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Various Artists - Puddletown Blues, Vol. 1

Cascade Blues Association

Portland, Oregon's Cascade Blues Association has released a compilation of a dozen songs by the some of the Rose City’s most notable bluesmen and blueswomen. Smoldering slow blues from Kevin Selfe and the Tornadoes open the CD with “Moving Day Blues” and Lisa Mann and Her Really Good Band follow with a jaunty (horns and all!) send-up of “Stack-O-Lee.” I enjoyed the CD’s balance of up-tempo and softer blues, and Hawkeye Herman’s “Give Me A Grandma Every Time,” Terry Robb’s mournful “Idle Moments,” and Fiona Boyes’ “Love Changing Blues” are three of the many bright spots on this first volume of Puddletown Blues. The frantic pace of “Got It Made” from Boogie Bone is sure to fill any dance floor, while Robbie Laws’ “Texas Crude” reminds me why he’s won Muddy Awards from the Cascade Blues Association and “BB Awards” from the Washington Blues Society. Billy D and the Hoodoos explore a lover’s intuition in “Somethin’s Wrong,” and The Strangetones lament that they were “Overdrawn,” from an independent film of the same name. While the production is generally crisp and even throughout the CD, I wish Ty Curtis’ vocals were turned up just a little bit more on “Do I Love You Too Much.” Woodbrain (formerly the Joe McMurrian quartet) offer up a banjo-infused slow blues on “Scrap Iron Pete,” and the set’s closer recalls Paul delay and Duffy Bishop at the 2004 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival with “I’ve Got You.” Puddletown Blues, Volume One, is an outstanding document of Oregon’s blues talent captured at clubs, festivals and in the studio. I am especially awed by Blues Foundation affiliates that release compilations like this one, because I know that it’s hard work to produce a CD of this caliber. Some of the songs are new, and some have been on the shelf for some time. While I appreciated the Billy D and the Hoodoos’ performance captured live at the UnTapped Blues and Brews Festival in Washington state this year, I was equally impressed with the older cuts from Hawkeye Herman (2003) and Fiona Boyes (2004). A portion of the proceeds of this CD will go to the Cascade Blues Association’s Musicians’ Relief Fund, and I encourage readers to pick up this CD to learn more about Oregon's vibrant and diverse blues community.

Reviewer Eric Steiner is President of the Washington Blues Society in Seattle, Washington. The Society was the recipient of the 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive Award in the blues organization category. Please visit for more information on the Washington Blues Society.

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