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Music A-Z

album: The Whole Nine Yards

The Whole Nine Yards $1,000.00

Get the Whole Nine Yards from Music Maker - That's more than 100 CDs! For $1000 you can take home every Music Maker CD and the Music Maker Book, Portraits and Songs from the Roots of America. With your help you can enjoy the music and support the artists. Plus you'll make a donation to Music Maker that will directly aid a musician in need.
album: One Man Band

Adolphus Bell: One Man Band $12.00

“I got the advantage over a lot of artist. I got my whole band by myself.” Feet flying, eyes flashing, hands on the guitar and song coming from the heart, that’s the Adolphus Bell One-Man Band.
album: Blue and Lonesome

Alabama Slim: Blue and Lonesome $12.00

Alabama Slim was born in Vance, Alabama, but moved to New Orleans as a young man and has made the city of jazz his home ever since. He does not perform on Bourbon Street or, as of yet, any of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festivals; however, he continues to hold court performing his deep blues in tiny clubs in the Lower Ninth Ward, Bywater and Treme districts of the Crescent City. His expressive voice is lonesome with the flavor of John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins, yet distinctly his own. After releasing Alabama Slim's first album, "The Mighty Flood," we recorded "Blue & Lonesome," our selection for the June 2010 Record Club. As producer Ardie Dean reflects about this album, "It took 5 long years, but the fellas finally came back to record again and this time they brought a few friends. The renewed spirit of New Orleans can be heard here from the city's premier bluesmen. Instead of Slim singing about 'helicopters flying overhead and babies crying,' he's now singing songs like, 'I Love My Guitar' and 'Old Folks Boogie.' Possessing the most mesmerizing voice in all of blues, Alabama Slim could single handely put a trance on any soul within earshot; but when you add the raw genius of Little Freddie King, mortals don't stand a chance! This IS deep blues, the kind that will take you there, right there. 'Blue & Lonesome' is your ticket!"
album: The Mighty Flood

Alabama Slim and Little Freddie King: The Mighty Flood $12.00

When Hurricane Katrina struck, Milton “Alabama Slim” Frazier and his cousin Little Freddie King made it out of New Orleans with their lives but not much else. The story of their encounter with the storm is related in the two versions of the Mighty Flood that bookend this disc’s dozen selections and give it its name. Slim, who takes the vocals on all but two tracks, comes by his nickname honestly- he was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama and stands almost seven feet tall. As harrowing as his account of Katrina is, it gains power from its understated delivery (like John Lee Hooker’s Tupelo, on which it was modeled). Slim also employs the device of updating an old blues theme by transforming "Tin Pan Alley" into "Crack Alley." The other tracks include a version of Mr. Charlie by the way of Lightnin’ Hopkins, a Going Upstairs that¹s loosely based on Howlin’ Wolf’s "No Place to Go", and "I Got The Blues", which bears a faint resemblance to Buddy Guy’s "Dam Right I’ve Got The Blues." These, and all of Slim’s other performances, owe their primary stylistic debt to Hooker and Hopkins, with King supplying most of the guitar work and Slim adding simple rhythm patterns on some cuts. The occasional assist from varying combinations of harmonica, bass, and drums is unnecessary but unobtrusive, though it helps add drive to King’s gospel piece "Lord, I’m Good For Something." His other lead, on "I Don’t Know What To Do", is a moody number cut from much the same cloth as his cousin’s efforts. This is one of those rare albums where the listener enjoys the sensation of sitting in on a private gathering of friends playing and singing with and for one another. -Jim Dekoster, Living Blues
album: Soul of the Blues

Albert White: Soul of the Blues $12.00

Albert began playing guitar at an early age. His uncle, the legendary Piano Red, noticed that Albert was actually playing self-made chords on a ukulele at the age of nine. Red sent Albert to take lessons from his guitarist, Wesley Jackson. Albert and his friend Marion Smith were soon camped out in front of juke joints, playing and singing for tips. In early 1962, Albert became the bandleader for Piano Red’s “Dr. Feelgood and the Interns.” Red had scored a hit with his song “Dr. Feelgood” and dressed his band in intern jackets and nurses uniforms. One of the “nurses” was Beverly “Guitar” Watkins who became a lifelong friend to Albert. When Red disbanded, Albert joined the “Tams” from the late 60’s to the early 70’s, and by the mid 70’s, joined Hank Ballard and the midnighters. In recent decades, Albert’s own sound emerged, gigging with musicians in Atlanta, Georgia. Albert is currently touring the globe with the Music Maker Revue with his blues that makes everybody “Feel good." -Ardie Dean
album: Honey Babe

Algia Mae Hinton: Honey Babe $12.00

"Algia Mae is a great example of what is called in and throughout the African diaspora, 'Original Joe.' This is an innovative character who survives and creates anew under all circumstances. Algia Mae Hinton is someone not to be missed!" -Taj Mahal Although North Carolina native Algia Mae Hinton began playing guitar in the late '30s at the age of ten, Honey Babe, her first full- length album (an EP appeared in the mid-'80s on Audio Arts) wasn't released until 1999 when Hinton was 68. A casual collection of Piedmont blues, folk pieces, and gospel tunes, "Honey Babe" is full of warmth and joy, and even features a little of Hinton's trademark buck dancing. She sounds like a cross between Etta Baker and Elizabeth Cotten, also both from North Carolina, although she isn't quite as precise a guitarist as the former (Hinton's title tune, "Honey Babe," is a variation on Baker's signature "Railroad Bill" progression) or as timeless a writer as the latter (whose "Freight Train" and "Shake Sugaree" compositions have become folk-blues standards). She shares Cotten's fragile, delicate singing style as well, although Hinton's wry humor is all her own, and her sheer delight in music and motion is everywhere evident on this album. Among the highlights are "Honey Babe," "Snap Your Fingers," and an impressive turn at the banjo for "Out of Jail." -Itunes Album Reviews
album: 270 Haystack Rd.

Benton Flippen: 270 Haystack Rd. $12.00

Music Maker is proud to announce the release of 270 Haystack Rd., the second album from 90 year-old fiddler Benton Flippen. Included in this CD are rare songs that highlight Benton's ability to play the fiddle, as he performs with the Smokey Valley Boys, a young group under his tutelage. "On this recording you'll find three generations of music making represented in the band. All of us are good friends who got together informally one afternoon in Benton's living room simply just to play some good old music. The one common trait you'll find is that we've all been schooled by the generations before us. That unique preservation and the passing on of the torch put a smile on my face and a pride in my soul. Whether you're a beginning fiddler or a veteran banjo picker or maybe just a lover of old-time music, I hope you'll share a little bit of that pride with us when you listen to this album." -Andy Edmonds, the Smokey Valley Boys
album: Fiddler's Dream

Benton Flippen: Fiddler's Dream $12.00

Benton Flippen (b.1920) stems from an extremely influential generation of old-time musicians, who forged their own strongly-unique styles in the 30s and 40s. This group of men from Surry County, NC (Fred Cockeram, Tommy Jarrel, Earnest East and Kyle Creed) has inspired generations of old-time music enthusiasts. The Fiddlers Conventions where these men performed in total obscurity during their youth, continue to occur today and Benton continues to perform. He has performed for square dances during these conventions and, in 2006, at the internationally celebrated Mt. Airy Fiddler's Convention, he stood as the sole survivor of this fraternity. In Fiddler's Dream, Benton leads his band, the Smokey Valley Boys (which he formed in the 60s, disbanded in '85, and reformed at the turn of the century), strong with the help of his young apprentice Andy Edmonds.
album: Back In Business

Beverly "Guitar" Watkins: Back In Business $12.00

Here is Beverly "Guitar" Watkins, previously heard from as one of Dr. Feelgood's interns, decreeing herself "Back In Business." This is a highly charged record by this powerful performer. -CD Baby Reviews I met Beverly when she was playing on the streets of the Underground in Atlanta. She put on a tremendous show and was obviously a star. We started booking package shows and Beverly consistently tore down the house. She came up under Piano Red and cut records with him back in the 50s and 60s. She plays low-down, hard stompin', railroad-smokin' blues. She'll tell you, "people are impressed to see a black woman play like a man." -Tim Duffy, MMRF President
album: Don't Mess w/ Miss Watkins

Beverly "Guitar" Watkins: Don't Mess w/ Miss Watkins $20.00

album: The Feelings of Beverly Watkins

Beverly "Guitar" Watkins: The Feelings of Beverly Watkins $12.00

Lemme tell you, she's still in business alright and if you listen to her new album, she'll make the blues your business. "The Feelings of Beverly 'Guitar' Watkins" is a ticker-tape parade showcasing this lady's talents far and wide through dirty guitar playing that Cool John Ferguson better watch for, singing and shouting that would make a preacher sweat, and songwriting whose poetic sophistication cannot be overstated. This lady'll put the triple whammy on you. Her haunting poeticism and guitar playing is nowhere more apparent than in the sobering response to what's been happening in the Middle East, "Baghdad Blues," yes, the same popular song featured on Sisters of the South. The inclusion of a synthesizer and saxophone on many of the other tracks certainly gives this album more layers than your typical blues jam. They give it a funkier feel, pleading with you to "Get Out on the Floor." Then there are the classy and sassy soulful slow jams like, "As I Was Walking" and "Just Make Believe." "Melody Midnight Cruise" is reminiscent of the post-Clyde McPhatter Drifters. "Right Don't Wrong Nobody," "Late Bus Blues," and "D Harp Blues" all reinforce the loving blues notion flowing freely from Ms. Watkins. "Sugar Baby Swing" gives a wink to that swinging cousin of the blues. However, I must admit, my favorite song on the album is the final track, "Jesus Walked the Water." This infectious bluesy gospel shuffle shines a little light into even the darkest corner and can be described as nothing less than a musical smile. It is one conveyed in a carefree faith that leads the leaping listener through this eclectic album, ending it on the perfect high note. -Mark Coltrain
album: The Spiritual Expressions

Beverly "Guitar" Watkins: The Spiritual Expressions $12.00

The Spiritual Expressions of Beverly "Guitar" Watkins stems from her dedication and commitment to her faith. Her live shows have always featured gospel music but this is Beverly’s first gospel album. When she is not traveling, Beverly can be found at her church every Sunday, singing and playing the guitar. The Spiritual Expressions… mixes Beverly’s trademark guitar playing with traditional gospel songs to create an album that is reflective at times and feet stompin' at others.
album: Beaufort Blues

Big Boy Henry: Beaufort Blues $12.00

"At 81, Big Boy is the patriarch of the Carolina Blues. He is a saintly man, with tremendous compassion and patience for humanity. Big Boy weaves timeless parables into this beautiful collection of songs. In 'Old Bill' he points out the helplessness we all feel witnessing senseless sacrifice. In 'John Henry' he rewrites an age old classic revealing this legend's intimate character. And in "Vellevina" he lets us know what true love is all about. Big Boy passes the torch in this album to his son Luther who makes his debut singing an original song, giving us a glimpse of how Big Boy might have sounded in his prime. This CD celebrates Big Boy Henry's artistry and his contribution to the Carolina Blues lexicon." -Triangle Slim & Tim Duffy, MMRF Founder
album: The Great Unknown

Big Ron Hunter: The Great Unknown $12.00

In this album, Hunter's light-toned mewl seems to straddle the line between his natural upper range and an effortless falsetto (think of a pop-style Skip James minus the existential terror), and his lyrics manage to be both deeply personal and universally themed. On the McCartney-esque "Play Your Cards Right" he intersperses feel-good bromides (“spread love all in my heart/ ‘til it’s time to part”) with vivid reminiscences of a downhome childhood. "Not Gonna Stress Myself" and "Through My Eyes" (the latter featuring pianist Dave Keys laying down patters that would sound appropriate on an early-era Billy Joel outing) find him offering unpretentious, almost ingenuous-sounding life lessons, sounding more like a youthful new-folk troubadour than a 55-plus-year-old self-styled bluesman. -David Whiteis, Living Blues The Great Unknown proves Hunter's mastery of the blues and folk niches. He is a fierce guitar player and a soulful bluesman. Please check out Hunter's first Music Maker Release.
album: Gospel Train

Bishop Dready Manning: Gospel Train $12.00

Bishop Dready Manning has brought his full-voiced singing, his fluent guitar picking, and his exuberant harmonica playing to African American church audiences in Halifax and Northampton counties for 39 years. Over that period, he founded his own church; performed for countless prayer meetings and revivals; released a series of locally-produced 45-rpm discs, LP albums, and commercial cassettes; and built a large audience for his long-running Sunday morning radio show over Weldon's WSMY-AM. -NC Arts Council Gospel Train is a collection of eighteen of the songs he's been playing in the church houses and meeting places of the Carolinas. The band that plays with him when they tour is his wife Marie and their five children, but for the album it's just his wife helping out on vocals, his son Zacchaeus on piano, and what looks to be his grandson, Marquis, on drums. Judging by the quality and power of the music on Gospel Trains Bishop Dready Manning won't have any problem keeping his audience's attention. Getting them to stop cheering at the end of the sermon will be another problem all together.-Richard Marcus, Blogcritics
album: Pickin' Low Cotton

Boo Hanks: Pickin' Low Cotton $12.00

Boo, a descendant of Abraham Lincoln on his mother's side, is the greatest Piedmont Blues rediscovery in many years. He sings and plays guitar very much in the manner of the legendary Blind Boy Fuller. Boo has just begun to pursue a career with his music, which, up until now, he has performed only for his family and friends. At the age of 79, this is Boo's first recording.
album: Buffalo Junction

Boo Hanks & Dom Flemons: Buffalo Junction $12.00

Hanks, one of the most important ‘discoveries’ in recent blues history, grew up sharecropping in Vance County, N.C., where he learned to play guitar from his father and from listening to Blind Boy Fuller on a wind-up gramophone. After partnering with Music Maker he went from being heard only in his community to playing for thousands at shows and festivals across the South, at the Lincoln Center and in Belgium, and opening for the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Flemons, who won a Grammy in 2011 with the Drops, was at the Music Maker office the day Hanks first arrived, and their friendship and collaborations grew from that first jam session over the next six years. Hanks’ and Flemons’ new album Buffalo Junction, named for Hanks’ hometown in Virginia, features upbeat, country blues that crosses generational lines. The album highlights Hanks on the guitar and vocals, while Flemons plays a variety of traditional instruments such as the jug, harmonica, bones and also sings backup vocals. The Illinois Entertainer calls Buffalo Junction, "Fascinating, important, a singular musical experience, and required listening for blues, folk, and musical history fans alike featuring dazzling picking." Hanks is a partner artist of Music Maker, while Flemons is a Next Generation Artist. Through Next Generation partnerships, MMRF fosters the continuation of Southern traditional music among younger generations of musicians. Buffalo Junction is a collaborative album that does just that.
album: One of These Days

Captain Luke: One of These Days $12.00

A veteran of the local "drink house" circuit in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Luther "Captain Luke" Mayer sings in a gravelly bass/baritone. Surprisingly, his vocal phrasing-as well as his tendency to segue into spoken passages and then back again into a melody line-sometimes invokes Lightnin' Hopkins, an association accentuated by the inclusion of Short Haired Woman, a longtime Hopkins mainstay, on this set. Mayer also strips B.B.'s Angel of Mercy theme down to its bare-boned essence with a riveting solo acoustic performance, again invoking Lightnin' with his phrasing. But he's far from "just" a bluesman; in fact, he sounds at least as influenced by country music as by blues. This versatility no doubt held him in good stead during his heyday, when he was required to provide entertainment for listeners with diverse tastes. (You Keep Me) Hangin' On is not the old Supremes/Vanilla Fudge pop standard but a countrified version of a ballad that's previously been recorded by Ann Peebles and Joe Simon, among others. Come Back To Me likewise sounds as if it was hatched in a honky-tonk rather than a juke. On these offerings, Mayer's sidemen provide him with low-key but richly textured country-folk backing. Old Black Buck, credited to Mayer himself, harks back to early folk styles, both African American and white-it wouldn't sound out-of-place in a Carolina Chocolate Drops set. His take on Taj Mahal's Farther on Down the Road (unrelated to the Bobby "Blue" Bland standard), in contrast, is buttressed by a gently burbling funk patter, and it's rich with emotional immediacy and understated but elegant sophistication. -David Whiteis, Living Blues
album: Outsider Lounge Music

Captain Luke & Cool John Ferguson: Outsider Lounge Music $12.00

Captain Luke's soothing natural born baritone and Cool John's lightly understated flowing guitar picking blend giving birth to a sweet sound that would "kick the hell out a shotgun",creating a sparkling amalgam of jazzy soulful blues, soulful bluesy jazz, and jazzy bluesy soul, or "outsider lounge music", as the Captain and Cool John call it. Perfect description. The Captain's version of "Rainy Night in Georgia" makes Brook Benton sound like an amateur. "Hotel Happiness" is the instant cure for any sort of frown-faced blues while "Poke Salad Annie" would make your head bob and your toes tap with its droll imagery. On Outsider Lounge Music, Cool John's sound is Wes Montgomery with Piedmont blues and Captain Luke's voice makes me think of Lou Rawls taking a walking tour of the Piedmont. The result is a cohesive album full of wit, pathos, and Southern-fried "ool ya koo" style. Serves as nice music to compliment a country blues cocktail party. -Mark Coltrain
album: Turn off the Fear

Carl Rutherford: Turn off the Fear $12.00

Here is grandfatherly Carl Rutherford's devastating take on "The Old Rugged Cross" and other jewels that showcase his unique blend of Buck Owens-style twang, old time goospel number and harrowing mining songs, making him a true American original. -CD Baby Reviews