The Blowin' Smoke Rhythm & Blues Band

Beyond the Blues Horizon

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Emphasizing electric blues but quick to detour into rock, Southern soul and funk, the 11-member Blowin' Smoke Rhythm & Blues Band is the type of outfit you'd expect to find in Chicago in the 1990s but actually came out of Los Angeles. It was in L.A. that the band, led by singer/bassist and St. Louis native Larry "Fuzzy" Knight, recorded this live club date. The music is derivative but spirited and thoroughly enjoyable, and Knight's band brings plenty of enthusiasm to material ranging from Willie Dixon's "Built for Comfort," Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You," and Tommy Tate's "Get Your Money Where You Spend Your Time" to the Temptations' "Shakey Ground," and the 1960s frat rock favorite "Bony Moronie." The lead vocals are handled by Knight and the gritty Count Yates as well as three big-voiced female singers called the Fabulous Smokettes: Christina Vierra, Terri Brinegar, and Carolyn Basley. Vierra and Brinegar both bring a strong Janis Joplin influence to their performances, while New Orleans native Basley has more of a Crescent City soul/blues orientation. Beyond the Blues Horizon is a CD that blues, rock, and R&B enthusiasts should take note of.

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