Endless Blues Records
On Mick Kolassa’s last two albums he collaborated with fellow musicians and recorded covers of both Beatles tunes (with Mark Telesca); and blues classics (as duets with various contemporaries). On this, his sixth studio album, Kolassa and The Taylor Made Blues Band resume their past formula of combining nine originals and three older chestnuts, last used on 2016’s “Taylor Made Blues”. Once again Kolassa gives us a “labor of love” as 100% of the net proceeds go to The Blues Foundation’s two main programs. “The Blues Foundation has established the HART Fund (Handy Artists Relief Trust) for Blues musicians and their families in financial need due to a broad range of health concerns. The Fund provides for acute, chronic and preventive medical and dental care as well as funeral and burial expenses.” Also “The Blues foundation expanded its longstanding Blues In The Schools youth education efforts with a new initiative that began in 2010 entitled Generation Blues. This scholarship program allows qualified applicants under the age of 21 to study their instrument of choice at reputable camps, seminars, and workshop programs.”
The current band lineup includes Kolassa, vocals; David Dunavent, guitar; Chris Stephenson, keyboards; Leo Goff, bass; Lee Andrew Williams, drums; and backing vocalists Susan Marshall and Daunielle Hill. Musical guests include guitarists Jeff Jensen and Toranzo Cannon; horn players Marc Franklin, Kirk Smothers and Sauvo Jones; harp aces, Eric Hughes and J.D. Taylor; keyboardist Marty Sammon; violinist Alice Hansen; and Mike Wilson, puccolo, a form of whistling.
Kolassa, a great songwriter, has always had a sharp sense of humor and calls his original music “free range blues”. He like many of us enriches life through the music. He opens with “I Can’t Slow Down” and the lyric “I gotta keep movin’, that’s the way I feel…I can’t slow down, I’m afraid I’ll stop”.
“US 12 to Highway 49” opens with Hughes harmonica. Kolassa is at his best when his singing is more a narrative as he is a great storyteller. “I moved from US 12 to Highway 49”.
“Alternative Man” and “Alternative Man Alternative” are another narrative “I’m not looking for forever only for a good time…I’m gonna love you for awhile and then let you go”. On “American Intervention” Dunevant’s dramatic playing punctuates the lyric “this is an intervention I can’t watch you killin’ you”.
“Pullin Me Down” is fabulous as it features Stephenson on organ and the horn section of Franklin and Smothers. “Cotton Road” is a highly produced number featuring the background vocalists and Dunavent’s guitar.
“Whiskey in the Mornin” features J.D. Taylor on harmonica showing why his playing is deserving of a BMA nomination, as Kolassa sings “I love my whiskey”. Although not credited in the liner notes Jones can be heard in the background on trombone. On “35 Miles To Empty”, “I got 45 miles to go”, Hughes is featured with a harp solo of his own.
This time the chestnuts are “I Don’t Need No Doctor”, written by Ashford and Simpson, featuring the horn section with a fabulous trumpet solo from Franklin. “Miss Boss” from Larry Garner “my lady, she’s a boss, call the woman what you want to, I call mine Miss Boss”, with background laughter provided by Marshall and Hill; and “The Viper”, the classic with the lyric, “I had a dream about a reefer that was five foot long”, this time with horn players Franklin and Jones, as Hansen is added on violin.
Kolassa is the hooker who gives his music away for free. I gotta’ listen more to this fabulous album. Thank you, Mick.
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