“Blue Eyed Soul Vol. 2”
Hunters Records
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © October 2020
A little over two years ago when I reviewed “Blue Eyed Soul Vol. 1” by J.T. Lauretsen & The Buckshot Hunters, I closed out my review by saying….. “Aside from the music, I also found the words “Volume 1” in the albums title to be quite exciting. That can only mean one thing – there will be some more “Blue Eyed Soul” in our futures. Bring it on J. T.”…..and here we have – “Blue Eyed Soul Vol. 2”
So when you think of cities synonymous with soul music, Detroit, MI; Memphis, TN, Philadelphia, PA; and even Chicago, IL, and New Orleans, LA pop into mind.  Likewise, when you think of male bands synonymous with soul blues, Bobby Rush and his Soul Revue; The Johnny Rawls Band; Wee Willie Walker, & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra; and countless others come to mind.  That said, although I’m not quite ready to toss Lillestrøm, Norway and The Buckshot Hunters into this mix of cities and artists, J.T. and the guys certainly have soul in their souls.
Along with J.T. Lauretsen on vocals, accordion, harmonica and Hammond organ, the Buckshot Hunters are: Arnfinn Tørrisen on guitars; John Grimsby on drums and percussion; Ian Fredrick Johannessen on guitars; and Morten Nordskaug on bass and background vocals. For Volume 2 of this series, special guests include: Bill Troiani and Hans Cato Kristiansen on vocals; Victor Wainwright on piano; Mike Zito on guitar; Børge-Are S. Halvorsen on baritone and tenor sax; and Jens Petter Antonsen on trumpet and trombone. Of the disc’s eleven tracks, nine are J.T. originals and/or compilations.
The disc opens with a track titled “Blues Never Feel That Bad” and it’s an ideal blend of blues, funk and soul. With a lot of support from the horn section, the sticks in the hands of Jon are responsible for a powerful and funked up rhythm – and during the recording session someone may have hollered out “more cowbell”…..because Jon listened! Blues wise, Ian and Arnfinn – with their back and forth solos – have that under control; then there’s the soul, which exudes from J.T.’s vocals as he philosophically explains that as bad as things get there’s a way to work it all out – in a nutshell, “the blues never, ever feel that bad”.
When I saw this song on the track listing, I just couldn’t wait to here this rendition. As a teenager, back in sixties, it was one of my favorite R&B songs, and I was overly curious as to if the Buckshot Hunters could do justice to it like Bobby Blue Bland, O.V. Wright, The Staple Singers, and so many other great soul artists have. That said, just telling you there was a smile on my face from start to finish pretty much clears that up. The song is Don Robey’s classic, “You’re Gonna Make Me Cry”, and Bobby Bland was the first to record it, in 1964. With the band right where they’re supposed to be on a song like this – settled into a perfectly smooth rhythm – J.T. (lead) and guest vocalist Hans Cato Kristiansen (harmony) are totally nailing the vocals. Wow! Wow! Wow!
It’s Friday night and J.T. is looking for a hottie to fill the passenger seat of his ’69 Mustang for a “Friday Night Ride”. More good rhythm and percussion out of Jon and Morten with more super support from Børge-Are and Jens Petter on the horns; and killer piano leads by multi Blues Music Award winner Victor Wainwright. Real good stuff!
One of the disc’s smokers is a track called “Like You Do”, and I don’t believe that it’s a coincidence that Mike Zito, kicking ass on an extended mid song guitar solo, had a lot to do with that. Other highlights include outstanding vocal performances by J.T. (lead) and guest vocalist Billy Troiani (harmony); the usual outstanding rhythm; and a second, track ending killer guitar solo, this time by Arnfinn
“I’ll Carry The Key” (Monika Nordli) is another excellent track. It features tremendous bass lines by Morten; and head Buckshot Hunter, J.T., not only doing a fabulous job on the vocals but showcasing his harmonica and accordion skills as well. .
Saving the best for last, J.T. is indeed at his vocal best on a tender, heartwarming ballad. It’s titled “Woman In My Life” and on it J.T. sings his heart out as he pays tribute to this obviously worthy woman. Songs like these are the ones you hear and they make you feel so good that you just hope they were written from a real life experience. Knowing J.T and his wife Marion, I honestly believe this was. Beautifully said and done J.T.
Other tracks on the second of what I’m hoping will be a long running series of volumes – “Blue Eyed Soul Vol. 2” include: “Hold You One More Time”; “Don’t Want To Lose You Now”; “Going Back Home”; “You’d Better Come Home”; and “Southbound”.
If you haven’t yet received a copy of “Blue Eyed Soul Volume 2” for airplay, want to purchase a copy for yourself, or want to learn more about J. T. Lauritsen And The Buckshot Hunters, please contact them at www.jtlauritsen.com.  As usual, please tell them their buddy the Blewzzman sent you.
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.mary4music.com
2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient