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Mother Blues With Gerald McClendon | Sleeping While The River Runs

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Blues: Electric Blues Blues: Blues Vocals Moods: Type: Vocal
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Sleeping While The River Runs

by Mother Blues With Gerald McClendon

Mother Blues write and perform music that touches on every corner of the blues universe (blues/soul/rock/jazz/gospel), and they expand on what they find. Singer Gerald McClendon is one of the most evocative and versatile blues/soul singers in Chicago.
Genre: Blues: Electric Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Pass You By
3:10 $0.99
2. Smokescreen
2:33 $0.99
3. Keep You from Harm
3:28 $0.99
4. Leaves Tremble on the Tree
3:03 $0.99
5. Going Down for the Last Time
4:23 $0.99
6. Common Ground
3:15 $0.99
7. Bed Down
4:46 $0.99
8. Sleeping While the River Runs
3:34 $0.99
9. Come to Me
2:47 $0.99
10. Thin Line
3:31 $0.99
11. Me & Ian
2:36 $0.99
12. Glory Train
4:51 $0.99
13. Habit of the Heart
3:29 $0.99
14. Chalk Line
5:23 $0.99
15. Walk with Me
2:30 $0.99
16. Where's the Fire
2:57 $0.99
17. Sleeping (Reprise)
1:33 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Listen to any form of American music. Rock & Roll, R&B, Soul, Jazz, Hip Hop. What you're hearing is some reflection of the blues. Blues is the foundation. The base. It's the mother of all that came after.

Mother Blues is a veteran group of Chicago area musicians brought together by a common love of the blues, and by a desire to explore musical boundaries. They write and perform music that touches on every corner of the blues universe, and they expand on what they find.

One key element is lead singer Gerald McClendon, often described as the most soulful voice in Chicago. His voice may growl, soar, or cajole - but it always engages.

Mother Blues represent over seventy-five years of playing and recording on the Chicago blues scene - in the company of artists as diverse as Buddy Guy, Son Seals, Carl Weathersby, Sharon Lewis, Carey and Lurie Bell, Diamond Jim, Joanna Connor, Larry McCray, Quintus McCormick, Tommy McCracken, Jan James, War, Robin Trower, among many others. Separately, their paths have led through every club from Chicago to New York to Memphis.

Singer Gerald McClendon is one of the most evocative and versatile blues/soul singers on the scene. Gerald has shared space on recorded compilations with Chicago blues staples from Pinetop Perkins and Otis Clay to Billy Branch. Whether bringing new emotional immediacy to classic material, or painting on fresh canvas - his voice will impact you. He'll grab your ear, your heart, your mind. Gerald's voice carries a message from soul to soul.

As a teenager, guitarist/composer Steve Bramer was self-schooled on B.B. King records borrowed from the Walgreen's cutout bin in Morgantown, West Virginia. His first regular gig was every Thursday through Saturday with the Black Elks Club house band (Lee Collins and the New Breed) in Lansing, Michigan. Since making Chicago his home in 1990, he's backed, opened for, hired, jammed or recorded with everyone from Koko Taylor to Michael Coleman.

The Mother Blues rythym section chores have been handled by a number of Chicago music scene veterans. The emphasis is always on groove first.

Working from a solid foundation in standard blues forms, the music touches on every established blues hybrid (Blues/Rock, Jazz, Country, R&B) while also managing to break new ground. The singing has been compared to classic blues/soul stylists (Bobby Blue Bland, Little Milton, Otis Redding). The playing is openly respectful toward masters/innovators (Vaughan, King, Hendrix) while establishing a unique voice and vision. With appropriate nods to the wealth of material in the classic blues catalogue, Mother Blues focuses almost exclusively on their own original compositions.

Mother Blues respects the past by carrying it forward. The music cries, sweats, breathes, screams. It's going to make you feel something. And its going to get some butts up out of some seats.

Check out Mother Blues and see why they are on the cutting edge of a new wave of Chicago bands bringing new dedication, and new direction, to contemporary blues.



to write a review

Jeff Johnson (Chicago Sun Times)

...broad stylistic range ... woven together skillfully ... seamless
Gerald McClendon can sing a slow, deep blues number or a Robert Cray-type done-somebody-wrong song and then conjure classic Stax-era soul-blues, all with equal conviction.

He's helped mightily on this album by the songwriting of Steve Bramer, the guitarist for Mother Blues, a band of veteran Chicago players. "Sleeping While the River Runs" is further proof that they're still writing good blues songs -- 17, in this case.

The broad stylistic range might sound like the recipe for a mishmash that leaves fans of every blues subgenre feeling vaguely unsatisfied. But here it's all woven together skillfully enough that it comes off as a seamless, cohesive project.

Blues Maven

The music respects blues tradition while pushing the envelope.
One of the best blues CDs to come out of Chicago in eons. This record also evokes the feeling of the old Stax and Atlantic soul artists. The song writing is pure gold. These guys are known as dynamic live performers, but they've made a gem of an album. Some Chicago blues veterans are calling it a masterpiece. The music respects blues tradition while pushing the envelope. Any lover of soul or blues music has got to hear this CD.

Blues Maven (Centerstage, Chicago)

These guys make blues matter again.
Mother Blues is absolutely the best live band and best kept secret in Chicago. I saw them at Rosa's on a Tuesday night. Six other people in the room and they ROCKED. Is it blues? rock? soul? The answer is yes and the answer is ... who cares? These guys make blues matter again. No one ever made hurtin' feel this good.
Their new CD 'Sleeping While The River Runs' does more to advance the cause of Chicago blues (and classic soul music) than any record I've heard in the last 40 years.

Mish Mash

... an unforgettable experience.
The problem that usually plagues contemporary blues is the past---what I mean is, it seems that all the good blues happened at least 25 years ago. Thankfully, Mother Blues has avoided this trap of "remember when"---not only do they emulate the great blues of yesteryear, they do it with a freshness that I haven't heard in a long, long time.

There are two reasons for that: the dirty and emotive blues guitar of Steve Bramer and the classic r&b vocals of Gerald McClendon. They are a perfect match, as Bramer rips out the licks like Albert King, and McClendon serenades with a soulful strut that brings back the nostalgic sounds of old Stax. This combination proves to be a powerful mix, turning an otherwise standard blues record into an unforgettable experience.

J. Sin (for Smother .net)

... as strong as the greatest living and dead legends.
Bluesman Gerald McClendon plays classic traditional blues rock. His voice is as strong as the greatest living and dead legends. With Southern accents felt by the organ, “Sleeping While the River Runs” boasts tight percussion, sweeping guitars, and groove-centric bass. Each musician is equally talented for sure, but its singer Gerald McClendon with his tremendous range and keen knack for smoky melodies that makes this album so damn special. You’re not going to find better blues-rock if you try these days.

Gordon Baxter (for Blues in Britain)

A very entertaining hour ... blues with a healthy dose of soul.
The core of Mother Blues is guitarist Steve Bramer, and singer Gerald McClendon. With the rhythm section of Gordon Patriarca (bass) and Gikas Markantonatos (drums) they boast a collective blues experience of over three-quarters of a century, which they exploit to the full on "Sleeping While the River Runs".

The deep soul of "Pass You By" opens the album, showcasing McClendon's considerable vocal talents, suitably accompanied by Bramer's tasteful guitar and Jerry Soto's B3 keyboards. This is not a one-paced album, though, which songs like the mid-paced "Smokescreen" and the old soul clapping of the title track aptly demonstrate. It is much more than just a soul/blues album too. The lounge jazz stylings of "Keep You From Harm", for example, give way to the excellent West Side (Chicago) rocking blues of "Leaves Tremble on the Tree". The band also cover rockier country on "Common Ground" and "Habit of the Heart", both of which hint at Hendrix, and "Walk With Me" which is reminiscent of Cream's bluesier moments. The band even delve into Gospel for a reprise of the title track where the Halsted Street National Uptown Choir bring the album to a stirring close.

"Sleeping While the River Runs" is a very good album on which the guitar tones and textures laid down by Bramer make the perfect canvas for McClendon's vocals. At times (particularly on the instrumental "Me & Ian") Bramer's guitar work is reminiscent of that of Sonny
Black: always classy, never flashy and comfortably straddling blues and jazz territory. A very entertaining hour that will appeal to most discerning BiB readers, but especially those who like their blues with a healthy dose of soul.

Rating: 8 - Gordon Baxter

Tom Hyslop, Blues Revue Magazine (Issue no. 99 April/May 2006)

17 cuts sound like vintage R&B burners, ballads, and blues
Sleeping While The River Runs (Sleeping Dog Records 10002) works a similar lode (to Jimmy Rogers & the Mauds) with greater artistic daring, due to the fact that all 16 of its 17 cuts are compositions by Mother Blues guitarist Steve Bramer that sound for all the world like vintage R&B burners, ballads, and blues. (The other song was penned by the band's absolutely superb soul singer, Gerald McClendon.) Shades of Solomon Burke, Wilson Picket, Ray Charles, Z. Z. Hill, and other masters inform "Going Down For The Last Time," "Keep You From Harm," "Chalkline," and "Come To Me." A great rhythm section (Gordon Patriarca on bass and Gikas Markantonatos on drums) nails the beats behind Bramer's clean, concise guitar work and McClendon's awe-inspiring vocals.

Jason Scales (Illinois Entertainer, March 30, 2006)

A polished and self-assured collection of blues.
Sleeping While The River Runs, a 17-song CD by Mother Blues with Gerald McClendon, is a polished and self-assured collection of blues. Guitarist/percussionist Steve Bramer wrote most of the tracks with the crooning of McClendon warmly coming through the solid instrumental mix. “Keep You From Harm” burns slowly, while “Leaves Tremble On The Tree” takes an upbeat groove and accentuates it with soulful harp and backing vocals.

Mother Blues with Gerald McClendon

Fantasic CD. Perfect accompaniment over the festive season. Chilled and intellig
Fantasic CD. Perfect accompaniment over the festive season. Chilled and intelligent listening. A great buy!