Carl "Sonny" Leyland
  The Carl Sonny Leyland Trio Meets Nathan James and Ben Hernandez
515 Miles - Don't Know What You Did - Take a Girl Like You - Sweet Little Woman - Hooray Hooray (These Women is Killing Me) - City Blues - Early Tuesday Mornin' - Run Me Ragged - Worn Out Wagon - Make Your Own Mind - Wonderful Time - Black Rattler - One Thing I Don't Understand - Oh Red - Sending Up My Timber - The Prisoner's Song - Mystery Train - Nightmare Blues - Jumpin at The Jamboree

This must be one of the two best blues album I've heard in ages (the other being CW Stoneking's King Hokum). The master of blues, jazz and boogie woogie piano and his always perfect and tight rhythm section (Hal Smith on drums and Marty Eggers on bass) joins force with two youngster - Ben Hernandez and Nathan James - for a record that sounds like a party.
They play blues from the late 30's to the early 50's when Delta blues was no longer the main genre but when Chicago blues had not replaced everything yet. A paticularly rich brand of blues, that didn't hesitate to incorporate elements of jazz, like Leyland's piano and James' guitar remind us. You think about Tampa red, Jazz Gillum, Big Bill Bronzy, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee or Sonny Boy Williamson (the first). Half of the songs are written by Leyland, James or Hernandez (and the three of them sing too) and they are so well crafted you can't tell which ones are from the 40's and which ones come from the XXIst century until you read the credits.
They achieve to get this authentic sound without any recording tricks like "let's use the poorest microphone we have to sound vintage", no the authentic sound simply comes from the player and the bright recording allows us to hear each solo and instrument clearly.
They even have a kazoo ! A must have !
Buy it at
Fred "Virgil" Turgis
  Wild Piano
Komodo Records KR1005
Music Hall Stomp - My Old Man - Stalking The Lion - Blowing Bubbles Boogie - Almond Joys - Yancey On State Street - Jimtown Blues - Last Of The Sawmill Boogie - Green Diamond Boogie - Blues For Bill Field - Possom & Taters - Mr Freddy Blues - If I Had My Way - Tripling The Bass - Body & Soul - Baby Won’t You Please Come Home - Early Hours - Witche’s Kitchen - The Lonesome Road - Boogie Woogie Stomp
Carl is no stranger to lovers of good music (whatever the kind of music you like : blues, boogie, rockabilly, western swing, jazz). This very productive piano player presents his first solo album since «Gin Mill jazz» four years ago. Just him and his piano recorded at The Old Town Music Hall wich gives the perfect sound for this kind of stuff . Half of the songs are Carl’s compositions with tribute to masters of the old time piano Jimmy Yancey (Yancey On State Street) or Willie «The Lion» Smith (Stalking With The Lion). You also have a new rendition of Carl’s tour de force «Witches’ Kitchen» played even faster than the first version heard on «Gin Mill Jazz». Classics are not forgotten with «Body & Soul», the bluesy «Baby Won’t You Please Come Home» (He’s not only an amazing piano player, he’s a great singer too) and Albert Ammons’Boogie Woogie Stomp. «Possom & Taters» a ragtime tune from the 1900’s makes you regret that Leyland have never recorded a full album of pre-world war 1 piano. Maybe more in volume 2, because the liner notes say that this cd represents only half of the session.
Fred "Virgil" Turgis
    Studio Session
Komodo Records 1002
Margie - Cabbage Greens - One Sweet Letter From You - Memphis Blues - B Flat Boogie - Good Gravy Rag - St. Louis Blues - Body & Soul - My Old Kentucky Home - Argyle Avenue Breakdown - Slow Blues - Blame It On The Blues - Kansas City Southern - Two Key Boogie - Swipesy Cakewalk - Come Day & Go Day - Pancake Charlie - Final Cut Boogie.
If you liked the live album, there’s no reason to dislike the studio one. 18 cuts, with almost half credited to Carl, and that’s a good point ‘cause this guy knows how to write songs and boogies. The cd starts with a good instrumental rendition of «Margie», then goes into a blues with Cabbage Greens (Champion Jack Dupree and Big Bill Bronzy). WC Handy, the Father of the blues, is not forgotten here with «Memphis Blue» and «St Louis Blues» (with some kind of a latin beat). Those covers are great but as I said before the main force lays in Carl’s songs, especially the last song, the well named «Final Cut Boogie». On this album too, Eggers and Smith are on top. I’ve heard that a third album with this line-up has been issued. I can’t wait to hear it
Fred "Virgil" Turgis
  Broadway Boogie
Komodo Records 1001
47th Street Jive - Farrish Street Jive Don’t Lie To Me - Swanee River Boogie - Song of the Wanderer - Kansas City - Flying Crow Blues - Rocking the House - Pipeliner’s Blues - Stack o’Lee - Shreveport Fairwell - Spo-Dee-o-Dee - Yearning - Black Hearted Woman - Broadway Boogie - Old Fashion Love
Following Carl Leyland’s carreer is not the easiest thing on earth as this guy recorded many albums on many labels from different countries : England (No Hit), Finland (Goofin’), France (Honky Tonk) and USA (Piano Joys, Hightone). The latest is Carl’s bassist own Komodo records. The first one is a great live album very well recorded. Even if I was really impressed by his rhythm section on Farrish Street Jive (Kevin Smith on bass and Shaun Young on drums) I must admit this one blew my mind up. «Veteran» Hal Smith is everything someone can ask from a swing drummer and his team with bassist Marty Eggers is quite effective. As I’m not a boogie woogie specialist (although I like it), I won’t go into stylistic remarks and comments. You have mainly instrumentals here, a few vocals (Don’t Lie to Me, Kansas City and a superb rendition of Stack O’Lee). Some songs can be found on his previous albums (Farrish Street Jive, Shreveport Farewell, Drinkin’ Wine) but most are unissued as is my favorite «Yearnin».
Fred "Virgil" Turgis

I Like Boogie Woogie
On The Hill

Carl likes BoogieWoogie and plays it like no one else today, but not only, this is what this cd proves. It features the many sides of the english piano player : hillbilly, rockabilly, rural and city blues, and of course some boogie-woogie too.
Ten of the tracks included here have been previously released on Willie Lewis’ Rock-A-Billy records, which proves that Leyland is a serious cat about his music.
You’ll find Leyland playing harmonica, guitar and piano. The other musicians listed are Walter Leyland (Carl’s father), Ashley Kingman, Joey Torres, and some tracks are from the Krewmen, when they played the meanest rocking blues you could hear in 1985, before Carl left and their psychobilly era.
Historical (you’ll find some of Carl’s early sides) and musical value.

Fred "Virgil" Turgis