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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Friday, July 31, 2015

The Betty Fox Band - Slow Burn - New release Review

I just received the newest release, Slow Burn,from The Betty Fox Band and I really like it. Opening with a modified James Brown style R&B chugger, Think About It, Fox comes out kickin ass and takin names. She has a really mature attack and with a little Prince and Ella Fitzgerald this track takes off. Kid Royal sets down a real tight funk riff and also shows some cool riffs. Backed by Barry Williams on bass who runs some nice lines of his own, warm keystrokes by Shawn Brown and a not so quiet drummer in Sam Farmer this track is a great opener. A Curtis Mayfield like feel creeps out in Sweet Memories and the richness in Fox's voice is even more apparent... think tastes of a female Al Green. Royal steps up again squeezing droplets of soul from his guitar like a great session musician on an old Muscle Shoals session. Title track, Slow Burn, is a cool soulful ballad that really gives Royal his nicest showcase and he doesn't waste a note. Excellent! Funky, Solid Ground, shows solid spunk and true gospel enrichment not unlike Bonnie Bramlett. This kid has range and style. Crisp, plucky guitar riffs break the vocal train but not the feel, bringing the track to a smokey level. Light hearted swing track, Please Come Home shows so much versatility and vocal control and Royal is up to the task as well ripping right along as Fox scats. Really really nice! On low slung R&B number, Our Love, Fox sets a really nice groove and Williams has a real nice bass line which really carries the track. Royal steps up big again with really nice guitar riffs. Ok...let's just say this band is really tight! Otis Redding's, Remember Me, is the most challenging track so far, with every other track so far being an original composition. Fox takes the opportunity to take a classic singers track and makes it her own. Unlike some of the other vocalist's that others have drawn comparison to, Fox absolutely has her own voice and she is paving her own way. Royal is of course ready on cue to lay out some nicely executed blues riffs and does it without a hitch. Soulful, expressive lines are his game and he does it so sweetly. This is an excellent performance! Light funk sets into this R&B style track, Take A Walk With Me, and Fox shows that she's been listening. Phrasing is top notch and I really like how she avoids the star search elevation and drives her notes into the ground. A sign of someone with real range.With a light jazzy George Benson like flare, Royal carries his solo before turning it back over to Fox for her summation. Nice! Let The Light Shine has a light rock frame but with roots in R&B. Possibly my least favorite track on the release, it still grooves nicely and Royal still hits it once for good measure. Baby Please is really rich! You want to hear why Fox is compared to Janis...this is it. Does she sound like Janis? Hell no! She sounds like Betty Fox and she should be damn proud of that. This track has the raw energy of Summertime or Ball and Chain and there are a few vocal inflections that Janis did use that show up here but this is no second rate copy. This is the real deal and actually exciting. Fox's voice has a totally different timbre from Janis and her range is quite cool! Royal steps way forward with his solo on this track and really lights it up. Just as a comparison to Janis may be drawn by some of Fox's phrasing on this particular track, so also is the Big Brother Band overall sound. I really like it! Who's Holdin'?, a quick swinger is up next and Royal steps up his game with hot riffs that really smoke. Fox's vocals dance nicely over the tight phrasing of Farmer and walking bass line of Williams. Very nice! Jazz chords flow to open Goodbye, a Latin rhythm R&B track with a tempo change loping blues. Fox sings with all of the confidence of an old pro, as well she should and snappy drum rhythms from Farmer give Royal a solid floor to riff over. Strong! Wrapping the release is Willie Nelson's Angel Flyin' Too Close to the Ground. No Willie has a pleasantly smooth but gravely voice but I can tell you that he never sang this track where he sounded like an angel. Fox, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar closes the set nicely alone. This is really an outstanding release and one that certainly warrants solid listening!
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