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CD REVIEW: The Ted Vaughn Blues Band - Self Titled

By: Cyrus Rhodes



"a real barnburner"






Artist: The Ted Vaughn Blues Band
Album: The Ted Vaughn Blues Band

Label: Harbinger Northwest Records

Genre: R&B, Saloon Jazz, Classic Rock    
Sounds Like: Johnny Winter, Blues Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughn 

Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/ Musicianship Grade: 7/10

Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Killin’ Floor, Nothing but Trouble, How Blue can you get
Weakness: More vocal harmonies, Liner notes, More original music - short sided CD




The Ted Vaughn Blues Band release their latest, self titled CD in 2011. Band members include: Ted Vaughn (Vocals, Blues Harp), Clay “Bone” King (Guitars, Vocals), Leon Forrest (Keyboards), Ted Larson (Bass. Voaxlsa0, and Ian Henderson (Drums). The band hails from Salem, Oregon.


The CD kicks things off with “Them 12 Bar Blues” a perfect intro piece that serves up a slamming R&B groove that dishes out slamming saloon style Piano, red hot harmonica against a driving rock rhythm and compelling vocal melody from Vaughn. Track 2 “Boom, Boom” dishes out rock steady remake of Johnny Lee Hooker’s classic ditty with impressive harp solo guitar against infectious vocal melody and grand slam chorus that has no comparisons. Track 3 keeps things moving in the right direction with “Killin’ Floor” a guitar driven melody from Vaughn and company that peaks and valleys its way through to emotional fruition with its hot to the touch solo guitar and infectious groove. This CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 rock solid tracks in a row, and really never backs down after that. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical elements reminiscent of such classic acts like Stray Cats, Stevie Ray, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Asbury Jukes, Johnny Winter, and just a dash of Blues Brothers. The music itself is an amazing blend of no holds barred Rhythm and Blues, classic Saloon Jazz with a dash of Classic Rock. The musicianship of all the players involved is equally as impressive. The rhythm groove (Bass/Drums) is as thick as a brick. Top to bottom this unit is rock solid. You will also notice lush layers of instrumentation layered everywhere. Besides the 4 piece standard you will notice impressive Piano, Harmonica, sizzling guitar licks, well placed Keyboard accents, Hammond Organ chops painted against lush harmonies layered everywhere. Kudos goes out to the slamming harp and guitar by Vaughn and company, but the most impressive thing about this CD s the impressive vocal persona and sizzling harp performances from Mr. Vaughn himself. His harmonica skills are to die for and his vocal delivery is spot on for the genre. From smooth as silk “Nothing but Trouble”, “How Blue Can you Get” and to rocking “Swang Thang” and “The Thrill is Gone” to slamming “I Love You Baby” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10: "Treat Her Right” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber. 


Track 5 “Swang Thang” feels like an incomplete statement to me. I also wish there were more vocal harmonies throughout thus mixing up the vocal delivery a bit better. I didn’t notice a copywrite date anywhere on the CD and no Mixing Engineer was listed within the liner notes. Some of the aforementioned issues are a bit unorthodox for a Industry Standard CD. If you exclude the 3 cover songs this CD only offers 7 original tracks. Perhaps 2 or 3 more original tracks is needed to make it a fully loaded release.   


The latest 10 track, self titled CD from TVBB is a real barnburner of a relaase. It's a rock solid and highly entertaining CD from start to finish. The songwriting – all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature grooves. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalogue. The writing and playing abilities of TVBB are rock solid. It’s strength – the raw song for song intensity that keeps coming at you.  No doubt these guys are a total riot to check out live around Southern Oregon and beyond The music is nitty-gritty, rock solid, heavy and consistent. Like a heavy weight fighter this CD packs a powerful punch and goes the full 12 rounds with no sign of letting up.


Cyrus Rhodes