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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

World Talent Records artist: Forrest McDonald Band - Turnaround Blues - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Turnaround Blues, from Forrest McDonald Band. Opening with title track, Turnaround Blues, McDonald on guitar, joined by Andrew Black on vocal, John McKnight on drums, Jon Liebman on harp and vocal and Tony Carey on keys lays down a solid 12 bar track. Checking On My Baby has a R&B feel with cool blues overtones. Black's vocals are prime on this track and Liebman does some real nice harp work on this track backed by Cary on keys. River Of Tears, has a real Bessie Smith "Nobody Knows You" feel and Carey does a premier job on keys on this track. Black's vocals on this track are particularly clear and warm. Really nice. Cross My Heart has a real nice feel with Lee Gammon driving it home on bass. McDonald steps up with some pretty nice guitar riffs joined by Liebman on harp and Carey on keys. I'm A Fool has a strong R&B feel and the groove is just right. Black's vocals are really nice and Carey knows how to add just the right amount of keys to cary the track. McDonald, a seasoned Muscle Shoal player, shows a strong sense of playing in that signature. I can hear a lot of the feel of Muscle Shoals recordings on this track. On V8 Ford, the band digs in deep for a nice slow 12 bar number. Vocally, I believe that this is Black's strongest outing, really hitting the mark. Liebman whips out his harp for some serious blowing on this track and McDonald follows suit with some really tasty guitar riffs. Very nice. Carey is an anchor on this release bringing the key work down when necessary and filling the volume nicely when called upon. R&R By Bye Bye is a a cool shuffle track with snappy guitar retort. Yes, Carey is full on but McDonald and Liebman trade off in the spotlight, both playing nice solos. McKnight and Gammon are extremely tight on this number making it one of the better tracks on the release. Only Love is a slower shuffle track with an almost jazz quality. Black has a relaxed vocal style and each lead player inserts their contributions softly subtly making it a particularly effective piece. Woman Across the Ocean comes out swinging like Freddie King. A strong BB King like delivery on vocal by Black and aggressive attack by McDonald gives this track a nice punch for one of the coolest guitar tracks on the release. Funny Thing Baby has a bright jump feel with Gammon and McKnight pushing McDonald's lead guitar work out front with Black's vocals. Now I Know is a really cool track with a T-Bone Walker feel. A slow steady blues number featuring hot guitar lead and solid vocals makes this another of the best tracks on the release. Clocking in at over 5 minutes, McDonald stretches the solo out pretty good on this number, supported nicely by Carey. Stay or Walk Away is an easy floating ballad with a country folk feel. Wrapping the release is Two For The Money 1&2. A Latin rock "Blues For Salvatore" like track with underlying keys and relentless guitar soloing by McDonald makes this instrumental the hands down favorite instrumental free form track that I have heard in a while. McDonald shows his sense for dynamics as well as guitar articulation. Very nice!  

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