Blues Gotta Holda Me (Vizztone)
Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., June 19, 2015
If you long for the glory days of Antone's, look no further than this horn-driven, blues-drenched celebration. Texas Horns teams Austin saxmen Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff and John Mills with San Antonio trumpeter Al Gomez. The locals are known as integral members of the Antone's house band and UT, respectively, while their neighbor to the south hit high notes for Doug Sahm's West Side Horns. Accompanied by guitar ace Derek O'Brien and drummer extraordinaire Barry "Frosty" Smith, the Horns play host to a cavalcade of local blues luminaries including Marcia Ball, W.C. Clark, Nick Connolly, and Johnny Nicholas. Kazanoff adds vocals on Percy Mayfield's "Lost Mind," Louis Jordan's "Caldonia," and the Big Joe Turner-derived "You're Driving Me Crazy," but the band's bread and butter is the handful of rousing instrumentals that put the brass front and center. Mills' arrangement of Curtis Mayfield's timeless "People Get Ready" provides a real standout, while "Soul Stroll" rides a strutting Texas shuffle and "Rippin and Trippin" owes a debt to Kansas City. "Home Cookin" would fit comfortably on a mid-Sixties Lee Morgan Blue Note session. Makes one pine for the good ol' days.