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My Life, My Friends, My Music

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Album Review

Sugar Ray Norcia is well respected on the blues circuit for his contributions to electric Chicago blues, but he has had a fondness for jump blues for some time — and on My Life, My Friends, My Music, the singer/harmonica player pleasantly surprises us by making jump blues and early R&B (of the jazz-influenced, pre-soul, pre-James Brown variety) the main course. Norcia doesn't stay away from Chicago blues altogether on this 60-minute CD; he is in fine form on Big Maceo Merriweather's "Do You Remember?" and Sonny Boy Williamson's "I Don't Know," both of which were written by singers who epitomized blues in the Windy City. Nonetheless, jump blues and early R&B certainly dominate the album. Norcia and his skillful Bluetones open My Life, My Friends, My Music with a passionate, hard-swinging performance of Louis Prima's "Oh, Babe," which sets the tone of the disc — and Norcia's celebration of jump blues and early R&B continues with inspired originals such as "The Last Words of a Fool," "Shut Your Face," the Charles Brown-ish "Think It Over Again," and the goofy "Little Green Talking Frog." Another memorable, jazz-influenced highlight of My Life, My Friends, My Music is Norcia's version of "Until the Real Thing Comes Along"; the expressive Norcia has no problem giving this well-known standard the type of earnestness it needs, and his obvious awareness of the influence that jazz (especially swing) had on early R&B in the mid- to late '40s and early '50s (just before the dawn of rock & roll) is a definite plus. My Life, My Friends, My Music is an excellent addition to Norcia's catalog and is among his best releases.

Customer Reviews

Great record and great harp!

This is a fine blues record with great songs. Sugar Ray is in fine voice and fine harp as he leads the Bluetones through this tight set. For you beach music fans, "Oh, Oh, Oh Pretty Baby" is a great beach groove to get your shag on! But your money down and pick up this great record!


Formed: 1979 in Orange County, CA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

East Coast based blues band fronted by singer/harmonica man Ray Norcia and featuring guitar work over the years by Ronnie Earl (Roomful of Blues, Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters) and Kid Bangham (The Fabulous Thunderbirds). Blues sensation Monster Mike Welch added his name to the list in 2003 with the release of The Bluetones fifth studio album. Aside from his stellar harp work, Norcia is an excellent singer, and at his...
Full Bio
My Life, My Friends, My Music, Sugar Ray & The Bluetones
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Customer Ratings

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