March 04, 2016
No matter if it’s winter, it’s time to bring a summer blues festival right to your CD player. Stick in the new release from Reverend Rave and, whether it’s in your car or in the home player, you are in for a kickin’ good time! Put on your flip-flops, pull out the beach chair and slide on those RayBans! The concert is about to begin! The release was recorded live at The Big Bull Blues Festival, held each year in Wausau, WI. This recording was the one in 2013. As a bonus, two tracks recorded at Kochanski’s Concertina Beer in Milwaukee in 2013 as well, and were added to bring the total tracks to ten live tunes on the CD. The band consists of Reverend Raven on guitar and vocals, P.T. Pedersen SC on a killer bass, Danny Moore hits the piano and a mean B3 organ, and Bobby Lee Sellers Jr. keeps the beat on drums and adds some vocals, too. Some special guests show up on a few tracks. West Side Andy and Benny Rickun trade paces on some mean blues harp, while Big Al Groth jumps on the tenor sax on the cut “Chicken Heads.” The Live performance kicks off with Earl Hooker’s driving instrumental, “Hot And Heavy,” and never lets up. Originals that keep the crowds up and jumping are “Walking To Chicago,” “You Didn’t Even Say Goodbye” and “Stomping & Shouting,” which is just what everyone is doing - including me! The Reverend includes the classics, too. Elmore James’ instrumental cover “Hawaiian Boogie #3” is in there. So is a wailing version of “She’s Nineteen Years Old.” Oh My! This is over one-hour of a party! Just pop it in a kick it up! This is also a great road-trip CD. You just have to remember to keep your hands on the wheel and your feet on the pedals. Once you hear it, you’ll understand! Pick it up today. You can thank me tomorrow. Or when you get back from that road trip!
Blues Blast Magazine- Bob Kieser
September 23, 2016
"Best Live CD of the Year" 2015
Independent Blues Scene- RICHARD L'HOMMEDIEU
June 16, 2016
"Best Live CD" 2015
Western Michigan Blues Society Newsletter - Tim Richards
August 26, 2016
I had never heard of The Rev but with a name like that I knew it had to be good and despite a rotation of some members he has never failed to give 110% at his live performances. I’ve seen him many times since and have never been disappointed.
This recording was made in 2012 & 14 at the Big Bull Blues Festival in Wausau, WI., and a show in 2013 in Milwaukee where the Rev leads his high energy troupe through blues music that makes your heart soar and your foot tappin’ goes into warp speed.
Opening the 2014 segment is the rumbling rhythm section of PT Pedersen on bass and Bobby Lee Sellers on drums who lay down a solid platform for Danny Moore’s sizzling keyboard work on the Earl Hooker instrumental Hot and Heavy in which harpist Westside Andy Linderman tries his best to blow the roof off. As always The Rev steps in and lays down some serious fret work to round things out. I think Gerry Hundt had The Rev in mind when he wrote
Walking to Chicago because it’s a perfect fit that showcases some of Moore’s great piano playing. \
The Rev penned You Didn’t Even Say Goodbye featuring once again the dynamic harp work of Westside Andy. Bobby Lee Sellers
takes over the vocal duties on the Muddy Waters She’s Nineteen Years Old and the band blazes through My Life a tribute penned by The Rev for his wife.
Jumping back to the 2012 festival features Benny Rickun blowin’ some fat harp on Elmore James Hawaiian Boogie on which he trades high powered licks with The Rev. The whole band gets down on Gerry Hundt’s Stomping & Shouting which with this crew is an understatement. Big Al Groth and his smokin’ sax makes his only appearance on this disc during Bobby’s Rush’s Chicken Heads in which the band amps up the funk to the point where sitting still is impossible.
Cuts from a 2013 show in Milwaukee include Sleepy John Estes Diving Duck Blues and The Rev’s show closer Looking for Love which does nothing less than set the stage a blaze with the Moor’s pounding piano and Rev’s riveting guitar.
Performances like the ones showcased here are just a small portion a live performance. So the next time you get a chance, don’t hesitate, head out on the run to see Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys. It’ll be a life changing event.
Colorado Blues Society Holler- Chick Cavallero
July 31, 2016
Besides having one of the coolest band names around, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys have a reputation for kick a$$ live performances. This is a pile driving tribute to Chicago blues. It’s mostly covers, but when they are done as clean and powerful as the Reverend does them, it’s OK in my book. The bulk of the CD was recorded live at The Big Bull Falls Blues festival, with a couple others at Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall. The covers are classics: Elmore James’ “Hawaiian Boogie”, Muddy Waters’ “She’s 19 Years Old”, Bobby Rush’s “Chicken Heads”, Earl Hooker’s “Hot and Heavy” and John Estes “Diving Duck Blues”. These are tasty numbers mixed in with some admirable tunes by Gerry Hundt and a few Reverend Raven originals. Some bands are at home in a studio, playing ‘nice’, but the Reverend is at his best on a live stage with inciting a screaming crowd with his explosive style of the blues. Some live albums come out sounding ’tinny’ butLive at Big Bullrealy captures the wildness of a live show. The Reverend’s guitar work is sweet and joining the Altar Boys for several number are Benny Rickun and Westside Andy Linderman, both showcasing some slick harmonica playing that really gives this Cd that 50’s Chicago blues feel to it. This is a fine CD and is up for a Blues Blast Award for best Live CD. If you aren’t familiar with Reverend Raven, this is definitely worth a listen.
Blues Music Magazine - Mark Thompson
July 01, 2016
The band with the best name in the business opens with its veteran rhythm section of PT Pedersen on bass and Bobby Lee Sellers on drums setting a driving pace on the opening instrumental, "Hot and Heavy," allowing Danny Moore to give the Hammond organ a wild ride before…
Bman's Blues Report- Bman
June 04, 2016
I just received the newest release, Live at The Big Bull, by Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin' Altar Boys and it's terrific! Opening with R&B style formal opening track, "Hot and Heavy", Reverend Raven is crankin' with PT Pedersen on bass, Robert Lee Sellers Jr. on drums and Danny Moore on keys. Raven is screaming on guitar and Westside Andy Linderman blows it out hot on harp. Excellent opener! Shuffle track, "Walking To Chicago", is up next and Raven leading the way on vocals and lead guitar. His vocals are electrifying, complimented nicely by Linderman who again does a super job on harp and Moore who's piano work is crisp. Extended lead guitar work by Raven riding on organ by Moore makes this track a terrific track. Two stepping, "You Didn't Even Say Goodbye", settles into the groove with a bit more vocal and composure. Moore rides the keys nicely followed by Linderman on harp and Raven on guitar. This band settles down near top speed of most bands. Very nice! "Hawaiian Boogie #3" is a super boogie with a lot of Hound Dog Taylor feel. Raven is hip on slide and with just a taste of Hawaiian sound blended in, this is a rip roarin', rockin boogie! Moore's piano work is excellent and you all know good piano boogie. Benny Rickun holds the crowd in the palm of his hands with his hot harp work and leads to a sliding finale. Wow! Giving a classic, "Diving Duck Blues", a R&B feel with slide, Booker T style organ, hot harp and guitar and a snappy bottom is a super combo to keep this concert rolling high. Elmore James style, "Stomping and Shouting", really showcases Raven's slide work and Rickun's and Moore more than pull their weight. Very nice! On classic Morganfield track, "She's Nineteen Years Old", the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys (love that name) really settle down in a deep blues groove. Linderman really hits the harp hard with excellent results and Sellers Jr. takes the mic on lead vocal. With well crafted piano inserts throughout and a beautiful solo, Moore is worth his weight in gold. Possibly my favorite track on the release, this band is hot! On funky, "Chicken Heads", Rickun is back on harp sharing much of the floor with Moore on organ. Big Al Groth steps up with a monster funky sax solo closing the track. Chicago style, "My Life", features Linderman on harp and Moore on keys. This is a really tight band and keeping this kind of cohesion in a live environment is super. Wrapping the release is blues rocker with a light Latin flavor on "Looking For Love". Rickun responds on harp to Ravens vocals and Moore lays out a monster piano solo. I really like Pedersen's bass work on this track giving the track extra oomph. With some of his best harp work on the release, Rickum blows it up and Raven closes the door with nicely crafted guitar riffs traded with Moore. This is an excellent live release and one that you should check out today!
Making A Scene- Richard Ludmerer
February 29, 2016
Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys just hosted the Tuesday night jam on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. Born and raised in Chicago guitarist Reverend Richard Raven has been playing the blues since he first saw Freddie King in 1971. The Reverend has opened for B.B. King, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Pinetop Perkins, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, Magic Slim, Elvin Bishop, William Clarke, and Tommy Castro; just to name a few. The Reverend released his first album “Slow Burn” in 1998. Today he is a resident of Appleton, Wisconsin.
Reverend Raven and The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys’ 2010 recording “Shake Your Boogie” resulted in a 2011 Blues Blast Award nomination for both “Best Blues Band” and “Best Song”. They were also voted “Best Blues Band” by The Shepherd Express Reader’s Poll in 2012 and 2014. They won the Wisconsin Music Industry (WAMI) award for “Best Blues Band” a total of seven times, the last time being in 2015.
Live at Big Bull is The Rev’s fifth album overall. Currently The Altar Boys consist of Raven, guitar and vocals; PT Pedersen SC, bass; Robert Lee Sellers Jr., drums, “Pork Chop” Danny Moore, formerly with Willie Nelson’s band, piano; and Westside Andy Linderman or Benny Rickun, harmonica. Big Al Groth guests on saxophone.
The Rev has received many accolades for his guitar playing. The band opens with the first of several songs paying tribute to those slide guitarists who have inspired him. “Hot and Heavy” is from Earl Hooker while“Hawaiian Boogie” is from Elmore James. Covered also are “Diving Duck Blues” from Sleepy John Estes and Muddy Waters’ “She’s Nineteen Years Old”.
“Chicken Heads” is from Bobby Rush. Both “Walking to Chicago” and “Stomping and Shouting” were written by Gerry Hundt also of Appleton, WI. Raven’s originals include “You Didn’t Even Say Goodbye”, “My Life” and “Looking For Love”.
Reverend Raven and The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys are one of those bands that you never want to miss when they’re in town. This great set is just some of what you will hear at one of their live shows.
Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter - Steve Jones
October 26, 2015
The Rev has taken some of his great performances in Wausau at the Big Bull Falls Blues Festival and sand-wiched in a few tracks from Kochanski’s Con-certina Bar to replace ones that did not trans-fer well from the Big Bull Falls recordings to create a very cool live album from 2012 and 2014.
The 2012 set is Earl Hookers’ “Hot and Heavy” and Bobby Rush’s “Chicken Heads.” from 2014 at the Big Bull are “Hawaiin Boogie,” a great Elmore James cover, Sleepy John Estes “Diving Duck Blues,” Gerry Hundt’s “Stomping and Shouting” and Muddy’s “She’s Nineteen Year’s Old.” The Kochanski’s cuts are Walking to Chicago (another r super Gerry Hundt tune), and two of Revs’ originals “You Didn’t Even Say Goodbye” and “looking for Love.”
Anyone who has ever seen the Rev and the Boys play know these songs as staples of the Rev’s live shows. Westside Andy handles the harp duties on half the cuts while Benny Rickun is on the other half. Big Al Groth makes one appearance on “Chicken Heads,” adding his soulful tenor sax to the mix. Along with the Rev are PT Pedersen on bass, Robert Lee Sellers on drums (and once vocal) and Danny Moore on the keys.
Captured here are the joy and energy that is so evident at one of Reverend Raven’s live shows. Thos band has emerged as my favor-ite blues band in the mid-west, putting on amazing, entertaining shows. I highly recom-mend this for Rev’s fans and his fans to be. If you listen to this (or listen to a live show) you will instantly become a fan. Don’t delay–get one today!