“Stronger Than Strong”
Nola Blue Records
Release Date: October 16, 2020
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © October 2020
“Stronger Than Strong” is John Nemeth’s tenth release and with it arguably being one of his best of the ten, it could have also been titled Stronger Than Ever. The disc contains twelve new tracks, with ten being penned by John.
Joining John Nemeth, on vocals and harmonica, are The Blue Dreamers: Danny Banks on drums and backing vocals; Matthew Wilson on bass, guitar and backing vocals; Jon Hay on guitar and backing vocals; and Adam Hill on tambourine. Notes on the one sheet refer to the band as “seasoned young guns” which almost sounds contradictory…..until you hear them. They may be young, but “seasoned” is indeed a perfect description.
The rhythm section of Danny Banks and Matthew Wilson is one that will shine throughout the disc. With that in mind, the rhythm heavy “Fountain Of A Man” – with some very aggressive help from Jon on guitar – is where they’ll shine their brightest. About midway through the track is where the fireworks really kick in. After about a minute long howlin’ harmonica outburst from the boss, Danny – before being joined by Jon’s minute of mayhem on the guitar – absolutely sets the drums on fire. Earlier I said something about the words seasoned and young not necessarily working together because ‘seasoned’ is more appropriately used with the word ‘veteran’. Then I followed that with – until you hear them. Right here is where you will most certainly hear that group of “seasoned young guns”. Killer stuff!
Those of you who may be unfamiliar with Jon Hay will get a real good taste of the young man’s killer guitar skills on this smoker called “Throw Me In The Water”. I remember being blown away by him about a year-and-a-half ago when, while vacationing with his family in Florida, he showed up at a local jam I happened to be hosting. Leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind about his future success, his name was the buzz of the night. Not to be undone, banging out some of the disc’s most powerful rhythm, Danny and Matthew are on top of their game right here as well, on the drums and bass. Having seen how much proud bandleader John Nemeth enjoys showing off his talented young bandmates at live shows, I know he had no problem at all with me keying in on them right here. That said, he is right there belting the hell out of the vocals.
Had John been singing about The Rum Boogie, B.B. King’s, Blues City Cafe’, Alfred’s or Jerry Lee’s, “Bars” would have certainly been a real cool song. However, he’s not! Instead, he’s sadly singing about the bars on the windows to keep us safe and the bars on the doors till we do our time. A sigh of distress? Perhaps we can ask that leader who has his hand up someone’s dress. A well done narrative with some very soulful sarcasm.
“I Can See Your Love Light Shine” is definitely for the movers and the shakers – of which I literally was one. Yep, this one even had the booty of the Blewzz in motion. Between John’s outstanding lead, and the very melodic accompanying backing vocals from the guys, this one was not only one of the disc’s best sung songs but with its crazy good rhythm and smoking guitar leads, one of the best of the lot, as well. At just three-and-a-quarter minutes long, I could have take three times that.
I guess even at the young age of eleven I was a sucker for a beautiful ballad, because I remember being crazy about this song. It’s a wonderful love song titled “Guess Who” and I’m sure that any fan of fifties R&B will remember it. The song was written by Jo Ann Belvin as a love letter to her singer, songwriter, pianist husband – the late Jesse Belvin. Before getting killed in a car crash at the sickeningly young age of twenty-seven, Jesse had a big hit with the song. John and The Blue Dreamers do such a fabulous job on this rendition that I’m sure it would put a smile on both Jesse and Jo Ann’s faces. Do yourselves a favor – while you’re waiting for your pre-ordered copy of “Stronger Than Strong” to arrive, go to Youtube and give the original a listen. That will make hearing this one a bit more special.
With The Blue Dreamers grooving in an old school R&B vibe behind him John seems to be having a lot of fun singing “She’s My Punisher”. Using the playful chorus line of “life with little loving”, he tells a tale of being in an obvious unrewarding relationship. That said, his credibility diminishes somewhat as he doesn’t seem to be too upset with “coming home for more”. With his very melodic vocals and several impressive harp leans, John absolutely shines on this one.
Other tracks on this excellent album include: “Come And Take It”; “Sometimes” (Robey); “Chain Breaker”; “Deprivin’ A Love”; “Work For Love” ; and “Sweep The Shack”.
To find out more about John Nemeth just go to – www.johnnemeth.com. Wherever you go and whomever you talk to, please tell them that their friend the Blewzzman sent you.
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.mary4music.com
2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient
“Stronger Than Strong”