Lil A And The Allnighters :: HIP YA

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Lil A And The Allnighters

Lil A And The Allnighters Hip ya release is the band’s first national release and second CD. The first CD was more of a demo made for gigs. Both CDs were made in a short amount of time – 10 hours studio time and two overdubs for their first release Special Project, which was strong enough to give them the opening slot in 2012 at the 15th Annual Doheny Blues Festival. Bubba Jackson introduced them and said to the audience that this band is what makes the Southern California blues scene so special. It took a while to put out another CD, and thinking about West Coast blues revue, a second and long-awaited CD was made. Lil A And The Allnighters’ release, Hip ya, was also recorded in one weekend in March of 2019. The band recorded seven tracks in one day and finished up the last three tracks the following day with a few overdubs and for the most part recorded live.

Two of these tracks were done simultaneously in the recording session. The first one was the late William Clarke’s version of “Must Be Jelly” with a fulltime turn-around that grabs the listener and takes them for a ride to bring the song back with a pounding crescendo, with enough time to catch your breath after Alex Woodson’s blistering solo. Alex then hands it off to Geoff Gurrola. Geoff lays down a stunning jazz-infused, Wes Montgomery-meets-Kenny-Burrell guitar solo. The other song is the Darrell Nulish modern day classic “Love And War,” as the fellas put this groove into a swampy version of the original. In both cases The Allnighters put their own stamp on these iconic songs and make them their own.

The guitarists on the CD are long time members of the band. Bill Bates has been an Allnighter since 2013 and Geoff Gurrola since 2015, respectively. Both Bill and Geoff are highly respected guitarist in the Southern California blues scene, and when not playing with The Allnighters, have established themselves as in-demand guitarists. Now for the third guitarist on this outing I introduce you to Mark Amparan. With the CD release of Hip ya now the broadcasters and listeners alike will be asking who this new Southern California guitarist is. Mark Amparan channels that West Coast guitar classic playing of days past and nails it every time. Mark has played in several regional bands and has spent most of his time with a veteran of the scene, Bob “Pacemaker” Newham. Lil A And The Allnighters’ guitar attack is a wonderful and integral part of the band. With any combination of these guitarist the shows go into a high energy rave up that the band is known for.

Now for the rhythm section – after some hiatus, now back in the band is the producer of this fine CD, Kenny Huff. When talk of this CD was considered, Kenny knew it would be a little tricky since he was to be sitting in the producer’s chair, so Brion Munsey was enlisted, Brion appears on all the tracks with the exception of “Poppin’ Corn.” On the drums we have Johnny Minguez. I first met Johnny when he was backing up Junior Watson. Since then he has backed up a who’s-who of Southern California bands and, when not with The Allnighters, spends most of his time with another fine Southern California band, The Mighty Mojo Prophets.

Lil A “aka” Alex Woodson the frontman of Lil A And The Allnighters, has built his band around the principle of good times and good music. Established in 2008, his focus is what he fell in love with as a young 21-year-old – that West Coast sound. Listening to the greats in the nineties, Southern California was a vibrant hotbed of nightly talent. There were so many clubs. It was a special time for blues. You could see the likes of the William Clarke Band, Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, The Red Devils, The James Harman Band, the list goes on. This is when Alex experienced it first hand and tried his luck on harmonica. The liner notes tell the story as written by a wonderful friend of ours, David Keifer, “aka” San Pedro Slim. Adding to the legitimacy of this CD is Jeannette Clarke-Lodovici thanking Little A and the Allnighters for keeping the West Coast blues alive. So, sit back relax and take Hip ya for a spin.

– Art Martel/ Straight Up Blues Productions



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