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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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Showing posts with label Woke Up In Memphis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Woke Up In Memphis. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sweetspot Records artist: Al Basile - Woke Up In Memphis - New Release review

I just received the newest release (May 20, 2014), Woke Up In Memphis, from Al Basile and it's a giant bowl of R&B and soul. Opening with Yesterday You Left, a poppy R&B track with solid sax contributions from Rich Lataille and Doug James and cornet and vocals from Basile. Duke Robillard plays a plucky solo on this track supported by Bruce Bears on organ, Mark Teixeira on drums and Brad Hallen on bass. Don't Make Me Beg has a super feel with Basile really getting in the groove vocally. A loose and airy cornet solo followed by a tight guitar riff from Robilard tops this track. When Things Get Tough is a straight up R&B pop track. One More Stone In The Pitcher has a really nice feel along the lines of Al Green with warm vocals and well balanced horns and keys. Bears takes a real nice organ solo on this track also letting the door open for Basile to follow with a really melodic solo of his own on cornet. Title track, I Woke Up In Memphis, is a quick paced almost spiritual track also featuring Robillard playing some finger picked guitar and punctuation from Basile on cornet. Jimmy & Johnny has a traditional Memphis ballad sound and a catchy melody. I particularly like the rich guitar work of Robillard on this track. Saved By The Blues has a great strut with horns pushing the way. Basile's vocals are well integrated and soulful. Both Robillard and Basile lay down some nice solos on this track. Nibblin' Through The Fence is a nice easy ballad with tasty little riffs by each player. Make A Little Heaven features Sista Monica Parker on vocals and classic Memphis horn work making this a nice pop R&B track. Too Tough has a really distinctive swing and Basile really capitalizes on it both vocally and instrumentally. Possibly my favorite track on the release, Robillard really steps it up with a great bluesy guitar solo over bears on organ and Basile also does some of his strongest cornet work on this track as well. Nicely done. You Choose Me is another stand out track with a strong strut. Basile's vocal strength is supported by solid horn work by his own cornet work and of course the work of James and Lataille. Drummers never get the pats they deserve but Teixeira really keeps a tight ship on this release. The release is wrapped by Masked Man, a funky R&B track allowing some of the most effective soloing by Basile on the release. Robillard also hits a nice groove on this track of course supported by Bears, Teixeira, Hallen, James and Lataille. This is a cool release capitalizing on the R&B styling from Memphis and I think that he does a nice job of pulling in cool blues, jazz and rock influences for a unique package.  

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  This video is not from the current release but representative of Basile's work.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Al Basile Delivers a Jolt of Bluff City Soul on His New CD, "Woke Up in Memphis," Coming May 20 on Sweetspot Records

Al Basile Delivers a Jolt of Bluff City Soul on His New CD, Woke Up in Memphis,
Coming May 20 on Sweetspot Records

Latest Disc by Former Roomful of Blues Alumnus Features Special Guests Duke Robillard, Rich Lataille, Doug James and Sista Monica Parker

RUMFORD, RI – Al Basile announces a May 20 release date for Woke Up in Memphis, the new CD from the singer/songwriter/cornetist and former member of Roomful of Blues, on Sweetspot Records, with distributtion by City Hall Records. Produced by Basile’s lifelong friend and musical collaborator Duke Robillard, who adds his trademark guitar sounds throughout, Woke Up in Memphis is also fueled by a dynamite horn section that includes Basile, current Roomful tenor sax player Rich Lataille and former member Doug James on baritone sax, along with Mark Teixeira on drums and percussion, Bruce Bears on keyboards, Brad Hallen on electric bass and special guest vocalist Sista Monica Parker.

Acclaimed not only for his sweet cornet playing, but also his literate blues songwriting, Al Basile lays down a groove of 14 originals on the new CD that sound as if they’d be right at home on a Stax or Hi Records session in the 1960s, but with a contemporary feel that makes them vital. With song titles such as “Don't Make Me Beg,” “When Things Get Tough (the Tough Get Things),” “Saved by the Blues,” “Too Tough,” “Big Like Elvis” and the title track, fans of roots music will feel like they “Woke Up in Memphis” from the moment the first sounds emanate out of the speakers.

Celebrating 15 years on his own Sweetspot label, Woke Up in Memphis is Al Basile's tenth solo CD, collecting 14 of his new songs inspired by classic ‘60s Memphis musical styles: soul, R&B, and gospel. The new album builds on the success of his last recording, At Home Next Door, which reached the number 12 spot on the Living Blues airplay chart and earned Al his third Blues Music Award nomination. It mixes secular lyrics with the first of Al's gospel songs to appear on one of his releases, a duet with Sista Monica Parker on the powerful “Make a Little Heaven.”

At Home Next Door drew universal kudos for its inspired mix of blues, soul, and R&B sounds. “Al is a complete master of music, of many genres,” said Blues Underground Network, “but I am telling you right now, that I really enjoyed the wonderful potpourri of musical styles … Al has exactly what it takes to capture your attention, regardless of what musical genres you prefer.”

“Basile is a great songwriter with a great musical feel for presenting a song, and he is backed by a terrific band that has played with him for nearly 25 years,” wrote Sunday Night Blues Project in its review. “I think this is the best music Basile has made so far in his career--his ease and strength as a vocal storyteller continues to grow with each release, and his cornet playing is rich, nuanced, and succinct.”

“Al Basile has raised his profile considerably over the past few years. His past four discs have charted in the Top 15 on the Living Blues airplay charts and he’s been nominated for multiple BMA’s as Best Horn Player. This retrospective/new release should raise his profile even more, showcasing his versatility as a songwriter, singer, and musician.” -  Bluesbytes

“I haven't heard the phrase ‘blue-eyed soul’ in a while, but I suppose it applies here. A consummate professional, Basile does what he does with feeling and intelligence, and he makes you want to come back for more.” -

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