Blues Underground Network

The Chicago Kingsnakes "Blue Mosaic" (USA)


 Celebrating 28 years together, The Chicago Kingsnakes released their 10th album, "Blue Mosaic" via their own label, MusicKing Records. Consisting of members James "Ang" Anderson (Guitar/Lead Vocals), Nelson Keaton (Harmonica/Vocals), Gus Gotsis (Drums/Vocals), and Mike Bailey (Bass/Vocals), this exceptionally well known. and well seasoned band. brings us their great tasty take on Chicago Blues.

Considered one of the finest Blues bands around, The Chicago Kingsnakes have honed their skilled to perfection, thanks in large part to touring and playing with some of the truly great Blues men, which included, Byther Smith, Junior Wells, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Cash McCall, to name just a few. James "Ang" Anderson has played with Buddy Guy, Albert King, Son Seals, James Cotton, and Koko Taylor, and may more. With that amount of exposure to the greats, it is no wonder why The Chicago Kingsnakes are such a well respected and well oiled Blues Machine.

The band chose the name Blue Mosaic, for their album, because of the diverse amount of influences they all had concerning not only Chicago style Blues, but also other Blues including R&B. This diverse blend of different experiences made for one mighty fine album.

"Blue Mosaic" consists of 12 Tracks, all originals written by James "Ang" Anderson and consists of not only fine Chicago Blues, but also a little R&B, as one finds on Track 4 "Tell The Truth" and a nice tinge of Jazz on Track 3 "Blues Gone Uptown". "Blue Mosaic" also comes with a mighty fine instrumental, Track 7 "Hip The Gip". This is the one that James "Ang" Anderson gets to shine in, all through the Track and it really shows off Anderson's Guitar to the tee's.

One of my favorites on "Blue Mosaic" was Track 8 "Lefty", a faster paced song with great Harp work throughout, via Nelson Keaton, whom also shines throughout this album.

Another artist that shines throughout was Ron Berry, who the band brought in to play Bass on 7 of the Tracks of which he really stood out with some big Bass playing on another one of my favorites, Track 8 "Stop Drop And Roll". The harmonizing on that one was no less than heaven to listen to.

The last 2 Tracks on "Blue Mosaic" were quite unique in nature, because they were the same song, done first as Acoustic, and then done as Electric. The song, "Mary Jane", was a really fine way to end this album, and showed off every bit of talent they had, and more. The Acoustic version was basically James "Ang" Anderson singing and playing Guitar, Fingerpicking Style, interlaced with Nelson Keaton's Harp playing, where the Electric version kicked everything into high gear, as the rest of the band joined in for this power packed finale.

For me, "Blue Mosaic" was a mighty mighty fine introduction to a mighty mighty fine Chicago Style Blues Band, and a introduction that certainly has my appetite wanting more.

Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)


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