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Bman's Blues Report
4.0 out of 5 starsRed Parlor Records artist: Scott Ellison - Good Morning Midnight - New Release Review
30 August 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Good Morning Midnight, from Scott Ellison and it's tasty! Opening with New Orleans flavored, Sanctified, Ellison is really hitting the road running. With Chris Campbell on lead vocal and Marcy Levy on backing vocal this band featuring Chuck Blackwell ripping up the drums, Gary Gilmore's funky bass line and hot guitar work by Ellison is smokin'. Soulful number, Gone For Good showcases Ellison on lead vocal and guitar with a strong radio presentation. Very nice. Reggae styling on Hope & Faith really sits down hard on Bob Marley's style. A really nice track with just the right groove features Jon Parris on bass, Danny Timms on B3 and terrific drum work by David Teegarden. One of my favorite tracks on the release is You Made A Mess (Outta Me) along the lines of Nickel and a Nail or Thrill Is Gone. With Jon Glazer on keys, Robbie Armstrong on drums, Jon Parris on bass and real nice lead vocal and guitar by Ellison, this track is super. On Wheelhouse with Mike Bennett on trumpet, Steve Ham on trombone, Robbie Armstrong on drums, Timms on piano and Parris on bass and Ellison on guitar, this is a really hot swinging jazz instrumental. Excellent! Lumbering rocker, Big City really kicks with heavy boots and Ellison's got attitude on vocal and guitar. Very nice. Wrapping the release is shuffle track, When You Love Me Like This, with solid vocals, cool harp by Jimmy Junior Markham, a great beat (Ron Martin - bass and Tim Smith - drums) spurred on by scorching guitar riffs by Ellison giving this just the right pressure to close a super entry by Ellison.
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Blues in the northwest
Review: Scott Ellison – Elevator Man
Posted on: Thursday, May 21, 2015
Scott Ellison – Elevator Man
Tulsa, Oklahoma born singer, guitarist and bandleader Scott played with Texas blues legend Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown very early in his career, and he has been recording since the 90s; he moved to Los Angeles in the mid-80s. I admit I am more than a little surprised Scott is not better known – this is a very accomplished set of modern blues, sometimes with a soul touch, but more frequently straight blues with hints of Stax era Albert King, or nodding towards a Chicago sound as on the opening, Howling Wolf tinged ‘Holler For Help’; Wolf can also be discerned in Scott’s vocals and the arrangement on the raucous ‘Put You Down’. ‘Arlene’ gives a first hint of the power that Scott can achieve, before ‘Behind That Smile’ slows the pace for a fine gospel-tinged blues-ballad and ‘Fishsticks And Jelly’ is an acoustic interlude.
The title track has a modern funky blues sound, ‘Jesus Loves Me (Baby Why Don’t You?)’ is a strong shuffle with some ringing guitar work, and ‘School Girl’ has a Latin-tinged Chicago sound, a little reminiscent of Otis Rush. ‘Hit It, Get It And Go’ is a real stormer, and the big-sounding ‘I Thought I’d Be Gone’ hits a wonderful groove, with some excellent slide guitar fills too. The set ends in wonderful fashion with the dirty sounding pounder ‘My Little Sheba’ (hints of a Hill Country groove) here and the churning “Freddy King plays the swamp-blues” approach of ‘She’s On My Trail’.
In short then, one to look out for…
MAKING A SCENE
Good Morning Midnight
Red Parlor Records
Scott Ellison hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1977 guitarist Ellison backed up country music star Jesseca James and in 1981 joined up with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. In the mid 1980’s Ellison relocated to Los Angeles and found work with The Box Tops, The Marvalettes, The Drifters, The Coasters and others. He formed his own blues band in the early 90’s and opened for The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Leon Russell, and Buddy Guy. Ellison released his first albums “Chains of Love” in 1993 and “Live at Joey’s” in 1995.
Ellison fifth release 2001’s “Cold Hard Cash” was produced by Dennis Walker, whose production credits include Robert Cray, on the Burnside label. His follow-up recording was 2003’s “Bad Case of The Blues”. In 2008 Ellison released “Ice Storm” on Earwig Records. Ellison recalls opening for B.B. King and being called up on stage by him; it was one of his biggest thrills. Songs from 2011’s “Walking Through The Fire” were co-written with producers Charles Tuberville and Walt Richmond (who also recorded with Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt). Ellison’s 2015 “Elevator Man” was also produced by Richmond. Ellison is a prolific songwriter who has also written songs for television and the movies.
“Good Morning Midnight” is Ellison’s twelfth album. Ellison has co-written all but one of the thirteen songs with several different writing partners including Richmond who once again is producer. “Sanctified” was co-written by Chuck Blackwell, Ellison, Richmond, and Scott Hutchison. Blackwell who also sits in on drums played with Russell, Delaney Bramlett, Joe Cocker, and Bob Dylan. Ellison has always kept good company and he turns over the vocal chores to Chris Campbell, bassist, an original member of Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band. The background vocalist is Marcy Levy who also tours with Seger. Ellison is on lead guitar while Gary Gilmore is on bass.
Ellison sings but switches to bass on “No Man’s Land”; “Big City” and “Gone for Good” written with Richmond. On the latter the writing credit also includes Jim Barton; Ellison’s guitar intro and vocal are terrific, this is a great song.
Ellison has also co-written three songs with Campbell. “Hope And Faith” has a great reggae beat provided by Ellison, lead guitar; Tuberville, guitar; Jon Parris, bass; Danny Timms, organ; and drummers David Teegarden and Robbie Armstrong. On “You Made A Mess (Outta Me)” Tuberville switches to drums replacing Teegarden while Jon Glazer is added on organ and piano; this is a great vocal from Ellison. On “Tangled” Matt Kohl plays bass, and Hank Charles sits in on keyboards. These are my favorite songs on this fine album.
“Last Breath” was written by Steve Pryor and Scott Hutchison and first appeared on The Steve Pryor Bands 1991 self-titled album. Ellison dedicates this album to his long time friend Pryor who passed away last year. The band includes Kohl, Charles, Armstrong, Ron McRorey on percussion and Brad Absher on baritone guitar. Richmond’s production is marvelous.
“Another Day in Paradise” and “Mysterious” we’re both written with guitarist Tuberville who also sits in on these.
Three more songs were written by Ellison with Hutchison; they are the title track “Good Morning Midnight” featuring Jimmy Junior Markham on harmonica; “Wheelhouse” with some jazzy piano from Timms and the horn section of Mike Bennett, trumpet; and Steve Ham, trombone; and the closer “When You Love Me Like This” with Markham on harmonica, Ron Martin on bass, and Tim Smith on drums.
Ellison’s music is laid back. He is an exceptional songwriter, vocalist and bandleader deserving of a lot more recognition. This recording is highly recommended.
Tulsa-based guitarist Scott Ellison enlisted a formidable supporting cast for his latest release, Good Morning Midnight (Red Parlor Records), which includes over 20 musicians, plus producer Walt Richmond, who’s previously worked with Eric Clapton, J.J. Cale, and Bonnie Raitt. Richmond also served as co-writer with Ellison on several of the 12 original tunes featured on the new disc, which also includes a cover tune from the late Tulsa guitarist Scott Pryor, a friend and associate of Ellison’s who was killed in a motorcycle crash in 2016.
On the opener, "Sanctified," Ellison gives the mic to singer Chris Campbell (who gets an able assist from background vocalist Marcy Levy, another longtime Clapton collaborator), allowing himself to stretch out on guitar. Ellison takes over vocals on the rocking shuffle "No Man’s Land," and shows his versatility as he eases into the soulful "Gone For Good," the reggae-based "Hope And Faith," "Another Day In Paradise," and the smoky blues ballad "You Made A Mess Out Of Me."
The rugged downhome title track is a keeper, too, as are the rockers "Tangled" and "Big City." "Mysterious" has a bit of a funky New Orleans vibe to it, and "When You Loves Me Like This" is a old school blues shuffle that serves as a fine closing tune. Ellison also turns in a fine jazzy instrumental, "Wheelhouse," and the aforementioned Scott Pryor cover, the ominous "Last Breath."
Ellison is backed by a large number of musicians, all of whom provide outstanding support on this dynamic and far-reaching set. A fine singer, excellent songwriter, and masterful guitarist, Scott Ellison deserves to be heard, and Good Morning Midnight is a great place to get started.
--- Graham Clarke