June 24, 2024

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CD review: Little Bobby – God Made Me Blue – 2023: Video, CD cover

Little Bobby Houle hails from Minnesota and is a Native American bluesman with seven well done releases and two DVDs to his name since 2005. He was “discovered” that year at the Last Ride Blues Festival in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, his home town; Buddy Guy headlined that event. He released his first album that year and is a soulful bluesman with a guitar style Influenced by Hendrix and Jimmy Page.

Bobby went on to Chicago and worked with Nora Jean Bruso and co-wrote and recorded her 2011 album Good Blues, which achieved great reviews. The same was true for Sunday Wilde and her 2014 He Digs Me release that he also co-wrote and recorded. Houle began his musical life on drums and moved on to guitar. His early life may have been influential in him getting the blues, and his vocals surely exemplify his soulful blues talents. He handles all the instruments here except as noted. He wrote all the songs.

Little Bobby begins with a ballad with Lydia Rose. He plays some soulful guitar; the two of them sing this impassioned duet. “I Feel Like Drinking” is next, a gutsy and romping cut with lots of slick guitar and nice horn accompaniment by Maurey Finney. “Dream” follows with a nice tenor sax opening by Finney. This song reminds me a little of “Whiter Shade of Pale” as Bobby croons as the sax plays with him. Randy Keonen adds a little tasteful pedal steel guitar to the mix. Next up is “Just Like My Old Man” which pays homage to his musician father; actually, Little Bobby is a third generation musician. This one’s a slow, jazzy blues rocker with some greasy guitar and sax and Bobby trading off vocals with a distorted version of himself. It works!

“My Favorite Mistake” features Rose once again on vocals. It’s another great blues cut. “Bring Back The Old School” is a pretty, slow blues with stinging guitar and well done organ support. He follows that with “Hold On” and another gritty performance. “That Ain’t Right” features vocals by Ashley Nupdal who unfortunately passed away a few years ago after recording this track with Bobby.  Little Bobby begins with some tasty dobro along with Ashley’s vocals and then the band comes in for a big and cool sound.

One of my favorite things about this record is not only did I get to bring one of my dear friends, Maury Finney into the recording studio at the age of 84, but I also got to bring another one of my friends  into the studio, Lydia Christiensen who is only 23 years old and never experienced recording studio, being on a record or being on the charts and that’s what I’m most thankful for. I really thank God for giving me that opportunity. It’s not all about what you got, it’s about what you do with it and trying to stay positive. I’m  using the fact that I’m getting this press to go to schools where I grew up and where I was born to educate these kids about the blues and this roots music and that you can do anything with your life it doesn’t matter where you come from. I am back in the studio working on more material and keep creating music whenever I feel inspired. I didn’t actually go out and select them from the get-go. For instance, one of the bands that play at my club had a pedal steel player track three on my new album, “Dream” was missing a sound–it just felt like it was missing something. This band was playing here and the pedal steel player was playing a certain song and I realized right then that I needed that sound in the song. That’s one of the reasons why that song works. Also, knowing that I have a saxophone player at my disposal helped. I had asked him to come and play and it just kind of happened. That’s why sometimes when I’m recording, I play a lot of my own instrumentation because sometimes it’s hard to explain to other people what sound I’m looking for,- an interview with me said Little Bobby.

I enjoyed this album. It’s short (about 30 minutes) but showcases Little Bobby and his friends putting on eight great performances. He’s got a big sound and is a great musician and performer!

Buy from here – New CD 2023

God Made Me Blue

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