The Bluescoast Sessions, the new CD from the Charlie Morris Band

The Bluescoast Sessions documents the thriving St Pete blues scene, 2017. It features the greatest blues artists and sidemen from the Tampa Bay area and beyond.

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Bluescoast Sessions outside cover

Bluescoast Sessions inside cover

The Songs

1 - Lucky Money (featuring Betty Fox and Lucky Peterson)
2 - One Word: Funky! (featuring Lucky Peterson)
3 - 13 Little Bluesmen (featuring Damon Fowler)
4 - Yakety Clams (featuring Jimmy Griswold)
5 - Sittin By the Roadside (featuring Damon Fowler)
6 - What Your Mama Done Did (featuring Lori Cherry and George Harris)
7 - Sauce Train (featuring Bill Wharton the Sauce Boss)
8 - Fly Gumbo (featuring Bill Wharton the Sauce Boss and George Harris)
9 - Make Her Little Heart Sing (featuring Sandy Atkinson and Bill Wharton the Sauce Boss)
10 - My Baby Don't Cook (featuring TC Carr)
11 - Kick It, Lick It or Leave It Alone (featuring George Harris)
12 - Buckle Up Baby (featuring Shawn Brown)
13 - Tell Me the Truth (featuring Shawn Brown, Josh Nelms and Betty Fox)
14 - The Last 12 (featuring TC Carr)
15 - Da-Nah! (featuring Lucky Peterson, Damon Fowler, Jimmy Griswold, George Harris, Bill Wharton, TC Carr, Josh Nelms and Tom Bell)

Liner Notes

The Bluescoast Sessions were held at Panda Studios in Clearwater, except for one session (#12 and #13), which took place at The Springs in Tampa.
Overdubs, mixing and mastering occurred at Creative World in Largo.
George Harris was the engineer.
Brian Seachrist assisted on a few sessions.
Photos: Charlie, Bridget Burke, Max Dolder, Kyler Ragsdale, Michael Cerone, Jim Tizzano

Recording and Design Notes

If you dig the blues, you're gonna get your money's worth from this one (and if you don't, might as well split right now). 15 songs, 25 musicians and almost 80 minutes of music - within seconds of the maximum you can put on a CD.

I got the idea for the Bluescoast Sessions while playing at Dean Germain's long-running jam at the Green Iguana. Great players used to stop in, and we made some magical music. What if I could record some of that stuff? Better yet, what if I just had my own little jam session, and invited all my favorite players?

Over the next ten years, as time and cash permitted, we'd stop into the legendary Panda Studio, pull out a couple of tunes or make some up on the spot, and see what happened - accompanied by plenty of food and drink, of course.

The glorious clutter of Panda

The old Panda was a glorious mess, every flat surface covered with tottering piles of tapes, CDs, mags, books, memorabilia from a thousand forgotten bands, guitar gadgets, penguins...and that was just the control room. There were several other rooms that had been reclaimed by the jungle long ago. Things are much neater and tidier now, but a bit of the fun was lost the day all that stuff got shoveled into the dumpster.

This album is not all about me - I wanted it to be a showcase for my guests, so that's why I put everyone's name on the front, in alphabetical order. Even more important, I wanted it to capture some of the spontaneous jams that are the essence of the blues, and the most satisfying aspect of music for me. None of the guests here are playing their usual material with their usual bands - I mixed and matched and watched to see what would happen. Stars played sidemen's roles and sidemen got to step out front and solo.

Charlie and Lucky at Panda

Some of these songs I brought into the studio more or less ready to play, and for others I just said "do a 12-bar with a shuffle/funky/train beat," and left a space for lyrics to be added later.

Except for vocals and one of the guitar solos, everything was recorded live on the spot with no rehearsals or charts - and sometimes no idea what the words were going to be or who was going to end up singing. Lori Cherry and Sandy Atkinson each wrote a new song to fit one of these jams (What Your Mama Done Did; Make Her Little Heart Sing), and Betty Fox and I wrote the duet Lucky Money together.

The glorious clutter of Panda

A few of these I've now been playing live for several years (13 Little Bluesmen; My Baby Don't Cook; Kick It, Lick It; Buckle Up Baby), but they were new then, and they all appear here on a recording for the first time. Only one song (Tell Me the Truth), is recycled. This one was on my first album, Bluer Than Thou, but I was never really happy with that version, because it didn't capture the gospel feel that I had envisioned. Well, I don't know anybody more gospel than Shawn Brown, so his B-3 playing was just what the preacher ordered - and his vocals, along with Betty Fox and the rest of us canaries, provided precisely the raggedy church choir that song was hollering for!

The glorious clutter of Panda

I had a blast on all of these sessions, and every guest got right into the spirit of things, bringing their own creative juices to the gumbo. Speaking of which, one of the highlights was Fly Gumbo, which we all made up on the spot.

The album contains a 12-page booklet with photos and information about all of the guests, which shall not be reproduced here (buy the darn thing already), including not only renowned artists like Damon Fowler, Betty Fox and TC Carr, but valued and respected sidemen like Benny Sudano, Dave Reinhardt and Tim Heding.

No list of Bluescoast musicians would be complete without a mention of the late great Rock Bottom (1948-2001). Rock was an inspiration and a mentor to several generations of Florida blues players. Benny, Dave, Dean, George, Jeff, Jimmy, Lucky, Mike, Rob, Sandy, TC, Tim, Tom - they all played with Rock at one time or another.

The glorious clutter of Panda