Archive for March, 2011


COLIN JAMES-“QUALITY CHOPS, QUALITY WORK”-Take It From The Top” The Best of Colin James-Review By John Emms

Accessible, rootsy, and tasteful Colin James  has always managed to succesfully bridge the gap between blues rock, soul and R & B.

Along with  American modern day blues rock artists like Joe Bonamassa and perhaps Tommy Castro James finds himself at the helm of a very successful career.  His latest disc Take It from The Top a best of cd culled from his blues rock years (with two new songs added) proves that James was and still is an intensely credible artist

In fact, the new track It’s Gonna Be Allright produced by Bob Rock and co-written by James is a no frills blues rock riff fest that will blow you out of the room. The other new track is a cover of the Buddy Miles hit Them Changes recently covered by Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood among many others.

There are 17 songs on this cd and yes you get all the big songs like Just Came Back, Five Long Years and Voodoo Thing. However it’s the exceptional lesser known songs like Make a Mistake, the incredible rock gem Stay and his cover of Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic that show his full range.

James’ is now working on a new cd due out much later this year.

Like a well know fighter ready to prove himself once again his next cd will be an important step in his career. 

Hearing the blues rock vibrancy of  James’ new track It’s Gonna Be Allright is exciting.

In conjunction with this feel and also going back to his wicked cover of the then unknown Morgan Davis’ song Why’d You Lie,  the time is ripe for James to find more blues inspiration.

Lesser known blues rock tracks like Tinsley Ellis’s Speak No Evil, The Shaftmen’s 25 Tons, Jack De Keyzer’s If I Had Your Love or even the Rocky Athas track Miracle all would offer great insight for James as to what other blues rock artists have been keeping up their collective  blues sleeves.

James is currently on tour in parts of Canada to support this stellar release.

JOHN EMMS is a musician and veteran music journalist. He also hosts his own popular blues rock and roots show



If you can’t look or feel the passion like the late Duanne Allman (pictured above) did when this photo was snapped don’t waste everyone’s breathing space who are actually down in their basements sweating to be the next great bluesman or woman.

Or for that matter just want to be a great singer-songwriter in any genre of music.

You can name  a hundred or so great musicians.  No problem. For now let’s just say Eddie Vedder, Eminem, Luciano Pavarotti, Bruce Springsteen and Buddy Guy. Who did not want to get famous?  None of them. 

But along the way they were passionate about their music. They sweated the details.

Why are so many people saying that some of the music business is full of “shite’.  Probably because everyone wants to be rich and famous but does not want to put the effort in to become great. 

Could you imagine if Pavarotti said “Nah I don’t we want to study voice, and become one of the greatest singers ever. I just need a shortcut. Or Eminen said “no that wordplay is good enough, I don’t give a shit! 

What’s the first thing out of mouths of some of the new artists? Here is one example.

 I came  across the lyrics to the  recent hit song Billionaire featuring rapper Travie McCoy. ” I want to be a billionaire so fucking bad.  Buy all the things I never had, I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine smiling next to Oprah and The Queen”

No wonder I can’t get excited about Simon Cowell’s new show X-Factor. Having said that, at least there is no age limit on X-Factor. So maybe someone who is actually sweating the details might get a break.

Then again do you want want someone to control your every moment of your life and tell you what to wear, play and sing.

 Be careful for what you wish for!!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and musician. John also plays what he wants on a very cool blues and rock roots radio show



I don’t want to sound hokey, but honestly I don’t know where I would be if I did not have a wealth of songs to rely on to get me through. 

 To let me dream, to let me laugh, to make me think.  No BS here folks certain songs just envelop me for decades. 

I don’t mean my own songs. Sure, my own songs are important when I perform them, you can bet I’m digging deep. I’m talking about the songs that made me believe rock n’ roll was an art form. 

Early on I put my faith in the music of Van Morrison, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Band, Bob Dylan and a bit later Bruce Springsteen and the wonderful E Street Band, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Yeah, those bands or artists that could really write a song.  And then blow you away in a live context.

Of course Canadian artists like Tom Cochrane, Blue Rodeo  and many others hit the mark.  For the last 15 or so years blues music makes me happy. I can sit down and watch hours of blues orientated stuff from Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore, Eric Clapton, Downchild Blues Band, Jack De Keyzer, Jeff  Healey, Old Muddy Waters shows, Buddy Guy or the Allman Brothers Band.

I could name 30 or 40 more but you get the idea. If film is an art form then I have no doubt songs are. Maybe that’s why soundtracks have become so important to any movie.

I used to think maybe it was just my youth from 16 to 30 years of age.

Wrong. Through the years I have a lot of interests and things have become a little calmer and more thought out.  But songs to this day have  never let me down and I believe they are therapy for what ails us.

JOHN EMMS is a musician, radio show host and veteran music journalist

March 2011