Voodou By You

"After roaming the country from coast to coast, multi-instrumentalist Nelsen Adelard has settled down in Clearwater. His new group features former band mate John Puhl on guitar, Mick Donner on bass, and Paul Christman on drums. Adelard handles the lead vocals, keyboards, and harmonica in addition to writing the nine songs featured on his sixth release.

The opener, "I Need Tonight With You," sounds like it came out of the Louisiana swamps, reeking of loneliness punctuated by Puhl's biting licks. The leader's harp leads the way on "Mon Cheri," a sturdy shuffle propelled by Christman's rolling beat. Puhl introduces "May Just Have To Set You Free" before Adelard pours out his agony over a mistreating woman. Guest Mark Norris almost steals the show with a muscular sax solo. He is also in on board for the funky "Get In The Groove," which sports a hypnotic hook. The title track is built on a mean guitar riff and another of Adelard's stellar vocal performances.

"Boom" is a stripped-down performance with Adelard's robust vocal and tough harp riding Christman's solid rhythm. The arrangement on "Train Whistle Blues" features acoustic guitars but Puhl switches to electric for his brief solo. Adelard supplies a rolling piano solo that acts as a counterpoint to the lonesome wails from his harp. "I'm Gone" continues in the acoustic country blues vein with some vibrant guitar picking. One final number, "Down The Road I Go," is an instrumental that showcases the leader's tough harp playing.

Nelsen's appearances at Ella's Cafe for Soul Food Sunday have been well-received and he has played other area gigs, primarily in Dunedin. If you get a chance, make sure you catch this band that is steeped in the blues tradition. Once you hear them, you will definitely want a copy of this seamless examination of life's ups and downs.

- Mark Thompson - Suncoast Blues - June 2015

Voodou By You

"A Testament to the Blues"..What can I say about a man who has obviously paid his dues and honed his talents to produce an album that, in my opinion, is a testament to modern and traditional blues music. With scorching guitar licks, searing harmonica, a solid rhythm section and up front vocals that belt out Nelsen's lyrics about life, friends and what is close to his heart, this album is a must for your collection that will earn repeated plays.

- Marty "Memphis" Delia - Blues and Roots - May 2015

South By Southwest

Nels[e]n Adelard's most recent disc is a treat. Nels[e]n was on the West Coast for a number of years, and he recently relocated from Southern California to Mississippi. Here he plays harmonica, guitar, piano and sings [and writes nine of the eleven tracks] -- and he does each with an abundance of energy and joy. The first two cuts here "One More Mile To Go" and "Rocket 88" were recorded live back in 2006 by the West Coast Band--Nels[e]n[guitar, harp and vocals] and John Duzik on bass, Uncle Ben Beckley on drums, Mikey Mo on guitar and Mark Norris on sax--and they set a high standard for the new band to follow on the rest of the disc. But it soon becomes obvious that moving has lubricated Adelard's song writing in really good ways. These new songs stick in your head. And the band--Nels[e]n with Louisiana natives James Slaughter on bass and Greg Worley on drums--is surely up to the challenge. Nothing is fancy, but these guys splash love and chops all over this disc. There are songs here from "I Ain't Gonna Miss LA" which wouldn't sound out of place on a Randy Newman disc. "Sweet Home In McComb" sounds like Fats Domino, and "Do What You Do" sounds like Dr John, and "Rock It Right" sounds like a Memphis-style swing boogie. "Boogie Down The Road" is my favorite song here, an especially sweet driving song--I'd really love to hear this on the radio, but it would be hard for me to stay under the speed limit! My only quibble is I wish there were a few more songs here.

This is a fine disc, and an artist that many people would like. This is uplifting happy blues music. This disc is on Blue Track Records, and you can buy this disc from Nels[e]n's website: http://www.nelsenadelard.com/

- Bruce - sundaynightbluesproject - January 2009

South By Southwest

No, Nelsen Adelard's new album doesn't have anything to do with Austin's annual South By Southwest music festival. Rather, it traces Adelard's own journey, physical as well as musical, from the West Coast Blues scene to the Deep Blues of McComb Mississippi. Along the way, South By Southwest showcases Adelard's tremendous personal and musical versatility.

The disc includes a few familiar roots standards like Rocket 88 and James Cotton's One More Mile. Most the album however, is original material by Adelard. One of the Renaissance Men of Modern Blues, he lays down vocal, guitar, harmonica and piano tracks for the album ( In addition to writing and arranging eight of South By Southwest's new songs and co-producing the album)

Adelard clearly enjoys showcasing his musical range, treating listeners to Blues styles as diverse as jump, Chicago electric and even some Blues rock. Some listeners may find this constant variation frustrating. Many others will find the range of musical efforts enchanting. Adelard may sound like Stevie Ray Vaughn on one song, like he's fronting for GE Smith and the Saturday Night Live Band on the next, and then like he's channeling the spirit of jazz singer Scatman Crothers on a third.

While many of the original tracks draw deeply on Delta traditions, original numbers like I Aint Gona Miss LA and Contractor Blues find their inspiration in more modern sources of misery.

Occasionally the rhythm on South By Southwest doesn't achieve the same heights reached by the melody and lyrics. But this is one of the few small disappointments on an album that consistently delights and surprises with top quality Blues music.

- Jonathan Black - Living Blues - December 2008

South By Southwest

Nelsen Adelard is one of the more consistently underrated Southern California blues cats on the scene today. South By Southwest (Blue Track Records), his fifth album, continues his trend of first-rate blues delivered in "no nonsense" fashion. Adelard, who plays guitar, piano and harmonica, is backed by James Slaughter (bass) and Greg Worley (drums) on most cuts. He's also joined by the West Coast Band ---John Duzik (bass), Ben Beckley (drums), Mikey Mo (lead guitar) and Mark Norris (sax).

The disc opens with an up-tempo live cut, "One More Mile To Go," performed in front of an enthusiastic audience, featuring some nice harp from Adelard on the James Cotton cover. The big band stays on for a rollicking remake of Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88"; this song can only be done justice if it's got a smokin' sax solo, and Norris is up to the task. South By Southwest takes a decidedly downhome turn after the two live cuts, moving on to doing all original material with the trio. "I Ain't Gonna Miss LA" is a pleasant mid-tempo ditty which would sound good played on the back porch; one could easily imagine Randy Newman singing this song. For anyone who's ever had a new home built that just wasn't right, "Contractor Blues" will strike a nerve with you. Adelard sings with such conviction that you wonder whether this mid-tempo blues is somewhat autobiographical. He also plays a pretty mean harp. Adelard sings, "I got doors that won't close ... and walls that leak ... made me so mad ... well I can't hardly speak ... hey Mr. Contractor ... I need a house that I can use ..." Adelard shows off both his piano playing and acoustic guitar picking on the jazzy "Do What You Do" before heading back more into an electric blues vein with "Rock It Right." I especially like his bluesy guitar solo laid over top of a fine shuffle beat and Slaughter's walking bass line. Adelard shows off his versatility by also laying down good harp and piano solos.

"Can't Get Through To You" is a mournful slow blues that's got a fuller sound than some of the previous cuts. I'm thinking there's some uncredited accompaniment here. Regardless, they've got a nice blues thing going on.

The album ends with a lazy blues, "Sweet Home In McComb," a song that evokes memories of drinking mint juleps under a cypress tree (regardless of whether or not you've ever had that experience). Adelard plays some nice piano here.

Nelsen Adelard is a performer who deserves a wider audience. South By Southwest is just further proof that more blues fans need to be listening to his music.

- Bill Mitchell - Blues Bytes - December 2008

South By Southwest

The West Coast blues scene has lost a regular due to the departure of Nelsen Adelard for his new home in McComb, Missisippi, but it resulted in an outstanding fifth solo album release that all of us (including the West Coast) can enjoy. "South by Southwest" offers us some insight into Adelard's feelings about the move and both his old and new homes. The first two tracks of the CD were recorded live from one of his last LA shows in July 2006 before leaving town. We can see why Nelsen and his band were a staple for LA blues. "One More Mile" is a hot number with some great horn accompaniment by Mark Norris on sax and the classic "Rocket 88" is a great rendition, also helped out by Norris' horn. The next eight tracks are all originals, covering the move from LA to McComb. He begins his travelogue with "I Ain't Gonna Miss LA" and ends with "Sweet Home In McComb", the start and end points of his move. Adelard bemoans missing the nights in Hollywood, his friends, his band and his baby, but not LA in a little West Coat Jump style. The McComb track is a slow, New Orleans styled blues number about his new home in McComb; Nelsen says that, "no matter where I roam, I'm comin' back to my home in McComb". Building a new house gave Adelard the blues and he documents that well with "Contractor Blues." Anyone who has built a new house or renovated an old one knows what he's talking about in "needing a house he can use". Nelson mostly focuses on guitar, harp and vocals, but he gives us a nice little bit of his boogie woogie piano starting in "Do What You Do"and in the next two tracks. "Can't Get Through to You" is a slow bluesy rock song with song with some nice guitar licks and then Adelard flows that into a more rocking number called "Boogie on Down the Road," with a big, rocking electric guitar sound and his harp playing back and forth with each other. This is a solid CD. If you are already a Nelsen Adelard fan, you'll find this album much to your liking. If you are new to Adelardom, you get a super glimpse of what he can do stylistically; he is equally comfortable with all forms of the blues and shows off his talents well. I've listened to this CD a lot in the course of prepping to review it, some from necessity but mostly because I really loved it! - Steve Jones - Crossroads Blues Society - November 2008

South By Southwest

Last year I cranked out a very positive review of Nelsen Adelard's 2007 release, Blues Still Got A Hold On Me. It was full of great tunes and nice mix of West Coast jump, and other interesting facets of the Blues. At that time Nelsen had already moved to McComb, Mississippi, and the recording was actually a re-release of a cd he had done with his swingin' Los Angeles band. The first two tunes on this new cd are also recorded with the same band, but after that it is all Nelsen Adelard and a couple of French Quarter Bluesmen, James Slaughter on bass and Greg Worley on drums.

This is a very smooth production, and Nelsen produced it. He also plays all the guitar, harmonica, and piano, as well as presenting a very captivating vocal range. After a fine opening with James Cotton's One More Mile To Go, and everyone's favorite Rocket 88, he brings us I Ain't Gonna Miss LA. Nelsen wrote a number of songs on this cd that expresses his feelings about moving from LA to MS. For those of us that have made major life changes, it really hits home. You miss your friends, and he says he misses his band the most, but you don't miss the mess you were living in. On the other hand, the Contractor Blues is all too familiar to anyone building a house and especially the many folks living in the Gulf region and suffered from the destruction of hurricanes. His Rock It Right is pure jump and really highlights his piano and harp playing. Then he slows it down and gets a smoky flavor in his vocals, and music, to Shake Off Some Of That Gloom. Boogie On Down The Road is a raucous Blue-Rock tune that shows his guitar work can keep up with the upper echelon of guitar slingers. Sweet Home in McComb resolves that he's made the transition to life in the Delta. The love of a good woman and the home of the Blues are pretty satisfying.

- Randy Hoffman - Blues Blowtorch Society - October 2008

South By Southwest

If you're looking for a great release of diverse blues material written and performed by an artist at the top of his game, "South By Southwest" by Nels[e]n Adelard fits the bill. Adelard is the real deal.

- James Nagel - October 2008

South By Southwest

Sweet, made me think about Big mama's hot apple pie when it started... seriously.

- Tasha Dillon - McComb Festival - September 2008

Blues Still Got A Hold On Me

. . . Adelard wrote nine of the ten songs on the disc. The 10th is a sparsely accompanied harmonica driven cover of the classic tune "Ain't Misbehavin'," allowing the lyrics to stand front and center. In addition to vocals, he also brings to the CD guitar, harmonica and keyboard skills.

Nelsen covers a wide range of styles here. There's jump blues on the opening track "Don't Stop Now". Slide guitar opens "Tell Me Honey Why'd You Do Me Wrong," and then the song goes into a groove reminiscent of Willie Dixon's "I'm Ready" with a tasty sax solo from Rick Arbuckle. "Black and Blue" is a moody slow reflection of love gone wrong. "Give It One More Try" is a moving, soul influenced swell of organ and sax, with a very 70's AM radio feel. There's a slow, humid, swampy rhythm to "Jacko's On The Bayou". Nelsen does a fine job here, especially vocally. It always sounds like him, but his voice seems to custom fit every song and style.

I'm not sure why they remix - I've never heard the original release, but the original issue is sold out and no longer available. This one's clean without being too crisp, and pleasant on the ear. Maybe the point Nelsen Adelard is trying to make is that the blues have STILL got a hold on him.

- Blue Lisa - Southwest Blues CD Review - November 2007

Blues Still Got A Hold On Me

OK, this one is on my list of the best independent Blues cd's of the year. All the way through, different styles of Blues music knocked me out. Nelsen Adelard, originally out of the LA area, now transplanted to MS, has put together a well produced disc that really entertains. Nelsen is the songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, harp and keyboards player. He has Steve Gabil backing him on guitar, Rick Arbuckle on sax, Michael De Gaulejac on drums and Michael Monarch playing keys, some slide guitar and producing this disc. Originally released by J Bird Records in 1999, it's been re-mastered by engineering wizard Richard Robinson for this release.

The cd opens with a jumpin' and jivin' tune called Don't Stop Now. Not only does the tune insure that you don't, it introduces you, right off the bat, to the talents of the band, starting with hot twelve bar sessions of guitar, sax, and harp. Then the song grabs you and won't let go. You are into it all the way to the end of the cd.

The title tune, Blues Got A Hold On Me, has that affect on me, too. The slide work was smooth. I kept trying to place what other artist produced a tune with that familiar sound, maybe southerner Ace Moreland? What's important is that its' a good strong sound, and a well written song.

Jacko's In The Bayou, has that Louisiana swamp feel. You can feel the fog, intrigue and backwoods justice comin' 'round. This tune exemplifies the diversity of the music on the disc, yet it holds a bluesy feel throughout.

The cd closes with the old standard, Ain't Misbehavin'. It has very nice jazzy feel without getting lost in itself. Again, it's a familiar sound, but fresh take on the tune.

If you'd like to check it out, his website is www.nelsenadelard.com. He has some sound clips linked up and I'm putting this one back in rotation in my car cd player. The band will be touring mostly in the South until next summer, when they will hit the road to promote their upcoming release. I'll be looking forward to that!

-- Randy Hoffman - Blues Blowtorch Society

Blues Still Got A Hold On Me

A professional musician since the age of 15. Nelsen Adelard cut his teeth on the East Coast's Blues Circuit. His Blues Journey has taken him to both coasts, to Louisiana and to his current home in Mississippi. It's a journey that has shaped Adelard's music with influences from each region clearly evident on Blues Still Got A Hold On Me. Nine of the ten tracks here are original compositions and the triple threat performer ( guitar, keyboards, harmonica ) scores throughout with dazzling harp and melodic guitar lines that are all framed by a genuine blues sensibility. Blues Still Got A Hold On Me is a very satisfying listen and one of the top indy blues releases so far this year

-- October 2007 Living Blues

Blues Still Got A Hold On Me

Blues Still Got A Hold On Me is the reissue of Nelsen's first album, originally released in 1999. This one grabs the listener from the first note and holds on for all it's worth throughout. Adelard is a well-rounded performer...a solid vocalist, excellent guitarist, more than proficient on harp and he plays keyboards. In short, Nelsen Adelard does everything short of walking on water...and does it well. He's also an exceptional songwriter, writing nine of the CD's ten tunes. From straight-ahead Blues tunes to Jump and soulful ballads, this band handles it as well as anyone I've heard to date...and I've heard them all. I've always stated that, generally speaking, an artist is only as good as his backing band. This band has what it takes to get the job done and then some. This piece is so sweet that I almost feel I owe the band an apology for not being familiar with their work. There's not a cut on the CD that I would not recommend highly. If this one is not available through your local record store, check out the website at: www.nelsenadelard.com. It's worth the effort.

-- Bill Wilson Billtown Blue Notes

Blues Still Got A Hold On Me

Nelsen opens the CD with "Don't Stop Now" This is a rockin' jump blues number that perfectly showcases the talent of the band. Everybody gets a chance to show off. It is a strong vocal performance with solos by guitar, sax, and harp The second number, "Tell me Honey, Why'd You Do Me Wrong" is a somewhat less rocking song that features some tasty guitar and sax work.

Next comes the slow, highly emotional blues ballad "Black And Blue". Nelsen's voice contorts to deliver the songs message in the truest of blues forms. At slot four, he inserts the title track, "Blues Got A Hold On Me". It really features Nelsen's vocal and harmonica skills. On through the highlights of the remaining tracks, "Give It One More try" is a heart-wrenching soul blues ballad. It could have been written for and performed by Otis Redding. It perfectly demonstrates the emotion and strength of Nelsen's voice for interpreting different styles. As might be surmised from the titles, "Jackos on the Bayou" is a Louisiana flavored number and "Gotta Boogie" is a toe-tappin' boogie-woogie tune.

The CD closes with the only song not written by Adelard and what an interesting choice it is - "Ain't Misbehavin". Yes, it's that classic old "Ain't Misbehavin" first recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1929. It is brought up to date and seems fresh and new as presented here by Nelsen Adelard.

This is a good CD - well worth a listen!

-- Charlie Johnson

Blues Still Got A Hold On Me

In a post modern world filled with mediocre music this album is a refreshing take on a genre that has its heart planted in the soul of almost every other genre of music heard today. Nelsen and the band kick off the party with a rockin' blues tune titled "Don't Stop Now" if you were sitting still before this number started playing you won't by the end. It starts the album off right and leaves the listener hungry for more.

Next up on the play list (Tell me "Honey why'd you do me wrong?")is a catchy blues number with lyrics that I believe any man can relate to, but that aside it also has a "goodtime" rhythm kicked off with some "happening" piano that any enthusiast will sure want to hear.

The next number slows the album down, in a good way; "Black and Blue" is a blues ballad that is capable of taking someone on an emotion filled roller coaster, the heart filled lyrics and the emotional emphases that pours out of Mr.Adelard's heart while singing it, are enough to force a lump into anyone's throat and if they are not quite sufficient to bring a grown man to tears the lead guitar riffs should kick the tears into overdrive.

If anyone has a deep admiration for the saxophone and harmonica the title track "Blues Got a Hold on Me" is the jam for you, although both of these instruments are prominent through-out the album on this track they really stand-out, this track is another "goodtime" jam with all the fixin's.

"Didn't have to leave me alone" has a long instrumental lead in and showcases all the talents that have already been presented to you on this album it's a gratifying listening experience that mixes" boogie" with "ballad" and is good lead in for the next song.

As soon as the album gives you a break from trying to bring you to tears it smacks you yet again, "Give it one more try" attacks the heart chords the same way "Black and Blue" does, this time with a strong saxophone backing and it is one of my personal favorites on this album.

"Jacko's in the bayou" is either a lyrical masterpiece that translates to "Nelsen's in the Doghouse" with "Ezmirelda" being his significant other or it's just a goodtime song with some goodtime lyrics, either way it is another pleasing song that makes you forget that you have been listening to the same cd for quite some time - because you have yet to skip a track and I guarantee you won't be skipping this one.

For some reason the placement of these songs (on the cd) seems to be perfect, although you have a wide array of different styles on the album each song seems to be strategically placed to lead in to the next one without a hitch, which is what happens from the previous song to "Jive Talkin' Mama." The title speaks for itself, and it is another pleasing harmonica jam that some how joins "boogie" with "ballad" again, which is not easily achieved for most but seems to be a cinch for Nelsen and the band.

"Gotta Boogie" is the next track on the album and it is another rockin' blues jam it seems Nelsen and the Band want to end your listening experience the same way they came in - with a bang! It's a great toe tapping get up and boogie jam again with all the fixin's.

The last song on the album actually scared me when I read the title, thinking that the song "Ain't Misbehavin'" by Fats Waller is great in its own right but had no place on this album, come to find out I was completely wrong. The Nelsen Adelard Band's rendition of this song is touching, fun and original and is a perfect end to an outstanding album. The song gives you chills in the way an old black and white movie would - but it definitely has a modern feel and it seems to be speaking for Nelsen and the Band saying "so long guys see you soon on the next album."

For an entire album to not have one disappointing song on it is incredible, this album takes it one step further and gives you an exceptional listening experience with every track.

Michael Giovoni Mid-Town Blues

Blues Still Got A Hold On Me

I first heard this CD back in 99. Not too many people had heard of this guy other than his diehard fans on the West Coast. What struck me first about this CD was the energy that came off every track. Lots of it! Even the slow Blues numbers have an excitement to them that not many Blues singers can capture. This recording also goes a bit beyond the 1,4,5 progressions that us Blues Junkies are so used to. Nelsen and his band takes us a step further. Reminds me a bit of what the Allman Bros did on their earlier albums mixing Blues with Jazz and Rock. Nelsen also shows early signs of loving the south and it's own take on the Blues. My favorites on this disc are Black & Blue and Give It One More Try. Both are true Blues ballads. Not only does this give you an inside look into how Nelsen started his Blues Journey.( Recorded 8 years ago ) He managed to capture a great studio album that has the sound of a live show. A must for anyone who loves the Blues.

Jim Tillman

Nelsen Adelard: Unplugged

This new CD with John Duzik on bass, Ben Beckley on drums, Mark Norris on sax and Mikey Mo on lead guitar, not only showcases Nelsen's diversity on vocals but also on his guitar, slide and harmonica work. His ability to understand dynamics makes this CD a well arranged, fluid, and well balanced collection of songs.

Among the nine numbers, five of them are from his pen. The CD opens with the original "Four Winds Blow", Delta influence at it's finest, featuring Nelsen on slide. "Gotta Boogie" is Rockin and Rollin with plenty of bounce and some very nice sax work from Mark Norris. The rendition of Butler and Turner's "Shake Rattle and Roll" is a somewhat more traditional version reminiscent of the original but with his own stamp. This took me back in time... On Willie Dixon's "Back Door Man" without trying to stereotype his approach to cover this classic, I couldn't help thinking "John Mayall meets Quicksilver Messenger Service" The tempo is relaxed yet bouncy and he manages to preserve his style without losing sight of the original. Very pleasurable listening. "No Good To Cry" ( Al Anderson) has a steady backbeat with strong lead vocals making this number an ideal choice for a closer, leaving the listener with the desire for more.

You will find a modern yet roots-reflective mix of Delta and Chicago style that has plenty of swing with enough slow numbers to keep things interesting....

AM Southwest Blues

Nelsen Adelard: Unplugged

Nelsen Adelard has built a formidable reputation as a harp player, but on `Unplugged' his harp takes a back seat to his acoustic guitar playing, as he works through a selection of originals and covers that steer away from your typical acoustic blues fare. In fact, the opening track, `Four Winds Blow', is the only country blues on this set, a rambling blues replete with plaintive slide and melancholy vocals.

The second track then sets the scene for the rest of this CD, as Adelard swings into a Big Joe Turner medley of `Shake Rattle & Roll' and `Honey Hush' replete with keening slide and sinewy sax, Mark Norris's squalling sax then stretching out, in unison with Adelard's vocals, over a thudding backbeat. `Gotta Boogie' does exactly that, a slab of swinging R&B fired by jumping sax and tantalizing guitar picking and vocals - whilst Wolf's `Back Door Man' and Adelard's own `Woman By My Side' both ride funky riffs - the former featuring wailing harp, Adelard's impassioned vocals echoed by Mikey Mo's wild guitar - whilst on the latter, smokey sax mirrors Adelard's strutting vocals.

The infectious `Boogie Woogie Blue' has a strong Little Charlie feel, with harp and sax swinging in unison; a Muddy Waters medley of `She Moves Me/Standin Round Cryin' features Adelard's compelling vocals riding a mesmerizing riff and moaning harp - whilst `Don't Stop Now' is a jumping West Coast Blues' replete with hip vocals and swinging harp and sax.

The set is rounded out with a live cut, the tough `No Good To Cry'.

Another fine CD from Adelard that will appeal to lovers of West Coast blues, R&B and all lovers of good-time blues. (www.nelsenadelard.com or CD Baby)

Rating 9

Mick Rainsford

Nelsen Adelard: Unplugged

With several familiar cover tunes and 5 fresh originals, Nelsen Adelard's new CD features his acoustic band in a country setting that centers on his comfortable vocals his refreshing guitar, and his soulful harmonica.

His band, featuring John Duzik on Bass, Ben Beckley on drums, Mikey Mo on lead guitar and Mark Norris on tenor sax provides a swinging romp that just won't quit.

Shake Rattle and Roll, Muddy's She Moves me, and Willie Dixon's Back Door Man provide the grist for Adelard's groove mill. What he comes up with is pure magic.

Unplugged takes us back to the music that started us on the road to a full appreciation of the Blues.

Adelard starts his session alone with acoustic guitar "4 Winds Blow" in a musical portrait of what we feel when missing someone special. His slide guitar adds a heap of authenticity to the setting, as we're treated to an original MS Delta adventure.

Most of the session, however, runs with a different kind of roots ambience, as Adelard emphasizes the Blues spirit that predated R&R.

Boogie Woogie, Bo Diddley, Louis Jordan and particulars from all over the country show up in his original songs. Adelard and his band swing comfortably with spirits riding high throughout this highly recommended performance.

Jim Santella Southland Blues

Nelsen Adelard: Unplugged

Although Nelsen has been playing the blues for a good number of years; he did not embark on a recording career until 1999 and so far his album tally is four. Here we have the third and fourth respectively. During his long and varied career Nelsen has on occasions, supported artists ranging from the late great Muddy Waters through to James Cotton, Matt 'guitar' Murphy and Johnny Winter.

As the years have progressed Nelsen's style has evolved into an instrumentally rolling, easygoing New Orleans gait, which fits snugly into a warm and smooth vocally chocolate cocoon.

Both these albums display to great effect the homely, acoustic, intimate atmosphere that Nelsen obviously enjoys playing, with his extremely well gelled band, which consists of; John Duzik; bass, Ben Beckley; drums and on the superlative saxophone; Mark Norris (Jerry Wolfe; supplies a fruity trombone on the album "Take Me Back") . Nelsen himself not only takes lead vocals & guitar, but he also contributes to the proceedings a fat sounding Harmonica and trumpet.

The "Unplugged" album has an open, engagingly warm and cosy, 'relaxing with friends, pull up a chair round the fire' feel. The eight numbers here are a mixture of Nelsen originals and covers, which are; "Shake, Rattle & Roll / Honey Hush," "Backdoor Man" and "She Moves Me /Standin' Round Cryin'."

"Take Me Back" offers all of the above in a similar vein, but with a more of a professional, polished 'on your toes approach,' but, hugely inviting and thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. Nelsen chooses eleven numbers here, in which to delight us with; again, a mixture of covers and self-penned originals. The covers here, being; "Big Mamou," "Backyard Blues" and "St. James Infirmary."

Both these albums are worthy of investigation.

- Brian Harman - bluesartstudio.com

Take Me back

In a day when many blues CDs make the listener think "... been there, done that, heard it before ...," it's refreshing to have an independent disc come out of nowhere that gives a nice kick in the pants to the blues genre.

Take Me Back is the third release from Southern California bandleader Nelsen Adelard. His first of three releases, Blues Got a Hold On Me, received a favorable review in Blues Bytes five years ago; it's obvious that Adelard has improved considerably since then.

Adelard is a strong blues vocalist, with a somewhat raspy but powerful voice. He's also a talented multi-instrumentalist, at times playing guitar, harmonica, piano and trumpet. While he's backed by a good, basic blues ensemble, Take Me Back is really Adelard's show from start to finish.

Take Me Back opens with Adelard blowing mean Chi-style harp on the mid-tempo title cut, later adding pleasant piano work to the mix while Steve Gabil fills in on guitar.

"Sugar Pie" starts with a tight, energetic horn intro building into a happy, upbeat catchy foot-tapper, with a solid sax solo from Mark Norris. For my money, this one's the highlight of the disc. It's Southern California jump-style blues at its best.

Adelard switches to piano for the New Orleans-style tune, "Call On Me," which could easily fit well into the Marcia Ball songbook. Like most of the 11 songs on Take Me Back, it's an Adelard original. Gabil throws in a tasteful guitar solo for good measure.

On one of the few covers, Adelard shows off his harp prowess on the Clifton Chenier swamp blues, "Big Mamou," on which Norris gets an extended sax solo.

It's boogie woogie time on "The Professor Is In," as Adelard pounds the 88s during a short (2:14) instrumental romp that also gives Norris another chance to stretch out on the sax. A subsequent smokin' instrumental, "Back at Jax," is an uptempo shuffle showcasing Adelard's harmonica playing.

The band slows the tempo as Adelard switches back to guitar for the mournful "Blues All Night," a Chicago-style number that recalls many beer-soaked nights in Windy City blues joints.

A song that's easy to sing along to, and will remain in your head for weeks to come, is the fine version of Allen Toussaint's "Brickyard Blues."

The disc closes with the acoustic number, "Blues Got a Hold On Me," with Adelard and background singer Dee Dee O'Malley pouring out their vocals over acoustic guitar and harmonica accompaniment.

Take Me Back really took me by surprise, quickly earning a cherished spot on the rotation of discs carried in my car for road trips. Great traveling music. Check it out!

Bill Mitchell - Blues Bytes

Take Me back

Nelsen Adelard's previous outing was the aptly named Jack Of All Trades. In addition to writing the bulk of the material, he was responsible for vocals, harmonica, and piano. He's even more versatile this time out, accounting for eight of the tracks on Take Me Back and adding trumpet to his instrumental arsenal for an collection even stronger than its worthy predecessor.

Judging from his own compositions, Adelard's a pretty happy guy. Take Me Back kicks off with the bouncy title track, a shuffle that sets the pace for a largely light-hearted romp. Fuelled by Adelard's growling harp (here employed as an effective addition to the rhythm section along with a nicely restrained lead break), it leads into an equally cheerful Sugar Pie, an unabashedly heartfelt love song. Call On Me, with its second-line percussion, shows Adelard's spent time absorbing the sounds of New Orleans, an aspect of his music further reinforced by his choice of covers, Clifton Chenier's Big Mamou, a slightly turgid Brickyard Blues courtesy of Allen Toussaint, and a fine reading of the immortal St. James Infirmary.

Elsewhere there's the barrelhouse boogie of The Professor Is In, a nice nod to Fess, and the soulful, minor-key Blues All Night, which gives Adelard a chance to stretch out with some tasteful, searing lead guitar. Mama Can I Play My Horn? flirts with Dixieland with its brassy accompaniment, while Back At JAX is Adelard's instrumental tribute to one of his favorite clubs, this one a hard-driving harmonica workout with Adelard's Mississippi saxophone holding it's own quite nicely against it's bigger namesake. Things come to a close with a mostly-solo (just he and his harmonica, with a bit of background harmonies) Blues Got A Hold On Me. It's a fine ending that shows Adelard, even in the simplest of circumstances, a gifted tunesmith.

Given how many tasks and how many instruments Adelard tackles here, it's almost a given that instrumental contributions rarely rise much above adequate, although Adelard's harmonica work is first-rate. And there are moments when tempos seem to drag just a bit. But these are quibbles with a project as well-rounded as Take Me Back. Adelard is a superior vocalist with excellent phrasing and just the right amount of grit, and a fine songwriter with a sure and steady hand at arrangements.

All in all an excellent outing, this one's highly recommended!

John Taylor

Take Me back

Singing originals and several classic covers, Nelsen Adelard drives his sessions with a comfortable feeling and solid rhythms. His gutsy blues harp lends itself to this program of Jump Blues, and swinging New Orleans shuffles. Adelard plays guitar, piano and trumpet too on this easy to love medley of colorful tunes. "St. James Infirmary" moves slow and steady with pared down accompaniment.

Singing with just piano and tenor sax alongside him, Adelard delivers a soulful blow that reaches deep into your heart. "Big Mamou" Jumps and Jives with an old time Kansas City Stomp. Allen Tousaint's "Brickyard Blues" recalls the many professors of New Orleans and up-river who have brought us sweet and funky melodies for over a century. Adelard sings and plays harmonica with a cool spirit and an enjoyable rhythmic syncopation.

The leaders original "Blues All Night" gives the album it's best moments. Adelard plays a searing guitar intro, then sings the blues with true feeling. "It's two O'clock in the morning and I walk the floor over you" He follows that message with a guitar solo worth a thousand words. Backed by organ, bass, drums and the searing tenor sax of Mark Norris, Adelard explains the way things affect us in our daily lives. We've all been there, and the way he reminds us goes a long way toward easing our minds.

Jim Santella Southland Blues

Take Me back

Nelsen Adelard is a talented multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, this set featuring him on guitar, harmonica, piano and trumpet; the difference being that Adelard's blues are a meld of West Coast jump and Louisiana/Crescent City blues.

Adelard is blessed with a great blues voice, somewhat reminiscent of Kim Wilson's in timbre and feel, as one listen to the title track, a swinging West Coast blues replete with slow rocking piano and Hollywood Fats styled guitar, will testify. "Sugar Pie" veers into a swinging 50's R&B mould, Mark Norris laying down a smoking sax solo; "Blues All Night" is a moody late night blues fuelled by deep rolling piano, Adelard's guitar crying in frustration is echoed by Norris's sax, whilst his vocal phrasing hints at the influence of Arthur Alexander.

"Call On Me" is a slab of infectious New Orleans R&B replete with shimmering guitar and funky sax; Clifton Chenier's "Big Mamou" generates an irresistible swing fuelled by stonking sax, Adelard's harp adding a strong Chicago feel; whilst "Mama Can I Play My Horn?" is pure Crescent City, a shuffling stroll in the Dixie/brass band mould replete with trumpet, clarinet and funky trombone. There are two jumping 50's styled R&B instrumentals; "The Professor Is "In"", a Longhair tribute replete with deep rolling piano and swinging sax, and "Back At Jax" where harp and sax take the musical spotlight. This leaves Allen Toussaint's "Brickyard Blues" which segues from a moody intro into a classic slab of funky New Orleans R&B laced with wailing harp; whilst "Blues Got A Hold On Me" features soulful vocals underpinned by simple strumming and downhome harp.

This CD will have instant appeal to all harp aficionados, and come's highly recommended.

Mick Rainsford

Take Me back

Take Me Back is a super follow up to Nelsen's last CD. I really liked the last one but this one is a leap ahead, maybe it's Nelsen, the producer, the band or the studio, I can't say what changed since his last CD but he sounds better than ever, just super quality blues. Nelsen wrote eight of the eleven songs on this disc and he did a fine job too.

This one starts off with the title track Take Me Back. This is the style of song I think of when I think of Nelsen's music, it's easy to get into, it's like jump blues but it's more than that, it's smooooth. Sugar Pie sounds like a blast of blues from the past, this track has a big sound with lots of horns, you could imagine a 40s era big band orchestra playing while the singer belts out the tune, it's classic stuff. Call On Me is a fun song done in classic New Orleans style, although written by Nelsen it would remind you of a Professor Longhair song, it just has that great piano bump that sounds like the real deal. Speaking of Louisiana I think my favorite on this disc is Big Mamou. Yes it's a Clifton Chenier song but it doesn't sound anything like Zydeco. Big Mamou is fun and infectious, if this song doesn't make you want to dance then call the undertaker, it's too good. It's not only the good music which is right on target from the first harp note but I think Big Mamou is the best example of what I like in Nelsen's singing, real soul with feeling that he does so well.

You get a couple of cooking instrumentals with this CD, The Professor Is In is definitely a piano based tune with an old time boogie woogie / jump blues feel, it also has a good dose of sax too, and that's always a good deal. Back At Jax is a harp based instrumental that hits me right, it gives you lots of good harp and a big dose of sax too. By the end you have a sax and harp duel and that should satisfy you too. That's the details on about half of this disc, I think you will find other fine songs that you will like on the other half too. Lots of good styles and sounds both new and old on this one.

With eleven tracks on this CD I am sure some combination of them will be on your favorite list. Nelsen's singing is right on the mark, classic in style with a lot of soul coming through, the harp, sax, guitar, piano and the rest just fit like a glove.

Chris Puyear - moblues.org

Take Me back

Nelsen Adelard is a name I was unfamiliar with prior to receiving his latest recording. Based on the West Coast, Adelard is quite the musician, playing guitar, harmonica, piano and trumpet plus handling the lead vocals in addition to writing eight of the 11 tracks. The disc is dedicated to the giants of New Orleans music. One listen quickly proved that Adelard has a deep affinity for the musical gumbo that makes the makes New Orleans music so special.

The disc starts off with the title track, an easy rocking tune that has Nelsen pleading for forgiveness and sparked by his piano work and a strong guitar work from Steve Gabil. "Sugar Pie" is another original song that pays a swinging tribute to a special lady, featuring a full horn section including a fine solo from sax man Mark Norris.

Other highlights include a stomping cover of Clifton Chenier's classic "Big Mamou" with Adelard playing harp in place of the usual accordion. Norris once again contributes a hot sax solo. The short instrumental "The Professor is In" is a showcase for Norris and Adelard on piano. The slow blues tune, "Blues All Night" is another fine original that features an impassioned Adelard vocal and offers proof that he is a more than capable guitar player. Another inspired choice was the decision to cover Allen Toussaint's "Brickyard Blues", a song that deserves to be heard more often.

The only disappointment on the disc was a cover of "St. James Infirmary", a cut that is over before anything happens. It is followed by the closing track, "Blues Got A Hold on Me" featuring some fine harp work from Adelard on a down-home original, supported by an acoustic guitar and Dee Dee O'Malley on backing vocals.

This recording was a big surprise. Nelsen Adelard has crafted a marvelous tribute to his musical heroes. In the process, he has staked his claim for greater recognition for his own talent and skills. This is a disc that holds up to repeated listening. Check it out - you won't be sorry !!! I know I'll be paying more attention to Nelsen Adelard in the future.

Mark Thompson-Crossroads Blues Society

Jack Of All Trades

Had he not coincidentally issued his album on the same label as Teeny Tucker I might have never known him, which would have been a shame. Now, if you call yourself a 'Jack of all trades' you always make yourself suspicious, so let's boil it down some. First and foremost Nelsen is an ace on the Blues harp, but this he is without the slightest doubt. His approach to the 'lickin' stick' is of a daring freshness and directness yet subtle and elaborate at the same time. He might outdo Kim Wilson in a battle, and that means something. While Kim Wilson sometimes gets carried away with what seems to be a narcissistic streak, Nelsen Adelard always plays it straight to the point and by doing so touches me all the more. And it is true that he is a fine guitarist and keyboarder, an expressive singer and a remarkable songwriter of the Blues as well, drawing from the Louisiana and Texas traditions. Surrounded by such real hot instrumentalists as for these takes he can cook up any place, and I bet that's precisely what he is doing


Jack Of All Trades

Singing lead and adding guitar, keyboards, and Blues Harp to his personal arsenal, Nelsen Adelard is indeed a musical "Jack Of All Trades" His latest album is a passionate blend of Jump Blues, Boogie, and low down moanin' that features the leaders Blues Harp and heartfelt vocals. Backed by John Duzik on bass and Andrew Shreve on drums, Adelard interprets ten originals and two classic tunes for a wide audience. His expressive vocal tone and throaty harp lead a swinging session in which rhythm and Blues stand on equal footing with Soul.

Guests play a large part in the big, round sound Adelard's mustered up this time out. His band is joined by guitarist Johnny Moeller, and Guy Forsyth, tenor saxophonist Kaz Kazanoff, drummer Marc Nelipovich and harpist Gary Primich, who battles the leader in a two-harmonica showdown on "In Walks G". Elsewhere, the spirit remains buoyantly fluid, as Adelard sings "RC Cola And A MoonPie" with it's familiar step, a Louisiana Swamp Blues with searing Bo Diddley beat, "I'm Here To Stay," Two lively instrumental numbers, a light Jump Blues that he calls "Back To Hermosa" and a swinger that's aptly titled "Boogie Woogie Blue"
The program finishes up with a tender duo interpretation of "God Bless The Child". With something for everyone to hold onto dearly, Nelsen Adelard has come up with another winner.
Jim Santella - Southland Blues

Jack Of All Trades

Local Sunland resident and Blues musician Nelsen Adelard has worked hard for over 25 years of his life to play exactly the music he believes in, and feels deep in his heart. The only change of late for him is his heart has moved to Texas . ( at least metaphorically) Nelsen recently signed with fledgling Austin record label Hot Rod Records. President of the label and local Austin promoter Tim Northcutt says his mission is to find true talent and help them get the word out to the public. ". How many times have you seen a band or musician that just blew you away and only a handful of people know who they are? Have you ever thought the music was so good that it really needed to be shared?" This is the driving force behind Hot Rod Music and Hot Rod Records: To help these musicians and artists to showcase their work.

Adelard and the band recorded the basic tracks in LA, and then flew to Austin to put the finishing touches on the record with some local heroes. Gary Primich puts his sizzling brand of harp on two songs, and sings back up on an old NRBQ standard "RC Cola". Grammy Award winning Sax player Kaz Kazanoff wails throughout the album. Local guitar slinger Jonnie Moeller lays down some hot leads on slow and Bluesy "Too Bad". Guy Forsyth plays some smokin' slide guitar on "I'm Here To Stay"

This latest album has a great mixture of Blues, from the Jazzy side to down and dirty "Swamp Stomp" Nelsen covers all bases and shows that he indeed earns the title "Jack Of All Trades"
Jim Tillman

Other Quotes

"Nelsen and his band are the Real Deal. Very Authentic Blues with a very powerful Texas touch. I bet they had to put the roofback on after they left the studio!"... Vince Cheney The Blues Site.

"Jack of all trades is an understatement! When a musician can sing, play guitar, harmonica, and keyboards ( not just good but great) and compose 10 of the 12 songs to boot Jack Of All Trades is totally appropriate"... Chris Puyear MOBLUES Association.

"That boy can sing!!!" - Muddy Waters

"True authentic blues, the way blues is supposed to be played!" - Johnny Pierce

"The Nelsen Adelard Band blew me away. One of the greatest CDs to come across my desk in a long time." - Eric Harden - The Blues News

"Nelsen Adelard sings with the power and roots of a true Bluesman." - John Patitucci