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Hi, Monster Fans!

I hope to see all of you today, tomorrow or Sunday at the incredible Monsterpalooza show! I’ll have art and books and sketches galore for sale and will be happy to sign the Stout collectibles that you bring with you. Everybody I know in the make-up and effects biz will be there. I hope that you will be, too!

Details can be found on the Appearances section of this website.

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The Outer Limits! Opening Tomorrow!

Hi Outer Limits fans! I’ve been asked to participate in an event honoring the 50th anniversary of the sci-fi TV show The Outer Limits. I recently drew eight new pieces (that Zanti Misfit above is one of them) especially for this show. The opening is tomorrow! Here are the details:

Creature Features

2904 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91506


Saturday, March 22, 2014
6:00 – 10:00 PM
The exhibit runs until April 12, 2014. I believe that all works will be for sale.

Besides me, participating artists include Steve Bissette, Tim Bradstreet, Norman Cabrera, Monte Christiansen, Ken Daly, Ricardo Delgado, Frank Dietz, John Fasano, Wolf Forrest, Garrett Immel, Phil Joyce, Bob Lizzaraga, Rebecca Lord, Gregory Manchess, Ken Mitchroney, Kemo (aka Ken Morgan), Rafael Navarro, Greg Nicotero, Mike Parks, Jeff Pittarelli, Eric October, Tim Polecat, Mike Soznowski, Woody Welch, Bernie Wrightson and more!

If you haven’t seen Taylor White‘s latest incarnation of Creature Features, you will be blown away!

See you there!

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50 Great British Blues Recordings – Part 9

41) Duster Bennett – Complete Blue Horizon Sessions (1968-1970/2007)
Duster Bennet is backed by Fleetwood Mac (if not the entire band, then by Peter Green) and by Top Topham, the Yardbirds’ first lead guitarist, for a lot of his Blue Horizon recordings on this 2-CD, 44 song set. I find a lot of his performances too frenetic or intense to enjoy, but you can’t miss with his oft-recorded classic “Jumping at Shadows”, plus “Times Like These”, “Shady Little Baby”, “I Wonder If You Know (How It Is)”, “Rock of Ages Cleft for Me”, “I Love My Baby”, the Kinks’ “Act Nice and Gentle” and “On Reconsideration”.

If you like the Blue Horizon set, then I also recommend Bright Lights Big City – The Collectors’ Duster Bennett (2002), another 2-CD set that spans most of Duster’s musical career. Besides a couple of the songs mentioned in the set above, “Lone Wolf Blues”, “I’ve Been Down So Long”, “Blue River Rising”, “Back in the Same Old Bag”, “Wasted Time” and a surprising bluesy version of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” are all standouts.

42) Paul Rodgers – Muddy Waters Blues – A Tribute to Muddy Waters (2002)
This all-Muddy Waters songs blues set sees former Free and Bad Company lead singer Paul Rodgers employing loads of blues guitar guest stars, such as Jeff Beck (on “Rollin’ Stone”, “Good Morning Little School Girl” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You”), Buddy Guy, Brian Setzer, Steve Miller, David Gilmour, Slash, Gary Moore and Brian May. Guest guitar stars aside, Paul’s great vocals contribute enormously to making this entire CD a real blues treasure.

A second CD featuring revamps of Paul’s Free and Bad Company hits is included as well.

43) Gordon Smith – Complete Blue Horizon Sessions (1968-1969/2008)
Why isn’t this unsung hero of the British blues better known? Is it because his recordings were all acoustic or his guitar playing too authentic? This 28-track set of Gordon Smith’s Blue Horzon recordings begins with Smith’s Long Overdue LP. It includes 12 previously unreleased tracks and 7 Smith originals, the rest of the material all fine covers of blues classics. Four songs feature backing by Fleetwood Mac. This is a great set by a vastly underrated British blues singer and player.

Smith is still at it: check out The Essential Gordon Smith (2009), a strong collection of 15 of his 1997–2008 blues recordings of classic blues numbers, including three self-penned songs. Gordon is in fine form; they’re all gems.

44) Steamhammer – Steamhammer (a.k.a Reflection) (1969/1992)
Unlike their later prog-influenced albums, Steamhammer’s first LP is a strong collection of original British blues, beginning with the brilliant opening combo of “Water/Junior’s Wailing” and followed by B.B. King’s “You’ll Never Know”, Eddie Boyd’s “24 Hours” and an outstanding array of blues originals. Guitarist Martin Pugh later joined the YardbirdsKeith Relf in the band Armageddon.

Blues from Steamhammer were scarce after their first LP, but fans searching for more good British blues will be rewarded by “Contemporary Chick Con Song” and “Another Traveling Tune” on MKII (1969/1992)…

…and “Riding on the L&N/Hold That Train” on Mountains (1970/1990).

45) Them – The Story of Them Featuring Van Morrison (1964-1966/1997)
This double-disc set collects everything recorded by the Irish group Them while Van Morrison was fronting this great blues and R&B group (1964-1967). The band was terrific, yet occasionally they ere replaced on record by session musicians (i.e., Jimmy Page played that great guitar on “Baby Please Don’t Go”). There’s an embarrassment of riches here, but the crème de la crème should include Big Joe Williams’ ”Baby Please Don’t Go”, Rosco Gordon’s “Just a Little Bit”, Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights, Big City” and “Baby What You Want Me To Do”, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins‘ “I Put a Spell On You”, T-Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday”, Slim Harpo’s “Don’t Start Crying Now“, John Lee Hooker’s “Don’t Look Back”, Fats Domino’s “Hello Josephine” and Jimmy Witherspoon’s “Things Getting’ Tougher Than Tough”.

Van has proved himself to be a superb blues songwriter on par with his heroes, as evidenced by the incredible “Mystic Eyes”, as well as “One Two Brown Eyes”, “All For Myself” and “Bring ‘em On In”. Although they’re not blues songs, let us not leave without mentioning Van’s garage band classic “Gloria” or his hit “Here Comes the Night”, both included on this set.

How appropriate to end this chapter with Van the Man on St. Patrick’s Day!

…Almost to The End…

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50 Great British Blues Recordings – Part 8

36) Duffy Power – Leapers and Sleepers (2004)
This 34 track 2-CD set covers blues soloist Duffy Powers’ career and Parlophone recordings from 1962-1967. Duffy’s aggressive “Shake Rattle and Roll” features wild organ by Graham Bond, Jack Bruce on bass, Ginger Baker on drums and a subdued John McLaughlin on guitar (McLaughlin toughens up on “Little Boy Blue”), as does “What’d I Say” and “I Got a Woman”. “Parchman Farm” (the Mose Allison song) and “Tired, Broke and Busted” have Power backed by The Paramounts (later Procol Harum); nice Robin Trower guitar on both. “I Don’t Care” sounds like very early Eric Clapton-era Yardbirds. “Money Honey” also features Duffy’s drummer of choice, Ginger Baker. The blues cut “I’m So Glad You’re Mine” and Southern prison song “Dollar Mamie” sport aggressive bass by Jack Bruce and drums by Ginger Baker mentor Phil Seaman. Duffy shines on Oscar Brown Jr.’s (by way of Nina Simone) “Rags and Old Iron”.

If you like this collection, then I also recommend Vampers and Champers, a 33-track (8 previously unreleased) 2-CD collection that includes Duffy’s entire Little Boy Blue LP and his fine acoustic covers of Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues” and “I Want You to Love Me”, as well as a deeply heartfelt version of Nina Simone’s “Gin House Blues”. The melody of the Beatles’ “Come Together” bears a strong resemblance to Duffy’s verses for “City Women”.

Duffy Power passed away last month at age 72.

37) Pretty Things – The Pretty Things (1965/1998)
This 1998 expansion of The Pretty Things‘ first raw blues LP adds 6 single tracks from the same period. The early Pretties sound like a damn good high energy garage blues band (although I find the amateur harmonica plating intrusive and annoying) — a far cry from their latter day pop group incarnation on Led Zeppelin’s Swansong Records. I like “Unknown Blues”, Bo Diddley’s “Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut” (which sounds to me like The Standells), the rocking “Honey, I Need”, and their moody takes on Bo’s “She’s Fine, She’s Mine” and “Pretty Thing”. The two standout tracks, however, are their hits “Rosalyn” and “Don’t Bring Me Down”, both covered by David Bowie on Pin Ups.

38) The Rolling Stones – No. 2 (1964) (US variants: The Rolling Stones, Now! and 1965’s 12 x 5)
Great blues and R&B covers dominate The Rolling Stones’ second LP.

The Rolling Stones, Now!, the US version of No. 2 (there were two US versions, the other being 12 x 5) replaces Irma Thomas’ “Time Is On My Side”, ”Grown Up Wrong”, Amos Milburn’s (by way of Will Bradley) “Down the Road Apiece”, The Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk”, Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Be Satisfied” and Dale Hawkins’ “Suzie Q” with ”Heart of Stone”, Bo Diddley’s “Mona (I Need You Baby)”, Barbara Lynn’s ”Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin’)”, Howlin’ Wolf’s “Little Red Rooster” and “Surprise, Surprise”.

12 x 5 substitutes Chuck Berry’s “Around and Around”, Jay McShann’s “Confessin’ the Blues”, “Empty Heart”, ”Good Times, Bad Times”, Bobby Womack’s ”It’s All Over Now”, “2120 South Michigan Avenue” “Congratulations” and Wilson Pickett’s ”If You Need Me” for Solomon Burke’s “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”, The Coasters’ ”Down Home Girl”, Chuck Berry’s ”You Can’t Catch Me”, “”What a Shame”, “Down the Road Apiece”, “I Can’t Be Satisfied”, Otis Redding’s ”Pain in My Heart”, and “Off the Hook”.

For their debut LP, 1964’s The Rolling Stones (US version: England’s Newest Hit Makers), the Stones recorded a fine collection of blues and R&B standards. On the UK version you get Bo Diddley’s “Mona (I Need You Baby)” instead of Buddy Holly’s similar song on the US LP, “Not Fade Away”.

American Version

A great version of Slim Harpo’s “I’m a King Bee” is on both the US and UK LPs.

39) Savoy Brown Blues Band – Shake Down (1967/2005)/Getting to the Point (1968/2005)
The Savoy Brown Blues Band‘s Shake Down is a gritty collection of blues standards. Their second LP, Getting to the Point, is dominated by band originals. In 2005 BGO released both of them as a 2-CD set. For me, Shake Down’s best tracks are Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Ain’t Superstitious”, Charles Brown’s “Black Night”, John Lee Hooker’s “It’s My Own Fault” and Bukka White’s “Shake ‘Em On Down”,

Getting to the Point has a decent, moody version of Muddy Waters’ “Honey Bee” as well as a blistering take on Muddy’s “You Need Love”, worth comparing to The Small Faces’ “You Need Loving” (from which Led Zeppelin lifted “Whole Lotta Love”). As stated above, unlike Shake Down, the rest of Getting to the Point is composed of band originals which, in my opinion, don’t come up to their classic blues cover versions. The band’s songwriting skills would soon grow, however.

40) Savoy Brown – The Savoy Brown Collection Featuring Kim Simmonds (1993)
This is a fantastic 2-CD set dominated by Savoy Brown’s great blues recordings and blues rock hits. My faves from this set are Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Ain’t Superstitious”, Bukka White’s “Shake ‘Em On Down”, their great self-penned hit “Train to Nowhere”, Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues”, “Money Can’t Save Your Soul”, their solid hit “Tell Mama” (not the Etta James song), Koko Taylor’s “Wang Dang Doodle”, their full 9:10 version of “Hellbound Train” and the Vanda/Young (of The Easybeats) song “Shot in the Head”.

More Coming Soon, British Blues Fans…

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50 Great British Blues Recordings – Part 7

31) John Mayall with Eric Clapton – Blues Breakers (1966/2006)
A.k.a. “the Beano album”, this LP launched the “Clapton is God” graffiti all over London and was responsible in a huge way for the spread of the 1960s British blues boom. The 2006 Deluxe Edition 2-CD set has both the mono and stereo versions of the album, plus 19 bonus tracks from 1965-1966. Eric Clapton shines on Freddie King’s “Hideaway” and “Steppin’ Out”, and Robert Johnson’s “Ramblin’ On My Mind” (an early Clapton vocal). I also like the pop/blues number “I’m Your Witchdoctor”, a single A-side on the second disc of this set. Ignore John Mayall’s piano if you can and savor the tough, early guitar work of Clapton on “Bernard Jenkins”. A nice E. C. lead opens “They Call It Stormy Monday”. I’m ordinarily not a big fan of Mayall’s nasal vocals (I didn’t warm up to his singing until 1968’s Bare Wires); Clapton’s superb playing throughout both CDs is the reason to get this set.

33) Gary Moore – The Best of the Blues (2002)
The first disc of this 2-CD collection is 17 great tracks from five of Irish blueser and Peter Green devotee (Moore owns Green’s famous Gibson)  Gary Moore’s early 1990s LPs. The second disc has 14 tracks of unreleased concert material. Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the fresh crunchiness of “Walking By Myself”, the fierce “Pretty Woman” and the mournful “Still Got the Blues”. “Story of the Blues” and the live version of “Midnight Blues” are haunting; Moore shreds on “All Your Love” and “Texas Strut” and connects with “I Need Your Love So Bad”, “Jumpin’ At Shadows” and “The Supernatural”.

The bonus live disc boasts four cuts with Albert Collins, two with Albert King, and one with B.B. King. Moore and Collins really mix it up on “Further Up the Road”.

34) Nazareth – Razamanaz (1973/2009)
Nazareth really hit their stride with their breakthrough third LP, a crackling collection of meaty blues rockers produced by Deep Purple’s Roger Glover. Stand-outs are “Razamanaz”, Woody Guthrie’s (by way of Ry Cooder) “Vigilante Man”, “Woke Up This Morning”, the Bo Diddley-ish “Night Woman” and “Bad Bad Boy”. The 2009 CD release is sweetened with 6 bonus tracks from that same time period. Lead singer Dan McCafferty‘s raspy vocals were made for the blues.

35) Christine Perfect – Complete Blue Horizon Sessions (2008)
This CD of 1969-1970 material is comprised of the entire Christine Perfect LP (minus “I’d Rather Go Blind”, which is on the Chicken Shack anthology), plus 5 previously unreleased bonus tracks. Original Yardbirds lead guitarist Top Topham plays lead on all the tracks except “Crazy ‘Bout You Baby”. The future Mrs. McVie (she married bass player John McVie before joining Fleetwood Mac) especially shines on “Crazy ‘Bout You Baby”, “I’m On My Way” and “And That’s Saying A Lot”.

More to Follow, of course….