With this review, I admittedly am about to step into very unfamiliar territory. I feel neither qualified nor experienced enough with this type of music - Gospel - to be taking on this task, yet after just one listen to "SOULSVILLE: SOULED OUT 'N SATISFIED", by DANNY BROOKS & THE ROCKIN REVELATORS, I felt I had to make this attempt. A force stronger than me - probably the music itself - is compelling me to do this review.
Although most of the names I am about to mention I have never heard before, this CD was a pleasant way of being introduced to this very talented cast. Performing along with DANNY BROOKS on Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica and writer of all thirteen tracks are: BUCKY BERGER on Drums, Percussion, Hand Claps, and Vocals; DENNIS PINHORN on Bass, Standup Bass and Vocals; Mitch Lewis on Electric, Acoustic and Slide Guitars and Mandolin; RICHARD BELL on Accordion, Piano, Organ, Wurlitzer and Hand Claps; MICHAEL FONFARA on Piano and Wurlitzer; AMOY LEVY,CICEAL LEVY, HIRAM JOSEPH, and ESTHER KESSLER on Vocals; COLIN LINDEN on Dobro, Electric and Slide Guitars; OUG ROMANOW on Organ and hand Claps; GARY CRAIG on Tambourine and Hand Claps;
"SOULSVILLE", one of the title tracks, kicks off this absolutely wonderful CD with a real hot blend of Gospel, Blues and Bluegrass. It's a mover and a shaker that had me burning up the keypad as I tried to, but just couldn't keep pace. The song is all about Soulsville -Memphis, TN - of course. Mitch, Richard and Danny tear it up on guitar, piano and harp respectively.
"FENCE ME IN", "GLORY HALLELUJAH, and "STANDING ON THE ROCK OF MY LORD" all have all of the defining Gospel ingredients. They are very moving, uplifting and spiritual. Danny's soul can truly be felt through his vocals on all of these songs.
"OTHER SIDE OF THE CLOUD" was unquestionably one of my favorite tracks. Most likely because of the great piano playing by Michael and the excellent harp by Danny. This was Gospel Blues done at it's best.
"YOU WON'T SHOW" contains so much soul it gave me flashbacks of MOTOWN. I guess this is some of what Brownie McGhee was referring to when he once told Danny Brooks that "fo' a white boy you sho' nuff got a tan on the inside".
"WALK THAT WALK" contains a little bit of just about every music genre imaginable. Dennis on "Big Bertha", the stand up bass, and Colin on the mandolin are absolutely on fire on this one. Amidst all it's spirituality, this is a real fun song.
Over the past several years I have had a yearning to experiment with Gospel music but I never quite get around to it. From time to time I'll hear a song that will tweak that arousal but then again, I never seem to follow it through. "SOULSVILLE: SOULED OUT 'N SANCTIFIED" may very well be the vehicle that will transport me further into the experimentation process. Taking my taste into consideration, this CD is the poster child for gospel music.
I can't believe that three years have passed since I reviewed BEAUTIFUL BOBBY BLACKMONS first CD "I'M DIALIN' 911". That was back in 2002 when I reviewed all of three CD's that year. Since then, I now review about 30 - 36 CD's a year here at this web site, have joined the staff of BluesWax and have become a W C Handy Award Nominating Committee Member. In the meantime, BOBBY has appeared in many blues festivals (a few that I helped book him in), has opened for Duke Robillard, James Cotton and many other great blues giants, has released his second excellent CD - "TRAVELIN' HOME" (which once I stop yakking, I'll start reviewing) and is on his way to becoming a hot commodity in the blues world. The point I am trying to make here is that it has been three wonderful blues filled years for BOBBY and myself and not only did we watch each other grow, but a beautiful friendship between us has grown as well.
Along with BEAUTIFUL BOBBY BLACKMON on scorching vocals and guitar, the rest of the B3 BLUES BAND consist of JACK BUMGARNER on keyboards and synthesized horn programming, CHUCK NEWCOMB on bass and DARNEL KELLY on drums.
"TRAVELIN' HOME" kicks off with a real soulfully sung ballad titled "I DON'T KNOW, BUT I GOTTA GO". It is the first of ten BBB originals. This is the kind of song that, once you listen to it, you find yourself singing it throughout the course of the day. It's got a very catchy chorus and it is sung so well that you can't help but want to join in as BOBBY sings it. Some excellent guitar work added makes this one of the best tracks on the CD.
BBB shows a lot of his B B King influenced style of play and singing on "I'VE BEEN DOWN SO LONG", another original. This is a hot shuffle that's real hard to sit still to. The band tears it up on this one and the fine piano playing of JACK is featured throughout.
Another original, "I'M GONNA DEDICATE THE BLUES", adds some of the R&B that BBB just loves to mix in with his hot blues. There's no question in my mind about this one packing the dance floor at a BBB live show - it's hot, funky and full of rhythm.
"THE BLUEST BLUES" is one of only two covers on "TRAVELIN' HOME" and it's an Alvin Lee track. Just knowin' that tells you this one features some extraordinary guitar licks. This is another ballad, similar to the opening track, where BOBBY just absolutely sings and plays his heart out. Once again, one of the best tracks on this CD.
It's back to the dance floor for "SIN CITY", yet another original. JACK'S the star on this one. His synthesized horn section is so amazingly real sounding. This one's by far the funkiest track of them all and it had this writers big booty shaking.
"TRAVELIN' HOME" is exactly the type of product that should take BEAUTIFUL BOBBY BLACKMON to the next level, where he certainly deserves to be. Here's to you BOBBY! Let's hope the next thirty years are as good to us as the last three.