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Many have long celebrated the fact that this dyed-in-the-wool bluesman has never been one to give in to fads, excesses or over-the-top antics. Sugar Ray sings, plays and writes from his heart. This is apparent on Evening which also reunites Sugar Ray & the Bluetones with guitarist Monster Mike Welch for this set of Chicago Blues. Whether it's Johnny Young's "I'm Having A Ball," Otis Rush's "You Know My Love" or any number of the superbly crafted originals, Sugar Ray delivers - as do the Bluetones on this their 5th album for Severn Records!
If you're listening to this exceptional disc by Sugar Ray & The Bluetones and reading these notes, consider yourself one of the blessed - a true and faithful follower of the religion of blues. But if you aren't already one of the annointed, fear not, you soon will be. Simply put, blues IS a religion and Sugar Ray Norcia has thankfully been preaching our gospel from dimly lit juke joints to large festivals across the U.S. and the world for a good many years. The stage is Sugar's pulpit and the great blues masters wrote the scripture he carries in his heart and in his soul. Many of us have long celebrated the fact that this dyed-in-the-wool bluesman has never been one to give in to fads, excesses or over-the-top antics. He doesn't need to and he won't cater to those who prefer their music that way. Why? Because he's sincere - truly and unshakably dedicated to his art. Blues is Norcia's language, our language, and he speaksit more eloquently than any honest-to-goodness preacher or late night television evangelist ever could. Randomly select any one of the dozen songs here for your proof. Whether it's Johnny Young's "I'm Having A Ball" or Otis Rush's "You Know My Love," Sugar Ray delivers - as do the Bluetones - at each and every turn. Further evidence lies in any number of the superbly-crafted originals. Bear witness to "Hard To Get Along With" and "(That's Not Yet) One Of My Blues" or "Too Many Rules And Regulations." Sugar is indeed preaching, but he's not preaching what some would consider 'old-fashioned' blues. He doesn't sing about chopping cotton or plowing behind a mule as some no account boll weavil and his family ruin what would have been a perfectly good crop - Norcia's preaching what equates to the blues' New Testament. It's current, up-to-date and it relates to every one of us - provided we've been baptized. Norcia's choir - the Bluetones - is every bit up to the task, too. Anthony Geraci, Mudcat Ward, Neil Gouvin and Mike Welch offer stellar support across the board. Craig Ruskey

Sugar Ray Norcia - Vocals, Harmonica Mike Welch - Guitar, Background VocalsNeil Gouvin - DrumsMichael "Mudcat" Ward - Electric and Acoustic BassAnthony Geraci - Piano
1) I'm Having A BallTBA2) Hard To Get Along With (Welch) Leroy And The Beast - BMI (Administered by Bug Music)3) You Know My Love TBA4) Dear John (Norcia) Norcia Publishing / DE Music - BMI5) I Like What You Got (Norcia) Norcia Publishing / DE Music - BMI6) Too Many Rules And Regulations (Norcia) Norcia Publishing / DE Music - BMI7) Dancing Bear (Little Indian Boy) (Norcia) Norcia Publishing / DE Music - BMI8) Evening TBA9) I Came Down With The Blues (Norcia) Norcia Publishing / DE Music - BMI10) (That's Not Yet) One Of My Blues (M. Ward) Trajet Music - BMI11)I'm Certain That I'm Hurting (Norcia) Norcia Publishing / DE Music - BMI12) XO (Norcia) Norcia Publishing / DE Music - BMIProduced by Sugar Ray and the Bluetones and David EarlRecorded and Mixed by David Earl, Severn Studios, Severn MDMastered by Charlie Pilzer at Airshow, Takoma Park, MDSugar Ray Photography by Sam HoldenBand Photography by Vinny ScaranoGraphic Design by Al Brandtner, Brandtner Design, Chicago, IL.