Another fantastic CD has arrived from horn player Al Basile from the old Room Full Of Blues Band. Al has written 13 impeccable songs in his great poetic and lyrical style, added some swinging and some mellow melodies, and once again enlisted the support of former RFOBB musicians to accompany him. Produced by Duke Robillard, who is also featured on guitar, Al is joined by Brad Hellen on bass, Bruce Bears on keys, Mark Texiera on drums and percussion, Doug James on saxes and woodwinds, and the Blind Boys of Alabama as guest vocalist on the fantastic spiritual “Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up the Light)”, one of the album’s highlights. A haunting horn solo on this one adds to the superb vocal workings.
The majority of the CD is down tempo (7 tracks) and the other 5 in a more swinging style. “The Price (I Got To Pay)” opens the set, a grooving tune he wrote for Duke that he switched to a horn player’s confession. Basile’s cornet is sweet sounding here and throughout. He keeps swinging in “Along
Come the Kid”, a interesting story about the young protégé who come along and changes things for those who thought they had it made. Nice keys by Bears and stinging guitar by the Duke also sell this one.
“I Want to Put it There” is full of fun double entendres about his dog playing in his girl’s yard and such– a very New Orleans stylied beat makes this cool, too. “The Itch” tells the story about times we need relief; he blends a suave vocal line in with his muffled cornet, bouncy key work, and a grooving guitar.
I could single out most every song but for spaces sake suffice it to say if you are a Roomful fan you’ll love this. The tunes are new and refreshing; nothing stale and old sounding here. If you want to hear swinging blues, this is the place. I must commend Mr. Basile for creating a fine set of musical stories. Highly recommended!
Reviewed by Steve Jones