’s Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne was born in 1944. His mother instilled in him a love for the music of Nat King Cole, Little Willie John and Fats Domino. He was further influenced by the music he listened to while growing up including Ray Charles, Charles Brown, Johnny Otis, Big Joe Turner and Jimmy Reed. During the 60’s and 70’s the keyboardist was a sideman, and Wayne took his nickname from the title of an Amos Milburn album. He relocated to Canada in the mid 80’s. Wayne released his debut recording “Alive & Loose” in 1995. He recorded three albums for the Electro-Fi label including 2005’s “Let It Loose” for which he won a Juno Award; Canada’s equivalent to our Grammys. Wayne signed with Stony Plain Records in 2011 and released “An Old Rock On A Roll” produced by Duke Robillard and featuring members of Robillard’s band; as a direct result he received a 2012 Blues Music Award nomination as Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year. His last album was 2018’s “Inspired By The Blues” also on Stony Plain.
“Go, Just Do It!” is Wayne’s fifth album for Stony Plain and eleventh overall. The core band remains unchanged and features Wayne, keyboards and vocals; Yuji Ihara, lead and rhythm guitar; B.B. King’s long-time bassist Russell Jackson; and Joey “The Pocket” DiMarco, drums. The horn section which appears throughout the recording includes Jerry Cook, saxophones; and Vince Mai, trumpet. Additional musicians include Sherman “Tank” Doucette, harmonica; and Barry Sharbo, tambourine. The album was recorded by Peter Kilgour at his Beat Productions in Chilliwack, BC.
The thirteen tracks include ten Wayne originals and three selected covers. Wayne plays a funky organ as he opens with the title track, a vocal duet with the award winning Dawn “Tyler” Watson”, while the horns round out the production. Watson is also featured in a second duet “Sorry Ain’t Good Enough” with another great horn arrangement. “You Did A Number On Me” features background vocalist Julie Masi. Other favorites include “That’s The Way She Is” featuring an extended guitar solo from Ihara, and “Motor Mouth Woman” with the lyric “she can’t stop talking, whoa she’s driving me crazy”. Vocalist Wayne has never sounded better, and his piano and organ solos will make you want to get up and dance. “Bumpin’ Down The Highway” is a fabulous instrumental and a band showcase with especially nice solos from Cook, Mai and Wayne. The closer, a second instrumental “Let The Rock Roll”, is a more swing styled.
The Grammy Award winning Jazz vocalist Diane Schuur is perfection on Percy Mayfield’s “You’re In For a Big Surprise” as it’s another duet; while saxophonist Cook takes an equally perfect sax solo. On another Mayfield tune “I Don’t Want To Be The President”, first recorded in 1974, Wayne’s son Cory Spruell adds some rap; Wayne states “to turn the ears of the younger generation to the importance of the upcoming 2020 election”. Doucette plays harp on J.J. Cale’s “They Call Me The Breeze”.
The seventy-five-year-old Wayne is maturing like a fine wine as he just gets better and better. If your hankering for a good vintage better get this retro recording.