[From Blewzzman’s Blues CD Reviews | by Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro]
Career wise, Jeanette Markey and Ric Latina have individually traveled down many different roads. But since joining forces in 2013, those roads have merged into one. And since that is the very road that runs through our “blues community”, that’s a good thing for us residents.
With all the good things I’ve heard that have happened to this duo since “Hey Hey” – their last release, and now hearing the fantastic music on “The Blues Are Knockin”, I’m thinking it’s safe to say that Markey Blue will indeed be a force to be reckoned with in the genre.
Joining Ric, on the guitar and Markey, on the vocals & percussion, are a bunch of talented musicians that have worked with the duo on several projects in the past. They include: Chris Tuttle on keyboards and B3 organ; Mike Maiocco on second keyboard on a track; Dana Robbins on saxophones; Jim Williamson and Scott Ducaj on trumpet; Truman Virden, Randy Coleman and John Marcus on bass; Dion Clay, David “Smitty” Smith, Tom Larson and Rodney Ledbetter on drums; and Jim Klinger on extra bass drum & cajun overdubs on a track. The CD contains ten tracks of all original music and it’s dedicated to the late Rand Chortkoff of Delta Groove Records. Rand meant a lot to Ric and Markey, and to most of us as well.
As a tribute to him, “Be My Train” is done in the style of the legendary Little Milton. It’s a soulful and funky number featuring Chris (B3), Dana (saxes), Jim (trumpet), Truman (bass) and Dion (drums) creating the fierce rhythm; Ric rockin’ on guitar; and Markey being quite sassy and having lots of fun with the vocals.
Exactly two seconds and two guitar notes into the title track, I was already thinking I was probably listening to my favorite song of the lot. Then Ric unleashed some scorching blues guitar riffs, Markey started belting out some gut wrenching slow blues and “The Blues Are Knockin” knocked me right into blues heaven. I’ve know Markey a long time, have all of her recordings and have seen her live more times than I can remember and without a doubt, this is the best I’ve ever heard her sound. This is the blues at it’s very best.
“Lay down, Lucille. Your papa’s gone away.” That’s the opening line to “Lay Down Lucille” a song Ric and Jeanette wrote in which they pay homage to the late, great B. B. King. As sad as that sentence made me feel as I was typing it, by the end of the song I was actually feeling good. It’s a well written, well done song using several titles of the king’s songs in several of it’s verses. This one’s a musical smoker with Dana and Jim blowin’ the hell out of the horns; John and Tom kickin’ it on the bass and drums; and, as they do on every track, Ric and Markey nailing it on guitar & vocals.
This love song features Markey emotionally singing heartfelt lyrics to someone, and these feelings she’s expressing are her way of saying “This Is Me Missing You”. It’s a beautifully sung song on which she showcases her soulful side and enormous vocal range. This time it’s Truman on the bass; Dion on the drums; and Chris & Mike on the keyboards; that are responsible for the exquisitely delicate rhythm.
For my take on “Worries”, I could just say “ditto what I said about the title track.” Once again, these are the kind of blues I can listen to all day long. When I hear this kind of stuff – slow scorching blues, piercing guitar leads, and intense vocals that are just belting the hell out of the blues – the hair on my arms stands up. As with the title track, this one’s worthy of my “this is song of the year material” compliment read this article.
Other tracks on “The Blues Are Knockin” include: “I’ll Wait For You”, “That Ain’t Good Enough”, “Cold Outside”, “Cash Is King” and “Nobody’s Fool”.
For more on Markey Blue, simply go to www.MarkeyBlue.com. While you’re there, in addition to telling them that the Blewzzman sent you please make sure you read about some of those “good things” that I mentioned have been happening to them of late. Ric Latina and Jeanette Markey are truly on a roll.