Various Artists: House of Blues Series (1996)

left hand brand
By Scott Goldfine

The new House of Blues label shows that gritty music still thrives with its first five releases. Best are Jimmy Rip’s raw blues on “Way Past Blue” and the Gales Bros.’ funky blues on “Left Hand Brand.” A notch below are Paul Black’s Chicago blues on “King Dollar” and John Mooney’s country blues on “Against the Wall.” The big letdown is gospel singer Cissy Houston’s “Face to Face,” which collapses after a lively start.

GRADES: Jimmy Rip, B+; The Gales Bros., B; Paul Black, B-; John Mooney, B-; Cissy Houston, C-

Way Past Blue GET NOW (Amazon)

Left Hand Brand GET NOW (Amazon)

King Dollar GET NOW (Amazon)

Against the Wall GET NOW (Amazon)

Face To Face GET NOW (Amazon)