The New Deluxe Edition of Friends Along The Way gets a warm reception
“Highly acclaimed piano master Mitch Woods has gathered recordings made with his blues friends as he traveled the world with his band over the years, with the songs on this double-album being, as he describes it in the liner notes, “in an intimate and mostly unplugged environment.”
CLUB 88 RECORDS
Friends Along The Way
(Expanded and Deluxe Version)
Friends Along The Way Deluxe Edition is a career spanning tour de force. On each song, Mitch performs as part of a duo or trio in an intimate and mostly unplugged environment. The musicians on each track – who happen to be some of today’s blues and musical greats – express their innermost feelings and emotions through their instruments….the voice, piano, guitar, harmonica, tambourine…and communicate the feelings, the rhythms of life to the audience.
Mitch Woods, Roots Music Keyboard Wizard To Release Expanded Deluxe Edition of ‘Friends Along The Way’; Featuring Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Ruthie Foster, Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Charlie Musselwhite, Marcia Ball, John Lee Hooker, and more with five previously unreleased tracks.
San Francisco Bay Area roots keyboard wizard Mitch Woods has set an August 18 release date for the expanded deluxe edition of his 2-CD album set, Friends Along the Way, on Club 88 Records, distributed by The Orchard. The multi-disc set features Woods in simple duo and trio settings with such stars as Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Ruthie Foster, Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Charlie Musselwhite, Marcia Ball, John Lee Hooker and many more. READ MORE
In 2017, the boogie-woogie pianist Mitch Woods released a swinging album of (mostly) duets with some of his pals and favorite blues-style players. Friends Along the Way featured the Bay Area musician playing and singing with such notables as Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, and John Lee Hooker. The 16-track record featured classics by Ma Rainey, Huddie (Lead Belly) Ledbetter, and Professor Longhair, as well as originals by Woods and his contemporaries, including Charlie Musselwhite and Ruthie Foster. Critics praised it then, but the record company that released it focused on other projects and did not promote the jam-packed 68-minute record.
Woods decided to repurchase the master tapes and release the music as a double disc with five additional tracks by artists who already appear previously (Cyril Neville, Kenny Neal, John Hammond, Maria Muldaur, and Joe Louis Walker). The five new tracks are fine, but the original 16 cuts make this Deluxe Edition worth hearing. Bringing these songs back into print is worthwhile in and of itself. This music has been living in purgatory for too long and deserves a broader audience. READ MORE
Mitch Woods has been rockin’ and rollin’ and playing boogie since he first discovered it. “My stepdad got me a piano when I was a kid,” he said. “I heard a guy in our apartment building playing boogie-woogie and I was hooked. My parents got me classical lessons, but I was more interested in the blues and boogie. When I got to the University of Buffalo, I started jamming with other kids. I didn’t realize how much I’d picked up from my neighbor until the other musicians told me I sounded like an old boogie-woogie guy.” READ MORE
This Friday, August 18th, San Francisco based blues keyboard maestro Mitch Woods will release an expanded deluxe edition of his Friends Along the Way recording. The 21 song double CD features Taj Mahal, Ruthie Foster, Van Morrison, Maria Muldaur, Cyril Neville, Charlie Musselwhite, and Marcia Ball to name just a few of his friends. It is a stellar recording! The first cut, C.C. Rider, features Taj Mahal and Van Morrison, and is a incredible cover of the Ma Rainey song. Mitch’s piano playing on the cut is a vivid reminder of why he and his Rocket 88 band have been so popular over the years. And the record just gets better from there! It is a chill recording that celebrates the blues at its roots. READ MORE
ROOTS MUSIC REPORT
For those not familiar with piano man Mitch Woods’ 2017 duet feature get-together, it’s back and, along with the constant good vibes generated by the blues-and-boogie piano wiz & a cavalcade of guests, some standout moments. READ MORE
THE ROCK DOCTOR MUSIC REVIEWS
This 2 album set was originally released by Mitch Woods in 2017. Friends Along The Way finds the Bay area keyboard wizard in simple duo and trio settings with a virtual who’s who of the blues world, with 5 tracks in this deluxe edition being previously unreleased. The arrangements are intimate but effective, bringing some classic numbers alive in a way that is occasionally breathtaking. Every blues fan should be giddy with anticipation here. READ MORE
THE ROCKING MAGPIE
Although I’ve lovingly reviewed a couple of Mitch Woods albums over the years, I think it’s fair to say that he still operates in the shadows of the music industry; adding his deft piano touches to a whole host of albums in our collections.
The background to this particular release is fascinating it its own way. Originally released in 2017 on a label that decided at the time of release to change their own ‘direction’ from music into film and therefore gave it no publicity whatsoever. READ MORE
MAKING A SCENE
When one views this double-CD project from pianist and vocalist Mitch Woods, with its abundance of blues artists, the immediate reaction is that this must be a career accumulation of sessions, as the title says, “along the way” and that it seems like an artifact of the last decade. Both of those notions are accurate. READ MORE