Reverend Raven | Big Bee

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Blues: Chicago Style Blues: Guitar Blues Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Big Bee

by Reverend Raven

Blues Chicago Style - West Side Guitar Meets Southside Harp
Genre: Blues: Chicago Style
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. My Life
3:45 $0.99
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2. Big Bee
6:49 $0.99
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3. Once The Women Start Talkin'
3:41 $0.99
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4. Someday When I'm Dead and Gone
5:01 $0.99
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5. You Ain't No Friend of Mine
5:27 $0.99
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6. Two Times Fine
4:13 $0.99
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7. I Don't Want To Know
4:54 $0.99
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8. Here Comes My Baby
6:16 $0.99
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9. Benny's Bounce
2:51 $0.99
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10. Don't Get On The Wrong Side of My Baby
4:09 $0.99
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11. Bad Little Girls
4:29 $0.99
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12. I Wanna Love You
4:04 $0.99
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13. She's Movin' On
4:49 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Born and raised on the south side of Chicago Richard Raven first heard the blues of Louis Jordan, T-Bone Walker and Pee Wee Crayton coming from his mother's stereo. His older cousin later brought home the records of Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Magic Sam, Slim Harpo, Buddy Guy and Otis Rush.

After seeing Freddy King at the Kinetic Playground, he started going to Maxwell Street on Sunday afternoons to see Johnny Dollar, Lefty Dizz and Jimmie Lee Robinson play in the alleys and on the street corners.

The 1970s were spent going to the clubs and taverns on the south side of Chicago and Chicago Heights to see and hear raw urban blues.

After playing in bands for 5 years and doing a 15 year stint in U.S. Navy, where he acquired the Reverend tag, Chief Raven hung up his anchors to give music another go.

That was 12 years ago and he hasn't looked back. Since then he has become a regular on the Midwest blues circuit, playing Buddy Guy's Legends, The Slippery Noodle, Memphis Smoke, Fat Fish Blue, Blues on Grand, The Zoo Bar, Whiskey Junction and most of the Midwest blues festivals. Rev has won the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award (WAMI) for best blues artist in 1999,2000, 2004.


Benny Rickun: Harmonica

Benny is a protege of Milwaukee harmonica great Jim Liban (Short Stuff). He plays his fills and comps like Big Walter Horton and solos with a style all his own with nods to Little Walter, Junior Wells, James Cotton and Carey Bell. He’s been tearing up the clubs in Milwaukee with the Blue Rubies, The Alex Wilson Band and now as a member of Rev's band.

Spencer Panosh: Drums

A native of Whitelaw, Wisconsin, Spencer has made his living since the age of seventeen playing the drums. One of the most sought after drummers in Wisconsin, he has toured with the Dave Steffen band and played with Madison Slim, Ken Saydak, Jay Stulo and the Mighty Aces, Bruce Koenig, Bobby Evans and the Alimony Blues Band.

Peetie Pedersen: Bass

Peetie honed his skills while touring and recording with Charlie Musslewhite in the 60’s and 70’s. He has been a member of the Luther Tucker Band, Sunnyland Slim, Pinetop Perkins, Big Walter Horton, Fenton Robinson, Hubert Sumlin, Johnny Young, Big Time Sarah, Zora Young and Jerry Portnoy. He’s also recorded John Brim, Robben Ford, Byran Lee, Billy Flynn and Jim Liban.

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Reviews


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Sverker " Enok " Olofsson

Another big one !
Yes, Raven ....you did it again, made pleasure to my blues listening. Keep on this way and hope to see you LIVE someday in Sweden.

Best regards from Sverker
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Steve Harvell

"One of the best cds this year"
The Reverend Raven has new cd out called,"Big Bee",and it has got to be one of the best cds that I have listened to this year.The Reverend Raven has this special talent of finding the very best blues harmonica players on the planet for each new cd,just like Muddy Waters use to do.In the past Reverend Raven has used harmonica players Cadillac Pete and Madison Slim(one of the top (5) harmonica players on the planet). And now for "Big Bee" we have Benny Rickun on harmonica.

Now,as most of my readers know I am VERY specific in my personal taste and for the first three songs on "Big Bee" I was not sure about Benny Rickun because Madison Slim is a pure Monster on harp.But when the 4th song came on,"Someday When I am Dead and Gone", I became a new devotee to the awesome tone and expertise of Benny Rickun! I then started the whole cd over and listened with a new appreciation and was I ever treated to some of the best blues harmonica and guitar to be had on the planet earth.

And now to our MAIN MAN, The Reverend Raven who in my mind's eye should be upheld as one of the Top (5) Blues Guitarist in the world! He is adept at leading a band,keeping it fresh and new over the span of his career. He can cover every aspect of the blues imaginable with his own twist that makes his original and cover tunes absolutely a pure pleasure to listen to time and again. In fact, I listen to the Reverend Raven more than any other blues guitarist, I hope that this statement gives you and inkling to how much I like this cat's music.

Back when I was a younger buck we use to have this statement in the group of friends that I hung with,"Talk is cheap, let's see some action"! So ya want to hear The Reverend Raven before ya buy, O.K. , go to the following link to listen and buy, "I Command You".Click here to listen to The Rev and Benny play! The Rev is carrying on the tradition that Muddy and Little Walter laid the foundation to almost a half a century ago, please , give The Rev some praise and a listen, you will become converted like me and be destined to spread the word wide and near.

I give this new cd by The Rev a granite solid (7) Harp Salute and to Benny Rickum the harp player I have created a new catagory. And that is"The Tastefull but Damned Nasty Harp Award" for giving us a new twist on how the harp SHOULD be played.And let us not forget P.T. Pederson on bass and Spencer Podash on drums,for they too are at the top of their relative instruments and lay down the grooves for The Rev and Benny to play on and provide us with some of the best blues and boogie in the galaxy.I highly recommend this cd.

Go to the following link to read my "September 2004" review of The Reverend Raven's cd "Live At The Blues On Grand" featuring Madison Slim on Harmonica. "Live At The Blues On Grand" featuring Madison Slim on Harmonica
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James Walker/Blues Wax E-zine

"There is not a throw away cut on the entire album"
Raven’s third album attempts the impossible feat many a hot band has tried: to capture the energy of a live show on record. The results are real-deal Blues (no blues-rock) - very noteworthy and enjoyable, but the “impossible” keeps its title. The 13 tracks run slightly over 60 minutes and feature 11 Raven originals, one by harpist Benny Rickun, and one by Milwaukee harmonica great Jim Liban. Reverend sings the vocals and smokes the guitar while Charlie Musselwhite alum P.T. Pedersen plays bass, Spencer Ponash drums, and Benny Rickun blows harp.

Track 1 opens with a classic guitar riff that brings a smile to blues loving listeners. Titled “My Life,” Raven’s instantly likeable tenor-baritone vocals reveal the thoughts of a man who’s got it made. “Now, I live the happy life – I play my guitar for money and go home and play with my wife.”

Up next, on the title track “Big Bee,” the Reverend takes 8 seconds to set a groove on guitar then Benny Rickun’s harp blows funky as a Dead Sea breeze. Immediately the listener realizes the first song was no fluke – this whole album has the right stuff. Keeping in theme, “buzzing” guitar leads are interspersed with shimmering chords while Rickun’s omnipresent harp weaves in and out, over and under. All the while in the bee hive, the bottom honey is being churned by Pedersen’s bass and Panosh’s tympany.

Solid as a brick ship yard, there is not a throw away cut on the entire album. “Benny’s Bounce” is an instrumental created by Rickun who takes the lead on hard driving harmonica. “Here Comes My Baby” is another standout with a change-up in rhythm and a super-stinging guitar break.

If amplified harmonica and electric guitar are your scene, then Reverend Raven should be a lead character!
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Przemek Draheim

"This new one is the best of all"
Dear Jim,

Just a short note to let you know that the parcel you sent me with Rev. Raven's new CD came safe and sound, thank you very much. Sorry for the delay in response but I was away from home for some time.

I know their previous albums and this new one is the best of all. This is a powerfull unit playing Chicago blues the way it supposed to be played.

It will be my pleasure to feature Raven's new disc in my shows. I'm sure my listeners will enjoy it as much as I do.

Best wishes,
Przemek Draheim

website: www.blues.pl/draheim
e-mail: draheim@blues.pl
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Shannon - STLouis Blues E-zine

"You will be hooked on the “Rev”, too!!"
Reverend Raven have been around for a while playing his blues. He was born and raised in Chicago so I guess its no wonder some of his influences include Junior Wells, Muddy Waters, and Jimmy Rogers. His latest album is “Big Bee” and two of the original songs were written by Milwaukee’s own blues legend and my favorite, Jim Liban. Reverend Raven has also done work with local famed harp player Madison Slim who is a blues icon in his own right! Give this disc a listen and you will be hooked on the “Rev”, too!!

Overall I enjoyed this album and look forward to catching the Rev again. I am lucky since he plays in town here at least once a week ? We need some good bluesy stuff around Milwaukee!! I give this album a 4 of 5 on the STLBluesometer. It was easy listening and toe tappin’ grooves. Check the band out at reverendraven.com.

Shannon
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Darlene Ziegler


Absolutely LOVE this CD. Must see them if they are in your area.
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John


Once again we have been blessed by the talents of the Reverend and his altar boys! Toes started tappin from the first cut. Some things just don't change! Looking forward to seeing you again in Cleveland 7/7/06!
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Herb Barbee/Roots Music E-Zine

"This is an absolute must for any blues fan"
Reverend Raven and his Band have created another great piece of blues work with their CD “Big Bee.” This is an absolute must for any blues fan and even more so for those who lean toward the Chicago-style. The Reverend will wow you with this one.
The original tunes are bluesy to the extreme and the well-penned lyrics strike at the heart of what blues is all about. The CD contains 13 tunes and each is bristling with classic blues beats.

Reverend Raven delivers these lyrics with a sense of passion and soul that is impossible to miss. And he has the perfect voice for his Chicago-style music – deep, rich melodic wit just a touch of gruffness.

An accomplished musician himself, Reverend Raven has surrounded himself with some supremely talented artists. The instrumentation on the CD will blow you away. It gives you all the stuff you can come to expect from great blues and great blues artists and then some. With some great foot tapping, thumping beats from the bass and drums with guitar riff that send chills down your spine and harmonica playing that is difficult to describe and do justice to. You have to hear it to believe it.

Herb Barbee - RMR Staff Reviewer
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Jean-Claude Mondo


Rev Raven est issu du South Side de Chicago. C’est après avoir assisté à un concert de Freddie King qu’il se décide à jouer le blues. Il y a déjà 35 ans. Avant de se fixer définitivement dans le Milwaukee, il a servi dans la Marine. Pendant 15 ans. Son 1er album, "Slow burn", date déjà de 1998. A cette époque, le Révérend drivait déjà son groupe : les Chain Smokin' Alter Boys. D’excellente facture, "Live at Blues on Grand" précédait "Big bee". Ce nouvel opus a été enregistré dans les studios El Rancho de Milwaukee. Pour la circonstance Raven est soutenu par P.T Pederson à la basse, Spencer Podash au drums et Benny Rickun à l'harmonica. Cet autre soliste est également un protégé du remarquable souffleur Jim Liban. Un concitoyen du Révérend, aussi. Ce dernier apprécie tout particulièrement la collaboration des harmonicistes talentueux. Il a ainsi bénéficié, en son temps, du concours de Cadillac Pete, puis de Madison Slim (NDR : un ami de longue date de Raven, mais surtout l’ex harmoniciste de Jimmy Rogers). Depuis, Rickun a repris le rôle avec beaucoup de talent. Hormis deux fragments (NDR : signés respectivement par Jim Liban et Benny Rickun - un instrumental !) Raven a composé toutes les plages. Et pour notre plus grand plaisir, son blues est toujours aussi imprégné de Chicago Blues urbain…

L'album s’ouvre par "My life". Un blues imprimé sur un tempo vif qui s’inspire du riff notoire d'Elmore James, mais sans slide. Dès le départ Rickun tire la couverture de son côté. Son solo est spectaculaire. Il libère tout ce qu’il a dans les poumons. Les cordes du Révérend le suivent à la trace. "Big bee" est manifestement contaminé par le célèbre "I'm a king bee" de Slim Harpo (NDR : un de ses maîtres). La guitare en profite pour prendre un billet de sortie. Aventureuse et nerveuse elle reste cependant bien dans le tempo. "Once the woman start talkin'" épouse un rythme plus syncopé. Une nouvelle fois proche de celui d’un Slim Harpo. Une occasion rêvée pour Benny de s'éclater. "Someday when I'm dead and gone" rappelle "Tee na nee na nu". Une compo qui baigne dans l'ambiance suffocante des swamps louisianais. La section rythmique est bien mise en évidence. Rickun se déchaîne. Quel panache ! Ce jeune musicien vit réellement son blues. Signé Jim Liban, "You ain't no friend of mine" opère un retour vers le South Side blues, cher à Muddy Waters. Un slow blues classique, simple, mais efficace. La voix de Raven n'est pas exceptionnelle, mais le message passe bien. Le tempo s'affole et la machine rythmique se met à swinguer tout au long de "Two times fine". La bande à Raven exécute un west coast jump blues de qualité. Les deux solistes sont soumis à rude épreuve. "Bad little girls" poursuit dans le même style. Benny est passé sur l'instrument chromatique. Autre compo signée Jim Liban, le solide "I don't want to know" permet à Rickun d’afficher toute l’étendue de son talent. "Here comes my baby" et "I wanna love you" replongent au cœur des swamps. Raven et ses musiciens trempent dans leur milieu naturel. L’instrumental "Benny's bounce" est issu de la plume de Rickun. Une parfaite synthèse du savoir-faire de cet homme, à l’harmonica! Raven sort enfin de sa réserve lors du tonique "Don't get on the wrong side of my baby". Il y accorde manifestement sa meilleure partie aux cordes. Très affirmé, autoritaire même, rien ne semble plus pouvoir l'arrêter. De bonne facture, cet opus s’achève par "She's movin' on". Le band y montre un concentré de ce qu’il fait de mieux : du rythme, de l’énergie, de la passion ; et puis les interventions survoltées de l'harmoniciste et du guitariste. Et pour que votre info soit complète, sachez que Jimmy Schwarz et Paul Stilin des Blues Disciples assurent brillamment la production de cet elpee.
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Rich Gordon/Sunday Morning Blues/ WYHY 95.3 FM

Great
Hey,
I have been listening to it in the car and I think it is great
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