Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vision From Heaven - Ronnie "Byrd" Foster - New Release Review

I just received Vision From Heaven, the recent release by Ronnie 'Byrd' Foster. This is a posthumous release as Foster passed 2 years ago. Mr. Foster was born on September 16, 1949 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Pittsburgh Music Hall of Fame and voted Best Drummer in Pittsburgh four years in a row. Over the years, he was a member of the following bands in the Pittsburgh area: Michael G & The Eruptions, Jimmy Mac & The Music Factory (who then became the Igniters), Sweet Lightning, Roy Buchanan, The Silencers, Red Hot & Blue, The Hell Hounds, Mystic Knights of the Sea, Bon Ton Roulet and Iron City House Rockers. In Florida, he was also a member of the following bands: Midnight Creepers, Blues (4) Soul, Daytona Blues Society All Stars, Victor Wainwright and he was a session drummer for Kings Snake Records.
 A former Pittsburgh resident myself, I had a chance to see Foster a number of times with Sweet Lightning and of course Roy Buchanan. This is a terrific tribute release. This recording opens with Gimme Gimme, a New Orleans style blues track. Foster has a solid blues rock party voice which is great to carry this style of track. His march drumming on this track and harp work by Mike Galloway, backed by sax man Charlie Dechant and piano man Billy Delk make this a perfect opener. Stop Draggin That Chain is a loping swing blues. Just a little bit of delay giving the track a great syncopation and his vocal blend with guitarist, Tim Kelliher is really cool and Galloway is back on harp for a cool run. Kelliher plays some really styling riffs on this track and keeps the groove going throughout. Vision Of Heaven has a strong R&B style taking more of a ballad stance and featuring quite a bit of nice sax work from Dechant. New Orleans Blues is a great slow blues track and Foster comes out sounding vocally like Gregg Allman. Stinging guitar riffs pepper this track and Galloway gets a great opportunity to show his harp chops. This is a great track! Foster takes another R&B track, Twistin The Knife, and shows that he can easily carry his weight as a lead vocalist on a featured track. Rattlesnake has a bit of country on the rock edge for a dance paced track. Blending slide guitar and harp work this is a track that would easily command radio play. Another R&B style track, Tony Joe White's Rainy Night In Georgia, shows how deeply Foster felt in his music and shows guitar work in the light jazzy chord mode. Finishing with Backporch Crying, a stripped down 12 bar number, Foster sings along with simple drum and acoustic guitar. Almost like the humble ending to a complex composition, This is really an enjoyable release and if you like blues and R&B you may want to give it a try...available on cdbaby.

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This track does not appear on the cd but is a good representation of the quality of work. 


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