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Music Review: Albert White – Soul of the Blues

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I’d never heard Albert White until this CD, and I’m regretful I haven’t. I grew up in the sixties and this disc brings back a lot of what was just getting to be popular then: soul, blues, and a blend of the two. And that’s exactly what Soul of the Blues is.

The first track, “Hold On To Your Hiney,” is a rocking soul number reminiscent of James Brown, Otis Redding, and a slew of other big name soul musicians. “A Rose For My Lady,” the second cut is a nice and easy soul blues, about a guy who’s head over heels in love and isn’t ashamed to let everybody know it. “Bring It On Home To Me” moves us into an up-tempo toe-tapper, which clicks just right between cut two and four.

Several tracks from this disc, including the title track, Track 4, could have been lifted directly from a Robert Cray disc. The voice and the overall sound could easily pass for him, as could the tight group surrounding White. Cray is known to be a stickler for his backup musicians, and this backup band would satisfy him. That was when I checked the liner notes. Well, duh! Of course they’re great. Steve Cropper and Elvin Bishop backing you up? Well … Talk about gilding the lily. This disc drips talent and the three play as if they’d been doing it for twenty years.

Although the voice is different, track 5, “Stranded in St Louis,” could have been lifted directly from a Texas Alexander disc. But that’s what blues is all about, isn’t it? I hear a lick you play, I like it, I “borrow” it. I play a lick you like, likewise, you incorporate it into your next number. Track 6, “Don’t Make Your Move Too Soon,” and we’re right back into the Robert Cray groove.

White’s talent runs in the family, so to speak, his uncle being the famous Piano Red. White went from sitting and watching the band, to taking lessons from band member Wesley Jackson, and then on to regular weekly lessons. By the time he was in high school, he had his own group.

This disc is a real treat, with a dozen cuts in which White lets us listen to a guitar master accompanied by two more masters. There are lots of good blues by a number of different songwriters and lots of good blues licks by some very accomplished musicians. White’s voice, the engineering, the backup, the musicians, are all first class.

Now that White has retired from running his own business, it’s a real boon to blues and soul lovers, wherever they reside. This disc is not to be missed. But you won't find it on Amazon. You'll have to go to the MusicMaker website to get your copy.

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About Lou Novacheck