UNFILTERED REVIEWS
Paul Filipowicz Blues Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter, Harmonica

Go For the Throat   A CD by Paul Filipowicz Blues guitar, vocals, songwriter, harmonica, producer


"UNFILTERED" BY PAUL FILIPOWICZ

Takes us on a musical journey through time. "He breaks the filter off of his smoking blues and gives it to you straight".

Quick Pick Goldmine mag UK
                    "Paul Filipowicz; The Blues legend you never heard of, forty years on and he continues to impress."
 Mike Goldblatt Goldmine Mag UK


CROSSROADS BLUES SOCIETY

Paul Filipowicz - Unfiltered
Big Jake Records (Self Released)
PaulFilipowicz.com

11 tracks

Rough around the edges. Visceral. Gutsy. These are apt descriptors for the Chicago Blues Hall of Famer Paul Filipowicz. There is no room for wimps here- this is dirty, steaming hot Chicago blues served up to any listener brave enough to jump on the ride. Break those filters off your smokes- there is no way to protect yourself from inhaling this great stuff!

Filipowicz now hails from Milwaukee, WI, after honing his craft in Chicago. Born in Lockport, IL in 1950, the young Paul first heard the blues on the radio one night from a station in Tulsa, OK. He tuned in night after night and got to hear The Wolf, Sonny Boy II, Muddy, and all the greats. At 14 or 15 he first got to see and hear the blues up close and personal outside a club on the South Side of Chicago. Otis Rush and all these dressed up people showed up at 2 PM and Paul boiled in the sun outside the airconditioned club listening to his first live blues. Later, he heard Magic Sam and as he said, "...(I)t clicked. The phrasing was what I was hearing." He has played with many a great and many a great has played with him. He has traveled the US and the globe playing the blues and has earned a place among the stars with his self-taught guitar work and overall strikingly interesting musicality. It's not clean, it's not pretty, but it's the blues played like it should be.

Joining Paul are Benny Rickun on harp, a great young Wisconsin harp player, Chris Sandoval on drums (from Tommy Castro's band), Rick Smith on bass, and a few guests here and there make things interesting. These guys have played with the likes of Castro, the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, The Groove Hogs, Bryan Lee and Dave Mason.

Things kick off with Magic Sam's "All My Whole Life Baby," the first of three Sam Maghett cuts. Filipowicz' guitar stings, his vocal howl and things kick off with a lot of energy. Benny Rickun's harp and the rest of the band join in the fray and it's a fun, fun ride. "Brand New Hat" is next, contrasting to Magic Sam's cut. It's a dirty and raucous cut penned by Paul with some major guitar, a deep groove and big time shouting by Filipowicz. The title track is another original cut. Things slow down a bit and Paul's guitar rings as the band responds to his calls on lead guitar. It's a sweet instrumental showcasing his guitar work, here with a measured and cool pacing. The sax here and on the prior track by Tim Sobel adds a roundness and richness to the band as does Jack Naus trumpet. Another instrumental follows, this time featuring harp player Benny Rickun. "Canal Street" has a big solo guitar intro and then the band joins in. Rickun blows some dirty and mean harp in this tasty and special slow blues. Filipowicz also wrote this one and the band and he deliver a fine performance.

Willie's and the Wolf's "Howlin' For My Darlin'" is up next, a joyful and bouncing blues that the band starts off with nicely. Filipowicz comes in with the vocals and offers a clean and up front rendition on this classic. Guitar and harp continue to impress and the sax her and the prior track makes for a full sound. Tony Menzer takes the bass up for "Everything Gonna Be Alright," the second Magic Sam tune. Paul shouts in his authentic style and the guitar rings as Benny supplements things with his harp. Little Milton's "I Found a New Love," also made famous by Magic Sam, gets a very dirty and interesting cover here. The harp blows are filthy, the guitar is poignant and the band is tight. Slow and effectively dirty blues are what we get here. Up for us to enjoy next is an original entitled "My Woman." The guitar once again stings with a faraway and distant sound as Filipowicz growls out the vocal lead. Trumpet and sax return but it's the cool harp interplay with the backline that makes this one interesting. Bib Gedden's "Tin Pan Alley," first made famous in 1953 by Jimmy Wilson is a cut most are familiar with by Stevie Ray Vaughn. Filipowicz brings this back from Texas and delivers it in his own, direct Chicago style. Great guitar pacing and vocals make this both cool and fun. Lowell Fulson's "Reconsider Baby" follows, a delightful, slow blues with the horns blowing in support. Filipowicz guitar is thoughtful and metered, his vocals grab you and make this another winner. The set concludes with Paul's own "Riding High," with the horns in full swing and the band pushing Filipowicz into a striking and poignant performance. The groove is sweet, the guitar and harp are excellent and Paul's vocals are strikingly sweet.

If you don't like authentic, dirty, greasy Chicago blues delivered by a master of the style, then by all means avoid this one. But if you are a blues lover with a pulse, you will enjoy this one. After one listen you'll be checking Paul's website with see when he next lays in your area. You won't want to miss him when he comes to your town, and if he does not then you should make an effort to go see him live- you won't regret it!

Reviewed by Steve Jones
Steve Jones President
Crossroads Blues Society

Links:
Crossroads Web Site http://crossroadsbluessociety.com/
Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park http://www.crossroadsbluesfestival.com/

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I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Unfiltered, from Paul Filipowicz and it's terrific. Opening with Magic Sam's Everything Gonna Be Alright, Filipowicz picks up where he left off on Rough Neck Blues Live with his raw but focused blues attack. Filipowicz doesn't have a "Star Search" voice but this guy has grit and feel and I love it! His guitar playing isn't clean but it has real feel with pinched harmonics, chord bends and max blues. Joined by Benny Rickum on harp, Chris Sandoval on drums, and Rick Smith on bass, this band is serious. Excellent opener. Original track, Brand New Hat could easily have been written in the Mississippi Hill Country with it's driving bass line and the blues are deep with Albert Collins like bends, terrific phrasing and sumptuous horn backing by Tom Sobel on sax and Jack Naus on trumpet. Super! Instrumental title track, Unfiltered, has a Freddie King feel with underlying rock structure but the guitar work is all Filipowicz. Waters influenced, Canal Street, has glistening guitar chords and is a nice showcase for Rickum and Sobel. Little Milton's I Found A New Love, is another terrific track with some of Filipowicz's most expressive vocals and dynamic guitar riffs. Just listen to him dig in...what else could you want! One of my favorites on the release. Another original, My Woman, exhibits howlin' guitar riffs and an anchored beat punched up by the horn work of Sobel and Naus. Wrapping the release is R&B feel Riding High, sounding more "hill country" than Mississippi's own Mack Rice's  Mustang Sally.  Filipowicz really knows how to milk this groove. His vocals are perfect and his guitar playing stinging with super horn backing. This is an exceptional release with just a ton of vibe! If you haven't checked this guy out yet...you're missing the boat!

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NETHERLANDS

Paul Filipowicz – Unfiltered
Format: CD / Label:  BJ Big Jake Records
Releasedatum: 28 juni 2018
Tekst: Martin van der Velde

Met 'Unfiltered' is Paul Filipowicz al weer aan zijn tiende uitgave toe, om eerlijk te wezen zijn mij de vorige negen vreemd genoeg totaal ontgaan. Paul komt op 24 maart 1950 in Chicago ter wereld, maar groeit op in Lockport, Illinois een klein plaatsje ten zuidwesten van de Windy City. Ook voor Paul geldt dat hij is begonnen te zingen in de plaatselijke kerk waar ook zijn zus de diensten met pianospel ondersteund. Per toeval stuit hij op een uitzending van radiostation Tulsa, Oklahoma en hoort hij de muziek van Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson en Muddy Waters voorbij komen, een eerste aangename kennismaking met de blues. Maar wanneer hij vroeg in de jaren zestig ergens op de South Side van Chicago de sound van Otis Rush en zijn band uit een etablissement hoort komen is hij geheel geobsedeerd door het geluid van de elektrische gitaar en het spel van deze blues gigant. Hij leert, door goed na zijn voorbeelden te luisteren zichzelf gitaar spelen. Ondertussen leidt hij al ruim vier decennia zijn eigen band en heeft hij het podium gedeeld met bluesartiesten als Hound Dog Taylor, Otis Taylor, Lefty Dizz, Jimmy Dawkins, Luther Allison en Mighty Joe Young en mag zich daarnaast verheugen in het feit dat hij is opgenomen in de Chicago Blues Hall Of Fame, een niet onverdienstelijke onderscheiding, die niet ieder ten deel valt.

Paul ziet zichzelf als West Side Chicago blues muzikant, juist op die plek zag hij zijn grote voorbeeld Magic Sam regelmatig zien spelen. Nu heeft hij een aantal tracks van deze blues gigant geselecteerd voor 'Unfltered'. Van Klakkeloos naspelen is geen sprake, Paul weet met krachtig gitaarspel tracks als All My Whole Life Baby, Everything Gonna Be All Right en I Found A New Love (Milton Campbell en Bob Lyons) volkomen naar eigen hand te zetten, waardoor het een en ander net iets steviger gaat klinken dan de uitvoeringen die wij van Magic Sam kennen.

Maar ook Howlin' Wolf's Howling For My Darling, Robert Geddins en Jimmy Wilsons Tin Pan Alley, die wij in ontelbare uitvoeringen kennen, waarvan die van Albert King en Stevie Ray Vaughan nog altijd één van de betere blijken te zijn en Lowell Fulsom's Reconsider Baby komen op een zeer prettige manier voorbij.

Paul's gitaarspel is moeilijk te duiden. Het heeft iets rudimentairs in zich, een lekker ruw randje en zelfs bij tijd en wijle ook best wel stevig te noemen. Wat we ook terug horen in zijn eigen werk, dat volop aanwezig is op deze uitstekende cd. Het gitaarspel in het funky klinkend Brand New Hat doet je heel even aan Albert King denken. De blazerssectie die bestaat uit saxofonist Tom Sobel en trompetist Jack Naus leggen een prima groovy bodem in dit nummer neer. Een rol die ze ook prima oppakken in het instrumentaal gespeelde nummer Unfiltered, een track die is opgebouwd op een lekker in het gehoor liggend repeterend thema waarover stevig wordt gesoleerd door Paul Filipowitcz. Alle ruimte voor het stevige vuig klinkende harpspel van Benny Rickun in Canal Street.

Filipowicz heeft zich met uitstekende muzikanten omringt, en essentieel daarin is toch de basis van de band, de ritme sectie die hier bestaat uit Chris Sandoval op drums en Rick Smith op bas, die slecht op Everything Gonna Be All Right wordt vervangen door Tomy Menzer. Deze gasten staan garant voor een ijzersterk fundament, zo ook in My Woman, dat op een licht funky ritme, met ondersteuning van de blazerssectie heerlijk grooved en alle ruimte geeft aan de rauw klinkende zangstem van Paul Filipowicz. Voor je het weet ben je al weer bij het eind aanbeland en besluit de cd met Riding High, nog zo'n lekker stevig groovy eigen werkje van Paul Filipowicz, waarop hij nog eens met prima solowerk uitpakt.

Het een en ander dekt qua albumtitel volledig de lading, 'Unfiltered', puur en eerlijk! De man beschikt daarnaast ook nog eens over een niet onaardige zangstem. Lekkere stevige blues van een hier redelijk onbekende Chicago blues artiest. Ik hoop dat hij met deze tiende uitgave iets meer naam in deze contreien weet te maken.

Een goede distributie van het album is daarvoor wel essentieel. Mij heeft ie overtuigt en ik kijk al weer uit naar zijn volgende album, met in het achterhoofd om alvast maar eens op zoek te gaan naar het oudere materiaal.

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FRANCE

PAUL FILIPOWICZ
Ecrit par Fred Delforge
lundi, 18 juin 2018


Unfiltered
(Big Jake Records – Frank Roszak Promotions – 2018)
Durée 50'56 – 11 Titres

C'est un dixième album personnel que nous présente cette année Paul Filipowicz, et pour le guitariste et chanteur installé en bonne place au Blues Hall Of Fame de Chicago, c'est aussi l'occasion de rendre hommage à ses modèles puisqu'il dépose sur « Unfiltered » pas moins de trois titres empruntés à Magic Sam mais aussi d'autres piochés dans la discographie de Lowell Fulson ou encore Howlin' Wolf. Accompagné d'un groupe dont les musiciens ont joué avec les meilleurs bluesmen, de Tommy Castro à Brian Lee en passant par Dave Mason, Paul Filipowicz n'a pas de souci à se faire pour ce qui est de la justesse de ses morceaux, d'autant plus que la basse est tenue par Rick Smith, la batterie par Chris Sandoval et les harmonicas par Benny Rickin, cette brochette de stars se voyant rejointe de temps à autres par Tony Menzer à la basse, Jimmy Voegeli au piano, Tom Sobel au sax et Jack Nauss à la trompette. Parfait pour ce qui est du feeling et du groove, l'opus va nous proposer un grand tour au milieu d'influences allant du Texas à la Californie en passant bien entendu par le Delta du Mississippi et Chicago, la réunion de toutes ces bonnes choses donnant naissance à une tartine parfois un peu décousue mais tellement croustillante qu'on lui pardonne volontiers ses petits dérapages volontaires et très bien maitrisés. La guitare massive et la voix puissante, Paul Filipowicz s'attache à laisser le bon temps rouler et à mettre une dose non négligeable de rock dans son blues, délivrant à l'arrivée une ordonnance au rendu très live avec des titres à la fois précis et vigoureux comme « All My Whole Life Baby », « Canal Street », « Howlin For My Darling », « My Woman », « Tin Pan Alley » ou encore « Riding High ». Du bon blues à l'état brut, servi saignant et savoureux comme on l'aime !

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BLUES BYTES

Paul Filipowicz was born and raised in Chicago and his father often took him to many of the clubs, joints, and pool halls in the Windy City on Saturday nights, where he was exposed to the music via the 45s in the juke boxes at each place. He heard many of the legends of that time --- Magic Sam, Jimmy Rogers, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Howlin' Wolf --- at those joints and clubs. Now a member of the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame as a guitarist and singer, Filipowicz pays tribute to the music and artists who influenced him over his 30-plus year career with Unfiltered (Big Jake Records), his tenth album.

Filipowicz covers two of Magic Sam's songs on Unfiltered, including the opening track, a ripping read of "All My Whole Life Baby," and a strong treatment of "Everything Gonna Be All Right," with that familiar Magic Sam riff and harmonica from Benny Rickun. "I Found A New Love," written by Little Milton, but also a part of Magic Sam's repertoire, gets a gritty, smoldering take, and the standard "Tin Pan Alley" is loaded with intensity and smoky atmosphere. The Wolf's "Howlin' For My Darling" gets a boisterous reading as well, and Lowell Fulson's "Reconsider Baby" is reverentially treated.

Filipowicz also contributes five original tunes, including the West Side-flavored "Brand New Hat," an energetic number with crisp lead guitar, a funky rhythm section (Chris Sandovol – drums, Rick Smith – bass) and power-packed horns (Tom Sobel – tenor/baritone saxes, Jack Naus – trumpet), and the sweaty mid-tempo "My Woman," which boasts some of Filipowicz's most pungent guitar work.

Speaking of guitar, Filipowicz also includes three dandy instrumentals. The title track sounds like a long-lost Freddie King track from the '60s, while the slow and easy "Canal Street" sounds like an old Little Walter number with Rickun's harmonica. The closer "Riding High" has a Memphis feel with the horn section and funky backbeat.

Unfiltered is a wonderful tribute to the blues of the Windy City from an artist who experienced them first hand some 40 years ago. It's obvious from every note played that this was a labor of love for Paul Filipowicz, which helps make this disc required listening for fans of the Chicago blues.

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AUSTRAILIA

Here it is! Paul Filipowicz's tenth recording, "Unfiltered," is the smokin' summer soundtrack of 2018. From the first gutbucket note of Magic Sam's "All My Whole Life Baby" to the low-down pool hall and jukebox sounds he heard in the early '60s, Chicago Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Paul Filipowicz breaks the filter off his smoking blues and gives it to you straight. "I got my blues education the old-fashioned way," Paul says. "The only way my dad could get out of the house on a Saturday night was to take us boys along, and man did we see some joints!"

On this recording, Paul pays homage to the masters. Three Magic Sam tracks draw on Paul's history of playing an all-Magic Sam set in the '70s, and Lowell Fulson and Howlin' Wolf tracks are also represented with a deftness of hand that is true to their creators. The album includes five Paul Filipowicz originals, including the rollicking "Riding High" and the four-on-the-floor ass shakers "Brand New Hat" and "My Woman." On the moody harp instrumental "Canal Street," inspired by long-ago late-night memories, harp master Benny Rickun takes it all the way downtown before the boys take you back uptown with the rowdy guitar shuffle and title track "Unfiltered."

The Paul Filipowicz Blues Band, with an all-star lineup featuring alumni of the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys, the Tommy Castro Band, The Groove Hogs, Brian Lee, and Dave Mason, has been bringing it strong every night for over 40 years.

Official website: http://www.paulfilipowicz.com

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CD Unfiltered by Paul Filiopwicz CD Unfiltered by Paul Filiopwicz CD Unfiltered by Paul Filiopwicz