Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Billy Lavender "Memphis Livin"
This disc came out in January/February while I in the doldrums and somehow it got buried under the other stuff on my desk. I overlooked it then, but I have been enjoying it a lot lately! Billy Lavender brings together an all-star cast of Memphis' finest musicians and great singing and playing ensues on a batch of mostly Lavender/Brad Webb originals. The backbone of the band is Russell Wheeler on Hammond B-3 organ, Brad Webb and Billy Lavender on guitars, Vince Johnson on harmonica, Dan Cochran on bass and Tony Adams on drums. If you have read the back of nearly any cd that came out of Memphis over the past twenty years you have seen these names, and if you have listened to any cd that came out of Memphis over that same time period you know these guys can seriously bring the goods. This great band is augmented here by some great guest talents--Reba Russell sings on three songs, and Blind Mississippi Morris plays harmonica on one, "Let's Party." The first four songs set up the rest of the disc--everything starts off with the Rolling Stones-ish "Singin The Blues" written and sung by Tony Adams. That is followed by the aforementioned "Let's Party" with strong harp work by Mr Morris and vocals by Reba Russell. That's followed by "Tonight" sung by Ken Dinkins and featuring dynamite guitar work by Lavender. Then comes my favorite tune of the bunch in "Just Chillin," which I have been listening to back to back four or five times in a row every day for weeks. After that opening 15 minutes the rest of the cd just flows out seamlessly, just as together and smooth as butter.
I really wish I could have been a fly on the wall when these sessions took place--it sounds like it must have been a great time.
You can buy this cd by going to: http://www.memphislivin.com