Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Michael Benjamin artist: Alabama Mike - Upset The Status Quo - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Upset The Status Quo, from Alabama Mike, and it's a cool groove. Blending R&B, Blues and funk, Mike has put together a fine set here. Opening with title track, Upset The Statue Quo, a bluesy shuffle, Mike leads the way on vocal joined by Aki Kumar on harp, Bernard Anderson on sax, Kid Andersen and Bob Welsh on guitar, Kedar Roy on bass and D'Mar Martin on drums, this track is a great start. Identity Theft opens with a a cool bass line from Jerry Jemmott this track and an overall R&B feel which is quite cool. B3 punctuation, backing vocals by Loralee Christansen and Lisa Leuschner and a hot sax solo by Anderson tops the track off nicely. Low slung blues number, MISSISSIPPI is a great track with a serious lope and Kumar doing some fine work on harp and a nice piano solo from Bob Welsh. Funky number, Think, also shows the strong bass work of Jemmott and features nice B3, Anderson on sax as well as a hot guitar solo from Kid Andersen and piano from Welsh. Very cool. Can't Stay Here Long is a really super track, possibly my favorite on the release, featuring Mike's most soulful vocals on the release. With a gospel feel, Fight For Your Love, makes you just want to jump. There's nice piano work by Welsh, cool B3 work by Jim Pugh, slide guitar work by Jon Lawton and Ronnie Smith lays down a snappy drum line. Restraining Order again has a heavy bass line by Jemmott, with sweet backing vocals by Loralee and Lisa. Nicely interwoven instrumental support on sax, organ and drums gives this track a really super radio style. Rock Me In Your Arms has a traditional R&B feel with an almost Van Morrison vocal style. Sax, guitar and drums carry the body of the vocal accompaniment with nice bass lines by Kedar Roy. Very nice. SSI Blues has a "Walking Blues" feel with Kumar on harp, Lawton on slide and Roy on bass. Another strong R&B style entry, Somewhere Down The Line, is particularly melodic and seductive. With it's club feel cool slide work by Lawton and sassy sax work by Anderson, this is another release favorite. Wrapping the release is God Is With You (Benediction), a very strong R&B track with screaming hot sax work from Anderson. Jemmott's ever present bass line is distinctive and warm and with Pugh on B3, Welsh on piano and nicely placed backing vocals, this is a terrific finish to a really fine release.

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