Monday, September 15, 2008

Feel So Good reviewed by Mark Thompson

Feel So Good
Albert Cummings
Blind Pig Records
11 tracks/58:49

Several years ago Albert Cummings did a set on the main stage at the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest. The intensity of that performance and his mastery of the guitar had fans lined up to get his autograph for over an hour. All of Cummings' fans can now rejoice as his third release for Blind Pig was recorded live at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Backed by Daniel Broad on bass and Aaron Scapin on drums, Albert lights it up on straight-ahead rockers like "Party Right Here" and "Why Me". He fires off one fiery guitar riff after another, to the delight of the audience. The proceedings take a dramatic turn when Cummings tackles the atmospheric original "Sleep". He follows that up with an unusual medley that pairs "Hoochie Coochie Man" with Little Feats "Dixie Chicken". The band's expert segue between the two disparate tunes makes it seem like they are simply two pieces of the same composition. In Cummings hands, the familiar riff from "Hoochie Coochie Man" morphs into something more like the guitar riff from Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky". The concert crowd joins in on the chorus to "Dixie Chicken".
"Barrelhouse Blues" slows the pace down for a blistering guitar tour-de-force and a vocal of equal intensity. Cummings turns in one of the heaviest versions of "Rock Me Baby" that you will ever hear. Try to imagine Led Zepplin covering the blues classic. In fact, Cummings covers Zepplin on the closing track, finishing off with a high octane version of "Rock and Roll".

Fans of the blues/rock power trio format are going to love this one. Blues fans should approach with caution as Cummings indulges more of his rock instincts throughout the recording. But there is no denying that Albert is a musician and performer to be reckoned with. Feel So Good captures him in his element, live on stage.

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