Voyage By Sugar Blue
Review by Willard Manus

Superior playing, composing and singing make VOYAGE the splendid album it is. Credit must go to Sugar Blue (James Whiting) for his triple-threat work on this MC Records release.

Sugar Blue, a New York-born harmonica prodigy, played with Muddy Waters in his teens, later with such headliners as Rolling Stones and Stan Getz. Now based in Chicago, he is part of the still-thriving blues scene there and a national band-leader of renown. On VOYAGE, he shows off his many gifts, having co-written eleven of its twelve tunes and delivered them in blazing-hot fashion, backed up by Rico McFarland (guitar) and Damiano Della Torre (Hammond and keyboards), plus a slew of other ass-kicking sidemen.
Sugar Blues’ range is wide and varied: joyful love songs, bitter break-up songs, a ballad about Alcoholics Anonymous, protest songs (Life on the Run could very well become the Black Lives Matter anthem), a boogie-beat instrumental, a slyly comic ditty about “bein’ a country boy from New York City.”

At all times, Sugar Blue puts heart and soul into his music, making VOYAGE BY SUGAR BLUE one of the best blues albums of 2016.

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