Union Street Blues got its start in the Spring of 2007 when Buddy Cleveland simply wanted to record a collection of original blues songs he'd written. He recruited 5 other musicians he'd worked with before to help him with the project. His first recruit was Neil "Porkroll" Taylor, not only because of Porkroll's outstanding blues guitar but also to enlist his help to produce the recordings. Soon, Steve Cocchi and Paul Cleveland, who play with Buddy in the Voodoo DeVille band, joined the project. Finally, Matt Del Collo (who Buddy met while playing with Dave Mell Blues Band) and Ted Ryan (who occasionally filled in with Voodoo DeVille on bass) joined the project to complete the group. From the very first rehearsal, everything just "worked." It was immediately clear that this was going to be much more than a few straightforward recording sessions. There was such a high degree of collaboration and energy that the project quickly moved to another level and the band was created.
Harp player and vocalist Buddy Cleveland grew up in Rockville, MD. In college, he got turned on to performers like Hendrix, the Stones, Cream, and the Allman Brothers. At the time, he thought these groups had invented the music they were playing until he was exposed to Muddy Waters at a live show in the late '70's. It was immediately clear that Muddy was the real deal and he started down the road with the blues and hasn't looked back. He picked up the harp shortly after that but didn't get too serious until he got to know the outstanding DC area blues guitarist Mike "Junior" Tash of the Bad Influence Band. Mike gave him lots of encouragement and even invited Buddy sit in with his band on occasion. In 1999, after moving to the Philadelphia area, Buddy joined some guys he worked with and this group ultimately became the Voodoo DeVille band. He still performs regularly with Voodoo DeVille, now as the lead vocalist and on harp. After writing a few original songs for a Voodoo DeVille CD in 2005, Buddy continued to write until he'd written more than a dozen original songs he wanted to record. He met Neil Taylor through mutual musician friends (Doc White & Joe Stout) and Neil agreed to play guitar and co-produce the recording project, which became Union Street Blues' first CD - By Any Means Necessary.
Neil “Porkroll” Taylor comes from a long line of watermen and pirates. He grew up in Media, PA. He has two basic loves -- playing guitar and cooking. His BBQ is well known throughout the Delaware Valley, as is his tasty blues playing. His musical influences range far and wide, but credits Buddy Guy and Luther Allison as his most recent inspirations. As a young teenager, his heart was turned to the blues by the likes of Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, and Johnny Winter. Porkroll has been performing in the Greater Philadelphia area for the past 15 years, most recently as the founder, guitarist, and head chef of the Porkroll Project, which continues to play in the area. Previously, he co-founded the well-known MudBoy blues band which played around the Southeast Pennsylvania for nearly a decade. For a time, he also performed with Melissa Martin and the Mighty Rhythm Kings, a smoking jump blues act, where he played on their critically acclaimed debut CD, On the Mark. In the Spring of 2007, Neil teamed up with Buddy Cleveland to co-produce the recording project. It was Neil who insisted that the project be taken to the "next level" and the result was Union Street Blues' debut CD. His mastery of the blues guitar and his significant blues sensibilities are evident on every track.
Steve Cocchi, originally from Folsom, PA, started his musical career as drummer, but as a teenager in the late '70's, he followed in the footsteps of his older brother Bob (an accomplished guitarist and Berklee College of Music graduate) and took up the guitar. He's been playing in bands ever since. For a number of years after high school, he worked as a full time musician and during that period also learned to play keyboards. Soon he was playing keys more than the guitar. During this time he played in just about every type of band imaginable -- Classic Rock, Southern Rock, Motown, Pop, and even Country & Western. During that time, the bands he played with opened for groups such as Jan & Dean as well as Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. In 2001, Steve joined Voodoo DeVille, his first foray into the blues. He plays both keyboards and guitar with Voodoo DeVille and also performs both lead and backing vocals. When Neil and Buddy began the recording project that was to become Union Street Blues, Steve was the first person they recruited.
Ted Ryan, a Phoenixville, PA native, taught himself how to play bass at 18 and has been playing for over 20 years. His significant influences include The Beatles, Steely Dan, Weather Report (Jaco Pastorius), and 70’s funk and dance. He loves tight vocal harmonies, funky bass lines, syncopated rhythms, and fat chords. In fact, he was driven by his love of chords to teach himself to play the keyboards. Ted has deep knowledge and love of music and performs with great precision and timing. Ted has played with a number of Classic Rock and Southern Rock bands over the years, most recently the band Soniq Boom which continues to play in the Philadelphia area. Buddy and Ted were introduced by a mutual friend when Buddy was looking for a bass player to fill in on a Voodoo DeVille gig. It was Ted's first full immersion in the blues and he took right to it, doing a fantastic job. Ted's precision, creativity, and adaptability made him a great addition to the project. He and Matt form a great rhythm section, as is clearly evident whenver Union Street Blues performs.
Matt Del Collo is from Reading, PA where he started to play the drums in the 5th grade. By the time he was 14, he was performing professionally. At 16, he was the drummer for an original rock band that played all through Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City. In his 20's, Matt took up the blues as the drummer for guitarist Bob Noble (who has played with such greats as the Lovin' Spoonful, Ben E. King, the Surpremes, and the Three Degrees). Since then he has played in a variety of Reading and Philadelphia blues bands, including Steve Hayes, Robert Riley and the Dave Mell Blues Band. Matt is well known for his great timing and incredible feel for whatever music is being played. He is an incredible listener when he plays and fluidly reacts to whatever is being played by the soloists, which is so important in an improvisational genre such as the blues. He is a real student of blues and rock ‘n roll, listening constantly to an incredible range of artists from a variety of genres. Matt and Buddy met when they were both performing with the Dave Mell Blues Band. He’s also filled in on drums occasionally for Voodoo DeVille. After hearing how well Matt and Ted played together when they were both filling in on a Voodoo DeVille gig, Buddy thought the two of them could really contribute significantly to the recording project. Matt’s fantastic drum performance, along with that of bassist Ted Ryan, provides a rock solid foundation for every one of the tracks of the new Union Street Blues CD.
Paul Cleveland, originally from Gaithersburg, MD, started playing piano and clarinet early in elementary school and played in concert bands, symphonic bands, and marching bands all the way through high school. When he was a sophomore in high school, he wanted to try out for the high school jazz band so he started to play the saxophone just a month or so before the jazz band auditions were to be held. Not only did he pass the audition, he ultimately became the first tenor for the jazz band. He's been a lover of blues and swing from a very early age. By the time he was a junior in high school he was playing the tenor saxophone regularly with the Voodoo DeVille band. Paul worked with Buddy on many of Buddy's original songs, providing horn tracks and solos for the initial demo versions of the songs. He even co-wrote the lyrics for the song myspacedotcom. (He even helped out with some guidance in music theory on more than one occasion). When came time to kick off the recording project, he was a natural choice to be part of the team. He really stepped up to deliver a fine performance on By Any Means Necessary. Paul is currently a sophomore at West Chester University, majoring in History.
Buddy Cleveland - Harp, Lead Vocals
Neil "Porkroll" Taylor - Lead Guitar
Steve Cocchi - Keys, Guitar
Ted Ryan - Bass
Matt Del Collo - Drums, Percussion
Paul Cleveland - Tenor Sax, Keys
Union Street Blues released its debut CD, "By Any Means Necessary," in August of 2007. The CD includes 12 new original songs by Union Street Blues. These songs were written speak to issues, problems and situations faced by 21st century adults. In composing these songs, we drew on personal experiences as well as events witnessed in today’s increasingly connected world. Some of these experiences, and the emotions they evoke, are timeless. Others are unique to today’s world. These songs were written speak to issues, problems and situations faced by 21st century adults. In composing these songs, we drew on personal experiences as well as events witnessed in today’s increasingly connected world. Some of these experiences, and the emotions they evoke, are timeless. Others are unique to today’s world.
The styles in which these songs are delivered range from high energy jump blues to laid back swing; from gut wrenching Chicago blues to exhilarating electric blues; and including even a little Delta and Latin blues forms. Each song builds on rock solid groove that is the foundation for creative and well executed rhythms and solos from the keyboards, guitar, horns and blues harmonica. The vocals are delivered in a voice and style that comes from real world experience.
"By Any Means Necessary" is available at CDBaby.com and a number of online sites.
Bluesbunny Music Reviews
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Union Street Blues is the brainchild of Buddy Cleveland from Pennsylvania and this album starts wi...
Union Street Blues is the brainchild of Buddy Cleveland from Pennsylvania and this album starts with a definite hint of The Fabulous Thunderbirds and the 50s big band sound, giving this Bluesbunny a dose of the rockin' Blues (and thank Muddy there isn't a cure!)
Showing that these guys are no one trick pony, "In a Situation" kicks down the gears, starting with sinister jungle bass and drum line, then adding a snake-like harp line. When the vocals kick in with pad like guitar lines and sax stabs, you're in no doubt that Buddy has got himself into something serious! Solos from Rhodes piano and guitar add to flavour, which is always underpinned by the busy bass. A harp solo sees the track out, and Buddy bares his soul again with licks which would make Kim Wilson green with envy.
Lyrically Union Street Blues are bang-up-to-date when they sing about MySpace and the dangers of letting your woman lose on the internet. Musically though, these guys are soaked in tradition as this track tips its hat to the past with a great walking bass, bouncing drums and down and dirty slide guitar.
Throwing the listener another curve is the Santana feel of "Killing Me". A smooth and melodic guitar led intro weaves around minor horn pads while the down-tempo bass curls around a samba like drum pattern. Another soul wrenching harp solo makes way for the album's best guitar solo, with its opening hint of black magic thingy … Neil Taylor shows his flair and technique without disappearing down the Gary Moore route of flash for flash's sake. Thought the coup de grace has to be the call and response horn solos which bring this track to a satisfying conclusion. I think I need a cigarette!
Ending down and dirty with a bit of stripped down swamp blues in "So Comfortable", Union Street Blues have covered all the bases and created a CD which should be on every Roadhouse jukebox! Available from CD Baby.
Review by: Bluesbunny from Montgomery
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Commentary from the President of the Diamond State Blues Society (DSBS) posted on the web site regar...Commentary from the President of the Diamond State Blues Society (DSBS) posted on the web site regarding Union Street Blues' appearance in their International Blues Competition event:
"In a first time DSBS appearance they Burned Down the House!! No lie!! Where has this band been?? I thought they were there to steal the show, and they nearly did from the tough lead-off spot.
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Reviews from CDBaby Customers who purchased “By Any Means Necessary” by Union Street Blues By any...Reviews from CDBaby Customers who purchased “By Any Means Necessary” by Union Street Blues
By any means necessary
author: Dick Larkin
If anyone would want to know what the blues where they should listen to this album ! instrumentally brilliant !
author: T-Bone Deville
A fine, creative premiere album for this band of musical big shots. Always amusing and solid musically…they can really play. Buddy Cleveland is an extraordinary song writer and harpist. If you already have Cleveland's work on the seminal Voodoo Deville "Motorvator" CD, this is a great choice for your collection.
By Any Means Necessary
author: W.A.(Dad) Brown
Great CD. I particularly liked "I May Be Slow". The instrumentals were great as well. I throughly enjoyed the whole CD. Thanks for some great music.
You Gotta Buy This CD
author: Bluesman Tom Malafarina
You have got to buy this CD! I can’t say it any simpler than that. Great original blues and incredible musicianship. What else do you need? What are you waiting for? I have had the honor at one time or another of sharing a stage with 5 of the 6 outstanding musicians in this band. And although I have never had the pleasure of meeting Ted Ryan, the bass player, he has won my respect as a fellow bass player with his outstanding performance. Buddy Cleveland’s harp, vocals and songwriting shines through in this CD. Neil “Porkroll” Taylor’s guitar work and Steve Steve Cocchi’s keyboards are a vital element of the songs on this CD. Matt Del Collo is hands down one of the best drummers to come out of Berks County and Paul Cleveland’s sax work is exceptional as always. (And at such a young age). And I should mention the great production work by Buddy and Neil. Great work guys. You have something to be proud of. Hope to hear you live sometime. Keep it up.
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Buddy Cleveland, singer/songwriter/harp player, has assembled good 'ol blues playing musicians and a...Buddy Cleveland, singer/songwriter/harp player, has assembled good 'ol blues playing musicians and a dozen 1/4/5 based tracks in the CD Union Street Blues, "By Any Means Necessary". The album is full of straight-ahead ensemble tunes that range from boogie-woogie in "Another Man", dark groove blues in "In a Situation", 12-bar love in "Sinking Down", to a 2-step speedster dedicated to secret workings on MySpace. The latter and track 8, "Myspacedotcom", spins a tale of deception by the guy's girl, 'she's posting sexy pictures, most of which that i have never seen, she's got a broad band connection and web cam too, now she's showing what she's got on myspace.com'. The opening track on the record begins with Cleveland's harp supported by a swinging big blues band. The lyrics explain the reality of working for the man and needing to "Butter Your Biscuit", 'when the boss man he says jump you need to ask him how high, it's what you've got to do if you want to get by'. The guitar work of Neil Taylor fills a solo space with licks that bridge blues-rock and rock-a-billy nicely. Cleveland takes on the chemical-imbalance-bi-polar diagnosis in "Depression Blues" in track 3. "I'm looking for something that will motivate, anything that will help me tolerate these Depression Blues". Most of the tracks here are six-minute exercises of musical freedom as between the sung/spoken sentiment of life's hardships by Cleveland are sometimes inspired soloing and instrumental breaks. "Well Enough Alone" is one such song where acoustic guitar and slower blues matched with an organic and live rhythm section keep the blues real and honest. Track 10, "I May Be Slow", is a contrast in tempo and title as the shuffle blues big band beauty is our favorite tone on the record. The intro with harp, walking bass line, and eventual bluesy horn stabs are infectious. The final track, "So Comfortable", leaves the listener with a living room jam, recorded with intimacy. Cleveland sings a slow thoughtful tribute to his woman, 'we've been together for so long, it's so comfortable, the way you treat me every day, it's unbelievable, now all i want to do is baby grow old with you'. Nice job and we look forward to more.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.