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Tim: SoulSauce

By T.E. Mattox

Something Borrowed

f you’re anything like me, you’ve recently been listening to a boatload of different music. There are so many talented musicians and bands out now; if you’re not overwhelmed, I’m afraid you’ve been plugged-in way too long.

Having spent most of my adult life unable to differentiate between Attention Deficit Disorder and Analog Digital Digital, I thought what better way to decompress than to share a newly discovered audio nugget and take a fond look back at a ‘royal’ classic that stands the test of time.

A new buddy of mine, CT Hogoboom recently shared his latest CD project, so I wanted to play it forward by sharing it with all of you. CT and his long-time California coast collaborator, Tommy Lee Nunes, have put together a new band that bares the same name as their ‘fresh-out-of-the-studio’ disc: SOULSAUCE.

According to CT, he and Nunes “started playing together in the mid eighties when we discovered we both had a love for acoustic music. Tommy is a Central Coast native born and bred in San Luis Obispo. I was born in upstate New York, and moved to Fresno. After graduating high school I moved to San Luis Obispo in 1971 to attend Cal Poly. Our sound is definitely influenced by what we have heard and people we have played with locally, but also in large amounts from the music out of SF to the north and LA from the south.”

CD Cover of SoulSauce by CT Hogoboom And Tommy Lee Nunes

This album, their follow-up to the 2005 release of 'CT and Tommy Lee' also features Bruce Sorensen on bass, and drummer Keenan Michael Vallone. "I think that is what helps make SoulSauce the sweet mixture it is. It is a stew of all the influences and styles we've played and been exposed to. We have both been fortunate enough to play with talented and varied players over the years. Bruce Sorensen who plays bass with us now is an excellent singer that we only utilized as a background singer on the CD since these songs were already complete we he came aboard. Bruce has got the bass voice to go with the bass guitar. And Keenan Michael Vallone has an excellent upper range voice."

And to add a little more sand to your board shorts, the band brought in a few other faces very familiar to anyone who's ever crawled from a Central Coast club or staggered out of a California Beach town tavern: keyboardist Alex Kizanis, Stan Sine on harp and guitarist, Steve Tracy.

“The lineage we have with other players is definitely a part of who we are as musicians.” ---- CT Hogoboom

One remaining element came in the form of a 'rogue wave' that rolled in from up the coast. This legendary horn player would put the 'curl' into the entire set. A pure touch of spice from part-time Cambria resident, session phenomenon and the artist known by most as 'the Stones favorite sax man,' Ernie Watts.

"Bruce our bass player ran into Ernie when he was in Cambria relaxing after just coming off the road. Bruce told him about our CD project and got Ernie's number. I called him and talked to him about coming in to play on a couple of cuts. Needless to say we weren't able to pay him anything close to what he would have demanded in L.A. He agreed to come in and play on two songs as kind of a friends and family offering. Once there, (at Painted Sky studios) he got in the mood, dug the music and we coaxed one more song out of him. He is so good it was very difficult to decide which take to use. It really added a special touch to the CD."

The result speaks for itself, one heaping helping of sand, sun and surf. A day at the beach courtesy of... SoulSauce. From beginning to end, there's a refreshing diversity in the music's culture and tempo. An offshore breeze blows through the opening track, 'Summerland,' and never stops. The band embraces Latin beats and weaves harmonies into their Rhythm and Blues. They are masters of blending reggae with acoustic folk and 60's surf rock, and as CT reminded me, "If it feels good we'll do it. If it's really danceable that's even better."

the SoulSauce band: CT Hogoboom, Tommy Lee Nunes, Keenan Michael Vallone and Bruce Sorensen
L to R: Keenan Michael Vallone, Bruce Sorensen, Tommy Lee Nunes and CT Hogoboom. Photo: courtesy of SoulSauce

Then there's a lyrical core. Hogoboom and Nunes have created poetry out of virtually everything from apathy and attitude, to protest and regret.

"We collaborate well together, although occasionally one of us will have a song that is pretty much complete that we will just work on, to polish it off. Other times we just sit down and play ideas for each other and see what sticks. Fortunately we have similar tastes and very rarely disagree on what's right for a song we're building. The other players come in and we introduce the songs and they help us out by adding their creativity to the arrangements and parts they play.

Currently I'm reviving a swing blues song of mine called, 'Not Really Blue' and Tom has several songs that he has riffs and ideas for (that) he was playing for me today.

You can tell CT feels good about what the band is doing because he's already looking ahead. "There is a lot more variation still to come in future CD's. The SoulSauce music continues to evolve; we try and keep it sweet and funky."

And you always wondered what success smelled like...

Just when you think you’ve got all the original pieces in place, the band lays out a last, brutal shot of reality. The old lady leaves you, rips out your heart and then adding insult to injury, she also rips off your…VELVET ELVIS! Damn, that’s just cold.

Something Blue

Like most American Baby Boomers that came of age in the 1960's, my early introduction to blues came from distant shores. Strange though it was, I'm eternally grateful to that handful of amped, mostly British bands for exposing me to an indigenous music produced less than 250 miles south of my Midwestern upbringing. And too, like most Boomers, I don't remember much of the 60's, but I still have a massive collection of vinyl that tells my story better than I EVER could.

Starting with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and his cast of thousands, that in turn gave us Clapton, Cream, Blind Faith, Fleetwood Mac, Mark-Almond... it was endless, really. Alexis Korner, Long John Baldry, the Stones, the Animals, and of course Jeff Beck, Van Morrison, Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin... the influences were wide-ranging; the talent... brilliant.

The curious thing for me was that album covers and sleeves always had more names on the recordings than faces in the band. Names like Morganfield, Burnett, Dixon, Hooker, Johnson and Williamson.... who were these guys and how did they write songs that seemed to describe exactly how I felt? I needed to know and my 'Key to the Highway' turned out to be the local record shop. And that is where I first discovered… Freddie King.

CD cover of The Best of Freddie King

My pick for the essential blues collection is a compilation from 1975 Shelter Recording Co., Inc. and re-released by Dunhill in 1990 titled, ‘The Best of Freddie King.’ The recording shows just how versatile Freddie King could be when surrounded by musicians of his own caliber. All tracks were produced by Leon Russell with help from Denny Cordell and the legendary, Don Nix.

Side One opens with Nix's own, ‘Going Down.’ It's a full, 'live' studio session that doesn't just pull you into Freddie King's world; it yanks you out of your chair and slams you into the wall. Listen closely when Mr. King leans away to solo, you can hear him wail to punctuate his guitar. The man has been DOWN before!

John Fogerty's 'Lowdown in Lodi' is next and shows off Freddie's graveled, rasp of a voice followed immediately by 'Living on the Highway.' This Russell/Nix composition could be, and probably should be, Freddie King's autobiography. The classic Lowell Fulson, 'Reconsider Baby' is straight up, bourbon and blues music. Drink up. 'Me and My Guitar' and 'Boogie Man' finish out the side on an upbeat, feel good roadhouse romp. As the song says and Freddie shouts, "I'm a King-sized, Boogie Man!"

Side Two opens with a slow blues that highlights the soul in King's voice, 'Woman across the River.' But immediately you're back on the road and in familiar territory with the gospel-tinged rocker, 'Palace of the King.' 'Same Old Blues' written by Don Nix, puts you in a low-down and dirty place....on a rainy day. The next track at least gives you an alternative, Leon Russell's haunting, 'I'd Rather Be Blind.'

This disc takes you on an emotional journey of highs and lows like very few can. It reinforces the versatility and creativity of these artists during some very special recording sessions. The culmination of these efforts comes full circle with Willie Dixon's testosterone-infused anthem, 'I'm Ready' and closes with the coups de grace, a Russell penned, heart-breaking plea, 'Help Me Through the Day.'

Leon Russell brought together an incredible group to back Freddie King on these recordings; Chuck Blackwell, Jim Keltner, Don Preston, Carl Radle, Duck Dunn, John Gallie, Charles Myers, Jim Gordon, Rev. Patrick Henderson and the O'Neill Twins. You just know they had a wonderful time putting it together, because it resonates in every note they play.

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Let Tim know what you think about his traveling adventure.

I was there at the Shrine to see Bob come in riding on a baby elephant. He says in the interview it was either '68 or 69: it was both – it was New Year's Eve (See "The Bear," an article on Bob Hite),

Debbie Hollier, Nevada City, CA

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Who else played with Canned Heat and Deep Purple at the Shrine in '68?

Bill, LA

I think the Shrine show on New Years in '68, where Bob Hite rode out on the elephant, also featured Poco, Lee Michaels, Black Pearl, Love Army and Sweetwater. Don't know that Deep Purple was booked on that evening.

Bill, maybe you're thinking about the International Pop Fest in San Francisco a few months earlier that featured these fine folks... Procol Harum, Iron Butterfly, Jose Feliciano, Johnny Rivers, Eric Burdon And The Animals, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grass Roots, The Chambers Brothers, Deep Purple, Fraternity of Man & Canned Heat or possibly the following year in Jan of 1970 when Deep Purple appeared with Canned Heat and Renaissance on a triple-bill in London at the Royal Albert Hall.

One final note: The current Johnny Otis piece didn't mention it, but it was Mr. Otis that took Canned Heat into the studio the very first time to record in 1966. Small world, ain't it?


* * * *

Thank u for posting it! Bob is still boogin' around!! (See "The Bear," an article on Bob Hite),

Stefano Di Leonardo, Fisciano (Salerno, Italy)

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Great Read! (See "The Bear," an article on Bob Hite) I will post it on Bob "THE BEAR" Hite Official Facebook Page,

Dave Tohill, Brandon, UK

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Hello Tim, thank you so much for letting a huge Canned Heat fan check out this
interview with the Bear. I really enjoyed it.

Best regards,

Rick Caldwell, Fairfield, Ohio

* * * *

I knew Bob Hite in the 60's. Canned Heat played at our high school prom 1966 Rexford High. The Family Dog, Chet Helms, Skip Taylor.

Max Kalik, Los Angeles, CA

Dear Tim,

I just discovered you from an email I received from Preston Smith disclosing his next event. I wanted to tap into his website Prestonsmithmusic but it would not link from your site for some reason. I have to say Preston really is a genius and I met him in Glendale at a jazz club about three years ago, after a fatal accident. By chance, I was invited to spend time hanging out with Preston and some friends after his gig. He is everything you say and I will never forget his amazing creativity and his positive influence in my life.

Janelle, Palm Springs, CA

Love the article! (on Lowell George) Lowell was my father.

Forrest George, Warren, Vermont

This Bob Hite interview is the most interesting thing I have read concerning Canned Heat. I have Fito's book, but I always was interested in learning more about Bob Hite. You did it here my friend...great interview!!!!!

Tony Musto - Pittston, PA

Hey Tim, Great article on Preston! I really enjoyed it and you did your homework. I'll probably catch PS this weekend.


Dave - Northridge, CA

* * * *

Hello, what a great article on Preston Smith! I actually met Preston one evening after an Acoustic set of my own at the Prestigeous Carlton Hotel here in Atascadero, Ca. We were loading up and he happened to be walking down the sidewalk and stop to say hello. I must say that he is a truly interesting and talented man that NEVER forgets to let me know when he is playing around the Central Coast where I live. It was so fun to read about who he truly is...(as if you don't know him the first time you meet him)! My adventures have only just begun as I recently returned from Nashville recording my self titled debut EP. I can only hope that my adventures down the road are as enlightening as Preston's and that I have the honor of a great writer such as yourself to share them with the world. Thank you for doing just that, sharing "Preston Smith" with the world.


Amy Estrada - Atascadero, CA

Hi Tim,

My name is Bert, I'm from Italy and I'm a blues harmonica player...I read your article and it reminded me of the two trips I made in the Delta, in 2008 and 2009. I love Frank's music and I think it's a shame people don't really know his work. It's important that people like you write about him. Thank you! In the Delta I was only a "stupid" tourist, but it was a great, unique experience I consider one of the most important in my life: driving on the highways, Listening to the blues everywhere, jamming in places like Red's and ground Zero in Clarksdale or the Blues Bar in Greenville... are priceless things, something I will keep in my heart for the rest of my life. I met a beautiful, lovely woman there too (named Hope), but I behaved like a stupid kid and I lost her... Alas! I will never forget that days and the chance I had to find happiness...Well, I also wrote something about Frank on a website, but it's in Italian... I give you the link of the first part (the second will be published in the next weeks) anyway if you know some Italian or somebody who can understand it... Even if I'm thinking of making a translation


Bert - Pavia, Italy

I wanna be Tim!

Brent, Seattle, WA

* * *

Those pictures give you an idea of what the Rockin' Pneumonia actually looks like and it looks BAD! But the man can still play! Enjoyed the article - give us more TRAVELING BLUES BOY!

Steve Thomas - NA, INDIANA

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Good Stuff, Tim. Having been a Johnny Winter fan since the first time I heard Rock n Roll Hoochie Koo, it was great hearing his take on some his highlight moments that defined his blues career. His affiliation with Muddy Waters was particularly interesting. Kudos for bringing that out. Thanks to your dedication to covering the blues scene, this "one of a kind" music still lives for servicemen & women around the world. Keep it Up!

Brandon Williams, Moreno Valley, CA

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Impressive! What a legend and how cool that you got so much time with him, Tim.

Don, Louisville, KY

Tim - Great article, enjoyed Little Feat/Lowell George story, really brought me back in time. Did not know he was a fishin' man! Wonder what surfaces out of the abyss of your memory next?

Steve Thomas, New Albany, IN

* * * *


I really liked your travel back in time with Lowell and Little Feat. As a long time Feat fan (mostly the stuff with Lowell) it was cool to read. I learned several of their songs back in the day and they still stand up today when played live. Another singer I really liked from back then is TimBuckley. Thanks for the article.

Chet Hogoboom, Arroyo Grande, CA

Loved your last issue of TB, especially the Mayall piece. I want that guy's job!

Brent, Seattle, WA


This is a great write up. Has it been printed in any magazines? It's better than a lot of things I read in my guitar magazines, so props for that.

Caejar, Moreno Valley, CA


I can tell that you have this passion for jazz. I wonder if you yourself play any instrument. Or are you just a groupie like most of us?

I talked with a mid-aged flute jazz artist a few weeks ago and he lamented that despite his talents (and he is extremely talented) he says that the industry hasn't been kind to him. He said jobs are few and far between. He said the music industry is combating piracy and competition due to technology being readily available to private homes and that they are not as profitable as before. So they are replacing live talent for synthesized or digital instruments.

Do you see the same trend in your relationships with your music network?

Bob, Pasadena, CA

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