Louis Pain


CD Reviews

All of these critically-acclaimed CD’s featured Louis as keyboard player and co-producer.  On most of them, he wrote or co-wrote some material.  Often he was the de facto musical director as well.

King Louie & LaRhonda Steele, Rock Me Baby:

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The jazz and blues merger by B-3 player Louis "King Louie" Pain and singer LaRhonda Steele is neither predictable nor routine. Pain's tight, expert activity on the console comes out of Jimmy Smith, yet sounds fresh through the expressive qualities of his dapper swing. Steele has shaped a style that relies on an expansive, creative range sparked with a brazen sultriness.  --Frank-John Hadley, Downbeat, January, 2015

Steele is a very impressive vocalist, blessed with a big, soulful voice…impressive sax work by Renato Caranto…and while I’m at it, big hand for King Louie, who comps and solos on the Hammond B-3 impressively throughout…a very nice set played and sung by a bunch of top quality pros.  —Phil Wight, Blues & Rhythm: the Gospel Truth (UK), December, 2015

“Wonderfully authentic...The whole thing swings in the way that the very best soul-jazz always did…LaRhonda sings with pride and passion and belief and commitment.  Qualities that can’t be faked.  They’re spontaneous and that’s the way this whole album was crafted…LaRhonda says that, 'Music heals the player as well as the listener’; there’s plenty of healing here!”  —Bill Buckley, Soul and Jazz and Funk (UK), November 13, 2015



King Louie & Baby James, Live at the Waterfront Blues Festival:

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“When you notice somebody cookin', the first and usually wisest impulse is to come around and get some while it's hot…Sweet Baby James is something of a living legend in Portland's jazz and blues community, from his many years as both a musician and a kind of de facto social director.  Pain, having cast his lot with the B-3 when it was out of fashion, has made his mark as a right-hand man to such revered Portland bandleaders as Paul deLay and Mel Brown.  Once these two talents decided to team up, they didn't waste any time before serving up something tasty."  --Marty Hughley, The Oregonian, September 16, 2005

King Louie & Baby James, Around the World:

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“This live recording is a rollicking good time…Pain, part of Mel Brown’s B-3 Organ Group and for years Paul deLay’s keyboardist/arranger--has one foot in jazz and one foot in the blues, exactly the tradition from which Benton springs…A delightful mix of virtuosity and soul.” --Tom D’Antoni, The Oregonian, November 14, 2008

"Travel around the world and you won't find many musical experiences that can make you feel like this."  --Marty Hughley, The Oregonian, November, 2008


The Paul deLay Band, The Other One:

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"deLay's burning with a brand new fire--he boldly plunges into melodic and rhythmic territory that would send lesser player scurrying for the bunkers."  --John Foyston, The Oregonian, 1991 


Linda Hornbuckle With No Delay, Soul Diva Meets the Blues Monsters:


"The most beautiful and powerful blues/gospel/soul voice in the Northwest, backed by the tightest and most talented band for the ultimate Double-Whammy."  --West Coast Blues Review, December 1994

“Hornbuckle is a big-voiced singer who cuts loose in the finest gospel tradition and brings a dynamic sense of drama to her material…As befits a soul-tinged set, organist Louis Pain impresses the most.” --Living Blues, December 1994

“Top Five pick for local CDs of the year…The title pretty much says it.  Though it’s worth noting that--what with Peter Dammann‘s taut guitar grooves, Brian Foxworth‘s funky drum wallop and Hornbuckle‘s gospel-schooled testifying--the meeting turns into one heck of a party.” --The Oregonian, December 18, 1994


 Paul deLay Band, Take It From the Turnaround:

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"Long known in the Northwest as one of the finest harmonica players going, deLay appears to be poised to explode on the national scene. He should, too, because he is a terrific singer and songwriter as well. Take It From The Turnaround is ample evidence of his talents."  --Detroit News & Free Press, 1996


"While showcasing his amazing range, which runs from graceful Toots Thielemans-like highs to gutbucket James Cotton lows, what really differentiates deLay is his mastery of grooves, riffs and jazz influences...this disc reveals the diversity of a great undiscovered blues talent."  --Boston Globe, 1996


Paul deLay Band, Ocean of Tears:

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“DeLay’s insights into the human condition, sung with soulful gusto against a backdrop of tenor sax, Hammond B-3 organ, harmonica and rhythm section, is what makes ‘Ocean of Tears’ sound fresh by comparison to the ocean of mediocre blues records that are churned out with seeming indifference each month.”  --Jazz Times, February 1997

“Never self-pitying, this ‘Ocean of Tears’ is one of joyful realization.”  
--Justin O’Brien, Living Blues, Jan-Feb 1997

“After repeated listenings, the title song still makes my eyes sting with a tear or two; and friends, that’s the blues.  But it’s not the same ‘ol blues: deLay and band are taking the form to new places with thoughtful lyrics, superb musicianship and a jazzy swing that makes this a band to be reckoned with.  --John Foyston, The Oregonian, December 29, 1996

“Anyone interested in hearing new directions blues can take--different, that is, from high-testosterone blues rock--would do well to swim in Paul deLay’s Ocean of Tears…If you like stellar stellar playing, singing and songwriting, check this disc out.”  --Blues Revue, Feb-March 1997


Paul deLay Band, Nice & Strong:

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“DeLay Band boldly moves upward & onward with new CD…'Nice & Strong' continues delay’s four-year winning streak when it comes to writing…Everywhere, on all tracks, this band’s musicianly, inspired playing is heard.  --John Foyston, The Oregonian, February 20, 1998

"DeLay continues to establish himself as one of the freshest and most appealing voices in the field." --Philadelphia Inquirerer

"One of the finest blues songwriters around...easily outclasses most of the the competition when it comes to songcraft and spirit."  --Washington Post


Paul deLay Band, Heavy Rotation:

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“’Love Grown Cold‘ is brought to vivid life by deLay’s bittersweet vocals and Louis Pain’s fine organ work. Pain’s left hand, incidentally, carries the bass for the entire CD and is truly to be marveled at…”Heavy Rotation” is yet another in a growing line of successful releases for deLay and his band and is among their best work.” --Justin O’Brien, Living Blues, Dec. 2001

"The band recorded the disc live in the studio with minimal overdubs, keeping their swinging sound fresh and emphasizing the interplay between the musicians... Pain does double duty, providing Hammond organ flourishes and holding down the rhythm section with his organ bass."  --Michael Cote, Blues Revue, Dec/Jan 2002

Bernard Purdie: Purdie Good Cookin:

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“On this new CD, a crew of Portland’s finest musicians joins the legendary drummer on a recorded-live album that serves as a primer about the importance of chemistry and musicianship…These are musicians who know that the song’s the thing and that any note that does not advance the song detracts from it.  --John Foyston, The Oregonian, April 4, 2003

“This CD, recorded live in Portland, OR, finds the master drummer leading a smoking band…this is one of the best party records in years.”  
--Tom Hyslop, Blues Revue, Dec-Jan 2004

Mel Brown, Live at the Britt Festival:

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“A captivating recording of the group playing live…A sizzling, uninterrupted 45-minute set of soul-jazz originals and covers…What kind of band they are is completely spontaneous…Pain adds the soul with his expressive organ playing, holding down the bass lines and adding color…The crowd response was intense, and [George] Benson’s bass player, Stanley Banks, can be heard shouting his approval throughout the set…[The band] is most certainly a Portland sensation.”  --Kyle O’Brien, The Oregonian, March 19, 2004


Mel Brown, More Today Than Yesterday:

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“Something special happens when this local quintet appears at Jimmy Mak’s jazz club in Portland, OR.  Playing “Hip Shaker” and “House of the Rising Sun,” saxophonist Renato Caranto works himself into a state of wild excitement worthy of a honking tenorman walking the bar in R&B’s golden age.  On the aforementioned and most of the other well-played songs, drummer Mel Brown, guitarist Dan Balmer and swinging organ player Louis Pain evince a more temperate but equally convincing affinity for the blues.”  --Frank-John Hadley, Downbeat, August, 2014