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Mz Dee - Letters From The Bootland

12 Tracks; 59:44

Actually, the full attribution for the artists involved in this one is Mz Dee with the Maurtzio Pugno Organ Trio but even that is sort of inaccurate, because the music comes with some fantastic arrangements, featuring a crack horn section (The Cape Horns) and a girl vocal group (The Sublimes). The Maurtzio Pugno Organ Trio consists of Mr Pugno on guitar and his colleagues, Alberto Marsico keyboards and bass, and Gio Rossi on drums and percussion. The astute among you will have noticed already the frequency of names ending in vowels and will have realised that this is blues from Italy…more evidence of blues as a world-wide phenomenon.

Now anyone who has read my reviews over the years will know I am a sucker for a good horn section and for that reason alone this CD is a delight, but it’s not just the horns, the arrangements are tight and well structured and they set off Mz Dee’s gospel tinged vocals to a tee. Mz Dee (DeJuana Logwood) comes from San Francisco and she independently released her first album "Real Woman, Real Soul" in July 2005. I have not heard that but I gather that it was not straight blues but included Reggae, Funk, Soul, R&B and Jazz.

Here, mostly blues including a terrific version of St Louis Jimmy’s Going Down Slow, and music from the from the song book of the late Etta James (I’d Rather Go Blind), from Billy Preston (That’s The Way God Planned It), Al Kooper (I Love You More Than You Will Ever Know) and the aforementioned James Oden as well as originals from Maurizio Pugno and Mz Dee herself.

Try Sugar Man Sugar Man, a kind of 1930’s big band arrangement with a super Hammond break, or Sticky Situation a song I can hear Ella performing. Finally how about Desire Street, which as the name implies, is a Crescent City styled piece with a seriously funky theme - Anywhere they go is the place to be - a fabulous big band sound that reminds me of the very best of Benny Goodman and or Ellington and comes with riffs like those of Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke. Outstanding!

This is a terrific effort which deserves a big audience. Strongly recommended

Reviewer Ian McKenzie is English and is the editor of Blues In The South, [] a monthly blues information publication. He is the producer/ host of two blues radio shows Blues Before Midnight on KCOR (Kansas City Online Radio: Fridays; and Wednesday's Even Worse on Phonic FM ( alternate Wednesdays.

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