Blues Underground Network

Back To Homepage

Papa J & Friends "The Big Show"
Papa J & Friends "The Big Show", is my second introduction to Papa J, the first being their previous release, under the name, Blues Gone South "Gotta Keep Movin'", which was a reissue with several new songs. Joining Papa J on "The Big Show", is Blues Gone South, The  Flames (Glen Anderson, Michelle Cole, Kevin Karamitros, Dennis Cottone, Terry Lawrence), and special guest Lance Dieckmann of D.A. and the Hitmen. One thing that puzzled me, was why Blues Gone South was even mentioned on this album, as except for Papa J, there are no other members from the original Blues Gone South on this album, it is really just Papa J, The Flames, and Lance Dieckmann. Even Papa J's website does not mention Blues Gone South, yet is reachable from As a reviewer, I do like it when things are crystal clear and make sense.
"The Big Show" consists of 10 great tracks, of which it appears that at least 3 are Covers, "Checkin' Up On My Baby" (Sonny Boy Williamson II), "Dimples" (John Lee Hooker), and "Laundromat Blues" (Albert King). I am assuming that the rest of the Tracks are originals, either old or new, but since there was no info on their CD packaging or the Promo Info I got, I am just not sure.
As far as the music is concerned on "The Big Show", it is absolutely first rate. The Tracks consists of what I consider to be mainly Chicago Style Blues, with great performances by all involved including Papa J on Vocals as well as Michelle Cole, whom belts it out on 4 of the Tracks.
Some of my favorite Tracks on "The Big Show" were "Laundromat Blues" which featured the searing Guitar work of Glen "HoundDog"Anderson and the superb Harp playing of Lance Dieckmann. Other favorites included, the cover of Sonny Boy Williamson II's "Checkin' Up On My Baby", and "Evil", which featured the powerful Vocals of Michelle Cole and the great Keys from Terry  Lawrence. "Checkin' Up On My Baby", lead me to believe that this was a Live album, as it sounded like a bar atmosphere, with people talking in the background for the first few moments of the Track.
For lovers of great Harp, Guitar, Keyboard, and Vocally Driven Blues, "The Big Show" is certainly a Big Winner and one I have no problem Highly Recommending to Blues Enthusiasts.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Additional Info Here...