The Hitman Blues Band




Blues Enough

The Hitman Blues Band
Blues Enough

Blues Enough

The music of The Hitman Blues Band will make you glad that music exists in the first place. Made up of Russell "Hitman" Alexander (guitar, vocals), Mike Porter (bass, vocals), Kevin Rymer (keyboards), Guy LaFountaine (drums), Eric Altarac (trumpet), Michael Snyder (saxophone), and Al Alpert (trombone), the band knows how to blend a historic genre with modern flare. Blues Enough contains the type of music that will captivate and keep you thrilled from start to finish.

The title track “Blues Enough” comes out blazing and will have you hooked. This song is the embodiment of the album and will endear you to the music of The Hitman Blues Band. If it does not, then I do not know what will. Just listen to that opening guitar! Is it blues enough for ya?/ Does it do enough for ya? Yes, it is and yes, it does. When it comes to tribute songs, “Sam the Bluzman” is top notch work. It is the music is relatively upbeat and it celebrates the life of its subject instead of lamenting. Next up is some every day advice in “Fishing Where the Fish Are.” Following it up is the delightful “Backhand Drive” and it might just bring a wry smile to your face. The poignant “Every Piece of Me” is a brilliant song about the end of a relationship and anguish of a broken heart.

“Everything You Do” is another vibrant song with a lively piano and guitar keeping the song up throughout its duration. “Streets of Downtown” tells a harrowing tale and it rivals literature in its ability to affect the emotions. The drum opening on “Life’s Too Short” makes it worth a listen, if it was not a hopping song in its own right. The good natured “Better Class of Bums” adds some humor to the album with its vow to hang with a different crowd of people and improve one’s behavior. “Tough Street” pulls out all the musical stops and ends in the album with flair and bravado.

The Hitman Blues Band’s Blues Enough is full of music and tales that your ears will willingly lend them to. This is the type of album that will appeal to fans of the genre and beyond. It is not one to pass up, as it will provide listeners with hours of entertainment.

Key Tracks: Blues Enough, Sam the Bluzman, Streets of Downtown, Tough Street

Brian McKinnon – Sr. Staff

March 2, 2013


HITMAN BLUES BAND/Blues Enough: In this Twitter obsessed, short attention span world, bet you'd know what we mean when we call this authentic blues by and for white people. The spirit of a chitlin circuit show band as filtered through west side Chicago, this is amped up real blues as opposed to blues/rock. Directly imported from the roadhouse at the edge of town, these honkies don't honk out no frat house blues, these cats almost sound like they know what it is to work a day job on an automotive line or at the post office. Now that's blues! Check it out, this is the real deal.


Bman's Blues Report

Nerus Records artist: The Hitman Blues Band - Blues Enough - New Release Review

I just received the newly released (January 31, 2013)recording, Blues Enough, by The Hitman Blues Band. The recording opens with the title track, Blues Enough, a rockin' blues style track featuring Russell "Hitman" Alexander on guitar and vocal, Kevin Tymer on keys, Mike Porter on bass, Guy LaFountaine on drums, Michael Snyder on sax, Eric Altarac on trumpet and Al Alpert on trombone.

Sam The Bluzman is a swinging big horn sound blues track with Alexander playing some cool riffs under the vocal track. Fishing Where The Fish Are has a Latin beat and clever lyrics. About midway through as is often the case with Latin style blues the band breaks into full swing and then back to Latin rhythm. Alexander lays down some nice heat on this track. Snyder warms up the bottom with his sax style.

Backhand Drive opens with a hot guitar riff and Alexander continues throughout the track with some hot slide licks. Snyder steps up again and plays some hot riffs on sax and Alexander chases him with slide over a bed of brass. Very cool. Every Piece Of Me is a really nice soul style blues track like (I'd Rather Go Blind) and Altarac and Alpert fill out the back over LaFontaine keeping a stiff beat. Alexander takes a cool guitar break and is followed by Rymer on organ. One of my favorite tracks on the release.

Everything You Do is an upbeat blues track with a Texas style lope, and gives Rymer a nice shot on the piano. Alexander plays some "Allmanesque" slide riffs and Snyder again contributes some nice sax work. Streets of Downtown is a slow ballad allowing Alexander to show some his best vocal work on the release as well as flash his hand on the fretboard. Life's Too Short is another swinging track with a Latin soaked beat and Duane influenced slidework. Although not at all sounding like a ABB track, Alexander has captured Allmans 'spirit" in his playing.

Better Class Of Bums shows a bit of humor and allows tha band to "play it loose". With a cool light jazz feel on a swing blues track, Rymer plays some really nice keys on this track. Mike Porter quietly keeps the groove going and Altarac and Alpert fill the back with warm horn work. Alpert takes an unexpected trombone solo on this track and that always adds a nice spark to a track. Altarac also gets the chance to rips some nice lead work.

Deaf, Dumb and Blind is another slow soul style blues track. This track is again really well suited for Alexanders voice and he echo's his voice with complimentary guitar work and the horn section. Finishing the release is Tough Street, a rip roaring slide bonanza. If you dig slide guitar this is your track. This is a cool release with a lot of flavor.

The Hitman Blues Band "Blues Enough" (Nerus) - During opening cut "Blues Enough" singer Russell "Hitman" Alexander growls the question "Is that blues enough for ya?" multiple times; the answer is a resounding yes as Alexander and his big six-piece band romp through a set of 11 originals, including "Sam the Bluzman," a tribute to the memory of Sam Taylor.

- , Phoenix Music Examiner


Pale Rider

pale rider

The Hitman Blues Band spins out another fantastic album, “Pale Rider,” that offers generous helpings of mostly original Blues/Rock compilations. The lead vocal impresses the listener with rootsy and melodic tonality while the instruments drive home a rush of rocking energy. You’ll be hooked right from the first song, “Your Blues” with the dynamic beats and catchy lyrics. Another song, “Red Hook” runs full throttle as the guitar runs with maximum fury on the solo. Offering up a different sound, “Miss Catherine,” shows off some nice horn hooks that interplays with the vocal and is a treasure of a song that displays a lively bouncy beat. The title track, “Pale Rider,” is splashed with nice Hammond organ chords that compliment the razor sharp guitar lead. If you’re a fan of Johnny Winter or just like some great Rocking Blues, then “Pale Rider,” is just the album you’ll want to hear.

-Diane and the Reviewer Team (UK)

pale rider“Pale Rider”

(Nerus Records: NR4485)

Firmly at the rockier end of the blues are The Hitman Blues Band, formed in 1989 by Russell ‘Hitman’ Alexander deliver 12 original songs on “Pale Rider”, plus a cover of Son House’s “Death Letter” – the core of the band being Alexander himself on lead vocals and guitar, Kevin Rymer (keyboards), Mike Porter (bass) and Ed ‘The Hat’ D’Alessio (drums) – now replaced in the live band by Guy LaFountaine.

The New York-based Alexander is a fine vocalist with just the right amount of grit in his voice and no slouch in the guitar department – his biting leads dominating the album, as evident on the opening blues rocker “Your Blues”, ably assisted by Kevin Rymer’s tasteful organ fills; “Trouble On The Line” treads similar turf, with more spiky leads on the funky “Blues Can’t Hit”.

The breakneck “Red Hook” is driven by Russell Alexander’s slide guitar, with Ed D’Alessio and Mike Porter driving the song along; “I Know About The Blues” is a slow burner, more great slide here, with the pace taken down on the jazzy “Miss Catherine” – complete with additional musicians Mike Snyder (piano and clarinet), Greg Mercado (tuba), Eric Altarac (trumpet) and guitar solo from Mike Mulieri – a nice diversion indeed from the general feel of the album.

However, the pace is taken back up for the driving “I’m Coming For You” and the rocking “Calamity’s Child”, with a nice blues shuffle in “This To Shall Pass”, with backing vocals from Joanne Alexander – the good lady wife I presume? The title cut “Pale Rider” contains more fiery guitar leads and turns into a terrific shuffle mid-song. The album closer being the afore-mentioned cover of “Death Letter” – a rocky take with more fine organ work from Kevin Rymer, and a radically different arrangement of most reworkings of the song.

This may not be one for the blues purists – but for those who enjoy the rockier end of the blues it is recommended listening – all very well played and produced with Russell ‘Hitman’ Alexander taking centre stage with voice, impressive writing and guitar.


pale riderPale Rider review - Blues Bytes Magazine

For twenty years, The Hitman Blues Band has been rocking the New York area with their searing brand of blues/rock, drawing favorable comparisons to Johnny Winter, Joe Bonamassa, and Kenny Wayne Sheppard along the way. Led by founding member, guitarist/singer Russell “Hitman” Alexander, the band has made various personnel changes along the way, but Alexander remains the constant with his gravelly vocals and gritty blues fretwork.

Pale Rider (Nerus Records) is the band’s fourth release. It’s loaded with crowd-pleasing blues/rock tunes that feature Alexander’s exemplary guitar work. Though the emphasis is on blues/rock, Alexander’s guitar work is firmly rooted in the blues. His guitar playing is on par with the artists mentioned in the previous paragraph, but I also hear Donald Kinsey occasionally in his soloing at times, notably on the second track, “Trouble On The Line.”

Choice tracks include “Blues Can’t Hit,” “Red Hook,” which showcases Alexander’s slide guitar, the grinding rocker “I Know About The Blues,” the jazz swinger “Miss Catherine,” which provides an interesting change of pace, “This Too Shall Pass,” and the scorching title track. The disc’s lone cover is a plugged-in take of Son House’s “Death Letter.”

The remainder of the Hitman Blues Band consists of Kevin Rymer (keyboards), Mike Porter (bass), and Ed D’Alessio on drums, and they provide rock-steady support. On “Miss Catherine,” the band is augmented by Mike Snyder (piano, clarinet), Greg Mercado (tuba), Eric Altarac (trumpet), and Mike Mulieri (guitar). Jim Sabella takes a guitar solo on the track “I’m Coming For You,” and backup vocals are handled by Joanne Alexander, Angelique Alexander, and Nancy Hampton.

Pale Rider is a strong, satisfying set of high-energy blues/rock that will please fans of the genre. Check it out at CDBaby.

Blues Revue review of Pale Rider 9_09

Long Island Blues Society

Review of Pale Rider

hmRussell "Hitman" Alexander is getting really good at making CD's.

 His use of top notch sidemen on  his previously released CDs, has evidently become a "good habit". Backed by Hitman blues Band regulars, Ed  D'allesio's (drums), Mike Porter (Bass)  and Kevin Rymer (Keyboards) and a full compliment of supporting artists, the music is full and busy.  
Hitman's  guitar rises to the challenge for my money. His slide work on "Pale Rider" is a musical self - portait all by itself.

The real treasure on this CD is without a doubt, Hitmans  lyrics. He is a literate and subtle lyricist.  

For example, he manages to name most of the things that can give you the blues in his first song, "Your Blues". Or  "I just want somethin I can put in gear, so I won't be around when the blues gets here!", from the song "Blues Can't Hit.  ( What The Blues Can't Catch)".

I should take this moment to point out that I am a  fan of the Hitman Band and I count Russ among my closest friends. Anything he releases is preaching to chior as far as I'm concerned, but like I said at the front of this piece, He's getting really good at this.

- Keith MacKenzie


Long Island Blues Society

Live at Stony Brook University-the Hitman Blues Band  Nerus  NR4483       2006

Doc Blues Reviews - 1/10/08

Hitman hit the stage of the University Café hard with dark blue chords reeking of real life.  The band boogies and shimmies with swagger and ‘tude.  Opening with a Memphis blues called “Green Thing,” the real drug is exposed.  Hitman keeps the gravel flying with his rocking and Chicago axework.  Russ’ vocals exude funky soulfulness with a trademark soupcon of vibrato.  Kevin’s keys soar, plunk and wail while the tight rhythm that Jay and Mike pour out anchor the proceedings.  Hitman writes blues with feeling that distills experience and pain into stinging leads and impassioned cries and wild call and response stories. A cover of “Boom Boom” is given appropriate energy and push.  “Slither” reveals a dump that chump attitude commonly expressed as, “how can she be with that loser?” in a fine shuffle.  If you get far enough, you can explain to some fair maiden your attributes as done in “Fine Piece of Merchandise.” Still later, the possibility of “Sharing This Christmas With the Blues” might follow the “Two Minute Warning.”  A negative outcome might force you to be quick moving or hard drinking so as to avoid Mme. Blues since “The Blues Can’t Hit What the Blues Can’t Catch.” When all of these factors add up, an individual can certainly claim that “I Know About the Blues.” MS, TN or LA have no monopoly on these blues as demonstrated by Hitman and the boys.  They deliver pain and humor with good rocking and dry wit.  I guarantee he’ll deliver.  Catch him soon but, if you can’t, pick up a copy of this concept blues opera for a wickedly good taste.     


Blues In Britain Magazine - Issue 41

Russell 'The Hitman' Alexander + Groove Juice at the Warrington R&B Club, 10 June 2005

Russell Alexander is a singer/guitarist/composer from New York, who graced the main stage at the Great British R&B Festival in Colne last year. He was backed at Warrington by Carlisle-based Groove Juice, who comprise Alex Green on vocals and bass guitar, Martin McDonald on guitar and Dave Winthrop on drums.

The trio from Cumbria played the first set on their own, performing an entertaining mix of covers and original numbers, including "Caldonia", "Lonely Avenue" and The Fabulous Thunderbirds' "You Ain't Nothing But Fine". After a break, The Hitman entered the fray, his elegant attire rounded off with a black bandana and a hat - a sort of cranial belt and braces. He opened his account with "Green Thing", which is highly reminiscent of the Onions of that hue, before giving a fine rendition of the slow blues, "Raining Up In Harlem". His set also included a cracking version of John Lee Hooker's "Boom, Boom", on which he and Martin McDonald delivered magnificent guitar solos to complement his splendidly gritty vocals.

Hitman Blues Band live in Warrington Several of the numbers performed feature on the excellent Angel In The Shadows album: the title track, a sensitive ballad; "Slither", a fast moving shuffle; the rumba-rhythmed "Fine Piece Of Merchandise"; and "Mean Mistreater", which Alexander confessed to have 'stolen' from Ike Turner, who 'stole' it from Charley Patton, who 'stole' it from . . . . Two encores completed a terrific evening: a brilliant delivery of Credence Clearwater Revival's "Born On The Bayou" and a rousing version of "I Hear You Knocking".

Russell Alexander proved to be a consummate artiste, combining superb vocals with amusing patter and captivating stage presence; and Groove Juice made a very significant contribution to the success of the show both in their own right and in backing The Hitman.

See and listen to

Bobtje Blues Logo
Hitman Blues Band - "Live at Stonybrook University": Full-cd - US (9/2006)

Russell Alexander alias Hitman for some time already has his part in the New York blues scène. He sings well, plays a mean guitar and writes nice blues songs. Hitman is also a familiar face on this side of the ocean: last September he did a major tour throughout the UK. Our very own Bobtje witnessed one of these gigs and was full of praise for what he heard. So where does a man with Hitman's background fit best? Exactly: on a stage. The University Cafe of the Stonybrook University, New York, is as good a venue as every other one for making a live CD. His songs are perfectly in line with what the big shots in the blues have concocted this past half a century. On 'Live at Stonybrook University' you'll find eleven of these, most of them stemming from the two earlier albums 'Blooztown' and 'Angel in the Shadows'. There's just one cover, the archetypical 'Boom Boom' of John Lee Hooker, which indicates what kind of music Hitman is into. It's not going to change the course of musical history, but with his band (on the UK tour he played with different, local musicians, a viable way of doing in the blues) Hitman makes it an enjoyable and varied trip, the kind of live CD which makes you think: wish I had been there. 'Green Thing' (very Booker T), 'Slither', 'Fine Piece of Merchandise' (the chorus!), 'The Blues can't hit what the Blues can't catch' are more than average tunes. What gives it extra breathing space, is the fine sense of humor, the mild irony and self-mockery, to be found in lyrics and in between comments. Just listen to the last part of 'Raining up in Harlem': adultery becomes a fun sport, this way! His undertaker looks, top hat, black costume and sunglasses, accentuate it all. Think Hitman should hit the Lowlands very soon now.
Reviewed by: Antoine Légat
Info: Live at Stonybrook University / Nerus Records / NR4483

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Hitman Blues Band

Russell "Hitman" Alexander - Vocals, Guitar

Clutch Reilly - Bass Guitar

Kevin Rymer - Keyboards,

Jay Sharkey - Drums

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The Hitman Blues Band turned on their amps about 9pm at Jillian's in Farmingdale Friday Night. For a dreary, rainy night, many people showed up to have some fun, food and dance in the club area.... but the Blues Lounge at Jillian's was just about empty. Starting off with a few covers, the band began to draw in some of the patrons and as the night progressed and the band switched over to their original songs, more people began to trickle in. With pumping music coming from the club five feet across the hall, The Hitman Blues Band still managed to bring in a decent crowd within an hour.

The Band formed back in 1986 before the Internet was a source for band reviews and big hair was normal. Inspired by various musicians and styles from the 50's to today, The Hitman Blues Band has toured extensively in Europe, The USA and Canada with a versatile sound that most blues, R & B and rock lovers can enjoy. A seasoned band with a mixture of good music, humor and Russell "Hitman" Alexander wandering the audience in the middle of a song to say hello to you.

A great band to see for some blues and fun. Check out their latest CD, Blooztown available at their web site and live shows.


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