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Mick Kolassa | Ghosts of the Riverside Hotel

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United States - Mississippi

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Blues: Guitar Blues Blues: Memphis Blues Moods: Type: Vocal
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Ghosts of the Riverside Hotel

by Mick Kolassa

This album includes several blues styles with different musicians and musical arrangements, all of the highest quality and originality.
Genre: Blues: Guitar Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ramblin' Man
3:56 $0.99
2. Grapes and Greens
3:59 $0.99
3. One Meatball
4:28 $0.99
4. I Always Meant to Love You
4:06 $0.99
5. Trouble
4:01 $0.99
6. Nothin' Left to Lose
5:25 $0.99
7. If I Ain't Fishin'
4:44 $0.99
8. Mama Told Me Not to Come
4:03 $0.99
9. Whiskey Woman
4:10 $0.99
10. Walkin' (Dead) Blues
3:53 $0.99
11. Mama's Got a Mojo
3:50 $0.99
12. Delta Town
3:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
I called this album “Ghosts of the Riverside Hotel” because the spirits of those who passed through those doors are still there, they can be felt. Those blues greats have made my life so much better through their music, and I hope to honor them with this record. As with my past record, this one was made possible through Jeff Jensen’s considerable talents as a musician, manager, and thoughtful producer. Jeff’s band, with longtime bass playing buddy Bill Ruffino and drummer Robinson Bridgeforth, were the musical backbone of this record, and we were joined by Chris Stephenson on the B3 organ to round it out. What a team to start with! We were joined by large group of amazingly talented friends to finish the songs.

The songs on this album were chosen with love, and cover a wide range of blues styles. There are four covers and eight originals, recoding them was a wonderful experience – I hope you enjoy them.

As with my previous CD, the proceeds from the sales of Ghosts of the Riverside Hotel will go to the Blues Foundation to be used to for the HART Fund and Generation Blues



to write a review

Hill Mossor

Review - "Ghosts Of The Riverside Hotel", Beautiful musical stories
If you ask, Mick Kolassa will tell you that he thinks the story is a vital part of the song, especially the blues song. Mick is a good storyteller, and in "Ghosts Of The Riverside Hotel" he has written and collected an album of beautiful musical stories. He's also assembled a cast of musicians who are storytellers themselves to illustrate and animate the lyrics he sings. The album is produced by Jeff Jensen, a master of painting complex scenes with music. Jeff playing guitar, Bill Ruffino on bass, and Robinson Bridgeforth behind the drums form the core of Mick's band, with Chris Stephenson on the organ. Bluesmen Watermelon Slim, Victor Wainwright, Brando Santini, Eric Hughes, and Walter Hughes all join in, along with brother and sister duo Logan and Cole Layman, and percussionist James Cunningham. Kirk Smothers plays fantastic sax, especially on "Nothin' Left To Lose (Robin's Blues)." Reba Russell, Annika Chambers, Logan Layman and Tracey K sing beautifully arranged backing vocals.
The album begins with the Storyteller and his guitar, yodeling the Hank Williams tune "Ramblin' Man." It sounds like he may have been recorded by Alan Lomax back when the song was new, on his front porch, dogs in the backyard, in sight of the train tracks. But soon the train roars through with a firebox full of feedback and catapults us down the line with a driving march that doubles as the stride of the narrator, rambling through his life and, after a brief rest, up to his own grave. Throughout the album, various "walking rhythms" show up that illustrate the song's characters.
The second track, "Grapes & Greens is Mick's tribute to Muddy Waters... and his diet. With Walter Hughes playing slide guitar, Eric Hughes on the harp, and Jeff Jensen playing a mellow rhythm part. They build a sound reminiscent of Muddy's bands.
"One Meatball" is a particular highlight. Back in 1947, Bing Crosby and Lauritz Melchior the opera tenor covered this song, with Crosby singing the part of the Little Man and Melchior singing the voice of the waiter to comic effect. Mick's cover also uses two different voices to portray these characters, but voices created with the music and rhythm. Switching between a depression era swing sound highlighted by the organ and Reba Russell's backing vocals, and a down to earth reggae-like beat, he paints a poignant scene of Little Man's struggle. On the piano Victor Wainwright plays an intricate counterpoint to Jeff's walking guitar riffs. In his dreams, the piano part is overtaken by the guitar, as Little Man's emotions color his memories..
"I Always Meant to Love You" is a tongue-in-cheek conversation about lost love, and lust for life. A cheerful party of a song with delightful irony. In Mick's cover of "Trouble" we can hear the woman walk through the room while the singer tries to sing away temptation. The organ, harp, and guitar give us an lively vision of the Narrator's inner turmoil, while the rhythm section keeps us focused on the sway of the woman's hips.
"Nothin' Left to Lose (Robin's Blues)" is an eloquent portrayal of depression. Jeff Jensen's guitar plays the voice of hope, and depression is portrayed by Kirk Smother's mournful saxophone. They battle in a tragic struggle through a song of painfully apt lyrics. Chris Stephenson's organ brings a haunted mood. It's a sad, beautiful song.
After that moving experience, we are treated to a vacation, and a syllogism, with "If I Ain't Fishin'." Next up is a fun cover of Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me Not to Come." We can hear the narrator stagger through the party, while Mick sings his lament. Brandon Santini recounts the ill-fated night with his harmonica.
"Whiskey Woman" is all about a good woman, from the eyes of a man who recognizes his luck. Logan Layman picks up the bass for this song, and her brother Cole joins Jeff Jensen for a pair of contrasting guitar parts. These parts play sort of like a fugue, especially the interplay of Cole's guitar with his sister's bass line. In the end, the song comes to feel almost like gospel, with the organ rising to the foreground and the backing vocals by Logan, Annika Chambers, and Tracey K.
"Walkin' (Dead) Blues" is another song with rich layers of musical storytelling, and some audile puns. As the Narrator sings his account of zombie (un)life, we can hear him walking through the song, trotting now and then when he catches the scent of a listener. Brandon Santini plays amazing harp, bringing the narrator's failed final flight to life. We can hear the flight, the fear. Hear him tripping, scrambling, battling for his life and losing, all while Mick sings the slapstick story of the life of a walking dead bluesman.
"Mama's Got a Mojo" is a quiet 12-bar blues hidden behind a rumba rhythm. The tune is infectious, even with the sinister chords, and belies the dark lyrics. Jeff Jensen's guitar amplifies the singer's worry and dread. The last song on the album, "Delta Town" is a raucous celebration of blues in Clarkdale, Mississippi. Mick tells us about the scene today in the cradle of the blues, with the legendary Watermelon Slim on Dobro and harp.
This album is full of clever blues stories, songs played beautifully and brilliantly by Michissippi Mick Kolassa and his all star cast. It is good music from the first note to the last. Buy "Ghosts Of The Riverside Hotel" folks. You'll enjoy it over and over.