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Neumond
Joachim Witt
Label: Oblivion
Release: 25.04.2014
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The Arkanes
Label: SPV Recordings
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Holy Moses
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Prong
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Peter Pan Speedrock
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Release: 30.05.2014
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Singer, songwriter, guitarist James Nixon is probably best known to the greater music listening public as a Gospel artist, but his career has been all over the musical map. A Nashville, Tennessee native, he comes from a musical family and sang Gospel Music as a child. As a teenager he got bitten by the R&B bug and picked up bass and then guitar, playing in semi pro bands around west Nashville in the 1950s. At age twenty he began singing Gospel Music professionally and would return to the genre off and on throughout his career. By the late 1950s Rock & Roll was looming large and James got into it like any other young musician at the time, first time out with an amateur group called the "Bear Lairs". He then formed "King James and the Sceptres" in the mid 1960s, and the band´s mix of Soul Music and Rock & Roll soon became extremely popular throughout the mid South.

By the late sixties James had gone all the way into the Southern Soul Music scene with his group "NTS Limited". This band featured bassist Billy Cox, fresh from "Johnny Jones & The Imperial 7" and soon to be called to Woodstock to work with Jimi Hendrix. It was a high powered horn driven band and by this time James was really coming into his own as both a singer and guitarist. In the early and mid 1960s the three most prominent Blues guitarists in Nashville were Johnny Jones, Jimi Hendrix and James Nixon. All three guitarists at one time or another worked with the Jefferson Street group "The King Casuals". Jimi went on to become the most important guitarist of his generation, and Johnny and James stayed in Nashville doing studio work. When Billy Cox went with Hendrix, NTS Limited disbanded and James replaced Johnny Jones in The Imperial 7 (Jones had left to tour with Bobby "Blue" Bland). He still works with the group, though they have since shortened their name to "The Imperials".

In the early 1970s James got serious about his song-writing, fell in with Nashville´s heavy hitters and was signed to Chess Records in Chicago, though he recorded in Nashville with Charlie Daniels producing. The association produced no hits and James continued with his session work and performing regionally with The Imperials. He also tried his hand at record production, overseeing the Fairfield Four´s "Dig A Little Deeper" album in 1979. He gave music lessons on the side and made a recording with legendary disc jockey Hoss Allen, Elvis guitarist Scotty Moore, Billy Cox and Johnny Jones, entitled "Over 50 Blues". It was a novelty song, but it got airplay in the southern states and sold a few records. By this time James had decided to get more serious about his Gospel Music career and signed with Ted Jarrett´s T-Jaye record label in the mid 1990s. He recorded two albums for the company and had a sizable hit with the single "Stand Up" late in the decade. He never left R&B entirely though, continuing his work with the Imperials and doing studio work with artists like Mac Gayden (Nirvava Blues 1996) and Richard Julian (Smash Palace 1998), among others.

The 1990s saw a big resurgence in Nashville Blues and Soul Music, with legendary artists like Earl Gaines, Roscoe Shelton, Charles Walker, Al Garner, Johnny Jones and Marion James all making comebacks. James wanted a piece of that pie and signed with Black Magic Records in 2000. The label released the album "No End To The Blues" the following year to great critical acclaim. This led to a European tour and the live recording from late 2001 contained herein. It was recorded at the Blues Estafette festival in The Netherlands and features the rhythm section from The Amazing Rhythm Aces as well as singer Mary-Ann Brandon. This session shows James at his peak. A little Blues, a little Gospel, and a whole lotta Soul. These days James is a board member of the Blues Foundation and received the prestigious "Keeping The Blues Alive" award from that organization in 2000. He is currently working as a solo artist and with The Imperials and shows no sign of slowing down. I´m sure we´ll be hearing a lot more from this great artist in the years to come.
 
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