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Kings of Pleasure: The Blues Singles

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Kings of Pleasure have honed their trademark blend of swing and blues throughout the Southwest for nearly two decades. On this album, bandleader Mike Hebert combines five recent recordings from community radio station KXCI's Studio 2A with tracks recorded elsewhere over the course of 20 years.

The album's rarest gem is "I Get My Strength," boasting the late blues legend Sam Taylor on vocals. The previously unreleased 1994 track also features an all-star line-up: Hebert on guitar and organ, singer Cantrell Maryott, saxophonist Richard Sullivan, drummer Tommy Larkins, guitarist Lore Dircks and bassist Steve Grams.

Phoenix-based rockabilly singer and bass player Ruth Wilson shows up on the 10-year-old "Vale of Tears," adding a vulnerable vocal to the tender twang of Hebert's lap steel. Hebert also showcases the terrific singing of Katherine Byrnes and Janée Page on, respectively, "I'm Ready" and "Too Late Brother." A more-than-credible version of Tom Waits' "Jockey Full of Bourbon" features Bruce Halper on vocals and Gabriel Sullivan on drums.

Hebert and Co. also ably recreate the magic of proto-rock 'n' roll on the jump-blues classic "Mellow Saxophone," joined by Hurricane Carla Brownlee on the titular instrument. Speaking of horn delights, Jeff Grubic brings the sax honk to an explosive "I'm Shakin'." The raw, swampy slide of "Grandpa's Suitcase" bounces along on a boxcar beat, while "Put the Devil in His Grave" is a slow soul cooker.

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