I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Beat of My Heart, from Lisa Biales and it's rich. Opening with Mabel Scott track, Disgusted, Biales is swinging right from the start backed by Jim Pugh on piano, Larry Taylor on bass and Tony Braunagel on drums. Darrell Leonard adds solid trumpet work and Joe Subjett really gets the sax working with some hot solo lines. Volt (Stax) record, What A Man, a hot R&B track by Linda Lyndell is up next with just a bit of polish a little more funk in the bottom, cool lead guitar work by Johnny lee Schell and cool backing vocals by Maxayn Lewis and Kudisan Kai. Allen Toussaint's I Don't Wanna Hear It has that primal R&B spirit with Tom Peterson on bari sax lead, Joe Sublett on sax and Darrell Leonard on trumpet. Nina Simone's Be My Husband has a swampy feel boosted by Pugh's Hammond work, cool Kay guitar riffs by Schell and top reinforcements by Braunagel. Meemphis Slim's Messin' Around With the Blues falls square into Biales' pure vocal style and she milks it for each note. Leonard's trumpet highlights and a slick guitar solo by Schell add icing to an already rich cake. Gospel track, Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody, really swings with excellent backing vocals by Lewis, Kai, Leslie Smith and Will Wheaton and of course vital Hammond work by Pugh. Written by her mother, Alberta Roberts, Crying Over You has a firm, 40's sound and character. The purity of Biales' vocals backed by the warm sax work of Sublett, smoky piano work by Pugh and a cool trumpet solo by Lee Thornberg gives this track honest authenticity. Henry Glover's, Wild Stage of Life continues in this vein but with a pinch of a New Orleans blues, nicely complimented by Pugh's keyboard work and a really tasty guitar solo by Paul Brown. Carrie Newcomber's I Should Have Known Better is a really cool track with a funky back beat and just a touch of jazz. Nicely blended vocals between Biales and Schell as well as a crisp piano solo by Pugh make this track one of my release favorites. Wrapping the release is Brenda Burn's smooth R&B track, Brotherly Love. This track showcases a totally different quality of Biales' voice, nicely surrounded by Pugh's keyboard work as well as a really tasty guitar solo by Schell and caressingly warm backing vocals by Lewis, Kai,and Smith. This is an excellent closer for a brilliant vocal album.
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