Blues Straight from the Heart
Liner notes Blues straight from the heart Little Jc is back! And that's good news! Ten years after his last full album "Before the drive me crazy" comes his next CD, which you are holding now. JC is back, although he was never really gone. But since year 2000, he has played and performed mostly solo as One-Man-Band (Like Juke Boy Bonner or Dr. Ross, he played guitar, harmonica and a simple drum kit simultaneously) or with Louisiana Red, plus a few gigs with band. For the good JC met bassist Dani Gugolz, Austrian Guitar Ace Norbert Schneider and drummer Peter Müller in 2005. After a gig together, they were ready to jump on board with JC's project to cut a live Album. It was obvious that the recording should take place in "la Spirale", the small club in JC's hometown Fribourg. Not only has "La Spirale" a long Blues tradition, but it's also one of the most intimate and moody clubs around. Little Jc, recorded live in his hometown, backed by a group of great musicians and with a selection of personal songs, sounds stronger than ever. There are just a few covers from the songbook of Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters among them. And like the own compositions, everything sounds very much in JC's style and own interpretation. Little Jc's Blues is honest and powerful. As an example listen to the furious sound he's got in "Mister B" (Tell Mr. B to better look out and avoid being around JC...). You can feel the urge and the anger in JC's playing. It is like JC's talking through his harmonica about all he has gone through these last years, whether it was good, bad or even worse. It is really blues straight from the heart and the best thing about it is, it's audible, when you listen to the album. The Little Jc Blues Band 2006 and hopefully on, consists of some of Europe's finest Blues musicians. And in this case, this is no cheap marketing slogan. Sal Lombardo, born in 1967 in Fribourg, with Sicilian roots, beats his drum laid-back like some of the old masters of blues drumming. He keeps things steady and groovy as he always did, but it's plain to hear that he has even matured in his playing. Sal Lombardo is an original member of the group fifteen years ago. So is Philippe Coudougnan (born in 1963 in Casablanca, Morocco). He has made himself a name in the Blues scene in the Southwest area of France. He is a real brother in blues to JC. Having played with JC ten years ago, they switched roles and JC played drums behind Raoul Ficel (aka Philippe Coudougnan) a few years go. Phil Coudougnan plays mainly rhythm guitar on the new recording. But he gets the spotlights every now and again ("D-Boogie" or "Hot Peppers") for a solo. Again you can hear and feel the good understanding between JC and Phil. Phil's bluesy riffs are unique and blend very well with JC's kind of Blues. Bass player Dani Gugolz (born 1963 in Zurich, Switzerland) is a mainstay in the European scene. He has played with virtually everybody in the business and was a member of the renowned Mojo Blues Band of Austria for 17 years. He has also deep knowledge of the Blues History. Currently he plays a main role in several different projects like the Blue Flagships, the Frank Muschalle Trio or Norbert Schneider's R&B Caravan. As you can tell, he is very active in the blues scene. But it's not only his rich experience in the business that makes him a reliable value for JCs band. His unique humour and showmanship adds much entertainment to the project. Last but not least you get Norbert Schneider from Austria. He is one of the most gifted Blues guitar players in Europe today. Aged only 27 years, he has developed an amazing maturity in his playing. Listen to him in "Who'll Be The Next", where he takes his solo to a higher level with every chorus. Like masters do, he switches easy between his role as back-up musician and as soloist. And he plays behind JC's singing and playing in a very sensitive way. He is also able to play in a variety of styles. Just listen to the Eddie-Taylor-like licks on "Dream I Had Last Night" or, as a contrast, his sophisticated solo on "D Boogie" (A great track that brings out the swinging potential of the whole group behind JC's moody chromatic harp). He plays lead guitar throughout the recording. "Blues straight from the heart" is a work that had to be done. It's a vivid expression and reflection of JC's determination to play and sing. The whole album is drenched with convincing power. Technically seen, today we have a lot good musicians and records. But we get seldom a chance to really believe, what a musician sings or plays. JC is one of the few exceptions. It's the personal approach from JC and the band members, which makes the whole thing real. And the new album is a witness of JC's comeback, a comeback that comes straight from the heart. Simon Johner.