The Story of Tone Cool, Vol. 1

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Founded in the mid-'80s, the Massachusetts Tone-Cool label has largely been devoted to blues and blues-based releases, though eventually it went into other kinds of music too. Blues and R&B are the styles on this two-CD, 24-track compilation, though. Not many of the performers have a big national reputation; the only ones who might be readily familiar to the casual blues fan are Rod Piazza, zydeco singer Terrance Simien, and maybe Susan Tedeschi. There's a reasonable diversity on this anthology, but the overall aura of bar band competence starts to make you feel as though you're listening to a series of tapes by artists trying to land support slots at a club with...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Founded in the mid-'80s, the Massachusetts Tone-Cool label has largely been devoted to blues and blues-based releases, though eventually it went into other kinds of music too. Blues and R&B are the styles on this two-CD, 24-track compilation, though. Not many of the performers have a big national reputation; the only ones who might be readily familiar to the casual blues fan are Rod Piazza, zydeco singer Terrance Simien, and maybe Susan Tedeschi. There's a reasonable diversity on this anthology, but the overall aura of bar band competence starts to make you feel as though you're listening to a series of tapes by artists trying to land support slots at a club with upcoming gigs by Buddy Guy, Dr. John, and the J. Geils Band. The acts are better than demo standard, true, but they share a good-natured, unmemorable, professional amiability, and the material is only average. The Little Walter-styled harmonica of Piazza on "Who Knows What's Goin' On" is a highlight, as is the gutsy singing of Tedeschi on "It Hurt So Bad." The cut that stretches blues conventions the most is Rick Holmstrom's jump blues-shuffle instrumental "Pee Wee's Nightmare," which has some really weird and eerily unclassifiable reverb and electronic effects.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/25/2003
  • Label: Tone Cool
  • UPC: 699675116026
  • Catalog Number: 51160

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 It Hurt So Bad - Susan Tedeschi (4:47)
  2. 2 Shake 'Em On Down - North Mississippi Allstars (4:10)
  3. 3 Pee Wee's Nightmare - Rick Holmstrom (5:06)
  4. 4 Playin' Games - Hobex (4:19)
  5. 5 Is It Love? - Todd Thibaud (3:59)
  6. 6 Say One Thing - Double Trouble (4:07)
  7. 7 Storms Of Life - Bernard Allison (5:01)
  8. 8 Moving To The Country - Paul Rishell & Annie Raines (4:14)
  9. 9 Who Knows What's Goin' On - Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers (4:31)
  10. 10 Sugartown - North Mississippi Allstars (3:48)
  11. 11 Blues On A Holiday - Susan Tedeschi (3:03)
Disc 2
  1. 1 UFO Alert - 11th Hour Band (3:41)
  2. 2 Blues On A Holiday - Paul Rishell (3:06)
  3. 3 Cheatin' On Me - George Mayweather (4:02)
  4. 4 Yonder's Wall (4:49)
  5. 5 Get Down With The Blues - Tony Z (7:02)
  6. 6 Freezer Burn - Monster Mike Welch (2:25)
  7. 7 Honkytonk Forgiveness - Johnny Hoy & The Bluefish (5:14)
  8. 8 Good Things Come To Those Who Wait - Toni Lynn Washington (4:16)
  9. 9 Big and Hot (3:28)
  10. 10 Rockin' At The Riverside - Mark Hummel (4:09)
  11. 11 All Her Lovin' - Terrance Simien (3:39)
  12. 12 Breakdown On The Bayou - David Maxwell (4:59)
  13. 13 Tough And Tender - Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers (6:33)
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Album Credits

Technical Credits
Bukka White Composer
David Bartlett Producer, Executive Producer
Toby Mountain Mastering
Richard Rosenblatt Executive Producer
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fine document of label's origin and growth

    The Massachusetts-based Tone Cool has been releasing fine discs for over eighteen years. In celebration of their 50th release, they've produced this 2-CD set that highlights their early years, and shows off the growth and expansion that marks their most recent releases. This collection samples tracks from the label's entire history, beginning with more straight-ahead blues sides from the early '90s, and progressing to a variety of blues-flavored works that add funkier rhythms, trip-hop studio production, and rock-oriented country blues. ¶ The label's early years are represented here by the 1990 national break-through of Paul Rishell's "Blues on a Holiday," and harmonica-soaked tracks list James Montgomery's "Yonder's Wall" and label founder Richard Rosenblatt's 11th Hour Band's "UFO Alert." By the mid-90s, the label was attracting talents like noted harmonica players like George Mayweather and Rod Piazza, organist Tony Z (whose track on this collection, "Get Down With the Blues," features fine guitar playing from Duke Robillard), and R&B party combos like The Love Dogs. The label was also signing discoveries like teenage guitar prodigy Mike Welch, whose electric instrumental "Freezer Burn" is impressive enough without considering he was 16 when he recorded it. ¶ Throughout the end of the '90s, and into the new century, Tone Cool expanded its roster to include the sophisticated R&B vocals of Toni Lynn Washington, Terrance Simien's zydeco sounds and the New Orleans inspired piano virtuosity of David Maxwell. Further afield, Rick Holmstrom utilizes trip-hop styled studio wizardry, Hobex puts a techno edge on their blues and funk sounds, Double Trouble seamlessly mixes hard rock, funk, blues and soul, and Johnny Hoy & The Bluefish sing country-blues. Which isn't to suggest that the label has abandoned that which brought it to prominence; the blues are heard loud and clear in the works of Susan Tedeschi, Bernard Allison, as well as the on-going work of early Tone Cool artists. ¶ This is a fine document of a label formed by and for artists, rather than commerce. The consistency of the label's output (which is listed in full within the CD's booklet) is all the more impressive for the freedom with which they've pursued variations on their original theme.

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